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So my AC didn't want to blow strong air through the center and side vents. The fresh air blows and the heat blows, but no AC. I hopped on the highway and played around with it and the AC started blowing again. It worked until I turned the car off and restarted it. I've had everything else [except the compressor] replaced in the AC system under warranty. The compressor was kicking on, idle goes up and you can feel just the slightest amount of cold air trying to come out. Almost like there is blockage.

Well after investigating and looking at all the dampers that control the air flow, I found that the cabin damper on the driver side footwell was not opening and closing properly and this is what was blocking the airflow.  Before going and buying a new actuator I figured I'd research the problem first, so I started disassembling to find a solution.


  • None - yeah, just a little time and I was good to go....read on and you'll see.


  • Phillips head screwdriver
Please Click On Any Picture Below To Enlarge That Picture.
First things first, if you open the hood the hood you can push open the black flaps and get a vantage point of what dampers are opening and closing.  You'll need a helper to flip the AC on and off while you look.  Be careful though of body parts, loose clothing and the like if you have the engine running! 

This is looking down the flaps under the hood. #1 is the fresh air / heat & #2 is the AC / Re-Circulating Air damper:

I started with the passenger side footwell because it is the easiest to get at.  I use a stick to hold the glove box up:
I started with the passenger side first, easy access, and found that the cabin damper near the reciculating filters was not opening. This thing almost wouldn't budge, but I pushed on it a little to open it a crack and I started getting cold AC air from the vents:
A visual inspection of the passenger side did not turn up any problems that I could see. So I moved over to the driver side. Simply take the cover above the gas and brake pedal off.  I was quite surprised when I took off the duct work piece to find the plug that plugs into the actuator on the drivers side hardly connected.  Easy enough, I'll plug it back in, well that didn't work:
So I took the actuator out, simply remove these 3 screws:
And what do I find? An actuator that has a damaged plug. Take a look at this pic. I was able to get it "repaired" and will probably put a new one in when I'm due recirculation filters again:
After I put the actuator back in, bammmm both cabin dampers started open and closing. Here a pic of the passenger side one right behind the recirculation filter. FYI, #1 is the fresh air / heat damper and #2 is the AC / Re-Circulating Air Dampers:
Here are some miscellaneous photos I took along the way.

Actuator Pics:

Actuator, different view:
Actuator again, the arrow points to where the plug goes in:
And as a side note, while I was there and had this stuff apart I changed the cabin filters.  You can buy these at the dealer or get standard filter at a hardware store and cut to fit.  I double up the material and cut to fit:
Trace it out:
Install in the filter cartridge and re-install in the car:

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