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1997 Cadillac SLS
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Discussion Starter #1
So I've already had the actuator replaced on my 1997 SLS that controlled the defroster windshield vent. When that happened, it was blowing out cold air on the passenger's side windshield, and partially-warm air on the driver's side. It worked fine after I got it fixed. Now I turn on the A/C and it blows hot air out of the driver's side and ice-cold air out of the passenger side.

Which actuator is it this time? Is this the same actuator, or is it a different one? If it's the same one then I can get it repaired on warranty.

I've already had a mechanic run the P-codes, nothing comes up, and not related to any work he did.

I am so fucking sick of this car it's not even funny. Just had $1,300 worth of work done, and I didn't even get down the highway home before this came up. I had to turn around while letting out expletives I didn't even know that I possessed and take it back.

I'm selling this damn thing at the end of July or August. I'm moving 100 miles south at the end of June, so I can't sell it before then. So I'm stuck with this FUCKING thing until then. Which means I need to get this fixed somehow with no money. Right before the summer months. How fucking fun.
 

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2001 eldorado,2008 DTS,2005 XLR, '96 eldo,'95 eldo,' 89 eldo,'78 eldo,'11CTS-V
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Symtoms sound like it's low on Freon...and you need some Xanex
 

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2001 eldorado,2008 DTS,2005 XLR, '96 eldo,'95 eldo,' 89 eldo,'78 eldo,'11CTS-V
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One might think that, but low on Freon in these cars WILL cause what you describe. BTDT.
 

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2001 eldorado,2008 DTS,2005 XLR, '96 eldo,'95 eldo,' 89 eldo,'78 eldo,'11CTS-V
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Simply check the low side of the Freon pipe for proper pressure (40 ish #) with the A/C running.
 

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2001 eldorado,2008 DTS,2005 XLR, '96 eldo,'95 eldo,' 89 eldo,'78 eldo,'11CTS-V
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Service ports are on the front rightside of the engine bay, just above the wheelhouse.
 

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White Diamond '03 DHS (with DTS floor shift)
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Now I turn on the A/C and it blows hot air out of the driver's side and ice-cold air out of the passenger side.
Hot or ambient air from the drivers side? Hot leads me to think it's an air mix door. Ambient would be low refrigerant.

I've already had a mechanic run the P-codes, nothing comes up, and not related to any work he did.
P codes are for the powertraiin. You want to check the B (Body) codes. If it's an air mix door actuator, it should have stored a DTC.
 

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Master of the Dark Art of Diagnostics
2003 DHS - two-2002 DHS, 2003 SLS, 1995 Sedan DeVille, 1989 Coupe DeVille
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19,658 Posts
So I've already had the actuator replaced on my 1997 SLS that controlled the defroster windshield vent. When that happened, it was blowing out cold air on the passenger's side windshield, and partially-warm air on the driver's side. It worked fine after I got it fixed. Now I turn on the A/C and it blows hot air out of the driver's side and ice-cold air out of the passenger side.

Which actuator is it this time? Is this the same actuator, or is it a different one? If it's the same one then I can get it repaired on warranty.

I've already had a mechanic run the P-codes, nothing comes up, and not related to any work he did.

I am so fucking sick of this car it's not even funny. Just had $1,300 worth of work done, and I didn't even get down the highway home before this came up. I had to turn around while letting out expletives I didn't even know that I possessed and take it back.

I'm selling this damn thing at the end of July or August. I'm moving 100 miles south at the end of June, so I can't sell it before then. So I'm stuck with this FUCKING thing until then. Which means I need to get this fixed somehow with no money. Right before the summer months. How fucking fun.
=========================
So I've already had the actuator replaced on my 1997 SLS that controlled the defroster windshield vent.
When that happened, it was blowing out cold air on the passenger's side windshield,
and partially-warm air on the driver's side. It worked fine after I got it fixed.
Now I turn on the A/C and it blows hot air out of the driver's side and ice-cold air out of the passenger side.

your car has the old hybrid climate control system -
VACUUM motors control WHERE the air comes from -
and ELECTRIC actuators control the TEMPERATURE mix doors -

So I've already had the actuator replaced on my 1997 SLS that controlled the defroster windshield vent.
that was one of the VACUUM controlled MODE actuators -

When that happened, it was blowing out cold air on the passenger's side windshield,
and partially-warm air on the driver's side. It worked fine after I got it fixed.

a vacuum controlled MODE actuator has absolutely no affect on discharge air temperature -
my guess is that the shop doing the repair also added a small amount of freon to the system -

warmer air on the driver side is a CLASSIC symptom of SLIGHTLY low freon -

Now I turn on the A/C and it blows hot air out of the driver's side and ice-cold air out of the passenger side.
a DRAMATIC difference between left and right sides sounds like a faulty MIX DOOR ACTUATOR -
you should check for codes -
the electronic actuators ARE monitored by the computer-
and SHOULD set a code when they fail -
UNLESS the connecting rod between the actuator and the mix door has become disconnected -

Which actuator is it this time?
my guess would be the LEFT side MIX DOOR ACTUATOR -

Is this the same actuator,
NOPE -

or is it a different one?
YUP -

If it's the same one then I can get it repaired on warranty.
as I explained above -
VACUUM actuators control WHERE the air blows -
ELECTRIC actuators control TEMPERATURE -

I've already had a mechanic run the P-codes,
nothing comes up, and not related to any work he did.

"P" codes are POWERTRAIN - engine and transmission -
"B" codes are BODY - climate control - and other accessories -

I am so fucking sick of this car it's not even funny. Just had $1,300 worth of work done
remember - repair expenses are based on a $35,000 CADILLAC - that is now 23 YEARS old -
NOT a $750 winter beater -

I'm selling this damn thing at the end of July or August. I'm moving 100 miles south at the end of June, so I can't sell it before then. So I'm stuck with this FUCKING thing until then.
Which means I need to get this fixed somehow with no money.
Right before the summer months. How fucking fun.

SO - tell us how you REALLY feel about this car -

there IS a SOLUTION - and it would be totally FREE -
if YOU are WILLING and ABLE to crawl up under the dash -

READY?
locate the driver side mix door -
manually move it to the COLD position -
unplug the actuator so it CAN'T move -
 

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1997 Cadillac SLS
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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
Alright, I'm feeling a little better now than when I started this thread yesterday. Not much, but better. I'm able to consider some positives.

The car runs smooth with new and balanced tires and sway bars/stabilizer bars, and the trunk finally closes all the way (it was indeed the switch, thanks to whomever mentioned that....they were able to replace the old one with the new AC Delco unit I bought).

The brake fluid was flushed and ALL of the heating hoses were replaced (inlet, outlet, and Pipe 3 to throttle body). Not sure what happened to the Antifreeze, but they charged me $24.95. So I'm not sure if it was flushed or just added.

The traction control light has always been a problem since the car was bought in 2005. They did a diagnostic check on it, and said the following:

"Found Code P0325 knock sensor 1 problem P1574 EBTCM brake switch problem. Tech connected scan tool and found upon functional testing brake switch intermittently not sending signal to traction control module".

"Stop Light Switch - Remove and replace: All".

And of course the Traction Control light still comes on, right on schedule. Stays on as long as the car is on. So much for that fix. Does it just need time to clear out of the computer? A certain number of starts, perhaps? Knock Sensor, perhaps? Sure wish I could get a decent, permanent fix on this issue. It's been 15 years.

However.....

It rides MUCH better with new tires and front sway bar links.

The other positive is.....I love the purr it makes when I start it up....wrrooom! And it has great power for an engine with 125K miles on it.

I'm sorry I kinda lost it when I posted this thread. I'm moving to my first house at the end of June and that's stressful enough without a problem car to deal with.

=========================
So I've already had the actuator replaced on my 1997 SLS that controlled the defroster windshield vent.
When that happened, it was blowing out cold air on the passenger's side windshield,
and partially-warm air on the driver's side. It worked fine after I got it fixed.
Now I turn on the A/C and it blows hot air out of the driver's side and ice-cold air out of the passenger side.

your car has the old hybrid climate control system -
VACUUM motors control WHERE the air comes from -
and ELECTRIC actuators control the TEMPERATURE mix doors -

So I've already had the actuator replaced on my 1997 SLS that controlled the defroster windshield vent.
that was one of the VACUUM controlled MODE actuators -

When that happened, it was blowing out cold air on the passenger's side windshield,
and partially-warm air on the driver's side. It worked fine after I got it fixed.

a vacuum controlled MODE actuator has absolutely no affect on discharge air temperature -
my guess is that the shop doing the repair also added a small amount of freon to the system -

warmer air on the driver side is a CLASSIC symptom of SLIGHTLY low freon -

Now I turn on the A/C and it blows hot air out of the driver's side and ice-cold air out of the passenger side.
a DRAMATIC difference between left and right sides sounds like a faulty MIX DOOR ACTUATOR -
you should check for codes -
the electronic actuators ARE monitored by the computer-
and SHOULD set a code when they fail -
UNLESS the connecting rod between the actuator and the mix door has become disconnected -

Which actuator is it this time?
my guess would be the LEFT side MIX DOOR ACTUATOR -

Is this the same actuator,
NOPE -

or is it a different one?
YUP -

If it's the same one then I can get it repaired on warranty.
as I explained above -
VACUUM actuators control WHERE the air blows -
ELECTRIC actuators control TEMPERATURE -

I've already had a mechanic run the P-codes,
nothing comes up, and not related to any work he did.

"P" codes are POWERTRAIN - engine and transmission -
"B" codes are BODY - climate control - and other accessories -

I am so fucking sick of this car it's not even funny. Just had $1,300 worth of work done
remember - repair expenses are based on a $35,000 CADILLAC - that is now 23 YEARS old -
NOT a $750 winter beater -

I'm selling this damn thing at the end of July or August. I'm moving 100 miles south at the end of June, so I can't sell it before then. So I'm stuck with this FUCKING thing until then.
Which means I need to get this fixed somehow with no money.
Right before the summer months. How fucking fun.

SO - tell us how you REALLY feel about this car -

there IS a SOLUTION - and it would be totally FREE -
if YOU are WILLING and ABLE to crawl up under the dash -

READY?
locate the driver side mix door -
manually move it to the COLD position -
unplug the actuator so it CAN'T move -
All good information, thank you.

I just went out and drove it for about half-an-hour, and the A/C worked fine, as did the heater. So I don't know what the hell is going on. Maybe it was the Freon levels after all? But it is 50 degrees outside, so maybe that played a part? We have some 80-degree days coming up this week; I'm going to test it out then. Hopefully it works. If it does, I don't have to worry about this again.

Then all I have to worry about is the power steering hose, the oil pan gasket, the valve cover gaskets, and a wheel alignment. Should be a nice $2,000+ job....if I'm going that route though, then I'm getting that engine rebuilt with Northstar Performance parts. Oh, and getting to the bottom of this damn traction control light!!!

Sigh. I love this car. But I am a person, dammit. I AM A PERSON, GM! 😫

What to do....what to do....😞

By the way....every time I signal to move over to the right, the cruise control (when I'm using it) turns off. Could the traction control light be tied to the cruise control switch, and does it need to be replaced?
 

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White Diamond '03 DHS (with DTS floor shift)
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And of course the Traction Control light still comes on, right on schedule. Stays on as long as the car is on. So much for that fix. Does it just need time to clear out of the computer? A certain number of starts, perhaps?
Any DTC will stay current for 3 ignition cycles after the fault is no longer detected. After that, the code goes to history and the warning light goes out.

By the way....every time I signal to move over to the right, the cruise control (when I'm using it) turns off. Could the traction control light be tied to the cruise control switch, and does it need to be replaced?
No
 

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2002.5 F55 CORSA STS, 2014 Explorer XLT FWD
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69,366 Posts
..... but traction control and Cruise are tied to one of the two (some models have one) brake/cruise switch(es) at the top of the brake pedal arm. When you touch the brake pedal Cruise drops out - if Cruise won't engage or constantly drops out then the switch may be adjusted incorrectly.

The switches are supposed to snap into their brackets and then "self-adjust".
 

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1997 Cadillac SLS
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Discussion Starter #14
..... but traction control and Cruise are tied to one of the two (some models have one) brake/cruise switch(es) at the top of the brake pedal arm. When you touch the brake pedal Cruise drops out - if Cruise won't engage or constantly drops out then the switch may be adjusted incorrectly.

The switches are supposed to snap into their brackets and then "self-adjust".
I've read that on some Ford trucks it's likely a burned out brake light. Any chance that could be the case here?

I just had the brake light switch (papers called it a "stop light switch") replaced. What else could be causing this problem?
 

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1997 Cadillac SLS
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Discussion Starter #15
So I just went out driving, and the heater (windshield defroster) has decided that it wants to stop working on the driver's side, but works fine on the passenger side. Opposite of the problem I had about 4 months ago where the passenger side was blowing out ice-cold air and not the driver's side. After letting out a tirade of curses, I turned it off on the highway and left it off while I sat and shivered. I found some place to pull over and turn the car off, but it still wouldn't work after I started it back up. So I left it off. When I finally got home and backed in like I normally do, I turned it back on and it seemed to work....not great, but it wasn't blowing out cold air. I drove around the block and it was okay.

This car is cursed, and I deeply hate it.

Oh, and the goddamn traction control light is on. And the ABS light too. Fun.

4 months from now, this car is history. I just need to get this heater/AC BS fixed in the meantime.
 

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Master of the Dark Art of Diagnostics
2003 DHS - two-2002 DHS, 2003 SLS, 1995 Sedan DeVille, 1989 Coupe DeVille
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19,658 Posts
So I just went out driving, and the heater (windshield defroster) has decided that it wants to stop working on the driver's side, but works fine on the passenger side. Opposite of the problem I had about 4 months ago where the passenger side was blowing out ice-cold air and not the driver's side. After letting out a tirade of curses, I turned it off on the highway and left it off while I sat and shivered. I found some place to pull over and turn the car off, but it still wouldn't work after I started it back up. So I left it off. When I finally got home and backed in like I normally do, I turned it back on and it seemed to work....not great, but it wasn't blowing out cold air. I drove around the block and it was okay.

This car is cursed, and I deeply hate it.

Oh, and the goddamn traction control light is on. And the ABS light too. Fun.

4 months from now, this car is history. I just need to get this heater/AC BS fixed in the meantime.
==========================
SO - do you actually want help diagnosing the problems -
OR - are you just blowing off steam - again -
 

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1997 Cadillac SLS
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Discussion Starter #17
==========================
SO - do you actually want help diagnosing the problems -
OR - are you just blowing off steam - again -
Just a best-educated guess and/or ideas about what it could be will do just fine, thank you.
 

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Master of the Dark Art of Diagnostics
2003 DHS - two-2002 DHS, 2003 SLS, 1995 Sedan DeVille, 1989 Coupe DeVille
Joined
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19,658 Posts
Just a best-educated guess and/or ideas about what it could be will do just fine, thank you.
=========================
I suggest you start by pulling codes -
it definitely helps to diagnose a problem - and much better than a wild-ass-guess -

---------------

So I just went out driving, and the heater (windshield defroster) has decided that it wants to stop working on the driver's side, but works fine on the passenger side
you NEED to put your anger aside - and help US help YOU -
WHAT does this mean? which "IT" stopped working?
stopped blowing air? -
stopped blowing air at the windshield? -
stopped blowing air through the heater? -
stopped blowing heated air? -
stopped blowing cold air?

the MODE - where the air blows from - is vacuum controlled on your car -
if the system looses vacuum it will default to the DEFROSTER position -

electric actuators control the air TEMPERATURE -
by moving a door to allow or prevent air passing through the heater core -

SO - if you can't control the MODE -
you need to look at the vacuum controlled actuators -

and if you can't control the air TEMPERATURE -
you need to look at the electric actuators -
 

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1997 Cadillac SLS
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Discussion Starter #19
=========================
I suggest you start by pulling codes -
it definitely helps to diagnose a problem - and much better than a wild-ass-guess -

---------------

So I just went out driving, and the heater (windshield defroster) has decided that it wants to stop working on the driver's side, but works fine on the passenger side
you NEED to put your anger aside - and help US help YOU -
WHAT does this mean? which "IT" stopped working?
stopped blowing air? -
stopped blowing air at the windshield? -
stopped blowing air through the heater? -
stopped blowing heated air? -
stopped blowing cold air?

the MODE - where the air blows from - is vacuum controlled on your car -
if the system looses vacuum it will default to the DEFROSTER position -

electric actuators control the air TEMPERATURE -
by moving a door to allow or prevent air passing through the heater core -

SO - if you can't control the MODE -
you need to look at the vacuum controlled actuators -

and if you can't control the air TEMPERATURE -
you need to look at the electric actuators -
I'm sorry, I wasn't clear enough. It blows cold air on defrost on the driver's side, and hot air on the passenger's side.

electric actuators control the air TEMPERATURE -
by moving a door to allow or prevent air passing through the heater core -
That explains it, thank you. It's exactly what I thought was wrong based on my prior experience with this a few months back.

It's not a "Mode" issue....the air blows fine depending on where I set it to....it's the TEMPERATURE and WHERE it is blowing that is the problem. In this case, when it first started giving me problems last week as I reported in the OP above, it was blowing out HOT air on the driver's side vents on max-AC, and COLD air on the passenger's side. These were through the front-facing vents. Therefore, I don't think it's a vacuum problem.

NOW it is blowing COLD air out of the driver's side defroster, and WARM air out of the passenger's side defroster. I swear to God, this car is more bipolar than I am lol.

It should also be noted that the passenger's side climate controls are never used. I do fine without it.

I'm sorry I get angry....the problem is, I had so much hope in this car. The nicest car I've ever had. I ditched a base-model 2002 Kia Rio in 2018 that didn't even COME with an A/C and went through an entire engine in 90K miles, with the hopes that this car would be fine save for a few issues. I had plans to travel, which I have to a limited extent, and enjoy the comfort of leather and a smooth ride....something I haven't had since my first car in high school, a 1989 Chrystler LeBaron coupe (which is a problem child story for another time....).

But it's been one thing after another after another after another. An absolute money pit, and no matter how much money I put into it, nothing ever seems to get FIXED. I can't even drive it out of the mechanic's parking lot without SOMETHING not working. Traction Control Light on, for instance, supposedly fixed with a new stop light switch.....it's still on. And now the ABS brake light on as well. After a $1,300 mechanic trip.

And now this. Driving down the highway the same day I get it out of the shop and no working A/C....and I don't even know if it's fixed itself or not.....it seemed to work fine a couple nights ago.

And now the heater isn't working properly.

I didn't bullshit myself....I knew older cars take more work and maintenance. But this is ridiculous! In about 3 years it's seen probably close to $8,000 worth of work.

So forgive me for being frustrated. It's not like I have anywhere else to vent this to. It's not directed towards anyone here. I'm just frustrated.
 
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