Question about 2001 Buick Century

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I was told my cabin air filter is dirty. Where is it and how do I replace it?

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The Cabin Air Filter is located outside the car, underneath the Left side, plastic cowling cover at the base of the Windshield. To access the old Filter cartridge:
1. Turn on and Stop the Windshield wipers in the UP position, and turn off the engine, remove the Key.
2. Standing in front of the car, raise the Hood and observe the black plastic cover panel which covers an area, along the base of the windshield, from the Passenger side Hood Hinge, and extends toward the center wiper, (approx 2.5 feet long by 6 inches). The Filter is beneath this Plastic Panel. Yep, it looks and is flimsy, so be careful.
3. Before you can remove this panel, you will need to gently peel back the Soft Rubber Engine Compartment Edge Seal, (approx 1 inch around and 5 feet long), that extends from Left to Right along the base of the Cowling, from Hinge to Hinge. Only Peel back about half of the Seal. When I did mine, I removed the entire Seal, inspected the Seal for damage, washed it and treated it with Armor All. I was also able to squeeze the rubber seal along it's base, tightening the grip pattern, to prepare it for re-installation. Also, by removing this seal, you have the opportunity to clean the entire cowling space, removing all sticks, leaves, and debris.
4. To remove black plastic access panel, CAREFULLY remove the two plastic retaining plugs, by prying up the center studs about one half inch, and then pull out the plugs, (each plug has two parts, take care to avoid loosing the center part). You will also find a 1.25 inch diameter black plastic clip that unscrews with a screwdriver. If you find a plug missing, or you damage the plug, NAPA has replacements. Don't be a cheapskate, if they are broken or missing, replace it, otherwise you could have rain flowing into your vent system.
5. When you pull up the panel, you will find it may stick to the surfaces. There are some foam tape seals that line the panel beneath. Take care to avoid knocking these off. Gentley clean and prepare, and Armor All the Top/exterior surface of the plastic panel. If the foam tape falls off, clean with plain water and soap, and treat/clean with Denatured Alcohol, and use replacement foam tape also available at the Dealer, NAPA, and Home Depot. This stuff is thin, so don't get anything that is too thick or it won't go back in.
6. You will find the Cabin Filter under the panel. You will also find another Body Seal, (similar to the Engine Compartment Edge Seal), which should be cleaned, inspected and treated. When I opened my space, the Seal had previously fallen off the Sheet Metal. Consequently, the rain water was splashing around the Filter space. Care must be taken to assure that this inside, secondary seal is in good condition and capable of being reattached. If the seal is a bit sloppy, you can pinch the base of the seal, which improves the grip strength for re-installation. The idea is to shunt the rain water that may leak underneath the black panel, over to the drain on the Left.
7. Before removing the Filter, take a good Shop Vac, and clean out all the debris, so that it does not accidently fall into the the cavity below, when you remove the filter. You will find, that when you remove the Filter, the White Plastic Squirrel-Cage Blower is visable. If you aren't careful, the rubbish falls in.
8. Once cleaned out, and the Old Filter Removed, gently wipe the interior space with a good bacteriacide, or other sanitizer, with lint free cloth. Spray the cloth, not the surface. Inspect the Blower, with bright light, and assure that no debris fell into the motor. (Remember the Key is off and out right?). The blower will/should freely spin, be gentle, baby fingernail only please.
9. I took this opportunity to use an aftermarket spray cleaner/disinfectant, for the ventilation system, permitting you to spray it directly into the blower. Follow the product instructions, which includes preping the system, (before you start this job), by running the blower on high heat, with and with out AirConditioner (on max high heat). Follow the directions.
10. I used Replacement Filter, by Fram, "FreshBreeze", Part No. CF8392A, about $10.
11. I also took the time to gently wax the entire painted surface all around and inside the cowling, and hinge surface, before closing up the panel. There is a large water drain to the far left, behind the Hood Hinge, and it is good time to get the rubbish out of the hole and clean and wax the space.
12 Return the Black Panel, taking care to assure that the left rubber/vinyl left tip, lays flat, behind the hinge, and along the fender. The panel will line up with the two plug holes and the screw on cap
13. Reinstall the Engine Compartment Seal, along the base of the cowling, and enjoy the fresh air.
14. So long as you are this far along, check to be sure your Wipers are in good shape.

Posted on Aug 30, 2010

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