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Discussion Starter #1
Just wanted to say hi before I go on my rant, and thanks for having me.
I replaced the mode door on my 2012 GC to try and fix an issue with HVAC system going into a diagnostic mode on startup. The defroster light would blink for about 2 minutes and would not allow any function of the system. When the diag was done, then I would get AC and heat just fine, but the mode would not change. It would come out of the vents and the defrost but any other buttons pressed didn't change that. Now here is the weird part. When the van is starting there is a very loud moaning coming from the actuator, so I replaced it. It does this through out the diag cycle. When I had it apart, I could feel the cam and levers and they moved "freely" but felt clunky not smooth as one would expect. The levers do not feel like they are disconnected. When I move the levers by hand it changes the mode, but as soon as the actuator is installed I get one time that it changes then it is back to the moaning. I believe my problem lies in those levers, but I cannot find any diagram to see how they are supposed to be setup. Does anyone here have any experience with anything remotely close to what I have been dealing with for the last 2 years? Any help would be appreciated. The dealer wanted $1000 dollars to diag and fix this issue.
 

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Was the replacement a new part? might also be defective... part no is 68299450AA.
You can diagnose stuff yourself - get i.e. Appcar DiagFCA with a supported ELM327 device.
There are software based diagnostic and recalibration routines for the actuators.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Was the replacement a new part? might also be defective... part no is 68299450AA.
You can diagnose stuff yourself - get i.e. Appcar DiagFCA with a supported ELM327 device.
There are software based diagnostic and recalibration routines for the actuators.
It was a new part. I am currently looking into your suggestions, thank you.
 

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Here is a side photo of the HVAC unit with the actuators on it. You will notice a lower one, and an upper one. The lower one controls the passenger side temp, and the upper one controls the zone for both the driver and front passenger.
60099


I also had a "moaning" issue, but that was when I upgraded from manual climate to the fully auto one in my 09 GCV SE. It happened to the driver side temp control, the wiring for the auto was different then the manual version, and with the one missing wire, the door went to full cold position all the time, if I changed the temp for the driver, the door moaned and nothing changed.

You won't have this issue as you didn't change the climate control unit, however, the symptoms sound as if either the actuator itself can only move one way, or like in my case, the wiring was bad and the voltage only allowed one way movement.

I'd suggest go to a local junkyard with any 2008-present dodge caravan or town and country and grab an actuator from it, replace it for yours and see if it fixes the issue. If it doesn't it could be the wiring has a fault somewhere, or the climate control unit is bad.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Here is a side photo of the HVAC unit with the actuators on it. You will notice a lower one, and an upper one. The lower one controls the passenger side temp, and the upper one controls the zone for both the driver and front passenger.
View attachment 60099

I also had a "moaning" issue, but that was when I upgraded from manual climate to the fully auto one in my 09 GCV SE. It happened to the driver side temp control, the wiring for the auto was different then the manual version, and with the one missing wire, the door went to full cold position all the time, if I changed the temp for the driver, the door moaned and nothing changed.

You won't have this issue as you didn't change the climate control unit, however, the symptoms sound as if either the actuator itself can only move one way, or like in my case, the wiring was bad and the voltage only allowed one way movement.

I'd suggest go to a local junkyard with any 2008-present dodge caravan or town and country and grab an actuator from it, replace it for yours and see if it fixes the issue. If it doesn't it could be the wiring has a fault somewhere, or the climate control unit is bad.
Question about the wiring. If the wiring is indeed the problem, then how did you go about repairing it. Was it at the plug that you had a problem? I am pretty good with a multi-meter, but I am hoping to not have to tear apart the dash to get to some of the feed. Is there a specific voltage I should be looking for? If, when I installed the unit and applied power the unit went both ways, but could the problem be in the levers and actuators behind the air door actuator. Do you have a picture of that area? As always thank you in advance.
 

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Question about the wiring. If the wiring is indeed the problem, then how did you go about repairing it. Was it at the plug that you had a problem? I am pretty good with a multi-meter, but I am hoping to not have to tear apart the dash to get to some of the feed. Is there a specific voltage I should be looking for? If, when I installed the unit and applied power the unit went both ways, but could the problem be in the levers and actuators behind the air door actuator. Do you have a picture of that area? As always thank you in advance.
The fact that the climate control panel goes into a diagnostics mode would indicate to me that it could be the climate control panel that is faulty, but that's just me.I don't know the voltage these actuators receive, but if it spins both ways it likely isn't the issue.

What you could try, is take out the far actuator out of it's place and hold it in your hand and the turn the HVAC on, see if the actuator moves one direction, then switch to the different modes and see if it changes direction. See if the blinking diagnostics light keeps blinking or doesn't blink.

The wiring for the actuators plugs into the main harness, with all the actuators, resistor (or power module if auto) as one connector behind the glove box. If you find damage to the harness itself on the actuator side, you will replace that harness piece itself it's not very big. If it's the actual main harness piece which goes to the climate controls and under the dash, then the only real way to fix it is cut, splice or solder it back and tape it. Unless you choose to remove the dash, and replace the entire harness under the dash (quite a lot of work)

Which actuator is it that you have replaced? You had the mode issue of the zone blowing in the incorrect zone, maybe you replaced the wrong one? What I would do is I would unscrew both of the actuators on the passenger side, and swap their places with each other. If it was the actuator, then zones will now work and you will likely get pure cold or pure hot air from the passenger side. If it's not the issue, the problem will remain. (don't worry the actuators are all exactly the same)

I don't really see how the doors themselves can fail, the unit I linked above I can take more photos of if you'd like, it has these pivot points on either side which keeps it aligned, but the plastic is so thick I can't imagine it would just pop out, maybe I'm wrong.

When you turn ignition to on, does it moan right away? Or does it take it a while and then it starts?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
The fact that the climate control panel goes into a diagnostics mode would indicate to me that it could be the climate control panel that is faulty, but that's just me.I don't know the voltage these actuators receive, but if it spins both ways it likely isn't the issue.

What you could try, is take out the far actuator out of it's place and hold it in your hand and the turn the HVAC on, see if the actuator moves one direction, then switch to the different modes and see if it changes direction. See if the blinking diagnostics light keeps blinking or doesn't blink.

The wiring for the actuators plugs into the main harness, with all the actuators, resistor (or power module if auto) as one connector behind the glove box. If you find damage to the harness itself on the actuator side, you will replace that harness piece itself it's not very big. If it's the actual main harness piece which goes to the climate controls and under the dash, then the only real way to fix it is cut, splice or solder it back and tape it. Unless you choose to remove the dash, and replace the entire harness under the dash (quite a lot of work)

Which actuator is it that you have replaced? You had the mode issue of the zone blowing in the incorrect zone, maybe you replaced the wrong one? What I would do is I would unscrew both of the actuators on the passenger side, and swap their places with each other. If it was the actuator, then zones will now work and you will likely get pure cold or pure hot air from the passenger side. If it's not the issue, the problem will remain. (don't worry the actuators are all exactly the same)

I don't really see how the doors themselves can fail, the unit I linked above I can take more photos of if you'd like, it has these pivot points on either side which keeps it aligned, but the plastic is so thick I can't imagine it would just pop out, maybe I'm wrong.

When you turn ignition to on, does it moan right away? Or does it take it a while and then it starts?
The kind of weird thing about the moan is that it starts when power is applied to the accessory system. For instance, one thing I started to do was to engage the locking system when I knew had a errand to run. This would set off the diagnostic phase of the hvac system. So when I got to the van after, it would be done with the diag and the air would start close to the time I got in and started it. I have already installed a new head unit from a source that I knew was working.
When I installed the actuator, I took off the plate that holds in place to look at the cam levers in behind. One was dislocated, put it back in place reinstalled everything and the moan was gone for about a cycle. The car still went into diag mode, but the moan was not there. Let the van set for about an hour, went and tried it again and the moan was back. All the levers move if I move them by hand, but I don't feel all of the move when they are engaged by the system. I am thinking some of my problem lies in those cams and levers.
And just for reference, I have a total of four actuators on my vehicle, 3 on the pass side and one on the driver side. I have replaced the one for the pass side hot\cold setting to correct the issue with heat always coming out the pass side, and I have replaced the one on the driver side, but I can't remember why I replaced that one for, but it's new, lol.
My scanner just came in today, and I bought the app-car software to try. I will update as the information comes available. Thanks for all the help.
 

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The kind of weird thing about the moan is that it starts when power is applied to the accessory system. For instance, one thing I started to do was to engage the locking system when I knew had a errand to run. This would set off the diagnostic phase of the hvac system. So when I got to the van after, it would be done with the diag and the air would start close to the time I got in and started it. I have already installed a new head unit from a source that I knew was working.
When I installed the actuator, I took off the plate that holds in place to look at the cam levers in behind. One was dislocated, put it back in place reinstalled everything and the moan was gone for about a cycle. The car still went into diag mode, but the moan was not there. Let the van set for about an hour, went and tried it again and the moan was back. All the levers move if I move them by hand, but I don't feel all of the move when they are engaged by the system. I am thinking some of my problem lies in those cams and levers.
And just for reference, I have a total of four actuators on my vehicle, 3 on the pass side and one on the driver side. I have replaced the one for the pass side hot\cold setting to correct the issue with heat always coming out the pass side, and I have replaced the one on the driver side, but I can't remember why I replaced that one for, but it's new, lol.
My scanner just came in today, and I bought the app-car software to try. I will update as the information comes available. Thanks for all the help.
I'll get some more photos of the HVAC assembly itself which has the actual doors and directs the air, the fact that one was dislodged is already concerning.

It's not particularly an easy task to replace, the entire front dash must come off which requires at least 2 people to move it out of the way. Then it clips/bolts into place, alignment with the HVAC ducts is also necessary, and a huge pain (It took me 4 tries to align it successfully).

What I would suggest, if go to a place that can read codes, and have them write all the codes the vehicle has, then you can be sure of what the issue is.

Because then you can be sure you know exactly what the issue is before you get into ripping apart the dash. You could also buy your own programming software from appcar or alfordOBD (or whatever the second open is called), and when you purchase the programming, you have the ability to read and test a lot of things on the vehicle with it. These include individual actuators for the HVAC, and the program will read every single code the vehicle has.

With something like this that requires so much work to get to, it would be awful to put it all back together, and the issue is still present :(
 

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Discussion Starter #9
So I read the HVAC codes and I was getting, sorry can't remember the actual number, front mode door1 travel range to far. When reading the live data for the actuator for each of the settings, they were in spec for the projected ranges. I can clear the code, and hvac works better than it did, but the error code comes back after I shutoff the vehicle and let it set for a half hour or so. I saw on another forum that they had problems with the dorman actuators, I may try a different brand to see if that helps. Please feel free to add any advice, it has been a progressive week as far as fixing this issue. Thanks again.
 

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I think I may have figured out, at least some of the problem. On the mode door actuator the screw that is closet to the front on the bottom, is not really holding it in place. I can see that it actuator it getting pushed out as it goes through its diag cycle. So it pops out just enough that it becomes disengaged for a short time until it comes back around. I am gonna try and get a bolt in there to try and secure better, so it doesn't push it out. I know that most of the screws mount to a post, this part doesn't seem to have a post, it mounts to the backing plate, so my thought is a bolt a nut and couple of washers may be able to squeeze it together to get it to stop.Then re-calibrate it again. Fingers crossed.
 

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I think I may have figured out, at least some of the problem. On the mode door actuator the screw that is closet to the front on the bottom, is not really holding it in place. I can see that it actuator it getting pushed out as it goes through its diag cycle. So it pops out just enough that it becomes disengaged for a short time until it comes back around. I am gonna try and get a bolt in there to try and secure better, so it doesn't push it out. I know that most of the screws mount to a post, this part doesn't seem to have a post, it mounts to the backing plate, so my thought is a bolt a nut and couple of washers may be able to squeeze it together to get it to stop.Then re-calibrate it again. Fingers crossed.
The actuator must be inserted a specific way into the slot and screwed into place, I had a hard time unscrewing/putting it back, and actually had a similar issue with it jumping out like you mentioned! Pull it out and try re-insert it, those threads for the screw shouldn't be stripped or damaged, and I am known for... Well... Stripping bolts and cross threading/damaging these types of things!

Maybe I'm wrong, you saw what was happening, but I'm just saying try it before you add a bolt or screw into the hard plastic.
 

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I did not put a bolt in it. What I did do was to kept tightening until it got expensive. I did have to put a different screw in it, but the one I went with had a tapered head, didn't look too closely. It pushed right threw the ear, I have another one to try, when I get time.

I did pull off the cover plate to the levers and that lever again was popped out, everything is still connected on the other side. I can move it by hand, and it moves smoothly, I think the actuator may have been too tight all around. I will let you know when I know.
 

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I did not put a bolt in it. What I did do was to kept tightening until it got expensive. I did have to put a different screw in it, but the one I went with had a tapered head, didn't look too closely. It pushed right threw the ear, I have another one to try, when I get time.

I did pull off the cover plate to the levers and that lever again was popped out, everything is still connected on the other side. I can move it by hand, and it moves smoothly, I think the actuator may have been too tight all around. I will let you know when I know.
So an update, new actuator is in, new screw is holding, the settings are working and I am getting no moaning. I am however still getting the diag start with the same code as before. Does anyone have any experience with the appcap hvac calibration part of the program. If you do, can I get some info on it. I have tried myself, but the actual position vs the what the app is telling are the same, so not sure where to go from here.
 

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So an update, new actuator is in, new screw is holding, the settings are working and I am getting no moaning. I am however still getting the diag start with the same code as before. Does anyone have any experience with the appcap hvac calibration part of the program. If you do, can I get some info on it. I have tried myself, but the actual position vs the what the app is telling are the same, so not sure where to go from here.
you have auto climate?
 

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not sure the calibration procedure for manual, but I know auto has one.

Maybe appcar does have a caalib procedure, im not entirely sure
There is one on the app. It does not specify auto or manual. It gives you a numerical designation for the each of the positions, for instance 0 20 40 60 80 100. When you look at the actual position and the expected position they are usually like 17.6, or 61.7. Cant remember the actual numbers. Does anyone have experience with this feature of the app? Do I set them to the 20,40,60 settings or do just go with it and hope all works out. Also if you have used the app feature, how long does it take for the setting to take? It seems like it takes for ever to set.
 

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There is one on the app. It does not specify auto or manual. It gives you a numerical designation for the each of the positions, for instance 0 20 40 60 80 100. When you look at the actual position and the expected position they are usually like 17.6, or 61.7. Cant remember the actual numbers. Does anyone have experience with this feature of the app? Do I set them to the 20,40,60 settings or do just go with it and hope all works out. Also if you have used the app feature, how long does it take for the setting to take? It seems like it takes for ever to set.
that's the "test" feature when you can select what position the actuator you selected moves to, not the calib procedure. Maybe it wasn't implemented, not sure.

Do you get any codes in appcar for the HVAC?
 
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