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Old 08-17-2020, 10:08 AM   #1
Cavell
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2003 VUE 3.0L
Default Ac dash light

03 vue. Ac clutch will not engage. The dash light comes on but no engaging. Fan blower works 1-2-3 as required. I put charge can on low side and did a battery disconnect to try and force engage clutch on restart. No engage. Ac worked fine 1 day and nothing the next. I did change clutch hub pulley last year. Had a bad hub bearing. Growled. Ac worked fine for the last year. Even kept the old clutch drum assy. Maybe I have a good used hub clutch?
Hmm, if I disconnect the clutch wiring and hook it up to my old hub clutch maybe the test clutch will engage? I got a used compressor last yr and just removed the clutch. So it’s not new. Just working. Well, it was working.
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Old 08-17-2020, 01:12 PM   #2
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2003 L-Series 3.0L Sedan
Default Re: Ac dash light

There are several reason for a compressor clutch not powering up; loss of refrigerant (the leak no one wants to address except to refill.............a leaking system), electrical wiring, blown clutch coil (thermal fuse), slipping (severely worn) clutch, blown ac fuse, faulty ac relay. Do the easy things first instead of assuming a refill with make ac work as refilling a leaking system is the band aid to permanent repairs. Performing diy repairs can save hundreds of dollars but there's a line between knowledge that defines how much diy repairs can save while letting the technical repairs to a repair shop.

Check for a blown ac fuse. Its not part of the hvac blower circuit. The ac fuse and ac relay power the compressor clutch from a command from the ecm, not the hvac panel. The hvac panel sends a signal to the ecm to command power to the compressor clutch. If the ac fuse is fine, swap the ac repay with another one in the fuse panel. If the clutch doesn't engage, move on.

You have two ways to test a compressor clutch; directly connected to the battery or inserting a paper clip into the ac relay socket terminals 30 and 87. Each method will send 12v power to the clutch coil and if it powers up (without the engine running/ignition off) you should hear a distinctive metallic click as the clutch slaps the pulley during engagement. A third method is measuring clutch coil resistance with a multimeter - resistance should be around 3 ohms, close to a dead short as around 5 amps are used to power the coil. Higher resistance or an open means a faulty coil. If the clutch engages, the problem is a loss of refrigerant triggering the pressure sensor.

The ac pressure sensor has only one job - protecting the compressor against loss of refrigerant. Once a leak or catastrophic damage occurs to release refrigerant, the sensor triggers at around 40 psi, sending a signal to the ecm. The ecm in turn disables power to the compressor. A sealed ac system (not leaking, losing refrigerant) has standby pressures close to ambient temperatures, well above the 40 psi trigger point. Pressurized liquid refrigerant moves lubrication oil around until it returns to lubricate the compressor. Lose enough refrigerant and less oil circulates. Less oil lube will eventually result in compressor damage. The pressure sensor stops compressor operation from self destruction if allowed to run empty. The correct repair is finding the leak as dye was installed making leak detection easy with an inexpensive uv light. Examples of dye can be seen inside service valves and glows with a uv blacklight at night.

At least a third to half a system amount of refrigerant is needed to overcome the pressure sensor to allow compressor operation. Low side standby pressure above 50 psi should allow compressor operation. The pressure sensor is always mounted on the high side. Standby pressures are the same for low and high side. When a compressor runs, high side pressures increase well above the sensor detection level. allowing normal operation even with zero cooling.
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Old 08-18-2020, 09:52 AM   #3
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2003 VUE 3.0L
Default Re: Ac dash light

Did the fuse and relay swap as 1st step. Did not try jumping terms yet. I do have original coil in hand but the clutch plate is separate so even if I try and plug it in as a test, there is no way to know if coil is good. Short of measuring the ohms on each. I had a small puller and got hub off compressor with no fuss last year. Putting it back on was a challenge. I had to wrestle with comp near subframe as I did not disconnect the ac lines. Real pita.
Trying to recall. The hub bearing and coil are together as a unit. Then you press that onto comp shaft?
I need to measure old coil resistance as a start. If it really is a coil issue that is.
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Old 08-18-2020, 12:23 PM   #4
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Default Re: Ac dash light

Review the third paragraph in my post regarding powering the compressor clutch. It's much easier jumpering relay terminals 30 and 87 and you should be able to hear the clutch engage. The next easiest step is to measure the compressor connector for 12v. If a two pin connector, one pin should have 12v, the other ground. Warning; 12v on the connector only if the system has enough refrigerant to show pressures above 50 psi. If refrigerant leaked out and pressures drop below approximately 40 psi, the ac pressure sensor detects the loss of refrigerant, sends a signal to the ecm. The ecm disables the command to power the compressor until the leak is repaired. Standby pressures are usually close to ambient temperatures. 75F/75 psi, 85F/85 psi. Pressures in warm weather should never drop below 50 psi. The pressure sensor protects against compressor self destruction with lots of refrigerant.

If there's sufficient refrigerant in the system above 50 psi, power to the compressor should be on the connector. If not, find the leak and make any repairs so the system won't leak and hold pressure. Remember, high side pressures will easily go above 250 psi in hot and humid weather. Any leak will simply release refrigerant until the sensor detects to much loss and stop compressor operation.

The spare clutch coil, if tested with 12 is easy to test. Place a metal bracket, bolt, screw, etc, next to the coil and power it up. If the coil is fine, it will magnetize and attract metal near it. The coil is not attached to the bearing. The pulley assembly has the bearing. The pulley/bearing is pulled off its hub on the compressor before the coil comes into view. The clutch plate is removed first before pulley and coil access.
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Old 08-19-2020, 06:30 PM   #5
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2003 VUE 3.0L
Default Re: Ac dash light

Are you saying 30 should always be hot? And send voltage to 87 and clutch? IGN off, 30 has no juice. IGN on, no juice.
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Old 08-19-2020, 07:10 PM   #6
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Default Re: Ac dash light

I was wrong. It is 12v hot at 30 pin.
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Old 08-19-2020, 08:48 PM   #7
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Default Re: Ac dash light

One pin, 30 or 87 is always hot (fused). The other pin connects to the wiring harness to feed 12v (when relay contacts close) to the compressor coil. Inserting a paper clip into 30 and 87 should send 12v to the connector to power the coil. If you can paper clip 30 and 87, either the coil powers up with a distinctive click or not. If you can, disconnect the compressor connector and check for 12v on one of the connector pins. The other pin goes to engine ground.
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Old 08-22-2020, 02:23 PM   #8
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2003 VUE 3.0L
Default Re: Ac dash light

I replaced the hub pulley last yr using parts from a used compressor. Really lousy job changing pulley while ac line is attached to compressor. I measured used coil today. It 2-3 ohms. The coil on vue now has no resistance. But I just cannot get a good contact on 12v wire from source. You know itís in a real awkward spot. I am leaning towards bad coil. Reaching the c-clip you remove to get coil off compressor snout is a bear. So, remove my good compressor with bad coil in order to change coil? Agh.
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Old 08-22-2020, 02:44 PM   #9
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Default Re: Ac dash light

As you know, dealers and repair shops will go the procedural way to ensure a complete repair without revisiting the same repair down the road - replacing the compressor and filter/drier, using new seals, etc.

As diyers looking to save money, we pay the time in extra labor to cut costs and use used parts that are fine for personal use.
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Old 08-22-2020, 04:54 PM   #10
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Default Re: Ac dash light

A compressor clutch bearing is a fairly rare repair. You change a compressor for a leak? When it is engaging but producing low pressures? Noises? So you put on a different compressor? Refurbished? New? I fix bearing issue and now coil dies. Nothing wrong with core yet. Just the external bits. Vue is 17 yrs old. Maybe it’s time to move on.
I figure a different good compressor would solve the current issue. But does my kid want to pay for it?
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Old 08-22-2020, 09:39 PM   #11
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Default Re: Ac dash light

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cavell View Post
A compressor clutch bearing is a fairly rare repair.
Yep. Can you find a repair shop that changes a clutch coil when its easier to remove and replace the entire compressor? Remember, shops are in business to make money.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cavell View Post
You change a compressor for a leak?
According to many members here, yes because many are not familiar with vehicle ac diagnosing, troubleshooting and diy repairs equal to professional repairs. Personally, I haven't come across any of these forums where members stated the repair shop found a leak, informed the customer and offered to make minimal repairs when its a highly profitable business to replace parts marked up along with hourly labor rates. Remember, repair shops are in business to make money.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cavell View Post
When it is engaging but producing low pressures? Noises? So you put on a different compressor? Refurbished? New?
It pays to be a member here, sharing money saving repairs. The following link applies only to Saturns using scroll compressors with Ford having the same issues; http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=191521.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cavell View Post
I fix bearing issue and now coil dies. Nothing wrong with core yet. Just the external bits. Vue is 17 yrs old. Maybe itís time to move on. I figure a different good compressor would solve the current issue. But does my kid want to pay for it?
The answer to those questions may lie with determining if your Vue compressor is a scroll type and examining the bottom for refrigerant oil and dye marking the leak from the rear diamond shaped cover where the scroll control valve is located and reading the link of past members with the same issue. They didn't replace their compressors but replaced the scroll control valve, filter screen and pear shaped O-ring from a kit.

My '03 L300 is 17 yrs old, on its original compressor. Three repairs to replace a high pressure hose, condenser coil and filter/drier three years ago. Still making cold air. Last year one of two cooling fans failed, giving a false ac problem. It was replaced. L300s as well as other Saturn models use vane compressors. Vane compressors do not have scroll control valves.
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