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ECC climate control "Blinky Lights" solved--Driver's Damper

Help, Advice and DIY Tutorials on Volvo's extremely popular car line -- Volvo's 1990s "bread and butter" cars -- powered by the ubiquitous and durable Volvo inline 5-cylinder engine.

1992 - 1997 850, 850 R, 850 T5-R, 850 T5, 850 GLT
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ECC climate control "Blinky Lights" solved--Driver's Damper

Post by jreed » Wed Aug 01, 2012 7:56 pm

I fixed the "2 1 1" code on my '97 855 GLT by removing and cleaning the contacts inside the damper motor, saving ~$30 for a used damper and ~$100 for a new one.
This fix is very similar to what what phat78ta wrote up here:
http://www.matthewsvolvosite.com/forums ... =1&t=27239
I pay homage to you phat78ta, you made my path clear!

All I'm offering here that goes a little farther is more pictures and more detail in some areas, including the LED code reader (if you need it... you need it if you have ECC and a '96 or '97 850 with OBD2).
The LED code reader will help you figure out which code you have. Others have written up how to make one of these -- I added my contribution here: http://www.matthewsvolvosite.com/forums ... 43#p251189

The code reader I made is very simple. It looks like this:
OBD2 LED code reader after soldering, heat shrinking and labeling.jpg
Simple LED code reader (5kOhm resistor, LED, switch, and wires)
OBD2 LED code reader after soldering, heat shrinking and labeling.jpg (76.57 KiB) Viewed 5172 times
Once I had the code reader working I got the 2-1-1 code, meaning "Driver's side damper motor position sensor open circuit or shorted to 12 Volts". I wasn't too sure what this meant but I figured it would be a good idea to take the driver's side damper out and inspect & investigate it. It is way up under the dashboard on the driver's side, above the cruise control actuation diaphragm. You have to remove the lower plastic trim panel (T-25) and the black metal anti-submarining bolster (6 point 13mm).

I needed a small mirror and a couple of flashlights handy to get it out. You have to remove three short T15 screws and the electrical connector (which has two clasps that must be pried outwards simultaneously -- I used small flat blade screwdrivers to do this). There is not a lot of room so slide the driver's seat all the way back and be prepared to lie on your belly and your back to get it done.

Once you get the damper out of the car, mark the position of the shaft relative to the case:
Driver's Side Temp Damper motor after removal from car.jpg
"Clocking" mark on shaft to keep alignment between case and gears.
Driver's Side Temp Damper motor after removal from car.jpg (58.31 KiB) Viewed 5172 times
Then there are three phillips screws to remove and four black plastic clasps to fold back (three of the four of mine cracked when folded back -- they're not critical) and the case can be opened:
Damper after opening case.jpg
Damper after opening case.jpg (58.38 KiB) Viewed 5172 times
Then you can lift up the large central white plastic gear to reveal all the grease you are going to need to remove Note that the backside of the gear has fine copper-colored metal contacts -- don't bend them:
Damper after removing gear (exposing contacts).jpg
Damper after removing gear (exposing contacts).jpg (65.3 KiB) Viewed 5172 times
Clean off all the grease from the black contact areas. I used a paper towel to remove most and then MAF cleaner (hexane, mostly because I already had it at hand in the workshop) to remove the residuals:
After cleaning contacts with MAF cleaner.jpg
After cleaning contacts with MAF cleaner.jpg (60.19 KiB) Viewed 5172 times
Then you have to put the plastic gear back in place, aiming the clocking mark you made on the shaft into the approximate position to align with the case. I also took the opportunity at this time to apply a very small amount of white lithium grease onto the teeth of the gears.
Gear back in place after cleaning, small amount of white lithium grease on teeth.jpg
Gear back in place after cleaning, small amount of white lithium grease on teeth.jpg (54.04 KiB) Viewed 5172 times
Then you place the top cover loosely over the bottom body of the case and look to see if you've got the white plastic gear in the correct position. If not, lift up the white gear, rotate it into the right position and re-engage it with the small drive gear.
Aligning the clocking mark on the shaft with the cover -- reposition gear if not aligned.jpg
Aligning the clocking mark on the shaft with the cover -- reposition gear if not aligned.jpg (62.38 KiB) Viewed 5172 times
Once you've got it aligned to the right position, put the cover back on. Clip the plastic clasps back in place and you're ready to re-install the three phillips screws.
Cover back in place with correct teeth alignment.jpg
Cover back in place with correct teeth alignment.jpg (62.3 KiB) Viewed 5172 times
Then it's back to the car and squeezing under the dashboard again. The picture below was taken lying on my back looking from the footwell up towards the bottom of the dashboard. The screws and damper shaft positions are shown here:
I put the front-most screw in place first because it's the easiest:
First (easiest) screw in place.jpg
First (easiest) screw in place.jpg (37.75 KiB) Viewed 5172 times
To get screw #2 and #3 in place, I found a little piece of my son's playdoh invaluable (green is my favorite color) to hold the screws onto the bit while I was maneuvering. You could use chewing gum too.
Green playdoh used to hold screws on T15 driver.jpg
Green playdoh used to hold screws on T15 driver.jpg (23.83 KiB) Viewed 5172 times
With the screws in place, re-attach the electrical connector and replace any other pieces you may have disconnected to improve access (I disconnected one of the cruise control vacuum line elbows from the diaphragm because it was in the way).
It's not easy to get a photo of the damper in place because access is limited.... this was the best I could do:
Then you turn the ignition on and check codes again. In my case, the car was happy... it had given the "2 1 1" code before the repair. Once I installed the cleaner damper motor and checked the codes again, the ECC unit had cleared the "2 1 1" by itself and was reporting "1 1 1" -- "all good".

Good luck!
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Re: ECC climate control "Blinky Lights" solved--Driver's Dam

Post by madspeed50 » Wed Aug 01, 2012 8:23 pm

Good timing....

Yep, sent from my rooted, rommed Galaxy Nexus....

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Re: ECC climate control "Blinky Lights" solved--Driver's Dam

Post by mercuric » Sun Mar 17, 2013 4:35 pm

Thanks for this. Finally got around to cleaning up two of the motors, in my case the passenger side ones. The floor/defrost damper is pretty easy to get to, right behind the glovebox, not really tucked away too badly.

The passenger side hot/cold damper is a bit more difficult, it's tucked back further and in towards the center console.
It helps to remove the floor ventilation duct, it's just clipped in and slides down and swivels out -- This way you can get to the motor from below also.

There's not much room to get at the 3 T15's holding it in place. The bottom T15 is best removed from below. To do this, I used a 1/4" drive T15 short socket and a mini ratchet. The two top ones are easier, but it's still not easy to get at. A flexible extension saves you a lot of headache. Harbor freight has a neat little $8 kit with a small 4mm drive handle, flexible extension, and a selection of all sorts of little bits, including torx T4-T20.

http://www.harborfreight.com/33-piece-p ... 93916.html

Highly recommended, makes the entire job a lot easier... especially getting that blasted thing back in place.

After cleaning up the internals of the motor, I coated the potentiometer contacts with a thin film of dielectric grease. I might regret this later if it hardens, but I was worried about the contacts corroding and/or being eaten up by the slider contacts, which seem to put quite a bit of pressure on the board.

Regarding getting the damper motor back in place, I couldn't seem to finagle it into position from above. With your hand in there, if you have gigantic hands like I do (curses!) you can't really see what you're doing, and I got frustrated trying to blindly align the damper shaft with the drive slot. So what I did was move the seat back as far as it would go, then drop the seat back all the way down (until it contacted the rear seat). I then sat backwards on it, used my legs around the top of the seatback to pull my body halfway up the seatback, and layed back so my head was nicely under the dash. I'm 6'2 and not very flexible, so I was kind of impressed with myself for pulling that off (lol) -- It's actually a pretty easy position to slide into if you think about it before you try. I looked up, bam, there's the drive slot. I was able to wrap one hand up top through the glovebox, and use my other hand below. In this position, it took me less than a minute to position the damper motor correctly. While I was down there, I slipped in the bottom T15 with the flex driver -- Luckily I had the flex driver within easy reach before I slid down there, so do that too... The top T15's are pretty easy from above with the flex driver.

Cleared the ECC codes, 323 came back -- ventilation damper active too long. This one is on the drivers side of the center console, tucked up above the gas pedal. It uses a two-piece gear. VIDA says:
For reasons of space, the ventilation damper is operated by a damper motor via two gear segments, one fitted to the damper motor output shaft and the other on the ventilation damper shaft.

I found this motor, and it appears the damper shaft gear is totally missing -- Offset from where the motor is mounted by a little bit, I see the damper shaft.. with nothing in it.

Back to VIDA parts diagrams:

It appears 42 is the ventilation damper motor, 43 and 44 are the two gear "segments" attached to it.
43 Segment P/N 6811587
44 Segment P/N 3522261

That motor too looks like a real PIA to get out. The reverse-seat-straddle helped me find it, but with the steering wheel in the way (even moved all the way up) there a lot less clearance and the position is far less comfortable. I think the steering wheel and/or the seat is going to need to get yanked to get at that little sucker. That's for another day, I've had enough with this for one day... The quantity of red wasps in the area is not helping my motivation one bit, either!

I'll dig into that one another day when I'm excited about some more punishment, and after I get those gear segments from the dealer :)

Also, when you're digging around in the dash, be careful for sharp plastic edges. I didn't even feel it, but digging around up top trying to get that motor back in, I pulled my hand out and blood everywhere... There is some stuff back there that is very sharp and will slice you clean open. Put on some work gloves before you find out for yourself...

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