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Would a mechanics recommend compressor replacement without complete check?


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leanman82
Novice

Dec 30, 2016, 7:01 PM

Post #1 of 14 (401 views)
  post locked   Would a mechanics recommend compressor replacement without complete check?  

TLDR;
Essentially, my car AC is not working. Toyota mechanics want me to pay an arm and a leg blaming the compressor. In my quest to cross-reference data sheets and wiring diagrams, it dawned on me, did they check this information? Or do they just *blame* compressor and do the real analysis once the money is coughed up?

BACKGROUND:
I own a 2009 Toyota Camry Base Edition. It turns out my AC compressor is a swashplate AC compressor, meaning it doesn't have a clutch but instead its piston displacement is variable based off the angle of the swashplate.

Link to a swash plate compressor: Link deleted

Now I'm on a quest not to spend $900 to $1600 to fix my AC issues (especially in freaking SUNNY Florida - oh the humanity) but that is the quote I'm getting from mechanics.

Now I'm an engineer so me chocking up money for a system I can very well learn myself and repair myself is not in my blood. I've fixed my 2001 Honda Civic when mechanics wanted me to hand over $800 by replacing the fuse box. Saved me $600 and I learned a lot about my car.

The following "Just Answer" forum post is right up my car's issue.
Link deleted .................. not allowed

It appears that the issue could be the solenoid valve towards my compressor. Toyota properly evac/recharged the system to rule out freon. Did they check everything else or just blamed the compressor?


(This post was edited by leanman82 on Jan 1, 2017, 2:39 PM)


Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Hammer Time profile image

Dec 30, 2016, 8:27 PM

Post #2 of 14 (390 views)
  post locked   Re: Would a mechanics recommend compressor replacement without complete check?  

How would we know if they checked the car or not.

If you want to challenge the diagnosis of a Toyota dealership mechanic, you'd better have more than that to go on.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.



leanman82
Novice

Dec 30, 2016, 9:17 PM

Post #3 of 14 (381 views)
  post locked   Re: Would a mechanics recommend compressor replacement without complete check?  

Huh? Last time I checked this was an Auto Repair forum.

They hooked it up to their pressure machine and did a full evac/recharge to rule out freon.

They also verified that the swashplate is spinning as expected but not angling which would be why the air is not getting ice cold. They just blamed it as a compressor failure.

There are two sides to look at a system. The system (i.e., compressor) has failed or the input into the system (i.e., solenoid valve, other) has failed. The adviser didn't debrief details of the AC amplifier or the solenoid valve when they gave back my keys.


Just to be CLEAR as it was not originally:
Nothing to challenge but certainly a lot of motivation to save $1600, which is NO JOKE. Plus I learn something. Not sure who I am trying to challenge as there are many things I am trying to do with my original post. Please refrain unless you have constructive troubleshooting advice.


(This post was edited by leanman82 on Dec 30, 2016, 9:32 PM)


Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Hammer Time profile image

Dec 31, 2016, 5:02 AM

Post #4 of 14 (351 views)
  post locked   Re: Would a mechanics recommend compressor replacement without complete check?  

You don't know what info he used to come to that conclusion. You don't know if he used a scan tool to analyze request vs output. You don't know if he commanded the compressor to full capacity while analyzing the pressures.

You may have a lot of incentive to save money but you don't have much evidence that the dealer diagnosis is wrong. We don't know what info he used to base his decision on and it doesn't sound like you do either.

If you don't trust his diagnosis, then simply go to another dealer and get a second opinion.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.



Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Tom Greenleaf profile image

Dec 31, 2016, 6:58 AM

Post #5 of 14 (346 views)
  post locked   Re: Would a mechanics recommend compressor replacement without complete check?  

Leanman82: I couldn't find a compressor for this that doesn't use a clutch no matter how it compresses. It works hard and this one is very pricey at wholesale cost almost $700 bucks and doesn't include markup price, a condenser which would he highly recommended as well.


Sorry you didn't get a detailed reason for the diagnosis nor seem to have a list of other items required or would void warranty of a new one.


In short that's nothing for bucks for A/C and you did say it was filled to spec and came up with it presumably not working so it would be an easy diagnosis if it was engaged and not working you just didn't hear what was noticed by what.


You don't have to go to a dealer as where you are should have a choice of specialty shops that would deal with A/C year round and would get a second opinion and detailed report on results found from what test to make you happy.


IMO from what I just saw this could easily be double the amount of bucks mentioned or wrong info and be nothing and not here to judge the price you were given nor told it was the compressor which is going to fail when driven low on refrigerant for any reason,


T



Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Hammer Time profile image

Dec 31, 2016, 7:23 AM

Post #6 of 14 (341 views)
  post locked   Re: Would a mechanics recommend compressor replacement without complete check?  

No, this compressor does not have a clutch. It only has a pulley on the front and I wouldn't trust this diagnosis to anyone but the dealer. Very few aftermarket techs understand how this compressor even works. VW has been using this system for years and many compressors were replaced incorrectly simply because techs thought the compressor was engaged simply because the pulley was turning.

The average tech will spend 20 minutes looking for the clutch that doesn't exist.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.



(This post was edited by Hammer Time on Dec 31, 2016, 7:24 AM)


Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
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Dec 31, 2016, 7:35 AM

Post #7 of 14 (333 views)
  post locked   Re: Would a mechanics recommend compressor replacement without complete check?  

I take your word for that. I wouldn't see one this new for A/C without a good reason about now. Not the point it could have been explained by the tech what was found to diagnose it and how.


Newer design for a car agree a dealer would probably best having to cover warranty now expired would have to take on anything that happened and have the people to handle it hopefully and at a price,


T



Discretesignals
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Dec 31, 2016, 8:36 AM

Post #8 of 14 (324 views)
  post locked   Re: Would a mechanics recommend compressor replacement without complete check?  

       
Would a mechanics recommend compressor replacement without complete check?

I am hopeful that most professionally trained mechanics out there aren't just shooting parts at vehicles without some sort of diagnosis first. There are times when you work on enough of the same brand of vehicle, you start seeing pattern problems, but even pattern problems can come and bite you in the butt if you just throw a part on because it has a high failure rate. Flat rate or not, you are given time to diagnose the problem. Hopefully the person used that time to be sure the compressor was the culprit. I would give the dealer tech the benefit of the doubt, because you have no proof that person didn't actually diagnose the issue correctly. If you have a problem with their diagnosis, ask them to show how they came to the conclusion the compressor is bad. Don't be afraid to ask questions to the person who actually diagnosed it to settle your mind instead of coming to your own conclusions based on your own imaginary scenarios.



Those systems are not that hard to diagnose. First thing, was to make sure the system had the proper charge weight. Seems that the dealer tech did that. Next would be to check for any engine or ac related codes to see if the compressor is being inhibited. From there you can actually command the ac compressor flow valve with the techstream or equivalent scan tool and monitor the signal at the compressor itself with a volt meter or O scope. I'd personally use an O scope. There should be a duty cycled 12 volt signal sitting at the compressor. If you see that signal and no change in pressures, the compressor is done. If you don't see a signal, then you need to go the other direction.

They actually make a tool that you can plug into the compressor to control the valve manually. Sometimes the valve itself goes bad and you can replace that separately, but if the compressor has lots of mileage and time on it, it would probably be wiser to replace the whole compressor. When they go to replace, it is a good idea to tear the compressor down to see how it failed. If you see lots of metal shaving inside, the whole system needs to be flushed and the drier, txv, and condenser replaced. That is probably why they gave you a price between $900-$1600 because they were not quite sure what they would find when they go to change the compressor out.


clutchless compressor tester tool






Since we volunteer our time and knowledge, we ask for you to please follow up when a problem is resolved.

(This post was edited by Discretesignals on Dec 31, 2016, 9:23 AM)


Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Tom Greenleaf profile image

Dec 31, 2016, 8:57 AM

Post #9 of 14 (307 views)
  post locked   Re: Would a mechanics recommend compressor replacement without complete check?  

Nicely put DS. OP - an A/C anything is using a "condensable" gas in this case 134a AKA freon which is a brand name if you use say Freon. Don't ask.


It is the heart and wear item in the system. The #1 reason for a failure remains a leak - 10 seconds from all new or mega years you don't know. Oil used in a system can only flow with the charge condensing gaseous product (refrigerant) to a liquid or oil just accumulates and the damage to other things happens.


That's why I was surprised any which way since the charge was ruled out if no variable pressures a compressor is the likely item then add on what is found when oil is checked for debris. You weren't told all that nor is it easy to peg a price both knowing what or where any leak is and what debris field it might have caused.


Where I'm lost is how you got such a low price or was that a guess? It shouldn't be up to you to fully understand entire system and how it works but an explanation to a point of what it needs to work again.


A/C just isn't so easy to explain how a compressed gas makes cool air for you rather a specialty of its own and a lot of trust on your part or go elsewhere for another opinion if not convinced and doesn't seem like you are nor am I quite yet,


T



leanman82
Novice

Dec 31, 2016, 11:08 AM

Post #10 of 14 (277 views)
  post locked   Re: Would a mechanics recommend compressor replacement without complete check?  

TLDR;
Thank you everyone for your responses. Hammertime is right, except it was the Toyota mechanic who was wrong (face-to-face discussion). Best response so far: Discretesignals. I'm an engineer, he is speaking my language. Up your game boys!

THE REST:
First off - Thank you for your responses. Even though the price tag is tremendous, understanding the problem is far more important and makes me feel better. With that amount of money, I can't be happy handing it over unless I truly know I made the right call and these responses are helping me with that. So simply thank you.

Now to echo HammerTime - this is a CLUTCHLESS COMPRESSOR. DON'T GET FOOLED! The FIRST time I took my car to this *SAME* Toyota dealership the tech determined the compressor clutch was engaging and he heard a clank sound pressing the AC button. I knew he was wrong due to prior recording tests (i.e., recorded the compressor sounds while playing with the controls). I reluctantly gave the dealership the benefit of the doubt. Weeks later, asserting myself prior to signing anything the adviser confirmed that the compressor did not have a clutch and it was a wobble plate. Thank god someone who got it and then went ahead with the evac/recharge (perhaps a bad choice but with few options at least I can rule out freon).

Now onto DiscreetSignals response:
In reference to techs performing thorough diagnosis, I hope so too. But my understanding was immature at that (2nd) visit and I only asked if all electricals were verified. By that time we were already at the counter to pay; He just politely said yes. Advisers aren't mechanics, their job description is to get me to agree to sign. The mechanic can care less about the dotted line so they would be more willing to go into detail with me but this visit he was too busy. I would hope they used the clutchless compressor tool but I am not sure. However from my understanding, I can do some troubleshooting by checking the AC amplifier output and perhaps even the pressure switch. Here is some resources I found that will help me analyze the problem.

Wiring Diagram (my engine is 2AZ-FE): link deleted ........... not allowed

The following "Just Answer" forum post is right up my car's issue: link deleted ............ not allowed
Links Disclaimer:
I put these links here because I'm not the first to encounter this problem, I'm just one of the firsts saying something about it. This car is still less than a decade old. So I wouldn't be surprised documentation of the problem is not yet mature. We are just now hitting 100000 miles with cars in this year category so I suggest we don't remove links for future users to gain help out of the problem I am facing. I know that when my 2001 Civic had problems, I found the clues left by others tremendously in my quest to fix my problems. Thanks all.


(This post was edited by Hammer Time on Dec 31, 2016, 12:21 PM)


Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Hammer Time profile image

Dec 31, 2016, 12:24 PM

Post #11 of 14 (261 views)
  post locked   Re: Would a mechanics recommend compressor replacement without complete check?  

You can put all the disclaimers you want but I suggest you read the rules for this forum.

Forum rules



Quote
Now I'm a tech




Quote
I'm an engineer, he is speaking my language. Up your game boys!


Interesting.................... what are you going to be tomorrow?



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.



(This post was edited by Hammer Time on Dec 31, 2016, 12:30 PM)


Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Tom Greenleaf profile image

Dec 31, 2016, 12:34 PM

Post #12 of 14 (254 views)
  post locked   Re: Would a mechanics recommend compressor replacement without complete check?  

 

Quote
I'm an engineer, he is speaking my language. Up your game boys!




Are you even thinking you're bragging or complaining? Worst customers that exist. Keeping in mind "Engineers" design this crap and takes dual Doctorates to figure why the "eff" you did it that WAY!
A. Because you'll never have to bust knuckles and really think what the problems are later.


Sorry you had a bad experience and one with an incorrect diagnosis probably only allowed so much time and would have figure it out if given the job. Most not like urban lore would have it techs are honest as anybody. Just take a wild hit from only maybe a bad experience.


When down to the brass tacks if you squeeze for price/costs to do a given job you'll be the disappointed one,


T



(This post was edited by Tom Greenleaf on Dec 31, 2016, 12:44 PM)


leanman82
Novice

Jan 1, 2017, 2:35 PM

Post #13 of 14 (213 views)
  post locked   Re: Would a mechanics recommend compressor replacement without complete check?  

O geez. Not trying to deal with a flame war guys. If you don't want to take what I have to say for what it is, that is fine. Thank you and good bye. Geez...


Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Hammer Time profile image

Jan 1, 2017, 3:46 PM

Post #14 of 14 (205 views)
  post locked   Re: Would a mechanics recommend compressor replacement without complete check?  

No problem. Consider this closed



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.







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