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Old 05-16-2019, 05:41 PM   #1
1.9 sohc
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Default What would cause coolant to be used only when the AC is on?

My 2002 Saturn S L1.9 uses coolant but only when the AC is in use? Yesterday I drove about 60 miles with the AC on and it used a few cups of coolant. I had to add some due to the light coming on, and to bring it to full. This is the first time usung the AC since I got this car last winter. Weird?

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Old 05-16-2019, 06:05 PM   #2
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Default Re: What would cause coolant to be used only when the AC is on?

You may want to check:
Your pressure cap, all the coolant lines, the radiator and especially the water pump and thermostat housing for signs of leakage.
If you see streaking on the right side firewall and/or the underside of the hood on the right side, it usually means the water pump is oosing and dripping onto the serpentine belt and the coolant is slinging it upwards and rearwards.

And, check the underside of the oil fill cap, IF it shows any milky residue, then there is coolant getting into the oil .........

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Old 05-16-2019, 08:37 PM   #3
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Default Re: What would cause coolant to be used only when the AC is on?

When ac is running, check under the hood - the cooling fan should be running and blow hard (one speed). It must be running when ac is used; the ac condenser gets hot from compressed refrigerant and passes hot airflow into the radiator. If the fan isn't running or running weak, the radiator can overheat with higher pressures. The coolant cap is rated for 15-18 psi and will release excess pressure. A dead or slow fan will allow overheating to the cooling system. Does your coolant temperature gauge needle move further than its normal position when ac is running? Does coolant loss occur in local stop and go traffic?

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Old 05-17-2019, 09:35 AM   #4
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Default Re: What would cause coolant to be used only when the AC is on?

^ ^ ^
Might be developing the infamous driver-side radiator end-tank leak. Sometimes when it first starts, it only does it when the radiator is above-normal hot, and only seeps out through a thin, vertical split. If this is the case, it will continually increase in size.

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Old 05-17-2019, 10:10 AM   #5
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Default Re: What would cause coolant to be used only when the AC is on?

The temp reads great, the rad fan works. So yesterday I drove the same, used the AC again but the level remained normal. I dont see a leak, or signs of it in the oil, or oil in coolant. I guess Ill just keep monitoring. Thanks

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Old 05-17-2019, 10:33 AM   #6
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Default Re: What would cause coolant to be used only when the AC is on?

Check for coolant at the engine side of the water pump pulley. Intermittent coolant loss is sometimes the first sign of a pump seal failing.

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