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Old 06-17-2017, 01:50 PM   #21
Tankmalone
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Default Re: Ac issues

I didn't use a vacuum to test for leaks, looked over the system with a uv light and found nothing. While driving around today (90 outside) the ac was pushing 65 degrees. It constantly switched back and forth from drawing outside air to regurgitating about every min, if not less. Not sure why it would be doing that. I can't find any info on it. Of course when I pulled into my driveway and parked the ac dropped to 50 degrees.

Seems like a sensor is faulty? Is the sensor in the middle of the dash for ac as well? I ask because I broke that connector while pulling the radio a few months back. It's connected but doesn't snap together.

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Old 06-17-2017, 04:23 PM   #22
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Default Re: Ac issues

Low side is 35psi high side is 275psi

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Old 06-17-2017, 09:34 PM   #23
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Default Re: Ac issues

With 35 low, 275 high, what was outside temps and humidity when pressures were observed? And was this at idle or other rpm?

I do not have info for '08 Vues. For whatever reason, Vues have one or more sensors than other Saturn models. Sensors on '05 Vues; refrigerant pressure sensor on the discharge line, temperature sensor on the thermal expansion valve, compressor, and in the hvac control panel. The extra temperature sensors - on compressor and thermal expansion valve.

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Old 06-17-2017, 10:14 PM   #24
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Default Re: Ac issues

It would been close to 90 degrees 70% humudity. Parked at idle.

The wife drove it this evening, still daylight, similar temp/humidity, without issue.

Seems to be mornings and evenings are decent temps out of the vents (around 50 degrees, maybe peaks at 60) During the day in the sun it's lucky to break 60 degrees, usually floats between 70 and outside temp. It's frustrating, could air in the system cause this? My car is always parked outside which is why I'm thinking a sensor, the compressor doesn't seem to want to run if the cars been in the sun. Not to mention when the compressor seems to be acting up, the hvac switches back and forth between recirculation and outside air, in like 30 second increments. Just odd, I'm stumped. I consider myself very diy, have always been able to fix everything myself.

Side note, I disconnected the neg batt terminal, it reset my tpms light, I was told the sensor was shot and needed replaced @ $150 (different mechanic, it was a national chain) I have no trust in taking my car to shops.

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Old 06-18-2017, 03:33 AM   #25
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Default Re: Ac issues

1-If there's a cabin filter, pull it for inspection. Replace as necessary.

2-With high mileage, is there a possibility of leaves and other stuff getting into the HVAC inlet and clogging the evaporator coil? Access may be thru the cabin air filter or blower motor off it can be removed to insert an inspection mirror, cellphone camera, go pro camera or borescope. Maybe debris collected and partially blocking airflow thru the evaporator coil.

3-When evacuating and refilling the system, why did you put more oil in? Over oiling leaves less room for refrigerant and may raise operating pressures.

4-Did you use the correct amount of r134a?

5-Presuming proper procedures are followed from evacuation to leak testing, purging lines before injecting oil and refrigerant, air should not enter anywhere in this system. You are the only person knowing if procedures are followed correctly to prevent air entering a system.

The following info is from '05 Vue manual for comparative purposes;

30-35C (86-95F), greater than 50% humidity, low side pressures between 206-303 kPa (30-44 psi), high side pressures between 1136-1336 kPa (165-194 psi), center vent temps should be around 17C (61F).

The high side pressure of 275 psi is much higher/outside the range given and may be cause for concern. This may be due to over oiling or higher than specified amount of refrigerant. Low side pressures and vent temps seem to agree with published data.

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Old 06-20-2017, 07:49 PM   #26
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Default Re: Ac issues

Update
I'm floating around 30-35 psi low, 225-275 high. Ac is staying at a steady 55 @center vent with around 85 and sunny outside roughly 70% humidity. I am 99% that the only leak is very very small at the low service port. (If I unscrew the cap slowly, I can hear a very faint, think opening a 20oz coke, sound. I noticed the dye that sat on top of the valve bubble)
I believe the high side pressure could be from too much oil or air in the system. Eitherway, its working now without issue. I have no immediate plans to mess with it anymore.
My advise to anyone DO NOT trust a shop at first glance. go over everything with a fine tooth comb multiple times. My issue appears to be nothing more than an extremely slow leak that over the years caused me to run low on refrigerant.

If anything changes I will post an update, as well as replacing the service valve. Big thanks to all who helped, much appreciated.

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Old 06-21-2017, 07:01 AM   #27
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Default Re: Ac issues

Tank, thanks for sharing your experience and thanks to fdryer for contributing his considerable knowledge. I always learn something about AC when fdryer weighs in about AC.

For example, you mentioned you added oil...thinking you may have lost oil when you opened your system. Unclear to me what your evacuation process was, but perhaps the oil you had in there stayed and when you added oil this robbed capacity for refrigerant as fdryer suggested which would keep the system from blowing as cold as possible.

With AC, its not generally a matter of if, but rather when AC will start to blow warm as leaks accrue with mileage and time due to what fdryer explains as vibration challenging all fittings....engines and cars have a much harsher vibration signature than a refrigerator sitting in a kitchen statically by comparison...another great comparison posited by fdryer.

So owning a black light as fdryer suggests is key. Compressors won't kick on with low refrigerant as a design precaution which many interpret as a failed compressor. The redundant cap that is holding your pressure service ports makes some sense and is likely a common leak point and why the caps exist aside from preventing ingress of contamination.

Thanks again for all the great discussion that helps each of us navigate our AC with our cars...one of the pricier and more enigmatic aspects of car ownership which can be much easier managed with some simple steps and avoiding the shop if at all possible.

Lastly...fdryer...do you have a suggestion for a gauge set?...best to rent or outright purchase gauges? You emphasize not purchasing R134a with sealant which is an excellent point.
Do you have any tips for how you completely evacuate a system after a repair, refilling with correct amount of oil?....and what gauge set you would recommend to an amateur car owner?

Thanks

Last edited by gm7; 06-21-2017 at 07:08 AM..

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Old 06-21-2017, 11:16 AM   #28
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Default Re: Ac issues

I started out with a Robinair r12 gauge set years ago and bought another Robinair gauge set for r134a use. My choice was for reliability right out of the box and for long term personal use. I also bought Robinair quick couplers with shutoff valves to complete a gauge set. To save money, I re-purpose those plastic gallon soap containers with a pop off lid to hold everything (all the miscellaneous tools like can taps, rag, extra hose, etc). I visited an appliance parts store to ask about refrigeration gauges and the friendly salesman explained the gauge set and I was sold. That was forty years ago. Brass body and thoroughly reliable. After shopping around for prices I went with Robinair again. Same 100% reliability in brass with three foot hoses. My guess is I'm classified as an amateur diyer since I'm not paid to repair ac systems. I fix broke......

There are many brands to choose from besides Robinair; FJC, Yellow Jacket, Mastercool, etc.. Brass sets are sturdier than aluminum but I don't know if aluminum is problematic if shutoff valve wear is an issue. At least one member here has a problem with Harbor Freight - one of three hoses failed immediately with a replacement needed to complete repairs. This also created problems when evacuating a repaired system with a leak that distracted him. It required several attempts to determine if the leak was in the system or faulty hose. Several here have praised HF gauge sets and vacuum pumps.

One excellent way to determine if its worth buying personal equipment might be trying AutoZone or Advance Auto for their tool loan program. Borrowing a gauge set and vacuum pump may be the most cost effective way to ac repairs and to find out if you're willing to learn a whole new skill set - refrigeration. I think ac may be divided into two separate areas - the mechanical system where basic tools are used to replace damaged parts and the technical procedures where gauges and vacuum pump are needed to complete repairs. The mechanical repairs can be performed by almost anyone while the technical procedures must be learned or pay a shop to finish repairs. At least half the repair costs are saved by performing all mechanical work at home to save on labor and marked up parts.

Instead of repeating procedures already given in past threads, I suggest YouTube videos on how to use refrigeration gauges to have a safe understanding of the hazards when incorrect setup can lead to serious harm. If not y-t videos then online manuals on proper use of gauges. Being self taught, I went to the library for a manual to learn refrigeration fundamentals. Understanding basic physics and chemistry helps with pressure/temperature relationships to appreciate what goes on when a compressor operates and how cooling occurs.

When a system is opened for repairs, parts replaced removes oil. Replenishing missing oil usually means pouring oil into parts before connections are made. All service manuals list which parts need oil to balance what's removed.

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Old 06-21-2017, 01:12 PM   #29
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Default Re: Ac issues

Many thanks fdryer. I have bookmarked this thread for reference for AC issues moving forward.

Thanks again. Great advice.

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Old 06-21-2017, 03:39 PM   #30
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Default Re: Ac issues

The best advice with the littlest write up; read from any refrigeration guide book and Google for more information. Discriminating from misinformation, "separating the wheat from the chaff" and applying what's learned is a key to success otherwise the next best step is to learn from an experienced person, working side by side with him or her.

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Old 07-01-2017, 06:19 PM   #31
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Default Re: Ac issues

Car started acting up again. Noticed the dash said 73, it was 87 outside. Could the ambient temp sensor be causing problems? I'm only having issues with the ac when the sun is out. Morning and evening I'm at a cool 50 degree vent temp. Sunny and over 80 I'm at 80 degree vent temp.

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Old 07-02-2017, 01:17 AM   #32
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Default Re: Ac issues

No. The ambient temperature sensor does only one job, sending temperature info to the pcm. It does not control compressor operation. You mentioned in post#26
"If I unscrew the cap slowly, I can hear a very faint, think opening a 20oz coke, sound. I noticed the dye that sat on top of the valve bubble." This is a leak and probably leaked refrigerant as time passed. The valve stem needs to be replaced, using a special valve core removal tool without losing refrigerant. You might be able to borrow one from Autozone, Advance Auto if they have it. Without this tool, removing refrigerant is the only way before replacing these service valves.
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Old 07-02-2017, 08:45 AM   #33
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Default Re: Ac issues

Ac works so far today...i give up.

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Old 07-02-2017, 10:00 AM   #34
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Default Re: Ac issues

Update, another shop looked at it, they concluded faulty expansion valve.

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Old 07-02-2017, 12:48 PM   #35
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Default Re: Ac issues

I've never understood how an expansion valve can fail. Have never read of one proven to fail. I think it's just another way to make money.

With a known leak at service valves and very low pressures are seen on the low side, a low temperature sensor on the expansion valve (look for wiring on the txv by the two ac lines on the firewall) or on the compressor, sensors detecting cold in these areas protect against freezing issues - vehicle ac systems are never designed to operate at freezing temperatures where icing can form in the evap coils from condensed moisture, creating an ice box restricting airflow. Placing temperature sensors near the suction side of compressors and/or thermal expansion valves to detect temperatures near freezing will allow the ECM to disable compressor operation. This may be seen as the compressor cycling. Loss of refrigerant is the reason and you've already stated so - service valves leaking.

It's your choice to have a shop go on a hunting expedition at your expense or use suggestions given and replace the two service valve cores. Stopping a leak is always a priority, not replacing parts providing zero proof of failure. Temperature/pressure charts are used to help determine where fault lies. Your system, if it has temperature sensors on txv or compressor is added features to protect against low temperature operation. All vehicle ac systems never operate low side pressures below 27 psi. Below this pressure and freezing can occur where icing can develop. Having a temperature sensor detect low temps and seeing a cycling compressor may be telling you the leak is lowering pressures to the point of the system detecting it and cycling the compressor off, waiting until pressures rise from normal bleed off then turning on the compressor until temps drop again. When a sealed system is operating at correct pressures, compressor cycling doesn't occur.

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Old 07-02-2017, 03:59 PM   #36
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Default Re: Ac issues

Both valves were replaced yesterday, filled back to spec, no cold air was blowing. Compressor clutch engaged and running. High side reading 250psi, low side -20. Vacuum on low side (from what I came to understand) is a blocked expansion valve.
Didn't post the update on replacing valves (must have closed out before I submitted)
Out of frustration, lack of time, shop looks at it.
I'll take a expansion valve replacement over the original compressor, condenser, clutch.

All wires, harnesses etc look good. I'm stumped with this issue, and the time it's taken out of my day and frustrations around it. Had a 45min drive home with an 18 month child in the 90 degree weather bc it momentarily stopped working....again...no leaks, everything is clean, no rattles squeaks spurts fizzing, just no more cold air

The shop has not replaced anything yet, apparently the dash needs to come out or I would do it myself, also does the dryer really need replaced or is that just 'reccomnded' (shop did not mention it but Google did from multiple sources)

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Old 07-02-2017, 05:59 PM   #37
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Default Re: Ac issues

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tankmalone View Post
Both valves were replaced yesterday, filled back to spec, no cold air was blowing. Compressor clutch engaged and running. High side reading 250psi, low side -20. Vacuum on low side (from what I came to understand) is a blocked expansion valve..... just no more cold air.
I don't have access to '08 Vue service manuals to compare your new pressure readings against temperature/pressure charts. I use them for every system while diagnosing problems before or after repairs. I wish I could be more helpful but without service manual info I would be guessing.

-20 psi low/250 psi high with new service valves is unusual. -20 psi in not normal and does suggest a thermal expansion valve. Normal expansion valve operation separates the low pressure side from the high pressure side at the valve into two general values, 28-35 psi low side, 125-250 psi high side. -20 psi on the low side is well into a vacuum where either refrigerant was lost, crap is circulating and clogging the txv or the valve is sticking for unknown reasons. Sitting in my underwear in front of a screen makes me another armchair quarterback. I refer to service manuals for accuracy.

If you use the diagram and reprinted info from '05, you may see an answer after making your own assessment using nothing more than your Vue running incorrectly and feeling hoses with your hands.
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