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Rob's Garage

Driver vents his frustration at wonky a/c Add to ...


My 2004 Pontiac Sunfire 2.2 engine blows ice cold a/c through the two centre vents only. The passenger vent and the driver vent (far right and left side of the dash) do not blow a/c. This problem surfaced shortly after I had a radiator flush and fill.

Do you have any solutions to this problem, other than a dealer?

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Rick in Banff, Alta.

I hate it when a repair is done to one area of a car or truck, and problems surface somewhere else – just like squeezing a water balloon – usually in an unrelated place. However, I find that in most cases it comes down to bad luck or bad timing.

Rick, your issue may fall under the bad timing label.

It turns out that the 2002-2005 Pontiac Sunfire and the Chevrolet Cavalier share more than just the same platform. They also share the need to replace a faulty air conditioning seal.

I would view this as Plan A, because you may have one more issue. Plan B would be the inspection of the cable that controls the valve, or door, that directs air-flow to the different vents by sliding the control lever on the dashboard.

According to my friends at Alldata, General Motors issued a Technical Service Bulletin, No. 03-01-38-005D, which identifies this seal. It’s a simple fix (should only take an hour to perform), and involves the replacement of a foam seal at the HVAC Mode Valve (door). The foam distorts/comes loose and requires replacement.

Should you decide to take your Sunfire to your dealer (dealers have factory access to these service bulletins that outline exactly the procedure to follow), have them inspect the control cable for proper operation. You should have this done at this time as the technician will have the dash apart, making this inspection easy (read: cheaper).

Two things:

1. I know this happened right after another repair, but timing is everything.

2. You sound hesitant about using a dealer, but it has the info access. If you can find a good dealer, try develop a trusting relationship. You need excellent service – and it needs return customers.

Do you have car maintenance or repair questions? Send them to Globe Drive.

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