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Bad AC compressor


brmurph

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Can anyone explain why I keep going through AC compressors? Below is the time frame and miles of the replacements. Per the receipt two of the replacement compressors were brand new (who knows for sure).

4-14-05 88,000 miles (replaced with "new" compressor)

9-1-05 92,000 miles (replaced with "new" compressor)

10-11-06 108,000 Miles (Replaced with "rebuilt" compressor)

Now 117,000 Miles (have not replaced it as of yet).

The AC normally blows cold but the compressor starts to make noise (rattle) All the work has been completed by my Cadillac dealer, the accumulater was replaced the 1st and 3rd time (again according to the receipt). The compressor and accumulator have a lifetime warranty but still the dealer normally tries to charge me for something (freon, oil, shop supplies. other repairs :-) each time..

Any thoughts?

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Well I did mine last year. The hardest part was flushing the lines. I have seen many AC shops NOT replace the condenser due to the added cost. After a compressor self destructs, the condenser must be replaced or debris (metal filings, shavings, etc) that was send downstream into the condenser can back up into the compressor and damage it... The evaporator while after the orifice tube also needs flushing...but its not as critical as the orifice tube tends to limit junk from passing. The accumulator should be replaced. We had someone here replace a compressor and the shop did not replace the condenser but since he had a lifetime warranty he thought he was covered...I would have had the condenser replaced.

In general, I would say that FLUSHING the SYSTEM, changing the CONDENSER and using the correct amount and viscosity of OIL in the correct locations is very important to ensure the longevity of an AC job...

It does not appear that they replaced the condenser on your system.. by the way it is my understanding that the type of the condenser we have can not be flushed.

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If you go to Scotty's post #21 in this thread you can see my orifice tube and the kind of debris that is circulated, that fine powder if it gets into the compressor will damage it...

http://caddyinfo.ipbhost.com/index.php?sho...hl=orifice+tube

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Thanks Mike, I remember that post when you were doing all that AC work. As far as I know you are right, the dealer did not replace the condenser (now I wonder why). I noticed that you said replacing the condenser was not an easy job, if the radiator is out of the way would the condensor be easily replaced or is it still hard to get to?

Thanks again.

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If you bought a new compressor from Cadillac, it has a lifetime warranty, parts and labor.

I had mine replaced at the dealer in 2003. They replaced the accumulator (or, drier) because the reed valves had gone, and fragments were in the system. Since I caught it early and didn't run the A/C (the CCM wouldn't let me anyway), nothing got past the accumulator. It's been fine since, although a sticky clutch may have me asking for service and we have been watching it.

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I had my A/C compressor replaced last summer with a "new" compressor (not Delco though), orifice tube, and drier. So far so good. My original compressor (original to the vehicle) had rattled for a long time, but it cooled the car just fine. Recently, though, it had started to not cool as well, and the shop said it had a leak and the compressor should be replaced. Have had no issues since. Quiet as a cat.

Edit: I should say this was in the '97 Seville.

Jason(2001 STS, White Diamond)

"When you turn your car on...does it return the favor?"

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Thanks Mike, I remember that post when you were doing all that AC work. As far as I know you are right, the dealer did not replace the condenser (now I wonder why). I noticed that you said replacing the condenser was not an easy job, if the radiator is out of the way would the condensor be easily replaced or is it still hard to get to?

Thanks again.

If I recall, the radiator had to pushed aftward to slip the condenser out, there are specific instructions in the FSM detailing the process. I would not call it a hard job, but it was the first time I did it, so that could have been the reason I said it was not an easy job. KHE who is our AC expert recommends condenser replacement when debris is found in the orifice tube and the compressor needs replacement to ensure that the NEXT compressor does not experience a similar fate.

I am not sure if AC shops and dealers try to flush the condensers or not, but due to the design of the condenser (parallel tubes vs serpentine tubes?) they are near impossible to flush so replacement is the smartest plan. Unfortunately, the cost of repairing the AC system then goes through the roof.... Given that the system develops pressure you can imagine that when the compressor cycles on and off, that pressure when its released can cause debris to flow backward toward the compressor contaminating it, and starting the cycle of damage all over again.

As soon as KHE saw how my AC system was spewing metal filings he suggested replacing the condenser....I also replaced every o-ring to ensure that I would have NO leaks. It was a PIA job, but doing it myself, I could be a fanatic.

IF there was NO debris in the orifice tube, then maybe condenser replacement is not necessary (KHE do you agree with that?)...

Mike

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I just found this excellent information on condensers, and especially like this information that states that its not possible to flush parallel flow condensers see the link below:

"Black Death" is the result of a catastrophe within the compressor, resulting in compressor pieces of varying size and shape being spat out of the compressor throughout the entire A/C system. The term "Black Death" is a reference to what the chunks look like once they are trapped. In a system using a receiver/drier, the majority of these pieces will get trapped within the receiver/drier. In a Cycling Clutch Orifice Tube (CCOT) system, they will primarily be trapped at the orifice tube and accumulator (like my photo of the clogged orifice tube).....

Once a serpentine condenser is flushed, it is almost assured that there are no particles hiding inside it and, used in conjunction with replacing the filtration system, renders foreseeable comebacks almost nonexistent. Although a perfect, inexpensive solution for R-12 condensers, a flush is not the solution for any parallel flow condenser whose system has suffered from the Black Death. The miniscule tubes that make up the PF condenser trap small particles, and they trap them really well! This can create two separate problems. The first is that the particle(s) will prevent proper flow through at least one of the tubes, cutting cooling ability down by eight to twelve percent for each plugged tube. This in turn raises the pressure being exerted on the compressor, and raises vent temperature.

The second problem, if you haven't figured it out already, is that once that piece dislodges, it will eventually work its way into the compressor.

See this paragraph: Parallel Flow Condensers and Black Death

http://www.forparts.com/techcondensers.htm

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I did some reading about the difference between the parallel flow and serpentine condensers last night and it would seem obvious to me if the condenser is a parallel flow it should be replaced after a compressor failure. On all the reading I did though I could not come to 100% conclusion that the 98 model cadillacs were parallel flow. Has anyone been able to verify this? BBF? Kevin?

Thanks.

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I recall from KHE that the Cadillac condenser is a parallel flow condenser, I just looked at the FSM and no statement was made about it.

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Most if no all R-134a systems use parallel flow condensers. Something is really wrong that you are going through compressors so quickly. Was the system flushed and the correct amount of oil added back into the system?

If the orifice tube does not have any particles in the screen, I wouldn't think condenser replacement was necessary but....

What was the cause of the original compressor failure? That would provide a clue to what's going on in there.

Kevin
'93 Fleetwood Brougham
'05 Deville
'04 Deville
2013 Silverado Z71

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Thanks Kevin

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The original (first replacement) service ticket says "Loud ginding noise when A/C is ON. A/C Compressor has internal failure contaminating dryer and clogging orfice. Replaced Compressor, dryer and orfice also flushed and evacuate and recharge system" Also says QTY 2 A/C Oil (I assume that means 2 onces).

Thanks guys.

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The original (first replacement) service ticket says "Loud ginding noise when A/C is ON. A/C Compressor has internal failure contaminating dryer and clogging orfice. Replaced Compressor, dryer and orfice also flushed and evacuate and recharge system" Also says QTY 2 A/C Oil (I assume that means 2 onces).

Thanks guys.

There is your answer! They F'd up.... print that LINK I gave you about NOT being able flush a parallel condenser..... Maybe they don't know?!? :lol: But WE do? :blink:

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BBF I am starting to think you right. Seems hard to believe that it is so hard and expensive to replace a compressor though :-).

Thanks.

I replaced mine on my back, its not hard at all. The flushing was the hardest part for me but I couldnt develop enough air pressure to clear the lines. With the right tools and equipment its not a bad job at all. Give me a lift and its a cake walk....

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[ Give me a lift and its a cake walk....

Mike I used to work weekends at a full service station, Sunday 12 hours maybe 6 customers 2 lifts, 10000 in Snap on tools, and by my self, I was in high cotton :D Truth be told I would have paid him :)

Joe

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The original (first replacement) service ticket says "Loud ginding noise when A/C is ON. A/C Compressor has internal failure contaminating dryer and clogging orfice. Replaced Compressor, dryer and orfice also flushed and evacuate and recharge system" Also says QTY 2 A/C Oil (I assume that means 2 onces).

Thanks guys.

The condensor becomes a "trash collector" when the compressor spews debris into the system. It will take two to three compressor replacements to clean the system if the condenser is not replaced - even if the system is flushed.... You need to have them remove the condenser, old compressor, flush the lines and the evaporator, replace the compressor, accumulator, and orifice tube. They must also add the proper quantity of oil to each component and then evacuate and recharge. Once the job is done right, you'll see greatly extended compressor life.

Kevin
'93 Fleetwood Brougham
'05 Deville
'04 Deville
2013 Silverado Z71

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[ Give me a lift and its a cake walk....

Mike I used to work weekends at a full service station, Sunday 12 hours maybe 6 customers 2 lifts, 10000 in Snap on tools, and by my self, I was in high cotton :D Truth be told I would have paid him :)

Joe

I hear ya! :lol:

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If the orifice tube does not have any particles in the screen, I wouldn't think condenser replacement was necessary but....

That's good advice -- the guys here actually did recommend to me to check the orifice tube and I did, and it showed very little buildup. Just a few slivers of metal. For that reason, I didn't elect to have the condenser replaced. Maybe it's all caked up in the condenser still, who knows. Still runs like a peach though.

Jason(2001 STS, White Diamond)

"When you turn your car on...does it return the favor?"

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