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Old 06-26-2021, 09:49 AM   #1
Chaz9496
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Default Aftermarket A/C Condenser Fan Installation

Has anyone had a successful condenser fan installation on your S Series ? I bought a fan with the 2 piece plastic fasteners. I thought there was enough room on the sides to run the long type zip-ties and center the fan in the middle with the ties on the sides of the condenser. I'm also not sure about enough space in between the fins for the fasteners. The second idea is to cut out a circle in the duct that forces the air up during driving and mount the fan to it. It wouldn't be straight against the Condenser but would at least get some airflow through it. Another method is carefully using something to spread the fins just enough to mount it with the factory fasteners that came with the fan. Tapping into cooling fan wires so it came on with the cooling fan.That may also work. The reason is, not cooling at a stop. If there was a fan, that should keep that from happening. Even during driving it doesn't cool as good as it should be. The system's full and checking out as operating fine. I'm not sure if it's the Aftermarket Compressor or why it's not that cold. If the fan didn't improve it, I was going to go with a used factory unit from the yard, which mechanics on YouTube state is perfectly fine and usually lasts longer than an Aftermarket. If anyone has made this work, let me know how it was done and maybe some pictures or information. I think this was another case of Poor Engineering on Saturn's part. Most vehicles use a separate fan.
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Old 06-26-2021, 10:59 AM   #2
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Default Re: Aftermarket A/C Condenser Fan Installation

Are you saying your cooling fan isn't coming on when you're at idle? For the coolant, the fan should come on just a tick past the halfway mark between C and H (220 degrees, give or take), but the fan should kick on almost instantly when the A/C is on when you're idle for a short period (like sitting at a light).

I thought I had an issue with my cooling fan because I didn't know it took so long while it waited for the temp to get that high and even though my current compressor's clutch is bad, I can still hit the button A/C button and kick the fan on even if the coolant temp is still 180.

Make sure your condenser, and more importantly your radiator, are clean as well. Get some radiator cleaner (it's a foam spray) and spray it down. Get a hose with a fairly powerful nozzle and blow out all the fins. You might want to remove the front bumper to get better access to it and maybe the fan on the radiator too. If you find it's really gunked up (maybe oil leak blowing into the fins), brake cleaner will knock it down easily, just don't get it on paint!

Also, just because it's full of refrigerant doesn't mean there isn't something wrong with it. Has it been serviced to replace it with new refrigerant? I've used those store-bought cans and while they work, they just never seem to be as cold as having a shop do it with a large tank of refrigerant that they fill by volume. The shop will also flush the system of old refrigerant before putting in new.

From what I've been finding out, the "not as cold" is just a side effect of a smaller engine. It's not that there's something wrong with the A/C specifically, it's that the engine doesn't push enough power at idle to keep the compressor moving fast enough to pump the refrigerant through the condenser. If you're not getting as cold while driving, I don't think that's a fan issue.

Also make sure you have your A/C on MAX/Recirculate after it's had a chance to cool down for a short bit. That way it's only exchanging the air in the cabin and not the air it's pulling in from the outside.

I wouldn't say poor engineering, these cars were built for economy, be glad it's not a Geo Metro, no A/C at all because the engine would probably stall with a fan and compressor running all the time.

I'm still learning things myself as far as A/C goes, so I'd be curious to see what you find out.
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Old 06-26-2021, 10:26 PM   #3
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Default Re: Aftermarket A/C Condenser Fan Installation

No, the fan comes on when the A/C is on all the time. It doesn't shut off after a while. I installed the fan on the condenser using zip ties thru the condenser fins and it holds it in place just fine. I mounted it on the left of it so it will still get airflow going thru it while driving. It's just a Hayden 12" Push/Pull reversible fan. I'm going to tap into the radiator cooling fan wires to run it. Should work out fine. I don't really understand the Smaller Engine issue. I had 2 Ford Escorts from 2005-2015 that the A/C's worked Perfect in and they were both 1.9 L as this is. They were much colder and always worked. Both of My Saturn's have had problems with it. I did have My mechanic check and refill the system and He said it was fine. He sucked it down, checked for leaks and refilled, for $95. I was kinda unhappy with the result. This is why I added the fan. If there's no change, I'll be trying a used Factory Compressor from the yard and see what happens. The compressor's Black and would lead me to believe it's been changed. Factory is Silver. I'll soon find out if My idea helps once I get it connected before the heat comes back next week. I only turn off Recirculate during the winter while running the defroster.

Last edited by Chaz9496; 06-26-2021 at 10:33 PM.
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Old 06-26-2021, 11:09 PM   #4
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Default Re: Aftermarket A/C Condenser Fan Installation

Zxyel had about 30 changes to the A/C compressor over the lifespan of the S-Series. Never got a good working one. Of the 10 or so daily drivers I had, only 2 had working A/C when I got them and both were dead within a year (1 was 100% on me...it was robbing my DOHC of 0.5HP! lol).

'90's GM A/C is about as amazing as their ABS system.
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Old 06-26-2021, 11:47 PM   #5
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Default Re: Aftermarket A/C Condenser Fan Installation

From what I've been reading in the forums, that's just the way these cars were.

I would bet the Focus was priced higher than any of these Saturns and probably had more power with better parts, even being a 1.9. My 2000 SL1 is rated 30HP more with the 1.9 than my old '90 Cavalier with a 2.2 (probably also partly because of the body panels being plastic).

See how your extra fan does with cooling, but I would advise against tapping into the existing wiring, that's a huge load already being pulled on the electrical system when the cooling fan comes on, you don't want to risk burning up a relay or wiring somewhere you can't get to easily.

It wouldn't be too hard to wire up a manual switch with a fuse and relay, it'll be a bit more work, but you won't have the possibility of a fire or short.

Just my opinion.

It also occurred to me that the accumulator could be bad. I would have to look it up again, but I remember something about it not allowing refrigerant to flow properly or something along those lines. Take it with a grain of salt, I would have to research it more.
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Last edited by cujoe_da_man; 06-26-2021 at 11:56 PM.
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Old 06-27-2021, 01:14 AM   #6
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Default Re: Aftermarket A/C Condenser Fan Installation

Chaz9496, does the factory cooling fan blow with force or not?
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Old 06-27-2021, 04:19 PM   #7
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Default Re: Aftermarket A/C Condenser Fan Installation

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Originally Posted by fdryer View Post
Chaz9496, does the factory cooling fan blow with force or not?
Yup, It does. The fan install did nothing. Wouldn't tapping into the fan circuit blow the fuse before creating a short or fire ? I was wondering if it would create a problem doing it that way. From a video on YouTube,
I'm having the same issue as the vehicle He was working on. When You run the engine up to about 2000 R.P.M. the air gets colder. He stated the compressor was weak and needed replaced. It's really up in the air what the cause is. That's why I wanted to change the compressor out to a Factory one. A mechanic on another YouTube channel stated that Reman Compressors are bad quality and getting a used Factory unit is going to be better, even used. I'm not sure I've ever had the R.P.M. issue cause it to cool better than at idle. They all seemed to work the same as moving.

Last edited by Chaz9496; 06-27-2021 at 04:30 PM.
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Old 06-28-2021, 08:40 AM   #8
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Default Re: Aftermarket A/C Condenser Fan Installation

Tapping into existing wiring that's now 19 yrs old with aging, exposed, weathered connections can stress those connections when a second cooling fan is wired in. Yes, the fuse will blow first but that's assuming connections are clean, free of corrosion and not oxidized from normal weathering. An example are blower circuits in several S-series models melting its ground wire after years of reliable use. Nothing was modified, the wire terminated to chassis ground seems to overload then melt its insulation before giving the blower a hard time running. The termination weakens as a mechanical and electrical connection then the wires inside insulation oxidize as it draws more current until it can't handle blower current. This scenario takes years to rear its ugly head when the owner has to trace blower wiring on a mystery blower problem. There are several posts about this. Tapping into existing cooling fan wiring may seem like a great idea but this assumes perfectly fine wiring. Is it after 19 yrs without issues that may be hidden? Nothing is over designed. Add years of dependable service with weathering and hidden issues may reveal themselves from modifications that appear harmless. Every service manual warns against modifications to factory configurations. That's a veiled warning not to modify a vehicle that can void new car warranty or contribute to unknown issues long after new car warranty lapses. The mystery problems whether created or not.

Assessing ac cooling should start with measuring pressures at 2k (recommended) rpm, comparing values against service manual performance charts relative to ambient temperature and humidity. No assumptions should be made. Once gauge values are noted, either a system issue reveals itself immediately or something else is contributing to low speed loss of cooling.
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Old 06-29-2021, 06:58 PM   #9
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Default Re: Aftermarket A/C Condenser Fan Installation

Shouldn't there be water dripping from the A/C evap drain ? There's no water under it after the A/C's off on the pavement. I would assume all A/C's work that way. There's no water leaking into the cabin floor. I wouldn't know where it'd be going.
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Old 06-29-2021, 10:42 PM   #10
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Default Re: Aftermarket A/C Condenser Fan Installation

Almost every vehicle ac system sweats, humidity creating condensation on evaporator coils inside hvac boxes then drains thru a rubber valve near the center bottom of the firewall onto the ground. Mine didn't do it for years then finally dribbled water onto the ground. Condensation occurs only if ac evap temps/center vent temps are running around 42F or lower and the air is humid. Check other cars in parking lots when they pull in or leave with ac on (windows closed in hot weather) for water puddles under the engine. If they're producing fresh water puddles then yours should too. It's not a sure sign of ac operation or loss of refrigerant, just an indication that cold hvac boxes are producing condensation from humidity, a byproduct of ac operation.

Driving at speed when cold air occurs should generate condensation but most likely drained underway with little left to form when stopped. What's center vent temps at speed and while idling?
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Old 06-30-2021, 07:38 PM   #11
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Default Re: Aftermarket A/C Condenser Fan Installation

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What's center vent temps at speed and while idling?
I'll check it and let You know.
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Old 07-01-2021, 10:00 PM   #12
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Default Re: Aftermarket A/C Condenser Fan Installation

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What's center vent temps at speed and while idling?
72 at idle, 55 at 2K RPM
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Old 07-01-2021, 10:31 PM   #13
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Default Re: Aftermarket A/C Condenser Fan Installation

Those are higher than expected temps. Best temps should be around 45F at speed or while idling. There can be several reasons, each one in and of itself preventing lower temps; loss of refrigerant, over charging a system, too much refrigerant oil, dirty evaporator coils from years of building up debris, bent condenser coil fins, sealer used in refilling a system. Connecting ac gauges and measuring low and high side pressures with idle @2k rpm will reveal more. Expected low side should be around 35 psi, high side between 150-250 psi. Low side tends to remain in a narrow range due to thermal expansion design. High side pressures vary in direct proportion to amount of refrigerant, ambient temperature and humidity.
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Old 07-02-2021, 08:29 AM   #14
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Default Re: Aftermarket A/C Condenser Fan Installation

Another thing that I did mention in another thread. I noticed the Reman Compressor leaks Pag Oil from the Pressure Relief Valve. I don't believe that should be happening. To be sure, I wipe it out, it's back in a week or so. So it's not coming from the hose or possibly spilled when it was replaced. It's leaking. I've never seen that before. That's why I'm replacing it with a used factory one. Mechanics on YouTube trust that over a reman. Gonna try it. If it leaks, it needs replaced IMO.
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Old 07-02-2021, 10:27 AM   #15
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Default Re: Aftermarket A/C Condenser Fan Installation

As a rule (from GM service manuals) once a relief valve opens from excessive pressures and resets after reduction in pressures, its supposed to be replaced.
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