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Old 05-08-2019, 06:22 PM   #1
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Default Clean GM Express Van Evaporator, Filter Install?

Has anyone attempted to clean the evaporator coil on their GM Express van? Also, I see there is a cabin air filter retrofit kit for GM trucks, and wonder if it would work on their vans.

After seeing the performance improvement of cleaning my house AC coils I thought it would help an older (2006) van's AC performance.
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Old 05-08-2019, 06:33 PM   #2
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Has anyone attempted to clean the evaporator coil on their GM Express van? Also, I see there is a cabin air filter retrofit kit for GM trucks, and wonder if it would work on their vans.

After seeing the performance improvement of cleaning my house AC coils I thought it would help an older (2006) van's AC performance.
I would have to look at the factory service manual (2007 which should be same) to see how much dash you have to take apart to get to the coil on both sides. Sometimes you have remove the entire dash, like I did on my wife's Tracer to replace the heater core. It may also be possible to find a spot where you could drill small hole in the ductwork and use compressed air to get the dirt out of the coil and hopefully out somewhere else.
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Old 05-09-2019, 01:59 AM   #3
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I would have to look at the factory service manual (2007 which should be same) to see how much dash you have to take apart to get to the coil on both sides.
I don't know why I didn't look at my 2006 manual, so thanks for mentioning it. The first thing I did was remove the resistor block. I could see the evaporator, and the plenum had a lot of leaves in it. I spent about 20 minutes vacuuming with a small hose, which didn't work very well, and using long tweezers to pull the leaves out. I then noticed the fan housing was close-by. It is very easy to remove the fan and gives much better access to the evaporator and plenum. It was much easier to clean out the leaves from the fan housing opening with a vacuum. The debris in the picture is only about half the amount that was in the plenum.

I then sprayed evaporator cleaner on the coils. After a few minutes I brushed the coils with a toothbrush and sprayed the cleaner off with a water nozzle. The bottom of the evaporator was still dirty so I sprayed cleaner on it and cleaned it as before.

There was some dirt buildup on the squirrel cage fan which my wife cleaned off.

I noticed some sort of grease was on the fan housing, which I assume was to help seal the fan housing to the casing. I cleaned it off and applied some Syl-glide grease to help seal it. I do not know why they did not use a foam rubber gasket to seal here.

I do not see a way to easily install a filter.

The AC seems to cool better with better airflow. As easy as this job is, I will check it next year to see how much debris buildup occurs.
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File Type: png Plenum Debris.png (435.4 KB, 24 views)
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Old 05-09-2019, 02:08 AM   #4
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I don't know why I didn't look at my 2006 manual, so thanks for mentioning it. The first thing I did was remove the resistor block. I could see the evaporator, and the plenum had a lot of leaves in it. I spent about 20 minutes vacuuming with a small hose, which didn't work very well, and using long tweezers to pull the leaves out. I then noticed the fan housing was close-by. It is very easy to remove the fan and gives much better access to the evaporator and plenum. It was much easier to clean out the leaves from the fan housing opening with a vacuum. The debris in the picture is only about half the amount that was in the plenum.

I then sprayed evaporator cleaner on the coils. After a few minutes I brushed the coils with a toothbrush and sprayed the cleaner off with a water nozzle. The bottom of the evaporator was still dirty so I sprayed cleaner on it and cleaned it as before.

There was some dirt buildup on the squirrel cage fan which my wife cleaned off.

I noticed some sort of grease was on the fan housing, which I assume was to help seal the fan housing to the casing. I cleaned it off and applied some Syl-glide grease to help seal it. I do not know why they did not use a foam rubber gasket to seal here.

I do not see a way to easily install a filter.

The AC seems to cool better with better airflow. As easy as this job is, I will check it next year to see how much debris buildup occurs.
I can see by your pictures nothing changed from your model to my '2011. I heard some leaves in my blower this Spring and would like to check mine for debris as well.

So all I have to do is unplug the fan motor power wire and remove a few bolts on the fan housing?
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Old 05-09-2019, 02:23 AM   #5
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I can see by your pictures nothing changed from your model to my '2011. I heard some leaves in my blower this Spring and would like to check mine for debris as well.

So all I have to do is unplug the fan motor power wire and remove a few bolts on the fan housing?
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3 small screws on the fan housing and 2 on the resistor block: 5.5-mm or 7/32-in socket. I suggest you remove both.
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Old 05-09-2019, 02:58 AM   #6
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3 small screws on the fan housing and 2 on the resistor block: 5.5-mm or 7/32-in socket. I suggest you remove both.
Thanks. I'm handy enough, but would not have attempted cleaning in there had you not posted.
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Old 05-09-2019, 03:13 AM   #7
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Great information, petco, it will go in the memory banks in case needed later. I think we tend to stay much cleaner in the air inlet area than most because the van doesn't sit outside unless we are traveling. Seems to make a big difference in a lot of things like this.

It will be interesting to see if you get better cooling now. We have found the AC to be plenty strong in the front are while driving, even in the 100-105* heat we hit on our last trip, along with full sun. Hardly ever took it off low speed. We always run in recirc mode though (max air setting on the knob which really helps, especially with lowering humidity.
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Old 05-09-2019, 03:18 AM   #8
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Great information, petco, it will go in the memory banks in case needed later. I think we tend to stay much cleaner in the air inlet area than most because the van doesn't sit outside unless we are traveling. Seems to make a big difference in a lot of things like this.

It will be interesting to see if you get better cooling now. We have found the AC to be plenty strong in the front are while driving, even in the 100-105* heat we hit on our last trip, along with full sun. Hardly ever took it off low speed. We always run in recirc mode though (max air setting on the knob which really helps, especially with lowering humidity.
It is so easy to check by removing the resistor block I suggest you just do it. I didn't mention it but there was some fine debris at the bottom that was holding moisture, which could promote corrosion or mold. Also, dust on the evaporator could affect efficiency, though it sounds like yours is working well.
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Old 05-09-2019, 03:28 AM   #9
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I just detailed my engine bay Monday, so no reason the fan compartment should not be as clean on the inside as on the outside.
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Old 05-09-2019, 03:31 AM   #10
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Forgot to mention, to access the blower motor housing you need to remove the coolant overflow tank hold-down bolt and move the tank to the side.
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