ok not sure what did it but I did the following and now it works.
Disassembled the actuator and cleaned the contacts. Tested the motor and it works.
Disassembled the new unit and tested the motor and it works.
I pulled the control head, disassembled it just to see if there was anything obvious, found nothing, reassembled and reinstalled.
Pulled battery ground(s) and waited 45 minutes. (this is the 4th time I have done this)
Connected the old actuator to the harness, connected the ground wires and turned the key to on and I saw the actuator moving so I turned off the key and installed the old actuator. I let it go through the relearn and now all is well but WTF. I have no idea why it worked this time but not the previous times and not with the new actuator. BTW the innerds of the new actuator are somewhat different than the old one.
Any way, for now it is working.
2005 quad cab short box 4x4, DIY CAI,
S&B MP, PCV reroute, ARP studs, race plug