Interior Air Filter...Ugh !

What a horrible location Buick picked to put the interior air filter. I went through the extra effort of removing the lower dash trim on the right & left sides of the dash. The driver side didn't have to come off
after all but I found out after the fact that removal was not necessary.
The filter is located between the firewall & Air box, inline with the center hump in the floor. You have to have the hands of a contortionist to get your hand above and to the right of the gas pedal. Flip a panel down then another one up and then pull a tab to pull the filter out.
I found out my blower motor is under the dash on the passenger side. Lots of spaghetti under there, wires running all over the place. I removed the lower right side of the dash trim just to look under there.
Both left & right lower dash trim pieces have three things that have to be removed from them in order to remove them out of the car, A air temp sensor twists out, a wire harness has to be unclipped and a second wire harness for the footwell lights have to be unplugged as well.
The owners manual doesn't explain filter removal procedures, but says to contact a GM dealer about replacement. It does say if you do remove it, it don't need to be reinstalled. You can leave it out but then the air coming in won't be filtered.
About 6 tiny oval leaves and a bamboo twig fell on the rug when I pulled the filter out. Part of the filter frame broke trying to get it back in. You really got to spring it to make the bend into the hole and clear the gas pedal. The frame is plastic and is notched out so it can be bent back & forth.
An airhose cleaned the filter out good. Mine is 3 inches high by about 10 inches long. You can almost see though it, its so thin.
The Owners manual says to inspect the filter at 15,000 miles & replace every 30,000. Ha ha ha ! Not after what I went through today. I don't know what these fiters cost, but I've heard some vehicles filters were up around $30.00
I may eventually leave the interior air filter out altogether. Afterall I'm old school & all my previous cars didn't have one and 25 years of non filtered air didn't seem to be a problem for me back then or the millions of other folks driving GM cars.
A Goodwrench friend changed the original Gas Filter today, it took about two minutes to R & R the filter. Mine has the easy squeeze plastic clip on one end. It took longer to jack the car up & set the jackstand in place than it did to R & R the filter.
At 60,000 I'll change the gas filter myself.
Harryface 05 Park Avenue, 29,612 91 Bonneville LE 304,246
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while the guy comes in with the cabin air filter and says it needs to be replaced, it was almost black. I didn't even know my model had one. Anyway cost was $31.00 Have no idea where it is located, but if mine is as difficult as yours sounds, I think that for the price I'll let them do it every 30,000 or so.
--
Paul O.
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wrote:

It's at the base of the windshield, passenger side. As another poster said, park the wipers partway up the window, then remove the cowl and it's easy access.
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I replaced the cabin filter on my 98 Park Avenue. What a job! The filter is in THREE sections that interlock. It sounds like you only removed the lower third of the filter if it's only three inches high. I did the same thing and when I went to NAPA to buy a replacement I realized I had only removed the bottom section of the filter. It was a big job replacing the filter. You have to insert one section of three and then push the first section upward so you can slide in the second section which interlocks with the first and the third is the same as the second. It's a bear! I don't know if they are all that way but thought I would pass this along in case you only got the bottom third out of the air cabinet.

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Nelson,
It looks like your right about that being a three piece filter. I saw something drop part way down after I got the lowest fliter out, I just thought it was some sort of guide track to guide the filter into place.
Looks like I'll have to go back into hell again and pull out the other two sections.
Do you remember what you paid for the filters?
Thanks,
Harryface 05 Park Avenue, 29,612 91 Bonneville LE 304,246
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If I recall correctly it was around $40.00 at the NAPA store and much higher at the dealership. I thought about not replacing it but when I saw all the crud on that filter that might end up in my A/C evaporator if I didn't replace it, I went ahead and did it. Each of the three sections has a guide track that interlocks with the section next to it. I put a little spray silicone on the tracks before I tried to install them so they would slide together easier. Without the silicone I couldn't get them to slide together. I agree with you, it's Hell! Good luck.

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After I sent you that last e-mail I called the NAPA store and they said the price was $24.00. It's been a while since I did it and I didn't remember correctly. Since you have a car that's still under warranty I would replace it. I wouldn't want to give the dealership any reason not to fix the A/C if something went wrong, i.e. claiming that not replacing the filter clogged the evaporator, etc.

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Nelson,
I bought a new filter today and indeed it is three individual panels that have a guide track track frame to hold the three together.
What an ingenious piece of engineering that could of been simplified into a one piece filter like most other car's. And, It could of been put in an easier location.
I discovered it wasn't as hard as I thought it would be reinstalling each filter individually. Patience had to be used to line up the guide track. I did spray each filter frame with WD -40. I was surprised that each filter stayed up after it was pushed upward into the filter box. Lining up the guides were the tricky part. I found it easier to guide the filter in from behind the gas pedal bracket and work in from in front of the brake pedal and then curl the filter your trying to insert.
What made the job much easier was to place a board about 5 feet long and 12 inches wide on top of the door sill opening. The opposite end is supported by a 2 X 4 and 5 gallon bucket. Now you can lay flat on your back and work more comfortably than trying to lay across the floor & door sill with your body bent and legs & knees bent at odd angles.
Terry --- Your idea of trying to attach some cheap filter material to the filter frames would be impossible to do with this style filter. You'd understand if you saw the actual filters ( 3 interlocking ) for this car. Where the filter are installed, your working with an opening of 3/4 wide by 3" high. These filter frames are fragile and break very easy. If you break one and trying pulling it out next time your pulling the filter webbing apart - if that filter material breaks then you risk leaving half the filter in the air box.
I don't want to think about how you would go about trying to remove a four inch piece of filter that broke off and is stuck up there in the air box somewhere.
With my discount at the dealer a buddy works at the filter was $31.00, list price is $43.00
Harryface 05 Park Avenue, 29,612 91 Bonneville LE 304,246
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I bought some of the filter material from Wal-Mart, the electrostatic kind for your house. Cut it into the right size piece and cut the old filter material out of the frame to the filter you have. Put the new filter element in the frame, and away you go. Virtually a life time supply for five or six dollars. Terry

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If you swap out the filter media you have to make sure the new material has the same resistance to air flow as the old, otherwise, you create a back-pressure on the blower motor that will shorten its life considerably.

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Nelson Reifsnider wrote:

Anything pretty much, would be better then an old filter packed full of crud. (O:

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That's not always true. Putting in a filter media that is highly restrictive would be as bad if not worse than an old filter packed with crud. Both create a back pressure on the blower motor. Additionally, the wrong media would clog sooner than the recommended replacement interval further exacerbating the problem. It's best to use a filter that's designed for that specific application.

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The manual with my 05 Century places the pollen filter on the engine side of the fire wall. Wiper blades are to be parked in the up position then the 4 screws removed to gain access to the filter.
I did not know it existed. "pollen filter" What's up with that? (Cliff Claven)
Harry Face wrote:

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