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Discussion Starter #1
I am wondering if anyone can help me with this problem.

I have recently purchased a 900i and have not used air conditioning before.

I push in the air conditioner button, sometimes the blue "snowflake" light comes on, sometimes it doesn't. The button won't stay in. There is no sound of any compressor cutting in or any cool air coming through. Seller tells me it is likely a faulty switch or fuse etc.

Can anyone shed any light on this one ? Am desperately worried I am in for a big cost if air conditioning is stuffed !

Many thanks everyone. Great to be part of the 900 club!
 

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Hi there,

Firstly, the switches can and do expire here in Australia. No great amount of current going through them, just the heat and age gets to them and they become unreliable, sticky or won't latch, the white copper on the conacts internally goes off and tarnishes making the contact resistive and so on. Easily replaced but depending on where you go, the price can range from $40 to $80.

There are a few things to check depending on the year.
Does the RH fan come on when the A/C is selected?

Common to all:
The switch on top of the filter/dryer is a interlock for the gas system.
If the gas has leaked down or escaped, the switch will be open and will prevent the compressor and 2nd fan from operating. You can short the switch as a quick test to see if the compressor starts. If the compressor starts, this would tend to indicate an insufficient gas quantity. Not wise to let the compressor run very long if system is discharged as the gas helps carry the oil necessary to lubricate the compressor.:nono; So, no gas, NO OIL.:nono;

The non turbos are similar to the turbos' in the circuit design up to '91. From '91 on, N/As' have the engine ECU in control of the compressor. Otherwise the compressor in engaged from the unique relay in the fuse box of the engine bay.

This relay can fail, the spades of the relay can overheat and distort and ruin the recepticles in the fuse box base. Common here in Australia.

There is a brass coloured pipe in line of the top radiator hose.
The switch in this pipe is an 'A/C compressor cut' switch.
If on a hot day, the water temp reaches 115 degrees or above , the compressor will be disengaged to until such time that the water temp falls below 105 degrees. ( I think.:confused: )
My '93 had intermittant compressor action, narrowed it down to the connectors on this 'Over - Temp' cut out switch.
Previous owner had an incorrect radiator fitted at some stage. From that point on, the car had been running hotter than necessary.
The excessive heat eventually made the wires brittle and the connectors weak and loose.
I'm not a big fan of the "spade and recepticle" style of connectors. They have poor surface contact properties and as such tend to become weak and loose when exposed to heat and moderate current loads.


Good Luck

Cheers
'93 900i
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Thank you so much Matthew and RodentMaster for your interest and replies.

In short RodentMaster, nothing seems to activate when I depress the AC switch.

The switch was interesting. Being a newby with my 92 900i, when the AC switch did not remain clicked in I just assumed it was because I needed to have some other switch activated ... eg fan or another tricky Saab switch somewhere! Initially the blue snowflake light would come on when depressed but now it doesn't. There were no engine sounds coming in (like the old style AC generator has kicked in - revs go down etc) ... I had the fan on then off - when on there was clearly no AC activation when I depressed the AC switch.

Am thinking this is most likely a switch problem. EVen the fact that the blue snowflake was coming on before and now isn't is a pointer to that.

Could a faulty switch cause a fuse to blow?

But any other thoughts are appreciated.

Thanks again guys and cheers.
 

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Dunno if this has been mentioned.. but there will be no response whatsoever from the system if the Freon Charge is below a set level.
Also Don't be expecting great things from your AC.. My car, purchased new NEVER had adequate to needs AC performance.. and My Sister owned the Dealership. Lots Time and $$ spent over the years.. Still Rather weak cooling.. and I live in the Pacific Northwest where 30 degrees happens mebe 3 days a year :)
 

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AndySaab said:
The switch was interesting. Being a newby with my 92 900i, when the AC switch did not remain clicked in I just assumed it was because I needed to have some other switch activated ... eg fan or another tricky Saab switch somewhere! Initially the blue snowflake light would come on when depressed but now it doesn't. There were no engine sounds coming in (like the old style AC generator has kicked in - revs go down etc) ... I had the fan on then off - when on there was clearly no AC activation when I depressed the AC switch.

Am thinking this is most likely a switch problem. EVen the fact that the blue snowflake was coming on before and now isn't is a pointer to that.

Could a faulty switch cause a fuse to blow?

Hi Again,

Is the A/C fuse blown? :eek: **30 amp** Familiarise yourself with the fuse box and locations of the relays and fuses. No.6 is the A/C fuse.
To answer your question, as a rule of thumb, switches don't generally cause fuses to blow. It's usually the 'load' or device being switched or activated that blows the fuse. That's not to say it can't happen, but in this case the chances of the A/C switch blowing the fuse would be slim. It may still pay to have a spare switch if possible to rule out the switch as being the cause.

Open the bonnet and start the car. With engine running, try and switch on the a/c.
The LEFT hand engine fan should ALWAYS run if the a/c is selected, regardless of the compressor cycle. This will establish if the priliminary side of the a/c electrics work.


Can you pass on any details of the car as you bought it? Does it look genuine? Do you suspect any poor work done on the car before you aquired it?
One can't discount the slim possibility that it has been altered by a previous party in some way.

Sadly some repairers here in Oz don't give these cars much in the way of care and effort that other marques receive.:confused:


Good Luck


Cheers
'93 900i




"The hardest fault to find is the fault that someone else CREATES"
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Hi RodentMaster,
Thanks again for your advice.
Left fan working fine. Changed switches for one that works and the AC switch is stuffed and the replacement activated at AC fine (left fan activated).
Checked the 30A fuse for AC - all fine.
When activated AC with replacement switch. fan activated but no cool air blowing through.
Just to confirm ... only need to push in AC switch and turn air location switch once to the left to maximum blow.
Car looks in good shape RM. I have had no experience with Saabs, but all looks in good nick. Will take some photos this afternoon and post them on a webpage somewhere if you are interested.
If it is just a "re-gas" is this expensive ? Would appreciate your continued advice (or any others!)
Cheers to everyone.
Andy
BTW Am thrilled with the rest of the car - it's magnificent !
 

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YEAH PICS! the issue is these cars are orignally charged with r-12, the stuff that became a panic in the 80's for destrroying the ozone. so after 1992 production of the refrigerant was halted and we moved on to the less effcient r-134a. if yours hasn't been converted (should be a sticker in the engine bay, and compressor caps changed from black to blue and red) then expect about $200 to charge. otoh, if it has been converted then its cheap, like $50ish or something. you must go to a specialist to have this done to avoid an explosion.
 

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Hi there,


Well done on the switch replacement. That's a good start.;)
Yes, your vent fan selections are correct.


It does sounds like the gas has escaped. Depending where you go, recharge can be $100- $250 bearing in mind possible parts required acn easily change that. I had my car changed to 134r for about $350 2yrs ago.
To confirm the state of the charge, all you would need to do is obtain a voltmeter and measure the VOLTAGE either side of the switch on the filter receiver. ( I'm sure you will have noticed it's location, just behind the RH headlight.) To clarify, when the A/C is selected and the system is charged and intact, the switch should have +12v on both sides of the switch. If the gas charge is low or empty, there will be only 1 side of the switch with +12volts.
There will be different names or descriptions given to this setup but it is essentially called an INTERLOCK. The switch will open if the charge of the gas is below a pre-detertmined pressure and prevent any action of the compressor in order to prevent the compressor from suffering damage running on no gas.
I have heard from a A/C mate who fixed his friend's convertable that the front element, called the condensor, have a reputation to crack and leak. (I hope this is not the case as they aren't cheap here and finding a generic alternative is not easy. Maybe someone in Australia can post otherwise, I'd like to find out more on that myself! :confused: ). I'm not so sure that they just break by themselves. I tend to think that a little trip to visit good 'ol "Mr Gutter" or his mate "Sir Speedhump" has generally helped the possible failure of the condensors.
My car has had some sort of front impact during the previous owners' care.:cry:
The lower part of the condensor is distorted but thankfully holds the charge.
Sorry, I went sideways there.:lol:
Back to your car, if there is +12v on both sides of the switch, the system is charged. The next part in the circuit is the thermostat in the evaporator in the ventilation system. Start praying that the thermostat is ok, absolute pain in the ........( insert your own) to change. Unlikely to be crook, but anything is possible. From there the A/C command 12v goes into pin 14 of the engine ECU. The ECU will then engage the relay that powers the compressor and 2nd engine fan together. I don't know what reasons other than stalling (low rpm's) or No rpm that the ECU would not allow the A/C to engage. (Once again if anyone can post............?) From there, the only thing to stop the compressor is the overtemp switch in the top radiator hose I refered to earlier.
**If the Overtemp switch was faulty and all other parts in the system were ok, BOTH FANS would start when the A/C is switched on.**

Regarding the gas, I was using the 134a and found it lacking and indifferent at various outside temperatures. My A/C mate put me on to a new gas called 38m. 'It's similar to 134a but more reliable at high temperatures' was the quote. So, for $50, I gave it a go.
Before anyone starts, I'm well aware that these sort of statements are generally subjective and may lack any accurate comparative data. All I will say is that since I had 38m fitted, I have found myself noticing the LACK of A/C less. The cool air has almost the same CRISPness that R12 was good for.

So that's it. I've based this blurb on the Bently bible and the trials and probs that I have experienced to date. I hope you get further without too much extra heartache.

Good Luck


Cheers
'93 900i
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Sadly for me the news today re: air conditioner is that it is basically stuffed and I need a new "everything" . O well ...........
Also the heating coil had been bypassed and that needs replacing as well ...
Factored some extra servicing dollars into the sale price but still hard to pass the "hard earned".
Thanks for your help guys.
 

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AndySaab said:
Also the heating coil had been bypassed and that needs replacing as well ...
Hang on a minute. I may have this completely wrong, but something I posted last night just came to mind. 'The heating coil had been bypassed'. What, like this? I just want to make sure that these guys haven't spotted the thermostat/heater bypass modification on some later models, think it's been bodged together and want to rip it out and replace it. Worth double checking that one. Of course if I've got the wrong end of the stick just ignore me :D
 

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Hey Andy,

Not good news at all. :cry:

How was the situation explained? Were you provided with a list of items that need replacing and told why they are no good?
Like Jezzadee mentioned, the bypass valve throws non-Saab mechanics sideways!

Are you able to get a second opinion? Maybe from a SAAB dealer to clarify the quote?
Don't leave it at that.

I hope this isn't a result of poor workmanship before you bought the car. It shyts me no end when cars like these are treated poorly.

Good Luck

Cheers
'93 900i
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks for your input guys. I still haven't posted those photos but will put them together.
I think the car has been treated pretty well RM but my gut feeling is that the latest owner cut some corners. I will catalogue the repairer's appraisal and post for your feedback.
These setbacks haven't changed my view of how much I love this vehicle and doubt I will ever own any other vehicle other than a Saab again !
Cheers guys.
Andy
 

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I would think the heater valve has failed (common fault) & rather than replace it, the 2 heater matrix/radiator pipes have been joined to bypass the heater.

Fairly easy to replace the valve.
Nothing to do with the AC mind you :confused: :confused:
 

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john-w said:
I would think the heater valve has failed (common fault) & rather than replace it, the 2 heater matrix/radiator pipes have been joined to bypass the heater.

Fairly easy to replace the valve.
Nothing to do with the AC mind you :confused: :confused:
Thanks John .. any tech guides you can refer me too that might assist with this?
 

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i will use this thred soon. my "new" 92 is having same probem. made entry to find easily later.
The gas leaked out probably... that said it is strange a car in Hotlanta to have been allowed to not work the A/C, but then again it is a vert...
 
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