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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
In my 2010 Armada I'd been hearing the woodpecker in the dash for a long time, and then it finally went away and the driver side vents were stuck on heat all the time, regardless of what temp I set. Rear and passenger heat/AC continued to function normally. Reading this forum, I learned that this was the dreaded blend/air mix door actuator that's way up under the dash, and that a Nissan dealership will take the whole dash off to fix it and charge you upwards of $700. Well f that!

The key to understanding how to do it was this video:

But there are a couple of details I'd like to add that will help people out.

You're going to need this 7/32 ratchet wrench, which is 5.5mm equivalent.

I could only get some of the fasteners out with even my smallest socket wrench, and a regular open end wrench is way too much work in a small space especially when you're at risk of dropping and losing it in there.

You can make the process even easier than the video describes - in the first pic, unscrew the white box to the left, and disconnect the power plug at upper right. If you do this, you can definitely get your right hand all the way up there, and most of your left hand, which is critical to turning the wrench.

And just to add to what the guy in the video says about lever arms in there, the second pic is a still from a vid that I took when I shoved a camera up there. Note that there are two lever arms. Before you replace your actuator, reach up in there and feel/move these mechanisms with your hand so you can understand how they are linked and how they move. I would recommend putting the white actuator plate in first before the actuator, so you can get it in the socket and turn it a few times to be sure the lever arm pins are inserted into the plate correctly.

Then you can just put the actuator back in on top of that, and screw it down. It really wasn't too bad, although if you have huge hands it might be. I have long but medium thickness hands.

Hope this helps somebody.
 

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Thank you for the pictures and the link. My 2010 is making the wonderful noise too. I am gonna wait a little longer but will bookmark your comments for sure. Thank you.
 

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lava - thanks for coming back and posting your suggestions on how to make this fix easier. Posts like these are what keep these forums going. Too often folks come on these forums asking for help, but then forget to share what they discover to help out the rest of us. So far I haven't had this issue with any of my Armada's, but it's nice to know that if I do, I have more information to go about trying to fix it.

Keith
 

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Great pics and info!!!!
Mine isn't doing that yet....and I'm not looking forward to doing it. lol!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I forgot to add the replacement part that I used. The part that I removed from the vehicle was a VP8ASH-19E616-BB. I replaced it with part number 27743-ZP00A, that you can buy here for $25:

The reason you get the woodpecker sound is because the gear teeth inside the actuator start to wear out. The opposing gear pops past the worn teeth without catching, over and over. Pretty sure that while it's woodpeckering it still works, and that the knocking/slipping only happens when it hits resistance at either end of the actuator's travel. But eventually the teeth wear down so much that it stops catching at all, and that's when your air mix/vent gets stuck in whatever position it was last in. You can see the worn spot in the teeth in the pic below.
 

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Quick question - My driver's side air is very weak and warm, my passenger side is normal strength and cool. I don't have any woodpecker noise but might this still be the blend door actuator gone bad? I just bought the car so it may have had the noise at one time...

Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Quick question - My driver's side air is very weak and warm, my passenger side is normal strength and cool. I don't have any woodpecker noise but might this still be the blend door actuator gone bad? I just bought the car so it may have had the noise at one time...

Thanks!
Sounds like it might figure in with regard to the stuck temperature, but as far as the air strength I haven't researched that so can't comment.

Why did both of my external links to tools and parts in my original two posts get converted to broken Youtube vid links? And why can I no longer edit those posts?
 

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I don’t have the exact answer. However we did just switch to a larger more powerful forum or whatever you call it about 2 months ago. That might have something to do with it.
 

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As Firefighter1406 mentioned, the forum software was replaced a few months ago. Most of the transition was relatively smooth, but it is possible it screwed up your links to youtube.

As for not being able to edit, that could also be due to the upgrade, but also many forums put a time limit on when people can edit their posts, and it could just be after that time.
 

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Man, thanks for posting this information. I was able to follow the video and your additional tips to replace my broken actuator and I'm super grateful.

I had the same symptoms:
  • Initially the possessed woodpecker sound. Seemed to mostly happen in the winter when the heat was running
  • The noise eventually subsided but then I lost the ability to control the temperature of the driver side and often just had hot air blowing out even if the temp was way down and the AC was on. Not fun on hot summer days!
I couldn't bring myself to pay the dealership the $1,000+ they were going to charge to fix it. But I couldn't find good enough information online to feel confident I was replacing the right actuator based on my truck's symptoms and feel confident that I knew exactly how to go about doing it.

My post repair comments:
  • although not a difficult repair, it requires a tonne of patience and pretty small hands. Even removing that white box posted in the first post, I had just barely enough space to actually get my hands in there far enough to reach the actuator. I've got size XL hands when it comes to buying glove but my hands are quite thin. If you've got thicker meatier hands, I don't think you'll be able to do this repair. I thought I got a hand stuck on a couple of occassions.
  • It really helped to take the time watching the video a few times to get a mental picture of the part, it's location and how it worked.
  • the inspection mirror is critical to be able to do this repair
  • the replacement part number is still 27743-ZP00A as of today. The housing of this part felt sturdier and heavier so hopefully it's an improved part over the original. I wish I would have opened it up to compare to the one I took out to see if the gears looked any more durable.
  • The ratcheting 7/32 or 5.5mm wrench is definitely a must. Although, I found a small ratchet and socket was also helpful for a couple of the screws
  • I found getting the screws back in to the mounting plate and then into the actuator very tough. Just not enough room to firmly hold the screws and guide them into the holes. I dropped screws a couple of times and had to use a magnet to be able to retrieve them.
I opened up the old part I took out and a few teeth on the gears were missing (circled in the below picture in white). After getting the new part in, I ran through a bunch of modes and temps and everything is working great again!
48739
 
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