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Old 06-02-2009, 07:59 PM   #1
JSLACH
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Default A/C will only work on low fan speed

I've got this weird problem with the fan and the A/C on an 02 VUE AWD V6

The fan will not work on low speed, any other speeds (2,3,4) are ok.

The A/C will not engage on anything other than low speed fan, so on (2,3,4) it does not engage. Signs of this going on is if hit the A/c button the green light will only turn on if the fan dial is set to 1 (low). If I move the dial to (2,3,4) then the A/C green light turns off. I can also hear the compressor engaging on/off as I play with fan speed.

I know the A/C really works because when I leave the A/C on (green light) with the fan on low for a few minutes(3-5mins) and then turn up the fan on 2 or 3 or 4, then the air is really cold ...but it lasts only 2 mins since the A/C does not engage at the higher fan speeds.

I check all the fuses under the dashboard and under the hood that had the words "A/C" or HVAC on it...as well has switch those fuse/modules around with other know good uses used for other car's features.

It's really not the right time for my A/c to go out on me, with the upcomming summer and my wife being 8 months pregnant...any help will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks

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Old 06-02-2009, 08:48 PM   #2
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Default Re: A/C will only work on low fan speed

I'm not certain of the exact fix for the Vue, but I know on Sunfires/Cavaliers, there was an issue with the resistor within the fan control that would go over time. Some of those systems sometimes had the same or similar symptoms as you.

I'm sure one of the good people on here will have a more accurate answer for you.

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Old 06-02-2009, 08:51 PM   #3
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Default Re: A/C will only work on low fan speed

You're correct the VUE uses a typical resistor to vary the fan speed. Most likely it's bad. It's also a possibility the switch can be bad, but more thimes than not the resistor goes bad...

...
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Old 06-02-2009, 10:27 PM   #4
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Default Re: A/C will only work on low fan speed

Quote:
Originally Posted by JSLACH View Post
I've got this weird problem with the fan and the A/C on an 02 VUE AWD V6

The fan will not work on low speed, any other speeds (2,3,4) are ok.

The A/C will not engage on anything other than low speed fan, so on (2,3,4) it does not engage. Signs of this going on is if hit the A/c button the green light will only turn on if the fan dial is set to 1 (low). If I move the dial to (2,3,4) then the A/C green light turns off. I can also hear the compressor engaging on/off as I play with fan speed.

I know the A/C really works because when I leave the A/C on (green light) with the fan on low for a few minutes(3-5mins) and then turn up the fan on 2 or 3 or 4, then the air is really cold ...but it lasts only 2 mins since the A/C does not engage at the higher fan speeds.

I check all the fuses under the dashboard and under the hood that had the words "A/C" or HVAC on it...as well has switch those fuse/modules around with other know good uses used for other car's features.

It's really not the right time for my A/c to go out on me, with the upcomming summer and my wife being 8 months pregnant...any help will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks
Will this be the first child? We traveled in a blizzard for our first born but heat would be just as aggravating to your wife (actually, virtually anything irritates them at that stage).

There's a diagram of typical Vue HVAC control scheme at following thread ... please refer to post #3, and the schematic is titled 03 Vue HVAC Schm-1:

http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=132085

The basic information presented by this diagram is when the AC button is pushed - and fan speed is set to any of four speeds - the compressor should run.

In your case the AC light is ON (and compressor runs) when fan switch is in position 1 but fan does not run. You also say the fan will run when the speed switch is in 2, 3 or 4 but the AC light is OFF.

You'll note on the drawing that the low speed signal goes through three resistors to the fan motor, position 2 uses two resistors, position 3 uses one resistor and position 4 (high) goes direct to the motor.

It's safe to say the fan is OK, as well as position 2 and 3 resistors.

I think my logical suspect would be a failure within the fan selector switch or associated wiring.

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Old 06-03-2009, 04:32 AM   #5
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Default Re: A/C will only work on low fan speed

Quote:
Originally Posted by JSLACH View Post
... I know the A/C really works because when I leave the A/C on (green light) with the fan on low for a few minutes(3-5mins) and then turn up the fan on 2 or 3 or 4, then the air is really cold ...but it lasts only 2 mins since the A/C does not engage at the higher fan speeds...
Just a guess but I really think your a/c system is the problem and not the fan speed causing the a/c to stop working. Fan speeds do not control the actual a/c compressor but if loss of refrigerant occurs there can temporary cold air and then no more cold. Loss of refrigerant is simply a leak and can be costly to repair unless looked at honestly to separate the easy repairs from the difficult requiring refrigeration training to finish repairs.

This is what you need to know before getting involved; http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/showthread.php?t=80107

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Old 06-03-2009, 07:00 AM   #6
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Default Re: A/C will only work on low fan speed

Thanks everyone for your replies.

Since The fan-blower itself will not run on position "1" whether I press the A/C button or not....I think I'll attack that one 1st as it seems to be a separate issue. And that it is the cheapest repair versus a potential A/C repair ( I'll save those tears for later ). I'll also check for leaks as detailled in the 3rd paragraph of fdryer's post.

Again thanks.

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Old 06-03-2009, 09:00 PM   #7
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Default Re: A/C will only work on low fan speed

I got a closer look at it after work today. As stated before the a/c will only engage on fan speed #1...but what I noticed is that as I left the A/C running
I got to see that it actually engages-disengages over and over. I could see the pully spin for about 30 secs and then not spin for 15-20 secs.

The aluminum piping going to and from the firewall appeared fine... I checked as much as I could see and felt it ...I didn't feel like it was slipery or greasy...it was just basically dusty and I actually got caught off guard from how cold it was. It was 75 degrees outside but the tube was really cold.

Does any one know what module or relay sends the signal for the "clucth to engage the compressor" (for a lack of better terms)?

Thanks

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Old 06-03-2009, 09:41 PM   #8
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Default Re: A/C will only work on low fan speed

Unfortunately, you just described the last symptoms of a leaking system just before it stops working altogether. The freezing suction line you felt isn't supposed to be frozen and is one of the indications just before the compressor stops cycling. The cycling is due to loss of refrigerant that's detected by the low pressure switch when the system runs (with depleted R134a); as pressure drops below a certain point (below approximately 25psi) the low pressure switch detects the loss of refrigerant and disables the compressor from further damage. Normal pressures can be anywhere from 70-250psi, well above the low pressure switch detection point. Refrigerant is used to circulate lubricating oil so no refrigerant = no lubricant. Allowed to continue this way and compressor damage will result in a larger repair bill. Right now you're system is on its last legs as its right on the borderline between running and not running, commonly known as cycling. Your system has lost refrigerant and its just a matter of time before it stops cycling altogether. Whether you want to to acknowledge it or not, a leak has already occurred.

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Old 06-04-2009, 06:03 PM   #9
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Default Re: A/C will only work on low fan speed

fdryer ... I accept your low refrigerant premise and suggest JSLACH check / service at first opportunity.

However, what would be symptoms if there's no airflow across the evaporator? According to diagrams the "evaporator temperature sensor" will also cycle the compressor clutch (via BCM signal to PCM for L66 engine).

Last I heard the compressor would only operate when fan switch is on low but he indicated there was no air movement in Low position.

JSLACH ... can you confirm no-air using low speed fan and perhaps also make sure the radiator cooling fan(s) operate when the compressor is running.

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Old 06-04-2009, 09:39 PM   #10
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Default Re: A/C will only work on low fan speed

I am definetly getting a pressure test...

as for far2grumpy, the low speed setting does nothing. A/C switch may be on or off...it makes no difference the cabin blower is not turning. I tested late
when it was very quiet, didn't start the car, just put the ignition key to on...and it's more of the same...position 1 does nothing and 2,3,4, definitly turns (also with car running) . I even tested with a lighter to try detecting if there was at least a faint breeze...nada...nothing.

for the other test...yes when I do combine the blower fan position #1 and press the A/C switch..the radiator fan does kick in while the A/C does it crazy cycling thing.

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Old 06-04-2009, 09:54 PM   #11
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Default Re: A/C will only work on low fan speed

Quote:
Originally Posted by far2grumpy View Post
...However, what would be symptoms if there's no airflow across the evaporator? According to diagrams the "evaporator temperature sensor" will also cycle the compressor clutch (via BCM signal to PCM for L66 engine).

Last I heard the compressor would only operate when fan switch is on low but he indicated there was no air movement in Low position...
With only the low speed blower position not working, this seems to me a resistor card issue with the low speed resistor being burned out, leaving the other speeds intact and separate from the leaking a/c system. It would help to see the wiring diagram for the HVAC system. I'm not sure if and why an evaporator temperature sensor is used for cycling a compressor since my understanding is that all of our Saturn compressors are the variable displacement types that varies output according to cooling needs, negating the on and off loading of the engine affecting engine rpm making evap temp sensors unnecessary. Having variable displacement compressors allows less loading of the engine when demands are light like night time cooling while still allowing full cooling in midafternoon stop and go traffic. This would put less strain on engines and allow smoother transitions of loads on a continuous basis instead of cycling the compressor.

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Old 06-04-2009, 10:20 PM   #12
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Default Re: A/C will only work on low fan speed

Quote:
Originally Posted by fdryer View Post
With only the low speed blower position not working, this seems to me a resistor card issue with the low speed resistor being burned out, leaving the other speeds intact and separate from the leaking a/c system. It would help to see the wiring diagram for the HVAC system. I'm not sure if and why an evaporator temperature sensor is used for cycling a compressor since my understanding is that all of our Saturn compressors are the variable displacement types that varies output according to cooling needs, negating the on and off loading of the engine affecting engine rpm making evap temp sensors unnecessary. Having variable displacement compressors allows less loading of the engine when demands are light like night time cooling while still allowing full cooling in midafternoon stop and go traffic. This would put less strain on engines and allow smoother transitions of loads on a continuous basis instead of cycling the compressor.
fdryer ... if you can't sort this out there's no hope for humanity.

I like to trace wires and circuits but AC leaves me cold.

I've attached three schematics for the 02 Vue AC system (they appear to be same as schematics for my 05 Vue).

There's at least one other drawing I need to refind showing databus between various control modules.

The Evaporator Temperature Sensor is on schematic with same name.

I'm so confused.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf 02 Vue HVAC Blower Cntl.pdf (28.2 KB, 142 views)
File Type: pdf 02 Vue HVAC Cmprsr & Sensor.pdf (25.5 KB, 76 views)
File Type: pdf 02 Vue HVAC Actuator & Evap Temp Sensor.pdf (35.2 KB, 53 views)

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Old 06-04-2009, 11:46 PM   #13
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Default Re: A/C will only work on low fan speed

Thank you far2grumpy for posting the diagrams. From what I see in two diagrams, and only a guess on my part for #2;

1-The ECM needs the a/c ON signal in order to bump the engine rpm up due to compressor load.

2-The BCM would use the evap temp signal for the optional after blow feature of running the blower fan after engine shut down to facilitate either drying out any condensation on the coils and/or to reduce the effects of bacterial growth on the coils. My guess is based on the signal not being needed by the ECM since the ECM runs the engine and could care less about the blower being on or off. Having the evap temp sensor input to the bcm would be to monitor how long to run the fan so the bcm can control this feature and not control the compressor clutch coil.

If I'm wrong and its used as part of the a/c system and something were to go wrong with this circuit, causing the cycling problem when nothing is wrong and no loss of refrigerant exists, this would be a weak point. The FSM should have an explanation for this circuit and why its used.

My L300 is the same V6 3.0L engine and most likely the same a/c system but my FSM doesn't show any evap temp sensor.

3-The a/c request signal (sharing a small box with part of the a/c after blow circuit) in the bcm is probably just for monitoring this signal for the OBD II diagnostics program, part of the bcm's function.

4-The resistor card appears to match what I posted about the possibility of the low speed resistor being blown and requiring replacement of the card to have low speed back.

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Old 06-22-2009, 08:48 PM   #14
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Default Re: A/C will only work on low fan speed, update

OK, here's something I hoped for but did not expect...

I got a replacement resistor board in the mail today. Put it it in and both problems are gone. Fan speed #1 works and the a/c now works on all fan speeds. The a/c compressor no longer cycles..I watched it for 10mins straitgh and I did not do that cycling thing from before. It blows cold air quickly and I'm quite happy because It's going to be hot the next 10 days.

Just for kicks I put the old resistor board back in and the same old problems come back...so there's a definite relation.

I still want to do a pressure test just in case and maybe fill the a/c coolant up..

Is it worth it? Does a 7 year old Vue need to get a/c coolant added?

Thanks.

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Old 06-22-2009, 09:50 PM   #15
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Default Re: A/C will only work on low fan speed

I too have a 7yr old a/c system and will not meddle with it since it works. If you understand Pandora's box you'll appreciate the following; given that you replaced the resistor card and now have proper cooling at all fan speeds, attempting any topping off attempts can lead to a real issue - the moment you insert a fitting onto the service valves risks those valves not sealing properly after disconnection. Although its a small risk of having one or both schrader valves not seal correctly and result in total loss or the beginnings of a leak, there is no reason to attempt any servicing at this time. Once a system is serviced, there are possibilities such as poor valve sealing, over filling, incorrect hook-ups, mixing valve settings, etc., unless totally familiar with refrigeration systems.

The very best you can do for yourself is refrain from any attempts to read pressures and simply insert an inexpensive thermometer into the center vent to monitor interior temperatures. Since you don't know the original cold temperatures you also risk over filling a system based on pressures when this doesn't apply to R134a systems. This worked on R12 systems but no longer applies to R134a. If you see approximately 45F or lower on med/hi fan speed while driving, consider your a/c system fine. Risking a hook-up and the possibility of one or both service valves not seating afterwards is risky as well as guessing on refrigerant amount based on pressures. You assume more responsibility when doing so.

I have all the equipment for proper servicing of any a/c system but refrain from any hook-ups simply because "if it ain't broke, don't fix it".

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Old 06-22-2009, 10:08 PM   #16
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Default Re: A/C will only work on low fan speed, update

[QUOTE=JSLACH;1469929]OK, here's something I hoped for but did not expect...

I got a replacement resistor board in the mail today. Put it it in and both problems are gone. Fan speed #1 works and the a/c now works on all fan speeds. The a/c compressor no longer cycles..I watched it for 10mins straitgh and I did not do that cycling thing from before. It blows cold air quickly and I'm quite happy because It's going to be hot the next 10 days.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ ++++

To recap: (1) With original resistor board you had no blower in position 1 but the compressor would run, and (2) With original board you had good blower on position 2, 3 & 4 but the compressor would not run.

You replaced the resistor board and now all blower speeds and compressor operate as expected.

Was there a schematic or any sort of drawing included with the new resistor board?

Must you return the old board for core charge?

Where did you get new board and how much did it cost?

Congratulations for sticking to it.

Finally, did you read the recent post regarding corrosion in various connections for orange wire between under-hood fuse and high-side of blower motor?

Might be worth keeping in mind in event your AC goes on the fritz in the future.

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Old 06-23-2009, 12:54 PM   #17
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Default Re: A/C will only work on low fan speed

Far2grumpy,

I actually got the part right from where you live...Cedar Rapids, IA.
I got it online from rockauto. It was 69$ USD ship and customs included.
The dealer here wanted 110$USD tx inc. There were no options to return the defect. Rockauto did not provide any schematics.


Fdryer,

The temp at the vent after it's been running for 5 mins is 49-51F.

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Old 06-23-2009, 01:42 PM   #18
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Default Re: A/C will only work on low fan speed

Quote:
Originally Posted by JSLACH View Post
Far2grumpy,

I actually got the part right from where you live...Cedar Rapids, IA.
I got it online from rockauto.

JSLACH ... thanks for the info and congrats again for fixing your HVAC.

RockAuto's location in Cedar Rapids is a mystery. I recently ordered rear hatch struts from them on a Friday PM ... they indicated shipping to my Zip would be $15 USD. I paid and the next morning - Saturday - a FedEx truck stopped in my driveway with the struts.

I later determined the zip for the local distribution centers is within five miles of my house. I can't buy over-the-counter from them and still feel wounded by the ridiculous shipping fee.

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Old 08-17-2009, 02:25 AM   #19
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Default Re: A/C will only work on low fan speed

I'm having a similar problem with my a/c aswell.

On fan postion #1 my a/c works but the fan doesn't.
On fan postion #2 my a/c doesn't work and the fan doesn't
On fan postion #3 my a/c doesn't work but the fan does.
On fan postion #4 my a/c intermitantly works and the fan does.

I'm thinking that I am having that same problem as the op did.

I searched rockauto for resistor card and came up dry. Also, where is the card located? Inside the fan control unit?

Thanks

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Old 08-17-2009, 06:51 AM   #20
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Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: NYC
Posts: 29,810
 

2003 L-Series 3.0L Sedan
Default Re: A/C will only work on low fan speed

For your '03 Vue, its behind the blower motor.

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