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Old 07-14-2018, 08:19 PM   #21
fdryer
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Default Re: 2007 Saturn Vue Greenline AC

havok, I'm not a GM mechanic or technician. Just another Saturnfan member with limited access to some service manuals. The three images in my previous post are copied from rock auto with emphasis on ACDELCO (stock OEM) in the first photo with the mystery center bolt (the other two are plain hex head bolts). If you trust your mechanic, ask him if a used clutch plate will restore ac operation. If the compressor shaft is damaged and cannot be refitted with another clutch plate then this ends any suggestions of an inexpensive repair.

I try to work with members asking about repairs with consideration to the least expensive way to go as there's always the extreme opposite ($$$$) relying on either dealer or repair shop. As a diyer familiar with ac systems, personal experience over the years with vehicle ac repairs dictates going the lowest cost way without losing quality or reliability. This includes gaining practical and fundamental knowledge of refrigeration and collecting equipment make correct repairs. Practicing over the years tends to hone skills. Let anyone denigrate foreign made/aftermarket parts, I'll point out a simple fact of 'outsourcing'; my original condenser coil was made in Mexico and lasted 10 yrs and could have lasted longer except for severe corrosion on a clamped high pressure line on the bottom of the coil that collected road salts to erode the steel and rubber clamped line to the condenser coil. The coil wore thru as one of several leaks. The other leaks were from a worn crimped fitting and poor male/female fittings when new hose mated to old hose. I think the hoses are also made in Mexico. They are not low quality parts since they are what GM uses for original stock items when assembling a new vehicle. Outsourcing of parts made to GM specifications is no different from the Airbus 380 - manufacturers from all over the world supply parts for assembly in France. Wings, rudders, landing gear, avionics, everything. If outsourcing is a negative term then Airbus has serious issues with quality. They don't and to date the few majors issues Airbus has are the Trent engines, reliability. Trent engines are made in England. GE and Pratt & Whitney are the competitors. My replacement condenser coil was made in Taiwan (TYC) and three years later I still have ac. Outsourcing is used by any business to control labor and overhead costs. Pure and simple business policy - if a part can be made at lower cost yet maintain the highest standard of quality by carefully selecting a country with good political ties, a stable economy, a work force that can be trained to quality standards yet labor costs are lower than the home country of manufacture, business dictates using foreign made parts. The world economy revolves around everyone from everywhere with varying costs of doing business to be used by most large corporations to take every advantage of lower operating costs if something can be made elsewhere if the home economic situation is too costly to be labeled Made in the USA. Unfortunately, hatred of foreign made goods is a false hatred based on ignorance. The original Mexican condenser coil is the original part and I've never read of anyone here in these forums declare a poorly made one. Mine simply failed from severe corrosion and clamp chafing with salt to erode a (once) perfectly good condenser coil. I have no doubt that the lower cost TYC brand over the oem ACDELCO one will serve me well for however long I keep my L300.

As to catalytic converter replacement, this too has more than one option. In keeping with a personal philosophy relative to ac repairs, I see no reason not to consider an exhaust repair shop that may be able to size an appropriate replacement catalytic converter, cut the old one out and weld in the replacement with quality welds. This presumes a good quality catcon sized for the engine and the exhaust system pipes are still intact for welding. This would be a custom repair and require an exhaust expert with welding skills to match. Not a back yard welder. Some serious discussions with one or more exhaust repair shops may reveal whether or not this is feasible as an expert will assess your system to see if there are issues preventing cutting and splicing a catcon into the existing system. Easier said than done but the ball is in your court to consider alternatives at much lower cost to expensive oem replacement parts.

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Old 07-16-2018, 12:59 AM   #22
bern
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Default Re: 2007 Saturn Vue Greenline AC

I certainly Don't have all the answers. I wrote most of my last post before I looked back at your post vehicle Miles, I was thinking it was less.

More nails to put in the Vue's coffin : The exhaust manifold on the 2.2 / 2.4L warp and break at least 1 exhaust by cylinder 1 in the head. the stud removal can be difficult enough that the cylinder head may need to be removed. Are the timing chains OK?

What else is in need of attention?

As an auto technician it is really annoying when people with much newer vehicles don't repair. Then problems start to stack up and have overlapping symptoms and hard to Diagnose.

Last thing Saturday morning my Vue took a T-bone hit to the left rear wheel from a 30 mph mini van (I'm OK) The Vue is repairable.

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Old 07-16-2018, 07:47 AM   #23
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Default Re: 2007 Saturn Vue Greenline AC

Bern,

Thanks for your input ... as some of my posts with fdryer have been long and rambling, you probably missed that the (probable) cause of my catalytic converter demise (unless it truly is just the high mileage) was due to a cracked exhaust manifold ... essentially where you said it was. That was replaced by my local exhaust specialist about two years ago.

The vehicle goes into the garage regularly (every 5000 miles) for lof and tire balance/rotation. It's gone over pretty thoroughly so there is really nothing "failing" per se, just things, like the clutch cover on the AC, failing due to age. Is there anything in particular to check with the timing chain?

Of course, I don't expect answers ... just experience and knowledge-based opinions, which I am getting in spades!

My exhaust mechanic is hesitant at cutting out and replacing the cat with an aftermarket generic given that the Vue hybrid seems to have an odd cat configuration. Also, as I live in Vermont, anything I put in has to be CARB compliant ... so no 49 state cats for me.

As I've discussed with fdryer in the past, I'm not adverse to spending money to repair the Vue ... it owes me nothing. But, I don't want to dump $2000 into the Vue to replace the cat and AC compressor and not get a year-and-a-half out of it.

Are you aware of any CARB-compliant non-GM catalytic converters for this vehicle? We have already replaced the two 02 sensors (with Denso) and the P0420 code continues to set (and, curiously, turns itself off every few thousand miles). We cannot figure out what else it could be other than the cat as the one exhaust leak (the exhaust manifold) was addressed and there are no other leaks.

Again, any advice or suggestions are welcome ... beyond that ... I am sorry to hear about your Vue but very happy to hear that you are OK!

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Old 07-16-2018, 01:07 PM   #24
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Default Re: 2007 Saturn Vue Greenline AC

Bern,

If I could get your input on this ... I have a three-way conversation going over my Vue ... neither one of us really think that the catalytic converter has failed.

My "regular" mechanic actually removed the cat and inspected it ... found no broken, blocked or crumbling substrate, no signs of burning, etc. My "exhaust" mechanic, who replaced my exhaust manifold, swears that the cat isn't bad. He also said that, if the cat was failing, it should continue to get worse, not waffle between good and bad, setting and then "unsetting" the error code.

To that end, my exhaust mechanic suggested a top end cleaning ... removing the manifold cat and cleaning the injectors.

I'd love your opinion on that. Thanks!

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Old 07-17-2018, 12:28 AM   #25
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Default Re: 2007 Saturn Vue Greenline AC

Performing Smog (CA) hasn't been part of what I do as an auto technician. But as you are already being told, an exhaust leak will skew the catalyst efficiency test. A plan Jane stock exhaust manifold is not that expensive. But the very likely broke off stud in the head concerns me. Not all mechanics will be able to work on this kind of problem without making it worse.
I think replace the exhaust Manifold then reevaluate the catalytic converter. dose it reset the P0420

The timing chain: 1) Listen for excessive engine rattle noise the first 10 second when the engine is started COLD.
2) The Camshaft timing chain one of the plastic guides frequently are found broken. it can be quickly inspected. Their is a plug screw into the front left corner of the cylinder head (the corner of the head that is closest to the right front corner of the vehicle) Remove the plug to inspect if the guide above the bolt that is inside the hole, is the guide above the bolt broke off allowing the chain to ride on the side of the bolt.

The injection cleaning (a flush type service), I think your money can be better spent on more important things, more tangible failures. use top tier fuel and confirm the PCV passage in the intake manifold comes to mind.

I'm not saying that flush type services can't help improve a vehicle that is failing but most of the time the vehicle is not failing so the flush didn't improve it. I don't have a lot of respect for snake oil salesmen.

Some may say flush type services are really just wallet flushes. 5 different flushes on the same vehicle is called a royal flush.

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Old 07-17-2018, 09:49 AM   #26
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Default Re: 2007 Saturn Vue Greenline AC

Bern,

Thanks for your thoughtful responses.

The exhaust manifold was replaced three years ago. The P0420 code has continued to set and "unset" itself repeatedly since then. By that I mean that the CIL will illuminate, some miles later it will turn itself off. Some miles later it will illuminate again, then off. This has been going on for three years. As all I've spoken to have said, if the cat is failing, it's not going to get any better or stay the same ... it is going to get worse. That's not happening. That's the primary reason we don't think it's the cat.

I do always use top tier fuel ... usually ExxonMobil here in New England. I've never used anything but. It was suggested once that using the 10% ethanol blend here in New England could be causing these erroneous P0420 issues.

I don't dispute the "validity" of engine flushes without a pre-existing issue that can be addressed by engine flushes. My "regular" mechanic suggested just running some decent injector cleaner through the fuel tank and didn't really think a top end cleaning would be worthwhile. That was suggested by someone who doesn't perform them so it wasn't a cash grab.

The Vue still runs really well (it does vibrate at idle as the engine/transmission mounts are worn but I'm having difficulty finding replacements). It still gets around 30mpg during the warmer weather. I have great acceleration. All of these things really point to the cat being fine.

My regular mechanic is taking a look at it today ... going to look at EGR, maybe the engine control module to see if there is condensation or something causing bad electrical signals from the O2 sensors. We're really grasping at straws as if we can't figure this code out, the car will have to be taken out of service by June 2019, regardless of how well it is still running.

Thanks!

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