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Digital climate control write-up? Craig's is long gone

Old 05-25-2013, 11:33 AM
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Digital climate control write-up? Craig's is long gone

Anybody have it and/or a part list? I'm at the JY and stumbled across a GXE with mint auto climate control so figure I'll grab it but I can't find what all I need. I already have the unit itself, the sensor from the defrost vent at the top of the dash, the hose that goes down to the airbox. I know there's a sensor behind the grille but this was wrecked in the front so that's destroyed.

Does anybody else know what I need? Or have a good link to the parts list?
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Old 05-25-2013, 10:01 PM
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You tellin me my 92 gxe had an optional digital cc? Sounds alot nicer than the manual cc. Id love to know how to do the swap myself, James. How much time/money would something like that cost to do myself?
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Old 05-25-2013, 10:13 PM
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Control Unit with connectors
Fan control amp w/connector (replaces resistor behind glove box)
Sunload sensor
Ambient sensor (behind grille)
Cabin sensor (stereo trim)
Intake sensor
Air mix door motor with connector, linkage and mounting hardware (screw connecting linkage a must).
4 pin connector from intake motor.
Brown connector from mode door motor (you can also splice into the factory one)


Craig's wiring info had errors. Easier to go off of the wiring diagrams anyway. You can find the specific locations of all the parts I listed in the FSM also. You can remove and install everything by taking out the the bottom half of the dash, you don't have to pull the whole thing. Removing and installing the air mix motor linkage is a pain in the ***. You really don't need the ambient sensor for the system to work in manual mode, which kind of defeats the purpose. Personally I never use AUTO mode. I prefer to control whether or not my fans are on and at which speed. Also, the reliability of the control units are horrible. Your control unit might be in mint condition because it was never touched, and was in AUTO mode for 20 years, and could very well be dead because of it. It seems even the engineers don't know the exact cause of the problem because there are several revisions with different modifications done to them by hand, none of which worked. Yours could also work perfectly fine, so don't assume it's dead. If it is dead I do have a "fix" but it doesn't address the problem, it bypasses it.

Your A/C might also not work after the conversion, the control unit interacts with the ECU to turn on the relay, and even when connecting the wire from the control unit to the ECU, my A/C relay would not turn on. The manual system also has a "max cold relay" in addition to the compressor relay to make it even more confusing. I simply haven't ever been motivated enough to put my other projects aside and track down the exact problem. All of my wiring is correct, with or without the max cold relay installed, my compressor relay will not turn on with the auto system and never has. My assumption is that the ACC system requires a specific ECU.

So it's not exactly a simple straight forward conversion. You have to make your own harness because the factory harness is tied/wrapped into all the other wiring. So be prepared, it's not what I would call "fun". Not the hardest thing I've done to my car, but probably the least fun because of dealing with dead control units, fan control amps and the AC problem.

Last edited by Hectic; 05-25-2013 at 10:22 PM.
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Old 05-25-2013, 10:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Hectic View Post
Control Unit with connectors
Fan control amp w/connector (replaces resistor behind glove box)
Sunload sensor
Ambient sensor (behind grille)
Cabin sensor (stereo trim)
Intake sensor
Air mix door motor with connector, linkage and mounting hardware (screw connecting linkage a must).
4 pin connector from intake motor.
Brown connector from mode door motor (you can also splice into the factory one)


Craig's wiring info had errors. Easier to go off of the wiring diagrams anyway. You can find the specific locations of all the parts I listed in the FSM also. You can remove and install everything by taking out the the bottom half of the dash, you don't have to pull the whole thing. Removing and installing the air mix motor linkage is a pain in the ***. You really don't need the ambient sensor for the system to work in manual mode, which kind of defeats the purpose. Personally I never use AUTO mode. I prefer to control whether or not my fans are on and at which speed. Also, the reliability of the control units are horrible. Your control unit might be in mint condition because it was never touched, and was in AUTO mode for 20 years, and could very well be dead because of it. It seems even the engineers don't know the exact cause of the problem because there are several revisions with different modifications done to them by hand, none of which worked. Yours could also work perfectly fine, so don't assume it's dead. If it is dead I do have a "fix" but it doesn't address the problem, it bypasses it.

Your A/C might also not work after the conversion, the control unit interacts with the ECU to turn on the relay, and even when connecting the wire from the control unit to the ECU, my A/C relay would not turn on. The manual system also has a "max cold relay" in addition to the compressor relay to make it even more confusing. I simply haven't ever been motivated enough to put my other projects aside and track down the exact problem. All of my wiring is correct, with or without the max cold relay installed, my compressor relay will not turn on with the auto system and never has. My assumption is that the ACC system requires a specific ECU.

So it's not exactly a simple straight forward conversion. You have to make your own harness because the factory harness is tied/wrapped into all the other wiring. So be prepared, it's not what I would call "fun". Not the hardest thing I've done to my car, but probably the least fun because of dealing with dead control units, fan control amps and the AC problem.
Thanks, yeah, I don't plan on doing this anytime soon and may not even ever do it at all. I just saw the control unit was mint and (yes I mean physically mint, like you said I realize it may not even work) and since this weekend is half off I figure why not, never know when I'll come across another.

It can be a future project or just sell it in the future if somebody else wants to buy the "kit". Since it's half off weekend for Memorial day I got the actual control unit and those two other sensors for $30ish bucks. The rest of the stuff will all be pocket items tomorrow hopefully, so really this isn't even going to cost me even $40 total in parts.

So I'm confused - you do or do not have a successful auto conversion? It seems like in your first paragraph you do, but then in your next to last paragraph it seems like it's not working. Or is it that it works but you had to do a bypass/work-around to get the compressor relay to turn on?

I found an old thread from awsm66/Michael who did the conversion with Craig's help and he posted the parts necessary but not any sort of write-up. Do you think those two guys just happened to have compatible ECU's that let the conversion work just as factory?
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Old 05-25-2013, 11:29 PM
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My conversion's worked perfectly fine for 6 years aside from the A/C not turning on. I simply don't use AC anymore although you can easily wire up a switch to manually turn on the compressor relay. I just haven't bothered to do it. Mike and Craig had VE's, so it's possible the VE ECU was ACC ready. I have a VG-5 which never offered with ACC. Some VE-5's did have ACC, I actually had one, it was a Canadian model though. I also forgot to mention on my conversion, I even tried installing the thermo control amp which only came on the later ACC models. Didn't make a difference. Anyway, the ECU factors in a lot of different things such as engine load and speed to determine whether or not the compressor should be on or not, regardless of the signal from the control unit. It needs to have this functionality built in, which is why I suspect the VG-5 ECU does not support ACC, since it was never offered with it.
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Old 05-26-2013, 10:30 AM
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So does this look like I got everything?

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I was a bit confused about the "intake sensor". My FSM drawings didn't look like anything I saw on the car. The FSM drawing shows the "intake sensor" to be on the top half of the evaporator box above and to the right of that crescent clip in the center which holds the box together. This car had nothing up there. My best guess at the "intake sensor" was the black box thing in my picture with the numbers (45000 yada yada). Is that the "intake sensor"? Unfortunately I notice now that I'm home that I failed to get the harness that plugs into said black box.

If the black box isn't the intake sensor is it the white/yellow harness to the right of said black box in my picture? I cut out almost all the stuff I could find so hopefully I have everything.

Also, is that brown connector with the black and green/red wire the connector you mention for the mode door motor? Once I got everything out I remembered I needed that so I cut out the only brown connector I could find that was left.
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Old 05-26-2013, 04:52 PM
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Yep that's pretty much everything. The black box is the thermo control amp. Good you grabbed that return spring which I forgot to list. The intake sensor is indeed the part with the white and yellow connector. You didn't get the mode door motor connector, but again, you can just use the factory one and splice into the wires that connect to the control unit.
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Old 05-27-2013, 01:42 PM
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Haha, hey what's up Hectic remember me? James you still in the UTD area? I'm still in Plano. I think I still have the writeup printed out somewhere I'll have to look. It sounds like you're doing the pick and pull sale this weekend.
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Old 05-27-2013, 05:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Hectic View Post
Yep that's pretty much everything. The black box is the thermo control amp. Good you grabbed that return spring which I forgot to list. The intake sensor is indeed the part with the white and yellow connector. You didn't get the mode door motor connector, but again, you can just use the factory one and splice into the wires that connect to the control unit.
So did I need that harness that plugs into the thermo control amp? If so I'll have to go back next weekend I guess. Do you by any chance have a picture of the door motor connector? That way if I go back I can cut it out too assuming I can find it.


Originally Posted by generation3 View Post
Haha, hey what's up Hectic remember me? James you still in the UTD area? I'm still in Plano. I think I still have the writeup printed out somewhere I'll have to look. It sounds like you're doing the pick and pull sale this weekend.
Wow man didn't realize you're still around. You still have your third gen or do you just lurk from time to time? I haven't been in Richardson area in quite a while. I work in Mesquite now. Yep my main goal from the half off weekend was to get a manual transmission pedal assembly that has cruise control for my Civic. I have everything else for the swap except the cruise-control specific pedal assembly. No luck at any of the yards unfortunately. I went to 2nd Ave, 310, and Walton Walker locations.
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Old 05-28-2013, 12:34 AM
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Originally Posted by generation3 View Post
Haha, hey what's up Hectic remember me?
Oh yeah. Still have one of boxes you sent.

Originally Posted by James92SE View Post
So did I need that harness that plugs into the thermo control amp? If so I'll have to go back next weekend I guess. Do you by any chance have a picture of the door motor connector? That way if I go back I can cut it out too assuming I can find it.
You probably should go ahead and get the thermo connector if the car had a thermo amp. It only came on later models, so the control unit might require it on those ones. Not sure though. And don't listen to what I said about the mode door harness, you definitely need to get it if you want a clean install, it also makes it easy to revert back to manual if you ever wanted to. I think it was Craig's write up which said "you can use the one in your car" and I think he just meant chop it off. Most if not all of the wires go directly to the control unit, so it doesn't make sense splicing into the stock one like I said. It's been so long, I mixed up what I did with what the write up said. The way I went about it was to make the custom harness as independent from the manual wiring as possible. I don't have a picture, but you can find the location on HA-48. It's pretty easy to find, and you can get one from any 3rd gen.

Last edited by Hectic; 05-28-2013 at 12:40 AM.
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Old 05-28-2013, 07:11 PM
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James92SE , Yes I still have the maxima, but every month its a new problem. Just replaced the alternator, which was only 3 years old, and now I've got a leak in the fuel line. I might still have some spare parts from the ACC stuff I pulled. Its at parents house so I'll have to dig around for it. You any good with VGs?

Hectic, glad to hear it, I got ton's of random parts laying around still.
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Old 05-31-2013, 08:49 PM
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awesome thread, its nice to know there can be other issues with the acc conversion

i have a link to Craigs page on my PC, or is that "internet way back machine" no longer working as well?

also Hectic got the package just havnt been messing with any car stuff..

also. I found making the ACC harness to be "fun"
i hope thats not the end of the fun (although its sounding like it)
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Old 05-31-2013, 09:20 PM
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Originally Posted by DMad8724 View Post
awesome thread, its nice to know there can be other issues with the acc conversion

i have a link to Craigs page on my PC, or is that "internet way back machine" no longer working as well?

also Hectic got the package just havnt been messing with any car stuff..

also. I found making the ACC harness to be "fun"
i hope thats not the end of the fun (although its sounding like it)
Ok, I was beginning to wonder, and your inbox is full. Now I can shred this UPS invoice.. Have you at least opened the box?

What I meant about the ACC being the least fun, has to do more with diagnosing and working on the control units and fan control amps, and the inability to find replacement components or even datasheets on them.
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Old 05-31-2013, 09:37 PM
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I was on http://classic-web.archive.org/ and they have several of Craig's articles but not the climate control swap.

http://classic-web.archive.org/web/2...ock/clock.html
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Old 01-02-2014, 04:39 PM
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Old 01-04-2014, 12:04 AM
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Originally Posted by DMad8724 View Post
nice mod
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Old 07-28-2018, 07:51 PM
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Unless I missed it or it doesn't exist, I have the automatic a/c with the digital display. The unti works, but the display does not work at all. These units are almost impossible to find used, refurbed, etc... Has anyone done or know where I can find instructions to convert my system to a manual control unit? The manual units are for sale all over the place and I don't care if I have to push a button to turn on the a/c or slide a bar to change the temperature.

Thanks in advance,

Joey

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Old 07-28-2018, 10:45 PM
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i dont know for sure, but the issue you may run into is the non-digital one may be cable operated so you would have to change all that over too
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Old 07-30-2018, 01:47 PM
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I have fixed several of those units. Its a bad solder joint on the board. I dont remember where but i found it poking around with a toothpick when i took the unit apart and plugged it back in.
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Old 08-01-2018, 01:24 PM
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Yes, at this age the PCB should be re-soldered. Do all joints, perhaps if you have access to a soldering stations like I do it is easier than with an iron. But I fix tons of old electronic devices by just re-soldering everything on the PCB. Interchanging cold and heat, vibration, and age cause every solder joint to develop microscopic fractures around pins eventually. Of course access to an oscilloscope is a huge advantage in this business, as if re-soldering does not help, a multimeter is a very limited aid.

And the behind-the-bumper sensor is just a thermo-resistor, so the actual component in the black box may be fine after a front end collision. When my Max was in one, the bumper plastic just sliced through the cable and the sensor worked fine after I removed some compound from the box to expose pins and re-soldered the wires to the pins.

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Old 08-12-2018, 05:30 AM
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Originally Posted by tmuscedere View Post
I have fixed several of those units. Its a bad solder joint on the board. I dont remember where but i found it poking around with a toothpick when i took the unit apart and plugged it back in.
Are you sure you didn't mean to say it partially worked, and that you had to fix the same unit several times? That is usually the case.
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Old 08-13-2018, 04:33 PM
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No. Exactly as i said. I have fixed several of these for other people and my own. The problem has always been bad solder joints on the board. I have never replaced a resistor or transistor. Just a matter of finding out where the bad solder joint is on the board. The boards always worked good after and never ended up repairing one a second time.
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Old 08-17-2018, 05:32 AM
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You are talking about the climate control right? The only bad solder joints I have ever seen are crummy ones on the transistor that overheats. Resoldering has never worked, and if you have 100% success rate with that, then you have to be the luckiest guy on flat earth. I know how to repair the problem, and it is not by simple re-soldering. It is a fault in the power supply circuit.
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