Saturn 3 Door Coupes SC1 and SC2

AC Woes + Bonus Noises

Old 06-26-2019, 04:52 AM
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Default AC Woes + Bonus Noises

Well. I figured out some stuff regarding the AC over the weekend - plus a few unexpected bonus potential issues

1) The noise of which I spoke earlier was indeed my compressor and not the clutch pulley.
2) What had been luke cold as of the past few weeks was now outside air temp air coming through the vents in the dash
3) Engine off: Hi 100 Low 85 (it was about 85 out...) Engine running, AC ON -- clutch kicks in HI 100, low 65

So is my assumption that inner seal in the compressor has blown and therefore HI doesn't change because there is no compressing taking place?

Any other time I've thrown these gauges on an AC system at rest that needed attention, I've always seen 30 HI 30 LOW at rest.and in need of a recharge
These numbers seem to tell me that the system is not leaking--compressor just failed.

Other Noises

The last few times I have been under the hood, things did not sound the same as they always have with the A/C off.

Exhaust Leak (exhaust manifold or manifold to downpipe joint) -- low sound, started as an unidentified gurgle, now clearly a leak, can't find from below.
The manifold and downpipe were removed to replace my oil pan a while back by a dud "mechanic" at my favorite local shop -- the same azz clown that replaced my valve cover gasket and had it leaking almost as bad afterward, which he tried to address by severely overtorquing all of the bolts to the point they should have snapped off. Now that I think of it, I had to add oil between changes for the first time last week -- since I had this rebuilt engine put in 80K ago. I'll bet the seal between the oil pan and block is already hosed.

Timing chain
How "loud" is my timing chain supposed to be on the cam sprockets?
I'm not being sarcastic for once.

In all my years of driving my S cars, I've never had a reason to put my ear down on the valve cover over the cam sprockets -- which I did as part of trying to troubleshoot the AC as I noticed all the noise did not seem to be coming from the compressor.
I know the chain on the sprockets is by definition metal on metal, but this sounded quite dry/not well lubricated. When everything is happy, at idle, the loudest thing you hear is the injectors. Not currently the case.

Low pitched moan from pass side in front of the firewall (low down)

This is a low moan, the pitch of which rises and tracks w rpm in both directions. I cannot hear it from under the hood (up top so I don't think it is an idler pulley or belt tensioner issue as those are in plain sight.
I can only hear this one from inside the cabin. Sounds like it is about top of leg space heightwise on the passenger side. The only things under there in that vicinity are the alternator and the water pump (not really but nearby and lower than the tensioner, etc)
I have only had one alternator failure in this car in 22 years -- prob in 2005 or so -- I'm fighting to remember what that moan sounded I haven't checked the voltage. My DMM is in my office instead of the garage where it is supposed to be. Will happen in the AM.

For bonus diag points:

Maybe not coincidentally, the car has been running warmer than usual per the ects reading --> temp gauge reading. I'm sure it's time for a coolant drain and fill, but it doesn't seem to have been a gradual change.

Thermostat (80K on it) not closing all the way? I have also noticed that it takes 10 min of driving for the engine to settle down to proper idle rpm( a solid 850 for this one). normally takes 3 or 4 min.

The thermostat is the more plausible explanation.

I think I have a good grasp on these but i always like to run things by you guys since once I get things too deep in my head, it becomes more difficult to evaluate without bias



Last edited by derf; 06-26-2019 at 04:54 AM.
Old 06-26-2019, 10:19 AM
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I am thinking that you are correct on the a/c. Your exhaust manifold may have cracked. I would remove the belt and rotate all the pulleys to help locate any odd noises. Timing chain should not be seen or heard, ever. Thermostat failure could explain both slow warm up and higher than normal operation temp if it has come apart.
Old 06-26-2019, 12:29 PM
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As always, thank you sir!
Old 07-01-2019, 07:57 AM
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I don't know squat about a/c, derf so can't concur nor disagree with Andy. I'd bet that he's correct. As for the exhaust, the first thing I'd look at is the flange connection to see if it's cracked, I don't know if there's a gasket there, but that could have possibly blown if there is one. If so, I had a similar issue with a Ranger I had years ago, so I simply measured the i.d of the pipe and put a donut gasket in it instead of the factory flat one and NEVER had a leak again. Could the odd noise possibly be the blower motor? IDK, just asking. I concur with Andy about the timing chain. Usually if you can hear it, that's not good. And I'd replace the thermostat. Sounds like it's time for a new one. Check it before installing. I've had a LOT of crappy t-stats over the past 10 years or so, so I always put one in a pan of boiling water before installing it nowadays.
Old 07-02-2019, 01:09 AM
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Thanks, Rube.

That moaning does sound like the pitch of the saturn S series blower set on 2, but it changes bitch like clockwork. IIf I'm lucky, I'll find a worn out tensioner that is transmitting its self-destructive sounds through the upper portion of the block, thus making it SOUND like it is coming from the cam spockets.....I've read quite a few s car posts where that is exactly the deal --don't wanna take the cam cover off if I don't have to, let alone the timing cover.
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