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Just replaced the actuator but still not getting heat. What else could be the problem?

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  • Cars & Trucks Master
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If both heater hoses are not hot, it could be a faulty thermostat or a blockage in the heater hoses or heater core. You could also be low on coolant in the radiator.

Posted on Jan 23, 2013

  • 3 more comments 
  • Tiffany Jan 23, 2013

    no blockage in the heater hoses and i'm not low on coolant. It's just blowing cold air.

  •  Stephen
    Stephen Jan 23, 2013

    Well if you are sure the heater core is getting hot, the blend door has to open or close to allow air to flow thru the core. Are the blend doors moving when you adjust the temp control on the dash?

  • Tiffany Jan 23, 2013

    yes they are moving...could it possibly be the ac/heat control unit (control head)?

  •  Stephen
    Stephen Jan 23, 2013

    Well the control unit "controls" the blend doors. So if the doors are moving when you adjust the temp, I would say the controller is working. You may have to take the HVAC box apart to find the problem. It could even be a foreign object blocking the air flow.

  • Tiffany Jan 23, 2013

    Could the hot side of the control unit be burnt out and not sending the signalto open the heat door?

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When in 4wd mode, a switch on top of the transfer case conducts 12 volts out to the actuator. Wire #50 (brown) is the 12v feed, and it conducts to the light blue wire (#900) to the actuator.
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I'll assume it is the actuator, if the plug to the actuator is getting 12 volts when in 4wd.
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Good luck. The actuator is usually the problem 90% of time but recheck all of the wire harness just to maker sure there is no short before replacing any parts.

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On the full size, the front actuator is electric, not vacuum.

When in 4wd mode, a switch on top of the transfer case conducts 12 volts out to the actuator. Wire #50 (brown) is the 12v feed, and it conducts to the light blue wire (#900) to the actuator.
When shifted out of 4wd, the switch opens up and no voltage goes to the actuator.

Check voltage at the connector for the front actuator (at the front differential - it looks like a large bullet that threads into the front diff.) If it has 12 volts, the actuator is the problem. If it does not have 12 volts, check the transfer case switch and the power feed to the transfer case.

I'll assume it is the actuator, if the plug to the actuator is getting 12 volts when in 4wd.
The way this actuator works, is it is a sealed chamber that gets heated by voltage. When it heats, the pin in the end swells and pushes a shift fork in the front differential. The shift fork engages a spline on the passenger side of the differential, and boom! you have 4WD.

GM offered an upgrade to this actuator that is a motor instead of a heated device. However, it requires a small harness addition, a spacer, and a new actuator. It is about a $150 to $200 option.

If I were you, I would buy a new heated actuator. They are available at most auto parts stores, and are about $90. They are also on eBay for about $55 plus shipping. These are very easy to change - just thread out the old one, and thread in a new one.

Good luck. The actuator is usually the problem 90% of time but recheck all of the wire harness just to maker sure there is no short before replacing any parts.

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1 Answer

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On the full size, the front actuator is electric, not vacuum.

When in 4wd mode, a switch on top of the transfer case conducts 12 volts out to the actuator. Wire #50 (brown) is the 12v feed, and it conducts to the light blue wire (#900) to the actuator.
When shifted out of 4wd, the switch opens up and no voltage goes to the actuator.

Check voltage at the connector for the front actuator (at the front differential - it looks like a large bullet that threads into the front diff.) If it has 12 volts, the actuator is the problem. If it does not have 12 volts, check the transfer case switch and the power feed to the transfer case.

I'll assume it is the actuator, if the plug to the actuator is getting 12 volts when in 4wd.
The way this actuator works, is it is a sealed chamber that gets heated by voltage. When it heats, the pin in the end swells and pushes a shift fork in the front differential. The shift fork engages a spline on the passenger side of the differential, and boom! you have 4WD.

GM offered an upgrade to this actuator that is a motor instead of a heated device. However, it requires a small harness addition, a spacer, and a new actuator. It is about a $150 to $200 option.

If I were you, I would buy a new heated actuator. They are available at most auto parts stores, and are about $90. They are also on eBay for about $55 plus shipping. These are very easy to change - just thread out the old one, and thread in a new one.

Good luck. The actuator is usually the problem 90% of time but recheck all of the wire harness just to maker sure there is no short before replacing any parts.

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