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Thread: NEW A\C Compressor noise

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    Full Member 99-GMCSierraZ71's Avatar
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    NEW A\C Compressor noise

    My 99 GMC sierra z71 5.3 L A\C compressor packed it in, I took it into a certified shop to get it replaced, got it back yesterday, A\C works awesome but the compressor is a little noisy when it kicks in, I took it back today and let them hear it, they told me that the noise should calm down after the fluids run through it and it "breaks in", I have run the truck about 50-60 KMS (30-40 miles) and have been using it pretty much the whole time just to get it "broken in"

    Is that noise Normal? and do you guys think it'll go away in time?

    Its kind of a rattle buzz noise (sorry, hard to describe)

    They told me that if it doesn't stop, they will replace it but to give it a while to see if it'll stop first

    The compressor was an OEM compressor that came pre lubed from GMC (according to the Mechanic)

    Thanks in advance!

    Brian

  2. #2
    Forum Moderator Boudin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 99-GMCSierraZ71 View Post
    My 99 GMC sierra z71 5.3 L A\C compressor packed it in, I took it into a certified shop to get it replaced, got it back yesterday, A\C works awesome but the compressor is a little noisy when it kicks in, I took it back today and let them hear it, they told me that the noise should calm down after the fluids run through it and it "breaks in", I have run the truck about 50-60 KMS (30-40 miles) and have been using it pretty much the whole time just to get it "broken in"

    Is that noise Normal? and do you guys think it'll go away in time?

    Its kind of a rattle buzz noise (sorry, hard to describe)

    They told me that if it doesn't stop, they will replace it but to give it a while to see if it'll stop first

    The compressor was an OEM compressor that came pre lubed from GMC (according to the Mechanic)

    Thanks in advance!

    Brian
    Since you started a new thread (which was a good thing, btw)....I didn't want you to miss what I posted on the old one....

    Thanks for the compliment. There certainly a lot of guys on here that really have some helpful knowledge and experience....and they all share the desire to help out by sharing it to those who need it.

    I'm assuming when you said your compressor "packed it in" that means it died. It's hard to tell if the noise you are hearing is normal or not. It's just so hard to tell what it sounds like with written descriptions. Do you have the ability to make a video so we could hear it? Nothing against your description, but you can imagine how it would surely help to be able to hear it for ourselves.

    Before I delve into details here....is there anything you can tell me about what this A/C system's history has been? Have you ever had a leak? Have you ever had to add refrigerant? Any details about the actual failure? Anything you can say could help.

    Obviously, the new compressor and system is working fine and you are getting cold air...but you should be concerned about the noise since it might not be working for much longer. You do have one advantage here that some of us wouldn't have if we did it ourselves vs a shop. It sounds like they are treating you well and I'm sure there is some kind of warranty on the repair....right? How long is it?

    Now, A/C compressors will make a slightly different noise when first installed and will go through a "break in" period, but in my experience....it usually is something that only a knowledgable person would even notice. I'm only talking about someone like myself that would be listening for stuff like that. The fact that you noticed it does raise an eyebrow and does make me a little bit concerned. Don't be quick to make a conclusion something is wrong yet. There is a lot of details that have to be answered on the repair that only the shop would be able to answer. Before I go through a crash course on repairing a failed compressor.....Are you sure that it is the compressor making the noise? Does it go away when the compressor shuts off? Has it lessened in intensity at all over the number of miles you mentioned?...gotten worse?....same? Did they replace your belt as well?

    Compressors do come "pre-lubed" with PAG 150 oil. You can't just throw the new one on there and assume that it is the correct amount. The system oil isn't only in the compressor....it's found in every component. I always drain and measure the oil that comes out of the old compressor so I know what amount to use in the new one. Your total specs as far as capacity on that system is somewhere between 9-11 oz of oil total (entire system).

    Here are the guidlines that GM recommends on a compressor change.
    *All Compressors (drain and measure the oil)
    - If less than 30 ml (1 fl oz) is drained-add 60 ml (2 fl oz) to the new compressor.
    - If more than 30 ml (1 fl oz) is drained-add same amount that was drained to the new compressor.

    What else did they replace? Just the compressor? Do you know if they flushed the system or not? Personally, I have always flushed an A/C system when replacing a compressor that failed. Reason is that unless you do this....you have no way of knowing how much oil is in your system. Doing a system flush is not only important for the reason I just mentioned (removing all oil so you know how much to add).....it also serves the purpose of getting any sort of contaminants or moisture out of the system. A catastrophic compressor failure could have introduced pieces of whatever that could clog up lines. You have to remember that you really don't know what caused the compressor to fail in the first place. It could have been caused by contaminants in the system, or because it didn't have enough oil in it to begin with, etc. Flushing is the only way to ensure that you are starting at square one. I know some shops skip this step and others always flush them regardless to be on the safe side. There are a lot of "unknowns" here that you need to provide if possible and it might take you asking the guy who actually did the repair. Don't freak out if they didn't flush it. Like you said....it is working....so you probably don't have any blockages in the lines. However....even they didn't take the precautionary measures of flushing....it is an absolute requirement to drain the oil and measure how much was in the old one....and do the same with the new one so you can at least match the two. The noise you are describing could be just a bad reman....or because it has the improper amount of oil in the system even though the new compressor was "pre-lubed". The ccompressor comes with about 4 ounces in there...but there is no guarantee and is why you should always at least check by draining it and measuring it. Does this all make sense? I have no idea if they did all this or not....but your compressor obviously isn't liking something here since you noticed it and could have easily been caused by a sloppy repair....or because it is just a bad reman.

    Did they replace the accumulator/dryer? The accumulator/dryer should be replaced if the system is left open for any period of time over a few hours. Again, to be on the safe side....I usually replace it anytime there is a catastrophic failure of the compressor.

    Here are some more excerpts from GM on the accumulator/drier....as well as the evaporator and condensor related to oil.

    * Accumulator-Add 105 ml (3.5 fl oz) of new oil to the replacement accumulator to compensate for oil retained by original accumulator desiccant and bag assemblies. The accumulator should only be replaced if leaking due to a perforation, damaged O-ring seal seat, or damaged threads.
    * Evaporator-Add 90 ml (3 fl oz) of new refrigerant oil.
    * Condenser-Add 30 ml (1 fl oz) of new refrigerant oil.

    I know this can be complicated and tough to understand at first. You were right to be concerned....but before you consider what you need to do next....you need to find out as much as you can so you can make sure that you make the right decision here and either leave it alone or take them up on their offer to basically do the repair again. Because there are a lot of factors here as far as what could be causing this that were directly a result of the repair....you don't want to have them do it again. I would be suprised if a lot of the things I mentioned that need to be done were overlooked or skipped by the shop....so don't make the mistake of assuming they did something wrong. You just don't know yet. If it were me, I would do your homework here and do your best to understand what I have mentioned so you know enough to ask them the right questions. If you don't, you won't find out what you need to know because they think it will be over your head. Make sense?

    There are just WAY too many unknowns at this point for me (or anyone) to tell you with any certainty what the problem is....but you are smart to be concerned IMO. Especially since the shop seems to be so willing to do the repair again. They might be aware of something that the wish they had done differently and are worried that it will fail before the warranty runs out. I will be glad to continue to walk you through this and share what I know. I am not what I would consider an expert here...but I think I know enough to help you diagnose this and help you to understand what is involved here so the shop will tell you what you need to know. A little knowledge here will go a long way to you getting this right and having an A/C compressor that will work for as long as the first one did (assuming that it was original).

    Hope this helps.

  3. #3
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    If I recall any I have heard always have some noise associated with them, but should not be too loud.

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    Forum Moderator Boudin's Avatar
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    I would find out how long their warranty offer is good for as far as how long you wait and see if it calms down and gets tto sounding "normal".

    Simce they have listened to it.....take notice of their offer to replace it for you. If they really thought it was perfectly normal.....they probably wouldn't have been so quick to offer replacing it again. They definitely hear something "abnormal" and for a number of possible reasons (both honest and dishonest) are what made them say what they did about doing the repair again if it doesn't go away.

    I'm not saying that they are definitely being dishonest or honest. I just am trying to point out what the possibilities could be here. The fact that they listened to it and didn't say that what they heard was "normal" and isn't an indication of a problem and instead told you what they did.....tells me a lot. It could be anything from them being too busy to fool with it right now and because it is working fine for now....they are just trying to prevent you from having to have it in the shop for awhile. Of course, it could be that they are just trying to see if you will give up your concern and that it will at least last for 30 days....or 90 days....etc (warranty length).

    Bottom line here is that if I were you....I would interpret what they said as telling you that you need to get this repair done again. Just because it is blowing cold now....do not take that as evidence that there isn't anything wrong. They obviously see it as a problem and are apparantly being cooperative here....so the only way for you to get screwed here is from doing it to yourself by just learning to ignore it. Make sense? Like I said earlier....try and learn the bare minimum here on what I have said because it seems to me that they see it as a problem....but don't want to discuss it with you because it wouldn't make sense to you. Nothing against you or them....just trying to give you my opinion of what I imagine is the situation.

  5. #5
    Forum Moderator Boudin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by partsman View Post
    If I recall any I have heard always have some noise associated with them, but should not be too loud.
    I agree. That's my understanding as well....but you have to realize that we are at a huge disadvantage because we can't listen to it to make the determination of if it is acceptable level of noise or not. Since the shop has listened to it....that's all we have to go on here to help this guy out at this point. I may be wrong here, but I can't help but think they would have said something else besides what they did. I'm just going on their response and trying to read between the lines here to try and look out for the original thread starter's best interest here. Even if this guy lived close to me and was able to drive by my house to let me listen to it in person....I just would be more inclined to use what the shop said when he took it for them to listen to it as a reason to be concerned. It obviously is making noise that it shouldn't. I just can't help but think the shop doesn't think it is normal "break in" noise.

    Does that make sense? I apologize if I am not. It's been a long day and I don't know if I am being clear at communicating my thoughts on this issue or not.

  6. #6
    Forum Moderator Boudin's Avatar
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    The only other thing I can think of here about your issue is concerning the electronically controlled clutch that engages the compressor. I am not sure if the repair that you had done included this to be replaced or if the old one was used. I have seen remanufactured compressors that come with a new clutch and some that require that the clutch from the old compressor be removed and installed on the new one. A clutch issue could certainly cause a noisy situation.

    That being said.....again, I would have to say that when you took it back to them for them to listen....they would have been able to easily tell if it was the clutch that was causing the problem. They didn't, but I just wanted to throw that out there to you.

    In looking more in depth for you on the internet, I found something that I thought you would benefit from in reading. It is just a repeat in a lot of ways to what I already said in my first post....but I thought it might help explain what I said in a possibly more easily understood manner. Not only does it support what I feel are absolute requirements instead of optional "precautionary" steps/items that need to be done. It is a response from a GM technician on what to do when you have a compressor failure. I figure a GM technician is a heck of a lot more knowledgeable than me and might give a little more credibility to what I already said. As you can see, it is regarding this exact model year and motor (even though it doesn't really matter....this advice is universal IMO). I don't think the entire system should be replaced at all, but like I said earlier....a compressor failure should require a minimum of the compressor, accumulator/drier, and orafice tube to be replaced. It looks like even though I intended to include the orafice tube, I forgot to mention it be replaced in my initial post. My bad. One item I didn't think to include that it mentions is adding an inline filter. I agree that it is something you should at least consider here because your compressor did fail. Anyway, at least take a look below what I found. I hope it helps. I didn't think it would hurt.

    -------------------------------------


    VEHICLE: 1999 Chevy Silverado 1500 2WD w/ 5.3L

    OWNER INQUIRY: My A/C compressor burned up recently failed on my truck. What all do you recommend I have replaced? I have received a few estimates that ranged drastically in price. The reason appears to be what different shops feel is required to properly do the repair. I've been told everything from compressor and orifice tube, to the whole system. I want to do this right the first time. Because I live in the South and temperatures require a good working A/C system....I want to go about this to not only make sure that my A/C blows as cold as it did before compressor failed.....but because I don't want to get taken advantage of here due to my lack of expertise. Any help is appreciated.

    RESPONSE: Thanks for asking me your air conditioning question on your truck. At an absolute minimum I strongly recommend that the compressor, orifice tube and the accumulator/drier be replaced. Once those are done being installed, the whole system needs to be flushed out to ensure that you do not have anything in there that shouldn't belong.

    Since the old compressor failed it is likely that it put all kinds of debris through the AC system. This is why some people say that you should just replace it all. It is very important to consider not only what could have caused the compressor to fail in the first place, but also how the compressor failing affected the system as a whole. More times than not, a failed compressor will cause unwanted debris to be left in the system. If this debris is not removed, you will be sure to have problems. If debris ends up being pulled into the new compressor it can cause it to fail very quickly. I have found that flushing the system works well for getting the debris out and should ALWAYS be done as a precaution. It is very important to use a mechanic who knows what they are doing though because sometimes it is hard to get everything out. It is sometimes very difficult to determine why the compressor failed. It could be anything from it just was worn out to causes like improper oil level, refrigerant charge, etc. Besides doing things like flushing the system to remove debris, it is very important to make sure that once all the parts are installed, you have the proper amount of oil in the system as well as the proper amount of refrigerant. Most compressors come pre-filled with oil already in them, but it is extremely important to make no assumptions as to it's amount. I have seen as little as half an ounce to filled to capacity.

    One other thing you could to is have them install an inline filter as a precaution just to be sure that nothing gets to your new compressor. Auto air conditioning systems are very susceptible to debris and/or other contaminants anytime you have a leak or part failure (like a compressor failure) because the repair requires that this normally "closed" system must be opened.

  7. #7
    Full Member 99-GMCSierraZ71's Avatar
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    Wow Boudin (and Partsman), Thanks for allthe info!

    The owner of the shop is a good friend, he assured me that if there is something not right with the system and the compressor, he will make it right,he is hoping that the noise is just break-in period but he didn't seem to confident on it either, the mechanic that installed thinks the same thing, they both think that maybe the compressor is faulty, but now reading your post, I am thinking that its possible that the system was still contaminated and\or they didn’t flush it properly


    History on the a\c system


    Two years ago, my a\c stopped working, I took my truck to an a\c shop to get it checked(my friend's shop wasn't in business at the time), they told me that there was a leak in the system, I am not sure what they did (not up on a\c systems), I am assuming they did what they needed to do, told me that they put some sealant in, recharged it and it worked fine all summer. Didn't notice anything wrong until last summer when I went to use the a\c system again. No cold air.

    It cost a small fortune to recharge it the year before so I thought I would buy more sealant and a kit, did a bunch of internet research and made an attempt to charge it myself, probably a bad idea and really, if it wasn’t contaminated before, it was now, in any case, when the compressor started working again, when it started up, it made a god awful noise like it had no oil in it, I didn't have the money to get it looked at the time so I went without a\c all last summer, another really bad idea.

    This year, not wanting to go through another summer without a\c, I took it tomy friends shop and just said do what you have to do to fix it. they did their testing only to find that the compressor was done because there was no oil in it and I had run it without oil etc and it had been quite some time since it had been operational, I just told him to replace it and do what you need to doget it back to normal operation.

    My bill says they replaced the compressor and the refrigerant, checked the rest of the system for leaks etc etc, I am assuming they flushed the system of contaminates (I hope)

    I've attached a youtube video, the compressor kicks in at the 8 second mark and kicks out right at the end of the video, clearly you can hear the compressornoise when it kicks in

    Thanks for all your insight and knowledge
    Brian


  8. #8
    Forum Moderator Boudin's Avatar
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    Good to hear back from you. I just watched your video and I don't like what I hear. I can certainly see why you are concerned.

    Now that you have given a little bit more of the history....it is starting to make some more sense. That's great that the shop is run by a friend. Makes me worry a lot less that you will get screwed here.

    A couple things jumped out as I read your run down of the history. You mentioned that when it initially stopped working....the shop charged you an arm and a leg to put sealant in and recharge the system. Do you happen to remember about what they charged you? Since they didn't replace any parts....I'm led to believe that the reason it was so expensive was that your leak was a major one and it took a lot of refrigerant. Do you happen to remember anything about it based on what you saw? Usually, the oil used in an A/C system is very messy and is usually easy to spot...and hard to clean up. I would be willing to bet that at the very least, they located the leak....pulled a vacuum on the system....checked to see if their repair held....then recharged it to the proper level. Like you said, it worked....but only for that summer. The next summer rolled around and it didn't work. I wouldn't blame your self repair attempt as the reason the compressor went bad. I honestly don't think that you did any additional damage to it when you tried to fill it. It sitting for as long as it did is why it failed. Regardless of that....I believe that when you brought it in this summer to your friend, you had a system that had been open for quite some time and because it had been sitting like it had for as long as it had.....there was certainly the need for not only a new compressor....but also a definite need for it to be flushed to get it back to a situation capable of working (in addition to a new accumulator and orafice tube). Your video sounds like your compressor doesn't have enough oil. However, it is still blowing cold so it doesn't sound like there are any blocked lines. I'm tempted to think that your original leak was pretty big and they got lucky in it holding with just sealant. I would bet that the reasons you are having issues now all stem from that original repair attempt. I'm imagining that it probably didn't plug the leak completely and even if it did....it didn't hold for long and you were back where you started by winter. Because it sat for as long as it did.....you really needed a complete flush just to get the system clean and ready for refrigerant and oil....but you probably figured that.

    What to do from here is the $64K question....you have some advantages....your friend runs the shop.....certainly good to have for obvious reasons (and maybe some not so obvious). You can be sure you are going to be taken care of. If it were me....I would definitely ask some questions to your buddy about what exactly was done since you now have a little bit more knowledge than you did before. I certainly don't think that he will take you asking things like "did you flush the system?" or "how much oil did you end up adding to the system?"....or something like "I was doing some research and I found some info that you should always change the accumulator and orafice tube when you change a compressor that failed....what are your thoughts on that?" I really think he won't take those questions as you doubting his decisions but rather you just finding out more about what was done. I'm sure he did you right here, but I believe he isn't telling you the small stuff he did because he knows that you probably wouldn't understand what he was talking about. Does that make sense? The old compressor not having any oil in it definitely supports what I was thinking may be going on here overall. If the compressor had no oil....I would be quick to conclude that there isn't the correct amount of oil in the rest of the system. The compressor only has about roughly 1/3 of the oil that the entire system requires (about 4 oz). The rest of the total amount (9-11 oz) is spread in the other parts of the system. Once you have a talk with him and y'all go through the details of what he did....you can bring up "would you suggest we add some oil to it?".....etc. it all depends on what he did in that department as far as if he did add the proper amount....knows how much actually came in this compressor....etc. I certainly would want it done correctly if you happen to find out things like they skipped some steps or neglected to do something. I really don't think that compressor is breaking in by the way it sounds. If it ends up that the oil level being low is the reason.....I certainly would want a new compressor because that one on there now sounds like it isn't going to last. Just a lot of things to find out before I would want to suggest anything like add some oil and see if that quiets it down.....or leave it alone and maybe when he isn't busy.....go ahead and replace it.....or just wait and see.

    I hope this all makes some sort of sense. It's great to hear you have a friend in the shop....and certainly would make me less pessemistic that I would be replacing A/C parts every year just to stay cool.

  9. #9
    Full Member 99-GMCSierraZ71's Avatar
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    I have learned a lot just by your posts (and thanks again BTW) I will take the info you have given me and ask my buddy the questions you have proposed to me, he is a really decent guy, I will ask in a manner not to make them think I am all of a sudden a pro at A\C, I am sure he will take everything into account as they don't want this to happen again

    The original recharge 2 summers ago cost me $270.00, I thought it was a little steep but what could I do, they had me by the short and curlies, I was happy at the time because it worked fine all summer and never noticed any problem when the weather changed

    I'll keep you guys updated on the outcome

    Thanks again for you help
    Brian

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    Before going through the hassle of a R&R on another compressor unless you just want to, check other things, pulleys, and such, when the compressor kicks on it put a heck of a load on the motor, and belt running everything. It could be something else going bad, the new compressor is new tight and stiff. I have a cracked flywheel on mt truck if turn on the a/c it rattles like the crank and about to fly out the block turn it off it stops. Also are they sure they put the right amount of oil in it, when changing compressors your pour the old oil in a measuring cup then pour new oil in the new compressor the same amount.
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