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Old 08-19-2017, 10:23 AM   #1
Colsta
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2006 VUE 3.5L
Default SL 2001 Air Conditioning Compressor engaging

Good morning All,

I have a Saturn SL 2001 Air Conditioning is not working, the compressor is engaging, when I get into the car and first turn the engine on it seems to blow cold air for about 10 - 15 seconds and then stops. it will not blow cold or hot air after this. All lights come on as normal. Any ideas on what this could be. I have limited mechanical knowledge but wanted to check if this could be a simple fix instead of payinging a mechanic. Everything seems to be working, as in the compressor is engaing and lights are coming on,
Any ideas?
Thank you

Last edited by Colsta; 08-19-2017 at 10:36 AM..

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Old 08-19-2017, 12:55 PM   #2
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2003 L-Series 3.0L Sedan
Default Re: SL 2001 Air Conditioning Compressor engaging

Examine the compressor again after it turns on, vents output cold then hot air. Look to be sure the center large disc (clutch plate) still spinning. It's normally not spinning when ac is off. The most likely problem is your system suffered a leak somewhere with refrigerant, oil and dye leaking out. Oil and dye leave markers. An inexpensive uv blacklight should be the first tool to use to find leaks, not refill cans. Even if the compressor runs, loss of refrigerant simply reduces the capacity to cool. If you can find the source of the leak, the next step is determining whether or not you're willing to make repairs. Replacing parts is easy if you're already maintaining your car. The technical part using gauges and vacuum pump can be done almost anyone or farm out this part to a shop. This cuts costs.

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Old 08-19-2017, 02:24 PM   #3
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Default Re: SL 2001 Air Conditioning Compressor engaging

Quote:
Originally Posted by fdryer View Post
Examine the compressor again after it turns on, vents output cold then hot air. Look to be sure the center large disc (clutch plate) still spinning. It's normally not spinning when ac is off. The most likely problem is your system suffered a leak somewhere with refrigerant, oil and dye leaking out. Oil and dye leave markers. An inexpensive uv blacklight should be the first tool to use to find leaks, not refill cans. Even if the compressor runs, loss of refrigerant simply reduces the capacity to cool. If you can find the source of the leak, the next step is determining whether or not you're willing to make repairs. Replacing parts is easy if you're already maintaining your car. The technical part using gauges and vacuum pump can be done almost anyone or farm out this part to a shop. This cuts costs.
Hi fdryer,
Thank you for your response, after carfully watching the clutch plate, it does spin, like you said, when the AC is off it stops.
When the AC is on, it spins intermittently, so it will spin, then slow and even stop then spin again. It also sounds little clattery (if thats a word) again this sound is intermittent, almost like it is catching on something.
Does this limited information change you suggested diagnosis?
Or should I obtain a UV Black light and see If I can locate a leak.
Thank you.

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Old 08-19-2017, 03:28 PM   #4
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2003 L-Series 3.0L Sedan
Default Re: SL 2001 Air Conditioning Compressor engaging

There are several indications that all lead to the same conclusion for loss of refrigerant; a leak (small or large) releasing refrigerant until the compressor stops running altogether or enough loss where the pressure sensor detects the loss and begins cycling the compressor until more refrigerant is lost and the compressor stops running, someone topping off with a refill kit and using sealer. Sealer is the most destructive ingredient no dealer or reputable repair shop uses. If a leak isn't the cause of this problem, it can be a faulty compressor clutch, easily diagnosed by applying power directly or using a small wire jumper across the ac relay socket terminals 30 and 87. The jumper applies 12 volts directly to the clutch coil to power it up immediately, regardless of ignition switch position and ac controls, and only used to diagnose whether or not the compressor or clutch are faulty. If the compressor runs, this verifies a working compressor. The jumper should be removed and not left in place. If the compressor doesn't run at all or erratically, the compressor should be replaced. The least expensive troubleshooting methods for diyers unfamiliar with ac problems and not wishing to rely on repair shops is to use common sense and a uv light to search for dye markers (greenish yellow) when a leak occurs in 98% of ac problems. Anyone using a refill kit simply refills a leaking system, more expensive than refilling a leaking tire with compressed air. Its always an individual's choice to diagnose a problem the least expensive way or follow herd mentality and attempt quick repairs from refill kits that rarely ends in a complete repair (a band aid approach). You can review examples of actual leaks with dye marking the area of damage by looking in my photos or search for my post on repairs to my L300.

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