A/C squealing and binding (again)
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This is a discussion on A/C squealing and binding (again) within the General Maintenance, Troubleshooting & Accidents. forums, part of the Tech & Modifying & General Repairs category; So, last summer my wife's '02 WRX Wagon started making squealing sounds with the A/C on and the compressor pulley ...

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    A/C squealing and binding (again)

    So, last summer my wife's '02 WRX Wagon started making squealing sounds with the A/C on and the compressor pulley would lock up. I did some research on this forum and decided that the expansion valve was probably bad. I got a new one and replaced it with a lot of help from posts on this board and it worked great all summer. I was a big hero.
    Now, she tells me it's doing the same thing again. Squealing and binding and dragging the motor down when it does it. She said the A/C is also not very cold anymore. I am down in Charlotte for awhile on business and she's back in Boston so I can't diagnose it myself other than asking her what it's doing.
    Is it possible the expansion valve is stuck again or is it probably something else? I don't want to get involved with changing the expansion valve again if it's a bad compressor clutch or belt or something but it sounds exactly like it was before I changed the valve.
    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

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    Maybe I should have said *HELP* URGENT!
    After all it is 90 degrees in Boston this time of year!

    Seriously, we're moving the family down to Charlotte in 3 weeks and the prospect of driving 14 hours with no A/C with my wife, 3 year old son, and our cat and golden retriever in the car is not too attractive. So, *HELP* URGENT! :-)

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    Mine was having the same problem. You should check to see exactly how much refrigerant you have in the car. Mine was too high. When I removed some of the refrigerant, the problem was fixed. When there is too much refrigerant, the compressor is unable to run. This is why it stops and it is hot in the car.

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    IF your compressor is bogging down teh motor when the clutch engages it could definately have a compressor problem... Most the time when TXV's go bad they just let too much refrigerant flowing through it... That symptom is just not very cold ac, or if its stuck completely closed the compressor will either shut off or dump most the refrigerant through a high pressure relief valve
    2002 SRP wrx mt sedan
    AP v2.0 stg 2

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    I did try to check the pressure on the low pressure line (the one near the firewall) and it was in the 50-55 psi range which is what the recharging kit I bought said was right but I thought I read on this board that it should only have around 28 psi so I let some coolant out and still had the same problem, although a little less.

    Is it possible that the problem is on the high pressure side and if so can I just bleed some pressure out of there like the low pressure side or will I blow something up?

    After I changed the expansion valve last summer I charged the system with about 50 psi according to the instructions with the kit and it worked great. Is it possible that the pressure built up from there in the system to a point where it's locking up the compressor? Obviously bleeding pressure off on the low side line didn't work so does that indicate anything?

    Thanks very much again in advance

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    So, let me ask this. Do you think I can rule out the expansion valve as the problem again or could a 1-year-old valve go bad or have a bad o-ring or something?

    I'm asking because if it might be the valve again I need to order one in time to install it before we leave for our trip south to Charlotte in about 2 1/2 weeks. I'm leaning towards getting one just in case but if that's not the problem I'd hate to waste the money...

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    Can TrackReady or someone else with professional experience take a look at this thread and let me know what you think please?

    I need to get this problem sorted out in the next week or so before our trip. Lots of good karma to anyone who can help!

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    Have you checked the tension or condition of the AC belt? Is it possible your idler pulley or compressor pulley is seizing up?

    These are some of the possibilities I've been thinking about, as my 02 sedan is having a very similar problem right now. While driving with the AC on, I'm now hearing a whiff sound and feel some loss of power to the engine when this occurs. I assume the belt is skipping or one of the pulleys is seizing.

    Let us know if you figure it out.

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    You can't go off of the gauge that comes with a charging kit. You need to get a set of manifold gauges and read the high and low side pressures to know if the expansion valve is getting stuck closed or if there is some sort of blockage or whatever. FWIW I had ane xpansion valve get stuck closed, the compressor made a horrible squealing noise and the discharge hose exploded.

    Low side should be 18-28 psi
    High side should be 213-242

    If your low side pressure is actually in the fifties, either there is too much refrigerant (there should be 1.3-1.5 pounds of it in there), the expansion valve is bad, or the compressor is taking a dump.

    If you do end up changing the valve or any other componant again you really should flush the whole system out and put new oil in it, especially if the oil that is in it now is grey/black ( all that gunk suspended in the oil can form clogs/wear out the compressor). the oil should be clear.

    Now I must tell you that I am no expert in a/c repair. I have done a few repairs/replacements/installs/recharges out of necessity. But what I do know for certain is that you need a good set of gauges to properly diagnose the problem.
    Last edited by rickyh; 06-23-2008 at 08:10 PM.

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    Yes, I'm sure that's a possibility. I'll check it when I get home next week. I'll report back when I get it figured out.

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    OK, I just ordered some manifold gauges.
    Do I check the pressure with the A/C running full blast as the instructions with the A/C recharge kit say to do?

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    Registered User rickyh's Avatar
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    Connect high and low side gauges. check pressure with ac on high/recirc with the engine at 1500rpm's.

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    OK, thanks

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    Did you ever get this resolved? If not what were your gauge readings...
    2002 SRP wrx mt sedan
    AP v2.0 stg 2

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    I'll be working on it when I get home next week.
    I'll report back then. Wish me luck...

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