How To: Replace Drivers Side Temperature Actuator 1999 Buick Century

BuickBuff

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Since this site and others like it have been EXTREMELY helpful in diagnosing problems with my 1999 century I thought I would post some How To pictures on replacing what appears to be a common problem with Centuries. If your driver side AC is blowing warmer than your passenger side AC this might be your problem.


This is your temperature actuator. When its on fully cold as you can see in this picture it should be all the way to one side, and the other when hot.

Sometimes over time this will not be the case. There is apparently a service notice about this out there, however GM has not had a recall on this.

This project, if I had to do it again, probably would only take 30 minutes to complete. I pulled my replacement actuator from a junkyard for 5 bucks. I like to use junkyard parts not only for the price but I also get to see how to remove the part on another vehicle without the risk of ruining my own! :cool:


Here are the tools you will need to complete the project.


Flashlight (preferably one that is small as I found it easiest to stick it in my mouth to use two hands at once :eek:)


Small 1/4inch drive ratchet with 5.5mm socket.
 

BuickBuff

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To start with, remove the drivers side end panel. This is held on with clips and should just pull off.



Then remove the trim underneath. This is also just held on with clips. I believe that there might be a bolt that connects this to the other side, however I think I broke that piece off another time.



Finally remove the trim above the pedals. This is held on with those dumb black plastic Christmas trees. Pull downward at the trees to remove. Make sure to disconnect the light bulb as it will hang and burn your forehead!

 
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BuickBuff

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I found the best way to see/get at the actuator is to move your seat all the way back and tilt your wheel all the way up. Then put your legs over the back of your front seat, and have your shoulders down on the floorboards looking up. You will look ridiculous and might get a rush to your head, but this is the easiest way to work as you can use both hands and be able to see.

When you look up and to the passenger (if you're laying like I was it will be your left) side you should see this


This is your actuator. My driver is pointing at the first screw. I'll show you this screw better in a later picture.

First thing you'll want to do is remove the electrical connector. It was red on both mine and the junker so I can only assume yours will be too. Ignore my driver in this picture I was attempting to point at the 2nd screw. The connector is to the upper right of the white sticker in this picture.



After removing the connector remove the first screw/bolt, seen here. Ignore the tiny phillips screws, they hold the actuator together and do not need to be removed. This screw is located at the bottom left of the white sticker in this picture.
 
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BuickBuff

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Finally you need to remove the 2nd screw. This is the hardest part as it is very difficult to see! (In fact I couldn't get a good picture of it, but my driver is pointing at its location.) In this picture the screw is located at the bottom right of the white sticker.



Once you see it you can use your hand to feel for it and get the ratchet on it. Luckily they are not very tight on there and remove fairly easily.

Once this is accomplished your actuator should slide right off. Pull it gently towards you and it will slide off of its mounting rod.

Once you have done this put your new one back on the mounting rod that it came off and line up the two bolts with the holes they came out of. Tighten them down and replace your trim parts. Don't forget to reattach your lightbulb!

Once you have installed your new actuator make sure that you look underneath at the metal part of your actuator and run your air both hot and cold to ensure that your actuator is actually moving to both extremes.

I hope that this has been helpful and thanks to all of you for hosting a WONDERFUL site!

:patriot:Buff
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BuickBuff

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According to what I've read online this problem occurs with Models: 1997-99 Buick Century, Buick Regal & 1998-99 Oldsmobile Intrigue with RPO CJ2 so one could assume that the fix is the same for all these models.
 

ouisconsin

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Thanks for your help. It would have taken me a long time to figure out the socket size. However, I was able to access the actuator by removing only the cloth/fiber trim and nothing else. Thanks again. Kevin
 

canyonremo

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Buickbuff,
thanks for posting this very informative how-to. I need to do this repair as well as replace the climate control module, which is really very easy. My question is this: since there is a driver's side acutator, is there also a passenger side one, too? i have hot on passenger side, cold on driver side. then if i play with the buttons on the climate control enough (they have failed to function properly), both sides get hot. i am assuming the actuator is fine, but not sure until i replace the climate control. so off to find one at a wreckin' yard since they are expensive new.
 

tanyantucker

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I have replaced the actuator and added freon. Driver side is still not blowing cold. Is there something else i could check?
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Marknhl

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Tanyantucker, your post is a bit old now, but since there we no responses... If you have cold air on the passenger side then I wouldn't add more freon because the freon level should be fine (since passenger side works) and you may overcharge this system, causing worse problems. (Some cars, maybe the Buick, will automatically leak the extra freon out, but not all... Some will blow warm and burn up the condenser if I remember right.) Based on what you've said, I would think the next thing to check is the climate control unit?perhaps the temperature setting on the passenger side works, while the driver's side doesn't? Presumably, the new actuator is fine and was not bad from the factory... You did confirm it was physically moving when you played with the dials I would expect? Hopefully this is fixed by now, but if not perhaps that helps. Please post the resolution if you have it already!
 

g_347243

Finally you need to remove the 2nd screw. This is the hardest part as it is very difficult to see! (In fact I couldn't get a good picture of it, but my driver is pointing at its location.) In this picture the screw is located at the bottom right of the white sticker.



Once you see it you can use your hand to feel for it and get the ratchet on it. Luckily they are not very tight on there and remove fairly easily.

Once this is accomplished your actuator should slide right off. Pull it gently towards you and it will slide off of its mounting rod.

Once you have done this put your new one back on the mounting rod that it came off and line up the two bolts with the holes they came out of. Tighten them down and replace your trim parts. Don't forget to reattach your lightbulb!

Once you have installed your new actuator make sure that you look underneath at the metal part of your actuator and run your air both hot and cold to ensure that your actuator is actually moving to both extremes.

I hope that this has been helpful and thanks to all of you for hosting a WONDERFUL site!

:patriot:Buff
Thanks for the pics and info! I'm going to mess with it most likely in a dayfew days. i changed the one under the glove department already. I would assume they are the same. Any idea? Chuck
 
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