Question about 2002 Mitsubishi Lancer

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AC knob wont switch all the way over to heat...

I can turn it over to the heat side, but it bounces back to cold

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  • Anonymous Jan 02, 2009

    My girlfriend has a 2003 Lancer with the same problem and I've read countless other complaints from Lancer owners regarding this issue. The bottom line is - from all the information I've gathered and work I have done - there is no solution to this problem, it is a design problem that Mitsubishi should have fixed and ordered a recall for but has not.

    The two outside knobs on the HVAC unit (the knobs that control the temperature and where the air flows out from) are connected to the heater core via metal wires. When you turn the temperature knob to the right the wire pushes out and when you turn it back to the left the wire pulls in. This wire is connected to a piece of plastic on the driver side of the heater core. This piece of plastic is contected to a gear and is supposed to work harmoniously with the piece of plastic the airflow knob (right outside knob on HVAC unit) is connected to. That is where the problem is.

    These two pieces of plastic, which are supposed to slide back and forth with the turning of the knobs, don't work well and the wire isn't strong enough to force the piece into the heat position. The result is the wire often kinks. It did in my girlfriend's car. Therefore, when I tried to change it back to cold the kink caught and I broke the knob. I replaced the HVAC unit in order to fix the knob but the underlying problem remains. My brother thought there was something inside the heater core jamming up the gear (as was the case in his 1994 Saturn). So, I took the entire dash out and pulled the heater core assembly but found no internal blockage. I pulled the pieces of plastic off that the wires attach to in order to turn the unit by hand using the gear and the unit turned just fine. I reattached the plastic pieces and tried to turn it by hand (without the wire) and found it much more difficult. After examining the pieces of plastic I noticed that the one the temperature knob is connected to is warped pretty badly. As a result, when I screwed it back onto the heater core assembly it pushes out against the other piece of plastic. The diagnosis (at least for my girlfriend's car) is that there is too much friction between the two pieces of plastic for any smooth, easy action to take place. Hence the difficulty in turning to heat and the knob bouncing back to cold.

    Solution: None; however, I have heard of people who tried oiling the pieces to reduce friction but have not heard good results. Most people simply turn the device by hand now (myself included). On the driver side, under the dash, up and to the right there are two pieces of white plastic, one closer to the firewall then the other. There is a metal wire clipped to each. This is the part you have to turn to change it to heat (if you need help finding it turn the knob and look for the movement of the wire). The 'bottom' is the temperature knob. You can either grab the wire or the piece of plastic it connects to and turn it toward the firewall (it can be really hard, my girlfriend can't turn it). I am still working on a more permanent solution and will post whatever I find.

  • Anonymous Mar 31, 2009

    I have the same issue only my knob bounces back to heat :(

  • rccrazy1 Apr 08, 2009

    I too have the exact same problem on my 03! As a matter of fact Ive had to replace the whole heater unit because the knob broke! I have to switch it the exact way from hot to cold and its a joke. Impossible to do while driving which makes it a safety hazard when the wind shield fogs up.RECALL! I talked to the dealership where I bought the car new six years ago and they say " we havent heard of this problem before." They just want to sell me parts and service. Also the plug coming off the dash harness that plugs into the blower switch is slowly toasting, causing the right side front and rear markers to go out because they are all on the same fuse.1200 hundred dollars for a new dash harness....alone...not including labor! thanks dealership but no thanks! Its just the plastic plug which might cost 50 cents to manufacture. Check out that plug on your lancers. I bet IM NOT THE ONLY ONE. Like the dealer claims. Fire hazard RECALL! I love my oz lancer, Ive done a ton of work to it and I wont sell it. But mitsubishi needs to address these problems

  • kmoore3883 Apr 27, 2009

    STUPID Mitsubishi Heater's. My 2004 ralliart's heater knob broke off. I'm going to try my hand at making new knob posts out of aluminum. The worst that could happen is that i have to buy a new heater box contol. This is the dumbest $250 problem I've ever encountered.

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  1. so the knob is either broken or stiff to move and plyers wont turn all the the way to throw heat or cold air out for you.
  2. gently undo the two screws underneath your heater controls ( 2 screws)
  3. after that pull that peice out (there are no clips so it should be easy)
  4. after that is out you have more room to play with (getting your hand up behind the controls)
  5. now take the peice around the heater knobs and cd player off there are a few clips on this part so be careful not to break any but if gentle should come out easy.
  6. after thats off unscrew the cd player and unconnect the attena wire (small black wire hooked at far left of cd player) and the other radio harness.
  7. after that remove cd player out of the way.
  8. then you can see that your heater/ ac knob switch is controlled by a plastic arm try and push all the way to the left for heat and right for cold air. (this is one of the ways if they plyers arent working anymore)
  9. another place to look if your not getting the right results yet is underneath near the gas a break pedal to the right its a white plastic peice with another arm system in which you can either push toward the front of the car for heat or back to driver for cold air (may have them mixed up but either or should give results)
  10. re assembe and your good to go rather then a costly trip to the dealership if your just looking to stay warm in the winter or cool in the summer.

Posted on Oct 17, 2009

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There is a service bulliten on this issue. New blend link and lever (the part you turn by hand under the dash) and a blend door kit. Also to add HVAC filter if the car isn't equipped. Must remove the HVAC unit to install the blend door (dash R&R). Everyone needs to complain at http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/ to get a recall. Heater and defrost is required by NHTSA as I understand so it is saftey related.

Posted on Jan 17, 2009

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I have had the same issue what i ended up doing to fix the issue with the heater knob bouncing back was. Replace the 2 plastic gears and the cable as it becomes weak over time. Have not had an issue since I replaced them. It is 2 gears and the black cable I did this in September and have had no issues since easy to turn did not bounce back. Part of the bounce back is the cable becomes weak and will coil up.

I am now having the SAME issue with the vent selector same issue as the heat control. I am going to be ordering the parts tomorrow from MITSU...

Posted on May 23, 2010

  • mfamily5 May 14, 2011

    Where do you get the parts and how to do it info?

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I had the same deal. Here is a permanent fix.
1. take out the head unit and screws behind knobs
2. remove cd player or deck
3. Take wire if loose and purchase a really good glue the kind that takes 24 hrs. to dry and glue the wire that turns on the defrost to a little white piece nearby.
4. allow 24 hrs and your defrost is now working without any slip.

Posted on Oct 23, 2009

  • kmacknzie Oct 11, 2010

    I just spent 3 hours under the dash of my '02 Lancer. The heat/ac control knob was broken off and my $250 used heat/ac controller just came in today from California. After reinstalling the new heat/ac controller I realized the plastic cams that rotate the main control shaft were binding. Took both of them off, cleaned them, lubed the plastic gears with parafin and reassembled the whole mess...twice.

    The root problem is the main shaft into the heater core is too stiff for those little plastic gears, cable and knob. If I try to adjust the heat with the new heat/ac control knob I'll just break it off like the old one. At this time of year in Colorado it's 40 degrees when I go to work and 80 when i come home so it would be really nice to have a freakin' heater that works! I have no idea how to get a heater core out of a vehicle and wouldn't know what to do with it once I did.

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  • 66 Answers

Cable to heater control valve kinked or coming apart heater control valve could be going bad

Posted on Dec 17, 2008

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SOURCE: 2003 Lancer AC knob wont switch all the way over to heat...

this is due to the cable behind the dash kinking when you move the knob at worst you may need a new cable at best you can try to get your head under the dash and reposition the cable eg. cable tie it over to one side so it dosn't kink

its not to hard to do just a little hard to get to good luck

Posted on Dec 20, 2008

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2003 Lancer AC knob wont switch all the way over to heat...


this is due to the cable behind the dash kinking when you move the knob at worst you may need a new cable at best you can try to get your head under the dash and reposition the cable eg. cable tie it over to one side so it dosn't kink

its not to hard to do just a little hard to get to good luck

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Cold Am . I turned the left knob 45 degree . All i get is HEAT,knob moves


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if you are handy, you can remove the small dash panel where the a/c control knobs are and then you'll access the lever mechanism and most of the time you'll find a rusty lever or someting has jammed the lever.
Cheers

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