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Old 02-23-2022, 02:20 PM   #1
Jim@HiTek
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2003 L-Series 2.2L Sedan
2001 SL1
Default '03 L200 Climate system....

Climate Control system went loopy and I'm having trouble figuring out if it's really a problem, or if it's a function of the design.

I'm down here in Tucson AZ and the weather has been wacko shifting back and forth between cold, mild, and hot so the climate system has been getting a work out.

The other day though, while running errands stopping at multiple places, I couldn't seem to get the auto system to blow any air out of the upper vents. I got it on my legs, and sometimes it would be full force out of the defrost vents, but nothing out of the uppers?

Two days later, some air was coming out of those but weakly. Not the full force I'd expect. And it's become even more wacky in how it operates lately. Hard to get comfortable. Meanwhile, the screwy weather is roaming back and forth between mild and hot. Need heat sometimes, AC others.

Is there something I should look for? Does this sound like a control board issue? Or just 'normal'? Is there any maintenance that should be done?

Thanks.
...
2003 Saturn L200
DOHC, 2.2L
Luxury Transport
66,000 miles Jan. '21

2001 Saturn SL1
SOHC, 1.9L
Basic Transport
78,000 miles Jan. '21
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Old 02-24-2022, 07:57 PM   #2
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2003 L-Series 3.0L Sedan
Default Re: '03 L200 Climate system....

If your L200 uses a cabin air filter, check it; at the base of the front windshield after opening the hood and lifting a hinged cover in the middle of the windshield span. Recommendations are yearly replacement. If the cabin filter isn't clogged and freely allowing filtered airflow into the hvac system then you may have to examine the actuators - one for temperature, one for mode doors. Either the mode actuator is worn or the door hinge points are impeding movement. If actuators are removed then reconnected to wiring, testing them for travel should show full movement. The mechanical link may need dry lube to allow free movement of the mode and temperature doors.
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Old 02-25-2022, 01:51 PM   #3
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2003 L-Series 2.2L Sedan
2001 SL1
Default Re: '03 L200 Climate system....

Oh, yeah, that cabin filter. I forgot about that. I have spares too.

I'll have to put this on the back burner for a while, tore my retina the other day, had surgery and it'll be weeks before I can see clearly again.

Thanks for your help. I'll look into those items as soon as I'm able.
...
2003 Saturn L200
DOHC, 2.2L
Luxury Transport
66,000 miles Jan. '21

2001 Saturn SL1
SOHC, 1.9L
Basic Transport
78,000 miles Jan. '21
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Old 03-19-2022, 11:29 PM   #4
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2001 SL1
Default Re: '03 L200 Climate system....

Okay...got the torn retina surgery all done, surgeon says it went well. But for now I can only see out of one eye waiting on cataract surgery as it turns out the laser used to tack weld the retina back in place also destroys the lens as a side effect.

Whatever, minor bump in the road of life...so I opened the filter hatch the other day and sure enough, it was filthy. I have dates written on all the filter boxes to change them in January but it slipped my mind last Jan.

Once I changed the filter it was much improved. Still not acting like it did a year ago but much better. I'll leave dash diving for when my eye is better in a few weeks. Hopefully, the system will get me through the summer as is.
...
2003 Saturn L200
DOHC, 2.2L
Luxury Transport
66,000 miles Jan. '21

2001 Saturn SL1
SOHC, 1.9L
Basic Transport
78,000 miles Jan. '21
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Old 03-20-2022, 01:40 PM   #5
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2003 L-Series 3.0L Sedan
Default Re: '03 L200 Climate system....

Replacing the caked up cabin filter hopefully restored all hvac functions.
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Old 03-20-2022, 02:36 PM   #6
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Default Re: '03 L200 Climate system....

Well, sort of, FD. There is more air flow out the middle vents but it doesn't seem to blast out like it used to when the engine was first started and I'd rotate the temp to 60 degrees.

But...got to test function yesterday in 85 degree weather and the system held it's own after a few miles. Nice and cool, with I'd say 70% of the cool air coming from the mid level vents, another 15% around my legs, and another 15% coming from the front window vents. Seems more gentle than it used to come out those vents, even though the fan speed is set for auto.

I'm thinking that the automatic air shutter or whatever it's called isn't opening or closing all the way. It'll be mid summer before I can get to it but it'll be too hot for me to work on it then so I'm hoping it'll work fine like it is until fall.

Fingers crossed.

Meanwhile, THANKS for reminding me of the cabin filter. Really helped changing that.
...
2003 Saturn L200
DOHC, 2.2L
Luxury Transport
66,000 miles Jan. '21

2001 Saturn SL1
SOHC, 1.9L
Basic Transport
78,000 miles Jan. '21
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Old 05-03-2022, 11:51 PM   #7
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2003 L-Series 2.2L Sedan
2001 SL1
Default Re: '03 L200 Climate system....

On 4-20-22 I had the serpentine belt break on me. Discovered that it was a 3-ribbed belt instead of the 5-ribbed belt as spec'ed by Saturn. I suspect that whoever put that inadequate belt in there knew better but who knows? Perhaps they were on the road and the original broke near a very small town?

Anyway, I think the belt was stretching and not spinning the AC compressor pulley...oh, wait, check that. Hmm. That wouldn't cause the comfort air system to not work in any way I can figure.

What's happened since I replaced that belt though, is now the Heat/AC system is working better. Dunno if the belt had anything to do with it, but I'll take it.

I'm able to leave it on AUTO and now generally it blows loud like it use to. Air flow out the middle vents is stronger too. If it was the belt, yea! If it wasn't...err...I'll just keep my eye on it.
...
2003 Saturn L200
DOHC, 2.2L
Luxury Transport
66,000 miles Jan. '21

2001 Saturn SL1
SOHC, 1.9L
Basic Transport
78,000 miles Jan. '21
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Old 05-21-2022, 10:47 PM   #8
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2003 L-Series 2.2L Sedan
2001 SL1
Default Re: '03 L200 Climate system....

Finally left the Tucson area and headed north and stopped in Pahrump, NV...55 miles due west of Las Vegas. Going to settle here for a few weeks.

After arriving, tried to find someone to work on the system and got a lead on a mechanic but when I tested the system yesterday, it was working fine! So went and put the mechanic on the back burner. Strong air flow now coming from all the mid-level vents? What's up with that?

I know I'm not the only one who's had problems figuring out the comfort system and this behavior is likely one reason why. The difference between Tucson and Pahrump is minor in temp and altitude but dahyum, now it's working great. Just like I wanted it to work down in Tucson.

I do like figuring things out, but this one is beyond my ancient brain I'm afraid. So I'm just going to live with it. Done.
...
2003 Saturn L200
DOHC, 2.2L
Luxury Transport
66,000 miles Jan. '21

2001 Saturn SL1
SOHC, 1.9L
Basic Transport
78,000 miles Jan. '21
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Old 05-22-2022, 11:11 AM   #9
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2002 L-Series 2.2L Sedan
2000 L-Series 2.2L Sedan
Default Re: '03 L200 Climate system....

I suspect vibration from your road trip caused the mode motor to move the air flow doors into the correct position. I have the manual air system in all my L series cars and the mode system is the same as your automatic system mechanically. My daily has difficulty moving the last bit to pure defrost from the mix floor/defrost position. It will work better when the car is not moving and the fan on low. I think it is more dry linkage on a 20 year old car than a design issue.
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Old 05-25-2022, 08:12 PM   #10
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2003 L-Series 2.2L Sedan
2001 SL1
Default Re: '03 L200 Climate system....

You could be right 02 LW300, but I was driving it for hundreds of miles in Tucson before I left. And on lots of gravel roads too, so lots of vibration, but that never seemed to fix it. I used to bang on the dash out of frustration too.

The trip between Tucson and Pahrump was on nice smooth freeways, plus the car was being towed by my RV. Engine wasn't running.

So I don't know if that could be the cause...maybe though.

Anyway, I'm no longer worried about it as it seems to be working exactly as I want it to. And it's in the 98 F range around this area now so I'm pleased.
...
2003 Saturn L200
DOHC, 2.2L
Luxury Transport
66,000 miles Jan. '21

2001 Saturn SL1
SOHC, 1.9L
Basic Transport
78,000 miles Jan. '21

Last edited by Jim@HiTek; 05-25-2022 at 08:19 PM.
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