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Pete, Saturn Mechanic
Category: Saturn
Satisfied Customers: 27813
Experience:  17 years Saturn Technician experience.
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I have been reading the posts for code P0481. I also have no

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I have been reading the posts for code P0481. I also have no low speed fan. it word on AC and when the temp hits 212F. I got adventurous and pulled the fuse block out and set down at the kitchen table with a test meter. I pulled the low relay and started probing terminals in the junction block closest to the motor. i found that outer 2 pins connect to terminal E9 and F10 ( circuit 86 and 30 ) on the relay, appear to be shorted together. The inner 2 pins connect to A and B 11. I find no way to get inside the box itself. If I recall relay operation correctly power if fed to on side which closes a switch activating the second circuit. I dont think both outer pins should be hot at the same time. What do you think.
JA: How many miles are on the car? How old is the battery?
Customer: 181K New battery
JA: What is the model/year of your Saturn?
Customer: 2003 Saturn Vue
JA: Are you fixing your VUE yourself? What have you tried so far?
Customer: Yes
JA: Anything else you want the mechanic to know before I connect you?
Customer: cant think of anything else at this time
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
I played around some more and found that when I plug the relay back in the slot and connect a lead to either E9 or F10, B11 will shows a closed circuit.

My name is ***** ***** I am a professional here at Just Answer. I noticed that your question had not received a response and thought I would see if you still need help with this.I apologize for the delay and I hope I can still assist you with this here.

You will have 2 pins that are hot at the cool fan low relay.This is battery voltage fed from the cool low fuse.One pin will be a ground from the ECM controlled when the temp hits certain temps usually around 212 should have kicked on the low fan speed already.Below is the diagnostic procedure for the code set here.If you can follow this procedure this will help in pinpointing the fault.

If more help is needed, use the reply tab to continue our conversation. If no further assistance is needed, kindly rate my service,your 5 star rating is appreciated.You can rate at any time and we can continue to work on your question as this will not close out your question.Keep in mind in some cases it can be difficult to fully diagnose or help repair your vehicle without seeing it and I work on delivering the best possible answer from what I see to work with.

Thanks Pete

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Hi Pete, thanks for the reply you did read I pulled the fuse/relay box out of the vehicle? Pins E9 and F10 are connected inside the block relay installed or not. I compared the pins to wire harness and find E9 connects to a orange wire. F10 connect to a orange and green wire. With the the relay connected E9 and F10 connect to to B11 which has no wire. I am not much for electronics but it seems odd that E9 and F10 each have a wire attached but connect to each other inside the box. Sounds like a short to me. I will try the check list you sent and let you know what I find.
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
I have a Pullapart yard 25 miles from me. they have 7 between 03 and 05 on the lot. I plant to make a trip and probe them to see if I get the same results.

O.k.,let me know what you come up with here when your ready.

Thanks Pete

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Hi Pete. I went to pullapart yesterday. Here is what I found. I found that all the 7 saturns 03-05 V6 or 4cyl had the the same connections.( I also found a really nice set of seats for my wifes Park Avenue.) So either all are bad or that it the way they are. leaning toward they are correct. I have a Snapon Ethos scantool. I do not have a 12A key so I could not command the relays. However I did some more probing this morning and find both relays have power with the key on and there is continuity between both relays and the fan. There is continuity on the fan ground. I ran a jumper to pin A11 and got the fan to run on low speed. However there does not appear to be a command wire to activate the low speed relay that should connect to pin B11. There does not appear to ever been a wire. I also probed the high speed side which works as advertised and accounted for all 4 wires.

Has anyone altered the wiring at all in your vehicle that you know of and were the pull aparts wired the same way?

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
The current owners are friends of mine and have owned it for the last 9 years. I have been the one to work on it. No known modifications and all 7 were wired the same way. The code came on in the last 6 months.

What liter engine is in this model here?

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
2.2 4cyl stick 2wd

Here is what I see.

The ECM sends a signal to the cool low and cool high relay to command them on.This is a ground signal.At the low relay this is a dark blue wire.At the high relay this is a dark green wire.These are separate circuits from the ECM.

At both the lo and high relays you should have 2 terminals that have battery voltage at all times key on or off.This comes from the cool lo 20 amp fuse to the lo relay and the cool hi 40 amp fuse to the cool hi relay.

The last terminal which is a light blue wire from the cool high feeds direct from the cool high relay to the cooling fan.From the low relay it is a gray wire that runs to the cooling fan resistor,from this resistor it turns into a light blue wire to the cooling fan.

This info here may help you diagnose the fault.

Let me know if you need anything else and feel free to rate my help here as this is how I receive credit for my time.Your 5 star rating is appreciated

Thanks Pete

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
The high side relay has the wires as you describe. I probed the terminals that the low relay plugs into and found all 4 of the corresponding male pins on the underside of the block. The low side has a orange and a orange/green wire that are hot. the gray wire goes to the fan which will run the fan on low speed with a jumper wire. There is no 4th wire on the low relay which should be the ground to the computer. There is not even a terminal in the proper hole on the female side in the wire harness. So I have 4 male pins and only 3 female plugs.

That is odd.Is this the same way the other models were set up as well?

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
I took a picture on my cell and compare them. They were the same.

This is just Odd.I dont know why the ECM ground wire is not present on all of these models here.It should be.I dont know if you can see this diagram but it leads from connector C1 at the ECM to the relay and is a dark blue wire that sends a ground signal from the ECM.

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
It is a little blury. Looks like i am missing the circuit 473? and cant read a wire color.

I apologize as that was the best I could do.It is circuit 473 which is a dark blue wire that leads from connector C1 terminal 57 at the ECM to the missing terminal at the low relay.You might check at the ECM for this wire.If this wire is not in terminal 57 at all then for some reason GM made the vehicle diagrams to have low speed but left out low speed fan control which is really hard to understand.If the wire is in place you might trace it and see if it was disconnected from the relay near the relay box itself or try adding this wire and see if it operates then.This is something I would do to try and figure out why this wire is not present.

Let me know if you need anything else and feel free to rate my help here as this is how I receive credit for my time.Your 5 star rating is appreciated

Thanks Pete

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
I will try that and will also run back out to pullapart for a more detailed inspection of the harness. One of the 03s is a 4 cyl the other a 6 cyl. I will let you know what I find. I will leave 5 star feedback.

Sounds good.I hope you can get this resolved with ease.

Thanks Pete

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Hi Pete. I went back to pullapart today. This is what I found. They now have 8 of them ranging 2002-2005. 2 are 03s. The 4 cyl does not have the 4th female terminal in the wire harness that matches the male pin to the relay. So I'm thinking no circuit 473? The 6cyl does have the 4th wire. I did not trace it to see where it went. Just for fun of it I looked at the other 5. 2 are 6 cyl and both had the 4th wire. All the other 4 cyl did not have the 4th wire. I also spoke with the owner in more detail and was told the P0481 code has been intermittent for about 1 1/2 years. It has been on constant for one month. He waited so long to tell me about it due to finances. He is one of my best friends and I am not charging him anything for labor. So based on the above findings what do you think.

It sounds like a false code setting.Like the computer is programmed for a V6 for the fan control when it isnt.I would suggest since these other 4 cylinders are the same as yours to have the programming checked in the engine computer to see if it is incorrect.Usually a GM dealer has to do this.

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Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Hi Pete. Got some new info. There is now reason to believe there may be an internal problem in the relay block. During a followup conversation I asked why I found the horn relay just laying in the box. It was draining the battery and having to be jump started. He also said the problem with the code started about the same time. I put a good relay in the slot and felt it click. I also realized one of my daughters works in the parts dept of a Subaru dealer. One of the techs gave me diagrams and wiring charts that should help me figure something out. I mede copies of a couple of the charts that I can record the probe results of my block to compare the ones in the yard. Means more probing and another trip to pullapart.

I apologize for the delay as I was out of town.

Let me know what you come up with here and if you need anything else.

Thanks Pete

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Went back to pullapart and found they had all been open to the weather and it had rained the previous 3 days. Since then a 03 came in on Saturday. I will typically to probe that one. If that does not work they want $40 for the ecm. What problems do you see if I swap out the ecm?

If you swap out the ecm it will have to be programmed to work in your model here including calibrations to operate the vehicle properly and the theft calibrations to allow starting of the vehicle.This usually has to be done by a GM dealer.