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Human

2011 Chevy Impala blowing only cold air on driver side

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Sunday evening, on a two-hour drive home from visiting family for Easter, the outside temperature was in the low 50s (got down to 48 by the time I got home) and I noticed I couldn't warm up the passenger side of my 2011 Impala. With the vents set to blow air out of the upper vents and two temperature controls all the way up in the 'hot' position, I could move my hand back and forth between the two sides of the center panel vent and the contrast in temperature could not be more extreme. The driver's side vent was blowing ice cold while the passenger side was blowing blazin' hot air. I eventually closed the two driver's side vents and aimed the passenger side vent my way to get some warmer air. Had this been January instead of April, it could have been a whole lot worse.

A couple of years ago, I had to replace the vent door actuator on the far passenger side--the one that opens and closes the door that brings in air from the outside--when it started making the telltale clicking sound that indicates the plastic gears inside the actuator are stripped out. This time, there is no clicking. It just plain doesn't work. I'm assuming the little motor in the actuator just to the right of the steering column has failed. Am I correct in this diagnosis? The part is fairly inexpensive when ordered online (about $10 or so vs. six times that or more from a local parts house or stealership) YouTube videos I've watched show it to be a little bit of a PITA to get to but otherwise a pretty straightforward part swap. It seems these actuators are an achilles heel on this generation Impala and other GM cars that use this particular part. In five years of owning this car, this is the worst that's gone wrong with it so far, so I can't really complain. As the weather continues to warm up, this will be a less pressing issue for the next few months--and less irritating since it's not making that damned clicking noise--but it does need to be addressed. Can anyone confirm that I'm looking in the right direction with this?

Edited by Human

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Wow a lot about the HVAC system changed on the later W cars. Those actuators are much different from the earlier ones. 

Aside from some electrical fault, there aren't many other things that can cause this failure aside from a bad blend door actuator. 

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On 4/26/2019 at 12:20 AM, digitaloutsider said:

Wow a lot about the HVAC system changed on the later W cars. Those actuators are much different from the earlier ones. 

Aside from some electrical fault, there aren't many other things that can cause this failure aside from a bad blend door actuator. 

That's my thinking. I've ordered the part and will have it in hand late next week. It was less than $10 shipped, so hopefully that will fix it.

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I had this issue on my 1992.  Turns out the actual door had somehow detached from its hinges inside the dash.  Took a *long* time to figure that out and fix it though.  

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Thanks for the heads-up on that. I'll check and make sure everything's securely in place when I replace the actuator. 

6 hours ago, pitzel said:

I had this issue on my 1992.  Turns out the actual door had somehow detached from its hinges inside the dash.  Took a *long* time to figure that out and fix it though.  

 

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So I tried to install the actuator last week and ended up bruising a rib on the center console, trying to contort myself into a position to get at it. I'm thinking I may have to remove the driver's seat to be able to get under the dash but I'm going to let my rib heal up first. What a pain!

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