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Old 08-18-2020, 09:03 PM   #1
codyas
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Default Air conditioning rebuild

My 93 sw. Currently missing AC components and the pump is shot. .. Curious if the 134 pumps and parts can directly swap. . like the expansion valve. Pump. The condensor. honestly it would be nice if the entire system would come out as 1 part. Without needing a refill. . literally i believe there is a hard line. 1 hose and the evaporator is the only things decent. . the expansion valve may be fine but im not sure about the r12-134 difference.

Wish i had the parts from my old 96 that thing was ice cold. I may just gather everything from a parts car that seems to be in good working order. Possibly just install a new drier can. . that and the possible need for an O ring set. .

Just curious if say. 95+ s series air conditioning parts will all work without modification to anything.. If i have to rewire a different plug for a sensor or something thats fine. . idk if anything was different or changed on later ones. All the saturns i had were still 1st gen body style.
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Old 08-18-2020, 11:00 PM   #2
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1998 SL2
Default Re: Air conditioning rebuild

I'm not sure you'd be able to simply pull that swap off. Even in my 98, there's two options for AC compressors, depends on where the lines bolt to it (both on the back of the compressor or one on the back and one on the side). I have a hard time believing that all the parts for a newer one would fit into place.

And to answer you question about removing everything intact without opening the system, impossible to do... Even if you could get the compressor and condenser out all together with the lines, you have to pull the expansion valve and lines off where it meets the firewall and goes inside to the evaporator.
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Old 08-18-2020, 11:05 PM   #3
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Default Re: Air conditioning rebuild

Many questions with little answers. I don't know everything, especially when attempting to retrofit r134a parts to your '93. Around '94/'95, GM/Saturn switched over from r12 to r134a systems. Engineering wise, I don't know if the r12 condenser coil was the old style serpentine tube or the r134a style parallel flow type. Examine your r12 condenser coil. If its the old type, look at either right or left side. Older ac systems use a serpentine tube system where all tubes are joined into one continuous tube. The U joints connecting tubing will be angled to join an upper tube to the next lower tube. R134a condenser coils are parallel where the condenser coil doesn't have left or right side U tubes, just a side tank. The parallel finned tubing is flatter with internal channels. Whether r12 condenser coils work efficiently with r134a was never discussed when upgrade from r12 to r134a, added ester oil to mix and make r12 mineral oil compatible to r134a refrigerant. The thermal expansion valve seemed to work in these upgrades. Cooling wasn't as good as r12 systems but this was a low cost upgrade.

Another problem may be incorrect fitting sizes when attempting to replace r12 compressors, condenser coil drier and txv. You'd have to search or examine every fitting to be sure a switch over can be done. In a perfect world, throwing away everything except the evaporator coil may allow fitting a r134a system onto a '93. A whole system from '95-'00 may work. The exception is whether retaining the old r12 txv will allow r134a hoses to fit or replacing it with a '95-'00 txv.

When repairing vehicle ac systems or replacing everything in your case, the drier is always replaced. Refrigerant, oil and dye in r134a systems circulate forever in a continuous loop so the filter/drier captures any traces of moisture while capturing contamination occurring over the years. If you replace oil filters, replacing the filter/drier during ac repairs is a no brainer. Another issue you have to consider is this switch from r12 to r134a. Mineral oil in r12 systems isn't compatible with r134a refrigerant.

R134a systems use synthetic oil, PAG. In order to achieve the best conversion, any retained parts like the evaporator coil is flushed of old mineral oil. Used r134a parts may be flushed before putting it on the car to rid parts of any dirt and contaminants. Every ac system must be clean and free of contaminants to achieve the best possible cooling. Water, moisture, dirt can degrade performance resulting in odd pressures and less cooling. Refrigeration isn't complicated but any diy repairs or mods without knowledge will be unforgiving of mistakes. All repairs requires all new seals. Operating pressures exceed 250 psi so reusing old seals is not only poor workmanship but worse. r12 systems use older seals that are incompatible with r134a. Green O-rings are compatible with r134a. Older O-rings can deteriorate resulting in leaks. All repairs of ac systems aims at sealing every fitting so a system will hold up to high pressures. Any compromises to save time and a little money may reward a diyer with a poorly performing and most likely leaking system. Do it right or don't make the attempt.

With every ac system repair, an electric vacuum pump and gauges are needed to evacuate a repaired system to a complete vacuum. When a vacuum holds after a vacuum pump is shut off, a final leak test, refrigerant can be added. This last step should reward a repair with cold air and free of leaks. This evacuation can be done by any diyer or left to a repair shop after a complete repair is made and less costly compared to repair shops performing all the work.
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Old 08-18-2020, 11:19 PM   #4
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Default Re: Air conditioning rebuild

I do have a vacuum pump and AC service tools. Maybe basic stuff but i have serviced AC systems before .. I would have to look at that evaporator. I can assume the style designed to be used with 134 is preferred. . i probably would just grab everything from a 134 parts car that can be reused as long as its in good shape. Kinda wonder how hard the removal of evaporator is on those. And if the newer style fits in there. Or if they are the same . i haven't done alot of work on saturn AC systems besides refills and 1 had a blown condenser. And this one is missing that part. Among other things.

I wouldn't mind the parts they used for 96. My 96 saturn had the freaking coldest AC compared to every car i had.. Although that isn't saying much. Ive only owned 3 cars that the AC even worked properly... It was cold though. Thermometer in the vent got down to 36 degrees if i remember correctly.
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Old 08-19-2020, 01:05 AM   #5
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2003 L-Series 3.0L Sedan
Default Re: Air conditioning rebuild

It's just a guess on my part but in theory, the S-series may share the same evaporator coils because it shouldn't matter whether using r12 or r134a. The txv is the main control for regulating low pressure to generate cold temps. The issue, if any, would be the txv physical dimensions as a direct replacement to the r12 txv. I don't know if the r12 txv would work if left in place and/or if the r134a hoses would fit. The devil is in the details. As far as access to the hvac box, you're probably looking at disassembling almost the entire interior to remove the hvac box for bench disassembly just to replace the evap coil.

Ideally, an entire r134a ac system from a donor car (except the evap coil) would replace everything in your vehicle.

Having familiarity with evacuating a system and using refrigeration gauges lets you do all the work.
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Old 08-20-2020, 12:42 AM   #6
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1998 SL2
Default Re: Air conditioning rebuild

RockAuto lists the same evap coil and TXV for both R12 and R134A years of S-series.
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