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Old 06-08-2011, 12:32 AM   #1
gmcelroy
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Default A/C Problems - HELP

The A/C compressor my 99 SL2 quit today out of the blue....I jumped the high/low pressure switch with a paper clip and then compressor kicked in.....I replaced the high/low switch and this DID NOT fix the problem....I then added r134 to the discharge line bring the pressure up to 35-40psi and the compressor kicked in for about a minute then quit.....Added a little more r134 while maintaining 35-40psi and the discharge hose started to bulge.....Any thoughts on this??

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Old 06-08-2011, 12:48 AM   #2
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Location: Pacifica by San Francisco 5sp Engine rebuild with the help of people here at 177K due to 500mi/qt oil consumption. After 2yrs I am back to 40mpg+ after discovering the refirb head I used was bad. Car runs better than a top. Now at 214k.
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Default Re: A/C Problems - HELP

The compressor clutch wont engage if the r134 is not up to a certain pressure.

You keep loosing the pressure... In short, you have a leak.

This should explain everything: http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/showthread.php?t=80107

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Old 06-08-2011, 01:23 AM   #3
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Default Re: A/C Problems - HELP

Do you know what caused the discharge hose to bulge?

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Old 06-08-2011, 01:43 AM   #4
ehunter
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Location: Pacifica by San Francisco 5sp Engine rebuild with the help of people here at 177K due to 500mi/qt oil consumption. After 2yrs I am back to 40mpg+ after discovering the refirb head I used was bad. Car runs better than a top. Now at 214k.
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1996 SL2
Default Re: A/C Problems - HELP

can you post a pic of it?

Does this help: http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...13&postcount=6 ?

BTW - Fdryer is our resident AC expert. If you do an advanced search with his name as the poster and with the proper search words there is a good chance you will find what you are looking for.

Last edited by ehunter; 06-08-2011 at 01:50 AM..

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Old 06-08-2011, 07:19 AM   #5
DonP
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Default Re: A/C Problems - HELP

Lets see, you dumped R134a in the discharge (high pressure) side? Then added more, and now the hose is bulging?

Any idea how much you add, how much was already in the system?

Has any other DIY work been done to the system (by you or others)?

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Old 06-08-2011, 09:48 AM   #6
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Default Re: A/C Problems - HELP

Lets see, you dumped R134a in the discharge (high pressure) side?
NO, THE LOW PRESSURE SIDE

Then added more, and now the hose is bulging?
YES

Any idea how much you add, how much was already in the system?
ABOUT 6-8 OUNCES, I DO NO KNOW

Has any other DIY work been done to the system (by you or others)?
NO

ALSO, DO YOU HAVE TO EVAUATE THE FREON TO CHANGE THE HIGH/LOW PRESSURE SWITCH?

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Old 06-08-2011, 08:59 PM   #7
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Default Re: A/C Problems - HELP

Quote:
Originally Posted by gmcelroy View Post
The A/C compressor my 99 SL2 quit today out of the blue....I jumped the high/low pressure switch with a paper clip and then compressor kicked in.....I replaced the high/low switch and this DID NOT fix the problem....I then added r134 to the discharge line bring the pressure up to 35-40psi and the compressor kicked in for about a minute then quit.....Added a little more r134 while maintaining 35-40psi and the discharge hose started to bulge.....Any thoughts on this??
Quote:
Originally Posted by gmcelroy View Post
Lets see, you dumped R134a in the discharge (high pressure) side?
NO, THE LOW PRESSURE SIDE

Then added more, and now the hose is bulging?
YES

ALSO, DO YOU HAVE TO EVAUATE THE FREON TO CHANGE THE HIGH/LOW PRESSURE SWITCH?
The service manual does not have any info about replacing it. And its not the reason why your a/c isn't working as many others think. A sealed system will show anywhere from 50psi and above in summer temperatures and mirrors outside temperatures. If the ambient temperature is 85F the static pressure will be around 85psi. 90F, 90psi.

High/Low Pressure Cut-Out Switch

A/C off if discharge pressure is greater than 2758 +1/- 138 kPa (400 +1/- 20 psi) and back on at 1724 +1/-345 kPa (250 +1/- 50 psi). Cooling fan will run for 180 seconds after A/C is turned off. A/C off if discharge pressure is less than 276 kPa (40 psi).


When you refilled the system did you run the engine up to 2k rpm? Reading the low pressure side at idle doesn't mean anything unless you're familiar with refrigeration because the low pressures you see at idle most likely means a suction at 2k rpm. Try reading pressure again but at 2k rpm. All pressure readings are done at 2k rpm and not at idle. You also replaced the switch once and it didn't fix anything so replacing it again still won't fix your problem.

Your system lost refrigerant so pressure at the discharge side is now below 40psi. At this pressure the pressure switch opens to prevent the compressor from any more damage. Find and fix the source of the LEAK, repair what's necessary, evacuate the system, leak test again, and if successful the moment the 1st 0.5lb of R134a is injected the pressure will easily exceed 40psi and overcome the pressure switch automatically to allow the compressor to run. Its working as designed and replacing it is not the answer to why the hose bulged. If you cannot attach a set of a/c manifold gauges to see pressures on both sides you'll never know what the operating pressures are.

WARNING! There's a very real danger here if you see any a/c hose bulge. This is alerting you to the possibility that this hose may explode in your face if you aren't aware of high pressure failures from a weakened hose. All a/c hoses are safety rated and marked for burst pressure rating. Exceeding this can cause a rupture with refrigerant and oil. Normal high pressures will exceed 250 psi and hoses can withstand more than 450psi before exploding.

Do you know which hose is bulging and the reason for it? The discharge hose is the one near the compressor pulley. The suction hose is the one in the rear end of the compressor.

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Old 06-08-2011, 09:57 PM   #8
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Default Re: A/C Problems - HELP

The suction hose

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Old 06-08-2011, 11:18 PM   #9
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Default Re: A/C Problems - HELP

Was stop leak sealer ever used?

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Old 06-09-2011, 01:34 AM   #10
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Default Re: A/C Problems - HELP

No Sir

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Old 06-09-2011, 05:14 AM   #11
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Default Re: A/C Problems - HELP

Well, when you replaced the pressure switch the system must have lost all refrigerant otherwise you should have heard hissing as any residual gas was released. Once this was done a full evacuation is needed to remove any air and moisture in the system and a leak test done before recharging with R134a. Before all this when the a/c stopped running, a full system inspection should have been done to visually look for dye and oil leaking out wherever it was released. Dye is greenish yellow and shows up in the shade but better in the dark with a uv light. Finding the source of the leak should be the first thing to do otherwise you're just refilling a leak without finding out where the leak exists. It can be as simple as the service valves not capped tightly or wear from a clamp chafing tubing from dirt rubbing between the clamp and aluminum line.

Either find and fix the leak or you'll never fix this correctly and will have to go to a pro. A vacuum pump, gages, and information about refrigeration are still needed to complete any repairs. Refilling a system with a possible blockage of the suction line is asking for trouble.

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Old 06-09-2011, 02:22 PM   #12
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Default Re: A/C Problems - HELP

I had a professional diagnosis completed and here are the results:

Cycling pressure 60 psi, high side 150 psi
Replace accumulator, o tube, expandsion valve, schradrer values and suction hose.

All the R134a has been evaculated and the shop wants $500 to fix. I'm thinking about replacing the parts myself then having them add the R134a back.

First question, does this diagnosis make sense?
Second, are these components relatively easy to replace?
Third, should I consider replacing any other parts (such as o-rings)?

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Old 06-09-2011, 03:06 PM   #13
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Default Re: A/C Problems - HELP

Im no AC expert , but it seems like they are guessing themselves by replacing all those parts. What are the odds ALL of those are THE cause. Or is it just 1 item and they figure you might as well replace a bunch of other stuff at the same time. Personally, I would change all the Orings, and try yourself first.

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Old 06-09-2011, 04:38 PM   #14
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Default Re: A/C Problems - HELP

Quote:
Originally Posted by gmcelroy View Post
I had a professional diagnosis completed and here are the results:

Cycling pressure 60 psi, high side 150 psi
Replace accumulator, o tube, expandsion valve, schradrer values and suction hose.

All the R134a has been evaculated and the shop wants $500 to fix. I'm thinking about replacing the parts myself then having them add the R134a back.

First question, does this diagnosis make sense?
Second, are these components relatively easy to replace?
Third, should I consider replacing any other parts (such as o-rings)?
Ans.1-Nope
Ans.2-All parts except for the "o tube" are relatively easy to replace. Your Saturn doesn't have any o tube. I interpret o tube to mean orifice tube that doesn't exist in your a/c system. We use a thermal expansion valve at the firewall to meter refrigerant flow into the evaporator coils for cooling while the receiver/drier/accumulator does the filtering that other cars use an orifice tube for.
Ans.3-Personally, I don't know.

An initial cross reference against the service manual matches one fault closely against the L-60psi/H-150psi readings (presuming 2k engine rpm?); compressor output at minimum displacement meaning its stuck and cannot vary displacement. A normal variable displacement compressor will automatically adjust to demands of the system to vary displacement according to pressures on the suction side. Being stuck at minimum displacement basically means low output that isn't cooling even with a full amount of refrigerant. There's also the suspicion of the bulging suction hose that hasn't been explained yet. If this system was never serviced (no topping off, sealer or oil added) since the car was new then there are some questions to ask. If this system was serviced in any way then some or all of the recommended parts to replace make sense but still leaves out why the compressor wasn't added to the list unless this is just guessing. Guessing is another way for more business at your expense if parts are replaced and cooling doesn't appear. Another round of repairs is needed and then what? I cannot honestly say one way or the other whether parts are needed.

If nothing was ever done to this system prior to you replacing the pressure switch, I would have to use a set of gages to see for myself the operating pressures against local temperatures to confirm the same readings or question them and why its different. I'm not convinced of any need to replace anything that's been recommended for several reasons.
  1. A system that was never worked on should work almost forever (my car @ 65k miles/8yrs still cools the same as the day it was made) and should not need the filter/drier/accumulator replaced unless the compressor has failed and is outputting debris that's strangled the filter that would restrict refrigerant flow. This may explain the higher than normal low pressure output since low pressures should be hovering at 30psi, not 60.
  2. Replacing an "o tube" that doesn't exist is either a lie, an afterthought due to ignorance, or deliberate, to raise the costs of repairs indiscriminately. This orifice tube costs about $15 and mark-up maybe three times excluding labor for something your car doesn't have.
  3. Replacing a filter/drier/accumulator is never recommended alone and backwards; the compressor depends on filtered refrigerant and oil to prevent compressor damage. Usually a compressor that has been determined to be at fault automatically demands replacement of the f/d/a as a combo; every distributor selling a new compressor under warranty demands that the f/d/a be replaced otherwise the warranty is voided. The industry records show that poor repairs of compressor replacement without replacing the f/d/a tends to ruin a new compressor shortly after installation because of short cuts and/or lack of professionalism to ensure all necessary parts are replaced including an expensive and time consuming flushing of the entire system that's disassembled to ensure a rebuilt a/c system runs with new oil and all old oil and any contaminants doesn't damage a new compressor. This would be a extreme example of compressor damage.

Replacing only the f/d/a is like putting the cart before the horse. I'd ask why?

See my pictures of a perfect example of a damaged compressor that turned honey colored oil into a grey mess from broken vanes that does the actual compressing of refrigerant. Oil and refrigerant continuously cycles for the life of every a/c system and any meddling by anyone attempting to top off may introduce more problems later and never see the evidence of their work.

I'm the last to recommend compressor replacement until I'm thoroughly convinced its needed. I'm puzzled about this diagnosis and recommendation. Removing the refrigerant wasn't necessary; now you have no way to ascertain another measurement since all refrigerant was removed and may be from your recommendation or done deliberately to remove any way to check pressures unless a vacuum is done, leak checked and if no leak is shown on the vacuum gauge, refilling with the correct amount of R134a to observe pressures again, knowing that a leak hasn't been found and the correct amount of R134a is installed. The service manual calls for doing this but professional GM service also has reclamation equipment to evacuate the system completely to recycle refrigerant and charge a full amount of R134a into the system to observe pressures and temperatures (in the cabin) to determine any faults. Using expensive equipment allows this to be done more than once since recycling R134a is done and can be reused when handled correctly.

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Old 06-09-2011, 06:42 PM   #15
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Default Re: A/C Problems - HELP

Thank you very much for the feedback....
The tech that did the work seemed concerned about whether I was going to take his diagnosis then do the work myself (as opposed to having him do it).
The shop wanted $574 to replace the accumulator, the o tube (which does not exist) expandsion value, schrader valves and the suction hose. I'm assuming that I would get my R134a back for free (lol).
In any event, it sounds like he was either 1) setting me up for failure or 2) would hit me up for a compressor while doing the work stated above.
Given that this car has 214K miles and I have a second 99 SL2 with 112K miles (with working a/c), I'm not going to fix it.
I guess I'll now have a summer Saturn and a winter Saturn.
Again, thanks much for your help !

PS - the diagnosis (or lack there of) cost me $45

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Old 06-09-2011, 08:29 PM   #16
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Default Re: A/C Problems - HELP

FDRYER is absolutely 100% correct! Infact I agreed with everything he said.
An "o-tube" ..haha....Saturns don't even use them! These cars have exspansion valves.
It sounds to me that the diagnostic tech is ignorant to proper A/C service...but there is the chance that he did find the actual problem , figured it was cheap and easy and attempted to up sell you various un needed components. Unfortunately not all customers are as savy as you and would've gone for it.
That sucks! That is the type of **** that gives us Hard Working Technicians a bad rap.
An informed Tech with a bit of dignity would have put a set of gauges on it to read the pressures.(after a complete visual inspection of course) And most decent shops have a recycle machine(I do)to pull a proper 45 minute vacuum and leak test(hold vac for over 25 minutes or more). Charge with proper amount of 134a which is what?... 1.5lbs on the S-Series. Then check pressures again(35 psi low & 150 psi high, give or take depending on ambient temp). And then go from there if the pressures aren't where they should be.
Sorry that happened to you guy.

-Saturn94v
ASE Certified Automotive Technician

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