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Old 09-19-2015, 07:37 PM   #1
Twinpilot001
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Default A/C pressure switch & tranny dip stick ??

I am ready to leak test the a/c system- low/ out of freon! Cant for the life of me locate the a/c pressure switch?? so I can turnon the compressor. also on same car I have yet to locate the auto tranny dip stick. Where exactly are these 2 items located?? Thanx.
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Old 09-19-2015, 08:38 PM   #2
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Default Re: A/C pressure switch & tranny dip stick ??

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I am ready to leak test the a/c system- low/ out of freon! Cant for the life of me locate the a/c pressure switch?? so I can turnon the compressor. also on same car I have yet to locate the auto tranny dip stick. Where exactly are these 2 items located?? Thanx.


The year, make, model, and engine size would be most helpful.

Read your vehicle owner's manual for the location of the automatic transmission dip stick.
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Old 09-19-2015, 09:45 PM   #3
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Default Re: A/C pressure switch & tranny dip stick ??

Brain Fart got me there=2003 vue v6 3.0l awd.
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Old 09-19-2015, 10:10 PM   #4
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Default Re: A/C pressure switch & tranny dip stick ??

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I am ready to leak test the a/c system- low/ out of freon! Cant for the life of me locate the a/c pressure switch?? so I can turnon the compressor. also on same car I have yet to locate the auto tranny dip stick. Where exactly are these 2 items located??
See this thread on the dip stick . . .
http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=158509

I usually remove the A/C relay and jumper the contacts that pull in the compressor clutch.
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Old 09-19-2015, 11:05 PM   #5
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Default Re: A/C pressure switch & tranny dip stick ??

Twinpilot001, be forewarned not to try jumpering your a/c pressure sensor; its a three wire transducer operating on 5v, varying output in proportion to pressure. Its mounted on (most likely) the high side fitting next to the compressor. Jumpering this pressure sensor will do nothing compared to older two wire pressure sensors that can be jumpered. While Chazberry's excellent suggestion of a wire jumper across the a/c relay terminals will send power to the compressor, this too isn't necessary. A compressor doesn't need to run to search for a leak. All Saturns were filled with dye, oil and refrigerant. When a leak or rupture occurs, refrigerant is invisible as a gas, oil may be indistinguishable from motor oil but dye is greenish yellow and glows when illuminated by an inexpensive uv blacklight. A serious leak will leave a trail of dye and oil marking where the damage occurred. If you are serious about diy repairs, invest in a uv blacklight as it by far the best way to find leaks. Shining a uv light (in a garage) on every part of the a/c system plumbing and parts should show where damage occurred. Examples are in my photos. I never used a uv light before except for work related tests. It took less than a minute to find the damage in my L300, more time finding something to lay on bare ground to look under the car to locate the first damaged part. In a home Depot parking lot at night.
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Old 09-20-2015, 10:47 AM   #6
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Default Re: A/C pressure switch & tranny dip stick ??

Thanx fdryer!!=Good advice- as Im an old guy & dont know all about this car & systems as yet ?? that helps!! Thanx-I am used to just jumpering the earlier systems too -- yet!!= if I dont do a jumper type "turn the switch on" how is the compressor ever going to circulate the dye I need to install or add freon?/ How do i accomplish this on the car? I do have a black light too -yet prev owner stated- it always did cool yet had a slow leak & he even put his gagues on it when i bought the car! Was low yet came on then. Now doesnt turn on compressor. Therefore =how to get on??
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Old 09-20-2015, 11:27 AM   #7
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Default Re: A/C pressure switch & tranny dip stick ??

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yet!!= if I dont do a jumper type "turn the switch on" how is the compressor ever going to circulate the dye I need to install or add freon?
fdryer is saying the factory refrigerant had dye in it. So if it lost the original charge, it also lost the dye and a UV light should show you where it escaped. Fwiw - my '03 lost it through a bad shaft seal on the Compressor.
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Old 09-20-2015, 12:27 PM   #8
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Default Re: A/C pressure switch & tranny dip stick ??

Dye mixes with refrigerant oil. Vehicle a/c systems circulate refrigerant, oil and dye throughout the entire system. While oil may gather and sit in the compressor, liquid refrigerant moves oil around so any leak anywhere will push refrigerant, oil and dye out the leak site. As suggested previously, look in my photos for examples of oil and dye leaks before and after I opened my system for repairs. No compressor operation is needed to search for leaks.

Your description of the previous owner connecting his refrigeration gauges, working a/c and now no a/c simply means a leak already occurred. Think about it for a moment - can anyone check a refrigerator, room a/c or freezer using gauges? They're sealed for life, without service ports, and run longer than car a/c systems while using the same or similar refrigerant. They're sealed due to industry standards for long term reliability and never used in a car, truck or suv over every pothole on our roads that eventually ruins vehicle a/c systems. Copper plumbing is stronger against vehicle aluminum systems. Our vehicle a/c systems are considered sealed and should never be 'gauged' at any time (refrigerant is lost in every connection) except for repairs. Car manufacturers know a/c systems break down so service valves allow gauge connections when necessary, not for casual monitoring. Once anyone (other than trained hvac techs) attempts a/c service or repairs without familiarity with refrigeration, automatically results in the steep learning curve no one wants to accept. While its not rocket science, refrigeration requires understanding the basics of a sealed, pressurized system that doesn't leak until it breaks down. Add in the sensors to protect the compressor against premature damage from running it with low to zero refrigerant along with familiarity using gauges and operating pressures and its easy for anyone to get in over their heads with overwhelming information not expected when a simple refill fails............In one sense, car a/c systems are more difficult to troubleshoot and diagnose than refrigerators; fixed ac compressor motor speed against variable car compressor speeds that vary operating pressures.

There's more to a/c than a few cans of gas.
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Old 09-20-2015, 01:02 PM   #9
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Default Re: A/C pressure switch & tranny dip stick ??

Thanx to all that replyed. Now - since this is not my 1st rodeo with A/C systems -I do know all about car & the appliance systems & how all work. What I am simply asking is= with a dead compressor ( no freon ) to turn the compressor on- on this car (application) where / what should I do to get compressor to run - without damaging the electrical relay or system electrically???????? I could just jump the compressor to 12 v & ground id guess? but what is the proper way to do this = on this system in a vue??
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Old 09-20-2015, 01:12 PM   #10
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Default Re: A/C pressure switch & tranny dip stick ??

As Chazberry suggested, jumper the a/c relay terminals 30 and 87 to send power immediately to the compressor. Just one word of caution; it isn't necessary to do this but you accept all risks and consequences by running a compressor with little to no refrigerant.
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Old 09-22-2015, 11:22 AM   #11
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Default Re: A/C pressure switch & tranny dip stick ??

Thanx to all
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Old 07-27-2020, 09:32 PM   #12
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Default Re: A/C pressure switch & tranny dip stick ??

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As Chazberry suggested, jumper the a/c relay terminals 30 and 87 to send power immediately to the compressor.
Is this the process to recharge a vacuumed system since jumping the low pressure sensor doesn't work in this case? I'm trying to charge a 2008 Vue 2.4 if it matters. Thanks.
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Old 07-27-2020, 11:22 PM   #13
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Default Re: A/C pressure switch & tranny dip stick ??

I read your Vue thread struggle to remove remains of a damaged valve core from a service valve. Thinking outside the box helps in unusual situations.

Presuming you haven't started evacuating (unless its was already done), once fittings are disconnected, O-rings are always replaced to ensure against leaks. I strongly recommend seal replacement because ac repairs are unforgiving of mistakes. Having a vacuum pump, gauges and refrigeration knowledge goes a long way towards diy repairs ending successfully. Plain mineral oil for seal lube, not pag oil,

To answer your question about jumpersing pressure sensors to force compressor operation, no. The only reason to wire a temporary wire jumper across two wire ac pressure sensors; to test whether or not the clutch coil thermal fuse blew. A perfectly good clutch coil will power up and engage with a metallic click while a blown coil won't engage the clutch. Three wire sensors cannot be jumpered unless you know the voltage signal needed and sent on the correct wire.

Every ac system is pressurized from refrigerant. Standby pressures are usually around 70 psi in summer temperatures. Ac pressure sensors trigger when high side pressures are exceeded (>450 psi) or drops below 40 psi (approximately). When a sensor determines a major loss of refrigerant, a signal is sent to the ecm or pcm to disable the ac command. The sensor protects against compressor self destruction if allowed to run without refrigerant. Refrigerant moves oil to circulate and return to lube the compressor.

When a system is repaired, vacuum performed and a final leak check shows both gauge needles still, refilling with refrigerant should be easy. Feeding refrigerant into a system with high and low side valves opened should empty a 12 oz can in as little as a minute or two. Approximately half a can (6ozs) or more is enough to raise a vacuum to around 70 psi. This pressure is well above the 40 psi minimum, preventing the pressure sensor from sending a disable signal to the ecm/pcm. The first 12 oz can is more than enough to startup the engine and turn on ac. With the engine idling and compressor running, the second 12 oz can can be injected but only thru the low side. The high side valve is closed for the remainder of refrigerant installation. Be aware; never have the high side gauge valve opened when the engine and ac are running. Inadvertently leaving the high side gauge valve open may reverse refrigerant flow into the can. Explosion hazard exists if can pressure exceeds 125 psi (actual burst pressure is higher). Installing the second 12 oz can thru the low side suction port can be quicker with a high idle and swishing the can in a bucket of warm water. You'll feel refrigeration effects as the can empties and cools to create frost if not dipped in warm water to absorb heat. The compressor is sucking in system refrigerant and can contents simultaneously so warm water pressurizes the can to empty quicker with a high idle.

Normal service procedures for S-series cars calls for 2k rpm to monitor gauge pressures. Vues do not require 2k rpm to monitor pressures. A high idle of around 1500 rpm is fine to help empty the second can of r134a.
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Old 07-28-2020, 11:30 AM   #14
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Default Re: A/C pressure switch & tranny dip stick ??

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I read your Vue thread struggle to remove remains of a damaged valve core from a service valve. Thinking outside the box helps in unusual situations.
I got through that hurdle. On to the next one.

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Originally Posted by fdryer View Post
Feeding refrigerant into a system with high and low side valves opened should empty a 12 oz can in as little as a minute or two. Approximately half a can (6ozs) or more is enough to raise a vacuum to around 70 psi. This pressure is well above the 40 psi minimum, preventing the pressure sensor from sending a disable signal to the ecm/pcm. The first 12 oz can is more than enough to startup the engine and turn on ac.
Specific to this thread, this approach worked but was new news to me so good to know. I always jumpered the low pressure wire to ensure the compressor runs. Appears I may not need to do that on most vehicles based on your info.

Having pulled vacuum, which held over night since I didn't want to charge in the dark, I added the first can until pressure equalized. I then closed the high side gauge and started the engine. The low side immediately went from 60lbs to vacuum, which indicates a clog on the suction side. It's never easy.

I think it's likely a stuck expansion value but I'm interested in other's thoughts too. I can see the expansion value under the hood, which has to be better to replace than in the heater box with the evaporator. A TXV replacement is getting outside the scope of this thread though so I may need to move to another thread to continue.
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Old 07-28-2020, 12:04 PM   #15
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Default Re: A/C pressure switch & tranny dip stick ??

You may be on the typical steep learning curve if you never worked on refrigeration (it's ask refrigeration - refrigerators, freezers, central air, room air, walk in meat lockers, building hvac, etc). I've had years of practicing in small steps where I haven't bungled too much. My last mistake was not realizing mating an old fitting to a new one with a new O-ring leaked because the old fitting was corroded and couldn't seal until the corrosion was carefully cleaned. It was either experimenting to see if corrosion prevented a perfect seal or buy another hose to mate to the new one. The cleaning did the trick as it hasn't leaked with dye markers in three years. My last repair.

In my case, my L300 takes 2.1 lbs of r134a. The first can went in as described previously without the engine and compressor running. With pressure in the system, engine started and ac turned on, the second can went in with a little help from warm water and high idle. I ignore pressures since varying intake of more refrigerant while the compressor is sucking from two sources simply throws off low side pressures. High side pressures, presuming the system is sound and operating correctly, is always increasing since the thermal expansion valve is the physical wall separating low side from high side pressures. High side pressures build up since its storing liquid refrigerant before being released into the evaporator coils and turning back into a gas. With 24 oz in, my system began cooling and adding in another 9 ozs from a third can simply made cold air colder. Each time a can emptied and system stabilized, displayed pressures were improving. I use service manual ac charts for references. Since pressures vary in relation to outside temperatures and humidity, low side should be between 30-35 psi while high side pressures vary between 125-180 psi.

Are you certain something is blocking return flow of refrigerant, creating negative pressures or that you haven't continued installing the second 12 oz can? Low side pressures are expected to be very low until sufficient refrigerant flows. Thermal expansion valves rarely fail in Saturns, at least none reported here and proven to be a failure point. My only guess is once anyone installs refrigerant with sealer, nothing good comes from it. Personally, I consider sealer use as destroying a perfectly good ac system with misinformation, lies, undocumented testimonials, and any other deceptions describing sealer as a repair solution. I'm just another diyer trying to save money from leaving my wallet to support repair shops. They have plenty of business from unsuspecting vehicle owners.

Last time I checked, the txv is on the firewall. Two heater hoses and two refrigerant lines. The txv would be holding the two refrigerant lines.

Last edited by fdryer; 07-28-2020 at 12:15 PM.
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Old 07-28-2020, 04:21 PM   #16
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Default Re: A/C pressure switch & tranny dip stick ??

Low side pressure isn't just low. It's about 25 negative. Similar to when the vacuum pump is evacuating. If I Google the symptom, the cause indicates a block on the suction side. The most common culprit being a stuck expansion valve. Agree they seldom fail, but some do.
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Old 07-28-2020, 07:28 PM   #17
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Default Re: A/C pressure switch & tranny dip stick ??

What's high side pressure when low side was -25 in hg? Was the entire can emptied into this system? Was sealer ever used?
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Old 07-28-2020, 09:29 PM   #18
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Default Re: A/C pressure switch & tranny dip stick ??

I don't recall the hi side reading. The low side being negative freaked me out so I shut it down. No sealer used to my knowledge.

Replaced the expansion valve. Took less than an hour. That was it. Pulled vacuum and charged with 20.2 oz. of refrigerant. Analog thermometer reads 34 degrees (unlikely). It is cold though. Low side reads 32. Hi reads 205. Ambient temperature is 92.

I'm happy with the AC again! Calling this one done. Thanks for the help.
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