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98 PA How to re-program hvac?

tbert

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Buick PA Base Models '97,'98,'00.
Hi, brand new poster...

Has anyone heard of, or experienced - a Dealer recalibration or reprogramming on PA HVAC systems?
Is it a legit procedure that occasionally is unavoidable and needed?

I.e, the Dealer told me that a new IGN key (cut/copied from the original) requires dealer-calibration (quoted $103!!) but youtube and FSM shows a simple sequence of back and forth twists of the ignition to calibrate your own keys by yourself in your own driveway...(i've done it half dozen times myself)

Thus my question, are there some things in our PA HVAC systems that just cannot be fixed without a "Dealer Calibration"?? Or, is the calibration, or series of steps, something that can be done in our driveways?

I ask because I took the actuators, dash unit, programmer (electronic box behind glovebox), the Body Control Module (also behind glovebox) from my 2000 PA and put it into my 1998 PA, and my '98's issue still exists.

Heat/AC problems;
- only Defrost/Floor works

and... - "Auto" mode only works if it is turned off and back on each time the car is turned on.

my attempted repairs;
Noteworthy (i have a wrecked 2000 PA, that I drove for a couple years...the A/C was cold & Heat was hot & HVAC controls worked thru all vents 100%, except for a leak in the AC)

I took off the Neg battery cable...swapped all 4 actuators, the dashboard Heater/AC Controller (for clarity - directly below the radio), the HVAC Programmer unit behind the glovebox, the Body Control Module(just in case) - all over from the 100%-functional 2000 PA...

... RE-installed the Neg battery cable, turned the ign key to ON while the dash AC/Heat remained OFF for 3-5 min. The actuators made reprogramming noises. I started the car, turned the AC on "Auto", there was a slight puff from the dash vents as everything 'adjusted' itself...

But it instantly reverted back to exact same original problems!

I understand that probably one or more of the Mode doors may be jammed or broken and preventing the Mode actuator from functioning...(i could also really use an accurate diagram showing all proper locations of the cam levers involved in the complex Mode door mechanism, to be sure they haven't gotten out of place).

I essentially swapped ALL the working components over from a working 2000 system into a 1998 system...to no avail. I am stunned. I have the FSM, and i have read everything i can find there, here, and on the web.

I have seen a "dealership recalibration" mentioned occasionally and thought it was a hoax...but now I'm really wondering. What else could it be!? Why does the HVAC need to be re-set each new ignition startup?

Any thoughts!??? Thank you in advance.
 
Last edited:

steppjohn

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Buick
Hi, brand new poster...

Has anyone heard of, or experienced - a Dealer recalibration or reprogramming on PA HVAC systems?
Is it a legit procedure that occasionally is unavoidable and needed?

I.e, the Dealer told me that a new IGN key (cut/copied from the original) requires dealer-calibration (quoted $103!!) but youtube and FSM shows a simple sequence of back and forth twists of the ignition to calibrate your own keys by yourself in your own driveway...(i've done it half dozen times myself)

Thus my question, are there some things in our PA HVAC systems that just cannot be fixed without a "Dealer Calibration"?? Or, is the calibration, or series of steps, something that can be done in our driveways?

I ask because I took the actuators, dash unit, programmer (electronic box behind glovebox), the Body Control Module (also behind glovebox) from my 2000 PA and put it into my 1998 PA, and my '98's issue still exists.

Heat/AC problems;
- only Defrost/Floor works

and... - "Auto" mode only works if it is turned off and back on each time the car is turned on.

my attempted repairs;
Noteworthy (i have a wrecked 2000 PA, that I drove for a couple years...the A/C was cold & Heat was hot & HVAC controls worked thru all vents 100%, except for a leak in the AC)

I took off the Neg battery cable...swapped all 4 actuators, the dashboard Heater/AC Controller (for clarity - directly below the radio), the HVAC Programmer unit behind the glovebox, the Body Control Module(just in case) - all over from the 100%-functional 2000 PA...

... RE-installed the Neg battery cable, turned the ign key to ON while the dash AC/Heat remained OFF for 3-5 min. The actuators made reprogramming noises. I started the car, turned the AC on "Auto", there was a slight puff from the dash vents as everything 'adjusted' itself...

But it instantly reverted back to exact same original problems!

I understand that probably one or more of the Mode doors may be jammed or broken and preventing the Mode actuator from functioning...(i could also really use an accurate diagram showing all proper locations of the cam levers involved in the complex Mode door mechanism, to be sure they haven't gotten out of place).

I essentially swapped ALL the working components over from a working 2000 system into a 1998 system...to no avail. I am stunned. I have the FSM, and i have read everything i can find there, here, and on the web.

I have seen a "dealership recalibration" mentioned occasionally and thought it was a hoax...but now I'm really wondering. What else could it be!? Why does the HVAC need to be re-set each new ignition startup?

Any thoughts!??? Thank you in advance.
I hope you get a good answer, I have not heard of reprogramming HVAC things, But I think the BCM cannot be swapped between cars without some programming. I don't really understand it, and the things it controls.
HOWEVER, The thing I saw in you note concerning the heat going to the defrost and the floor I do know a little about. That suggests a problem with the Programmer (the thing beside the glovebox).
There has been a lot written about this (air going to the defrost and to the floor) Could be as simple as a vaccuum problem, or could be a bad Programmer.
There is good info on this, someone will show you where it is, I cannot put my fingers on it quickly.
I did have a problem like this in a 1996 PA, and I had to change the Programmer unit.

i
 

tbert

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Buick PA Base Models '97,'98,'00.
Hi, thank you.

I know what you mean about the BCM, as soon as I swapped the 2000 BCM into the '98, the "AIRBAG" light came on and a couple other little things were different about the IGN door alert, etc. so I swapped the BCM back. But the Programmers I swapped also, and there was no change... the AUTO mode is still needing to be re-turned on (even tho it says it's on!) every time i start the car. I don't know how that is possible since i took the dash head/push button control unit and the Programmer out of the 2000 and they worked perfectly fine in THAT car. Yet putting them in the '98, had NO effect on this problem.
I agree about the Defrost/floor issue-it must be a Mode actuator problem or a jammed or broken door up inside.

One thing that WAS different - with the '98 programmer installed, there is an every-6-second squeaky door hinge sound that is consistently coming from the area of the driver's right knee. But when i swapped in the 2000 Programmer, that every-6-second squeaky door hinge noise went away. As soon as I put the original '98 Programmer back in, now i have the frequent squeaky noise back, no matter what mode the HVAC is in...even OFF.
This is why i'm wondering if there's a Dealer Calibration, or some sequence of re-setting the system that i don't know about. Why ELSE would the proven-working components from the 2000 PA NOT work in the '98? I'm stumped. Thanks for the response!! I'm open to any ideas!!!
 

steppjohn

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Hi, thank you.

I know what you mean about the BCM, as soon as I swapped the 2000 BCM into the '98, the "AIRBAG" light came on and a couple other little things were different about the IGN door alert, etc. so I swapped the BCM back. But the Programmers I swapped also, and there was no change... the AUTO mode is still needing to be re-turned on (even tho it says it's on!) every time i start the car. I don't know how that is possible since i took the dash head/push button control unit and the Programmer out of the 2000 and they worked perfectly fine in THAT car. Yet putting them in the '98, had NO effect on this problem.
I agree about the Defrost/floor issue-it must be a Mode actuator problem or a jammed or broken door up inside.

One thing that WAS different - with the '98 programmer installed, there is an every-6-second squeaky door hinge sound that is consistently coming from the area of the driver's right knee. But when i swapped in the 2000 Programmer, that every-6-second squeaky door hinge noise went away. As soon as I put the original '98 Programmer back in, now i have the frequent squeaky noise back, no matter what mode the HVAC is in...even OFF.
This is why i'm wondering if there's a Dealer Calibration, or some sequence of re-setting the system that i don't know about. Why ELSE would the proven-working components from the 2000 PA NOT work in the '98? I'm stumped. Thanks for the response!! I'm open to any ideas!!!
Did you verify that the vaccuum to the controller was good before you got into swapping parts.
Was the Controller from the 2000 the same part number as the one in the 1998?
______________________________
 

bigsky

5.7L LT1 Member
SUPPORTING MEMBER
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Montana
Buick Ownership
97 PA (salvage 185k), 99 PA (sold 140k-now 150k), 2K PA (sold 120k-now 170k), 03 PAU 167k, 04 PAU
As soon as I put the original '98 Programmer back in, now i have the frequent squeaky noise back, no matter what mode the HVAC is in...even OFF.
I really think that squeaky noise, or "cricket" sound, is a problem with the actuator. I had that on the 99 PA. When I was looking for replacement blend actuators on ebay, the descriptions would say things like: "this is an updated version to stop the cricket sound," or "improved version," or something to that effect.

I replaced both the driver & passenger blend actuators and the squeaky noise stopped. I think they were ACDelco with a new part number...?? With the 2000 programmer that stopped the noise, may be that programmer would not work correctly in a 98.
 

tbert

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Buick PA Base Models '97,'98,'00.
Ok, well - i know that there isn't any vacuum connected to the Programmer. It is only two big light blue wiring harness connectors. The BCM has only two wiring harness connectors also,but those are pink.
And, no - they aren't the same P/N. The '98 is PN 16264856, ... the 2000 is PN 09353514. Does that matter?

As far as the squeaky Actuator, I swapped all the actuators out with the ones in the 2000 PA and they all worked perfect in the 2000. I didn't mix them up, i know that. They stayed in their respective locations from car to car. (I.e. Mode door went to Mode door location, Outside Air Vent went to outside air vent, etc)

So, i guess no one has heard or experienced an actual "Dealer Calibration" for their HVAC issues?

Im wondering if the different PN's on the two different year Programmers is screwing things up. That, and the 'typical' Defrost-only Mode Actuator/ door issue are my problems.
Has anyone tore into their dash enough to get BEHIND the Mode Actuator and actually fix a broken or stuck Mode door?
 

steppjohn

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Ok, well - i know that there isn't any vacuum connected to the Programmer. It is only two big light blue wiring harness connectors. The BCM has only two wiring harness connectors also,but those are pink.
And, no - they aren't the same P/N. The '98 is PN 16264856, ... the 2000 is PN 09353514. Does that matter?

As far as the squeaky Actuator, I swapped all the actuators out with the ones in the 2000 PA and they all worked perfect in the 2000. I didn't mix them up, i know that. They stayed in their respective locations from car to car. (I.e. Mode door went to Mode door location, Outside Air Vent went to outside air vent, etc)

So, i guess no one has heard or experienced an actual "Dealer Calibration" for their HVAC issues?

Im wondering if the different PN's on the two different year Programmers is screwing things up. That, and the 'typical' Defrost-only Mode Actuator/ door issue are my problems.
Has anyone tore into their dash enough to get BEHIND the Mode Actuator and actually fix a broken or stuck Mode door?
Tbert,
You are confusing me.
and I think you are confusing your parts and part numbers.
In your recent note (shown above) you listed a BCM number 16264856, and a Programmer number 09353514, but not Controller numbers..

My original question was, were the two Controller units you said you swapped between the cars the exact same part?
That is, was the part number of the "00 the same as the part number of the "98? and Do the parts look the same?
<<
On the Controller unit in my '95, there is a vacuum line, in fact 5 vacuum lines, and that part covers '95 thru '99 Lesabres and Park Aves.
So I would think your '98 would have used the same part as my '95.
I am not certain if the '00's and above share the part., but with a part number, some research can be done.
 

steppjohn

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Tbert,
You are confusing me.
and I think you are confusing your parts and part numbers.
In your recent note (shown above) you listed a BCM number 16264856, and a Programmer number 09353514, but not Controller numbers..

My original question was, were the two Controller units you said you swapped between the cars the exact same part?
That is, was the part number of the "00 the same as the part number of the "98? and Do the parts look the same?
<<
On the Controller unit in my '95, there is a vacuum line, in fact 5 vacuum lines, and that part covers '95 thru '99 Lesabres and Park Aves.
So I would think your '98 would have used the same part as my '95.
I am not certain if the '00's and above share the part., but with a part number, some research can be done.
Tbert,
I did a little research and found this.
>>> Here>>>>> http://repairpal.com/heating-and-ac-temperature-and-air-delivery-mode-door-actuators-may-fail-266>>
Maybe the 98 is different from my 95 , as far as the vacuum goes. >>>

If you have different temperature from the driver and passenger sides, then that is a BLEND DOOR issue. The blend doors are little triangular devices with centers that rotate from an electrical signal. Their plastic gears can break, or the motor can lose the ability to move them. They are up under the dash but reachable from the cabin without removing much more than the black noise panel. (You may want to pull the glove box on the right, too). They are held in place by 3 screws (philips). They are on the driver and passenger sides, and each has a different letter (I've seen R and S labels on the ones in my car - may be an "L" as well, but I don't know for certain yet.) These fit in the palm of your hand, and are somewhat triangular. Look on ebay or web for this part number to see what one looks like: 89018383

At the center of the HVAC near the top, but reachable without removal, is a MODE DOOR. If you have an inability to get the air to blow anywhere but out the defroster, then that is a MODE DOOR issue. The mode door has a lever on the side, and you can move that manually. In my 97, the lever has no sense of any resistance to it. Evidently the doors have broken inside the AC unit. It's going to Buick soon - not looking forward to dealer pricing.

Meanwhile, we all see that lovely control head in the dashboard with numbers and fan speeds on it. That can also fail. Typically that loses brightness from what I'm finding. There are rebuild services on eBay. However, that is NOT the most significant control element. Instead, there is a PROGRAMMER (look up part 9353514 or part 16238774) that gives the bulk of the instructions. Mine had an IO error. This multi-box system means you may need a dealer to diagnose electronics failures. Dealers will charge about $600 for a programmer box. Junkyards are selling for about $40.

The 97 and newer have all electronic devices. The 96 and prior have vacuums. That distinction is rarely made in repair posts. The 96 and prior often have vacuum leak failures from the end points being dried out. DO NOT go looking for the vacuum system in your 97 or newer - they aren't there. (You'd evidently find a colorful array of hoses coming through the firewall if they were.)

If you do replace a mode or blend door or programmer or control head, know that you should turn OFF your HVAC and then turn on your car. Leave it sit in the on position for the car/off position for the AC for about 3 minutes. All the door positions will calibrate.

Folks, I sure hope that helps. I've spent waaaaaay too much time digging info on this issue. It's been quite a learning experience. Good luck - and if anyone knows a way to fix the MODE DOOR without paying Buick my first born, I'd welcome the insight.
______________________________
 

steppjohn

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Tbert, I see a note of recdaliberation in this part of the site I sent to you. Maybe that is something you have to deal with. But It was news to me
>> Luck to you >>

From >>> http://repairpal.com/heating-and-ac-temperature-and-air-delivery-mode-door-actuators-may-fail-266

Visitor, 1997 Buick Park Avenue, 117,000 mi

I am the same Dave 97 Park Avenue as above. Should share what happened and take out some of the mystery of this fix.

First, the vacuum issue. 1996 and prior Park Avenues have vacuum lines. 1997 and newer Park Avenues do not - they are all electric. I read tons on this - the 96 and priors tend to have problems with the vacuum lines. If your Park Avenue is a 97 or newer, then that is a red herring. You have no vacuum lines. (Yeah, I searched for them too.) You have electrically powered blend doors that shuffle the air to different parts of the car.

In Orlando, we have Carl Black Buick, who is reported by my local mechanic to have an air conditioning wizard on staff. They got to fix my 97. Turns out that the plastic door in the center of the vehicle had physically broken inside its housing and had to be repaired. But that wasn't all. They also needed to recalibrate the entire system. Evidently there is a factory mandated and dealer executed calibration that is done whenever any major component is changed.

The difference was amazing. The AC is like new again. I also had another door jammed which they fixed. I think the bill was around $500, but don't quote me.

I hope that helps the rest of you. What a pain it is to figure all of this out!
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tbert

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I will have to check on the controller PN's...

- - - Updated - - -

Yes i have seen that same reference to Dealer Calibration, i think i saved that website.
 

J57ltr

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Tebert

I'm in the exact same boat you are. Only I replaced the hbsc control with a 97 of the same part number. The only time I can get it to blow out of the.vent is to hit the front defrost, which tells me that they are out of sync and some kind of re calibration needs to happen. Wether it is to set extremes like setting blend door to full hot after setting the full hot and shutting the system shitting the car off. Same with the other actuators. I'm Sure it's more simple than that. I tried powering the car while holding Off and Auto at the same time but that didn't seem to work. The first power up after reconnecting the battery and turning the key on seemed to have the actuators move. I'm Searching for an answer now.
 

dalderks

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Hi Tebert and J57ltr,

Did you manage to solve this problem? I recently ran into the same issue with my 1999 Park Avenue. Right now, I can only get airflow through the mid vents (dash airflow). I swapped both the mode door actuator and the HVAC programmer, but I am still stuck with only dash airflow. I initially thought I solved the problem after swapping the programmer - the actuators re-calibrated (I watched the mode door cycle from 0 to 100 so I know it wasn't jammed), but shortly after the mode door wouldn't respond to inputs from the head unit.
 

bigsky

5.7L LT1 Member
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18
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97 PA (salvage 185k), 99 PA (sold 140k-now 150k), 2K PA (sold 120k-now 170k), 03 PAU 167k, 04 PAU
Hi Tebert and J57ltr,

Did you manage to solve this problem? I recently ran into the same issue with my 1999 Park Avenue. Right now, I can only get airflow through the mid vents (dash airflow). I swapped both the mode door actuator and the HVAC programmer, but I am still stuck with only dash airflow. I initially thought I solved the problem after swapping the programmer - the actuators re-calibrated (I watched the mode door cycle from 0 to 100 so I know it wasn't jammed), but shortly after the mode door wouldn't respond to inputs from the head unit.
Well...it has to be either the actuator, HVAC programmer, or main controller unit. Since the actuator and programmer were changed (but with used parts), maybe the main unit is bad...? Do you have a main unit to swap in?
 

temperingloser

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Well...it has to be either the actuator, HVAC programmer, or main controller unit. Since the actuator and programmer were changed (but with used parts), maybe the main unit is bad...? Do you have a main unit to swap in?
I know this is old and I am having problems with my 99 park avenue but I found out on my 96 when I replaced the cruise control module I could not get it to work. I had to replace the control board (with the old one) in it and magically it started working. just wanted to post this so someone can try it with programmer if possible. I am having a problem with my mode door not even trying to move and the blend door rocking back and forth and cant seem to find the issue that is causing this but I am getting frustrated with as I have no answers.
______________________________
 

bigsky

5.7L LT1 Member
SUPPORTING MEMBER
434
11
18
Montana
Buick Ownership
97 PA (salvage 185k), 99 PA (sold 140k-now 150k), 2K PA (sold 120k-now 170k), 03 PAU 167k, 04 PAU
I am having a problem with my mode door not even trying to move and the blend door rocking back and forth and cant seem to find the issue that is causing this but I am getting frustrated with as I have no answers.
Did you try replacing the "mode door" actuator?

I had a 99 and replaced both the blend door actuators; both of them had the what is sometimes called the "cricket" effect. I bought some new OEM ones on ebay. In one of the ads it was stated the actuator was "improved" and would stop the "cricket" problem...that was the word that was used.

To reset the HVAC & the actuators: while the car is running turn the HVAC to OFF, then turn the car ignition OFF, then turn the key to RUN but do not start the car. The actuators will self-calibrate and you can hear them moving (you could try that now to see if it helps). If the actuators stop moving, then 10 seconds later start rocking back & forth...that is the cricket. I don't think this will hurt anything; I just found it annoying.

Another thing to do on these cars is to reboot the computer by removing the negative battery cable for 15 minutes. Be sure to switch the HVAC to OFF first before turning off the car. I have not had problems when disconnecting the battery, but some owners have had trouble with their gas gauge needle flipping around after doing this.
 

cg22

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Buick
Did anyone find the re-calibration method for this issue?

I have a 99 Regal and 02 Park Ave. with same issues. I too spent dozens of hours (and parts) trying to figure this out. I do know talking with Buick years back that this is a known bug with many of their cars and they never stepped up to the plate and should have been sued as it costs us probably millions toward their dealers. Buick should post the fix for this for FREE.

The easy fix for my issue (blows hot on one side, cold on the other) was remove the actuator and reach under once in a while and manually move the bar to the hot or cold position. I am fortunate that I only need heat in Florida about 1 week of the year, so it's no big deal for me to manually change the blend door.

Please post the fix or link to the dealer re-calibration method.
 

cg22

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Guys,

I think i found the answer (see below for more info).

Question: What scan tool do I need to perform the re-calibration? Are they cheap? Model number? Procedure?


From Pete at: justanswer.com

O.k.,this does sound like the heater/ac temp actuators are out of calibration.This will occur if they did any reprogramming or the battery died at one point or disconnected at any point.The calibration procedure has to be done by a dealer or repair facility that has a scan tool that will plug into this model here and that can communicate with the heater/ac control panel.The scan tool is then actuated to perform the actuator calibration procedure.This usually takes less then 5 minutes to do once plugged in.

I would ask the dealer if they did this and if they did not ask them to do this as this should correct the issue here.If this was a heater core issue you would be stuck blowing the same temp all of the time and this is not the case here.The actuators need calibrated.If the dealer will not do this then another repair facility with this type of scan tool will need to do this for you and all together once in the shop will take less then a half hour to do.If another shop has to do this I would then ask the dealer if they will pay for the charges to have this done since they didnt do it.

If more help is needed, use the reply tab to continue our conversation. If no further assistance is needed, kindly rate my service.You can rate at any time and we can continue to work on your question as this will not close out your question.Keep in mind in some cases it can be difficult to fully diagnose or help repair your vehicle without seeing it and I work on delivering the best possible answer from what I see to work with.
 
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