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Old 07-26-2022, 10:23 PM   #1
ronbo97
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Default 2002 Saturn SL-2 Air Conditioning Not Working

Hi Everyone -

The a/c on my 90K mile 2002 Saturn SL-2 just stopped working. The clutch on the compressor will not engage.

I've been reading the threads in the forums here, as well as watching richpin06a's videos on YouTube. I followed Rich's 10-step diagnostic, which is explained in a two part video of his. Most of the results are what is expected, with the following exceptions:

--When I paper-clip the pressure switch connector, the clutch does not turn. However, when I measure resistance (ohms) on the switch itself, touching each pin with a lead from the multi-meter, I do get a reading of 0, which means that the pressure is within spec. So that tells me it's charged. I have not messed with the R134a refrigerant.

--When I remove the a/c relay (gray cube in the fuse box) and check the four connection sockets, the compressor socket (lower left) resistance is supposed to be 00.0. But I get a reading of 42.3. When I check the 'live when car is running (#85) socket, lower right, I get a reading of 12V whether the car is running or not. I'm supposed to get a reading of 12V only when the car is running, according to the video.

As I mentioned earlier, the results of all the other tests are normal.

Can someone interpret this data for me ? Is the compressor toast ?

Thanks,

Ron
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Old 07-26-2022, 10:59 PM   #2
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Default Re: 2002 Saturn SL-2 Air Conditioning Not Working

OK. Here's an update: richpin06a is probably working with an older Saturn, as his fuse box looks different. I tested the sockets under the larger relay, which I believe is the cooling fan, thinking it was the a/c relay. The a/c relay is actually the smaller relay next to it.

So should I repeat the four-socket tests (trigger ground [upper left], live juice [upper right], compressor [lower left], live juice when running [lower right]) in the same manner, but this time using the sockets under the a/c relay ?

Thanks,

Ron
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Old 07-26-2022, 11:19 PM   #3
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Default Re: 2002 Saturn SL-2 Air Conditioning Not Working

Check for 12V at socket for pin #30, that should have power at all times. Then, jumper #30 to #87, that will bypass the relay and should energize the clutch coil.
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Old 07-26-2022, 11:39 PM   #4
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Default Re: 2002 Saturn SL-2 Air Conditioning Not Working

Quote:
Originally Posted by billr View Post
Check for 12V at socket for pin #30, that should have power at all times. Then, jumper #30 to #87, that will bypass the relay and should energize the clutch coil.
So is #30 upper right and #87, lower left ? If the clutch coil is energized, would it spin the clutch ? If it doesn't, what does that mean ?

Thanks,

Ron
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Old 07-27-2022, 10:46 AM   #5
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Default Re: 2002 Saturn SL-2 Air Conditioning Not Working

ronbo97, to prevent damaging your multimeter when measuring resistance circuits, I would recommend resistance measurements only on these parts,; relay coils compressor clutch and fuses. Relay coils removed, compressor clutch disconnected and fuses removed to measure them individually from their circuits to prevent incorrect feedback.

Ac pressure sensors are virtually fault free with only one exception from a recent Ion member proving his three pin ac sensor failed as soon as it was replaced. A repair shop actually informed him of this, unusual amongst dishonest repair shops. I've never read of anyone in these forums measuring two or three pin ac pressure sensors as this adds to confusion for diyers attempting ac repairs. All you needed to do was to disconnect the sensor connector and insert a paper clip into the connector. This bypasses the sensor altogether and should allow power to the compressor clutch. HINT; the cooling fan should turn on immediately when ac is turned on. If you see and hear the radiator cooling fan run and the engine isn't overheating, there should be power to the compressor clutch.

Measure for 12v on the compressor clutch connector. If you have 12v on the connector then the clutch coil thermal fuse is blown. If you do not have 12v on the clutch coil connector, did you check for a blown ac fuse?

4-pin 87a relays can be mistakenly inserted incorrectly. 5-pin 87a relays cannot be inserted incorrectly. Examine each relay;
there should be labeling either on one side of relay covers or underneath with pinout info. Fuse covers should have a diagram showing fuse and relay information.
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Old 07-27-2022, 11:22 AM   #6
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Default Re: 2002 Saturn SL-2 Air Conditioning Not Working

Quote:
Originally Posted by fdryer View Post
All you needed to do was to disconnect the sensor connector and insert a paper clip into the connector. This bypasses the sensor altogether and should allow power to the compressor clutch. HINT; the cooling fan should turn on immediately when ac is turned on. If you see and hear the radiator cooling fan run and the engine isn't overheating, there should be power to the compressor clutch.

Measure for 12v on the compressor clutch connector. If you have 12v on the connector then the clutch coil thermal fuse is blown. If you do not have 12v on the clutch coil connector, did you check for a blown ac fuse?
fdryer - Yes, I paper-clipped the sensor connector. When I turned on the fan and pressed the a/c button, clutch did not engage.

When you say 'compressor clutch connector', are you referring to the light blue connector at the compressor ? I assume so, but just want to verify. If so, I did test that and, yes, I'm getting 12V there.

Where is the clutch coil thermal fuse located ? I looked at the diagram on the fuse box cover and could not find that. I do see something called A/C diode. Is that it ?

I looked at the 10A a/c fuse and it looked good.

Ron
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Old 07-27-2022, 12:08 PM   #7
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Default Re: 2002 Saturn SL-2 Air Conditioning Not Working

Be honest with me here: are you ever going to read voltage at #30 and try jumping it to #87? If not, I will wish you good luck but abandon my attempt to help.
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Old 07-27-2022, 12:31 PM   #8
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Default Re: 2002 Saturn SL-2 Air Conditioning Not Working

Quote:
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Check for 12V at socket for pin #30, that should have power at all times. Then, jumper #30 to #87, that will bypass the relay and should energize the clutch coil.
Bill - I tried the test you mentioned. I have no voltage at pin #30, which is the lower left, according to the relay.

Ron
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Old 07-27-2022, 01:33 PM   #9
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Default Re: 2002 Saturn SL-2 Air Conditioning Not Working

Try at 87. I just checked, my gen1 is wired with the 87s "always hot", not the 30s.
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Old 07-27-2022, 01:42 PM   #10
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Default Re: 2002 Saturn SL-2 Air Conditioning Not Working

Yes, the single wire connecting to the compressor is 12v when ac is turned on (whether or not bypassing the ac pressure switch). 12v on the compressor connector means the ac relay energized and closed contacts 30 and 87, sending 12v power to the compressor. If toy didn't see 12v on relay socket terminal 30, check for 12v on 87. As mentioned previously, you should see and hear the radiator cooling fan run. This verifies the pcm is commanding power to the compressor and cooling fan. Ac generates heat; the condenser in front of the radiator gets warm or hot and air flows from condenser coil thru radiator so the cooling fan is turned on immediately to ensure the cooling system doesn't overheat in hot, humid, stop and go traffic with ac running.

If you heard the cooling fan turn on and have 12v on the single wire to the compressor (coil ground connects to compressor frame, grounded to engine block, engine block grounded to chassis stud near battery, chassis stud connected to battery negative), your compressor clutch is blown. To verify whether the clutch coil is blown, wire 12v directly from battery positive to compressor. Touch the compressor terminal with 12v momentarily or longer. You should see and hear the clutch engage with a loud metallic click. No electrical arc on the terminal, no clutch engagement, no metallic click from clutch plate slapping onto the idler pulley on the compressor means the coil is blown.

The thermal fuse is built into the clutch coil and cannot be replaced if its epoxied, sealed as a coil unit. Some have accessible thermal fuses but you have to disassemble the clutch from its center nut, remove clutch with a puller or sometimes it falls out then remove screws holding the clutch coil onto the hub and pull the coil off to examine it for thermal fuse replacement. Difficult to do on the car with ac hoses connected. When power is applied to the coil, you can see and hear the clutch plate slap onto the pulley with a loud metallic click and see the small gap between clutch plate and pulley disappear. The gap is around 0.015", easily seen when ac isn't running.

If your clutch coil is blown, you decide on whether or not to try removing and replacing the clutch coil or decide if you want to replace the entire compressor. Prices between a replacement clutch coil or compressor with clutch varies and you'll you need all the refrigeration equipment, replacement drier, seals, pag oil, and electric vacuum pump to replace a compressor. You'll need to know how to use refrigeration gauges, how to use the manifold valves at the appropriate time and how to refill pag oil removed from the original compressor. Work is not for the faint hearted but can be done by anyone willing to spend time, effort and learn new skills. All of this already covered several times in past threads. AutoZone is one place with loaner tools to save on investing in refrigeration equipment but has risks. Some equipment may be worn or abused, making it more difficult for a diyer unfamiliar with unknown problems with loaner tools.
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Old 07-27-2022, 05:54 PM   #11
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Default Re: 2002 Saturn SL-2 Air Conditioning Not Working

I tested #87 and there is 12V at that location. It's live all the time.

Next, I reinstalled the a/c relay, then determined that, yes, the cooling fan comes on when the a/c button is pushed.

Finally, I attached a line directly to the compressor pin after removing the blue connector. After starting the engine, I touched the other end of the line to the positive side of the battery. Nothing. No click. No movement.

So it appears that the clutch coil is toast.

I will opt to replace the entire compressor/clutch assembly, rather than trying to get at the clutch coil.

Next steps: Should I just buy a compressor, or do I need to replace the expansion valve, drier/accumulator as well ?

Note: Yes, I realize that I need the evacuate the system of R134a beforehand. I'll find a shop to do that, hopefully for free since they make $$$ on the recycled R134a.

Ron
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Old 07-27-2022, 07:49 PM   #12
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Default Re: 2002 Saturn SL-2 Air Conditioning Not Working

You never had to run the engine for direct battery connection to compressor.

Whether 30 or 87, one is always HOT since it's fused.

A few here have tried and successfully replaced their clutch coil but they're in the minority.

Replacing the compressor should include the drier too as its the only quasi filter and desiccant to absorb minute moisture in a sealed system to prevent chemical reaction occurring from refrigerant and oil. Dealers and repair shops will replace many parts; dealers ensure compressor, drier, condenser coil and thermal expansion valve are replaced to ensure virtually a new system while repair shops will replace what's needed to fulfill compressor warranty requirements (most require drier and txv replacement). Both are in business to make money whether or not they fix a problem.

No one has ever proven a faulty or worn out txv so that's a personal decision with its own problems if not replaced exactly as procedures are given to avoid deforming the four tubes (two inlets, two outlets) and seals. Perhaps removing one from a junked car can provide exposure to possible problems when never performing a removal/replacement.
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Old 07-28-2022, 09:55 AM   #13
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Default Re: 2002 Saturn SL-2 Air Conditioning Not Working

Thanks, fdryer, for all your help.

Are there any 'gotchas' that I need to be aware of ? There aren't any salvage yards around here that will just let me practice on one of their old Saturns.

Are there torque specs that I need to be aware of, or will tightening the bolts be sufficient ?

Ron
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Old 07-28-2022, 11:47 AM   #14
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Default Re: 2002 Saturn SL-2 Air Conditioning Not Working

A few 'gotchas' (I can't remember all of them). Remove the old compressor and drain it of oil; this is the amount needed for new pag oil for the replacement compressor. Drain the replacement if necessary unless the amount is labeled. The drier should have about 0.25-0.75 oz of pag oil. Lubricating oil continuously circulates throughout a system, returning as a mist in the suction line to lube the compressor. Replacing major components requires replacing oil to maintain oil balance without under or over filling. Service manuals provide amounts for each part replace.

Use new O-rings and flat seal with mineral oil prelube, not pag oil. Pag oil readily absorbs moisture and will corrode fittings. If you're familiar with chipped clear coating on aluminum rims damaging bead seals from severe corrosion opening bead seals then you can understand bare aluminum fitting seals lubed with pag oil will setup corrosion immediately to allow leaks down the road. Mineral oil is used in r12 systems. Drug store mineral oil is adequate for prelubing O-rings. Flat seals are applied dry, no lube. Aluminum fittings do not require tightening to high torque. Either find torque values from service manuals or use reasonable torque as seals simply squish to provide a pressure proof seal against high vacuum during evacuation procedures to high pressures when the compressor runs. High side pressures vary from 125-250+ psi, low side pressures are controlled by the thermal expansion valve to around 25-35 psi. Low and high side pressures vary in proportion to engine rpm.

When repairs are completed, system refilled with r134a, use 2k rpm to monitor operating pressures, not idle rpm. Since operating pressure vary due to varying engine rpm, GM specified 2k rpm for S-series ac system pressure monitoring.
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Old 07-28-2022, 08:27 PM   #15
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Default Re: 2002 Saturn SL-2 Air Conditioning Not Working

And.... buy an inexpensive uv blacklight and shine it all over the ac system parts and plumbing in shade, sunset or garage. GM added dye to make it easier for anyone with a uv blacklight to find leaks. Invisible refrigerant isn't seen but oil containing dye will glow brightly, greenish yellow indicating where a leak or damage occurred. Examples of dye may be seen when both service valve caps are removed with the uv light shining into each valve.
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Old 07-29-2022, 10:35 AM   #16
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Default Re: 2002 Saturn SL-2 Air Conditioning Not Working

My '02 SL1 has the exact same problem - I have voltage at the coil connector, but an open circuit through the coil.

I'm heading to the junk yard this weekend to see if I can pull a coil off of a wreck. Fingers crossed..
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Old 07-29-2022, 11:36 PM   #17
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Default Re: 2002 Saturn SL-2 Air Conditioning Not Working

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And.... buy an inexpensive uv blacklight and shine it all over the ac system parts and plumbing in shade, sunset or garage. GM added dye to make it easier for anyone with a uv blacklight to find leaks. Invisible refrigerant isn't seen but oil containing dye will glow brightly, greenish yellow indicating where a leak or damage occurred. Examples of dye may be seen when both service valve caps are removed with the uv light shining into each valve.
I may end up having a shop do the vacuum, followed by the R134a refill. So are you saying that the R134a that will be used to refill my system will have the dye in it already ? Or do they have to use R134a with the dye included to test out the system for leaks. Or once they vacuum out the system to remove the air, if they can hold a steady vacuum for 5 or 10 minutes, would that be a sufficient test that there are no leaks ?
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Old 07-30-2022, 04:38 AM   #18
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Default Re: 2002 Saturn SL-2 Air Conditioning Not Working

When you replace oil from compressor and drier removal, you have a choice to use plain pag oil or dye added to pag oil. This is the opportunity to use dye already mixed with replacement oil during reassembly before going to a shop for evacuation, final leak testing and refilling. Dye added to r134a in 12oz cans are expensive. Bulk 15lb or 30lb canisters of r134a don't have dye. If a shop uses 12oz cans of r134a with dye, the added cost will be on your bill. You save money by using pag oil with dye.

Repair shops will evacuate and presumably check for leaks using only gauges; when a vacuum pump is stopped, manifold valves closed, gauges monitor system vacuum. If repairs aren't done correctly, atmospheric pressure will enter into a vacuumed system with both gauges creeping up. Vacuum gauges are designed to measure vacuum and pressure; from zero to -29.99 in hg (vacuum). A system evacuated of air and moisture will show 29.99 in hg and should hold this vacuum. If repairs aren't performed correctly, (corroded/loose fitting connections, damaged seals, damaged fitting/tubing from hairline crack) a system won't hold vacuum as the vacuum gauge needle creeps up towards zero, indicating a vacuum leak. A vacuum leak simply means this system won't hold pressure and any attempt to refill with refrigerant will simply leak out. Every system whether new or repaired must hold a perfect vacuum to indicate it will hold refrigerant. Every system with refrigerant is always under pressure whether running or not.
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Old 07-30-2022, 09:56 PM   #19
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Default Re: 2002 Saturn SL-2 Air Conditioning Not Working

OK. Thanks again.

Where can I purchase pag oil with dye added ? Also is it called 'pag oil' or is there a more formal name for it ? How much do I have to buy ?

Ron
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Old 07-31-2022, 08:27 AM   #20
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Default Re: 2002 Saturn SL-2 Air Conditioning Not Working

Polyalkylene glycol, abbreviated as pag, is a synthetic oil. Most auto stores sell ac stuff including pag oil, with and without dye. Online buying may be cheaper. If I'm not mistaken, pag 46 (viscosity) is recommended. A 6 or 8 ounce container is more than sufficient.
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