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Old 04-17-2006, 09:01 PM   #1
2002SaturnMan
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2002 SL1
Default Newbie Question - Size of Air condenser compared to radiator? Also airbag question.

Please forgive me for this Newbie question, but I'm no mechanic.

I'm purchasing a 1999 SL2 tomorrow, and the dealer (not a Saturn dealer) has replaced the radiator and air condenser after we took the car to a mechanic and he pointed out that the radiator was bent in the middle (as if it was hit by something). The fan in the plastic casing was loose as well.

Not sure how it could have got bent because the bumper (facia) looks fine. Unless it has been replaced. Carfax and Autocheck don't have any records of the vehicle being in an accident, and our mechanic says that the motor/belts, etc. look great. The car has 79,000 miles and runs great (as far as I can tell).

I checked out the car tonight after the dealer closed and I can tell that he must have replaced the radiator with a used one (since you can see little bugs, and a few little bends where stones probably hit it). Everything is nice and straight (the radiator) and the fan is nice and secure as well (he leaves all the cars unlocked so I could pop the hood).

Anyway, when the mechanic looked at it last Friday when we walked under the vehicle he pointed out that the air condenser was bent too (I believe). So how can I see this condenser from looking under the hood? I'm not sure what a condensor looks like in relation to the size of the radiator. I won't have the opportunity to put the car on a lift tomorrow to make sure it has been replaced. Also, the mechanic said that they would have to recharge the A/C if they replaced the condenser. Is that true? I can check the A/C tomorrow to make sure that it's nice and cold, like it was before they replaced the radiator.

Also, if the radiator was hit by something, it makes me wonder if the airbags have gone off in the vehicle. If so, how can I make sure the bags are working? Doesn't that have to be reported to Carfax or Autocheck if the bags have been deployed? I thought that I would stick the key in the ignition and as I turn it the lights on the dashboard should tell me that it's checking the bags, right? I sure don't want a car that the bags don't work on!!! How do I know that whoever owned it didn't just replace the covers on the steering wheel and the dashboard and never fix the bags (assuming they were deployed)?

Thank you very much for your help. I'm sorry I don't know much about the mechanics of these cars.... but I am trying to learn. :-)

Thanks again!

...
2002 SL1, manual, SOHC (VIN 8) with 179,300 miles sold 8/29/14 (great car!).
Former - 1994 SL 212,000 miles (great car!)
.....
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Old 04-17-2006, 10:08 PM   #2
Spazie
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Default Re: Newbie Question - Size of Air condenser compared to radiator? Also airbag questio

If the airbags went off, there would probably be residual damage to the front end. You have to be in a pretty hard collision to set them off. They won't go off just because the radiator's bent - which could have happened from a large rock hitting it, or running up on a curb or parking bumper. I tore up the bottom of my SC2's radiator (and the exhaust system) from bottoming it out on driveways while delivering pizza.

As for the AC compressor, it's on the top, front left (if facing the car from in front) of the engine next to the coolant reservoir. I'd get you a pic of my 99 SL2's engine bay if it wasn't dark outside! I can't find the pic I thought I had that showed my AC condensor. I'll try and grab a pic tomorrow, I've got to get some pictures of removing the intake for someone too. Basically, it sits right on the top of the engine in the very front. It's a large black and silver cylinder with two hoses coming off of it.

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Old 04-17-2006, 10:21 PM   #3
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Default Re: Newbie Question - Size of Air condenser compared to radiator? Also airbag questio

A/C condensor is mounted in FRONT of the radiator.

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Old 04-17-2006, 11:21 PM   #4
bigc791
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Default Re: Newbie Question - Size of Air condenser compared to radiator? Also airbag questio

Turn the key on but dont start engine. If air bag light goes on then goes out system is fine.
Carmen

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Old 04-18-2006, 06:11 AM   #5
phonic
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Default Re: Newbie Question - Size of Air condenser compared to radiator? Also airbag questio

Quote:
Originally Posted by amazinghl
A/C condensor is mounted in FRONT of the radiator.
And it looks almost identical to the main radiator, same size etc - the AC condensor is bolted to the front of the cooling rad.
Think of 2 radiators with a 1" gap between them, there should be a thick layer of sponge sitting on the top to bridge the gap between the top of the rads to the crossmember.

Wish I had a pic to help you, I just replaced mine.

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Old 04-18-2006, 06:21 AM   #6
2002SaturnMan
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Default Re: Newbie Question - Size of Air condenser compared to radiator? Also airbag questio

So when I'm kneeling on the ground in front of the bumper and I look through the bumper (Facia) what I see with all the little bugs stuck in it is the CONDENSER, not the radiator? Right?

Like this (from the side view - drivers side):
Facia (bumper) --- Condenser --- Radiator -- Fan --- Passenger compartment of car ??????

Last night I noticed some pink liquid that had been dripping from the drivers side of the radiator/condenser. Isn't that transmission fluid? Isn't radiator fluid green? Also there was a little bit of a clear fluid that had been dripping. Any ideas on what these are?

Thank you very much everyone. I really do appreciate all your help!

...
2002 SL1, manual, SOHC (VIN 8) with 179,300 miles sold 8/29/14 (great car!).
Former - 1994 SL 212,000 miles (great car!)
.....
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Old 04-18-2006, 07:43 AM   #7
RangerRover
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Default Re: Newbie Question - Size of Air condenser compared to radiator? Also airbag questio

Is the car an automatic? If so the transmission cooler is integrated into the radiator on the drivers side, and the lines from the transmission go into the radiator there. There might be a leak around the fittings (cross threaded, didn't tighten enough, etc). If its a stick shift (and the dealer put a used radiator in) it may be out of an automatic and he didn't plug the holes; so the old ATF is dripping out.

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Old 04-18-2006, 08:09 AM   #8
2002SaturnMan
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Default Re: Newbie Question - Size of Air condenser compared to radiator? Also airbag questio

Yes, the car is an automatic.

I drove by it this morning and it's not leaking onto the pavement. Last night I saw a few drips hanging (ready to drop) from the underside of the car. I'm thinking that there was some fluid in the lines when they took the old radiator out and maybe that dripped onto the frame under the car and is what I see.

Hopefully it's ok.

...
2002 SL1, manual, SOHC (VIN 8) with 179,300 miles sold 8/29/14 (great car!).
Former - 1994 SL 212,000 miles (great car!)
.....
Step daughter HAD 1998 SL1, Wife HAD 1999 DOHC (VIN 7) SL2

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Old 04-18-2006, 08:38 AM   #9
amazinghl
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Default Re: Newbie Question - Size of Air condenser compared to radiator? Also airbag questio

Don't buy it unless you have some kind of warranty (30 days or whatever)

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00 Insight 50mpg++

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Old 04-18-2006, 08:53 AM   #10
2002SaturnMan
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Default Re: Newbie Question - Size of Air condenser compared to radiator? Also airbag questio

They are giving me a 30 day/1,000 mile warranty, but it only covers the major components (like the transmission and engine).

The mechanic we took it to on Friday said that it was a "very sound" car, and once the radiator/condensor was replaced that it would be fine. Why are you suggesting a warranty?

...
2002 SL1, manual, SOHC (VIN 8) with 179,300 miles sold 8/29/14 (great car!).
Former - 1994 SL 212,000 miles (great car!)
.....
Step daughter HAD 1998 SL1, Wife HAD 1999 DOHC (VIN 7) SL2

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