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Did anyone replace the Air mix door actuator (driver side)?

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I have an issue where after I take a key out, I can hear the mechanical / servo sound repeatedly behind the dash. Additionally, at times, when I put the air to both top and bottom vents, the air blows irregularly (like stronger, then not as strong etc. randomly).


I found a thread that deals with this, here.


I have done some research and based on what my mechanics stetoscope is telling me, the part that is going is the driver side #2 on the illustration below, of the part marked with a red arrow on the photo. Air mix door actuator.


The problem is - this part is so high up in the car; basically a little lower than the gauge cluster. I just can't reach it from the bottom even after I remove the lower trim.


My question is:


Has anyone replaced this on a 5th gen? The above thread is mostly 4th gen. Youtube has nothing. The shop manual seems to indicate that I basically need to follow instructions for heater core removal which means taking the whole dash out, sterring column and all.


I do not think that even removing the gauge cluster will give me any more clearance to work, based on this video (at 1:35 into the video):



Any words of wisdom?





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Went to the dealer today. The parts guy was well aware of this problem and said the part is not a problem but to go talk to the service advisor.


Service advisor pretty much immediately said (apparently he is aware of this problem) - 9 hours of labor + parts = $1450 to get it fixed.


I'm planning to try take the instrument cluster out and see if those 6 screws that I see in the video of instrument cluster replacement can give me any more space to get this done without this major surgery. I'm not too hopefull.

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Today I confirmed that there is no way to take this part out without taking the dash out first. Took the instrument cluster out and while there is a small bracket that can come out from behind it, there is not enough space to work on the actuator. The left driver side air vent duct is in the way. You can grab the actuator, see the flap freaking out through the central vent but that is all.


I don't quite understand why taking the dash out would require removing the steering column though. I don't think it does unless you really need to take the heater core out.


I'm likely not going to do anything right now but yeah... PITA!



Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro

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So this is the passenger side air mix door actuator, right? The service manual has you remove the glove box assembly, then remove the ECM (that's the part with the row of connectors down the front in your picture), then remove the air mix door actuator (looks like 2 screws, and you'd probably need an offset screwdriver to get at them easily) - I enclosed the instructions from the service manual for the '12 below.


On our previous van, the drivers side door mix motor (it was a Honda odyssey) started fluttering and making all sorts of noise every now and then - I pulled it off, and out of curiousity, pulled it apart to see what might be messed up. I ended up cleaning and relubricating the internals, putting it back together, and then it worked without a hitch from then on (we got rid of that van about 7 years later) - nothing was physically worn out - just the sliding contacts were messed up.


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  • 2 months later...
  • 3 years later...

I know this is old but it came up in my searches and I just dealt with this exact issue - driver side actuator replacement.  If anyone's interested, my 05 LGT Limited showed a part number no one has in stock (72131AG08A) and the local Subaru dealers came up with another one that no one has either (72131AG12A).  I took a chance and tried the 72131AG27A (about $92) which had come up in my searches since I was able to get it locally and it fits and works perfectly.

Replacing it was a bear (scratched up my hands a little), but I managed to do it using this procedure:

1) Remove the lower panels on the driver's side and the left side of the center console area (have to remove center parts and ashtray)

2) Remove the controller box thingy mounted next to the steering column that has 3 plugs going into it (keyless entry won't work without this)

3) Move some wiring harnesses out of the way as needed and the white air tube

4) Reach up and undo 2 screws on the bracket holding the actuator to the hvac system (the lowest one and the one facing the front of the car) - I couldn't reach the top one

5) Undo the 3 screws holding the actuator to the bracket and remove the actuator (note the position of the white plastic guide for the vent) - you'll need a very short philips for this

6) On the new part, remove the bracket and use those same screws (to ensure they thread right) and reach up inside and attach it to the bracket that's still in the car, make sure the metal post goes into the slot on the white arm

7) Reattach the bracket to the 2 mounting points you removed it from

😎 Put everything back!






Edited by BlueGT05
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