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jeffhoward001

Moisture Issue Won't Defog

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I'm really hoping someone can give me an early Christmas present here...

 

We have a super irritating issue that's actually becoming unsafe. For the first two years of ownership our Journey had no issues with the windows fogging up. In fact it de-fogged them way faster than our older cars.

 

However starting last year, any time the temp drops below freezing, the inside windows start to build up moisture. It's starts off like a regular foggy window, but instead of getting better as the car warms up, it gets worse. It's also worse the colder it gets.

 

For example, we're a big skiing family, and on out last trip to the mountain it got down into the teens, and there was literally dripping moisture on the side windows, and I had to keep the defrost on full-blast for the entire trip just to keep the wind shield clear.

 

Needless to say, something about the freezing temps is creating moisture in the climate system. A few weeks ago, the dealer said it was the cabin filter and the refrigerate was low, but that clearly wasn't it because it's still doing it.

 

I've done a lot of searching on the forum and found one guy with a similar issue, but no solution :(

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well it def inst the cabin air filter and second find a different dealership if he thinks it could be that.from what i know i believe its your air conditioning unit not working properly....i guess you are out of the warranty time period as you give no details on year of the veh, or  mileage....... find a good dealership or air conditioning shop.

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If it was a coolant leak you'd smell it, so that likely isn't it.  But have them check the drain under the air conditioning and heater cores to see if it isn't clogged.

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Depending on what trim level you have, if it has automatic climate control it should be regulating the moisture by itself. If not, make sure the A/C is always on when the heat is running. When it is cold outside relying strictly on the heat itself causes the air to get dry and the moisture from breathing to fog up the windows. 

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Thanks for posting, I am having the same problem. It didn’t seem to be an issue the first few years (we bought our 2012 Crew new, but in the last few years we have had problems with moisture accumulation, particularly in cold weather (we are in Winnipeg). We took it in while still under warranty a few years ago and they performed some kind of climate system flush. Didn’t seem to improve anything to be honest. We’ve had a coupler milder winters so we didn’t notice it as much. Today, couldn’t keep the windows clear to save my life. Had to keep fan on max, mostly on full defrost (floor/defrost blend setting wasn’t sufficient) and had to drive with windows cracked open. Also, my rear heat now only blows cold air. Very frustrating.

 

I am beginning to suspect that either the drain tube is blocked, and/or that the recirculation is stuck on, in both cases causing moisture to accumulate. 

 

Has as anyone else experienced these issues? Any solutions?

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At -35 the compressor running is irrelevant; there is basically no moisture in the outdoor air.

 

I did some further diagnosis today and I believe I have found found the problem. First, I tried to reset the electronics by pulling the ground cable from the firewall for half a day, but with no effect. Recirc still seems inoperative. So, I pulled the glove box and the cabin air filter, which allows you to see the recirc door which is located behind the glove box and above the blower. The recirc actuator is on the right side of the cabin air filter housing. My recirc door is stuck in the recirc position; the actuator doesn't seem to operate at all. Because of this, my vehicle is not drawing in any fresh (outdoor) air, and instead is recirculating the humid interior air,  which becomes more and more humid because it is trapping the air from myself and my five passengers which at -30 temps quickly causes massive frost build-up on the inside of the windows.

 

I checked and due to the cold weather, all the local auto parts stores are sold-out of the actuator (jobber/aftermarket version, price is about $55, FYI). NAPA is supposed to be bringing one in for me tomorrow. I'll report back once I've had a chance to pick it up and swap it for the old one. I asked the parts guy, and apparently these actuators sometimes make a loud clicking noise when they fail (stripped gears), but more often they just go dead. I just experienced the exact same issue on a family member's 2008 Impala, but that one was making the loud clicking and therefore much easier to diagnose.

 

Quarters are tight, but otherwise this looks to be a fairly simple replacement job (famous last words). Fingers crossed that this will work. I'll let you know.

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Glad you figured it out!  I would have thought for sure it was the AC system.  What your are saying makes perfect sense.  Fortunately for me I don’t see -25 on a regular basis..lol. Although today it was -3 about 6 am.  A balmy 5 now....gotta love winter! NOT!

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12 minutes ago, OhareFred said:

Glad you figured it out!  I would have thought for sure it was the AC system.  What your are saying makes perfect sense.  Fortunately for me I don’t see -25 on a regular basis..lol. Although today it was -3 about 6 am.  A balmy 5 now....gotta love winter! NOT!

The best thing about -25C is that salt becomes inactive and your car stays clean!  Us Prairie people and our cars are quite hardy!

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14 hours ago, data1701 said:

At -35 the compressor running is irrelevant; there is basically no moisture in the outdoor air.

 

I did some further diagnosis today and I believe I have found found the problem. First, I tried to reset the electronics by pulling the ground cable from the firewall for half a day, but with no effect. Recirc still seems inoperative. So, I pulled the glove box and the cabin air filter, which allows you to see the recirc door which is located behind the glove box and above the blower. The recirc actuator is on the right side of the cabin air filter housing. My recirc door is stuck in the recirc position; the actuator doesn't seem to operate at all. Because of this, my vehicle is not drawing in any fresh (outdoor) air, and instead is recirculating the humid interior air,  which becomes more and more humid because it is trapping the air from myself and my five passengers which at -30 temps quickly causes massive frost build-up on the inside of the windows.

 

I checked and due to the cold weather, all the local auto parts stores are sold-out of the actuator (jobber/aftermarket version, price is about $55, FYI). NAPA is supposed to be bringing one in for me tomorrow. I'll report back once I've had a chance to pick it up and swap it for the old one. I asked the parts guy, and apparently these actuators sometimes make a loud clicking noise when they fail (stripped gears), but more often they just go dead. I just experienced the exact same issue on a family member's 2008 Impala, but that one was making the loud clicking and therefore much easier to diagnose.

 

Quarters are tight, but otherwise this looks to be a fairly simple replacement job (famous last words). Fingers crossed that this will work. I'll let you know.

You should video the process, it sure would help others with the same issue.

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Success! I installed the new actuator and the issue is resolved. I don't wish this job on my worst enemy. The quarters are extremely tight. It would almost have been worth it t completely remove the passenger seat to gain some extra room to work. You have to completely remove the glove box, and you will need to remove the first screw on the recoil for the glove box and then swivel it up and out of the way. Then, remove the harness on the actuator, and at this point I tested the new actuator by plugging it in, and used the recirc button ti operate it to ensure 1) it works, and 2) that it is positioned correctly so that it will line up with the splines on the recirc door shaft. With all that verified, you can remove the top screw. I used a 1/4" drive ratchet with a phillips bit to loosen the screw, and then finished removing it by finger. You will find that being small (I am not - at 6'1") and flexible will help your cause. I am neither, so this was slow, frustrating going.

 

For the second screw, which is further back and near the bottom of the actuator, you will have to remove the first harness from the BCM (or whatever module is inside and to the right behind the glove box, as it is completely in the way of the screw); careful not to break the lever/clip. This screw is even more difficult. Once both screws are removed, you can wiggle the actuator off the shaft. Then install the new actuator, reverse the steps and voila. All done. Good luck!

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