96 SE HVAC problems. No heat - GM Forum - Buick, Cadillac, Chev, Olds, GMC & Pontiac chat


1992-1999 Series I L27 (1992-1994 SE,SLE, SSE) & Series II L36 (1995-1999 SE, SSE, SLE) and common problems for the Series I and II L67 (all supercharged models 92-99) Including Olds 88's, Olds LSS's and Buick Lesabres Please use General Chat for non-mechanical issues, and Performance and Brainstorming for improvements.

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Old 09-28-2009, 05:31 PM   #1
joe.heathfield
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Default 96 SE HVAC problems. No heat

Hi everyone! Name is Joe. I have a problem with my 96 SE, with ECC. Can't get any heat out of vents. The vent controls seem to work ok, floor, passenger and defrost all work properly. When this thing started I was changing the battery out. The ECC temperature display flashes about 20 times about 45 seconds after starting the car. Before the ECC flashes ( if the motor is warmed up) I get heat out of the defrost vents, then it goes to cool no matter where I set the temperature to 60 or 90. A real pain in the but trying to go down the road and defrost the windows in the morning. Any help would be appreciated... I have looked for this actuator thing and can't seem to find it under the dash, hope someone has encountered the same problem and can help me out here. The AC works great by the way but it'* cooling off here and need to find a fix soon!

Thanks, Joe


Moved to the 92-99 section for more exposure <-----Toddster
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Old 09-28-2009, 06:58 PM   #2
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Hi Joe,

First of all .............................Welcome to the Forum!

What your describing is your typical broken air mix actuator. I know you said you looked for it......it wont jump out and announce its presence. You need to do some more digging here in the search section. you will find a plethora of information on this problem!

Search for actuator, air mix, trail nuts, ECC, and so on.....

Many of the common threads like yours have photos even.

Hope this steers you in the right direction.

If you get absolutely stuck and can not seem to find it after searching let me now. When I have more time or another gearhead...will help out when they read your thread.

Thanks for joining Joe! We will talk again.

Todd.
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Old 09-28-2009, 07:04 PM   #3
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Old 09-29-2009, 07:03 PM   #4
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OK, I was in this connector yesterday, it surely is rubbery, I can't believe that a piece of hard plastic can do this.. Any ideas on how this happens? I will be tearing into this this weekend but it appears I need to remove the dashboard and don't have any instructions in my Haynes manual on how to do this, just start removing hardware till it comes out? What about the passenger side airbag, anybody know how to disable it?
Joe
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Old 09-29-2009, 08:00 PM   #5
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Joe,

What part are you trying to get to by tearing apart your dashboard?

Have you actually read the 'trailnuts' article?

It has step by step directions on all you need.

Follow the directions slowly and you will be able to fix everything.

Here Joe is the article I'm speaking of:

http://trialsnuts.com/ecc.pdf
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Old 10-01-2009, 05:29 AM   #6
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I have reviewed the article you referred to. It appears that what I am trying to get to is the lever in picture 18 for the blend door motor?. I don't see any easy way to get to it short of removing the dash. Great article by the way. Gives me a little more insight as to what I am dealing with here.
Thanks , Joe
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Old 10-01-2009, 08:10 AM   #7
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Joe,

To get to that lever all you have to do is open your glove box and remove the box liner. Should be about 6 screw holding it in. Pull out the liner and look for the hole on the left. About the size of a nickel. Shine a light down there and you will see what'* pictured in photo #18

Once you determine that you can see the bar, turn on your car and while watching for movement of the bar turn on the ECC system and adjust the air temp all the way to cold then back to full hot. That bar should move quite a bit in either direction when you adjust the temp either way.

If it does not then pop off the blend door bar from the retainer clip and with a long object check to see if the gear inside the actuator is indeed broke.

Two things to take notice of when you free the bar from the clip. The white arm from the actuator will move freely left to right indicating a broken gear. Also the bar or rod as some refer to, will then be pulled by the blend door spring to the full hot side, as this is a GM factory default setting in the event of a gear breakage so you still have heat for winter defrost.
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Old 10-01-2009, 08:26 AM   #8
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Joe,

I reread your original post and you may have a few things going wrong here.

First you made mention that you cannot get air to come out of your dash vents...the ones that would blow directly at you right?

In that article picture #10 it shows a vacuum connector that is almost always the culprit for this problem of no vent airflow. Review that picture and find where yours is in your car. Than check to see if your vacuum connector looks like the bad example on the right of picture #10

So no airflow from the vents and airflow from defrost and floor only, indicates a bad vacuum connector 'nipple'

The air mix actuator only controls the blend door or you could say it controls the hot or cold. Not the direction of air flow.

Thirdly a blinking ECC display indicates a fault in the system as you probably figured out by now.
Most the time this blinking happens after the system loses power and the gear in the actuator brakes due to age and some other things involved.

However the air temp as you describe going cold then hot then back again could very well be a bad A/C controller.

You also said that there is airflow coming from the passenger side vents right?
If your getting air to come out of the passenger side vents and not the drivers side than this would also indicate a vacuum issue here.

First easy thing to start with Joe is to check all vacuum connections under the hood and at the vacuum tank found under the front right fender and bumper area.

Then from there look for that main A/C controller vacuum connector and take it apart to view the 'nipples'.....I know funny automotive term

Start with this and get back to us and tell us your findings.

Todd
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Old 10-04-2009, 02:37 PM   #9
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OK,, Major Success! Got heaat! I really don't know what I did to get the heat to stay on, the display no longer flashes and the actuator ( I found it) is going full stroke. Problem is, I don't know what I did to fix it. Maybe moving vacuum lines around under the dash. Now I don't have any flow out of the front passenger and driver vents. Sounds like I should be looking at that crazy vacuum nipple connector right?

Thanks for any help.. Joe
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Old 10-04-2009, 04:03 PM   #10
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Good to hear you have heat for now Joe!
You are correct as far as looking deaper into the connector nipple.

There is one more factor that adjusts airflow and heat in your ECC.

On your dash board by the cigarette lighter, there is a small vent just to the right I believe. Behind that vent is a cabin temp sensor. They do get very dusty and dirty over the years and if that sensor is not reading correct temps it will send false signals to the A/C controller making it not work correctly.

To get to that sensor all you have to do is remove the front dash bezel. The large plastic piece that covers the vents and goes around the instrument cluster. Remove it and you will find a little two wire sensor with a resistor at the end.

Gently clean it off with low force of air or a bottle of 'computer air in a can' safe for electronics.

Hope this helps......

Todd.
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