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Old 06-05-2019, 01:56 PM   #1
box1993
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Default Transmisson Backlash and AC Clutch

Hello Everyone. I have a few nitpicky problems with my 2006 Saturn Ion 2.2 5M Sedan .

1) Transmission backlash. The car jerks horribly in 1st and 2nd gear. Many times my commute involves bumper-to-bumper traffic at <20 mph and after , the gas pedal seems extremely sensitive and the car will buck with just the slightest amount of throttle applied. It feels like I am pulling a loaded wagon of wood with a ball hitch that is the wrong size.
The car has always been this way since I purchased it (48k miles), but it seems even worse now (120 k miles).
original axle shafts and CV joints, but the shop I took it too basically said they couldn't find anything wrong with the axles and to "not expect a Cadillac driving experience".
I refuse to believe that nothing can be done about it.
Do I need grease on the axle splines going into the transmission or do I need a transaxle rebuild or what?

2) AC clutch. : The thermal fuse on my AC clutch has blown and the AC clutch coil is now an open circuit.
I think it would be a simple job to replace the AC clutch and the pulley, but I cannot seem to access the AC clutch when the compressor is still in the car. Is there a way that I can quickly drop the subframe on that side for better access to the AC clutch, compressor etc? I can't seem to get my hands in there to work on it. Any guys have any experience with this?
Else I'm paying someone to install a new compressor and recharge the system, which is probably going to cost more than the vehicle is worth at this point.
I need AC in the Wisconsin humidity else I might legitimately die this summer.


any help is appreciated. THanks.

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Old 06-05-2019, 07:02 PM   #2
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Default Re: Transmisson Backlash and AC Clutch

There are cars with driveline slop but not to the extent of what you're experiencing. Are you sure its a driveline problem? Broken/worn engine mount(s)? Engine controls can produce similar symptoms. With 120k miles, what's the history of maintenance and parts replaced?

How do you know the ac clutch coil is open and the reason for the ac fuse blowing? The ac diode is used to absorb arcing in the ac relay contacts when ac is turned off. Diodes tend to short and blow fuses when ac is turned on. Look for this diode in the engine fuse panel, remove it and measure it for resistance with a multimeter. A diode acts as a choke for electrical voltage when a magnetic field collapses and generates a reverse voltage. This voltage can arc across the ac relay and burn contacts. Most ac diode failures occurs by creating a short and acts as a wire. A shorted diode usually blows the ac fuse when ac is turned on. A diode will measure resistance in one direction and when multimeter probes are reversed, resistance is higher. A faulty diode that's internally shorted will measure the same resistance in both directions like a wire.

Clutch coils have a very low resistance, between 2-3 ohms. Clutch coils have a built in thermal fuse to open when overheated above 450F, a possibility from a slipping clutch (rare). An internal short in the coil would either blow the main ac fuse or the internal thermal fuse. You can measure coil resistance.

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Old 06-05-2019, 10:31 PM   #3
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Default Re: Transmisson Backlash and AC Clutch

Quote:
Originally Posted by fdryer View Post
There are cars with driveline slop but not to the extent of what you're experiencing. Are you sure its a driveline problem? Broken/worn engine mount(s)? Engine controls can produce similar symptoms. With 120k miles, what's the history of maintenance and parts replaced?

How do you know the ac clutch coil is open and the reason for the ac fuse blowing? The ac diode is used to absorb arcing in the ac relay contacts when ac is turned off. Diodes tend to short and blow fuses when ac is turned on. Look for this diode in the engine fuse panel, remove it and measure it for resistance with a multimeter. A diode acts as a choke for electrical voltage when a magnetic field collapses and generates a reverse voltage. This voltage can arc across the ac relay and burn contacts. Most ac diode failures occurs by creating a short and acts as a wire. A shorted diode usually blows the ac fuse when ac is turned on. A diode will measure resistance in one direction and when multimeter probes are reversed, resistance is higher. A faulty diode that's internally shorted will measure the same resistance in both directions like a wire.

Clutch coils have a very low resistance, between 2-3 ohms. Clutch coils have a built in thermal fuse to open when overheated above 450F, a possibility from a slipping clutch (rare). An internal short in the coil would either blow the main ac fuse or the internal thermal fuse. You can measure coil resistance.
Car has original pedal position sensor, it always bucked from early on(40k) and was suuuper sensitive in 1st gear because of how nonlinear the pedal tip in was. If you didnt have your foot steady on the floorpanel and on the pedal, you could inadvertently cause an unstable feedback loop of your foot slamming down and up as the car jerked forward and accelerated/decelerated over and over.

The jerking is getting much worse now, theres a noticable clunk feeling now.

Car has new coil, plugs, ICM, no check engine light currently. Always change oil. Im pretty anal about maintenance, but I did buy this car used looks like im 3rd owner, original was in chicago.
Someone could have been parking it against a wall and doing burnouts or brakestands the first 30k, I don't know.

Yep, AC clutch coil is an open circuit right now. Zero ohms at the connector terminals. I smelled fried resistor/eletrical components from the clutch the day it stopped working, so I'm assuming thermal fuse. Think magic smoke resistor smell


Shop said motor mounts are good, and I agree they look fine.rocked the car in gear, didnt notice engine move too much. Ill do a close inspection again.

I guess I can start with axle shafts and grease the new ones well/see what happens.
Do people ever put in thicker gear oil to help backlash if it is gear backlash?
The combination of aggressive electronic pedal tip-in, softer motor mounts and the backlash is no bueno at the moment

Last edited by box1993; 06-05-2019 at 10:40 PM..

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Old 06-05-2019, 11:15 PM   #4
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Default Re: Transmisson Backlash and AC Clutch

I'm not expert on EFI and drive by wire systems but I do own an L300 with both. I'm not sure if you're suggesting the electronic pedal is sensitive (faulty) or just certain pedal is sensitive when it shouldn't. Without sophisticated scan tools to monitor pedal and throttle movement, a regular reader displaying throttle position as a percentage of opening and/or visually observing throttle plate movement can be done. With a clear view of throttle plate, have someone press the pedal slowly as you observe throttle plate movement. You should see smooth movement in relation to pedal travel.

Only one incident similar to your descriptions was attributed to worn pedal position sensors on a Maserati. A tv episode of Wheeler Dealer several years ago revealed a Maserati acting very high strung when merely pressing the pedal from idle to midrange with near instant acceleration instead of smooth speed. They found one of two pedal sensors bypassed to allow the one remaining sensor to operate throttle. Like Saturns with drive by wire throttle systems, Maserati uses two pedal position sensors and two throttle position sensors for safety and better precision. I'm not suggesting pedal or throttle are the problem but troubleshooting electronic drive by wire systems includes the ecm that actually commands throttle. The electronic pedal simply sends signals to the ecm. The ecm continually checks all four sensors and if all are operating, sends commands to the electric servo motor to open/close throttle. The ecm uses the other sensors with throttle position to calculate fuel mixtures.

I doubt this is a gear backlash problem but then there's always the exception to normal and predicted problems...... If you choose to use thicker gear oil, you assume risks to sluggish, slow shifts in freezing weather until gear oil warms up unless you're in a warm weather state.

Verifying an open ac clutch coil and extremely limited access to removing the clutch plate to remove the clutch coil also depends on finding an inexpensive coil since they're not sold as parts to the public. If you know someone capable of vehicle ac repairs with equipment, this may be the lowest cost way to replace the compressor. Compressor replacement usually accompanies replacing the canister drier next to the condenser coil to ensure new compressors run only with refrigerant, oil and dye. Moisture ruins ac systems if repairs are not performed correctly. If your Ion uses a built in drier in the condenser coil, it might have to be removed to replace the desiccant - another expense to the labor of replacing parts, using new seals, evacuating a repaired system, checking for leaks in a vacuum before refilling with refrigerant. Ac repairs are unforgiving of mistakes.

Last edited by fdryer; 06-05-2019 at 11:22 PM..

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Old 06-07-2019, 01:58 PM   #5
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Default Re: Transmisson Backlash and AC Clutch

scrap it. got it.


Anyway, getting back to the original question:

I have a few replacement AC clutches on hand and I know that my compressor works.

Has anyone successfully replaced an AC clutch before, and easily?
Again the real issue is not tool and part availability, but more or less access to the accessory pulley side of the engine compartment.

Just kind of curious about how difficult getting a new one affixed would be while the compressor is still attached to the lines.




Compressor replacement is probably going to total 1.5x the cost of the vehicle and it isn't worth it to complete an entire compressor swap and evacuate the system/recharge etc. A compressor clutch problem essentially totals the car, which I find hilarious.

thanks

-joe

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Old 07-14-2019, 11:19 PM   #6
box1993
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Default Re: Transmisson Backlash and AC Clutch

If anyone is still here on this thread:

Yes it is possible to replace an AC clutch and get your AC to work again without replacing/removing the compressor lines or a trip to an AC shop.

The 2006 and newer Ions appear to have a Sanden/AC Delco AC compressor which is what I was looking for.

It is very easy to remove the AC clutch and coil on these new compressors.

You will need:
-proper PPE
-metric impact sockets and impact gun
-some metric box wrenches
-metric sockets
-rubber mallet
-C-clip removal tool
-phillips screwdriver


Steps:
1) remove air filter box and throttle body
2) loosen the clip on the refrigerant line that is attached near the front of the engine.
3) remove the accessory belt and alternator.
4) Completely remove the three bolts securing the ac compressor to engine
5) carefully swing the compressor up into the area where the air filter was located and secure it with wire or some method. You want the ac clutch pulley gently resting on the shelf where the air box sits.

Remember: lines are connected and pressurized, be gentle when moving and do not force anything. You may have to slightly bend the lower condenser line up or loosen the condenser completely

6)use an impact wrench to loosen the ac clutch pulley bolt (in the center of the clutch)

7) remove outer clutch plate by hand. do not lose any spacers in the clutch

8) use the C-clip tool and remove the clip securing the pulley and bearing to the compressor

9) gently tap the bearing and pulley off of the compressor with the rubber mallet. it is a slip fit and not force fit. You may have to use a penetrating oil but do not spray directly into bearing or you could cause problems up the road.
be mindful of the connected rubber AC lines and do not destroy them

10) remove the pulley and bearing assembly

11) remove another C-clip securing the coil to the compressor.

12) loosen the electrical connector on the coil by undoing the snap connector and the phillips head bolt. the coil should now pull off for easy replacement.

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Old 07-16-2019, 06:03 PM   #7
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Default Re: Transmisson Backlash and AC Clutch

Quote:
Originally Posted by box1993 View Post
...Compressor replacement is probably going to total 1.5x the cost of the vehicle and it isn't worth it to complete an entire compressor swap and evacuate the system/recharge etc. A compressor clutch problem essentially totals the car, which I find hilarious...
Hillarious or not, it is the situation we face as our cars age and, depending upon what kind of mechanical repair becomes necessary, I know that I'm facing it with mine.

...
322,000 miles - Holy canolli!
The blessings of liberty erode in my country.
Gov't's grown bigger, but a chance exists that it will be reduced. I'm cautiously hopeful.

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Old 11-10-2019, 10:22 PM   #8
EricJ
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2006 ION-2 Quad Coupe
Default Re: Transmisson Backlash and AC Clutch

Quote:
Originally Posted by box1993 View Post
If anyone is still here on this thread:

Yes it is possible to replace an AC clutch and get your AC to work again without replacing/removing the compressor lines or a trip to an AC shop.
Thanks for the write-up! It helped me replace the clutch assy on my 06 Ion this weekend! Which prior to reading your post I thought was impossible with out removing the compressor from the car.

...
Eric

Current:
2012 Equinox, 2.4L; stock
2006 Ion 2 QC, 2.2L; stock
2003 Silverado 2500HD EC/SB DURAMAX

Previous:
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1994 SL2; stock (wish I still had this one!)

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