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Old 05-20-2019, 09:25 PM   #1
Silverblu02SL2
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2002 SL2
Default Evaluating AC performance in 2002 SL2

Today was the first hot day in NYC, probably got up to 89F. I drove the Saturn and for about an hour in traffic and had the AC on full blast, it felt comfortable but I was not frozen out. It seems if it gets into the 90"s it may not be good enough.

How good is the AC in a 2002 SL2? I am going to use a black light to inspect and see if there are signs of dye which indicates a leak.

...
1/28/2019 2002 SL2 w 62k miles

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Old 05-20-2019, 10:24 PM   #2
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2001 SL1
Default Re: Evaluating AC performance in 2002 SL2

^^ that's the best first step.
Dye present? DIY or a shop for repair.

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Old 05-20-2019, 11:17 PM   #3
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Default Re: Evaluating AC performance in 2002 SL2

I can't say about an '02, but my '94 was never impressive with cooling even when new. I have had it serviced by a pro once, and then did it myself recently. It never has gotten better than "OK", not at all like other GM cars I have experienced that will get you feeling too cold. I guessing it is a smaller than usual capacity to avoid load on the engine and increase fuel economy.

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Old 05-21-2019, 12:08 AM   #4
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Default Re: Evaluating AC performance in 2002 SL2

Service manual charts list four temperature ranges; 70F, 80F, 90F and 100F. At highway speed (when airflow cools off the condenser coil, increasing ac cooling efficiency inside a car, outlet temps will vary between 44F-53F. In high humidity, vent temps will vary between 46F-65F. Expect higher temps when sitting in traffic (less airflow thru condenser coil and hor radiator). The cooling fan must be running to help with local traffic speeds.

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Old 05-23-2019, 09:05 PM   #5
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Default Re: Evaluating AC performance in 2002 SL2

My experience. On the freeway you should be seeing about 40 degrees F. Which is nice and cold. Stop and go city driving on a 90 degree day, 50 degree vent temps. Just enough to keep you from sweating.

...
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Old 05-24-2019, 12:26 AM   #6
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Default Re: Evaluating AC performance in 2002 SL2

This is from a 00-01 service manual, although, the same numbers apply to all S-Series. (or at least 94+, I'm not sure if the early R-12a systems where any different.)
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1997 SL2, 114K miles

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Old 05-24-2019, 02:35 PM   #7
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Default Re: Evaluating AC performance in 2002 SL2

any number of things can affect it's performance.. in particular order

Freon charge
coolant fan
air flow thru the radiator
expansion valve

Of course other things can as well but these are the major player I've had to deal with over the years.

A few years ago we had record heat and the a/c was not only not keeping me cool but the engine temp kept creeping up. All 4 windows down at 60mph with the heat on wide open when it's 144 degrees is no fun. Turned out the condenser was nearly completely plugged with tiny little rocks, bugs, and other debris. It's now standard practice to blow them out any time the fan or radiator is out for any reason.

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Old 05-24-2019, 03:54 PM   #8
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Default Re: Evaluating AC performance in 2002 SL2

^^^
? 144 degrees F ?
Were you driving in Iraq or the Great Sahara desert ?

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Old 05-24-2019, 04:15 PM   #9
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2001 SL2
Default Re: Evaluating AC performance in 2002 SL2

Glad you asked this question, I'm having the same issue in a 2001 SL2. I'm the original owner and I remember that it cooled better in the early days. Has the type of coolant changed over the years, and is that the cause of the issue?

...
.

2001 SL2 manual - original owner - remanufactured engine at 228k miles, December 2015
1992 SL1 - bought used in '93, totaled in '00 at 170k miles, drove it cross-country a lot!
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Old 05-24-2019, 05:03 PM   #10
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1998 SL2
Default Re: Evaluating AC performance in 2002 SL2

There was a recent thread discussing the Schrader valves as a frequent slow leak area causing decreasing AC performance. Because they are under dust caps, they do not show up on UV light. When testing with an AC gauge set, they are sealed by the set itself, so don't leak when testing.

could also be evaporator dirty or plugged. Some links and pics towards the bottom of this trhead
http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=237063

...
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Old 05-25-2019, 08:39 AM   #11
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Default Re: Evaluating AC performance in 2002 SL2

ITs amazing how much of a leak those plastic epa caps can hold in. If there is enough of a leak to let gas past them youíll hear a rush of gas as you remove the epa cap and free the gas itís trapped.

Common place for leak is the front seal of the compressor.

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Old 05-30-2019, 10:30 AM   #12
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Default Re: Evaluating AC performance in 2002 SL2

Quote:
Originally Posted by toggenburg View Post
^^^
? 144 degrees F ?
Were you driving in Iraq or the Great Sahara desert ?
my bad... 114 degrees

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Old 05-30-2019, 10:40 AM   #13
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Default Re: Evaluating AC performance in 2002 SL2

Quote:
Originally Posted by Highmile View Post

Highmile
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Neat!


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Old 06-02-2019, 01:13 PM   #14
Silverblu02SL2
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Default Re: Evaluating AC performance in 2002 SL2

Have not driven the car since I last used the AC. I will take it for a drive later and take some vent temp measurements.

What's the best way to clean the AC condenser and evaporator in my 02 SL2?

I do have some AC experience revamping my 85 Mercedes 300D's AC:

Took compressor, dryer, TXV out, flushed all hoses, evap and condenser, replaced compressor with a rebuilt unit, replaced TXV and dryer, pressure tested system with Argon, charged with R12 by weight (have 30 lb bottle of R12). The condenser was easy to access and clean. Evaporator not so easy, removing it was out of the question (probably 20 hour job) so I used evap foam spray clean via removal of blower, followed spraying with a water hose and also a WaterPik water flosser.

...
1/28/2019 2002 SL2 w 62k miles

Last edited by Silverblu02SL2; 06-02-2019 at 01:18 PM..

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Old 06-02-2019, 01:53 PM   #15
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Default Re: Evaluating AC performance in 2002 SL2

Random youtube videos reveals how commercial hvac techs clean residential hvac units. Techs spray a foam cleaner on stationary condenser coils after removing covers to expose both sides. After foaming a garden hose rinse removes dirt buildup. I would search for hvac foam cleaners safe for aluminum. Some are more caustic than others. Evaporator coils are more difficult to clean and less accessible. A member here posted snapshots of his evaporator coil after removing the blower motor, inserting a cellphone to snap views of leaves collecting around the interior. Vacuuming and air pressure removed a relatively clean evap coil.

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