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Old 12-02-2019, 03:24 PM   #1
bitterman
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Default Dreaded P0480 and P0481 code

Good afternoon,

It seems every year at the beginning of winter my 06 vue 2.2 starts throwing the P0480 and P0481 codes. I do not recall what I did to fix this last year. Here is what I do know.

I have checked both high and low fan relays. Both check out on ohm check and voltage check.
Controls for heat inside cabin is set to blow out the vents so a/c clutch is not called to engage.
I did an ohm reading on the fan resistor. Reads 0.00. Also check for continuity and that checked out ok.
I can start the car and within 3 to 5 seconds, the fan will spin on its highest speed. If I remove the fuse or relay it will stop but shortly after, the low speed fan will start and run constantly just like it did at high speed.

Am I missing something??? What other tests can I try to sort this out.

Engine still has the original coolant temp sensor. Gauge reads fine and no overheating. Thermostat was changed last year. Engine has 207,000 miles and still runs strong.

Please advise and thank you

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Old 12-03-2019, 08:14 PM   #2
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Default Re: Dreaded P0480 and P0481 code

Any ideas?

Anyone???

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Old 12-03-2019, 11:19 PM   #3
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Default Re: Dreaded P0480 and P0481 code

Is it safe to say you verified and cleaned grounds?

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Old 12-04-2019, 12:11 PM   #4
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Default Re: Dreaded P0480 and P0481 code

Correct, I have checked all grounds. All are clean and tight.

I did read on a post from far2grumpy that the ECM can command the fans if the AC pressure is high. I located the pressure sensor but do not know how to test it. My scan tool can tell me voltage of that sensor if that will help.

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Old 12-06-2019, 12:44 AM   #5
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Default Re: Dreaded P0480 and P0481 code

I would think to test the sensor, some resistance value would need to be met to 'trip' it. I'll wait for smarter heads to chime in

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Old 12-07-2019, 03:47 AM   #6
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Default Re: Dreaded P0480 and P0481 code

Don't bother attempting to test the ac pressure sensor if its a three wire unit. The pressure transducer is always on, measuring pressures and outputs varying voltages from approximately 0.1-4.9vdc. The ecm only needs to 'see' one of two pressures and determines when to disable compressor operation; extremely high pressures exceeding approximately 425 psi or very low pressures below approximately 25 psi (from damage releasing refrigerant). Each extreme in pressures are two voltage signals. The ecm simply disables compressor operation to protect the compressor from destroying itself. The transducer does not directly influence cooling fan operation. Put another way, if your ac is working then the pressure sensor is fine. Disconnecting it will not alter ac operation or cooling fan issues but will remove compressor protection. Normal ac operating pressures never exceed 350 psi. Gauges are the only way to measure operating pressures. Something else is causing this error code to return. Normal ac operation automatically turns on low speed fan(s) then ramps up as air, coolant temps and ac pressures rise. Coolant temps are one of several criteria in determining what speed cooling fans are needed whether ac is used or not but ac use always turns on low speed cooling.

The best way to check coolant sensor operation is with a reader; once with a cold engine to compare coolant temps with ambient air temps and at operating temps where its expected to display between 185F-200F before the cooling fans turn on. If you observe cold engine temps matching (within a few degrees of) ambient temps and operating temps within specs, the coolant sensor is fine. What may throw off operating temps would be both fans running that will cool off the radiator.

One or two threads in the Vue forums have reprinted info on when cooling fans turn on. https://www.autocodes.com/p0480_saturn.html is one site describing the error code and what to check. Service manuals - GM, alldata.diy or Mitchell are great sources of info. If I'm not mistaken, the fan control module (next to the battery) is the electrical and electronic interface between both fans and ecm.

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Old 12-09-2019, 12:30 AM   #7
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Default Re: Dreaded P0480 and P0481 code

Thanks. I'll use the scanner to check out the coolant sensor. AC does appear to be working fine so I'll dia
Smith my thoughts about the pressure switch as advised. Thank you. I'll report back if anything is out of whack.

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Old 12-28-2019, 09:05 AM   #8
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Default Re: Dreaded P0480 and P0481 code

Fdryer, her are some updates. I noticed I had issues getting the AC to turn on and off. Replaced the hvac controls and everything settled down for about a month. Last night the fans started acting up again.

When I ohm reading the fan resister, should I get a reading higher than 0.00 on my voltage meter?

In your previous post, you mentioned a fan controller module by the battery. I cannot find this module. Can you offer some advice on how to find it or possibly a pic?

Thank you for your help in trying to sort this out.

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Old 12-28-2019, 12:42 PM   #9
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Default Re: Dreaded P0480 and P0481 code

1- what does your reader display for cold and hot engine temperatures?

2- unless your dvm can read in low ohms, fan resistors (ceramic type) are less than 5 ohms. To test dvm accuracy when measuring low resistance items, short the two probes together to duplicate a dead short. The display should read 0.00 or at least close to it (0.1). Auto ranging meters automatically move the decimal point. Others require selecting a range. If your meter has a range of resistance, select the lowest range and measure again, beginning with probes touching together for a baseline value before measuring a resistor.

3- I'm mistaken about a fan control module. Some Saturns have fan control modules - electronics with relays on a circuit board encased in a weather proof plastic box near the battery. Others just use the engine fuse panel with relays. In both cases, the ecm or pcm controls these relays to select fan speeds. Your Vue have fan relays in the engine bay fuse panel.

Here's a link; http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=152681

...
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Old 12-28-2019, 12:50 PM   #10
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Default Re: Dreaded P0480 and P0481 code

Thank you fdryer, I'll check the resistor with my dvm as you advised. I have a fluke dvm and a dvm from lowes that is a nicer dvm that also does temp so I would think it should be able to read the ceramic resistor. I'll also check the temp sensor when cold with my scanner as well as the intake sensor.

I'll also check out the link as well.

Thank you

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Old 01-06-2020, 10:42 AM   #11
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Default Re: Dreaded P0480 and P0481 code

Well, finally got what I believe is some closure on the fan issue. Over the weekend I noticed the temp guage was not moving very fast as the car warmed up. Vue gave a p0128 code so I checked out the thermostat and sure enough the thermostat was not closing correctly causing an issue.

New thermostat is in but had a scary incident after the install. Just to be sure and state all the facts, I also replaced the coolant temp sensor since I drained the coolant for the new thermostat.

Buttoned everything up and started the engine. Gave the car 10 min to warm up and the temp guage maybe moved a quarter of an inch and car had no heat. No leaks anywhere and coolant level was good so I decided to go for a quick drive around. Got out of my driveway and the temp guage moved to normal reading. As I began to drive the guage shot up to 3/4 sweep and i quickly stopped and limped it home. Temp guage never got to the red on the guage but higher than I have ever seen the guage go. Still no heat. After getting back to my garage and getting the engine cooled down, I checked things out and the top radiator hose appeared to not have any fluid in it and it was cold. The lower hose had fluid but was also cold. I squeezed the hoses several times and with the engine running I believe I got air out of the system. Car seems to be driving and operating as it should now since I got the air out of the system. Would a new thermostat failing to open cause my issues or was this just trapped air in the system causing the overheating issue?

Please let me know your thoughts.

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Old 01-06-2020, 12:04 PM   #12
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Default Re: Dreaded P0480 and P0481 code

You may have inadvertently under filled the cooling system after replacing the t-stat without monitoring couldn't levels after repairs. This would be obvious when looking at the coolant surge tank. Its supposed to have coolant between the cold and hot levels at all times.

Was the coolant surge tank empty after replacing the faulty t-stat? Coolant levels are seen thru the surge tank with a cold and hot mark to show coolant expansion and contraction in everyday driving. A small amount of air in the tank allows this. The coolant tank Is an integral part of the cooling system with the pressure cap to relieve over pressurization like older metal pressure caps on radiators.

When servicing the cooling system after repairs, refilling the cooling system is a two step process. Whether empty or partially filled, coolant is poured into the surge tank, engine started up and idled with the cap off. Any air in the system is purged automatically as coolant circulates, seen as coolant level dropping almost immediately on a cold engine. Most air in the system is purged in the first few minutes, topping off the coolant as needed between the cold and hot lines. Once the tank is filled, the cap is put on and either idled until coolant temps are up or a short drive around the block to raise coolant temps to operating level and pressures. Checking the coolant tank again should show coolant at or near the hot mark. Any lowering of coolant level suggests remaining air was purged and topping off needed.

The heater on all Saturns continually circulates coolant without a shutoff valve. The temperature door closes off air flow to the heater core.

The temperature gauge moving to the hot side probably means coolant wasn't filled properly with air in the system allowing the temporary hot condition. The new t-stat is operating correctly but the not enough coolant was put back in. The coolant tank is supposed to have coolant between the cold and hot lines as a way to monitor coolant levels.

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Old 01-06-2020, 02:08 PM   #13
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Default Re: Dreaded P0480 and P0481 code

Thank you. After the repair I refilled the surge container as you described. Maybe I did not give the car long enough at idle with the coolant cap off to purge the system. I will start the car again tonight with surge cap off to make sure all air is out of the system. Then I'll repeat a test drive to ensure coolant levels are correct.

Thank you!

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