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cooling fans won't turn on even with AC

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The 2 front cooling fans don't come on even after you have driven for 15 miles. When you turn on the AC, neither fan works. The AC won't work. Is this expensive to repair? Do you have to check on several things before you will be able to find out the reason for the fans not working? If you continue to drive with the fans not working, will it damage the engine? I would never recommend a 97-03 Malibu. A real headache.

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see if they work.. unplug them from the system and run 12V straight to them... that will show if they work, or if it's a controlling problem

Agreed. Assuming the fans work, start hunting down the relay. 90% of the time the relay dies, and it is a fast fix.

As far as driving with the fans off, as long as the car is moving forward, you will be fine. Don't get stuck in traffic for more than a couple minutes, or you will definitely have trouble. Watch your temp gauge and shut it off before it overheats. Obviously actually overheating the engine will have all sorts of bad things happen.

The AC not working is likely not related to the radiator cooling fans not working. It is likely a R134a leak, and you need it recharged. R134a is relatively cheap and you could try refilling it yourself... be obviously, a leak means you are going to have to top it off from time to time. Also, ensuring you have a full R134a system is the first step towards diagnosing the problem.

Edited by SAmadei
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Does the A/C compressor even try to engage? Even with the HVAC control in an A/C mode the PCM will not actually command the fans or compressor clutch 'on' unless the A/C pressure sensor signals a sufficient system pressure. Otherwise the fans will likely not turn on for regular engine cooling until the coolant temp gets pretty hot, in the 225ºF/105ºC range.

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