Air Recirculation Actuator

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06BlackVibe
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Air Recirculation Actuator

Post by 06BlackVibe » Thu Sep 12, 2019 4:24 pm

New member from Wausau, WI. Greetings fellow Vibe Enthusiasts. I have been a Vibe owner since 2010. A friend and Vibe owner told me about the GenVibe forum. Very nice!

I have just experienced for the first time the “clicking” actuator for the air recirculation system. Other forum members have referred to it as the actuator for heater blend door. In any event, the actuator makes the clicking sound and is located in the dash above the glove compartment. I recently removed the bad actuator and purchased a new one from Rock Auto. To try out the actuator, I first connected it to the wiring harness to see how it worked. Without knowing any different, I assumed that when the recirculating button was pressed, the actuator would turn for a while and then stop at a position that would correspond to match the rotation for the air blend door. Or, if the recirculation button was not pressed, the actuator would rotate in the other direction and then stop. However, after connecting the actuator, it would continually rotate in one direction or continually rotate in the other direction, depending upon if the recirculation "button" was depressed or not. What am I missing here with the actuator? Any help or guidance would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

Bookworm
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Re: Air Recirculation Actuator

Post by Bookworm » Thu Sep 12, 2019 6:14 pm

You aren't missing anything. You've just seen _why_ they break.

This is a constant load motor, running positive or negative. The button just switches the direction. When it hits a stop, it then continues to try to turn, but isn't strong enough to overload the shaft.

The fix for this would have been to either use metal gears, or put in a contact stop switch. Needless to say, NUMMI didn't think the extra cost was worth it, as it wouldn't be THEIR car that had the failure.

zbyers
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Re: Air Recirculation Actuator

Post by zbyers » Fri Sep 13, 2019 3:12 am

Bookworm wrote:
Thu Sep 12, 2019 6:14 pm
You aren't missing anything. You've just seen _why_ they break.

This is a constant load motor, running positive or negative. The button just switches the direction. When it hits a stop, it then continues to try to turn, but isn't strong enough to overload the shaft.

The fix for this would have been to either use metal gears, or put in a contact stop switch. Needless to say, NUMMI didn't think the extra cost was worth it, as it wouldn't be THEIR car that had the failure.
Spot on! What a stupid design. Inherently, the matrix is more reliable as it doesn't have this issue. :lol:
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06BlackVibe
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Re: Air Recirculation Actuator

Post by 06BlackVibe » Mon Sep 16, 2019 3:46 pm

Bookworm & zbyers, thank you very much for the helpful information. I replaced the part and it appears to be working on. Thanks again.

Bookworm
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Re: Air Recirculation Actuator

Post by Bookworm » Tue Sep 17, 2019 12:38 am

06BlackVibe wrote:
Mon Sep 16, 2019 3:46 pm
Bookworm & zbyers, thank you very much for the helpful information. I replaced the part and it appears to be working on. Thanks again.
Hopefully you didn't throw the old one away. Pop it open, flip the gear, and you now have a spare if/when the replacement breaks a tooth.

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tpollauf
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Re: Air Recirculation Actuator

Post by tpollauf » Tue Sep 17, 2019 6:34 am

Bookworm wrote:
Tue Sep 17, 2019 12:38 am
Pop it open, flip the gear, and you now have a spare if/when the replacement breaks a tooth.
Yep. Couldn't agree more. This is what you'll find when opening it up :o

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ZZvroom
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Re: Air Recirculation Actuator

Post by ZZvroom » Sun Nov 03, 2019 4:56 am

My 2003 GT has this issue.
Is access via the glove box roof?
Can I pull a fuse in the meantime?

Bookworm
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Re: Air Recirculation Actuator

Post by Bookworm » Sun Nov 03, 2019 12:19 pm

ZZvroom wrote:
Sun Nov 03, 2019 4:56 am
My 2003 GT has this issue.
Is access via the glove box roof?
Can I pull a fuse in the meantime?
Nah. Punch the recirculate button. It'll put the door in the other position, and hold it there.

zbyers
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Re: Air Recirculation Actuator

Post by zbyers » Mon Nov 04, 2019 3:09 am

ZZvroom wrote:
Sun Nov 03, 2019 4:56 am
My 2003 GT has this issue.
Is access via the glove box roof?
Can I pull a fuse in the meantime?
Remove the glove box, and you'll see it. I JUST did mine yesterday. It's not hard, really. Just two small 5.5mm screws holding it in, and the electrical connector.. 2 hours later, I was finally finished. :lol:
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Bookworm
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Re: Air Recirculation Actuator

Post by Bookworm » Mon Nov 04, 2019 7:42 am

zbyers wrote:
Mon Nov 04, 2019 3:09 am
ZZvroom wrote:
Sun Nov 03, 2019 4:56 am
My 2003 GT has this issue.
Is access via the glove box roof?
Can I pull a fuse in the meantime?
Remove the glove box, and you'll see it. I JUST did mine yesterday. It's not hard, really. Just two small 5.5mm screws holding it in, and the electrical connector.. 2 hours later, I was finally finished. :lol:
It helps if you have a thumb socket wrench - looks like a hockey puck, but takes a 1/4" socket.

Jbenrod
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Re: Air Recirculation Actuator

Post by Jbenrod » Sun Dec 01, 2019 2:13 pm

I still don't know how people are able to get that top screw out. I can reach up and feel it but since there is a cable or duct just to the left of it I can never get a tool or even just the socket in there to get on the screw head.

Regardless, I wanted to report that switching the gear (180) with the worn teeth didn't last but a few months on my Vibe before the other side teeth stripped out as well. Next I purchased a new Dorman actuator unit and it has now already failed with probably less than 12,000 miles (same "ticking" noise now happening again). Therefore I can not recommend the Dorman brand for a replacement.

zbyers
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Re: Air Recirculation Actuator

Post by zbyers » Mon Dec 02, 2019 4:00 am

Jbenrod wrote:
Sun Dec 01, 2019 2:13 pm
I still don't know how people are able to get that top screw out. I can reach up and feel it but since there is a cable or duct just to the left of it I can never get a tool or even just the socket in there to get on the screw head.

Regardless, I wanted to report that switching the gear (180) with the worn teeth didn't last but a few months on my Vibe before the other side teeth stripped out as well. Next I purchased a new Dorman actuator unit and it has now already failed with probably less than 12,000 miles (same "ticking" noise now happening again). Therefore I can not recommend the Dorman brand for a replacement.
I ended up losing that screw, so mine is only held in by the one lower screw. My replacement came from Amazon for like... $10. Not expecting much, but figured if it's going to go bad, might as well make it cheap.
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pwyu1969
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Re: Air Recirculation Actuator

Post by pwyu1969 » Sun Dec 08, 2019 10:06 am

The trick to getting the top screw is (1) using the 5mm or 5/32 (I think) socket, wrap the barrel with two sided tape. I use the kind to adhere body trim as it has the foam core to add thickness. The tape adhesive and added thickness allows you to take it out and put it back in. (2) if you can reach your hand in to touch the screws, you can use this method. I’ve done all my vibes this way.

Bookworm
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Re: Air Recirculation Actuator

Post by Bookworm » Sun Dec 08, 2019 12:11 pm

That's why I use the thumb wrench. It's usually just enough to knock it loose, then I twist the socket the rest of the way with my fingers. usually causes a cramp, but I've only had to do it three times in 16 years.

jolt
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Re: Air Recirculation Actuator

Post by jolt » Mon Dec 09, 2019 2:02 am

If a current limiter was added to the motor and set properly, you would not be breaking as may plastic gears. If the whole gear box and gears were made of metal, it would not break as often too but that would cost way more money. It all comes down to cost. Add a current limiter at roughly $75~$100 for those that can not make their own current limiter or buy the plastic replacements. You do have choices. Money, time, and your imagination are your only limits.

gr8n8
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Re: Air Recirculation Actuator

Post by gr8n8 » Tue Mar 31, 2020 12:08 pm

Does the blend door have a default position? like spring loaded one position or the other? Arizona heat right up under the top of the dash is going to cook the gears quickly. I'd be willing to let it remain in the fresh air position or figure out a cable install to change it rather than need to change it multiple times.
thanks

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joatmon
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Re: Air Recirculation Actuator

Post by joatmon » Tue Mar 31, 2020 2:59 pm

gr8n8 wrote:
Tue Mar 31, 2020 12:08 pm
Does the blend door have a default position? like spring loaded one position or the other? Arizona heat right up under the top of the dash is going to cook the gears quickly. I'd be willing to let it remain in the fresh air position or figure out a cable install to change it rather than need to change it multiple times.
thanks
Welcome to genvibe!

Not sure what year you have, but on the 03-08, the actuator has no spring or default position. The problem manifests because in either fresh or recirc, the motor is powered and pushing against the door, one way or the other.

The easiest way to get to always fresh is to set the air to fresh, and then disconnect the electrical connector from the actuator.

A step up from that would be to splice a switch into one of the wires going to the actuator, so you could enable/disable the actuator. I think there are two wires, the dash switch changes the polarity so the motor spins one way or the other, so it shouldn't matter which wire you splice in the extra switch

gokevingo
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Re: Air Recirculation Actuator

Post by gokevingo » Wed Apr 01, 2020 2:48 pm

Bookworm wrote:
Tue Sep 17, 2019 12:38 am
06BlackVibe wrote:
Mon Sep 16, 2019 3:46 pm
Bookworm & zbyers, thank you very much for the helpful information. I replaced the part and it appears to be working on. Thanks again.
Hopefully you didn't throw the old one away. Pop it open, flip the gear, and you now have a spare if/when the replacement breaks a tooth.
Sorry, but flip which gear? I’ve got it opened up on the coffee table right now and just don’t see what can flip.

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joatmon
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Re: Air Recirculation Actuator

Post by joatmon » Wed Apr 01, 2020 2:59 pm

gokevingo wrote:
Wed Apr 01, 2020 2:48 pm

Sorry, but flip which gear? I’ve got it opened up on the coffee table right now and just don’t see what can flip.
see tpollauf's picture above showing the inside of the actuator, and you'll notice the biggest white gear is missing two teeth. Pull that one out, put it back in rotated 180 degrees

philipsoeder
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Re: Air Recirculation Actuator

Post by philipsoeder » Thu Jul 30, 2020 1:51 pm

After confirming recirculation/max a/c button wad disengaged so hvac is in fresh air mode, I just removed glovebox, squeezed the electrical connector and pulled it’s power. Also pulled hepa filter, washed it out thoroughly, let it dry and put it back in.
Last time the actuator failed it cost $241 for mechanic to replace and new part broke within 18 months.
Taking away its power was free, and my hepa filter is like new, for free.
Only drawback is my windows won’t fog in winter when the recirculation/max air dash button gets stuck!

zbyers
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Re: Air Recirculation Actuator

Post by zbyers » Fri Jul 31, 2020 2:21 am

philipsoeder wrote:
Thu Jul 30, 2020 1:51 pm
After confirming recirculation/max a/c button wad disengaged so hvac is in fresh air mode, I just removed glovebox, squeezed the electrical connector and pulled it’s power. Also pulled hepa filter, washed it out thoroughly, let it dry and put it back in.
Last time the actuator failed it cost $241 for mechanic to replace and new part broke within 18 months.
Taking away its power was free, and my hepa filter is like new, for free.
Only drawback is my windows won’t fog in winter when the recirculation/max air dash button gets stuck!
You were only two or three 5.5mm bolts away from replacing it yourself when you unplugged the electrical connector.
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