Quick a/c belt question.

Discussion in 'Chevy Tahoe Forum (GMC Yukon, Cadillac Escalade)' started by Italianstln323, Jul 9, 2009.

  1. Italianstln323

    Italianstln323 New Member

    The other day, my ac compressor belt snapped on my 2002 Tahoe 5.3L. So I ran to Kragen and bought a new goodyear gatorback ac belt, and a serpentine as well, (I figured i might as well replace it too while i'm down there as it has 94000 miles.)

    So I switched them out no problem, and the serpentine runs beautifully, but when i turn on the ac, and it engages, i hear a loud-ish fast clicking noise that is heard when I accelerate. It goes away when i'm at speed. Does this sound like a problem with the ac tensioner pulley, or maybe something else?
  2. ct9a

    ct9a Epic Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    If the sound wasn't there before, than I would definitely check into whatever you messed with when changing the belt. Try seeing if the you can reproduce the sound while you have the hood popped and revving the truck in Park.
  3. Italianstln323

    Italianstln323 New Member

    I can reproduce the sound. I checked the Idler pulley/tensioner assembly when the vehicle was off, and there is about 1mm of wobble at the pulley. (see pic) Is that a normal amount of play, or could that be the culprit and it may be causing part of the belt to rub?

    The pulley in question is the one in the middle.
  4. unplugged

    unplugged Epic Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    Not a hard part to replace. Take the original off and inspect it closer. You will probably find that there is too much play in the assembly. Your local parts store will have the part. I did the idler on my 93.
  5. bob13

    bob13 Epic Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    I agree, for the cost replace it, but I do not think that is a lot of play in the pulley. Do it first then move on...let us know! Good Luck!
  6. Italianstln323

    Italianstln323 New Member

    Weeellll. I replaced the tensioner assembly but still heard the sound, so i did a bit more snooping around for anyone else with the same problem, turns out a friend had the same problem on an '01 Tahoe.

    From '00-'02, the ac compressors that they put in had defective clutches, so what happens, is when the engine hits a certain rpm band, the ac clutch randomly locks up, causing the tensioner assembly to flail wildly and bang against oil lines, the frame, etc. as the belt pulls tight. GM supposedly released a letter regarding the defective parts, but never issued a recall.......................:sign0017:

    So now I know its the compressor clutch, but my question now is, should I simply have it rebuilt with a new clutch, as it still blows cold, or should I just bite the bullet and buy a ramanufactured unit and pay to have it installed? Also price wise, what would be a decent ballpark figure?

    Thanks again, I appreciate all of the responses.
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2009
  7. KenSuburban

    KenSuburban New Member

    Same Problem

    I have a 2001 Suburban with the exact same problem. The Chevrolet dealer replaced my main clutch fan without any change.

    I will attempt to change the A/C compressor clutch and see if that fixes my problem.
  8. Italianstln323

    Italianstln323 New Member

    Actually this problem is caused by liquid slugging in the compressor, not faulty clutches. What happens is that the compressor struggles to pump the liquid freon back up to the top, (due to the fact that GM decided to put the compressor so low in the bay), and this causes the compressor to shake violently, and rattle the tensioner to the point that it bangs the stop tabs (the source of the sound) I found an online GM Tech who gave this answer:
    This is the information I was able to get from the TSB on the problem:

    Make : CHEVROLET Model : TAHOE Year : 2002
    Manufacturer : GENERAL MOTORS CORP.
    Service Bulletin Number : 030138019

    Replacement Service Bulletin Number: 030138019A Date of Bulletin : SEP 01, 2004
    NHTSA Item Number : 10005551
    Summary :
  9. suburban_atlanta

    suburban_atlanta New Member

    I know this is an old thread. I just had this come up on my 2002 Suburban 1500. Pulled out in traffic, heard the clattering noise for the first time ever (I've had the truck for 4 years or so) and the AC immediately quit. Took it to a local shop, they found the broken belt and a failed pulley. They replaced both and the sound continues (not quite as loud), so further research located this "slugging" info. It only seems to happen under acceleration, and I think so far, only when accelerating and turning.

    What I'm wondering the most is if there is something to be done to improve the condition before the compressor actually fails. Is this simply made worse by actual wear of the compressor or would evacuation and replacement of the refrigerant help? Perhaps it needs a bit more compressor oil than OEM specs call for? (Or would that make it worse?) I have searched quite a bit and all I see is this noise is generally followed by compressor failure.

    The TSB I read first was dated from 2004 and the car is a 2002. Mine went 8 years (apparently, I have no record of a replacement with the car) before it started doing this. Why such a wide variation? 2 years vs. 10?

    Something in my brain objects to to the idea that there is noting to do to prevent (or delay) the failure if the compressor is not actually locked up, (though I wonder if it hasn't already locked briefly in my case, causing the broken belt and broken part).

    One other thing I seem to keep hearing which aligns with what I have seen. My failure was under fairly heavy acceleration into a turn, and I seem to read this happens under acceleration or in a turn every time. That seems useful information somehow. I'm wondering what others have found. Is the issue made worse in, say, left turns under acceleration? (Mine broke in a left turn, pulling into a gap in traffic at probebly 4/4 throttle or so.)

    I had no time to deal with this so I paid someone to fix it. Now I expect that money will have been wasted and I'll be buying a compressor as well as replacing the belt and pulley soon as well. Any others' experiences will be appreciated.

  10. rileyjr16

    rileyjr16 Epic Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    If you post this as a thread, it should generate more responses and may help you solve your problem quicker.

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