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Old 07-08-2019, 11:21 PM   #1
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Question A/C - Mildy Cold/Luke Warm at idle - OK at Speed

Saturn Vue 2007 AWD 3.5L

I have an issue with my A/C where it seems mildy cold/luke warm at idle, but offers a definite cooling at speed. Both cooling fans start when A/C is engaged and the compressor clutch kicks in... Mechanically it looks fine.

I bought a set of A/C gauges so I can take a look at the pressures before I try and diagnose the issue.

I believe I have found the Low side pressure port, which looks accessible, but I'm unsure about the high side. Is it the black capped valve which lives next to the green capped fuel pressure schrader value? (Next to the brake fluid container)

I found some good articles on these forums about how this may play out, but I just wanted to get a reading first!

Thanks
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Old 07-09-2019, 01:57 AM   #2
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Default Re: A/C - Mildy Cold/Luke Warm at idle - OK at Speed



After digging around on the internet and trying to follow AC lines, I didn't realize the high pressure port was just sticking up all alone next to the fuse box

I will keep updating this thread with how I progress with this project, luckily I picked apt title ahead of time
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Old 07-09-2019, 09:04 AM   #3
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Post Re: A/C - Mildy Cold/Luke Warm at idle - OK at Speed

Search for the long thread about the scroll control valve failures having a direct effect on loss of cooling at low speed, local traffic but great cooling at higher speeds. In general, after idling some minutes with ac on/blower on medium to high/windows open, low side pressures should be between 29-47 psi, high side pressures between 200-250 psi. Humidity and local temperatures are a factor here and part of the wide pressure ranges. Technically, low side pressures below 45 psi whether idling or at road speed means the cooling side in the hvac box is maintaining as close to cold temperatures (35-45F) at the center vents without freezing. The high side pressures are related to the compressed refrigerant leaving the compressor to give a general indication of refrigerant level as well as local temperatures affecting how hard compressors work against outside temps.
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Old 07-09-2019, 11:15 PM   #4
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Default Re: A/C - Mildy Cold/Luke Warm at idle - OK at Speed

Here are the results:

Air Temperature: 100F
Humidity: 8%
Vent Temperature after 5 mins at idle: 91F
Revving engine makes vents cooler almost instantly!

This SHOULD give: (See attached spec)
Low Side: 37-48 psi
High Side: ~224-255 psi

In actuality it gives (at idle):
Low Side: 83 psi
High Side: 196 psi

at 1500rpm:
Low Side: 56 psi
High Side: 280 psi

at 2500rpm:
Low Side: 35 psi
High Side: 280 psi

I found a video with the scroll valve problem on the same car here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uPUHOnei3g8

His readings give the same trend, but the figure themselves a lot. 50 low, 125 high idle. 35 low 150 high at 1500rpm.

In your (or anybodies) opinion, does this give any indication of low/high levels refrigerant in the system? I didnt want to run into any potential damage until I get the issue fixed
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Old 07-10-2019, 10:16 AM   #5
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Default Re: A/C - Mildy Cold/Luke Warm at idle - OK at Speed

You have classic symptoms of bad displacement control valve (aka scroll).

Amazon has replacements for $10.

You'll need to evacuate system to replace the valve.

I can email service manual extracts and my checklist if you PM address.
...
I visit forum monthly, if at all. Feel free to send private messages if you think I can help. Don't use visitor message as I never check those.
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Old 07-10-2019, 10:49 AM   #6
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Default Re: A/C - Mildy Cold/Luke Warm at idle - OK at Speed

I agree. Scroll control valve failure. I'm not sure but examine the small hole next to the valve on the compressor. If it holds a screen filter, replace it too.
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Old 07-10-2019, 07:20 PM   #7
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Default Re: A/C - Mildy Cold/Luke Warm at idle - OK at Speed

Thank you for the responses.

I will probably tackle the job myself, however, I just don't think I can discharge the system without a reclaiming machine. I only have gauges and a vacuum pump. In your opinion, what is a reasonable price for a garage to do this? In Vegas, I called a couple of garages and they are asking $60.

I found this video of the exact problem, I thought I would share for anybody else: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uPUHOnei3g8

It looks like crux of it all is getting access to the compressor. I saw three ways of doing this online. It seems like it doesn't need to be removed completely, just tilted.

1. From the top, but I was thinking this seemed a little overkill just for access: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OKzuhPr6rxU

2. From the bottom, this looks a lot easier, but some people have said the sub-frame bolts freeze and dont loosen: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ncfhpLRqL_E

3. Lastly, I saw somebody say:
Remove the top two 10mm bolts holding the upper radiator supports and then remove the supports.
Removing the headlamp assemblies will make this easier but is not completely necessary.
Once this is done push the radiator up from below to remove it from the lower mounts and then move the lower end toward the front of the vehicle. Push the compressor lines out of the way and the compressor will be able to be removed between the radiator and the subframe in the center of the vehicle.

If you have experienced the same issue, or in your opinion, which option would seem better? Or is it that the compressor can be tilted without any of these steps?

I just sent a PM, I appreciate any info I can get a hold of!
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Old 07-12-2019, 04:41 AM   #8
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Default Re: A/C - Mildy Cold/Luke Warm at idle - OK at Speed

Quote:
Originally Posted by far2grumpy View Post
I can email service manual extracts and my checklist if you PM address.
Thank you for sending those, great help!

-----------------------------------------------------

To answer my other questions:
1. I found a place that does A/C evacuation for $20 in Las Vegas, that sounds like a reasonable price.
2. From looking at the docs, it looks like the compressor can be unbolted and maneuvered to access the rear plate and change the scroll valve, great!

-----------------------------------------------------

I have a question about PAG oil replenishment and AC evacuation. If anybody can help with info on these, that would be great!

PAG Oil Replenishment
1. The service manual states:

Abrupt Refrigerant Loss - L61/L66 - replace 3.5oz of PAG oil
and also,
Refrigerant Charge - 3.5L (L66) - replace 1.75oz of PAG oil


For "Abrupt Refrigerant Loss":

šAbrupt refrigerant loss due to a large leak, hose rupture, collision, or pressure relief valve opening. Conditions that allow the refrigerant to seep or bleed off over time do not cause this oil loss. Upon replacement of a component that caused a large refrigerant loss, also add the required amount of oil for the particular component.


Does this mean: If I evacuate the system, I need to add 3.5oz of PAG oil back into the system when re-charging? or 1.75oz? I didn't want to add too much oil and both seem contradictory!

When the system is evacuated (of refrigerant), what happens exactly? I have deduced that the evacuation process doesn't remove any oil from major AC components at least! I have seen online that some machines recover oil from the refrigerant, other people say no oil is removed during an evacuation. On the other hand, the service docs state either: 3.5oz or 1.75oz.

2. If changing the scroll valve only, does the Receiver/Dryer need replacing too? or is that for complete compressor replacement only? I didn't see any info on this in the docs. Service manual states 2oz of PAG oil must be added, so I suppose this is in addition to the 3.5oz or 1.75oz.

3. Is it best to buy straight R-134a and add the PAG oil afterwards? or before? or at the same time?

There is a lot of conflicting information on the web! lol

Thanks

Last edited by seansaturn; 07-12-2019 at 04:47 AM.
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Old 07-13-2019, 01:10 PM   #9
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Default Re: A/C - Mildy Cold/Luke Warm at idle - OK at Speed

Quote:
Originally Posted by seansaturn View Post
3. Is it best to buy straight R-134a and add the PAG oil afterwards? or before? or at the same time?
As nobody has replied, I have watched a few videos and it LOOKS LIKE you can pour the required amount of oil into the re-fill hose directly of the AC manifold gauge set, so when you're recharging the system it SHOULD theoretically pull the oil in with the refrigerant.

Still working on the other ones.
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Old 07-13-2019, 05:03 PM   #10
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Default Re: A/C - Mildy Cold/Luke Warm at idle - OK at Speed

Major parts replacement (compressor, condenser coil, drier, evaporator coil) requires make-up oil to balance what was removed. Since you're not replacing the compressor, do not add any oil unless oil spills out during scroll valve replacement. Adding more oil than necessary simply reduces the volume needed for refrigerant. Determine what oil is spilled when replacing the scroll valve if the amount is larger than half an ounce. If you remove the compressor, the system is open so you can add make-up oil directly into the suction side fitting. If the compressor remains on the car and you can change the scroll valve, any make-up oil needed can be poured into the center hose of gauges but do not perform a full evacuation. The correct way to add oil can be from a small can containing one or two ounces of r134a and one or two ounces of pag oil, injected into a completely evacuated system. This prevents drawing in air and contaminating a newly repaired system that's supposed to be in a near total vacuum so only refrigerant and oil are admitted. If you perform an evacuation then draw oil in manually, the system will draw in air and moisture to contaminate your work. Either pour make-up oil into an open system before reconnecting lines, use a special canister to hold make-oil that's evacuated of air and moisture and connect it to the center hose on the gauge set to the evacuated system or buy the small canister of oil and r134a. Air and moisture must never enter any ac system. They will contaminate a system and eventually cause internal corrosion to damage it from the inside out. A total evacuation removes all air and moisture in preparation to admit only refrigerant and any make-up oil and must be done correctly to avoid admitting air into a system.

If you cannot admit oil into the low side port then a partial vacuum can help to draw in make-up oil then follow up with a complete vacuum until reaching as close to a full vacuum (29.99in hg) as possible and keep the vacuum running for at least 15 minutes. Once the vacuum pump and valves are shut, observe for leak back of atmospheric pressure into the system for 10-20 minutes. The low side needle should remain at 29.99in hg and never move. Needle creeping towards zero from a vacuum means a leak wasn't found and repaired or gauge hoses, fittings, and couplings are leaking. No needle movement means a perfect seal ready for filling with refrigerant.

Find the best way to pour any make-up oil into an open system before connecting hoses to fittings. This leaves you in the best position to pull a complete vacuum once.
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Old 07-14-2019, 02:11 AM   #11
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Default Re: A/C - Mildy Cold/Luke Warm at idle - OK at Speed

Quote:
Originally Posted by fdryer View Post
Major parts replacement (compressor, condenser coil, drier, evaporator coil) requires make-up oil to balance what was removed. Since you're not replacing the compressor, do not add any oil unless oil spills out during scroll valve replacement. Adding more oil than necessary simply reduces the volume needed for refrigerant. Determine what oil is spilled when replacing the scroll valve if the amount is larger than half an ounce. If you remove the compressor, the system is open so you can add make-up oil directly into the suction side fitting. If the compressor remains on the car and you can change the scroll valve, any make-up oil needed can be poured into the center hose of gauges but do not perform a full evacuation. The correct way to add oil can be from a small can containing one or two ounces of r134a and one or two ounces of pag oil, injected into a completely evacuated system. This prevents drawing in air and contaminating a newly repaired system that's supposed to be in a near total vacuum so only refrigerant and oil are admitted. If you perform an evacuation then draw oil in manually, the system will draw in air and moisture to contaminate your work. Either pour make-up oil into an open system before reconnecting lines, use a special canister to hold make-oil that's evacuated of air and moisture and connect it to the center hose on the gauge set to the evacuated system or buy the small canister of oil and r134a. Air and moisture must never enter any ac system. They will contaminate a system and eventually cause internal corrosion to damage it from the inside out. A total evacuation removes all air and moisture in preparation to admit only refrigerant and any make-up oil and must be done correctly to avoid admitting air into a system.

If you cannot admit oil into the low side port then a partial vacuum can help to draw in make-up oil then follow up with a complete vacuum until reaching as close to a full vacuum (29.99in hg) as possible and keep the vacuum running for at least 15 minutes. Once the vacuum pump and valves are shut, observe for leak back of atmospheric pressure into the system for 10-20 minutes. The low side needle should remain at 29.99in hg and never move. Needle creeping towards zero from a vacuum means a leak wasn't found and repaired or gauge hoses, fittings, and couplings are leaking. No needle movement means a perfect seal ready for filling with refrigerant.

Find the best way to pour any make-up oil into an open system before connecting hoses to fittings. This leaves you in the best position to pull a complete vacuum once.
I understand the theory behind how AC systems cannot have air or moisture in, which is why I own the vacuum pump.

My question was how to add the PAG oil into the system and how much of it.

My service manual states two different things which I highlighted in my last post:

Abrupt Refrigerant Loss - L61/L66 - replace 3.5oz of PAG oil
and also,
Refrigerant Charge - 3.5L (L66) - replace 1.75oz of PAG oil


They are both conflicting. When the system is evacuated, I imagine the evacuation will pull some oil out of the system, so I wanted to know how much is lost. It will be in the lines too and not just major components. In my mind, this would need to be replaced. The manual states either: 3.5oz or 1.75oz, it's unclear.

I didn't think about adding oil into the suction side of the compressor directly, I didnt know if adding all that oil at once would do any damage to the compressor, especially as people have been wary about adding refrigerant with the bottle upside down (in a liquid state)... If I need to add 5oz this way, the compressor would be ok?

I didn't think adding oil to the re-fill hose of the manifold gauge would let any air into the system? You would still purge the lines either way.... Unless I'm missing something here, im not not sure what urged the discussion about air or moisture in the system.
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Old 07-14-2019, 02:44 AM   #12
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Default Re: A/C - Mildy Cold/Luke Warm at idle - OK at Speed

Quote:
Originally Posted by seansaturn View Post
...
Abrupt Refrigerant Loss - L61/L66 - replace 3.5oz of PAG oil
and also,
Refrigerant Charge - 3.5L (L66) - replace 1.75oz of PAG oil
.
1-You did not suffer an abrupt refrigerant loss. Abrupt means catastrophic as in front end crash at speed where the ac system ruptures, spewing refrigerant, oil and dye in an explosive fashion. Removing refrigerant with a vacuum pump does not remove massive amounts of oil. I think you're reading too much in what abrupt means as you did not suffer a major explosive event where refrigerant is emptied thru a large crack. You are simply going somewhere to legally remove refrigerant with a vacuum pump into a recycling canister. This is not an abrupt loss of refrigerant. Any oil that is removed is insignificant. When you repeat evacuating the repaired system, you will not remove large amounts of oil.

2-1.75 ozs of make-up oil is not removed using a vacuum pump, period. A very rough estimate might be no more than 1/4 oz. Again, you're not removing significant amounts of oil using a vacuum pump.

Please do not add any more oil into this system based on your interpretations as it's incorrect. If you are still in doubt then visit https://www.ackits.com/, sign on and ask. You'll be asking professionals involved in automotive ac systems.
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Old 07-14-2019, 04:30 AM   #13
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Default Re: A/C - Mildy Cold/Luke Warm at idle - OK at Speed

I think we may be talking about two different things here

When I mentioned:
They are both conflicting. When the system is evacuated, I imagine the evacuation will pull some oil out of the system, so I wanted to know how much is lost. It will be in the lines too and not just major components. In my mind, this would need to be replaced. The manual states either: 3.5oz or 1.75oz, it's unclear.

I mean evacuated of refrigerant... Not vacuumed of air and moisture. Those are two different things.

As I understand, oil flows around the system with the refrigerant, so there should be some oil loss. YouTubing an evacuation machine, you can see that they also collect and dispense PAG oil too, its an inbuilt feature.

So I would need to put this back into the system. I do not think there will be zero loss of PAG oil.
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Old 07-14-2019, 01:43 PM   #14
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Default Re: A/C - Mildy Cold/Luke Warm at idle - OK at Speed

An evacuation is an evacuation, period. It doesn't matter whether its a full system like yours requiring removing refrigerant to replace the scroll valve or an empty system after repairs are made to replace parts. Less than half an ounce is removed during an evacuation. Not 3 ozs or one ounce. Unless the compressor is removed and oil spills out, a rough guess is half an ounce is all that's needed. Your system won't lose oil in any significant amount when removing refrigerant or after repairs when evacuating a second time before refilling with refrigerant.

The only time I add make-up oil to repairs is whenever major parts are replaced; evaporator and condenser coil, drier. I've never replaced a compressor.

As mentioned previously, you can ask the mvac forum professionals for advice. It's free. The main source of specific info about ac repairs is a service manual and I have yet to come across procedures to add make-up oil for scroll control valve replacement unless oil spills out in measurable amounts.
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Old 07-18-2019, 01:46 PM   #15
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Default Re: A/C - Mildy Cold/Luke Warm at idle - OK at Speed

I called a shop and they told me they will be able to tell me how much PAG oil was reclaimed during the evacuation of refrigerant, so that is good! No guessing or anything like that! Great!

Quote:
Originally Posted by seansaturn View Post
Thank you for sending those, great help!

2. If changing the scroll valve only, does the Receiver/Dryer need replacing too? or is that for complete compressor replacement only?

Thanks
The Receiver/Dryer should be replaced if the system has been opened.

----

Going to have to put this project on ice as it took a little too long to research and figure everything out, but I will pick this thread back up early September after vacation! TBC
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Old 07-18-2019, 02:12 PM   #16
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Default Re: A/C - Mildy Cold/Luke Warm at idle - OK at Speed

Quote:
Originally Posted by seansaturn View Post
I called a shop and they told me they will be able to tell me how much PAG oil was reclaimed during the evacuation of refrigerant, so that is good! No guessing or anything like that! Great!



The Receiver/Dryer should be replaced if the system has been opened.

----

Going to have to put this project on ice as it took a little too long to research and figure everything out, but I will pick this thread back up early September after vacation! TBC
I need to do the exact same thing, so when you do get back to this project, please report back how much oil they told you came out during the evacuation. Also, I know in general if the system is opened up you should replace the dryer, but since it seemed like it wouldn't be open long I was planning on not replacing it. What do others think about replacing the dryer when replacing this valve in the compressor?
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Old 07-20-2019, 11:39 AM   #17
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Default Re: A/C - Mildy Cold/Luke Warm at idle - OK at Speed

craftsman70, replacing the receiver dehydrator can open a can of worms if not aware. In general, when major parts are replaced like condenser coil or compressor, the drier is replaced. Dealers and repair shops are required to use a new drier with compressor replacement to avoid warranty issues. Early repairs with many failed compressors being returned for warranty adjustment were found contaminated so procedures were put in place to require drier replacement to ensure new compressors aren't contaminated with debris floating thru a system. Using good judgement, eyeballing a sample of refrigerant oil should show oil as translucent with a green tint from dye. A gray tint is aluminum scrapings from normal wear and tear. An example in my photo album is ten year old refrigerant oil from a damaged hose - oil dribbling out is green and translucent with no hint of gray. When condenser coil damage occurred, I replaced the drier.

Examine where your drier is located, next to the condenser coil. If its accessible for relatively easy replacement, replace it otherwise leave it as is. With two fittings, there will be two more places for leaks to occur if replacement isn't perfect with new O-rings.

Like brake fluid, ac pag oil absorbs moisture. A system that's opened doesn't absorb moisture if end fittings are blocked or taped off to prevent dirt infiltration. All that's needed is to tape of ends after disconnecting hoses. If the compressor isn't removed and the scroll valve is replaced on the vehicle, minimal moisture absorption occurs. Every evacuation removes air and moisture from a repaired system. A vacuum boils water out of solution from oil - reducing atmospheric pressure as in a vacuum procedure allows moisture to evaporate and removed during an evacuation process. The longer a vacuum remains, moisture boils off. Most electric vacuum pumps will pull down to as close to near absolute vacuum, 29.99 in hg. Leaving a vacuum for 30 minutes plus pulls any moisture from a system in preparation for refilling with refrigerant. The process of every evacuation is to remove air and moisture from a sealed system. This allows moisture to leave without concern about drier replacement. It's your choice to replace the drier or not as you're not replacing any major parts. If this was my Vue, I wouldn't replace the drier. My Vue, my choice.
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Old 09-15-2020, 04:14 PM   #18
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Default Re: A/C - Mildy Cold/Luke Warm at idle - OK at Speed

With summer almost over, I took on this project today!

I replaced the Scroll Valve, it was very awkward to access the bolts above the compressor, but I managed it in the end! It was mainly the top right bolt, lots of trial and error but a closed end wrench got it from the center.

So pulling a vaccuum and re-filling, I got a little stuck with the AC clutch engaging by itself. I followed a guide on here which said: "The compressor won't run without refrigerant pressure so you need to remove the AC clutch relay and jump pins 30 and 87 to engage the clutch."

So I did that, but the wire I used must have been too thin? as the insulation caught fire a couple of minutes in.

But I gave it a break then came back to it and got 24oz loaded into the system with the pins jumped and the ac clutch engaged. I need to go to walmart and buy another can so I can add another 4oz to make up the 28oz capacity.

However, im a bit worried. I have 24oz loaded in and the AC clutch still wont engage by itself without jumping the pins. Did I blow a fuse or does it really need the full 28oz?

I guess ill find out soon, but any input welcome!
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Old 09-15-2020, 07:30 PM   #19
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Default Re: A/C - Mildy Cold/Luke Warm at idle - OK at Speed

The ac pressure sensor monitors internal high side pressures all the time. When it detects pressures below approximately 40 psi, a signal is sent to the ecm. The ecm disables power to the compressor. The combination low/high pressure sensor protects against compressor damage if system pressures drop too low as a consequence of refrigerant leakage. Refrigerant moves lubricant. Without enough refrigerant, oil won't return to the compressor resulting in catastrophic damage.

With most vehicle ac systems, regardless of the type of refrigerant, r12 or r134a in sufficient amount will allow the sensor to detect enough refrigerant to allow compressor operation. One 12 oz can of r134a is more than sufficient for the pressure sensor to allow compressor operation. 24 of 28 ozs is 85% of system amount and well above what's needed for the system to run without a jumper wire. The compressor clutch coil runs around 7 amps. Presuming correct jumpering because the clutch engaged, the wire used may have burned out for too small a gauge to conduct 7 or 8 amps. Did you forget to remove the jumper wire after the first two cans and put the relay back in?

Recheck the ac fuse. If the ac relay is removed, the ecm cannot command the relay to energize if it's removed. The ecm sends a command to the ac relay on either pin 85 or 86 to power the relay coil. When the relay coil closes contacts 30 and 87, 12v power is sent to the clutch coil. Did you put the relay back in to return to normal ac operation without the jumper wire?
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Old 09-16-2020, 05:11 AM   #20
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Default Re: A/C - Mildy Cold/Luke Warm at idle - OK at Speed

Thank you for the reply.

Yes I put the relay back in when I was done, and the clutch wont engage at all. I checked the fuse for the ac clutch, its a little 10amp under the relay, but it looked fine. I re-started the car and toggled the AC switch and and off, it just wont go.

The pins I jumped were 30 and 87 on the relay. I took that from a guide I found in this thread. The only way it will engage is with a jumper wire.
So I figured it CAN get power, and the AC clutch DOES work. It only points to the relay? But the relay was working fine and I only had it out for a few minutes lol. I was wondering if there was something I was overlooking.

I can go and add another 4oz today, but I was thinking it should have kicked in by now. I didnt really want to add another 4oz, only to have it all evacuated again lol.

With the clutch running at idle, 95F, no humidity at all (desert), low side was around 43psi, high side around 225psi. Cabin is getting cool air.
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Last edited by seansaturn; 09-16-2020 at 05:17 AM.
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