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Old 07-02-2009, 08:58 PM   #1
alsnals
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Default air will only come out of the defrost vents

I have a 93 sl2 that I bought for $500. It runs well, but the a/c doesn't work. In fact, I can only get air to come out of the defrost vents no matter what it is set on. I checked the control cable and that seems to be fine. The blower is obviously working. Is there a door that might be stuck closed? Could there be something lodged in there? Also, what should be my first step on getting the a/c fixed? Help?!

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Old 07-02-2009, 09:30 PM   #2
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Default Re: air will only come out of the defrost vents

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Originally Posted by alsnals View Post
I have a 93 sl2 that I bought for $500. It runs well, but the a/c doesn't work. In fact, I can only get air to come out of the defrost vents no matter what it is set on. I checked the control cable and that seems to be fine. The blower is obviously working. Is there a door that might be stuck closed? Could there be something lodged in there? Also, what should be my first step on getting the a/c fixed? Help?!
I'm not sure if Saturns are the same way, but I know on many vehicles there is a vacuum line that goes to the engine to supply the HVAC system with vacuum to direct where the air goes. I had the same problem with a 1995 Buick Regal - I just forgot to hook that vacuum line up after doing some engine work.

...
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Old 07-02-2009, 09:56 PM   #3
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Default Re: air will only come out of the defrost vents

I did read something online about a vacuum line causing a problem like mine, just not on a Saturn. I hope to find out soon. It's really bugging me. Thanks.

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Old 07-02-2009, 10:02 PM   #4
MikeNW
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Default Re: air will only come out of the defrost vents

are you sure that there is a vac. line? Because the controls in my SL feel like you are opening doors when you move the lever? Just asking, I haven't had such a problem yet.

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Old 07-02-2009, 10:05 PM   #5
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Default Re: air will only come out of the defrost vents

I have no idea, Mike. It does kinda sound like something opens and closes when you switch even with the ignition off.

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Old 07-02-2009, 10:43 PM   #6
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Default Re: air will only come out of the defrost vents

If I'm not mistaken, yours uses a mode door that allows diverting air to the various places; defrost, floor, face, floor/face, and recirculate. This is cable operated and may be broken at the knob/lever or something blocking free movement of this mode door inside the HVAC box. There's a temperature lever/knob that's also cable operated to adjust the blend door that varies how much heat or ventilated/cold air into the interior. Other members may have better information about the mechanical controls in the HVAC box/control panel.

The first step in assessing your a/c system would be to determine if yours uses R12. The easiest way to check whether or not yours is still an R12 system is to look at both service valves on the compressor; remove the dust caps from the valves (resembling tire valves) and look at the external portion of each valve - they're either threaded or not.

Externally threaded - R12 system

No external threads - R134a system converted from R12 before you bought the car. A set of conversion adapters was screwed onto the old R12 fittings to allow using quick couplers, similar to air tool fittings, when using R134a equipment. A conversion may not have been fully done and old age catches up to whatever was circulating and may have caused additional damage aside from the most likely reason for no a/c, a leak.

Either system would require a serious inspection of the entire system as age has taken its toll that can lead to a very expensive repair. An R12 system isn't worth restoring unless you're willing to pay for expensive R12 refrigerant in short supply at reputable places. DO NOT CONSIDER FREEZE-12 OR ANY SUBSTITUTE FOR R12 AS IT IS ILLEGAL TO USE ANY PROPANE/BUTANE FLAMMABLE GASES IN AUTOMOTIVE AIRCONDITIONING SYSTEMS IN THE UNITED STATES.

Having an R12 system, you would better off considering the expensive full conversion to R134a; disconnectinging all fittings, replacing every O-ring with R134a compatible ones, removing the thermal expansion valve in preparation to flush the condenser and evaporator coils of old mineral oil, removing the compressor and draining its contents of old oil and replacing it with the same amount in new PAG oil, putting make-up PAG oil into the clean condenser and evap coils, replacing the filter/drier, and reassembling everything and either have a local a/c shop follow-up with the evacuation/final leak testing and refilling with R134a or do it yourself if you have a complete understanding of refrigeration and familiar with refrigeration equipment available for loan from some Autozones. Doing the major repairs yourself will save you several hundred dollars as you can buy all the replacement parts without paying mark-up prices of a/c shops doing the work. Whether you have an R12 or R134a system you'll need to know at least this much; http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/showthread.php?t=80107. There is no guarantee restoring this system to operation will work as there are no assurances that the original compressor will work. Old R12 mineral oil isn't compatible with PAG oil and residual oil remains after draining all the old oil to refill with new. Have look in my picture folder of what a typical Saturn vane compressor operates. Only oil lubricates the entire compressor, free of crap that can easily and quickly damage compressors.

And if you're willing to do it yourself completely;

1-http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=138272

2-http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...16#post1448916

Please do not feel discouraged from the above but all things must be considered and the worst possible outcome foreseen to have the best perspective available. This can also turn out to be a simple walk in the park as far as outcomes too. Like a simple refill.

...
*The CPS is the heart of the entire EFI system. No cps = dead EFI system*
*There's more to a/c than just a few cans of refrigerant*
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Old 07-02-2009, 11:31 PM   #7
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Default Re: air will only come out of the defrost vents

fdryer-
Thanks for the help. I read the articles and am anxious to look at the car tomorrow. Presently, it's at the service station for state inspection and I was going to have them check the a/c but the tech seemed kinda cocky and acted like i was crazy for suggesting that i may have seen the refrigerant leak out of a hose (something i did not previously mention). One day while checking the oil, I noticed a clear oily leak coming from an alum. hose/ fitting coming off the compressor. I couldn't even finish my story before this guy repeatedly told me I wouldn't be able to see a leak because it's a gas and the oil would be in the compressor. Am I nuts? BTW, the oil has since been washed away.

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Old 07-02-2009, 11:37 PM   #8
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Default Re: air will only come out of the defrost vents

Quote:
Originally Posted by alsnals View Post
One day while checking the oil, I noticed a clear oily leak coming from an alum. hose/ fitting coming off the compressor. I couldn't even finish my story before this guy repeatedly told me I wouldn't be able to see a leak because it's a gas and the oil would be in the compressor. Am I nuts? BTW, the oil has since been washed away.
No not at all, if there was a small leak at that fitting the freon gas would try to escape to the atmosphere (lower pressure than inside the a/c). Since it appears that it is leaking at a compressor fitting the gas probably picked up some of the oil for the compressor and sprayed a little bit out when the refrigerant escaped.

The tech. had obviously made up his mind and wasn't going to be told otherwise (don't you just love people who won't listen because obviously they are smarter than you and they are always right and whatever you say is wrong )

...
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Old 07-03-2009, 12:25 AM   #9
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Default Re: air will only come out of the defrost vents

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.... One day while checking the oil, I noticed a clear oily leak coming from an alum. hose/ fitting coming off the compressor. I couldn't even finish my story before this guy repeatedly told me I wouldn't be able to see a leak because it's a gas and the oil would be in the compressor. Am I nuts? BTW, the oil has since been washed away.
Uhh, maybe washing away the oil leak is a method to have your car totally serviced by this mechanic? I don't know of anyone in business that washes down the engine area and especially the very good possibility of the source of the leak, the a/c fitting? Clear oil is most likely refrigerant oil and possibly you caught on to something that you weren't supposed to? Its easy to loosen a/c fittings and/or deliberately hose down any evidence of leaks. Refrigerant oil circulates throughout the entire a/c system from refrigerant so any leak is usually followed by oil coating the leak area. Yes, refrigerant is a gas in its natural state and is colorless and somewhat odorless but every a/c system is under pressure at all times, anywhere from 50-100psi when its not running but when it is running there will be pressures exceeding 200psi in one area while the other area will be around 35psi. So any leak will simply push oil out the leak site and leave a calling card for someone like you willing to have a hands-on approach to maintenance and keeping an open mind to something new. By being observant you spotted the leak immediately. Why the oil was wiped off or washed is beyond me unless its way to keep you from finding the leak.

...
*The CPS is the heart of the entire EFI system. No cps = dead EFI system*
*There's more to a/c than just a few cans of refrigerant*
*There's more to brakes than just replacing parts*

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Old 07-03-2009, 01:48 PM   #10
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Default Re: air will only come out of the defrost vents

Probably what has happened is the diverter door has become stuck and the cable is now loose and slipping. I had a similar problem with my 94. You should be able to reach under the dash and the drivers side and find the lever that the cable controls and move it by hand if it's not totally stuck.

as far as the a/c goes, it might be beyond saving if it's been out of operation for to long. Also, if it hasn't been converted to R-134 that throws an even bigger monkey wrench in the works.

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Old 07-04-2009, 07:20 AM   #11
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Default Re: air will only come out of the defrost vents

Quote:
I wouldn't be able to see a leak because it's a gas and the oil would be in the compressor. Am I nuts? BTW, the oil has since been washed away.
Congratulations. You have now identified a place to NOT take you car for service. As noted by others seeing the oil leaking from a n A/C line is a strong sign of a leak. And even without the oil you might be able to see signs of the leak as it is venting depending on the atmospheric conditions (e.g., high humidity).

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