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Old 08-02-2013, 03:29 PM   #1
Carbon_Beats
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Default A/C Jump on 2000 Saturn LS2 V6

Bought this car a few days ago and, according to the seller, the AC had gone out on him a few days prior to me looking at the car.

When you hit the AC button in the car, the light turns on the and engine puts on more RPMs, however, the clutch doesn't kick in. We found the switch, we believe it to be, near the front end of the engine near the passenger head light. We were wanting to jump it to check if the Condenser still worked, but how exactly do you jump it?

It is a three 'pin', for lack of term, connector with three colored wires. Red, Grey, and Black. Which two do I need to use to jump it or is that not the correct area to jump it at?
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Old 08-02-2013, 03:54 PM   #2
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Default Re: A/C Jump on 2000 Saturn LS2 V6

Do not try to jumper this 3-pin connector. This will not work, period. Other cars using a two-wire pressure sensor like the S-series can be jumpered to bypass the pressure sensor for a compressor power check but not L-series cars.

Our (L-series) cars use a pressure transducer that constantly measures pressures and produces signals that vary in proportion to pressures. The third wire is a variable output signal that the ecm/pcm uses to know if the compressor is safe to run. In effect, if you were to randomly wire the 5v signal to one of the other terminals, the higher voltage is interpreted as a dangerous high pressure condition; the ecm/pcm will not allow the compressor to run at very high or low pressures. The variable signals are a way for the ecm/pcm to monitor the compressor.

What you have is 98% of what all car a/c systems suffer - a leak that releases enough refrigerant until the pressure sensor detects the loss and sends a disable signal to the ecm/pcm to prevent running the compressor otherwise damage will result from lack of oil lubrication without sufficient refrigerant. Find and fix the source of the leak first as dye and oil usually marks the leak area. A large leak will leave markers easily found while others can be found with a uv blacklight sold in many auto stores.

Refrain from attempting recharging and using sealer. Sealer will almost guarantee a larger repair bill when it fails to work. Unless you know personally, anyone that used sealer and it repaired their a/c problems, don't use it. If you are lucky, maybe one or both service caps were left loose and allowed a slow leak - the caps seal the system. Dye can be seen in the valves from anyone attempting service.

Look in my pictures for two examples of two leak spots found with and without a uv light.
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Old 08-02-2013, 04:38 PM   #3
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Default Re: A/C Jump on 2000 Saturn LS2 V6

So I'll need to get dye into the system first in order to precisely find the leak(s)? Would, say, a local Wal-Mart or Jiffy Lube be able to put the dye into the system, or would that have to be done on my own?
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Old 08-02-2013, 05:27 PM   #4
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Default Re: A/C Jump on 2000 Saturn LS2 V6

No dye needed, its already in the system from the factory. All Saturns with R134a have dye from the factory for easier troubleshooting by almost anyone.

Finding the source of a leak with a uv blacklight is the fastest way to troubleshoot a/c problems without paying anyone to tell you "you need a compressor, all included with the $$$$$$$$$$$ price....." spiel. There are many unscrupulous repair shops dying for your money, using the average person's ignorance of a/c repair/troubleshooting. A leak that's repaired will almost guarantee restoring a/c function back to factory condition.

Determining a leak exists and addressing this first is the cheapest path before continuing with the technical repairs; evacuating, final leak checking before recharging a repaired system with refrigerant using all the equipment for refrigeration service.
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Last edited by fdryer; 08-02-2013 at 05:36 PM.
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Old 08-03-2013, 12:07 AM   #5
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Default Re: A/C Jump on 2000 Saturn LS2 V6

Alright. I'll have to go pick up a UV light tomorrow then. Just don't trust myself looking for something I'm unfamiliar with. I'll try to update on this when I can.

Thanks fdryer.
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Old 08-03-2013, 12:27 PM   #6
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Default Re: A/C Jump on 2000 Saturn LS2 V6

Okay, I just bought a UV light and took a look around where I could. However, from what I could tell I couldn't find anything. I know I'm suppose to be looking for a certain color(s), but what color am I looking for exactly?
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Old 08-03-2013, 12:39 PM   #7
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Default Re: A/C Jump on 2000 Saturn LS2 V6

Dye is greenish yellow. Follow the a/c lines carefully, pointing the UV light directly at every part of the system. On top, front of condenser coil, every fitting that joins every line, both service valves, etc.. If you need an example, remove the high side cap, behind the passenger side headlight and shine the light down the valve. You'll have to crawl under the car too, to shine the UV light around the rest of the a/c plumbing.
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Old 08-03-2013, 12:46 PM   #8
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Default Re: A/C Jump on 2000 Saturn LS2 V6

I went ahead and did a check on the high side valve for anything. Nothing. No color or anything. The valve is completely clean.
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Old 08-03-2013, 01:29 PM   #9
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Default Re: A/C Jump on 2000 Saturn LS2 V6

Keep looking. The time spent searching for an elusive leak can save you more money than you can imagine. Some here found their leak on a condenser coil, receiver/drier, suction side fitting on the compressor and service valves - all with pictures posted here. Mine are from two discharge lines ().

Only one hint of a leak will tell anyone a leak occurred; the cooling fan doesn't turn on when a/c is turned on. The ecm/pcm knows (via the pressure sensor) to turn on the cooling fan when a/c is running because a/c produces heat that radiates from the condenser coils. Heat from the condenser coil flows directly into the radiator. Local stop and go driving will cause the cooling system to over heat so a/c operation dictates running the cooling fan(s) (low/med/hi) to keep the a/c and cooling system from over heating. A/c ON, cooling fan off = leak; the pressure sensor detecting loss of refrigerant sends a disable signal to the ecm/pcm. The ecm/pcm knows if the compressor isn't needed then the cooling fan isn't needed so the fan stays off - due to a leak. The cooling system's coolant sensor still works so the ecm/pcm will still cycle the cooling fan when needed regardless of a/c system failure.
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Old 08-03-2013, 01:51 PM   #10
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Default Re: A/C Jump on 2000 Saturn LS2 V6

Looks like I'm going to have to wait until either Monday or Wednesday in order to try to locate a leak from the under side. I just don't have a reliable jack with me to do that until those days.

Gone back and forth under the hood and from what I could get under the front bumper (couldn't get all the way under) and couldn't necessarily find anything.
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Old 08-03-2013, 05:41 PM   #11
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Default Re: A/C Jump on 2000 Saturn LS2 V6

Heh-heh, I felt the same way about losing a/c after 10 reliable years. I made an initial check, going over the easy things on top. I know better and waited until I ran an errand at night to look again in the dark. With just a parking lot light for general illumination, I used my uv light to go over the top areas of the a/c system and thru the front grille, etc.. Less than a minute to do this and used a plastic bag to lay on the ground so I could put one knee down and make another check under the engine. The first leak was obvious because the a/c plumbing is out in the open for anyone to find a leak when using uv light. Mine was behind the radiator with dye marking the area, not easily seen from the top. All this did was verify a leak from a damaged line. The rest is as anything else done - remove and replace (with a few precautions).

A real attempt to find the leak is needed before continuing.
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Old 08-03-2013, 11:52 PM   #12
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Default Re: A/C Jump on 2000 Saturn LS2 V6

Actually had the idea of checking tonight before I left earlier. Did this before I came on to post about it xD

I think I may have found it back by the firewall. Tried to get a picture of it with and without the UV light on it. It's a little hard to see, I apologize, but I think I was able to see just subtle hints of the dye around the blacked area.

I'll post to the album on ImageShack.

imageshack(.)us/g/1/10264044/
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Old 08-04-2013, 12:19 AM   #13
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Default Re: A/C Jump on 2000 Saturn LS2 V6

I don't think those two purple pics show any dye. Did you review the dye shown in my photos? Electronic flash won't reveal dye as its the wrong color spectrum. Uv light excites dye and glows without sunlight or flash photography to interfere with the naked eye seeing it or as its photographed. If you take pictures, electronic flash must be turned off and the uv light the only source of light for the digicams to capture dye glow - as seen in my photos.

Keep looking.
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Old 08-04-2013, 12:37 AM   #14
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Default Re: A/C Jump on 2000 Saturn LS2 V6

The two pictures with the UV light on the suspected area was the source of light without my flash. My camera does no justice on coming out clear since I had to zoom in.

Without the camera, I could just see subtle hints of what seemed to be dye. I'll keep looking, but like I said I'll need to wait to give it a good look around from the underside.

Edit: Yes I did look at your pictures. Also, I looked at the high side valve and cap again. I saw some dye on the very edges inside the cap where the valve would touch and a little, very little, on the valve itself. I could see no dye on the inside of the valve.
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Old 08-04-2013, 01:03 AM   #15
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Default Re: A/C Jump on 2000 Saturn LS2 V6

Take your time with something unfamiliar. Once you see a clear example of what dye looks like, you'll find it soon enough. It won't be just a fleck or two. You have the entire a/c system to inspect with your uv light.
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Old 08-05-2013, 01:04 PM   #16
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Default Re: A/C Jump on 2000 Saturn LS2 V6

Quote:
Originally Posted by fdryer View Post
Look in my pictures for two examples of two leak spots found with and without a uv light.
I had a leak in that exact same spot under the bracket in the line at the bottom of the radiator. Having just replaced my compressor (1100 bucks), the guy replaced the line for just the cost of the part. It took 9 years to rub a hole in the old line but I've got another 15 left in the car so I'm going to take off the bracket, wrap the line with tape and put the bracket back on. The only question is just do I use regular duct tape or the foil backed tape I used for the bubble wrap sound proofing.
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Old 08-05-2013, 01:59 PM   #17
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Default Re: A/C Jump on 2000 Saturn LS2 V6

I too wrestled with figuring out what to do to prevent this clamp from collecting road salt and repeating corrosion on the replacement line. I cleaned the two clamps of caked on road salt (looks like calcium deposits) and swapped them around. Perhaps the best(?) solution might be removing the clamp, clean all surfaces and squeezing silicone caulking onto the tube/inside the clamp and then re-clamping? Caulking will fill the void, surround the tube for a weather seal while the rubber from the clamp still provides a soft surface for clamping? I didn't think of this until now and haven't decided on doing this yet.

My condenser coil mounting bracket on the passenger side snapped off and allowed that side to swing. I reused that broken piece as a spacer on the mid span clamp to move the clamp away from the condenser coils (the original set up squished against three or four coils) as I was concerned of possible coil damage. Fortunately for me, the coils haven't ruptured (these coils will see in excess of 250 psi in normal a/c operation).
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