• 2020

Go with the Flow

REPAIRING THE AIR DISTRIBUTION HOUSING ON A 2013 CHRYSLER 200

2013 Chrysler 200

The heater box assembly, officially known as the air distribution housing, distributes heated and cooled air throughout the passenger compartment. The housing consists of doors and actuators that divert the air, over a range of temperatures, to the proper location within the passenger compartment. Over time, doors and actuators may need to be replaced. Based on the location of this housing, which is underneath the dashboard and behind the center console, step by step instructions are provided to help with this repair.

Figure 1

Figure 1

A typical heater box assembly is shown in Figure 1. This box is from a 2013 Chrysler 200 (JS Body), the subject vehicle for this article. Shown is the driver side of the heater box with the lever assembly for temperature control. As you can see, there is an actuator mounted on the mechanism that moves the temperature rod. This rod, in turn, moves an internal door, known as the blend door, that directs warm or cold air, or a mixture of both, to the proper channel within the heater box.

Figure 2

Figure 2

There is also another actuator on the passenger side of the heater box (see Figure 2) that controls the mode selected by the driver/passenger in the vehicle (defrost/ panel/heat). For example, when heat is selected, warm is directed toward the floor in the passenger compartment. The actuator shown in Figure 2 is the actuator that moves the internal door within the heater box to direct the air in that specified direction. The same door movement occurs when either panel or defrost is selected.

Figure 3 is a cross-section of a typical heater box showing the flow of air, depicted with arrows, and the internal doors that direct the path of the air flow. The components are labeled as follows: ① defroster outlet, ② heater core, ③ blend door, ④ fresh air intake, ⑤ recirculation air door, ⑥ recirculation air intake, ⑦ A/C evaporator, ⑧ floor outlet, ⑨ mode door, ⑩ instrument panel outlet and ⑪ mode door.

Figure 3

Figure 3

On vehicles equipped with dual zone temperature controls, additional actuators are required because the heater box is essentially divided into two separate sections requiring controls for both halves of the box. There will be temperature and mode actuators on each side (driver and passenger) of the heater box.

A typical actuator is shown in Figures 4a and 4b. Note that there are three mounting holes and the electrical connector is at the top of the unit. Figure 4a is the outside, or the side that is visible when looking at the actuator installed. Figure 4b is the inside, or the side that is mounted on the mechanical door actuator bracket. Note the output shaft on the inside of the actuator.

Figure 4a

Figure 4a

Figure 4b

Figure 4b

This shaft is mated with the tab on the door actuator bracket (see Figure 5) to move the temperature or mode door, depending on the application.

From a service standpoint, all the actuators for a particular vehicle are all the same component. There isn’t a separate actuator for the mode selection and one for the temperature selection. In fact, there are only a handful of part numbers. Many applications throughout the Chrysler Brand lineup are using the same actuator.

Figure 5

Figure 5

ACTUATOR PROBLEMS

When an actuator fails, a Diagnostic Trouble Code (DTC) will be set and stored if there is a problem with the electrical circuit for that actuator. Most times, however, a problem with an actuator will probably be noticed by the vehicle owner based on a complaint that the HVAC system is not operating properly. For instance, if the mode actuator goes bad, your customer might tell you that the defroster is not working, or the heat is not blowing on the floor. What is actually happening, or not happening, is movement of the mode door. A similar comment might be heard about the temperature always being the same.

When a customer brings a vehicle to your shop with these types of comments, it’s pretty easy to verify the problem. If it’s temperature related, change the temperature from one extreme to another and feel the air being blown out. Is it the correct temperature? If not, the likely problem is the actuator. To verify the problem, check for DTC’s as this might help pinpoint to the problem to which specific actuator has a problem. Some example DTC’s include B1044 / B1045 / B1058 / B105B / B105C / B105D / B102 / B105 and so on. Check the appropriate service manual for the specific diagnostic step.

Let’s quickly review DTC B1044-Panel Mode Door 1 Travel Range Too Small. Possible causes for this condition (travel range problem with the mode door) can be (1) the mode door binding, (2) the mode door actuator, or (3) the A/C heater control. Read the DTC’s. If the code(s) is active, remove the actuator and check to see if the mode door is binding and has full travel. If the door is binding, fix it. That solves the problem. If it has full travel and is not binding, replace the actuator, then erase the DTC’s. Perform the HVAC Actuator Calibration Test. Did the DTC reset? If it did, replace the HVAC Heater Control. If the DTC did not reset, the actuator was bad, replacing it was the correct task and the problem is solved. If neither of these actions correct the problem, there is a more serious electrical problem. Resolving that issue is beyond the scope of this article.

REPLACING AN ACTUATOR

If you have determined that the actuator is bad, it has to be replaced. Also, in the review of the diagnostic test for DTC B1044, one of the steps involved removing the actuator. Let’s review how that is done on the 2013 Chrysler 200 (JS Body).

First, as always with electrical parts, disconnect the negative battery cable. Before you do, however, record the radio presets, to be reprogrammed later, prior to returning the vehicle to the customer.

Next, to gain access to the actuator, remove the glove box by moving the passenger seat as far back as possible and removing the cowl trim panel. Then remove the instrument panel end cap. Open the glove box, then detach and disconnect the glove box dampener tether. Push in on the sides of the glove box bin and lower door. Pivot the glove box down and rearward to disengage the hinge hooks, then remove the glove box door. Position the center console rearward about an inch in order to remove the push pin fasteners that secures the hush panel. Remove the hush panel. Remove the four fasteners, then disconnect and remove the glove box module.

With the glove box out of the way, remove the three fasteners that secure the actuator to the actuator bracket. Disconnect the wire harness connector and remove the actuator. Figure 5 shows the actuator removed from the bracket. Position the new actuator on the bracket. If necessary, rotate the actuator slightly to align the splines on the actuator output shaft with the tab on the bracket. Install the three fasteners, then re-connect the electrical connector. Install the glove box bin (follow the removal procedures in the
reverse order). Connect the negative battery cable.

To verify that the replacement procedure has been done properly, using the appropriate scan tool, initiate the actuator calibration function. The actuator should operate properly.

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