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Old 10-20-2017, 11:55 AM   #1
Strun
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2008 VUE 2.4L
Default 2008 2.4 Electrical-A/C Odd problem

Hey, I have a 2008 Saturn Vue XE 2.4 with 67k miles. About a month or so ago I had a problem at idle in drive or park that the rpms dip low, then all dash lights flash and then rpms go up a little. All within 2 seconds. So like this: rpm drop, lights appear along with a "ding" then rpms go up and settles. Then does it again, almost like its timed with the a/c compressor switching on/off. When I got home, I was checking things over and noticed the battery terminals and connectors were nasty with white powdering substance. So I cleaned them with the terminal cleaning tool and all was well thinking it was just a bad connection causing voltage drops. Well, it started happening again and only one terminal has a little white stuff but not to much to cause problems. But, I found out if the you turn the air off, it does not happen. Runs smooth. So what do you guys think? Something with the compressor causing rpm drops? Battery is acting up? Alternator acting up? Possible compressor is messing with the alternator, maybe the compressor is sticking, if thats even possible.

Sorry for the word wall, Thanks in advance.

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Old 10-20-2017, 02:39 PM   #2
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Default Re: 2008 2.4 Electrical-A/C Odd problem

My initial thought is...your compressor when switched on almost stalls the motor due to parasitic drag.

How about if you turn the A/C on and then off back on and then off? Do you notice a distinct drop in engine RPM? How about a loud clunk if you engage the compressor?

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Old 10-20-2017, 02:41 PM   #3
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Default Re: 2008 2.4 Electrical-A/C Odd problem

EFI means any load like running ac or a dead battery needing a recharge after jump starting is detected with automatic idle speed adjustments but not cause rpm fluctuations where it becomes annoying. Finding both battery terminals severely corroded may be the problem. Dried battery acid leaving powdery white deposits are cleaned and neutralized work a warm water solution using baking soda. Bubbling from using this solution confirms the chemical reaction. Plain water rinse. If you don't use to solution, the cable connections may not make good electrical connections and create continual electrical problems. The battery may be partially discharged and needs a full recharge (either overnight wall charging or driving 45-60 minutes). The alternator strains from a partially dead battery and loads the engine down to cause rpm fluctuations. Until you know battery and alternator status, guessing can become expensive if parts are thrown at the car.

Spray cans of battery terminal cleaner and treatment are sold if you're not interested in a less costly battery maintenance routine to keep deposits at bay. Grease applied to battery terminals can help keep corrosion from returning.

If you don't have any means to check battery and alternator voltages, drop by your friendly local auto store and ask if they can check both free. Be sure the drive belt is tight so the alternator can operate.

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Old 10-20-2017, 04:08 PM   #4
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Default Re: 2008 2.4 Electrical-A/C Odd problem

Quote:
Originally Posted by gm7 View Post
My initial thought is...your compressor when switched on almost stalls the motor due to parasitic drag.

How about if you turn the A/C on and then off back on and then off? Do you notice a distinct drop in engine RPM? How about a loud clunk if you engage the compressor?
Air is always on, I live in Florida lol. Just sometimes it does it and sometimes not. I turn the a/c just to see if anything changed and it stopped doing it. I'll try on and off thing and see what I find. Thanks for the reply

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Old 10-20-2017, 04:10 PM   #5
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Default Re: 2008 2.4 Electrical-A/C Odd problem

Quote:
Originally Posted by fdryer View Post
EFI means any load like running ac or a dead battery needing a recharge after jump starting is detected with automatic idle speed adjustments but not cause rpm fluctuations where it becomes annoying. Finding both battery terminals severely corroded may be the problem. Dried battery acid leaving powdery white deposits are cleaned and neutralized work a warm water solution using baking soda. Bubbling from using this solution confirms the chemical reaction. Plain water rinse. If you don't use to solution, the cable connections may not make good electrical connections and create continual electrical problems. The battery may be partially discharged and needs a full recharge (either overnight wall charging or driving 45-60 minutes). The alternator strains from a partially dead battery and loads the engine down to cause rpm fluctuations. Until you know battery and alternator status, guessing can become expensive if parts are thrown at the car.

Spray cans of battery terminal cleaner and treatment are sold if you're not interested in a less costly battery maintenance routine to keep deposits at bay. Grease applied to battery terminals can help keep corrosion from returning.

If you don't have any means to check battery and alternator voltages, drop by your friendly local auto store and ask if they can check both free. Be sure the drive belt is tight so the alternator can operate.
I have a mutlimeter so I'll try that first. Then bring over to AutoZone. I'll clean the posts/connectors again. Thank you

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Old 10-20-2017, 07:34 PM   #6
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Default Re: 2008 2.4 Electrical-A/C Odd problem

A diyer!? Great!? A good battery on standby should be around 12.5 volts. WIth engine idling, alternator output can vary between 13v-14.9v, averaging around 14.5 volts.

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Old 10-21-2017, 11:27 AM   #7
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Default Re: 2008 2.4 Electrical-A/C Odd problem

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Originally Posted by fdryer View Post
A diyer!? Great!? A good battery on standby should be around 12.5 volts. WIth engine idling, alternator output can vary between 13v-14.9v, averaging around 14.5 volts.
Haha yeah I am a diyer, saved probably thousands of dollars doing stuff myself.
Ok, now there is something slightly different going on. Now the, I believe, the traction control and stabilitrak lights stay on. And the brake light and abs pop up every few seconds or so, flash and go off when the rpms go up a little.

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Old 10-21-2017, 12:54 PM   #8
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Default Re: 2008 2.4 Electrical-A/C Odd problem

Are you old enough to understand 'the canary in the mines' phrase? In the S-series forums, there are repeated issues of their abs/tc light turning on and off but no abs/tc problems - alternator failure. Instead of the battery light the abs light turns on with voltage checks pointing to alternator failure. This scenario may apply to your Vue if there are no issues with your abs and traction control.

Did you check voltages?

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Old 10-21-2017, 01:32 PM   #9
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2008 VUE 2.4L
Default Re: 2008 2.4 Electrical-A/C Odd problem

Quote:
Originally Posted by fdryer View Post
Are you old enough to understand 'the canary in the mines' phrase? In the S-series forums, there are repeated issues of their abs/tc light turning on and off but no abs/tc problems - alternator failure. Instead of the battery light the abs light turns on with voltage checks pointing to alternator failure. This scenario may apply to your Vue if there are no issues with your abs and traction control.

Did you check voltages?
I've heard my grandfather say that before. And it's traction control and the stabilitrak lights that stay on. Abs and brake light flash for second at idle repeatedly. Sometimes it does, sometimes not. Have a feeling it's the alternator, and unhooked the battery and those lights remain on. Alternator looks like a pain and a half to replace. Definitely much harder to get to than my old Jeep...and I'll get back to you on voltage, might just run to AutoZone to avoid cleaning my hands again. Thanks.

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Old 10-21-2017, 02:32 PM   #10
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Default Re: 2008 2.4 Electrical-A/C Odd problem

Quote:
Originally Posted by fdryer View Post
Are you old enough to understand 'the canary in the mines' phrase? In the S-series forums, there are repeated issues of their abs/tc light turning on and off but no abs/tc problems - alternator failure. Instead of the battery light the abs light turns on with voltage checks pointing to alternator failure. This scenario may apply to your Vue if there are no issues with your abs and traction control.

Did you check voltages?
Just checked voltage myself. 12.75 steady off, and 14.9 on.

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Old 10-21-2017, 04:52 PM   #11
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Default Re: 2008 2.4 Electrical-A/C Odd problem

Standby battery voltage is about 0.25v higher than normal and alternator output is almost maxed at 14.9v when it should be around 14.5v. At home testing of a battery would be turning on headlights for a few minutes (engine off) and measuring voltage again. Voltage should not drop below 12 volts otherwise it indicates possible battery problems. The alternator may run up to 15 volts right after starting then quickly drop down. The battery supplies the most amperage for starters (50-150+ amps) and the alternator knows via its voltage regulator to ramp up voltage (carries current) after starting to supply higher charging current as we drive. The alternator will lower voltage as the battery recharges with voltages dropping to around 14.5v all while supplying the car with electrical power regardless of battery condition. Sometimes alternators over compensate for failing batteries by having higher output voltages compared to normal operation.

You may want to stop by your local auto store selling batteries and see if they can perform a battery and alternator test on the car to determine which, if any, are beginning to have problems. While this a separate from your traction control and stabilitrak lights, see if they can decode abs error codes. AutoZone has the ability to do this as they upgrade their readers to accommodate customers with abs issues.

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Old 10-21-2017, 05:39 PM   #12
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Default Re: 2008 2.4 Electrical-A/C Odd problem

Quote:
Originally Posted by fdryer View Post
Standby battery voltage is about 0.25v higher than normal and alternator output is almost maxed at 14.9v when it should be around 14.5v. At home testing of a battery would be turning on headlights for a few minutes (engine off) and measuring voltage again. Voltage should not drop below 12 volts otherwise it indicates possible battery problems. The alternator may run up to 15 volts right after starting then quickly drop down. The battery supplies the most amperage for starters (50-150+ amps) and the alternator knows via its voltage regulator to ramp up voltage (carries current) after starting to supply higher charging current as we drive. The alternator will lower voltage as the battery recharges with voltages dropping to around 14.5v all while supplying the car with electrical power regardless of battery condition. Sometimes alternators over compensate for failing batteries by having higher output voltages compared to normal operation.

You may want to stop by your local auto store selling batteries and see if they can perform a battery and alternator test on the car to determine which, if any, are beginning to have problems. While this a separate from your traction control and stabilitrak lights, see if they can decode abs error codes. AutoZone has the ability to do this as they upgrade their readers to accommodate customers with abs issues.
Thanks, I'll bring it by tonight hopefully. Will traction control/stabilitrak have codes? Abs is not on.

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Old 10-21-2017, 07:29 PM   #13
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Default Re: 2008 2.4 Electrical-A/C Odd problem

ABS/TC/STABILITRAK are all part of the antilock brake system. Any error occurring with it generates a code or codes separate from check engine light codes. If you're familiar with 'P' type codes, abs generates 'C' codes and do not use the same OBD II serial comm lines. A separate set of comm lines, described as canbus, communicate to readers capable of decoding them.

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Old 10-23-2017, 06:29 PM   #14
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Default Re: 2008 2.4 Electrical-A/C Odd problem

So, the lights have been off the past few days. Read elsewhere from a few people, that low brake fluid was the cause of these symptoms. Usually because brake pads were about done, allowing more to drain form the reservoir into the lines. I'm gonna add fluid for the time being and see what happens. Gonna remove some fluid when ready to replace brake pads. I will update on a resolution for the sake of other people having this problem that might show up eventually.

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Old 10-24-2017, 06:19 AM   #15
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Default Re: 2008 2.4 Electrical-A/C Odd problem

Always a good practice on an approaching 10 year old car to push all the dirty brake fluid out and replace with fresh fluid adhering to the DOT no. that is specified. I hope adding fluid addresses your issue.

A suggestion is...when you change pads and use a C clamp to compress the piston on each caliper, consider bleeding each caliper and pushing out dirty old brake fluid. One person maning the brake pedal and you at the bleeder for each caliper starting farthest from the master cylinder...keeping the master cylinder reservoir topped up so it doesn't suck air as old fluid works through the system.

If you have any question about this or been a while, consider watching a youtube video or two to brush up. There are different practices...pressure or vacuum bleed etc...or plain old pumping the brake and closing the bleeder screw during the pedal downstroke before upstroke.

Good luck.

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