This 2006 Nissan Sentra came in with the complaint that the a/c would only blow out hot air and that the driver could not control where the air came out. It was stuck in the defrost position. The fault lies in the plastic housing for the HVAC control head breaking where the cables attach to it. The easy fix is a new control head assembly. The problem is a new control head can range from $300 -$500 usd depending on the year, options and where you purchase it from. A used control head assembly can be found for between $50 – $150 but you stand a good chance of winding up with the same problem. This repair will generally apply to 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003 ,2004, 2005 and 2006 year model Sentra’s.
The first step is to remove the trim panel around the lower half of the HVAC control head assembly. It pulls loose from the dash.
Then the screws for the control head trim panel can be removed.
Now the trim panel can be pulled from the dash. Once removed you will realize that the actual control head is held in place by four more screws and that it will not come out of the dash until some other components are removed.
The upper vent assembly will pull loose from the dash and then the hazard switch can be disconnected.
The radio can then be removed. This one does not have anti theft but if yours does you need to make sure you have the codes to re enter later or the radio may be locked.
Now the four screws that hold the assembly in place can be removed.
Looking back into the recesses of the dash you will see where the two controls cables go. You will need to work through this opening and under that dash in order to remove the cables from the door levers.
There will be clips like the one shown below at each end of the two cables for a total of four clips. Be sure not to damage or lose these clips. Take note of all cable positions. Be very sure which cable connects to which door and control knob gear. I look for the scratch marks that are left on the outside of the cable casings. Those marks help in making sure the cables are installed in the original locations.
Sadly I did not get any pictures of just how the plastic is broken and therefore will not allow the clips to stay in place. However what I did was used a small pair of locking pliers and plastic weld epoxy to hold the cables and clamps in place. I started by installing the correct cable and locking clip into the corresponding slots in the control head. I used the locking pliers to hold one side of a clip in place then started applying the epoxy around the clip and cable. I had to make sure the epoxy did not get on the steel cable or onto the locking pliers that I was working with. As one spot cured out I simply re positioned the locking pliers and epoxied another spot into place.
As you could see in the above pictures it took between 4 and 6 steps of clamping and applying epoxy to build up the surfaces so the cables would stay in position. Once everything had cured out it was just a matter off putting it all back together. It is a more difficult to re assemble that it was to take it apart but with a little time and patience it was fixed. With allowing enough time for the epoxy to cure the job should take between 1.5 and 3 hours. The cost was less than $5usd for the epoxy.