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Old 09-14-2017, 07:02 PM   #1
nickroa95
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Attention AC Compressor Preventative Maintenance

Hey all, I have an 03 QC with about 105,000 miles on the dash. I live in Orlando, FL so it should be to nobody's surprise that I use the AC pretty often! The AC in my car works perfectly fine but lately I have been hearing intermittent groaning coming from the compressor that gets louder with the engine speed. I really love having AC and would absolutely hate for it to die out on me so because of that, I want to ask if anyone has any tips on preventative maintenance for the Ion's AC system? Should I be draining and re-filling up on freon as maintenance? Or should I exchange the oil inside the compressor? Any and all tips will be greatly appreciated! I know how to maintain the engine/transmission, but the AC system is something I have absolutely no idea on. Thanks in advance!

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Old 09-14-2017, 08:10 PM   #2
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Default Re: AC Compressor Preventative Maintenance

No procedures exist nor needed for draining and refilling refrigerant or oil. You would do more harm to ac systems trying any home remedies, especially if you're not completely familiar with refrigeration systems, diagnosing, troubleshooting and repairing them. Its not rocket science but does require more than casual knowledge. At the least, read this guide in determining where noise is coming from. The least expensive tool for ac work is an inexpensive uv light to find dye. All Saturns have dye mixed permanently in oil. Oil circulates everywhere and a leak allows refrigerant, oil and dye to escape. Oil and dye leave markers for leak detection using a uv light.
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Old 09-14-2017, 10:12 PM   #3
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Default Re: AC Compressor Preventative Maintenance

Interesting. Thanks for the chart, I'm going to give it a check up this weekend now! Quick question though, how would I go about checking if my system needs oil? I know how to check for refrigerant pressure, but not oil.. any idea?

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Old 09-14-2017, 10:52 PM   #4
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Default Re: AC Compressor Preventative Maintenance

All vehicle ac systems are filled with correct amounts of refrigerant and oil from factory assembly. No dipstick to check oil levels - the system is sealed because its always under pressure like tires. Assessment is made first before making any attempts to repair or fix anything. Do not assume anything about checking pressures unless you're qualified in refrigeration repairs or very experienced. Guessing can be a costly learning mistake, especially with a single gauge that doesn't give any info. Anyone serious about ac repairs use a refrigeration gauge set and spend time learning before making repairs. Its guaranteed to be a steep learning curve.

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Old 09-14-2017, 10:56 PM   #5
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Default Re: AC Compressor Preventative Maintenance

Quote:
Originally Posted by fdryer View Post
All vehicle ac systems are filled with correct amounts of refrigerant and oil from factory assembly. No dipstick to check oil levels - the system is sealed because its always under pressure like tires. Assessment is made first before making any attempts to repair or fix anything. Do not assume anything about checking pressures unless you're qualified in refrigeration repairs or very experienced. Guessing can be a costly learning mistake, especially with a single gauge that doesn't give any info. Anyone serious about ac repairs use a refrigeration gauge set and spend time learning before making repairs. Its guaranteed to be a steep learning curve.
I understand completely - believe me, I'm sure it's quite a step up from turning a simple wrench. Are you basically saying that there is no way to check the oil? Absolutely nothing that I can do?

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Old 09-15-2017, 12:04 AM   #6
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Default Re: AC Compressor Preventative Maintenance

All vehicle ac systems are under pressure like tires except refrigerant gas is more expensive to replace if it leaks out. Oil amounts are more than sufficient for the life of ac systems until damage occurs. If nothing is wrong with your system, leave it alone. Meddle with it in any way and your steep learning curve begins with your first mistake, meddling with it.

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Old 09-18-2017, 08:57 AM   #7
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Default Re: AC Compressor Preventative Maintenance

Gotcha, thanks for the feedback fdryer!

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Old 11-08-2017, 10:52 PM   #8
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Default Re: AC Compressor Preventative Maintenance

This is a few weeks old already, but thought I'd chime in since I stumbled across it.

What you're likely hearing is the bearing for the clutch in the A/C compressor starting to make a noise. This is what my mechanic explained to me. The pitch of the sound is different whether the A/C is on or off. My mechanic said he's seen them make whining noises for a few years, and there's likely nothing you can do short of replacing it someday.

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Old 11-08-2017, 11:28 PM   #9
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Default Re: AC Compressor Preventative Maintenance

What your mechanic didn't explain in more detail is how to determine if the AC compressor idler pulley bearing is worn or something else is making noise - removing the drive belt and running the engine briefly. No noise means its one of the driven accessories; ac compressor, drive belt idler pulley, or alternator. Hand spinning alternator and ac compressor is easy and may shock anyone not familiar with how bearings wear. Without belt tension, bearings are free to spin and may show wear if they rock.

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