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Old 02-17-2011, 02:56 PM   #1
catzarecute
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Default Air Conditioning Woes................

Please help !!! I am so upset……………. After over $900 (!!!!) in June of last year for a new compressor, my AC no longer works & makes a horrible sound behind the dash when I turn it on. I have read that it may be possible vacuum line issues ??? If a compressor is “fixed” why after only about 3 months of use would the AC have vacuum issues if not properly diagnosed and/or checked when my compressor was initially replaced ? Also, how much $$$ now am I screwed out of—because my compressor is still under warranty, but apparently nothing else………… I just got off the phone with them & am still so upset………… This was at one time Saturn of Midlothian; same people are still there.

So—to sum up—when I turn on my AC, HOT AIR comes out & horrible, weird sizzling/hissing noise is present near the driver’s dash area (behind the gauges).

Car is 2002 L300 V6, all original with 100,212 miles.

Can anyone please advise to what it may be, and how much it may cost ? I am going there tomorrow & want to sound somewhat knowledgeable so that they do not take advantage of me !!!

THANKS FOR YOUR HELP !!!!

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Old 02-18-2011, 12:15 AM   #2
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Default Re: Air Conditioning Woes................

Our a/c systems won't turn on if the outside temperatures are below approximately 40F. This is to protect it from damage as it doesn't make much sense to operate a/c cooling when outside temps are cool enough for cabin cooling. A/c systems become inefficient at low outside temperatures.

What's your local temperatures? A/c systems are complicated to the average person, as complicated as home airconditioning or refrigerators. For some strange reason almost everyone thinks he or she can simply buy a refill can of refrigerant and sealer to fix their car systems, only to find out that these kits don't work.

Supply more information for more feedback as to why your system isn't working.

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Old 02-18-2011, 09:44 AM   #3
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Default Re: Air Conditioning Woes................

Thank you, frdryer ! I was hoping you would respond—you’re the best !!

Anyways, it was approximately 66 degrees outside yesterday, so I turned on my AC for the first time which had last been run in September—bad sounds from behind the dash started and no cold air from the vents at all—it was difficult to hear above the odd sounds, but I think the compressor *did* come on.

What happened last year is that my compressor apparently seized & so Saturn replaced it—after replacement, the AC was awesome; however, I have to say that throughout the summer, I think it felt less cold, and around September, I did hear the beginnings of the strange hissing sounds. Since winter occurred, of course, I never used the AC again until yesterday. And as I said, it now blows hot air with funny sounds; but again, I think the compressor is coming on (but of course I hope there is a problem with the compressor, as it is still under warranty !!!!).

Does this info help ??

THANKS AGAIN !!!!

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Old 02-18-2011, 10:22 AM   #4
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Default Re: Air Conditioning Woes................

Please, if you make my head swell I may not be able to take off and fly over to the other ponds where I hang out!? The guys don't like big heads splashing and attracting attention............

Even with the info you gave, its still difficult to determine what went wrong other than the....the........dreaded (word).................leak. Sorry, but from the first post all I read (and presume) from your descriptions are that this repair didn't stand the true test of a full repair; once fixed, I consider a system isn't fully restored until used the next year. Real repairs are as if it came from the factory with no issues during and after the warranty runs out. Car a/c systems are supposed to work just like our refrigerators; they don't need repairs for years and most last forever. Unfortunately, cars wreck a/c systems from exposure to everything we do to our cars by rattling it apart.

The presumption of a leak is based on loss of cooling and noise as most of the refrigerant used has leaked out. You should not use it anymore as this leak also allows air to get into this system to cause more long term damage unless its repaired (again). I doubt the compressor is the cause unless the fittings weren't tightened; the factory system added dye that will glow greenish yellow when leaks occur. Even the two service fittings that equipment is attached to sometimes leak unless the caps are tightened. If this is a simple leak from loose fittings or worn valve stem seals, it shouldn't cost an arm and a leg. Good a/c repair men will know what to do but others will try to take advantage of the situation because of a lack of knowledge by most car owners.

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Old 02-19-2011, 09:30 AM   #5
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Default Re: Air Conditioning Woes................

Quote:
Originally Posted by fdryer View Post
Our a/c systems won't turn on if the outside temperatures are below approximately 40F.
Um, no. The AC compressor comes on whenever the mode selector is in "Defrost". This works at very low temperatures.

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Old 02-22-2011, 10:02 AM   #6
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Default Re: Air Conditioning Woes................

So—you were right, frdryer !!! It was indeed a leak; a leak of Freon at the compressor seal behind the pulley (written verbatim from service order). So the good news is, it is covered under warranty—BUT—the bad news is that they said they cannot fix it as they were Saturn at the time I had it initially replaced (June 2010), but are no longer authorized GM warranty service centers—however, this makes no frikkin’ sense—the warranty repair is something they should do as I believe the original tech who did it (not the GOOD ONE I usually use) did not install it properly…. Oh well… I hope the “authorized” place does a good job (Haley Pontiac Midlothian VA).

So, one more question—the fact that it was a slow leak from the seal for at least 3 months, is anything else damaged ??? They told me that the only damage would be to the compressor, but since that is being replaced, I don’t care ! Is that true, that my lines and everything else should be OK ?

THANKS AGAIN !!!

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Old 02-22-2011, 11:47 AM   #7
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Default Re: Air Conditioning Woes................

Quote:
Originally Posted by born again View Post
Um, no. The AC compressor comes on whenever the mode selector is in "Defrost". This works at very low temperatures.
Umm, yes, the compressor does not run below approximately 40F no matter what the "idiot" light tells you. There are many idiot lights that stay one when a function is broken/disabled; cruise control failure with the cc light on, a/c indicator on while the compressor is disabled, defroster indicator on but the defrost grid is broken, etc.. Not to insult anyone but idiot lights means just that; to inform the idiot what's working but never really say anything meaningful. Computer controls now separate the LED indicator from the actual control circuits when the old electrical circuits included lamps that wouldn't turn on if the main components were broken.

If you monitor normal a/c operation you'll notice a slight bump in rpm when the compressor actually runs but below 40F there won't be any bump in engine rpm. The intake air temperature sensor monitors outside temps to let the pcm decide when to allow compressor operation despite using the defroster. I've tried using defrost in cold weather and watched engine rpm's and notice when the rpm bump occurs above 40F and lack of it below that temperature. Its certainly good for quickly defrosting in humid cold weather but a/c use isn't efficient at all at low temperatures so the HVAC engineers chose 40F as the cut off to disable compressor operation.

cat, the leak from a faulty compressor won't harm the a/c system as long as you notice a loss of cooling and stop using it. This minimizes any more long term damage. Even continued used won't harm anything as long as the a/c tech does a complete job to restore a/c function. A major repair (again) to replace the compressor still requires; removing any remaining refrigerant (EPA regulations), removing and replacing the compressor, replacing the two O-rings/flat seals, tightening the fittings correctly, performing a full evacuation of this sealed system to completely remove all air and moisture for at least 15-20 minutes, then checking for any leak back from atmospheric pressure trying to get back into this totally vacuumed/evacuated system before refilling with R134a. If done correctly the system will run immediately and cool the cabin. There's no guarantee this repair is sealed completely as time will tell (the hint about seeing this work next year) but if a final leak test shows no leak back just before refilling with new refrigerant, good a/c techs can say with certainty that a system will work like new. The key is to observe the vacuum for some minutes, waiting patiently as minutes goes by while watching the gauge needles. Non movement means a perfect vacuum and a virtual guarantee that a repaired system should work like new, now and as long as nothing damages the system.

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Old 02-22-2011, 12:25 PM   #8
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Default Re: Air Conditioning Woes................

I can't put blame on the a/c tech as the compressor leaked in one spot that cannot be repaired. A front seal fault was either a poorly rebuilt compressor to lower costs, the seal not replaced during the rebuild or a new compressor that simply failed. With a warranty on the compressor still in force, GM should pick up the repair as good faith since GM does inherit all remaining Saturn warranties as a legacy issue. This is categorized as the costs of doing business.......Hopefully GM will replace the compressor and complete the repairs correctly. Nobody (even an amateur like me) wants to revisit a/c repairs. A/C work requires doing it right the first time as any short cuts leads to repeat repairs that are costly because refrigerant is either lost from poor repairs or must be reclaimed for reuse before another repair is done. Questionable reclaimed refrigerant (from anyone using anything other than R14a) is never reused so new refrigerant is injected, adding to repair costs that should have been avoided. Its only a guess on my part that no one could have foreseen a compressor leak.

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Old 03-03-2011, 03:22 PM   #9
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Default Re: Air Conditioning Woes................

FYI, for those interested…

I just got my poor car back today (been missing her for a week for the part to come in—my inconvenience was tempered with the loaner car being a nice Aura ! ) and the tech who did the work said that the compressor problem was a clutch issue—the clutch was dragging when disengaged.

So—I hope this is finally FIXED !!!! Luckily the new part is under warranty, but I shall definitely put the new compressor to the test this summer !!! I hope all is well & so help me God if it breaks again, oh Lordy, grant me strength to not go postal…………….…

Thanks to all for your help & advice !

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Old 03-03-2011, 04:41 PM   #10
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Default Re: Air Conditioning Woes................

I hope my a/c woes are cheaper than yours were!

With that being said, the defrost will kick on the compressor in our L300 at 8f degrees ambient temperature. Verified by looking at the compressor 3 nubs and saw it cycling with front defrost on.

How do I know this you ask? Yday I was working on the A/C on my L200 (see my other thread) and wanted to see if the defrost cycled the compressor on our L300 because it wasnt on my L200 (turns out the little freon I added the day before leaked out ) as a comparison. Started the L300, defrost on, compressor cycling. Turned defrost off, compressor stopped. Morning temps were 8f.

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Old 03-09-2011, 06:04 PM   #11
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Default Re: Air Conditioning Woes................ calling fdryer

hi saturn sages especially fdryer who seems to be an ac guru- i may be in the wrong forum, but i am having a tough problem with my ac. car is a 2001 saturn LS sedan also known as the L100 with a 4cyl. 2.2 engine and stick. have owned the car since new which has 113k miles. car is in excellent condition, properly maintained and ac has always worked perfectly. last thursday ac all of a sudden, not gradually, started blowing warm. refrigerent pressure is low almost gone, meaning a leak. mechanic suspects compressor , recharged the system and put dye in it. cold air has returned. wants me to run it for a while. if it loses cold again, dye will locate the leak. sounds straight forward. except if the compressor is needed, he tells me the only source is dealer oem whch is a clip joint. looking for an aftermarket compressor just like most cars have. dealer is 1130 for the part. carquest, autozone and others dont have it. napa thinks they may have one from global as a reman for 450. another independent thinks they can get an ac delco for 350. this part shouldnt cost more than 500. dont want to go to the cleaners(dealer) for the part and get shystered. if my sources fail , do you good folks have any source for me at a non clip price. thanks tons rfisher

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Old 03-09-2011, 09:06 PM   #12
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Default Re: Air Conditioning Woes................

1-Google compressors and find out for yourself to see all the prices. New as well as rebuilt. My pc suffered a hiccup so I lost a few sites for replacement parts otherwise I would post a few links. You can do just as well or better by Binging or Googling.

2-Before making assumptions of possible compressor failure, compressors are not the sole reason for a leak. A leak or leaks can be from anywhere. From a simple service valve not capped tightly to a cracked line requiring line replacement. To suggest a failed compressor is a leap of faith. There are only so many places for a compressor leak; the case assembly, front seal hidden by the clutch coil and pulley, rear cover and fitting, and high pressure fitting. A leak would be obvious by oil and dye as dye is greenish yellow. Dye doesn't need to be added as it was already added at the factory and doesn't have a freshness date. Other than normal wear and tear to any system, R134a/oil/dye never goes stale. The original dye will show up just as well as the new stuff added. A uv light will make fluorescent dye glow in a darkened garage or at night. Some have found their leak in plain daylight by simply looking.

3-Local a/c shops can charge less but beware that they can gouge too, just at lower levels.

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Old 06-04-2011, 11:02 AM   #13
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Default Re: Air Conditioning Woes................

(New Poster as well, but have had experience working on cars and trucks and computers and about everything else but AC systems)

I'll make this short and sweet because I have been fighting this all morning. 2003 L200 74K miles, AC not working, "blows hot air", Low Side Pressure is over 100 PSI when running and when car is shut off. Charge on the system is from the factory. Clutch is not running and when bypassing the low pressure sensor the clutch wouldn't engage. I thought about running a direct bypass to engage the clutch directly from the battery.

Thoughts?

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Old 06-04-2011, 03:14 PM   #14
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Default Re: Air Conditioning Woes................

Do not try shorting the pressure switch on a three wire connector. This doesn't work like it does on other Saturns with a two wire pressure switch. Three wire pressure switches are now sensitive low voltage transducers that operate on 5v levels. The worst you could have done was to send 5v into the signal line that still told the ecm not to turn on the compressor. 5v is interpreted by the ecm as extreme high pressure - too high to allow power to the compressor so the ecm disables power to the compressor. While designed correctly, the pressure switch circuit can be damaged permanently by experimenting if you're not familiar with electronic circuits that operate below 5v. Its not likely for the pressure switch to be faulty as many seem to think.

Something else is stopping the compressor from running. There are other ways to find the problem other than trying to short out the pressure switch. One is measuring the compressor connector for 12v with the a/c turned ON.

Did you try to measure for 12v on the compressor connector? Refrain from attempting any refill/recharge attempts until answering.

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Old 06-05-2011, 02:07 AM   #15
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Default Re: Air Conditioning Woes................

Quote:
Originally Posted by Partymmudasti View Post
.... With that being said, the defrost will kick on the compressor in our L300 at 8f degrees ambient temperature. Verified by looking at the compressor 3 nubs and saw it cycling with front defrost on.

How do I know this you ask? Yday I was working on the A/C on my L200 (see my other thread) and wanted to see if the defrost cycled the compressor on our L300 because it wasnt on my L200 (turns out the little freon I added the day before leaked out ) as a comparison. Started the L300, defrost on, compressor cycling. Turned defrost off, compressor stopped. Morning temps were 8f.
I missed this post earlier in the year. With that fact in mind and verification that a compressor did turn on in 8F temps, I'm still of the opinion that the compressor did very little to no cooling. Of course, at this time of the year (early June) its difficult to prove but even with the compressor turning there should be very little going on; as a variable displacement compressor with freezing temperatures being sensed at the air temperature sensor I've yet to put on manifold gauges in the dead of winter to monitor the low and high side pressures to see if actual cooling is taking place. I doubt anyone will want to do the same....................but it would be interesting to know what the pressures are.

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Old 06-13-2011, 01:36 PM   #16
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Default Re: Air Conditioning Woes................

Okay another A/C problem I have a few questions before I dive into this project.

Vehicle: 2002 Vue. 3.0L V6

I've noticed yellow oil leaking from the factory (original) compressor. I assume the color is due to dye. It is a slow leak, but fast enough to accumulate dime to nickel size drops on the garage floor over a few weeks. (They stick out like a sore thumb on my white epoxy floor :/ )

The A/C has never blown very cold in our VUE, but it was still cooling when we discontinued using it last week (after finally realizing this leak is from the compressor). So I don't have reason to suspect catastrophic compressor failure.

Here is my plan:
- Rent Vacuum pump and manifold from autozone

- Take VUE to nearby shop to evacuate refrigerant.
- replace:
+ compressor (Napa coldd power $477)
+ drier ($45)
+ expansion valve ($42)
- flush the condenser.
- flush/clean the evaporator (if possible, i'm not sure how difficult this will be???)
- evacuate with vacuum pump for 30 min.
- charge with r134a.

Here's my questions
- Do I need to buy an O-ring kit, or any other seals? Any that are not included with these parts?
- Flushing. What is the best product for flushing that a DIYer can use? I can't seem to find the Advance Auto video fdryer mentioned on how to do this. Can someone post a link?
- Do I flush individual components, like condenser, then evaporator, etc? Or hoses, too?
- Do I need to buy an air compressor to flush the system?
- How do I calculate how much oil to put in the system? Is it like:
+ Compressor: X oz
+ drier: Y oz
so I add X oz to the compressor and Y oz to the drier for a total of X + Y?

Thanks in advance! fdryer thanks for all the informative posts I've been reading! I never would have attempted this without this community.

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Old 06-13-2011, 03:53 PM   #17
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Default Re: Air Conditioning Woes................

Okay I found this page from a post on here that discusses flushing! Thanks
http://www.autoacforum.com/messagevi...&threadid=9172

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Old 06-13-2011, 05:01 PM   #18
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Default Re: Air Conditioning Woes................

1-Take nothing for granted. Assume no O-rings/flat seals included in compressor, expansion valve, or receiver/filter/drier/accumulator unless told so. Either buy a bulk bag of O-rings/flat seals for overhauling your system and presume its still not complete or buy each part individually. Fat chance getting every part individually. I don't how its packaged in bulk or how GM does it but expect to pay higher prices for individual parts.

2-Buy a small bottle of R12 mineral oil as its needed to lube some of the seals. Procedures will spell out when and where to use lube oil. No Pag oil lube for seals; corrosion from absorbing moisture will affect the lubed joint containing the seal.

3-Hoses, evaporator and condenser coil are not replaced if they didn't suffer any physical damage or show signs of dye and oil marks. Dye is greenish yellow.

4-Flushing requires either the container comes pressurized with a hose and air gun or for repeated work a refillable container that's refilled with solvent and pressurized from a source of pressurized air. These are expensive and made for commercial HVAC business' but not restricted for anyone to buy. Flushing is best accomplished with the entire system opened, all fittings disconnected and the expansion valve removed to flush the evaporator coil.


What you are planning is a major rebuilding operation and is not considered a DIY project. By doing your own homework you can see the large amount of work ahead. If you pm me with an e-mail address I'll send the pdf's from the service manual on replacing parts along with oil replacement/balancing. You'll probably need a tutorial on refrigeration equipment and how to use them. We have a two-part tutorial here on Saturnfans as well as many youtube videos on the correct procedures necessary to evacuate and recharge an empty system. The two-part write-up; http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=138272 and http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=138273

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Old 06-13-2011, 05:14 PM   #19
nil5
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Default Re: Air Conditioning Woes................

PM sent.

Thanks for the links! I'm assuming this A/C work is similar in difficulty and complexity of replacing the thermostat and oil cooler on my 3.0 V6 If it's much more difficult than that, I give up! ...but I doubt it. This VUE and I have a romance.

I do have the GM Service Manual (the electronic one) but I wouldn't mind seeing what you have, since my manual has some misleading information, e.g. the capacity specs for refrigerant are listd for the 2.2 and 3.5L motors but not the 3.0..... okay??!?!?

Thanks again!

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Old 06-13-2011, 05:28 PM   #20
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Default Re: Air Conditioning Woes................

Be prepared for a journey. Take your time and read as much as possible if you have no refrigeration experience as knowledge is key to understanding. Hopefully my info will supplement what you have. When any fitting is left open, plug the opening to keep debris and critters from making a home inside. Anything will work as long as the opened ends are plugged or taped off until everything is ready for reassembling. Rolled paper napkins inserted into openings for a tight fit and then taped off, rubber plugs, etc..

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