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Need third V5 in 2 months?

galaxiedan on Mon September 20, 2010 5:02 PM User is offline

Year: 1998
Make: Cadillac
Model: Catera
Engine Size: 3.0
Refrigerant Type: R134a
Ambient Temp: Hot
Country of Origin: United States

I bought this car a couple of months ago and it had been sitting for a few years and the AC would not come on. I took it to an AC shop and had them charge it and they also put dye in the system. The charge lasted maybe 3 days. The system blew cold and was quiet. After taking the car back to find out where the leak was they informed me that the compressor seals were bad and it needed a new compressor. I bought a new V5 and a drier off an online auction. I installed the new parts and had a friend help me charge it (During installation I put in 3oz of PAG150 in unit and 2oz in drier). The new compressor (new V5 with Delphi stickers on it) is louder than the old one and seams to load the engine more. Its blowing cold and don't think much about it. Within 2500 miles its so loud you have to shut air off in the drive through! Seller agrees to send me a replacement.
The new one I get is made by CompressorWorks. After having the system evacuated I replace the compressor and the drier again and this time I flush the lines with brake cleaner and compressed air. The line were clean with no debris in them. After charging the system again. I notice that this compressor is also loud. I took the car today to an AC shop and had them "Diagnose" the system. They checked the pressures and said all was good but that I have a bad compressor?

Is it possible I am getting bad new compressors or could it be something else?

chris142 on Mon September 20, 2010 9:13 PM User is offline

Anything is possible even 3 bad compressors in a row but w/o pressures we can't tell you much.

BTW I put 4 new fan clutches on a Dodge van before I got one that worked. 3 were Made by Hayden and they just free wheeled while the temp went up and up. The 4th was a Chinese Torq Flo from AutoZone and it worked correctly.

TRB on Mon September 20, 2010 9:17 PM User is offlineView users profile

Hayden Fan clutches stink in my opinion.

3 compressors and the system was never flushed. How much oil you think is in the system now? Our resident CW expert will be by and I'm sure he is going to touch on this a little.


When considering your next auto A/C purchase, please consider the site that supports you:

GM Tech on Mon September 20, 2010 9:28 PM User is offline

Brake clean is a dissolver--sounds like it dissolved the oil in the compressors.....

The number one A/C diagnostic tool there is- is to know how much refrigerant is in the system- this can only be done by recovering and weighing the refrigerant!!
Just a thought.... 65% of A/C failures in my 3200 car diagnostic database (GM vehicles) are due to loss of refrigerant due to a leak......

TRB on Mon September 20, 2010 10:16 PM User is offlineView users profile

Originally posted by: GM Tech
Brake clean is a dissolver--sounds like it dissolved the oil in the compressors.....

Missed the Brake Clean!

When considering your next auto A/C purchase, please consider the site that supports you:

HECAT on Tue September 21, 2010 7:10 AM User is offline

On-line auctions can sometime be the place to dump product that cannot be sold elsewhere. I am surprised and glad you could at least get another unit from the seller. IMHO, not the best place to obtain quality parts.

Flushing the lines with brake cleaner and compressed air does not properly (and cannot) address the oils a debris that reside within the heat exchangers. Improper flushing will often add more contamination and problems to a system. Unfortunately, most repeat A/C failures are most often attributed to the failure to do it properly.

Looks like you need to take the entire system to clean and dry bare metal. This can only be accomplished with proper flushing or new parts.


HECAT: You support the Forum when you consider for your a/c parts.


bohica2xo on Tue September 21, 2010 10:45 AM User is offline

Sure glad nobody ever made a fake sticker for an expensive part - and slapped it on a fake part in a country far, far away...
If they did someone would probably sell it for a cheap price out of his garden shed via online auctions.

When you put oil in the compressor, where exactly did you put it?


"Among the many misdeeds of the British rule in India, history will look upon the act of depriving a whole nation of arms, as the blackest."
~ Mahatma Gandhi, Gandhi, An Autobiography, M. K. Gandhi, page 446.

galaxiedan on Tue September 21, 2010 5:04 PM User is offline

To answer a few questions:

I filled the "new" compressors (both) through the bolt hole on the side that had a sticker on it that said "Put oil here"

Unfortunately both the shops that I went to would not mess with my car unless they put the parts on. I was quoted 4.7 hours labor at $80 an hour just to change the compressor. One shop said they dont work on Cateras? I changed it and flushed the lines in about 2.5 hrs.

I used brake cleaner only on parts that were removed from the car (never the new compressor) and blew them out good with 120psi air. The parts were allowed to then air dry.

I drained the oil out of the second unit (it was locked up) hoping to see broken parts and the oil was pretty clean. No chunks, grit, pieces, or anything crazy.

I still have the third compressor on the car and its working just sounds like a bad rod bearing anytime you turn it on. Its not crazy loud, most people would not notice it but i'm sure it wont last.

I'm leaning towards bad compressors, but 2?

I wouldnt consider myself an auto mechanic but I've successfully rebuilt an auto trans, changed multiple motors, and maintained all my old cars for 20+ years. Never had this much problems

galaxiedan on Tue September 21, 2010 7:30 PM User is offline

Another thing I would like to add is that the original compressor (90k miles and worked fine just leaked out the sides) is easy to turn over by hand. Both of the replacement units were very hard to turn over when I put the oil in them on the bench. I had to use a ratchet with some force. I am planning on putting new seals in the original one but don't want to damage it if I've overlooked something. Thanks for the responses.

iceman2555 on Wed September 22, 2010 7:04 PM User is offlineView users profile

There is one very important aspect of this repair.....the lack of sufficient lubricant. The system was flushed and the system was only charged with 5 oz of lube. Spec's call for 9 oz. This is one area of concern. There are others that seem or could be a possible cause of this noise issue. Three compressors and all from different vendors......I seriously doubt the compressors are at fault.

The V series compressor is 'one of those' that needs to be charged with a machine. It is imperative that the correct amount of refrigerant is in the system. An undercharge of 2-4 oz can have a very serious issue with this unit. The lower charge rate will react a a low pressure signal to the compressor control valve. This will result in the compressor 'destroking'. During this phase the control valve allows for discharge pressures to be introduced into the compressor case. This is part of the control mechanics of the unit to allow for a constant pressure in the evap. The down side of this is that during this destroke mode the transfer of lubricant into the suction side of the compressor is reduced or may even be stopped completely. The migration of lube is necessary to maintain a constant flow of lubricant to the bronze sleeve bearing on the wobble plate. There can be a sufficient amount of lubricant in the case and the failure of the system to properly move lubricant to this high pressure area will result in failure of the bearing. Noise is normally the first indication. The down side...your compressor is already headed for the junk pile. Suggest to simply run it till it dies. Then repair the system as it should be.....replace all necessary parts...and a strong suggestion to replace the condenser this time also. Flush the remaining parts till they are clean...clean...if it takes a takes a gallon. Capture your expelled flush and drain thru fine mesh paint strainers....flush until no more debris is evident. Air purge the system to removal all residual chemicals....lube it correctly this time. 3 oz in compressor gut pack is great. Be sure to tighten the 'bolt' will leak if not installed correctly. The remainder of the lube can be placed in the evaporator and system components. I would suggest to change the TXV also....this many compressor failures and the chance that the TXV is contaminated is very good. Why take a chance now.....if I were doing this job..suggest to use an OE TXV. That is just my $.02 worth.

The most important aspect occurs now....after the system is should be static charged by a technician utilizing the correct equipment to properly charge the system. The use of can is highly discouraged. The system then should be completely evaluated at this point to insure proper and correct performance. The use of temperature differentials is highly recommended.

Not a fan of brake clean. First it leaves a residue...secondly it does not clean with a s*&t. There is simply an insufficient amount of chemical available and it evaporates too rapidly. A gas or vapor is not going to clean a system. The flush must remain in a complete liquid thru out the flush procedure. HECAT has tested this more times than he cares to admit and we have also. What we learned that worked on a 1977 Impala does not work on a 2007 Impala. The modern AC system bears little resemblance to the system of yesterday. Service procedures must change to accommodate these changes.

These are two areas that fail very rapidly when the system is undercharged or not sufficient refrigerant flow.

The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.
Thomas Jefferson

Edited: Wed September 22, 2010 at 7:08 PM by iceman2555

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