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A/C Clutch went up in smoke

gfalls11 on Sun July 26, 2009 6:06 PM User is offline

Year: 2006
Make: Saturn
Model: ION 2
Engine Size: 2.2 L
Refrigerant Type: 134a
Ambient Temp: 112
Pressure Low: 30
Pressure High: 130
Country of Origin: United States

I was in Tulsa a couple weeks ago and the temp outside was 112. The car had been sitting about 6 hours when I started it up to start cooling it off. While running about 4 minutes, the air was blowing cold (still parked) but suddenly the air got warm and smoke came from under the hood. I could still turn the compressor so I knew the compressor was OK. Well, needless to say it was a long and hot 10 hour drive back to Nashville. I pulled the clutch, and the face on both the pulley side and drive side were toast. Pulling the unit and checking continuity of the coil I found it was dead. I sent it off to a place in Florida and they were able to repair it. He said he had to cut the coil and bridge the thermal fuse. I checked the resistance of the coil after it was returned and found 3.9ohm. I assembled the clutch to the compressor with .014 gap. Started the engine and turned on the air and it was cold. After about 45 seconds the compressor stalled and the clutch started slipping and I shut it right off I reached down and could turn the compressor freely. Started it up after about 3 minutes and cold air and the clutch engaged fine. After about another 45sec the compressor stalled again and I shut it down. Again the compressor turns over fine with my hand. It seems to me it's building up dead headed pressure somewhere. I put the gauges on it. On Saturday running at idle for about 3 minutes they were 35 on the low side and 125 on the high side. 2000 rpm for 2 minutes they were 30 on the low side and 130 on the high side. 3000 rpm for about another 4 minutes they were 30 on the low side and went to 150 on the high side. A/C blew cold the whole time and the compressor never stalled. Today,Sunday, at idle it ran at 30 150 45sec, then the compressor stalled and jumped to 50 150
The system has never been recharged as far as I know, I bought the car used with low mileage. The car was in the garage when I ran it on Saturday with the temp being around 70 degrees inside and outside the vehicle (garage A/C was on) On Sunday I moved the car out side and the outside temp after the car was heat soaked was about 80deg with the humidity about 90 per cent (That’s Tennessee)

GM Tech on Mon July 27, 2009 10:21 AM User is offline

Evidently your high side pressure port is beyond any restriction you have-- compressor is seeing much more pressure than you see on gages-- even the HPCO is beyond the restriction- otherwise the pump would shut off electrically instead of stalling and slippiing the clutch- the High pressure relief valve would normally blow if the restriction is inside the compressor- but perhaps the clutch is slipping first-

Since thius is a 6CVC Delphi compressor- I have seen screen inside the compressor come loose and block the discharge cavity port and cause your exact concern.

See if your compressor was built before Aug 21, 2006-- the date code is on the label- next to the word "code"--if you can't see the label- see if your Ion was built in Aug, or Sept 2006-- it will be on driver's door label- under "Date of Build" or Veh build Date" If so, I'll bet you have the loose screen scenario inside the compressor-- saw them in 2006 from the assembly plants- the loose screen actually blocks the discharge port internal to the compressor, intermittently...

Check your build dates and reply- we can go on from there...

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The number one A/C diagnostic tool there is- is to know how much refrigerant is in the system- this can only be done by recovering and weighing the refrigerant!!
Just a thought.... 65% of A/C failures in my 3200 car diagnostic database (GM vehicles) are due to loss of refrigerant due to a leak......

gfalls11 on Mon July 27, 2009 10:59 AM User is offline

Thanks for the reply. The door sticker says it was built on 06/05; Last 6 of VIN is Z109886. The compressor is a Sanden with the GM part number of 15264426 model 8638. The other numbers were RXV16 and serial number of 0543605500. I could find no build date on the compressor. Thanks again for the interest and help.

GM Tech on Mon July 27, 2009 11:53 AM User is offline

I blew it- Napa described an 06 ION as a 6CVC delphi unit---

The '05s I thought were Sandens-- sure yours is an '06? should be a "6" as tenth digit in VIN-- sure was an early build '06 (June,05)

-------------------------
The number one A/C diagnostic tool there is- is to know how much refrigerant is in the system- this can only be done by recovering and weighing the refrigerant!!
Just a thought.... 65% of A/C failures in my 3200 car diagnostic database (GM vehicles) are due to loss of refrigerant due to a leak......

gfalls11 on Mon July 27, 2009 1:37 PM User is offline

Yup, its a 6. I retired from Saturn powertrain assembly in July of 06'. This must be a end of 05' start of 06' build that I have.

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