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Junk A/C heater air boxes on GM cars


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Hi all,

Can anyone tell me just what the heck is up with the cheap plastic air boxes on most higher end GM models made in the 90's ?

I've had several Cadillac, Oldsmobile, Buick models that the air boxes under the hood have just fallen apart for no reason.

Is there any recalls for this?

This is not one car, it is every one of the cars listed above. They all have falling apart air boxes. Touch the air box and it just crumbles.

How did GM get away with this?

Anyone have any or information input on this subject?

Thanks

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Hi all,

Can anyone tell me just what the heck is up with the cheap plastic air boxes on most higher end GM models made in the 90's ?

I've had several Cadillac, Oldsmobile, Buick models that the air boxes under the hood have just fallen apart for no reason.

Is there any recalls for this?

This is not one car, it is every one of the cars listed above. They all have falling apart air boxes. Touch the air box and it just crumbles.

How did GM get away with this?

Anyone have any or information input on this subject?

Thanks

i put that fire proof "Great Stuff" spray foam all over the hard plastic because that thing was a POS and ripped apart on it's way off (after the like 13 of those little bolts that hold it on. must be for strength..) and wasn't going to pay for another one. no fires yet but i don't think anyone would ever buy this thing from me again :o

next time i'll just duct tape and deal with warmer A/C

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It is somewhat common after years of heat cycling. Not sure why. Poor material I guess. Recalls are only for safety related items. Plus they don't degrade till long after the warranty has expired.

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I wonder at what point GM started using parts like this that has a finite life? How much of a difference in price would there have been if they used a plastic that would have lasted 25 years verses plastic that lasts 5 years?

You see, I had a discussion yesterday, once the head bolts started pulling in the 93 through 99 engines, at what point did the bean counters override the decision to go to a stronger bolt?, and how much would that have cost? What is the cost of maintaining a reputation?, $25 per engine?

There has been a lot of discussion of what happened to GM, I believe it was the bean counters with the make it last through warranty attitude

Pre-1995 - DTC codes OBD1  >>

1996 and newer - DTC codes OBD2 >> https://www.obd-codes.com/trouble_codes/gm/obd_codes.htm

How to check for codes Caddyinfo How To Technical Archive >> http://www.caddyinfo.com/wordpress/cadillac-how-to-faq/

Cadillac History & Specifications Year by Year  http://www.motorera.com/cadillac/index.htm

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I wonder at what point GM started using parts like this that has a finite life? How much of a difference in price would there have been if they used a plastic that would have lasted 25 years verses plastic that lasts 5 years?
I wonder if it was a conscious decision or just a supplier using the wrong compounds that no one was aware would have a problem in such a short time.
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They know how. The intake manifold is a plastic that handles lots of heat and lasts forever. However, the air cleaner box of my 1997 won't close over the air filter anymore and is loose in the fender. It's on my to-do list to remove everything and see what I can do, because Rock Auto doesn't carry the whole assembly and newcadillacparts wants $254.18 for the assembly. I have a pretty good local dealer and I think I can meet or beat any online price I find but...

CTS-V_LateralGs_6-2018_tiny.jpg
-- Click Here for CaddyInfo page on "How To" Read Your OBD Codes
-- Click Here for my personal page to download my OBD code list as an Excel file, plus other Cadillac data
-- See my CaddyInfo car blogs: 2011 CTS-V, 1997 ETC
Yes, I was Jims_97_ETC before I changed cars.

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I can imagine the AC housing group wasn't as vocal to have parts last past warranty as say the exhaust/muffler organization. I think it's amazing that the mufflers/exhaust systems on these cars are as good as they are. I expect my muffler to last forever. I guess the AC housing dept had the same representative as the gas tank filler line. :)

BTW, that AC housing seemed to be hit or miss. so it might have been a quality control issue. Mine is as plyable & strong as new, and I never did any preventative to it. My gas filler line was treated with rust proofing after it was 2 years old.

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"I wonder if it was a conscious decision or just a supplier using the wrong compounds that no one was aware would have a problem in such a short time. "

Every manufacturing decision like this one is deliberate - cost/risk. GM chose a less durable material because the risk of degradation of the part did not outweigh the added cost of a more durable material - chalk it up to bean counters and (in GM's case incompetent) management.

I'm not trying to beat a dead horse here but my '95 Jaguar XJS convertible has been far less troublesome than my '97 Eldorado. Of course there was a $20,000.00 price difference between the two ($43K vs. $63K). Did that $20 large buy increased durability and reliability in my Jaguar? I would have to say "yes"...

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My 1997 Eldorado heater box is fine, but my air cleaner box has apparently warped. I think it's a function of how the car was parked and stored, i.e. how many times has that plastic gotten to 160 F? I have had the good fortune not to have my car parked outside on hot summer days that often in its 12-year life.

The air cleaner box won't close and lock over the air cleaner, and it seems loose in the fender. It doesn't seem too bad and it's quite expensive. So, my to-do list includes taking it out, disassembling it, and seeing what I can do. If I can't get it back together locked on the air cleaner, and firm in the fender, my local Cadillac dealer gives DIY walk-ups quite good prices on parts.

CTS-V_LateralGs_6-2018_tiny.jpg
-- Click Here for CaddyInfo page on "How To" Read Your OBD Codes
-- Click Here for my personal page to download my OBD code list as an Excel file, plus other Cadillac data
-- See my CaddyInfo car blogs: 2011 CTS-V, 1997 ETC
Yes, I was Jims_97_ETC before I changed cars.

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My '96 has the original HVAC cover - it is not brittle at all. I replaced the brittle cover on my '97 STS when I had the engine out. It is not a matter of engineering them to "just get out of the warranty". The warranty on the mid 90s cars expired over 10 years ago... Nothing lasts forever.

Kevin
'93 Fleetwood Brougham
'05 Deville
'04 Deville
2013 Silverado Z71

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My '96 has the original HVAC cover - it is not brittle at all. I replaced the brittle cover on my '97 STS when I had the engine out. It is not a matter of engineering them to "just get out of the warranty". The warranty on the mid 90s cars expired over 10 years ago... Nothing lasts forever.

Expensive cars such as Cadillacs must last at least 20 years IMHO.

The saddest thing in life is wasted talent

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My 96 cover is not cracked or brittle either

Pre-1995 - DTC codes OBD1  >>

1996 and newer - DTC codes OBD2 >> https://www.obd-codes.com/trouble_codes/gm/obd_codes.htm

How to check for codes Caddyinfo How To Technical Archive >> http://www.caddyinfo.com/wordpress/cadillac-how-to-faq/

Cadillac History & Specifications Year by Year  http://www.motorera.com/cadillac/index.htm

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This whole thing is beginning to look like maybe, just maybe, the cracked box was taken from a salvage yard where the sun had at it for a few years before it was sold, or some such. Is whoever has the problem sure that his cracked heater box is the same one that the car had when new, and that no one else has had it out (and possibly broken and replaced it)?

Dealer techs can do strange things during warranty. My right-hand rear-view mirror was wiped off by gofers driving it through the car wash at least twice before my car had 30,000 miles. I could tell, because my car took 90 minutes to dry instead of ten minutes, and the mirror cover would smell like hot paint. ;)

CTS-V_LateralGs_6-2018_tiny.jpg
-- Click Here for CaddyInfo page on "How To" Read Your OBD Codes
-- Click Here for my personal page to download my OBD code list as an Excel file, plus other Cadillac data
-- See my CaddyInfo car blogs: 2011 CTS-V, 1997 ETC
Yes, I was Jims_97_ETC before I changed cars.

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My '96 has the original HVAC cover - it is not brittle at all. I replaced the brittle cover on my '97 STS when I had the engine out. It is not a matter of engineering them to "just get out of the warranty". The warranty on the mid 90s cars expired over 10 years ago... Nothing lasts forever.

Expensive cars such as Cadillacs must last at least 20 years IMHO.

Most cars will last 20 years with minor mantenance. No way will ANY car go 20 years without needing some kind of maintenance.

Kevin
'93 Fleetwood Brougham
'05 Deville
'04 Deville
2013 Silverado Z71

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My wife thinks I'm crazy, but after a trip, when I pull my car into the garage, I open the hood to let the engine compartment cool quickly. Heat soak is an enemy of not only plastic parts, but motor oil as well. It is also a parameter in the GMOLM, which tells me that it is very important to the life of many of the engine compartment components including the hoses, wiring, and various housings.

I'd also say that the degradation of the plastic depends on your annual average outside temp. If you live in Arizona for example, plastic stuff won't last as long as in Canada.

Never underestimate the amount of a persons greed.

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