Car Problem Reports

Buick Park Avenue Heating and AC Temperature and Air Delivery Mode Door Actuators May Fail

Buick Park Avenue Problem
19 Reports
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Model Years Affected: 1992, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2002, 2005

Average Mileage: 139,588 mi (76,000 mi - 211,000 mi)


One or more heater & AC (HVAC) air delivery and/or temperature mode door actuator may fail. This can result in incorrect air delivery or temperature. If this occurs, fault code(s) stored in the HVAC control module should be available to assist with diagnoses.

  •  Rookie

    I hope this helps. I'm also in Park Avenue Air Conditioner Hell. I've read books, talked to mechanics, been to the dealers. Here's what I can put together so far.

    If you have different temperature from the driver and passenger sides, then that is a BLEND DOOR issue. The blend doors are little triangular devices with centers that rotate from an electrical signal. Their plastic gears can break, or the motor can lose the ability to move them. They are up under the dash but reachable from the cabin without removing much more than the black noise panel. (You may want to pull the glove box on the right, too). They are held in place by 3 screws (philips). They are on the driver and passenger sides, and each has a different letter (I've seen R and S labels on the ones in my car - may be an "L" as well, but I don't know for certain yet.) These fit in the palm of your hand, and are somewhat triangular. Look on ebay or web for this part number to see what one looks like: 89018383

    At the center of the HVAC near the top, but reachable without removal, is a MODE DOOR. If you have an inability to get the air to blow anywhere but out the defroster, then that is a MODE DOOR issue. The mode door has a lever on the side, and you can move that manually. In my 97, the lever has no sense of any resistance to it. Evidently the doors have broken inside the AC unit. It's going to Buick soon - not looking forward to dealer pricing.

    Meanwhile, we all see that lovely control head in the dashboard with numbers and fan speeds on it. That can also fail. Typically that loses brightness from what I'm finding. There are rebuild services on eBay. However, that is NOT the most significant control element. Instead, there is a PROGRAMMER (look up part 9353514 or part 16238774) that gives the bulk of the instructions. Mine had an IO error. This multi-box system means you may need a dealer to diagnose electronics failures. Dealers will charge about $600 for a programmer box. Junkyards are selling for about $40.

    The 97 and newer have all electronic devices. The 96 and prior have vacuums. That distinction is rarely made in repair posts. The 96 and prior often have vacuum leak failures from the end points being dried out. DO NOT go looking for the vacuum system in your 97 or newer - they aren't there. (You'd evidently find a colorful array of hoses coming through the firewall if they were.)

    If you do replace a mode or blend door or programmer or control head, know that you should turn OFF your HVAC and then turn on your car. Leave it sit in the on position for the car/off position for the AC for about 3 minutes. All the door positions will calibrate.

    Folks, I sure hope that helps. I've spent waaaaaay too much time digging info on this issue. It's been quite a learning experience. Good luck - and if anyone knows a way to fix the MODE DOOR without paying Buick my first born, I'd welcome the insight.

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  •  Rookie

    i get good heat only on the passenger side thru the top vent only..but i get no heat coming on the driver's side..only cold air comes thru the top vent and the bottom floor of the driver's side..i changed the climate control in the dash..and still no change..i checked the vacuum lines that go to the firewall and there were no air leaks..i also checked under the dashboard everything seemed fine..please feel free to give me ideas and suggestions i am open to hear them all!! please keep in mind it is digital climate control!! please help..i am freezing!!! lol

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  • Visitor, , 117,000 mi

    I am the same Dave 97 Park Avenue as above. Should share what happened and take out some of the mystery of this fix.

    First, the vacuum issue. 1996 and prior Park Avenues have vacuum lines. 1997 and newer Park Avenues do not - they are all electric. I read tons on this - the 96 and priors tend to have problems with the vacuum lines. If your Park Avenue is a 97 or newer, then that is a red herring. You have no vacuum lines. (Yeah, I searched for them too.) You have electrically powered blend doors that shuffle the air to different parts of the car.

    In Orlando, we have Carl Black Buick, who is reported by my local mechanic to have an air conditioning wizard on staff. They got to fix my 97. Turns out that the plastic door in the center of the vehicle had physically broken inside its housing and had to be repaired. But that wasn't all. They also needed to recalibrate the entire system. Evidently there is a factory mandated and dealer executed calibration that is done whenever any major component is changed.

    The difference was amazing. The AC is like new again. I also had another door jammed which they fixed. I think the bill was around $500, but don't quote me.

    I hope that helps the rest of you. What a pain it is to figure all of this out!

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  • Visitor, , 164,000 mi

    i have the same prob with heat and air cond in the front driver side.

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  •  Rookie

    Passenger side A/C is blowing hot air while driver side is cold? This started to happen when battery voltage was low and the car had a slow start; all gauges peg upon starting but only temp and fuel gauge turned completely clockwise and would not go back. Regarding the A/C problem blowing hot air when it should be cold air, I found that if you take the battery cables off the battery and connect both cables together: this procedure set the computer default program. It worked once for a little while but passenger side still blew air but it wasn't as hot. Seemed to be mixed with hot and cold air so the air comes out the dashboard vents warm. However, the problem still persisted; had the battery tested and mechanic said it was o.k. but i needed a slow charge put. Once I did that, the car started up immediately, but the passenger side air problem remained. What is the fix to closed the hot air actuator on the passenger side? Also, fuel and temp gauges still jump or peg and have to be reset with the engine off and use a magnet to turn them counter-clockwise.

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  •  Rookie

    Air doesn't distribute except out front vents, hot ONLY on left 2 vents and cold ONLY (not a/c but cold air) on right 2 vents

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  • Visitor, , 183,000 mi

    2002 Park Ave.A/C and heat only coming from window and floor vents.Took to dealer.Quote of 1,675.49 parts and labor for an HVAC MODULE.Didn't pay it.I don't think the car is worth that much on Kelly Blue Book.Also Tranny going bad.

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  • Visitor, , 100,100 mi

    air on drivers side heat on passenger side
    replaced most of the airconditioning parts under the hood...still not cold..still have heat on passenger side

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  • Visitor, , 160,000 mi

    Right side air vents blow cold in winter.

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  • Visitor, , 150,000 mi

    not fixed yet

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