2008 Saturn Astra AC Compressor

Tiny
ZEKEMILES
  • MEMBER
  • 2008 SATURN ASTRA
  • 1.8L
  • 4 CYL
  • 2WD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 80,000 MILES
The compressor failed in June 2013. I purchased an AC Delco compressor and receiver/drier from Rock Auto, which I had my usual mechanic install. I also purchased the expansion valve but the replacement was different than the original so that was not replaced. They flushed the system and cleaned the condenser. That was 6/20/13.
Three days later, 6/23/13, I was using the AC and the fan belt broke. At the time the car had about 70,000 miles on it so it did not seem unreasonable that the belt might break even though it happened so soon after the compressor was replaced.
In late November of 2013, the alternator had to be replaced. Soon after I noticed some noises that sounded like it could be related to the belt or equipment attached to it. I asked another mechanic about it that I also use and he said it sounded like it might be the bearings in the alternator. This was around May of this year. I let it go and then on July 12, the AC compressor I had purchased in June 2013 failed. Unfortunately the warranty was for only one year.
I went back to the mechanic who installed it last year and he told me the AC clutch had failed. I asked why and he was vague. I agreed to get a new compressor which I purchased through them. After that was installed I noticed there was a noise again at the belt when the AC was turned on and it felt like it was slipping and the engine would surge a little. I brought it back and he told me the alternator was bad but that it was under warranty so he would replace it and charge labor only. When he was checking the alternator he noticed the belt was damaged and he replaced it. This is the same belt he replaced about a year ago.
Of course my question are several.
Could a faulty compressor installation last year cause the belt to break by misalignment?
Could it also have caused damage to the original alternator several months later?
Could the belt have been mis-installed which caused the alternator to fail and ultimately the AC clutch?
Could the damaged alternator or mis-aligned belt cause the AC clutch to fail?
Can I have the failed compressor tested for what caused the problem?
I am going to pick up the car with the new alternator today and would like to know what you think.
Thanks
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Saturday, July 26th, 2014 AT 10:18 AM

9 Replies

Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
Hi:
You haven't had much luck with this. As far as the misalignment, if it was misaligned, it wouldn't have lasted as long as it did. In most cases, the belt would have either come off or it would have been shredded within the first 100 miles or so. As far as the cause of the alt failure being the result of installation, I have to again say no. The belt that runs both is on an automatic belt tensioner. It couldn't have been over tightened to cause bearing failure.
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Saturday, July 26th, 2014 AT 5:23 PM
Tiny
ZEKEMILES
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And what about testing the old compressor to determine why if failed?
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Saturday, July 26th, 2014 AT 8:15 PM
Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
The old compressor should have been tested before it was removed. However, since it wasn't, tell me this. Did it engage when you turned the AC on? Was there any noise from it? According to the mechanic, the clutch didn't engage. If you wanted to check that, you would need to provide a 12v power supply to the compressor to see if the clutch engages.
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Sunday, July 27th, 2014 AT 3:49 PM
Tiny
ZEKEMILES
  • MEMBER
No, it didn't engage and there was no noise.
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Monday, July 28th, 2014 AT 3:05 PM
Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
The only thing you can do at this point is provide power to the clutch to see if it will engage. It doesn't have to be in the vehicle, although it would have been easier. I have seen people use battery chargers to supply the power. Basically, the ground from the charger would go to the case of the compressor and then the positive would go to the power supply wire.

It's just a thought if you wanted to test it yourself.
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Monday, July 28th, 2014 AT 5:18 PM
Tiny
ZEKEMILES
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Thanks. I don't have a battery charger, Can I do it with jumper cables off my car battery?
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Monday, July 28th, 2014 AT 5:58 PM
Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
I guess you could, but be careful not to short anything that can cause further damage to the vehicle. You know, I would think that a nationally recognized parts store would be able to check it for you. If there are any near you, call and ask if they can do it.
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Monday, July 28th, 2014 AT 6:15 PM
Tiny
ZEKEMILES
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Understood. Thanks very much.
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Monday, July 28th, 2014 AT 6:59 PM
Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
I hope I helped.
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Tuesday, July 29th, 2014 AT 6:47 PM

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