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My 99 OBW climate control buttons for air flow direction don't work. Press any button on the dash controller, and the air flow is always from the dash vents. Heater lever and motor fan controls work just fine. I couldn't find any write ups on this in the "search " section.  Any dvise??

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Either soda or other spilled drink has gotten into the control unit or you have a bad mode door actuator.  There was a thread in the last week or so about cleaning the buttons.

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Either soda or other spilled drink has gotten into the control unit or you have a bad mode door actuator.  There was a thread in the last week or so about cleaning the buttons.

Yes, I remember the thread about cleaning the buttons. I think I replied to that with cleaning advise. My buttons are not sticking, I see no evidence of soda residue.  What is a mode door acuator? Is that the dashboard contol HVAC unit??

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I am salvging a 95 legacy wagon, if your part is broken, i will have one available to you.

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The mode door actuator is the electric motor that changes the settings on the heater box itself.  Its way up under the dash at the top of the heater box itself.  I can snap you a picture of the piece this evening after work. I have the dash out of my second 97 legacy so the actuator is in easy view.

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Update.........upon further investigation, I did see where some sticky soda residue was around the HVAC buttons. I can thank my daughter for that. I cleaned the buttons off well with Windex, and wiped off with a paper towell, but air output is still only through dash vents. In the past I have gotten the Windex to work well, but not today.

 

I had a similar problem with my 98 OBW, and fixed that with a replacement HVAC dashboard controller from a wrecking yard. Maybe I need to do that again. I spotted one at a local pull-a-part recently, so I will snag that one.

 

The mode door actuator sounds difficult to reach on top of the heater box. I would prefer not to replace the unit, without first seeing if a new dashboard controller fixes the problem.

 

Thanks 86Bratman for the offer of the picture. I will get back to you, if and when I need a picture.

 

Thanks guys.....................Larry (Rooster2)

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Do the LEDs under the mode buttons light up when the mode is selected? If the LEDs don't light up id suspect the control head to be bad.

The mode actuator gets its power from the control head, check the fuses before replacing the control head.

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Final update............I removed dash panels to check wiring on back of dah control unit. Just for giggles, I sprayed heavily again with Windex, kept pushing all the buttons, and wiping away the Windex with a paper towel. This time, the cleaning worked. I got all buttons to work, and I could see the flap move behind the dash air outlets, to know the flap was opening and closing. I am amazed that so little dried Coke sugar syrup can disrupt the selector buttons from working properly. So all is well.......saves me a trip to a yard to buy a replacement control unit.

 

Thanks again for all the sound advise................Larry (Rooster2)

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I know you have this figured out, put I'm putting this here for future searchers.

 

IMAG1111_zpsaea9a7dd.jpg

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Good to hear you got it working. Only have to get a small amount of sticky drink behind ONE of the buttons and the rest will not work. If one button stays stuck on the mode will not change.

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Either soda or other spilled drink has gotten into the control unit or you have a bad mode door actuator.  There was a thread in the last week or so about cleaning the buttons.

Can anyone link me to this thread?

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I have this same problem on my '99 Outback. I tried cleaning my controller, replacing it. No success. It was a gradual problem. The mode door would move fairly slowly at first, now it's stuck at defrost. Am I right to say it's most likely the mode door acuator? If so, is there any way to replace it without removing the entire dashboard? Thanks for any help you can provide!

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I have the same problem in my '98 Legacy Brighton......I sprayed 70% Isopropyl alcohol at it and then sprayed canned air duster to blow it in there, worked the buttons, still not functioning correctly, the defrost button when depressed engages the A/C compressor normally but no air from the defrost, mine is stuck on vent/floor now. 285,000 miles and counting......

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We have a 99 outback and are original ownders. I am having the same issue but do not have any soda buildup as we have had the vehicle since brand new and never drink pop and haven't used the drink holder for a very long time. The buttons seems to push just fine and the led lights work as well. we have wiggles the wiring  and the blending door still just stays open so we only get air blowing out the from vents. Winter is upon us and we need to resolve this issue before icy weather requires defrost setting which currently do not work. We were figuring that it is probably the actuator but wondered like  someone above if it requires removing the whole dash? Any help would be appreciated there is sure a lack of information on this on the web.

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After some research I've determined that it definitely requires the entire dash to be removed. The mode actuator is on the left hand side of the heater unit. That's behind the dials. That's one reason. The other reason is that I haven't been able to find just the mode actuator. It's only sold as part of the entire unit, a $250 unit. Don't think I'm gonna bother fixing it anytime soon.

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We have a 99 outback and are original ownders. I am having the same issue but do not have any soda buildup as we have had the vehicle since brand new and never drink pop and haven't used the drink holder for a very long time. The buttons seems to push just fine and the led lights work as well. we have wiggles the wiring  and the blending door still just stays open so we only get air blowing out the from vents. Winter is upon us and we need to resolve this issue before icy weather requires defrost setting which currently do not work. We were figuring that it is probably the actuator but wondered like  someone above if it requires removing the whole dash? Any help would be appreciated there is sure a lack of information on this on the web.

If by saying "actuator" you mean the push button climate control unit, then I may be of help. I wrote this thread back in September of 13. Snce then, I have replaced the actuator on both my 98 and 99 OBWs. They are the same unit. The dash does not need to be removed to replace the actuator. Just remove the plastic trim pieces around the actuator. The actuator is held in with screws at all four corners. Easy enough to remove. The temp slide cable connector is somewhat difficult to remove, but can be done at the actuator with a lot of patience, but have heard that it is easier to remove at the lower end. Two electrical connectors are easy to remove.

 

I have seen replacement units sold on e-bay, or available at a wrecking yard. A yard is where I got mine. Burnt out light bulbs can be replaced. Somewhare on this forum, someone described how to do that.

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A blend door actuator is what it sounds like he is referring to not the HVAC controls.

 

The actuator is essentially the motor that controls the blend doors to move where the air is flowing or what temperature the air coming out is.

 

And most cars require a lot of tear down to get them out.

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And most cars require a lot of tear down to get them out.

Not if you are creative ;)

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Not if you are creative ;)

 

I can wish.  I have to do the rear HVAC Assembly on my Durango due to a blend door actually breaking (it happens more than people know).  I have to tear out the entire rear passenger side interior to get to the thing, evac the AC, and drain the rear heater core.

 

It all depends on the car, but most of them require a lot of tear down just to get access.

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I can wish. I have to do the rear HVAC Assembly on my Durango due to a blend door actually breaking (it happens more than people know). I have to tear out the entire rear passenger side interior to get to the thing, evac the AC, and drain the rear heater core.

 

It all depends on the car, but most of them require a lot of tear down just to get access.

Your right, it does depened on the car, but if your creative you can do it. I've made special tools to get to that one screw you can't see. Its always a gamble sometimes you go over book time sometimes it works out better.

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Do the LEDs under the mode buttons light up when the mode is selected? If the LEDs don't light up id suspect the control head to be bad.

The mode actuator gets its power from the control head, check the fuses before replacing the control head.

A big thanks.  Sprayed windex between buttons on my 98 outback.  Before only 1 light worked, now they all do.  Plus got back air through the centre vents.

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It appears that this thread is a top-search result concerning the blend doors not working.

Realizing that this forum is for literally a ton of cars, it's good to note that the Orig Poster is talking about a Gen 1 (1999) Legacy Outback Wagon.

If you do not have this model and year, this thread isn't really going to (and shouldn't) apply to you.

The mode door actuator, flap motor, heater mode motor are just some of the many names used to describe the motor that moves a set of levers which are connected to flaps that direct airflow in the car's cabin. The levers are all connected and controlled at one point, this is what the motor moves. There are 3 main positions and 2 halfway positions between those three.

step 0: is to check all fuses. then obviously after each step, start the car, run the fan and test...If that doesn't get the system changing airflow direction, then

step 1: It's definitely good to first clean your center console unit with windex or other liquid that will wash out any dried high fructose corn syrup left by spilled sugary drinks. i'd do this with the control unit removed from the vehicle, see instructions below to get to it. 4 screws on the sides and down below in the passenger foot well disconnect the wire. once dry reassemble and test, if it works you had sticky buttons.  If that doesn't get the system changing airflow direction, then

step 2: remove the cup holder (2 screws on sides) and pull out. at those 2 screw hols you'll notice that the top trim tabs are behind the lower trim tabs. Gently pull the lower center console trim towards you just enough to lift up the top trim to wiggle it out from behind the lower trim. pull out the top of the console (the center vents) and disconnect the hazard button. note: the car's turn signals will not work with this disconnected, so definitely reconnect this before driving! now reach back behind the control unit and wiggle the wires a bit while pressing buttons, if that gets the mode doors to change you have loose connectors. If that doesn't get the system changing airflow direction, then

step 3: lets take a look at your actuator motor. It easily located up above the gas pedal in the driver's footwell, attached to the side of the center console. It's a small black box with a brown connector. it's mounted to a metal bracket, by... 2 screws?

Remove the two screws with a stubby screwdriver or a small ratchet with a phillips screw bit, ya know, something for tight spaces. it should fall out away form the center console. With it dangling, test the buttons again... does the little white arm move? no? motor might be bad or control unit might be bad and not sending a signal...

at this point you can get a multimeter out. disconnect the brown connector and run some tests. There are 10 pins. Pin 1 is ground, should  be Black according to my subaru gen 1 wiring diagram. find it and make sure its a good ground. it's easy to figure out, since pin 8 is not used, it's at the opposite end of that 'space'. Jam a very small wire in that hole and then alligator clip it to the black wire of the multimeter. Get another small wire and test pins 2 (vent) to 7 (defrost) for voltage for each of the buttons. 

now..don't ask me what the voltage is suppose to read because my stuff 'aint working either. I've got two control units and yes the lights light up under all the buttons as they are pressed, one sends 12v to pins 2,3,4 no matter what button is pressed, and the other sends 12v to all the pins (2-7) no matter what button is pushed. I tested that the 16 pin harness to the back of control unit has a good ground and 12v in. I can only conclude that I have 2 bad control units. will grab a third from the junkyard soon and test.

any EE want to translate the wiring diagram? What should we be expecting at the mode door actuator for each mode button?

 

 

Subaru Gen 1 AC Diagram.gif

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