How To Remove Front Dash Vents Actuator


Original poster
May 20, 2012
Hi everyone, this is my first post so I figured I'd make it a helpful one!
I've seen a few posts on how to do this but none that were detailed or showed step-by-step pictures.

So here's my shot at helping some people…


Tools Needed
- flat head screwdriver, or pry tool
- ratchet (extensions will help too)
- 7mm socket
- 5.5mm socket
- flashlight
View attachment 22283

Step 1
Below the steering wheel you will see a big wide panel, the knee bolster. Directly below that you will find the OBD2 connector bolted to a long black plastic panel. Remove the (2) 7mm bolts that hold the OBD2 connector in place.
View attachment 22285

Then move to the outer edges of the same panel and remove an additional (2) 7mm bolts, one on the left, the other on the right.
View attachment 22287

Carefully pry down this black panel a few inches. It is held on by a clip in the center. Feed out the OBD2 connector from behind the panel and let it hang.
View attachment 22288

On the left you will find two more sets of wire connections that are held on by clips. Remove these and let them hang as well.
View attachment 22290

Remove the black panel completely out of the way.
View attachment 22291

Step 2
The last thing in your way is the long black plastic air duct over the pedals.
View attachment 22274

This is held in place by a panel retainer clip on the left side. Pry off the left side of the duct downwards then pull the entire thing to the left and it should just come off.
View attachment 22276

You will then see the cavity that the duct connected to on the right side.
View attachment 22277

Now comes the fun part...

Step 4
Time for a quick check. Grab your flashlight and sit on the edge of the floor on the driver’s side. Lean backwards to look up at the ceiling and lay on the floor (you may want to remove your mat). Scoot up near the pedals. (I did not have to remove the pedals, but different body and head types might need to.) Shine the flashlight up into the darkness and you’ll see two different actuators, as shown in the pictures.
View attachment 22278

The one we want is on the left. If you are not sure then while laying down, you can turn your car on to the ACC position and let the actuators adjust while you touch them. When you feel the “clicking” along with hearing the sound, you know you have the right one. Remove the power cable (held on by clip). If you turn on the car to ACC again the clicking should be gone (if you disconnected the correct actuator).
View attachment 22279

Step 5
Now its time to take it out. I spent a few minutes just feeling the actuator all around :biggrin:. Since vision is limited it is a good idea for your hands to “know” where the bolts are. Grab your ratchet (having a small one helps A LOT) and your 5.5mm socket and feel around for the bolts. A lot of the work can only be done with one hand. PATIENCE. There are two bolts on opposite sides. One of them is really hard to get to, the other one is not too bad. This can be very frustrating but keep on feeling and trying. If you don't wear glasses it might be a good idea to either put on goggles or look away as you loosen the bolts so they don't come off and accidentally fall into your eyes.
View attachment 22281

Once both bolts are removed the actuator should come right off with little effort.
This is what the damn thing looks like:
View attachment 22282

From here you can either
- attempt to fix your actuator (if its not broken)
- replace it (if it is broken).

Then reverse the steps to put everything back together. The hardest part will be re-attaching the new (or fixed) actuator and getting the bolts back into place.

I hope this helps at least one person! And I hope to enjoy it here! Thanks!


  • IMG_1742.jpg
    86.4 KB · Views: 37
  • IMG_1757 copy.jpg
    IMG_1757 copy.jpg
    77.1 KB · Views: 35
  • IMG_1759.jpg
    50.4 KB · Views: 35
  • IMG_1770.jpg
    90.4 KB · Views: 36
  • IMG_1750 copy.jpg
    IMG_1750 copy.jpg
    94.2 KB · Views: 33
  • IMG_1751.jpg
    33.6 KB · Views: 34
  • IMG_1761.jpg
    63.9 KB · Views: 32
  • IMG_1766.jpg
    53.8 KB · Views: 34
  • IMG_1767.jpg
    80.5 KB · Views: 35
  • IMG_1786.jpg
    93.6 KB · Views: 42
  • IMG_1734.jpg
    94.9 KB · Views: 36
  • IMG_1738.jpg
    73.5 KB · Views: 37
  • IMG_1735.jpg
    66.5 KB · Views: 36
  • IMG_1737.jpg
    71.4 KB · Views: 34
  • IMG_1739.jpg
    82.5 KB · Views: 37
  • IMG_1772.jpg
    81.2 KB · Views: 34
  • IMG_1773.jpg
    84.1 KB · Views: 35
  • IMG_1740.jpg
    70 KB · Views: 39
  • Like
Reactions: dmanns67

Denali n DOO

May 22, 2012
Welcome to GMTNation!

Nice write up, well done :thumbsup: !!!


Dec 4, 2011
Ottawa, ON
Good and well detailed how-to. I'm sure it will help someone for sure. :thumbsup:


Aug 24, 2012
My wife just told me the replacement actuator I ordered arrived today along with the Haynes manual I ordered. Tomorrow the aftermarket radio harness and install kit will be here and I plan on doing both tomorrow after work.

This write up will definitely help!! Is there also one for getting the new actuator primed properly and installed?


Dec 4, 2011
Ottawa, ON
Everything I've read about them, there is no "priming" or anything else to do to it prior to installing them.


Dec 8, 2011
If you want to try and repair yourself if the problem is a broken drive gear. Mark the white piece where it fits into aluminum, pull on it and it will pop out. Open the 4 screws at the back, take out the first gear you see, it comes straight up. You will see the broken tooth for the large gear under here. Then you will be able to take out the large gear with the aluminum post attached, you may have to twist it a little. Try not to move the small gear it connected to, if you tilt it it will come out.
You can then use a large socket to press the the plasic gear from the aluminum shaft, turn it 180 degrees and fit back onto shaft, it has grooves on the the ID of the gear and the OD of the aluminum, make sure it meshes properly before pressing back. The pic shows after fixing, the broken side was under top gear. The calibration uses approx 90 degrees of the gear so it will not reach the broken tooth. Hope this helps.


  • HL Actuator.jpg
    HL Actuator.jpg
    55.7 KB · Views: 28


Dec 7, 2013
This is a great "how to". I did this a few weeks ago and this would have really helped. I did mine off Youtube videos and threads on

This one is the best.


Oct 2, 2012
Just so I'm clear on this, what was this doing that prompted you to do this? I think this is why I hear a clicking noise once I turn off my A/C for a few minutes...Like something is trying to close on the right side of my dash...

Forum Statistics

Latest member

Members Online