CTS 2003-2005

Removal & Installation

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GM recommends that because so many of the control operations are electronic, special diagnostic equipment really should be used for system diagnostics and check-out. An authorized technician using a scan tool can most quickly locate HVAC problems. GM recommends that the heater & A/C control panel be replaced only if specific diagnostic procedures points to the control panel as the only possible source of faults. Even then, the control panel does not automatically need to be replaced if a short is found in the wiring. Repair the wiring first, then check the system for further concerns. Most system malfunctions are traceable to faulty wiring and connectors, and occasionally, components. GM claims the heater & A/C control panel is very reliable and usually not the cause of a system malfunction. A heater & A/C control panel replacement before a complete and thorough diagnosis will usually result in a recurrence of the original complaint.


NOTE
Although the removal procedures for the heater & A/C control panel is similar across the W-Body car line, there are big differences in the shape and size of the trim panel that must be removed to access the control panel screws. On some vehicles, the trim panel is relatively small and easily removed. On other vehicles, the trim panel goes all the way across the instrument panel and may require removal of the center console, too. The trim panels are designed to be retained with a few screws and a number of clips. Trim panels change from year to year and there have been numerous audio panel and heater & A/C control options, but with some minor variations, the following procedures should suffice for the vehicles covered here. Work slowly and carefully. The clips are typically mounted to plastic tabs and are easily broken if handled roughly.


CAUTION
Vehicles covered by this manual are equipped with a Supplemental Inflatable Restraint (SIR) system, which uses an air bag. Whenever working near any of the SIR components, such as air bag module, steering column and instrument panel, disable the SIR, as described in this section.



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Fig. Instrument panel accessory trim plate removal-1997 Buick shown, others similar



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Fig. Heater & A/C control panel removal. Top: Standard system; Bottom: Automatic System-1997 Buick shown, others similar

  1. Disconnect the negative battery cable.
  2.  
  3. Remove the instrument cluster trim plate, using the following as a guide:
    1. Remove the instrument panel access hole covers from the instrument panel using a small flat-bladed tool. Remove the screws from each end of the instrument panel cluster trim plate.
    2.  
    3. Remove the screws from the lower edge of the right lower instrument panel trim plate.
    4.  
    5. Open the instrument panel compartment door.
    6.  
    7. Pull the right lower instrument panel trim plate from the instrument panel.
    8.  
    9. Pull steering column tilt level and tilt the steering column to the lowest position.
    10.  
    11. Grasp the instrument panel cluster trim plate at the right edge, slowly pull an working from left to right, release the retainer clips. Lift the trim panel from the vehicle.
    12.  

  4.  
  5. Remove the screws holding the heater & A/C control panel to the instrument panel and gently pull the assembly from the instrument panel. Detach the electrical connector(s) from the back of the panel. Some models may have a vacuum line connection that must also be removed.
  6.  
  7. Installation is the reverse of the removal process. Use care to make sure the retaining clips are properly seated and all screws are in place. This helps avoid rattles and squeaks later.
  8.  

 
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