Clicking/Tapping Noise on Passenger Side of Dash - Chevy Impala Forums
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post #1 of (permalink) Old 04-08-2018 Thread Starter
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Clicking/Tapping Noise on Passenger Side of Dash

2011 Chevy Impala

There is a clicking sound coming from behind the right passenger side of the dash. It also sounds like a tapping noise. When I turn the defroster knob it stops, then starts again. When I push the outside air button, it starts and stops again. When I turn the engine off, it starts again. My worry is that this thing will drain the battery and possibly cause other damage, maybe a fire because it keeps going. My thinking is that there is some kind of actuator or motor that opens and closes the outside air door to the heater. Not sure how to fix this, if this is the problem.

Has anyone had this problem before? How did you fix or solve it? Thank you for any ideas or suggestion you can offer.
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 04-08-2018
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You and many, many Impala owners have had the same problem. I'm surprised there hasn't been a class action lawsuit yet. To get you started, go to YouTube, and search for "Impala clicking." You will find a number of videos that explain the problem and how to replace the part (it could be one of several similar parts). The problem is caused by a stripped plastic gear in a small module that contains a motor and a gear set.

This problem has been a real PITA for us Impala owners.

Whoever could come up with a metal replacement gear for those modules could sell a lot of them.
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post #3 of (permalink) Old 04-08-2018
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^+1. Temp., mode (vent) or recirc. blend door actuator.
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 04-09-2018
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Common among other auto makers too. Had a Dodge pickup with broken blend doors and Jeeps Grand Cherokees were notorious too. Crappy job to fix. Makes you wish for the old cable operated doors...

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post #5 of (permalink) Old 04-09-2018
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FYI - they do sell stronger gears that come with a lifetime warranty on Ebay...

For example (not positive if this is the correct one or not):
https://rover.ebay.com/rover/0/0/0?m...2F172493501244

I honestly don't know if they last any longer or not - but like I said, they do have a lifetime warranty - he seems to have been around for a while, so...

I haven't had to deal with a faulty actuator on my 2012 yet (~60k miles) - when I do, I'll probably try go this route instead of keep replacing the actuators...

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Quote:
Originally Posted by jtrosky View Post
FYI - they do sell stronger gears that come with a lifetime warranty on Ebay...

For example (not positive if this is the correct one or not):
https://rover.ebay.com/rover/0/0/0?m...2F172493501244

I honestly don't know if they last any longer or not - but like I said, they do have a lifetime warranty - he seems to have been around for a while, so...

I haven't had to deal with a faulty actuator on my 2012 yet (~60k miles) - when I do, I'll probably try go this route instead of keep replacing the actuators...

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i haven't had the issue on my 2010 at 164k miles yet...i'm just waiting for that day to come though.
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post #7 of (permalink) Old 04-09-2018
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I've heard of other vehicle's blend doors being way more painful to replace than ours. As much of a nuisance it is, we are blessed when it comes to replacing them yourself LOL.

I recently did one for a friend with an impala and he paid me $50. Way cheaper than what a shop was going to charge him.
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post #8 of (permalink) Old 04-09-2018
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Those guarantees or warranties are almost worthless, because the part is inexpensive but it is the removal and installation labor that is difficult. The parts are under the dash, a bit high up. They are a pain to replace. And when they fail, you have to take care of it, because the gear unit may continue to click even if the car is parked and there is no key in the ignition.

I've bought two of these actuators (passenger side), I recall they were about $20-$30 each. The seller of the rebuild gear set says "Avoid low quality actuators found on eBay" but the ones I bought were Dorman, and they claimed they were better than OEM. They come with a "lifetime warranty" too.

I would jump on that "rebuild" offer if the gear were metal; those look (but may not be) 3-D printed. Still suspicious of plastic gears.

My driver side actuator is now clicking when I set the temperature all the way down. If I back it off a bit, it stops. That's good enough for the moment.
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post #9 of (permalink) Old 04-09-2018
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I guess what do you have to lose by trying the rebuild kit? Obviously, none of the replace actuators are very good, so it can't hurt to try the rebuild kit. It's says that they are "injection molded", whatever that means (not sure if that could mean 3D printed as well?).

To me, the lifetime warranty is just a bonus - and hopefully some indication that it's a quality part. But maybe not - we'll never really know until someone tries one I guess. I'm definitely willing to try the rebuild kit when the time comes.

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^ JT, off subject, but have you had to replace the battery on your '12 yet??? Just curious.
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Yes, my battery was replaced under the factory bumper-to-bumper warranty right before it ran out (if I remember correctly). They replaced it to try and solve my slightly-flickering interior lights when the car is running at idle (don't flicker at all if car is not running). Didn't fix the issue though (still does it to this day - I'm assuming it's the voltage regulator on the alternator, but not a big enough deal to replace the alternator).

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Last edited by jtrosky; 04-10-2018 at 07:29 AM.
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post #12 of (permalink) Old 04-10-2018
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I ordered a rebuild kit. Also, I contacted BlendDoor, and this is the reply:

I see that you ordered a GM kit for the Impala – I have about 200-300 gears in service at this point and have had one reported failure, however we believe it was due to a jammed blend door. Aftermarket gearboxes are generally made from Chinese POM and ours are made from genuine Dupont Delrin 100P and are molded in California. Our ford kit has well over 1000 in service without a single failure.

There was testing done in our shop essentially stalling a rebuilt actuator with power applied in both directions to look for gross failure, but we did not do lifecycle testing over thousands of cycles and years. The material was carefully selected, however – with gears a high yield strain is just as important as a yield stress number; it allows for one tooth to bend and share load to an adjacent tooth under periods of heavy tooth stress. Delrin 100P has a 25% elongation at yield, whereas standard POM has anywhere from 7.2-13% elongation at yield, and the yield stress is much higher as well.

As a side note, I believe that lack of lubrication on the shafts and other moving parts of the blend doors themselves can be a major contributor to failure of OEM and aftermarket actuators. If you have any concerns or issues with your kit, please do not hesitate to contact me. We’re a micro business, and we value our “old school” approach to customer service.

Thanks,
Will

The kit is sold on Ebay (Ebay link provided above by jtrosky), and on Amazon and at Blenddoor.com.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jtrosky View Post
I guess what do you have to lose by trying the rebuild kit? Obviously, none of the replace actuators are very good, so it can't hurt to try the rebuild kit. It's says that they are "injection molded", whatever that means (not sure if that could mean 3D printed as well?).

To me, the lifetime warranty is just a bonus - and hopefully some indication that it's a quality part. But maybe not - we'll never really know until someone tries one I guess. I'm definitely willing to try the rebuild kit when the time comes.

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Injection molded is hot HDPE or Nylon or some other plastic forced into a hot mold by a hydraulic cylinder when it's semi-liquid, similar to how a syringe works with wood glue, and then cooled like metals before separating the mold halves.

I wouldn't bother with parts made from the HDPE string printers. However. Stereolithography 3d laser printing works quite well with exceptionally fine detail. The strength of the final product depends on the characteristics of the resin.

There are thirty-thousand to at least one-hundred-fifty-thousand US dollar metal powder printers that melt layers of metal powders as well. The snowflakes are frightened about what could be done with these...
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The snowflakes are frightened about what could be done with these...
Wait 'til they figure out what someone with a CNC drill machine (in their garage) and some of John Browning's notes can make at home

Doug

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post #15 of (permalink) Old 04-13-2018
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It is the Actuator door. It will need to be replaced.
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