SaturnFans.com
saturnfans.com - classifieds - forums - webmail


Go Back   SaturnFans.com Forums > Models > Saturn S-Series > S-Series Tech

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 05-19-2021, 11:31 PM   #1
C52
Member
C52 is a jewel in the roughC52 is a jewel in the roughC52 is a jewel in the rough
 
Join Date: Oct 2020
Posts: 112

1997 SW2
Default AC Repair

I'm planning on attempting another AC repair this year to hopefully get it working. Last year I used a hand held vacuum pump attached with a cut recharge hose and I got to a vacuum of the max on the pump I had that was about 40. Left it for a half of an hour and there was no change so I thought there was no leak, recharged the best I could and had ice cold AC, by my definition that means I had to turn it off within a short time as I was getting too cold. For that night for the several hours I used my car the AC was wonderful, however the next day I had no cold air at all, that I assume means that the system components are working fine, just there is a leak somewhere.

I'm planning on getting out a UV light to look for leaks and have several questions:

If it has been many years, perhaps 10 or more since all the R134 with the dye leaked out, will it still be possible to see after all those years where it leaked out from?

How do you check for leaks in the condenser itself as it appears it is not possible to see it for the most part other than where the hoses connect?

There is an all metal line that goes from the dryer to the expansion valve and appears to have a pressure switch in it, if I should decide to just replace most of the parts, where would I get this line? I couldn't find it anywhere.

Assuming my compressor is good and I were to replace both lines, condenser, dryer, and the line from the dryer to the expansion valve, what are the chances the leak may be in the expansion valve or the evaporator?
C52 is offline   Reply With Quote
SaturnFans.com Sponsored Links
Old 05-20-2021, 06:43 AM   #2
fdryer
Super Member
fdryer has a reputation beyond reputefdryer has a reputation beyond reputefdryer has a reputation beyond reputefdryer has a reputation beyond reputefdryer has a reputation beyond reputefdryer has a reputation beyond reputefdryer has a reputation beyond reputefdryer has a reputation beyond reputefdryer has a reputation beyond reputefdryer has a reputation beyond reputefdryer has a reputation beyond repute
 
fdryer's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: NYC
Posts: 45,091
 

2003 L-Series 3.0L Sedan
Default Re: AC Repair

Try not assuming anything as assumptions can mislead anyone. I like the analogy comparing refrigeration to super or turbo charging. If a person isn't familiar with super/turbo charging details then refrigeration has the same difficulties. The devil is in the details. It's rare for evaporator coils and txv failure since they're buried safely in the center of almost every vehicle.

Saturns and maybe most/all GM vehicles using r134a are blessed having dye during factory installation of ac systems. Refrigerant, oil and dye continually circulate throughout the ac system providing lifetime lubrication to the compressor. Once a leak occurs, refrigerant, oil and dye are released with oil and dye leaving markers. Ac oil is indistinguishable from motor oil in a dirty engine compartment. GM uses greenish yellow fluorescent dye that can be seen in daylight if a large leak occurs or with a uv blacklight to make dye glow in the dark (garage or after dusk). In less than five minutes, my first leak was found using only a uv blacklight. Dye examples can be seen inside service valves, especially the low side valve where all refills are made in hopes of a quick fix. Leaks can be as simple as a worn service valve and not tightening caps. The schrader valve in my opinion is the primary seal with the valve cap/O-ring providing a secondary seal against release of refrigerant. Wear and tear on soft aluminum tubing and fittings leads to cracks from stress hardening as our vehicles run the obstacle course of paved and unpaved roads.

I'm not sure of your description of a manual vacuum pump. Perhaps a snapshot may help my lack of imagination. The only vacuum pump for refrigeration service are the electric ones used by everyone from diyers to commercial hvac techs. A complete evacuation follows correctly repaired damage with gauges to monitor the vacuum. Using SAE values, 29.99 in hg is a complete vacuum (sea level). Once achieved, gauge valves are closed then vacuum pump and the low side gauge is monitored for any signs of leaks since the low side gauge has markings for vacuum level. If the needle creeps up from 29.99 in hg towards zero, a leak is somewhere between the gauges, hoses and plumbing. A perfect repair, achievable by anyone with patience, will display zero changes in vacuum for at least 15 minutes in preparation for refilling an empty system. All air and moisture must be removed with a near perfect vacuum in order for refrigerant, oil and dye to operate in a refrigeration system.

Oil and dye remains in almost every system except for catastrophic damage resulting in a frontal crash where instantaneous release of refrigerant, oil and dye may occur. With normal use, the inevitable leak releases refrigerant, oil and dye. A blacklight can find dye markers. The majority of oil and dye remain in a system so leaks should continue releasing markers for easy identification with a blacklight years later. A dark garage or night time use of a blacklight is best to illuminate dye markers on an older vehicle. No additional refrigerant with dye is needed that some feel is necessary. A leak doesn't have to be heard to find it when its likely a tiny pinhole crack or loose fitting. Dye will leave its mark to point to the leak area. Time spent shining a uv blacklight over the entire ac plumbing system can reveal where damage occurred. Once found, deciding on repairs are the next steps performed with basic tools.
fdryer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-21-2021, 05:14 AM   #3
C52
Member
C52 is a jewel in the roughC52 is a jewel in the roughC52 is a jewel in the rough
 
Join Date: Oct 2020
Posts: 112

1997 SW2
Default Re: AC Repair

The hand held vacuum pump I used is for testing vacuum diaphragms back when cars used to have rubber vacuum lines attached to such parts.

I've looked at all visible parts, and can see no leaks with the UV light, so I suspect the condenser. I watched a youtube video though that said that you need not only a UV light, but also a special pair of glasses to see where it is leaking?? Is this true?

As the parts are cheap at RA and mine may be the original parts from 97 I may just gamble and hope for the best and purchase the following:

High Pressure line
Low Pressure line
Condenser
Drier
8oz bottle of pag oil
AC O ring seal kit

Should I try to find the leak first before buying the parts by adding fresh dye and taking out the condenser to find the leak as if there are no visible leaks that I assume would mean that the evaporator is leaking?
C52 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-21-2021, 09:27 AM   #4
Waiex191
Master Member
Waiex191 is a splendid one to beholdWaiex191 is a splendid one to beholdWaiex191 is a splendid one to beholdWaiex191 is a splendid one to beholdWaiex191 is a splendid one to beholdWaiex191 is a splendid one to beholdWaiex191 is a splendid one to behold
 
Waiex191's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2016
Location: Poplar Grove, IL
Posts: 3,121

1999 SL2
1998 SC2
Default Re: AC Repair

The dye is awesome. I'd recommend going that route. Also for the condenser in the buick I looked at the condenser drain and saw no dye there so I left it alone. You may have multiple leaks.
...
Bryan Cotton
'99 SL2, 5SP bought new
Rebuilt at 204,067 September 2017
Engine, subframe, diff pin mod, brake lines, headliner, alternator, and so on!
'98 SC2, 5SP bought 2018
Waiex191 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-21-2021, 09:35 AM   #5
fdryer
Super Member
fdryer has a reputation beyond reputefdryer has a reputation beyond reputefdryer has a reputation beyond reputefdryer has a reputation beyond reputefdryer has a reputation beyond reputefdryer has a reputation beyond reputefdryer has a reputation beyond reputefdryer has a reputation beyond reputefdryer has a reputation beyond reputefdryer has a reputation beyond reputefdryer has a reputation beyond repute
 
fdryer's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: NYC
Posts: 45,091
 

2003 L-Series 3.0L Sedan
Default Re: AC Repair

I bought a uv blacklight without the yellow tinted eyewear. Some may need the eyewear. I cannot comment on all the uv lights but presume some may not be as useful (at low cost). As a test, I wiped service valves with a white cloth rag before connecting hoses. When I tried my uv light on the rag, it glowed brightly from residual oil and dye wiped off from service valves. The bright green glow convinced me the uv light is perfect for dye detection. The cloth still glows years after the first wipe. It stays in the ac tool box with gauges and miscellaneous parts.

It's your choice to spend time with a uv light to find the leak or replace parts and hope for the best. The hand held vacuum pump is not a substitute for an electric vacuum pump and gauges. Spending money on parts then going cheap on equipment isn't recommended. AutoZone may have vacuum pump and gauges for loan (free) and a great way to save on equipment that may not get used enough to justify buying them. If you decide on borrowing equipment, be sure they're in good condition. Wear and tear from use may result in worn seals in screw on hose fittings, damaged inoperable gauges, worn out vacuum pump.

A new member asked me via private messaging about evap coil and txv replacement. He described seeing dye in vents. The L-series evap coils are relatively easy to remove. Whether repairs are successful remains unanswered as this is ongoing. I'm not in hvac repairs and do not have exposure to the industry. In my brief time here as a member, I
haven't read of any evaporator coil damage.
fdryer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-21-2021, 11:39 AM   #6
billr
Master Member
billr is a splendid one to beholdbillr is a splendid one to beholdbillr is a splendid one to beholdbillr is a splendid one to beholdbillr is a splendid one to beholdbillr is a splendid one to beholdbillr is a splendid one to behold
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 6,156
Default Re: AC Repair

It is not likely the leak is in any of the hard lines or components, throwing those parts at it is probably a waste of time/money. Leaks are most often in the compressor shaft-seal, the Shrader service ports, or the many O-rings sealing the "hard" stuff together.

Replacing the drier is a judgement call. If you can't pull a good (29.9" Hg) vacuum, and leave it on the system for an hour or more, then a fresh drier can help remove moisture that wasn't properly vacuumed out.
billr is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-21-2021, 01:29 PM   #7
alordofchaos
Super Member
alordofchaos has much to be proud ofalordofchaos has much to be proud ofalordofchaos has much to be proud ofalordofchaos has much to be proud ofalordofchaos has much to be proud ofalordofchaos has much to be proud ofalordofchaos has much to be proud ofalordofchaos has much to be proud ofalordofchaos has much to be proud ofalordofchaos has much to be proud of
 
alordofchaos's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Central MI
Posts: 13,223
 

2002 SC2
1998 SL2
Default Re: AC Repair

Both times that I had AC leaks on my Saturns, it was at the Schrader valve.

First time, it took a long time to diagnose. Why?

Because when checking to see if the system would hold vacuum, I had the AC manifold gauge set on. That closed off the leak at the valve, so of course as long as the gauge set was on, it held vacuum.

The second I took the gauge set off, the valve was open to the air again and I'd lose vacuum (or system would leak again).

New valve cores are about $5 at the FLAPS
...
I'm not worthy to grovel in the shadow of Signmaster's wisdom

11/2016 red 2002 5 spd SC2 151k DD
12/2008 eBay silver 1998 SL2 5 spd 102k, now 201k+ miles
alordofchaos is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-21-2021, 04:56 PM   #8
C52
Member
C52 is a jewel in the roughC52 is a jewel in the roughC52 is a jewel in the rough
 
Join Date: Oct 2020
Posts: 112

1997 SW2
Default Re: AC Repair

There is one other detail I forgot to mention, last year when I attempted to repair my AC I could hear a hissing coming from the low pressure hose valve so I did replace the valve, but it was still leaking. Next I bought a new cap, recharged again but it still leaked out overnight, so figuring I would need a new low pressure hose anyways I mixed up some JB weld and filled in the charge port with it and capped hoping for a seal that would last for a while at least. No change, it still leaked out overnight so now at minimum I will need a new low pressure line, and as the other parts are cheap at RA I thought I may as well replace them as well. With the recent posting about compressor leaks though, not sure how to proceed as now I can't even put dye into the system until I order a new low pressure line, and don't want to spend the money on all the parts and end up needing a compressor, that is more money than I want to spend.

If it turns out to be a compressor seal, is that something that would seal with leak sealer, or something I would be able to replace myself?
C52 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-21-2021, 05:33 PM   #9
fdryer
Super Member
fdryer has a reputation beyond reputefdryer has a reputation beyond reputefdryer has a reputation beyond reputefdryer has a reputation beyond reputefdryer has a reputation beyond reputefdryer has a reputation beyond reputefdryer has a reputation beyond reputefdryer has a reputation beyond reputefdryer has a reputation beyond reputefdryer has a reputation beyond reputefdryer has a reputation beyond repute
 
fdryer's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: NYC
Posts: 45,091
 

2003 L-Series 3.0L Sedan
Default Re: AC Repair

A few here have found compressor shaft leaks and posted snapshots to show it. If shaft seal leaks occurs then refrigerant, oil and dye will leak out with plenty of oil to show all over the idler pulley. Any oil and dye may be flung out radially so evidence would appear on the engine block and hood. Pressure gauges removes all doubt from second guessing besides witnessing complete loss of cooling a day after refilling it. Sealing the low side with epoxy may not work if the valve wasn't degreased completely to remove oil. Epoxy won't adhere to oily surfaces. Nice try though as a last ditch attempt at sealing after refilling.

As suggested previously, use your uv light everywhere. And you haven't answered my question. Did you see oil and dye inside the low side service port or not? Seeing dye with naked eyes then seeing dye glow with your uv light are two steps in identifying dye by eye (1) then seeing it glow with your light (2). If you cannot see evidence of dye then second guessing can be expensive. You can use your uv light on other vehicles too to become familiar with dye by eye and under uv light illumination.

If you need an example of ac leaks, here's a very recent thread about a rear compressor leak from the calibration screw/plug next to the rear suction port. A snapshot shows glowing dye under a uv light - http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=268615

Last edited by fdryer; 05-21-2021 at 05:39 PM.
fdryer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-21-2021, 06:18 PM   #10
billr
Master Member
billr is a splendid one to beholdbillr is a splendid one to beholdbillr is a splendid one to beholdbillr is a splendid one to beholdbillr is a splendid one to beholdbillr is a splendid one to beholdbillr is a splendid one to behold
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 6,156
Default Re: AC Repair

The inside of low port is stuffed with JB, so try peeking into the high port; there should be some there, too.

Do not try any kind of sealer!
billr is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-21-2021, 11:54 PM   #11
C52
Member
C52 is a jewel in the roughC52 is a jewel in the roughC52 is a jewel in the rough
 
Join Date: Oct 2020
Posts: 112

1997 SW2
Default Re: AC Repair

I've decided to try to find the leak first before throwing parts at it. The UV light I have is the tube style and not very bright, harbor freight has one for about $8, then I will remove the AC compressor from the bracket and check all around it for leaks then access the condenser also before deciding on further action. Currently I have the shorter serpentine belt for no AC as my AC was not working anyways so it will be easy to remove the compressor for 360 degree inspection.

Challenge for the experts, what is #7 in the attached diagram called, and what is the original GM part number? Diagram should be for a 97 Saturn AC system.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 97 Saturn AC system.jpg (23.5 KB, 17 views)
C52 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-22-2021, 02:30 PM   #12
fdryer
Super Member
fdryer has a reputation beyond reputefdryer has a reputation beyond reputefdryer has a reputation beyond reputefdryer has a reputation beyond reputefdryer has a reputation beyond reputefdryer has a reputation beyond reputefdryer has a reputation beyond reputefdryer has a reputation beyond reputefdryer has a reputation beyond reputefdryer has a reputation beyond reputefdryer has a reputation beyond repute
 
fdryer's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: NYC
Posts: 45,091
 

2003 L-Series 3.0L Sedan
Default Re: AC Repair

According to one GM online site, the drawings show part#7 as; tube, evaporator to drier GM 21031099. Here's the site; https://www.originalgmautoparts.com/...ssor-and-lines, second drawing (bottom page). It's discontinued so searching may be required to find it. Use GMs part number for accuracy.
fdryer is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
ISS repair pp270 Aura General 1 08-24-2014 05:29 PM
ac repair 97RedSaturnSC2 S-Series Tech 9 12-28-2011 02:06 PM
ECM Repair. How much? Concerned Vue Tech 9 11-01-2010 10:17 PM
AC Repair btrautman L-Series Tech 2 08-12-2010 08:47 PM
"Reverse Slam" repair part pictures+repair pictures. CaptainMouse64 S-Series Tech 44 04-08-2009 06:40 AM


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 05:08 AM.

Advanced Forum Search | Advanced Photo Search


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.11
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, vBulletin Solutions Inc.
SaturnFans.com. The Saturn Enthusiasts Site.