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Old 06-05-2021, 06:35 PM   #1
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Default Diagnosing A/C (again)

Alright, so now that I've made sure my cooling fan is working and I replaced the coolant temp sensor, I'm turning my eyes back to the A/C.

This is what I know thus far:

The system has a leak, but that I'll find out more later, however system still does not turn on if it is filled (at this point, just trying to get the pump to engage).

Jumping the plug at the pressure switch turns the cooling fan on

Testing the plug at the pressure switch does not show 12v (Richpin's vid shows 11-12v without the car running)

Pressure switch reads 0 ohms

15v HVAC fuse inside the car is good, also shows 12v

Swapped the A/C and Fan relays (and even the fog lamps... which is weird since there are none)

Tried engaging the clutch manually, but not sure if I'm doing it right since it's only one wire.

I'm thinking there's something wrong at the pressure switch plug since it's showing very low voltage, like 2v.

Also, which way does the A/C diode need to be installed? Richpin's vid is too low of quality to see which way the arrows are pointed. Also, could the diode be bad? I have yet to test that too. I still need to finish his 'part 2' vid, so I might not be far enough yet.
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Old 06-05-2021, 07:35 PM   #2
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Default Re: Diagnosing A/C (again)

1-Don't assume videos relate to your car unless it specifies model and year. 1st ('91-'95) and 2nd generation ('96-'99) have the same ac wiring. 3rd gen ('00-'02) uses the body control module (BCM) for many functions unrelated to the engine computer (pcm). Ac wiring is slightly different, specifically the ac pressure sensor. There's another thread about this where a member applied 12v to the pressure switch on his 3rd gen Saturn. Once made aware by wiring diagram, either 12v was sent to the bcm in error or not. Haven't seen a reply since. You can search for this recent thread with the wiring diagram. Do not assume 12v is needed on 3rd gen pressure sensors. Assuming makes you risk any mistakes without wiring diagrams to help.

2-The following is copied from your thread (http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...php?t=268557); As mentioned, check for a blown clutch coil either with 12v hot wired directly to the coil connection on the compressor (single wire connector, compressor coil grounded thru case to engine block) or jumpering across the ac relay socket terminals 30 and 87 sending 12v to the connector. If 12v doesn't power up the compressor clutch coil, it's likely a blown thermal fuse in the coil. Check to see if 12v is on the connector with ac turned on (pressure sensor jumpered, fan running).

Wiring 12v directly to the single wire compressor connector should turn it on. If not, the clutch coil is most likely open. A thermal fuse blows from overheating. Some clutch coils lend themselves to replacing the fuse while others do not.
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Old 06-05-2021, 08:07 PM   #3
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Default Re: Diagnosing A/C (again)

Ok, so I ran a wire from the positive battery to the clutch and touched to the lead and nothing happened. So, looks like I'll need to focus on the clutch/pump itself.

I refilled it with more refrigerant and verified that the pressure switch is working as when I turn the A/C on, the cooling fan kicks in even with the engine not up to operating temp, just like it should.

It's days like this I wish I still worked at the shop that rebuilt these, I'd just take it in and test it or just get a new one altogether (I used to be one of them that assembled different gut pumps).

At this point, I might take it into one of the shops to have them do a once-over and get me an estimate. They'll be able to tell me exactly what's wrong. If it is just a bad clutch, I can swap that out myself in a day or two.
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Old 06-05-2021, 09:01 PM   #4
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Default Re: Diagnosing A/C (again)

"Some searching turned up these two wiring diagrams for 3rd gen S-series ac systems.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 02 ac wiring.jpg (191.6 KB, 3 views)
File Type: jpg 01 ac wiring.jpg (185.7 KB, 3 views)"


Fdryer, you posted the above schematics in a very similar recent thread. would you please post again here? I need schematics to follow along here, and am getting confused flitting back-and-forth between multiple similar threads.

OP, you have several threads going on this problem, forgive me if I am repeating questions. Have you measured resistance of the compressor clutch coil to ground? Try both "grounds", the compressor case and the battery negative terminal.
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Old 06-05-2021, 09:18 PM   #5
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Default Re: Diagnosing A/C (again)

Nah, ignore anything else I might have posted, the recent one about the cooling fan not working kinda turned into an A/C related post, so I thought I'd start over fresh with an A/C only thread and I didn't want to necro my other A/C related thread because I didn't really have any info on it. I'll be using this one from now on.

I haven't tested the coil or other grounds yet. I did verify that I have continuity from the relay to the plug at the compressor (dark green wire), so it's at least getting power to turn it on. It was time for food by that point and since I had the cooling fan running even without the compressor engaged, I called it quits for the time being until I could go out again and check other things.
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Old 06-06-2021, 02:27 AM   #6
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Default Re: Diagnosing A/C (again)

Quote:
Originally Posted by cujoe_da_man View Post
Ok, so I ran a wire from the positive battery to the clutch and touched to the lead and nothing happened.......
Replace the blown clutch coil or entire compressor. And if you haven't done so, use a uv blacklight to search for leaks with dye marking the leak site. If dye isn't found anywhere on plumbing and parts, the two service valves may be the source of leaking along with loose or worn caps. Replace the valve cores.

The system filled with an unknown amount means you're supposed to remove it into a reclamation canister, not the atmosphere (where the majority winds up anyway). Repair shops are required to reclaim refrigerant according to epa regulations since most ac repairs are performed there. A leak occurring in 98% of vehicle ac systems is unavoidable due to wear and tear, frontal crashes, etc.
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Old 06-06-2021, 02:34 AM   #7
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Default Re: Diagnosing A/C (again)

billr, I searched past threads to find wiring diagrams, copied or posted a link to them. In the past when I had access to online service info, I would just copy and paste with a little mod to prevent an error message of repeating the same diagram. I didn't make any lists for shortcuts to them so I have to search too.
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Old 06-06-2021, 10:19 AM   #8
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Default Re: Diagnosing A/C (again)

I still need to get a UV dye to run through it. When I originally started testing, no one in my area had any short of the huge $40 kits. So I just bought a couple cheap cans from Walmart just to see if it was even holding pressure. I've been using them repeatedly as I test it to keep the pressure up while I test the electrical, so next time I get the chance I'll get a can with dye in it so I can search for the leaks better now that they're in stock.

I'm starting to think that whoever attempted to work on the A/C before I got the car probably screwed it up to begin with, would seem strange that there was a paint mark indicating that the system had been serviced and it's not even working.
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Old 06-06-2021, 11:35 AM   #9
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Default Re: Diagnosing A/C (again)

Try the UV light anyway, looking for leaks. There is probably some dye left over from original charge, as well as external dye marks from previous leaks that could give some clues.

This being a 2000, it has a BCM and the A/C pressure switch does not operate directly on the clutch power circuit; the PS sends a signal (maybe 5V) to the BCM. Quit applying 12V to random places in the A/C circuit; you might damage the BCM or A/C control module. Maybe already have . . .

Also, try to accept that any professional servicing done in the past is meaningless now. You simply don't know the history of this car and have to start "from scratch" with trouble-shooting any problems.
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Old 06-06-2021, 01:11 PM   #10
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Default Re: Diagnosing A/C (again)

Dye isn't needed. All Saturn's and likely every GM using r134a have dye at factory assembly to allow dealers easier troubleshooting. There's no reason not to add dye at factory assembly since it takes less time to find a leak compared to using more costly electronic sniffers. Both require time but expensive sniffers require some training and periodic calibration. Using a uv blacklight is a no-brainer in a service bay. My first leak came from a crimped hose behind the radiator. The line runs from the compressor side discharge port running next to the radiator then down to a junction fitting next to the condenser coil and drier before feeding into the condenser coil. My car was already around 12 yrs old when the crimped fitting loosened, leaving dye markers around the crimped end and hose. This hose also has an aluminum heat cover similar to home dryer flexible exhaust hose. It covers the hot discharge hose against hot air coming from the radiator.

It took less than 5 minutes to find the leak at dusk in a Home Depot parking lot. Most of the time was spent looking over the engine then finding a plastic bag to kneel on while looking underneath by the condenser coil area.

Dye mixed permanently in refrigerant oil doesn't fade when it's circulating in a system. When refrigerant, oil and dye are released thru a leak or connecting/disconnecting hoses from service valves, refrigerant evaporates immediately but oil and dye remain. Oil doesn't dry up immediately and every attempt to fill up...........a leaking system simply releases refrigerant, oil and dye so dye continues to mark the leak area. It doesn't fade for weeks, sometimes months. A synthetic cloth rag still glows from first wipe on my repairs 6 yrs ago, stored away with gauges in a plastic detergent soap powder container as my ac tool box.

Shine your uv light into the low side service valve for an example of dye and oil. In a garage or after sundown. Adding fresh refrigerant with dye isn't necessary but it's your choice. Don't expect to hear hissing unless catastrophic damage occurred as most leaks can take anywhere from a day to the end of summer cooling season to release refrigerant, oil and dye. As long as refrigerant oil remains, dye will mark the leak site without adding new dye. Systems rarely empty itself of oil so plenty of dye remains.

And not to distract from the main problem, the dead clutch coil is the main reason for dead ac. The chances of a leak are second so this is the best opportunity to find or eliminate sources of leaks before repairs begin. Second guessing can be costly when you turn to a repair shop.
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Old 06-07-2021, 07:55 PM   #11
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Default Re: Diagnosing A/C (again)

I know it may not be the most orthodox method, but my method for AC repairs is to replace the commonly failed parts. I replace the condenser, both lines, and the filter drier. Get it drawn to a vacuum, then filled. After that see what you've got. Most of the times the lines or the condenser are the source of the leak. So far I have done it on three saturns with success.
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Old 06-07-2021, 09:23 PM   #12
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Default Re: Diagnosing A/C (again)

Well, at this point I'm stumped, I've looked and looked again at the lines running from the pump to the firewall and to the condenser and I can't find any indication of a leak anywhere.

It is possible the condenser itself is leaking, maybe a hairline fracture like a worn out radiator, but that means me disassembling the entire front end and pulling it out to look.

I'm waiting to see if the pressure in the system drops drastically from the last load I pumped into it, if it drops below the mark I have set on my gauge I'll pull the front end apart and give it a once over there too (that was two days ago).

I was able to locate a used pump about an hour away, so I think I'll look into that since mine isn't even running at the moment.

On a side note, I did check both of the cores on the inlets and both were tight, but I wouldn't rule out them leaking either (even though I can't find any dye). The core on the high side had the valve button bent to one side, I was able to bend it back in place to ensure it was tight.

The mystery continues!
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Old 06-07-2021, 10:37 PM   #13
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Default Re: Diagnosing A/C (again)

1-Replace the compressor if you can't replaced the clutch coil. Under most circumstances, compressor replacement justifies drier replacement. The drier removes any remaining minute moisture after a repair and full evacuation with a vacuum pump to ensure a system is empty of air and moisture before recharging with refrigerant.Your call

2-Not finding any dye suggests the previous repairs were made with a complete flush of all refrigerant, oil and dye and not adding dye when refilling with refrigerant and oil. Do you see any oil from service valves?

3-It's cheap insurance to replace both service valves. Not doing so risks a greater chance of future leaks from a bent or worn valve. You won't know with fresh refrigerant and without any way to monitor pressures over the next few days or more, you have no way to tell if a small amount leaked or more as pressures remains steady whether a system has a full amount or less than half.

4-Don't assume the condenser coil is damaged unless you're sure of evidence. Dye and oil leave markers but if the previous repair left out dye after a complete flush, oil (if replaced) still leaves its mark as a stain. While it's rare for a condenser coil to leak from the back facing the radiator, the most likely leak occurs from stone or rocks damaging the condenser coil front side. Again, your choice to move things out of the way to examine the rear of the condenser facing the radiator.

When you remove the compressor, there should be oil dribbling out both hoses and compressor ports. This is only an indication of oil, not the amount replaced when repairs were made.

5-Buy an O-ring kit and drugstore mineral oil. Mineral oil is used to lube O-rings, not pag oil. Drain old oil from the compressor and use this amount for new pag oil poured into the replacement compressor. If a used on is used, drain it of oil too. Don't reuse it as pag oil absorbs moisture and will contaminate a repaired system.

Everything you touch on ac systems means you're the ac repair tech whether you're familiar with repairs or not. Ac repairs are unforgiving of mistakes.
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Old 06-07-2021, 11:54 PM   #14
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Default Re: Diagnosing A/C (again)

I gotta ask... have you given in and used a UV light during your "looking" for leaks?
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Old 06-08-2021, 01:44 PM   #15
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Default Re: Diagnosing A/C (again)

http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=172866
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Old 06-08-2021, 08:27 PM   #16
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Default Re: Diagnosing A/C (again)

Quote:
Originally Posted by billr View Post
I gotta ask... have you given in and used a UV light during your "looking" for leaks?
Yep, I've been using one since I first started all this about a month ago. Went and bought one specifically for this.

So far the system is still holding pressure. I don't know why pressure went down after a couple days when I first tried to fill it, but it's been three days now and the pressure is holding. The only down side is I can't actually engage the pump to properly fill the entire system.

The post just above me gave me the one thing I was looking for and that was how to test the coil to see if it was bad (I'm assuming it is since I put 12v directly to it and nothing happened).

I thought about just replacing the clutch, but I remember what a pain it was assembling them in the shop and we had the proper tools (I'm mainly missing the arbor press to push the clutch and magnet on).

I'm thinking of just buying a new pump and having the whole system refilled professionally. They'll be able to tell if there's a leak while they're checking it over before filling it. There's a seller here in Michigan that sells factory refurbed pumps for $120, so that's not bad at all and I can return it should things go south.

I was thinking of a used one, I see plenty that have been tested, but who knows how long they'll last, I think a new one will be just fine. Maybe I can sell the one I have now for a few bucks, minus a working clutch. Plus a new pump eliminates the possibility that the pump itself is leaking (as long as they tested it right. Don't ask me how I know about that).
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Old 06-08-2021, 10:13 PM   #17
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Default Re: Diagnosing A/C (again)

There is no need to turn the compressor to fill the system. There will be enough transfer between the high and low side through the expansion valve/orifice and through compressor vane seals to quickly equalize pressure throughout. Yes, it is easier to add refrigerant if the low side is pulled down by the compressor, but not absolutely mandatory.
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Old 06-08-2021, 10:17 PM   #18
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Default Re: Diagnosing A/C (again)

Well that's good to know, I was under the impression that it wasn't filling completely since it wasn't actually able to pump it in.
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Old 06-09-2021, 03:12 PM   #19
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Default Re: Diagnosing A/C (again)

Alright, per the post that was linked above, I went out and tested the coil with my multimeter and it didn't even flinch. I made sure to touch multiple grounds around the engine bay to make sure it wasn't just a bad connection, making sure to scrape away at the grounds too so I could hit bare metal.

I read the post a bit more and it looks like it might not be so hard to remove the clutch and the coil, so I'm keeping that as an option instead of replacing the whole pump.

On a side note, I think I know why I thought I had a leak before. When I put my gauge on the port, it was suddenly reading zero. I thought it was odd because it was still showing full the night before and over the past four days. I wiggled the connector a bit and it suddenly showed pressure. So, what I thought may have been a leak might have just been the connector not pushing the core down all the way to get a proper reading. This would explain why I thought it leaked overnight the first time I started doing all this!
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Old 06-09-2021, 03:57 PM   #20
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Default Re: Diagnosing A/C (again)

The problem you describe is only one type that I have found with the service ports. Most couplers on gauge hoses have a shut-off valve in the couplers, for "capping off" the hose ends and preventing leakage to atmosphere when the hoses are removed. On mine, those shut-offs were sliding sleeves that were very fussy, would not always open up properly.

Another problem I have run into is the plastic dust-cap for the ports. Those screw into the service port and can be screwed in so tight that they stretch (just soft plastic!) and depress the Schrader core stem and make a leak. And that will be a leak those plastic caps cannot hold back.

I searched in vain for metal caps that could actually act as a pressure seal, redundant to the Schrader; ended up fabricating some.
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