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Old 05-17-2016, 06:39 PM   #1
Aleka
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Default Saturn L200 P0480 error

Hi there. I wonder if you guys can help me with something.

I have a 2003 L200, that has run more or less like a dream since I bought it in 2009. The AC currently does not work (and has not for about 4 years) because I pulled into a steep driveway too fast and broke the hose.

Sometime in November the engine shaped check engine light came on. The manual says that light indicates some sort of emission problem. But when we plugged it in we got a P0480 code "fan 1 control circuit". I have no idea how this is related to emissions.

I've read numerous threads here and can't seem to even figure out how to trouble shoot it.

We checked the fuses underhood. While one of them was slightly eroded, it still tested as being functional. We checked the circuit board and it looks pristine. If the cooling fan relays are there its not showing any problems that the eye can see.

When I turn the car on, neither of the 2 fans come on. With some testing we discovered that BOTH the fans will kick on when the temp gauge inside gets to about halfway. So the fans and sensors clearly work.

I want to take the car on a 4 hour trip but I am worried about overheating. From the test it seems like that probably isn't an issue but I wonder if you guys know what could be causing this error, how it relates to emissions, and how to get the light to turn off.

Thank you very much for any help
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Old 05-18-2016, 12:36 PM   #2
flyingj
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Default Re: Saturn L200 P0480 error

Aleka,

This may take a bit of testing to idenitfy the location of the problem. Here is the proceedure for testing and the cause of the P0480 code (supporting Doc is attached):

*Note: This is for an 01, but the information should be the same

The PCM controls both cooling fan motors by controlling two drivers, which pull the fan control circuits to ground. The combination of high/low inputs to the cooling fan control module allow Of{ low, medium and high cooling fan speeds. When the PCM fan control driver is Off, the cooling fan control module input is high (battery voltage). When the PCM fan control driver is On, the cooling fan control module input is low (0 volts) . Both cooling fan motors will begin to run whenever the ECT is above 99C (210F) , A/C is commanded On with the high side pressure above 1199 kPa (174 psi) or a low/high fault exists in the ECT sensor circuit. DTC P0480 sets when fan control 1 is being commanded Off and the feedback voltage at the PCM is low, or when fan control 1 is being commanded On and the feedback voltage at the PCM is high.

DTC PARAMETERS
DTC P0480 will set if fan control 1 feedback voltage is less than 4.0 volts when fan control 1 is commanded Off when:

Condition exists for longer than 6 seconds
Battery voltage is greater than 9.5 volts
Engine is running

OR

DTC P0480 will set if fan control 1 feedback voltage is greater than 3.5 volts when fan control 1 is commanded On when:

Condition exists for longer than 6 seconds
Battery voltage is greater than 9.5 volts
Engine is running

DTC P0480 diagnostic runs continuously with engine running.

P0480 is a (type B) DTC.

DIAGNOSTIC AIDS
To locate an intermittent problem, use Scan tool to monitor FC RELAY 1 CKT OPEN SHORT TO GND while commanding FAN CONTROL 1 Off. When a fault (open or short to ground) exists, the Scan tool will display YES. Then use Scan tool to monitor FC RELAY 1 CKT SHORT TO VOLTS while commanding FAN CONTROL 1 On. When a fault (short to voltage or open PCM driver) exists, the Scan tool will display YES.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf P0480 Diagnostic Docs.pdf (122.4 KB, 5 views)
...
2001 L-200 2.2l
DOB: 05/08/01 Owned: 07/01/07 to 10/30/18

2006 Vue 3.5L AWD Mileage: 145,000
DOB: 08/24/05 Date Acquired: 12/15/06

2019 GMC Acadia (aka Saturn Outlook)
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Old 05-18-2016, 03:02 PM   #3
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Default Re: Saturn L200 P0480 error

Cooling Fan Logic

The fans run together at three different voltage levels to create three speeds or stages:

Low speed - both fans run in series - 6 volts each
Medium speed - both fans run in parallel with a resistor in series - 9 volts each
High speed - both fans run in series - 12 volts each
The cooling fan speed is based on coolant temperature or A/C system high side pressure.


To fully understand when fans run in one of three speeds requires a reader to display coolant temperatures to correlate service manual fan on turn on temperatures. If a/c were available, you'd know and see both fans running at low speed as a way to observe which speed is running as a/c uses all three speeds due to the higher heat generated. A/c demands cooling fans immediately, starting in low speed. Coolant temps takes longer to turn on fans unless in hot weather and local stop and go traffic.
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Old 05-18-2016, 03:42 PM   #4
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Default Re: Saturn L200 P0480 error

Thank you so much, though this is all greek to me. But we managed to really screw up my car and I am not sure how to correct it.

We thought we would reset the check engine light by disconnecting the negative on the battery. The idea was to see if it would come back on after a reset.

The how-to didn't mention that this would screw your whole car, which now will not stay running. It turns over, but then it dies.

How bad is it?

My dad says he thinks it sounds like its getting no gas...but there is gas in it.
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Old 05-18-2016, 04:39 PM   #5
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Default Re: Saturn L200 P0480 error

Ok update: the car finally stayed running but is now "disabled", which I have had happen before. The gauges don't work and the car is frozen in park.
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Old 05-18-2016, 05:17 PM   #6
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Default Re: Saturn L200 P0480 error

You did no harm disconnecting battery cables. If you did then the entire world's cars using 12 volt batteries would be in serious troubles every time a dead battery occurs or when replacing it. All you did was reset/erase error codes. The error codes that aren't solved with battery disconnects are 'hard' errors. They're the ones that need attention like P0480. To use a phrase from a movie, you became an unfortunate victim of a 'perfect storm' - something triggered these new problems and the battery disconnect accelerated the problem. While this may seem improbable, battery disconnects occur for many reasons; working on wiring like airbags where battery power must be disconnected as airbags are armed and dangerous when working on airbag circuits or disconnecting one. Safety demands battery disconnects for at least 15-30 minutes to discharge the circuit before approaching airbag service. Others routinely disconnect battery power to reset the check engine light and never experience what occurred to you. Many disconnect their car batteries to wire in a new radio, extra lighting, ham radios, extra power outlets, etc., with no harm to electronics.

Disabled may mean a part of the electronics may have blown a fuse. The body control module (search within these forums for explanations of what bcm's do) controls the gauges and indicators, among other duties. The ecm is the engine computer strictly programmed to operate the electronic fuel injection system. The fan control module was already explained. Try pulling fuses, one at a time to examine any for a break in the 'S' element each fuse is made of. The bcm fuse(s) are in the engine fuse box and maybe in either right or left foot well fuse panels. Hopefully its just a blown fuse. A safety design prevents moving the gear selector from park position by the brake switch; the brake pedal must be applied to tell the bcm it's safe to select a gear otherwise a program in the bcm prevents moving the selector lever. In case emergency requires moving the selector lever, there's an electrically operated locking tab under the selector cover - lifting the boot covering the gear selector will reveal a plastic tab connected to an electric solenoid. Moving the tab with a finger, pencil, whatever, will unlock and allow the gear selector to move.

Last edited by fdryer; 05-18-2016 at 05:25 PM.
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Old 05-18-2016, 06:22 PM   #7
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Default Re: Saturn L200 P0480 error

Again, thank you so much! Getting this resolved was crazy.

I think it was a security issue. After we disconnected the battery, it would turn over but not stay running. After a while it ran, but the car was disabled aka: gauges not working/park frozen. The second circumstance I had actually had before but we were not sure how it resolved. It seemed like one day it just worked.

So we disconnected the battery again, left it for 30 mins. This didn't work, in fact it was a step back. So we did the security reset thing by turning the key 3 times at 10 minute increments. I did not know if that was the issue as the security light was not lit or flashing. At the end of that - no change.

But I had noticed that when my dad had played with my signal indicator buttons, the security light had been flashing. So I tried to replicate that - I turned the headlight knob to manual, the security light flashed several times, and then the whole system reverted to normal and is running fine.

Except for the P0480 error, which is still not resolved.

I am not sure we will be able to trouble shoot that but if I could ask your opinion do you think I can make a 4 hour trip with it? It does not seem to be affecting anything, but is obviously there for a reason.
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Old 05-18-2016, 07:32 PM   #8
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Default Re: Saturn L200 P0480 error

Here what I found it stays:

P0480 - Cooling Fan 1 Control Circuit Malfunction

Possible causes
- Faulty fan control relay
- Fan control relay harness is open or shorted
- Fan control relay circuit poor electrical connection
- Faulty cooling fan 1
- Fan cooling fan harness is open or shorted
- Fan cooling fan circuit poor electrical connection

Read more: http://www.autocodes.com/p0480.html#ixzz493MnwhNb
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Old 05-18-2016, 08:18 PM   #9
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Default Re: Saturn L200 P0480 error

I can't say yes or no to a 400 mile trip for several reasons. I'm not in your shoes, do not know if everything presented is solved, if there are more issues not addressed and not there to view your car. And I'm in no position to render advice that can result in a mid trip failure. Unfortunately, that is ultimately your decision. The best anyone in these public forums can do is provide as much assistance with information to help you determine what's wrong with suggestions on repairs.

One item not brought up is the battery and alternator and their state of health. Was the battery ever tested by your local auto store (selling batteries)? Most batteries last until the warranty runs out and promptly dies. Knowing battery warranty life and alternator charging system are some things owners need to know. Good batteries will show 12V+ on standby. If not, have it checked by auto stores providing a free battery check. If battery power is down when these problems occurred, this may be battery related. With the engine running, alternator output supplies all the power for the car while recharging the battery. Voltages should be 13V+ with engine idling.

Worse case scenario is if these problems aren't resolved soon, before the trip, it may be in your best interests to either visit GM or a trusted repair shop for a third opinion to assess the car in person. No one here can guarantee answers based on info given, especially if other issues aren't identified where a mechanic may see obvious issues.
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