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Old 03-04-2020, 10:50 AM   #1
SaturnMinion
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2007 ION-2 Sedan
Question A/C function

Curious to know if anyone knows how the A/C system works on these cars. Mine functions fine but I noticed that the compressor runs if the fan is on even if I don't have the A/C on. If I shut off the fan the compressor shuts off too.

Is this the way these cars operate? Seems like a dumb idea to have the compressor running even when one has no need for cold air. It waste gas. I know that in some cars the compressor runs if you turn on the front windshield defroster. But I'm not using it. Just the heat for my toes.

...
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Old 03-04-2020, 02:00 PM   #2
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2007 ION-2 Quad Coupe
Default Re: A/C function

Quote:
Originally Posted by SaturnMinion View Post
Curious to know if anyone knows how the A/C system works on these cars. Mine functions fine but I noticed that the compressor runs if the fan is on even if I don't have the A/C on. If I shut off the fan the compressor shuts off too.

Is this the way these cars operate? Seems like a dumb idea to have the compressor running even when one has no need for cold air. It waste gas. I know that in some cars the compressor runs if you turn on the front windshield defroster. But I'm not using it. Just the heat for my toes.
In the Ion the A/C compressor is also engaged when defog mode is selected. "Defog" is the term the owners manual uses to refer to the defrost/floor combo mode. Just to clarify, the compressor isn't engaged to cool the air. It's engaged because it rapidly removes moisture from the air. The dry air clears up foggy windows much faster and helps keep them clear. The compressor has minimal effect on how much heat is produced.

On most vehicles (including the Ion) the compressor is disabled when the ambient temp drops below about 40F.

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Old 03-04-2020, 02:48 PM   #3
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Thumbs Up Re: A/C function

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Originally Posted by ruley73 View Post
In the Ion the A/C compressor is also engaged when defog mode is selected.
I did write that I did not select that the Defog/floor mode. The compressor engages when I choose just the floor mode too. All other selections are normal. Strange...

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Old 03-04-2020, 04:47 PM   #4
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Default Re: A/C function

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Originally Posted by SaturnMinion View Post
I did write that I did not select that the Defog/floor mode. The compressor engages when I choose just the floor mode too. All other selections are normal. Strange...
I misinterpreted what you said as you not selecting the defrost-only mode which meant that you could've been using defog mode. That's why I mentioned it. My car engages A/C right at the 12 O'clock position of the mode knob - which is where the floor only mode selection is. I agree it is a bit odd, but that's how it is.

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Old 03-05-2020, 01:20 PM   #5
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2003 L-Series 3.0L Sedan
Default Re: A/C function

There are at least two ways to tell if ac is running when its off. On GM vehicles, selecting front defrost with outside temps above 40F, ac is automatically turned on to help dehumidify air blowing to the windshield. If ac isn't turned on, outside air comes into the cabin mixed with any heated air from the temperature dial/knob.

1- If the temperature dial or knob is set to cold, do vents blow colder air than outside air?

2- Selecting ac should automatically bump up idle rpm since compressors load the engine. The ecm/pcm is programmed to raise idle rpm to account for compressor loads. Observe your tach while turning ac on then off. A noticeable bump in idle rpm occurs when ac is used as well as colder air from vents when its running.

Some compressors will turn from slight drag between clutch plate and pulley. A fully charged ac system will normally prevent compressors from turning when ac isn't used. Lost refrigerant/lower ac cooling can allow compressors to turn when ac isn't used but not enough to create operating pressures translating to cold air. Compressors create operating pressures well above 150 psi. Compressors are reluctant to turn unless power is applied to the electric clutch to engage it to the turning pulley.

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