The air-condition in my 1978 Biarritz did not work correctly. For some reason the system always stayed in full AC mode and no matter to where I put the temperature dial on the control head I could not get the heat on, no matter what I tried. The shop manual is very helpful in trouble shooting the system. Its covered in the 1977 factory shop manual (FSM) as there were no changes made to the system in 1978. It took me a while to fully understand how the system works - so I had to read the FSM multiple times to get the grip what is going on in the system.
First I inspected all the vacuum lines in the car to make sure that there was no leak anywhere, as the heating mode requires a very high vacuum at the vacuum motor in the controller. All lines were in very good condition. I also checked the control head connections in the dash which were good as well. I then suspected the vacuum motor in the programmer as it did not move. I removed the programmer from the car. You can access it from underneath the dash on the passenger side or even better if you remove the glove box lining through the glove box. From there you only have to unscrew 5 screws, unplug the wires and the vacuum lines to get it out.
When I had it out of the car I checked the vacuum motor. I just sucked air through the hose and it moved and held vacuum perfectly. The transducer or the amplifier in the programmer were most likely the problem. When I checked the transducer which regulates the vacuum supply to the vacuum motor, I noticed that it seemed to not be connected to the electrical board as it should. I pressed it in, so that it made good contact with the board again and put the programmer back into the car and connected everything again.
I started the car and the AC came back to life again immediately. I could see how the vacuum motor went through all the modes as it should according to the position of the temperature dial on the control head. The build quality of the programmer obviously is not very good and the transducer somehow came loose causing the ATC to not work as it should. ***Update 2015 - it did no come loose but the soldering points broke*** After I tested everything I put the parts back together and can now enjoy a full working ATC in my 78 Biarritz again ;-)
The programmer as seen through the glove box with the connectors and the plastic case removed
The 1977 / 1978 Eldorado MK II Automatic Temperature Control Programmer
The transducer which caused the problem (the golden part with the single vacuum line going into it)
Today I managed to solve the issue with the partly non working Automatic Climate Control of my 1967 Eldorado. As described in the entries below, the blower would only come on in full heat modes when the car was accelerating. The AC of the Eldorado is very similar to the one from the DeVille btw. I suspected a vacuum leak somewhere in the system. Troubleshooting began with going through all the vacuum hoses. I replaced some which were a little worn out at the connectors. I also cut off the ends of most hoses, as they were all becoming a little loose during the last 40 years. I then plugged them in again. Not much did change though. When I came to the hose of the hot water valve and the delay relay, I had the first success. At least the blower motor would stay on in all “Auto” modes, even when the car was idling - but would still go off in “Fog” and “Ice”. I then suspected a leak in the power servo or in the dash controller. So I installed the power servo from my 67 DeVille where everything works perfectly, to be able to rule out any problems. Nothing changed though - the blower would still come on and off depending on the throttle position.
I then soon found the culprit of the whole issue - it was the master vacuum switch - which seems to have a problem with the internal electric switch. As I had a spare one around I installed it - and voilá - everything worked as it should. It always looked good when I checked it before. I´m very happy that everything is back in working order. The only thing which I still have to repair is the fast idle diaphragm which completely dried out and is no longer functioning. Fortunately I do have a spare 429 engine in the garage from where I can grab and use this part - so I will repair it soon. I then need a new condenser which is already on the way across the Atlantic coming from Old Auto Air. By the way - Cadillactim has an excellent trouble shooting guide for the ACC on his website.
The evaporator had to be replaced as well along with the heater core. This is a pretty big task as you can see on the pictures below. You even have to remove the hood to get access to the whole unit. The fiberglass AC enclosure had to be repaired at my car as well as the previous owner tried to repair the evaporator and missed a screw and made a tear into the enclosure. The restoration shop repaired this professionally and it looks like new now.
The best troubleshooting guide for 1967 and 1968 Cadillac´s Automatic Climate Control Systems I got today from Gary Sisk - owner of a 1968 Cadillac. This is a very easy to follow explanation which will save you a lot of time and you do not even need any special tools. It was written by Lynn Nicholls and can be found on Stampies Cadillac page - here is the direct link to it.
Below you can find some pictures of my system:
The whole AC unit has to be removed to get access to the evaporator and heater core... The slight surface rust that showed up where the gaskets were, was removed as well of course... The big hole on the left is where the blower motor is installed.
This is where the AC box usually is installed
You can see how much has be removed just to get to the evaporator and heater core...
I discovered the first issue at the hot water valve The hoses around the time relay delay were leaking a little bit For testing purposes I hung a spare master vacuum switch into the car - this solved the problem The old fast idle diaphragm was leaking and brittle and was replaced with a better one... The 1967 Cadillac Automatic Climate Control Vacuum Schematic from the shop manual - 1968 is almost identical BTW... Click on the image for a larger view!
Here is a video about the Master Switch that a gentleman posted on youtube