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AJR 05-07-2015 04:44 PM

whine/groan from new AC Compressor
 
Not having much luck with my L lately. Over the past several months, I've had a new high pressure AC line and condenser installed due to leaks. Then, about a month ago, I needed a new compressor due to a leaking seal.

Today, I noticed a 'significant' groaning/whining sound while accelerating. It has a new tensioner and belt. So I had a thought...I turned off the AC and it was instantly quiet. Turned the AC back on and the noise was back. The clutch does kick in.

With the hood up at idle, I was able to rev it a little from under the hood and you can definitely hear it with the clutch running and it's quiet with the clutch off.

I never had a bad sound from the last compressor during any of the leaks. Has anyone ever had this issue with a brand new compressor? It's not a rebuilt.

Andy

fdryer 05-08-2015 12:31 AM

Re: whine/groan from new AC Compressor
 
Your descriptions seem to be about possible lack of compressor oil. Were guidelines followed to fill the new compressor with fresh PAG oil equivalent to old oil poured out the old one?

AJR 05-08-2015 09:55 AM

Re: whine/groan from new AC Compressor
 
[QUOTE=fdryer;2138609]Your descriptions seem to be about possible lack of compressor oil. Were guidelines followed to fill the new compressor with fresh PAG oil equivalent to old oil poured out the old one?[/QUOTE]

Yes, everything was done to specs for that job. However, today brought some new light to the situation. Yesterday afternoon was very hot and the noise I described was loud. I called the shop and they told me to bring it in this morning.

This morning it's cool here and the compressor did not make any noise for most of the way there. Cooling was good. By the time I got there, it was making a little noise, but nothing like yesterday. So it seems to be heat related.

They checked the pressure and everything was spot on, so at least there are no new leaks. Summer is just starting, so we agreed to wait until it gets hotter out to see what shows up.

Andy

Zsolt 05-11-2015 09:39 AM

Re: whine/groan from new AC Compressor
 
I recently had some A/C issues with my L200. And though my compressor originally did not work due to the BCM. Once fixed, I also experienced a similar groan/whining sound that would come and go. Though my pressure's were spot on, the issue seemed to be air in the system. I would highly recommend draining and refilling the system completely to eliminate possible air trapped in the line. This can occur even with experienced shops is they have a small bubble of air in their fill lines when working on your system.

AJR 05-11-2015 11:30 PM

Re: whine/groan from new AC Compressor
 
Interesting possibility regarding air in the system. I'll ask about that as well as the PAG oil. Thanks guys. Now I just have to wait for some hot weather. That's when it makes the most noise. We have gone from needing AC to heat in the house.

Andy

fdryer 05-12-2015 12:38 AM

Re: whine/groan from new AC Compressor
 
It should be noted; whenever an a/c system is repaired, evacuating a repaired system removes all air and moisture for a near perfect vacuum to introduce oil, refrigerant and dye. Once a repair is properly assured of a pressure proof seal, the system is considered restored to factory condition. No air or moisture in the system, the enemy of a/c systems. As long as new leaks haven't occurred (diminished cooling), there may be only one or two reasons for a noisy compressor; lack of incorrect oil amount when repairs were made or the compressor is announcing its demise. Presuming oil is correct or close to correct amount leaves the compressor itself with many internal mechanical parts to wear out - the main reason for lubricating oil. A leak occurring again means less refrigerant to move oil around. Less oil being moved around means less oil lubricating the compressor - squealing, whining, noisy. A leak should be considered first before the next suggestion. While not suggested in most situations, if a leak hasn't occurred perhaps no more than an ounce of pag oil along with a small charge of r134a may help, the small canisters sold as oil make up to inject into a system.

Diagnosing a failing compressor is a topic by itself.

AJR 05-12-2015 09:44 AM

Re: whine/groan from new AC Compressor
 
There was diminished cooling the day it first made this noise. When it's not making the noise, the cooling is fine. The thing about leaks and noise that confuses me is that I've had three leaks before. High pressure line, then condenser and then later, the old compressor. I never had any noise like this while using the system with those leaks.

So, I'm hoping it isn't another issue with leaking. I'm hoping when it's hot out, he'll be able to drive it, hear the noise and know what to check. I just hope it's a warranty issue.

I know when I brought the car to this man for the leaking radiator (job done by a dealer), he told me that he was the supplier of the radiator and if the dealer wouldn't fix it, he'd do it for me for free. So, he seems like an honest guy.

Andy

AJR 08-05-2015 11:44 AM

Re: whine/groan from new AC Compressor
 
It's been a long time, but I always like to report follow ups. I 'finally' got the car back to the AC shop yesterday. He heard the noise and agreed it's coming from the compressor (I knew that). He checked everything he could check and the system is working perfectly.

He said it's just a rather noisy compressor and some noise is to be expected. I'm bummed about it. I guess I'll have to live with it. It's not like I can force him to change it for free.

It's under warranty until next May, so I'll use it every chance I get to give any issues a chance to get worse or go bad by then. At least it is cooling well.

Andy

fdryer 08-05-2015 01:21 PM

Re: whine/groan from new AC Compressor
 
My compressor is noise free as well as millions of vehicles driving the roads of the world without a noisy compressor. For anyone to say its normal to hear a noisy compressor is either less than truthful or hiding something. My car's a/c failed two years ago (see my photos for damages) and I'm not formally schooled in refrigeration. I started vehicle a/c repairs years ago when r12 was the refrigerant of choice. Never blew up a system or had repairs backfire, leak, etc.. I follow and use every guideline while 'practicing' on every repair. Refrigeration is not rocket science so its within my limited capabilities. No one in my neighborhood using their vehicle a/c has noisy compressors over and above the normal engine sounds. In fact, car manufacturers go out of their way to constantly tweak the engine bay to lower noise levels, from reducing the starter noise to ensuring the exhaust system meets EPA emissions regulations while keeping exhaust noise low to those not engrossed with hearing the roar of their engines. I suppose the owners driving Ferrari's, Lambo's, and other exotic cars don't care about noise but it is subjective. An Aston Martin is an expensive car with a very powerful engine yet quiet. I don't think any one of those drivers will put up with a noisy compressor when attempting to listen to their gazillion dollar Bose, Harmon Kardon or Bang & Olufson sound system............. Unfortunately, your new compressor is noisy and not normal at all.

If anyone should have a noisy compressor, I should since I refuse to replace a compressor unless I'm convinced there's reason to replace it. Instead of the rush to judgement repair shops insist on, choosing to do my repairs at home allows me to discriminate on which parts need to be replaced while retaining those still capable of operation. My compressor is now 12 years old with some new hoses, condenser coil and drier and is working without needing 'topping off' two years after repairs...........noise free.

AJR 08-05-2015 01:48 PM

Re: whine/groan from new AC Compressor
 
I agree, the noise is not normal. It never made noise before. My S doesn't make noise and neither does our Subaru Outback.

I'm kind of screwed though. He says it's fine, so short of paying someone else to do the job over, I'll have to live with it. If it does go bad, I just hope it does during the warranty period.

Andy

fdryer 08-05-2015 02:08 PM

Re: whine/groan from new AC Compressor
 
I understand your situation perfectly as you are caught between the proverbial rock and a hard place. Unfortunately, noise means mechanical things not working smoothly and compressors are well built for lifetime use. As noise continues, I would be concerned of it generating problems as it may slowly trash the system. The only things that come to mind are the steel vanes rubbing against the aluminum chamber walls - normally lubricated with oil. No ball bearings for the actual working parts that compress gases. That's as far as my imagination goes because the main bearings are very robust and not prone to failing unless crap entered in with oil after repairs. I can't imagine any other parts that would cause noise within this compressor but what do I know?

While this is a real concern, there may be one suggestion to consider if you decide to try it and maybe with the blessing of the repair shop; adding oil conditioner. Google for info on a/c products. There's one product that been described as a synthetic oil conditioner and another ingredient used to absorb any minute moisture, converting it to an inert substance for capturing in the filter/drier. I can't remember what this product is called but it appears to be a way to help with oil lube, a silicone like oil? It may be worth discussing it with your repair shop after you find this product. It's a small can with about an ounce of r134a for injecting it into the suction side with the system running.

floridasl22002 08-05-2015 02:09 PM

Re: whine/groan from new AC Compressor
 
[QUOTE=AJR;2152366]I agree, the noise is not normal. It never made noise before. My S doesn't make noise and neither does our Subaru Outback.

I'm kind of screwed though. He says it's fine, so short of paying someone else to do the job over, I'll have to live with it. If it does go bad, I just hope it does during the warranty period.

Andy[/QUOTE]

No you are not screwed. You know and he knows that the noise it is making is unacceptable. A good garage should always stand behind their work and the parts they use. it sounds like this garage is fobbing you off to avoid having to do the work again. You need to go back and tell them in plain terms the compressor is not fit for purpose and you want it replacing. Period.
A few years ago I had to have bad compressor replaced on an old GMC minivan I had. I used my local independent garage.
As soon as i got the van back with the new compressor, I was not happy and it too was making a horrid whining noise. They said they had put new fluid in the compressor and it was a thinner oil than the other one. They swapped out the compressor and made sure they used the same oil as was in before. I had no more issues.
There are always 2 parts to a warranty job; the part and the labor. I think you may find the labor warranty is shorter than the parts warranty. If you left it till after the labor warranty has expired the garage will happily charge you for all the work that needs doing again.
Don't stand for this fobbing off. Go back and demand they replace it.
Good luck

billysvue 08-05-2015 02:20 PM

Re: whine/groan from new AC Compressor
 
I thought it was customary to replace the receiver drier / accumulator when installing a new compressor- in an AC system? I've seen no mention of it being replaced...

Since it's there to pull any moisture out,, and the system was open/leaking prior to, wouldn't it be a good assumption that it's not "dry" anymore and would risk contaminating the new refurbished AC system with moisture?

AJR 08-05-2015 08:36 PM

Re: whine/groan from new AC Compressor
 
[QUOTE=fdryer;2152367]there may be one suggestion to consider if you decide to try it and maybe with the blessing of the repair shop; adding oil conditioner. Google for info on a/c products. There's one product that been described as a synthetic oil conditioner and another ingredient used to absorb any minute moisture, converting it to an inert substance for capturing in the filter/drier. I can't remember what this product is called but it appears to be a way to help with oil lube, a silicone like oil? It may be worth discussing it with your repair shop after you find this product. It's a small can with about an ounce of r134a for injecting it into the suction side with the system running.[/QUOTE]

To hell with the repair shop at this point. I'm sick of getting jacked around by all these turds. I've been to 7 shops since Saturn closed and they've all basically sucked. This place was my last hope.

I'll look into your suggestion and maybe try it with a friend who knows some things about auto AC. Thanks!

Andy

AJR 08-05-2015 09:01 PM

Re: whine/groan from new AC Compressor
 
[QUOTE=floridasl22002;2152368]No you are not screwed. You know and he knows that the noise it is making is unacceptable. A good garage should always stand behind their work and the parts they use. it sounds like this garage is fobbing you off to avoid having to do the work again. You need to go back and tell them in plain terms the compressor is not fit for purpose and you want it replacing. Period. Don't stand for this fobbing off. Go back and demand they replace it.
Good luck[/QUOTE]

Well, I've already gone back twice and told him it's wrong and that I've never heard a compressor make a noise like this. All he'll do is check the system and say there's nothing wrong. He refuses to do more.

When I say I'm screwed, I mean because I can't fight this fight right now. I'm involved with some serious family issues (getting my 91 year old dad and 94 year old aunt moved out of their two flat is part of it) and I don't have another day to spend on this.

Looks like the garage wins and I lose...again. FU GM...for dumping Saturn.

Andy

AJR 08-05-2015 09:05 PM

Re: whine/groan from new AC Compressor
 
[QUOTE=billysvue;2152373]I thought it was customary to replace the receiver drier / accumulator when installing a new compressor- in an AC system? I've seen no mention of it being replaced...

Since it's there to pull any moisture out,, and the system was open/leaking prior to, wouldn't it be a good assumption that it's not "dry" anymore and would risk contaminating the new refurbished AC system with moisture?[/QUOTE]

I don't know. I do know that those parts weren't changed. There are other things on the receipt, like PAG oil (I have to look at it again).

I didn't inquire about those other parts when the job was done, since this guy is a highly regarded AC expert and I figured I was in good hands.

He even made sure it was a brand new compressor, rather than rebuilt. I probably would have been better off with a rebuilt.

Andy

fdryer 08-05-2015 09:51 PM

Re: whine/groan from new AC Compressor
 
Wrong. Anyone, even myself, is required to replace the accumulator/receiver/filter/drier (call it what you want as it does all that's described) when a [U]new[/U] compressor is put in service. The reason? I found thru Googling background info that far too many "repair shops" failed to replace driers resulting in the new compressor failing from contaminated oil circulating crap. These new compressors failed in service and returned under warranty until the manufacturers mandated drier replacement. This cut down on the warranty returns and if found contaminated, the factory voids the warranty to cut down on shady practices from shops cutting corners.

The same rules apply to replacing condenser coils; replacing the drier. When I replaced damaged hoses and condenser coil, I replaced the drier for insurance against crap damaging the original compressor on my '03 L300. Look at it another way; an a/c system that needs major repairs deserves a new drier simply because the system continually circulates refrigerant and oil continuously for the life of the a/c system until it breaks. Now the system is opened for repairs. As a rule, compressors and condenser coil replacement mandate replacing the drier since the original one has served its purpose and should be replaced. Its the cheapest insurance against future damage clogging the condenser coil or compressor. And its cheap.

You didn't have your a/c system repaired by a reputable repair shop.

AJR 08-05-2015 10:13 PM

Re: whine/groan from new AC Compressor
 
[QUOTE=fdryer;2152458]You didn't have your a/c system repaired by a reputable repair shop.[/QUOTE]

Yeah, I am seeing that now, but what I meant before was that I 'assumed' I was, from everything I read and heard.

Still, I will check the receipt tomorrow and see what I was actually charged for. I can't remember if the drier was mentioned.

Andy

floridasl22002 08-06-2015 10:02 AM

Re: whine/groan from new AC Compressor
 
You sound like you have your hands well & truly full, but don't let this 'mechanic' get away with sloppy workmanship. It's your hard earned money at the end of the day.
Tell him you want this replacing and the job putting right or else. BUT put it in writing.
Is he registered with the Better Business Bureau? You can file a complaint with them.
Does his business appear on the internet? If so you can post a few really bad reviews and that will harm his business.
Is he independent or a franchise? If he's a franchise, then move up the ladder.
Is his business part of any federation, etc. If it is complain to the group. Good groups don't want losers dragging their name through the mud.
If he decides to be a jerk and you can afford to be without your car for a day, then put some signs on the windows and park it up opposite his shop. That should stir him into action. Friend of mine did that with a builder. He had issues on his new house, they were foot dragging on sorting them. He parked his car opposite the show home with signs on the windows. Same day they fixed the issues!
If all else fails threaten him with Small Claims Court. They are for civil matters, like consumer issues. For a small fee to the court, they serve him a summons to appear. Both of you get your day in court and it sounds like he'll lose. I've done this once with a customer who ordered stuff then didn't pay. I won, they paid and we all went home.
Don't let him get the better of you, be ballsy!

AJR 08-06-2015 10:13 AM

Re: whine/groan from new AC Compressor
 
Oh man! The last thing I need is more court. I just got done with a year of court to settle my aunt's estate and I'm still embroiled in a court battle with Chicago over zoning/permit issues at my dad's house.

I think I'd drive the car into the lake before I'd go to court anymore. Good suggestions though. Thanks. All viable if I wasn't so burned out. Believe me, it's been a tough 3 years. Needing some peace.

Andy


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