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Two days ago I had the Low Refrig. Level AC Shutoff message appear on my DIC. I cleared the codes and within 5 minutes it came back on and shut down the compressor. I went and bought a can of R134A and put it in the car. Somethign weird happened while putting it in. The compressor started cycling and I could hear a loud air whishing noise like the freon I was adding was going through the compressor and right back out. Needless to say It didn't charge the system and I still have the code and no cold air. I only need heat right now but I either need to fix this by next summer or buy another car. What is the avg. cost of getting an a/c system serviced on our cars? Also does it sound like a bad compressor or can a giant leak just suddenly occur? I want to keep the car but I do not have thousands of dollars to fix an a/c system on a 10 year old car with 160,000 miles on it. Thx for any help.

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When that DTC is set, the compressor is disabled. You must clear the DTC before charging the system. Have the can hooked up and ready to go when you turn the A/C on to take the charge (after clearing the DTC).

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Sounds like there is a massive leak somewhere.

Yep, I'm surprised in that case, you weren't able to locate the leak source.

I'd suggest using a fluorescent dye, but it sounds like you are beyond that; the leak should be readily apparent.

Any chance you picked up a scattered rock on trajectory for your A/C?

BTW, it's wrong to suggest you don't need A/C during the winter months. At the risk of telling you something you already know, your windshield defroster mostly won't cut it without the A/C to precipitate moisture.



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The main failure mode for compressors with age is disintegration of the reed valves. That happened to me a few years back. I had all the symptoms that you describe, but I didn't try to recharge it before the compressor was checked -- and it failed.

The compressor runs, but there isn't a corresponding pressure build-up on the output side because of the reed valve leakage -- which is probalby the hissing sound you hear. Thus the ACM sees that nothing is compressing, and it declares critically low Freon.

I wouldn't run the A/C until I got it checked out.

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Sounds like just a leak, mine was making a Loud grinding noise then I got the "Low Ref". Had the Compressor, Orifice tube and a couple of other things changed(flush o-rings evap.) ran about 900. Kinda on the high side but I know the shop. This happened at 211k and was the only time the AC was serviced so wasn't to upset, now on a 98degree day with high humidity at interstate speed I'm blowing 45 degree air out of the vents! :blink:

Good Luck, Joe

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You have a large leak in the system - inspect all the lines and the condenser for the leak source. If you can't find it, add a small amount of R-134a and then look for the leak. I wouldn't jump to the conclusion that the compressor is bad. I would get this fixed as soon as possible so air does not contaminate the dessicant in the accumulator. Bad reed valves will not make any hissing noise or set the low refrigerant code.

Once you have repaired the leak source, you will need to add a small amount of high viscosity PAG refrigerant oil to the system - the amount changes depending on what component is replaced. Post back your findings and we'll get your A/C back up and running.

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As for the replacment cost of the compressor. The compressor can be found for as little as $159.00 and up on line. Check out who you buy from because in this case you do get what you pay for.

I did find one place out of Az that had them for about $250. shipped with new gaskets / seals and pag oil.

I've installed two of them with no problems at this point. One a year ago and one this summer on another car.

If the person doing the work knows what they are doing it should not take more than 2 hours to change the compressor.

But it would be a good idea to find out if the system has any charge left before you do anything. If you have no charge then as stated you need to find the leak. It may not be the compressor.

Neither of the compressors that failed on me were leaking.

Good luck.

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