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  1. #1

    Default Auto Climate Control and Engine Power

    How much of a power drain should I notice on a 2010 with 5.3L engine when I have the climate control on? When the AC is on, I notice when the AFM kicks in, and accelerating seems to take a MUCH greater effort than when the AC is off. Comparing this to my experience in another vehicle, I recently drove a coworker's Saturn Sky with a turbocharged 2.0L engine. The AC was on full blast, but I never notice any apparent power drain on the engine (and I never accelerated hard enough for the turbo to kick in).
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  2. #2


    I would be happy to look into this further for you. In order to do more research, I will need your VIN. Please feel free to contact me via private message as well. Thank you in advance.

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  3. #3


    As far as I am concerned, there is always some power loss when running anything on a vehicle. Most of the time it's negligable, but even if you park your truck on a dark night and turn your lights on pointed at a building, then roll-up your windows and keep going with the switch even after they are all up ... you will notice the lights dim down a big as the electric motors are taking energy to keep the windows going up.

    So the question is, how much more when running AC? We know that it does take away a significant MPG factor of at least 1 or 2%, so I assume it must also take away from the performance.

    Those are just my thoughts, anyone else agree or disagree?

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  4. #4


    I dont notice it on my truck but on my 99 saturn SC1 with 100hp I do. If i need to accelerate the AC has to be off or it is just a dog (not very quick with it off but a huge difference) I would think that it shouldnt cause that much drag on the V8. usually a HP ratio thing. should be plenty of hp in the 5.3 to combat the couple of hp draw.
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  5. #5
    Sr. Mechanic Ridyn's Avatar
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    The HP loss isn't dramatic; if anything you're losing 5 lbs of torque because torque is what you notice as you're accelerating. It could be as much as 15 lbs of torque depending on the humidity, temperature outside and the terrain you're traveling on.

    The A/C does kick off when you're accelerating at full throttle, if you maintain a long enough time at full throttle you'll notice it gets a little warmer, it's not only your blood pumping, but it's because the computer turns off the A/C pulley to make sure nothing gets overspun and damaged.

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  6. #6


    That could be part of the explanation... It's been quite hot here lately. The temperatures have been topping out at 100 to 110 over the last 2 weeks. The humidity, I believe, has been around 40%. Of course, I could have gotten some bad gas, too. The last two tanks, my MPG has been roughly 10% lower than the prior 3 months average. Guess I need to make sure Murphy's isn't selling the ethanol blend before I fill up there again.

  7. #7


    i have the same issues with mine. its a 95 with the 5.7 it seems to really bogg down when i turn the ac on.

  8. #8
    Sr. Mechanic Ridyn's Avatar
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    Yes it will bog the motor down, it's like adding weight to your body while your running. If you're running and out of nowhere you get an additional 50-100 lbs added to you, what do you do? Slow down and eventually work your way up to speed once you get momentum going. Same basic principle works with something traveling in a circular motion with a pulley like system.

    It's nothing to be worried about, the thing you could do I guess is get a fully electric ac compressor that doesn't work off of the engine it self, but rather by just electricity which will require a bigger alternator which in turn will still bog down your motor. You could just avoid it all and add a super charger or a turbo to the motor and then just call it a day, or just remove the a/c system all together.

    Point being, you're motor will bog down no matter what, and depending on the environment you're in, will also determine how much of a change will be noticeable.

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