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  1. #1

    Default Bad compressors or something else?

    I tow my 5500 pound travel trailer with a 1984 C20 Suburban with the 454 cid engine. Rear air was added about four years ago, and the system converted to run on R134a. All was well until last September when the 10 year-old compressor started losing more oil at the shaft seal than I was comfortable with. So Danny, who has his own AC shop and is the only one who has serviced the Suburban, installed a new, remanufactured compressor.

    Last month, we were coming home from a trip in 98 degree weather towing the travel trailer at 65 mph when the compressor clutch smoked & cracked. Danny & I both thought it was a bad clutch, and he installed a new, remanufactured compressor/clutch assembly from NAPA (his primary vendor) at no charge.

    We left a day or two later on another trip with the trailer in tow in similar weather, and decided the air conditioning was not doing a very good job of keeping us cool. Yes it was hot outside, but we have made lots of trips in the past in similar weather, and not had a problem staying comfortable.

    The next day, the compressor clutch smoked again after only five or ten minutes of travel on the interstate. It did not crack, though, and I found that at idle, it would engage the not-locked-up compressor.

    I told Danny all of this, but the only thing he did was install another remanufactured compressor/clutch assembly because his gauge readings appeared to indicate that was all the system needed.

    I checked the vent temperatures this morning before the sun came up. The outside temperature was 77 degrees, and a front dash vent measured 54 degrees on fan speed 2 of 4. A rear air vent measured 56 degrees on HIGH fan speed. This seems like reasonable performance. All is well for now.

    The problem is low confidence in the Suburban air conditioning working the entire time on our next out of town trip. There is every possibility that a slew of bad remans has been installed. But I worry there may be a situation where the high side gets so high that the compressor load is smoking the clutch. Other than a collapsed flex line, though, I cannot figure out a possible cause. If nothing else, I believe I am done with remanufactured compressors.

    Can anyone share insight into this problem? Is there something Danny is overlooking?

    Thanks,
    Tom

  2. #2
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    Did you replace the orfice tube?? that could be causing high pressure. Or else it was the compressor temporarily locking up from a poor rebuild.
    Mike

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  3. #3

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    I believe this truck has expansion valves - one for the front, and one for the back. Danny mentioned replacement when the first compressor failed. If he didn't replace the devices then, I'm sure he would have the second go-round.

    Tom

  4. #4
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    OK then i would for sure lean twards a crummy rebuild... I went thru three on one truck before i got a good one.

  5. #5

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    Since the truck is old, I was hoping someone would chime in with another possible problem. I had heard remans were not that good in the past, but was hoping their track record had improved. It does not sound like they have.

    My next compressor will be factory-fresh as I plan to keep the truck for quite some time.

    Thanks,
    Tom

  6. #6

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    Welcome to the club. Love that body style Suburbans.

  7. #7

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    I have a reman on mine , now since 2 years..so far so good !!!!

    1996 Suburban K3500 SLT DUALLY
    1988 Camaro RS 383 stroker LT1
    1992 32' Aero-tek Race Boat, 600 CI BBC
    WE CAN STICK A DIESEL IN ANYTHING
    SPECIALIZED IN CUSTOM CONVERSIONS OF ANY KIND
    Scott:glasses:

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by DAREDEVIL View Post
    I have a reman on mine , now since 2 years..so far so good !!!!
    You have the newer style compressor, which hasnt had as bad of a track record. The older Cheese Wheel shaped Compressors Arent The best once remaned.. Well when they were brand new they really werent that great...

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