2001 LW200 Manual, No A/C

Discussion in 'Saturn L-series' started by Steph, Feb 18, 2008.

  1. Steph

    Steph Guest

    We wouldn't want to violate the speed of light or murphy's law.
    Our 2001 LW200 with a 5-speed manual tranny ran out of extended coverage
    last June and now is showing signs of semi-annual irritations.

    Some might recall me posting in August/September of it acting as if it
    were a flooded carbeurated engine. Well no matter that has only
    reoccurred once or twice, and I am 85% sure it is due to DW's driving.

    However, for years I complained to Saturn Service about the unsually loud
    "clunk" after initial engine starting. This was explained to me as a
    normal toggling of the A/C compressor to keep the parts lubricated.

    But Saturday DW calls and says the A/C quit.
    When I checked the car I found that toggling the AC button, or switching
    to defrost did not suddenly load up the engine, raise the RPMs, or give
    off an audible clunk as the compressor engaged.

    Are there diagnostics I can run by toggling button combinations? Will
    anything show up with a scan reader? I was hoping maybe it is a fuse or
    solenoid - but where I have no idea. Woudl I be better tacking it Saturn,
    or an A/C shop?
    Steph, Feb 18, 2008
  2. Steph

    BläBlä Guest

    The A/C compressor should NOT come on if it is cold outside. Unless you
    live near the equator I doubt it was warm enough to engage.

    Wth is DW?
    BläBlä, Feb 19, 2008
  3. Steph

    Steph Guest

    DW = dear wife
    DH = dear hubby

    We are in Southern Calif. And although we did have a freak storm roll
    through and drop snow down to the 1800 foot level with temps in the mid
    30's, this is all happening during the days of our normal weather (yeah
    sunny and 72).
    However, I have often run a AC compressor even in freezing temps to
    remove the moisture from within the vehicle and clear the windshield so I
    think you are mistaken there.
    Steph, Feb 19, 2008
  4. Steph

    Guest Guest

    Not true...modern Saturn's, the A/C kicks in if the selector switch is set
    to "defrost" or "defrost/floor". On my old '94 SL2, that was not the case
    as you had the A/C button that you had to press. Most cars are set up to
    kick the A/C compressor on with the defrost. My F-150 does it as
    well.....Something to keep in mind considering gas mileage...I use the
    defrost settings sparingly and take it off ASAP....

    Guest, Feb 19, 2008
  5. Steph

    BläBlä Guest

    None automotive related two letter acronyms wont make any sense here.
    Especially when your posting name is 'Steph' and you are speaking of
    'your wife'???
    It appears I am for this model of vehicle. Some cars will not allow you
    to run the A/C in the cold which is why I 'asked' instead of using 'my
    time' to look it up. For all I knew you could of been in Canada. Your AC
    will need to be looked at & serviced professionally. The most you can do
    is check the fuses. Most likely the charge leaked off.
    BläBlä, Feb 19, 2008
  6. Steph

    Steph Guest

    The verdict from the dealership is a bad compressor.
    He is quoting $1070.00 for parts and labor to install a new
    AC compressor shipped out from Tennessee. That does not include
    the refrigerant fill I believe.

    The tech also listed the Intermediate Steering Shaft as needing
    replacement ($266 P&L).

    For the A/C, does anyone have a part number for the compressor, and is it
    worth trying to get a used one from a salvage yard? This is a LW200 with
    the 4 cylinder (not the V6). Are the compressors "rebuildable"?
    Also I have a paper trail of complaints about the AC compressor making
    loud noices when engaging (during intial startup as well as driving). I
    really believe those noises were indicative of an impending failure -
    which of course happens outside the extended maintenance period. Anyone
    have a contact name/address that I should see about meeting me halfway on
    the repair? Anyone had any luck doing this?
    We have had Saturns since 1994, and this is our fourth. Plus three on my
    in-laws side. but we had a lot of trouble getting repair issues resolved
    on this vehicle (the L200 with manual and 4-cylinder is a pretty rare
    combination out here).

    The steering shaft I am wondering if it is a common part to replace, or
    maybe the result of damage from the car being hurtled 10 feet up a hill
    by our neighbor (car was parked with e-brake and in gear on the hill at
    the time). Unfortunately, if it was a result of the impact I don't think
    I can ammend the claim 10 months later :(
    Steph, Feb 27, 2008
  7. Steph

    Fred Guest

    Why don't you just go to a parts store and price a rebuilt compressor.,
    You can charge it yourself with a few cans of
    R-34. You will then see the prices and can determine if you want to try do
    yourself or let them do it.
    I did this once on a '83 Ford and it worked well
    for many years.
    Fred, Feb 28, 2008
  8. Steph

    Bob Shuman Guest

    Me personally, I would never use a salvaged compressor. The labor involved
    with evacuating the system and replacing the compressor will far exceed the
    price of the part, and a used one may fail prematurely requiring you to go
    through this again (very soon).

    I have had pretty good luck with purchasing compressors over the Internet
    for this purpose. You can look on Ebay, and also at several of the online
    auto parts places to get an idea of the cost. You should be able to find a
    new compressor for a few hundred dollars or rebuilt ones for even less than

    I'd also have who ever does the work replace the accumulator/dryer too while
    the system is opened, especially if you plan to keep the vehicle for a few
    more years. More than likely the A/C belt is also shot if the bearings were
    worn out and froze up, so will need replacement.

    This all said, unless the compressor or dryer are particularly difficult to
    get at on that vehicle , the job is not too terribly difficult for a shop
    that has some experience and the right equipment. It involves reclaiming
    the refrigerant, removing the compressor and dryer, flushing the lines to
    make sure there is no debris from the defective compressor, installing the
    replacement parts, and then evacuating the system overnight to make sure it
    is not leaking before refilling it with the correct amount of refrigerant
    and lubricant.

    Use the phone to shop around and do not accept the first quote you received
    from the dealer. Just make sure you are comparing apples to apples (new vs.
    rebuilt compressor, replacing the dryer or not, flushing the system or not).
    Good luck!

    Bob Shuman, Feb 28, 2008
  9. Steph

    Bob Shuman Guest


    The idea of checking parts stores is a good one, but minimally once an A/C
    system is opened up, it needs to be evacuated before recharging ... This
    requires some equipment, like manifold gauges and a vacuum pump. I also
    forgot to mention in my previous reply that you also need to replace all the
    O-rings that were opened to ensure an airtight seal.

    Bob Shuman, Feb 28, 2008
  10. Steph

    Steph Guest

    Thanks for the pointer Fred.
    I am not against turning wrenches, and do so when able.
    however we are talking about an A/C system. I don't have the proper gear
    to evacuate it. Plus, I have not done this type of work on a LW200 Saturn
    - so I have no idea about access, compatibility etc.
    Steph, Feb 28, 2008
  11. Steph

    Steph Guest

    Thanks for the info Bob.
    I am not against turning wrenches, but have not yet done too many repairs
    on this model Saturn. Plus the fact the LW200 with a manual tranny is
    rare makes me think twice about any experience others might have.
    I plan to do this at either a reputable AC shop that I already am
    familiar with or the dealer (most likely the former), but as I am
    ignorant in regards to rebuilding, compatibility, etc I thought I would
    try here first.

    I will be on the phone, and if the AC shop will install a part I bring
    them I will truly shop around. However nothing sucks more than getting a
    part that doesn't fit - the M/S cylinder on my 1978 E-250 was different
    than any printed reference. It took three trips to get a unit that fit.
    In this case I am not against a rebuilt compressor, as we may not keep
    the car too many years more. But i am just trying to gather info at this
    Steph, Feb 28, 2008
  12. Steph

    BläBlä Guest

    Anyone that suggest buying a compressor from a junk yard or a rebuilt
    compressor doesn't have much experience in AC repair... I've opened up
    some scary looking 'rebuilt' compressors. Nothing but overpriced scrap
    metal from my experience. If you bring a shop your own compressor or
    parts there will be NO WARRANTIES.

    As for the 'doing it yourself' suggestion...not even the 'smart' ASE
    techs will touch the ac system without proper equipment simply because
    they know better.
    BläBlä, Mar 1, 2008
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