97-05 Malibu/Classic AC control panel problems

Joined
May 7, 2004
Messages
10,910
Location
Nokesville, VA
Over time, the contacts behind the switches and knobs get dirty, resulting in intermittent AC function. This can be fixed without replacing the panel by removing it and cleaning the contacts: http://www.imcool.com/articles/aircondition/AC_ControllersAreRepairable.pdf My mom told me that the AC button is intermittent on her 04 Malibu Classic (it's control panel is interchangeable with the previous Malibus, I have no idea if it's different internally) so I will try cleaning it with Caig Labs Deoxit D5 . (I once sprayed that stuff into a noisy volume control on a cheap clock radio. That was almost 10 years ago. The problem hasn't come back. I also used it on the intermittent cruise control switches on my '88 Mustang GT. It fixed them. It also fixed the intermittent buttons on my cellphone. This stuff is amazing).
 

brianl703

Thread starter
Joined
May 7, 2004
Messages
10,910
Location
Nokesville, VA
I took the control panel apart, sprayed it down with Deoxit D5, and put it back together and everything worked--except for the recirc button. The recirc button felt kinda mushy compared to the other 3 buttons (which all use the same kind of switch--and I think the recirc button always felt mushy like that since she got the car) so I took a paperclip and touched the pins on the recirc button and sure enough it went into recirc so the switch was the problem. I popped the switch apart and the little rubber button with the carbon conductive dot under it was in two pieces--it had torn, either by me trying to take it apart or from wear. I tried sticking it back in there and put it back together and the recirc button started working again. Obviously there is no getting a new switch, otherwise I'd happily solder a new one in..yea, I do component-level repair! The recirc button is the one that is probably going to get the most use because the other three buttons are for the defroster, to turn on the AC, and to select fresh air mode. It defaults to fresh air mode when you start the car, even if you had it in recirc before. If you had the AC on it does remember that setting. (If you turn it to defrost or if you turn the AC off it automatically cancels recirc and goes to fresh air). It didn't, by the way, look dirty inside--the contacts were all clean and in fact gold-plated. They could have have had some contamination on them that I couldn't see.
 
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