Could a Broken Radiator Cooling Fan Cause a Refrigerant Dump?

cremley

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Denver, CO
Backstory: I took the 2003 Pontiac Sunfire to the mechanic to have the AC system fixed because it stopped blowing cold air. When I tried using one of the A/C recharge bottles from an auto parts store, I could smell refrigerant and heard a hissing sound coming out from around the compressor. I could never build pressure or get the compressor to start. The mechanic told me that the leak was from the compressor so they replaced it and performed a system recharge for more money than I care to admit to spending. :eek:

Now here is the screwy part. The mechanic told me that the radiator cooling fan was also not kicking on and that they were only able to get a few minutes of cold air out of the vents before it blew warm air again. I have never had an issue with the engine overheating and can always hear the fan kick on when I am driving at slow speeds and sitting idle at a red light or in a parking lot. The mechanic then told me that if I didn't get it fixed, it could cause the A/C system to overpressure and dump the refrigerant.

Can an intermittent cooling fan cause an AC refrigerant dump or is the mechanic trying to get me to spend $450 on replacing the ~$50 radiator cooling fan assembly?:confused:

P.S. I also mentioned to the mechanic that I had never had an issue with the fan and he told me that he could "tap on the motor and get it to run. Vibrations from driving on the road probably keep it working."
 

melsg5

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the system has a pressure sensor that will turn off the compressor.
https://www.tonkinonlineparts.com/p/Pontiac_2003_Sunfire/SENSOR-AIR-CONDITIONING-AC-Electric-Temperature-and-Motor-Control-SWITCH-AIR-CONDITIONING-AC-Compressor-Internal-Parts/10593788/13502759.html
just turn on the ac and see if the fan spins, the engine doesnt have to be hot for the fan to spin if the AC is turned on.
depending on your skill level if the fan does not come on, you can apply 12 volts directly to the fan to test the motor. If the motor works you could have a bad relay.
 

cremley

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Denver, CO
Update.

The mechanic replaced the A/C motor and some of the hoses. They wanted to replace the entire fan assembly as it was running intermittent but I had them leave it disconnected. I was able to find the motor by itself for about $20 at Advance Auto and it took me about 3 hours to get the fan assembly out, replace the motor, re-install, and plug back into the A/C motor. I have been driving the car all summer and the A/C works great! Even if I factor in my time at a mechanics rate, I still wouldn't come up with the $450 ripoff quote from these guys!
 
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