Air conditioner compressor noise?
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This is a discussion on Air conditioner compressor noise? within the General Maintenance, Troubleshooting & Accidents. forums, part of the Tech & Modifying & General Repairs category; My WRX just recently started making some rather strange noises when the AC is turned on. While I am driving ...

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    Registered User SubyDude05's Avatar
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    Air conditioner compressor noise?

    My WRX just recently started making some rather strange noises when the AC is turned on. While I am driving with the AC on, I will intermittently hear a "PSSSSSTT" noise coming from the engine about every 30 seconds or so. It almost feels like the power is slightly effected when the AC makes this noise as well. Any ideas as to what this could be? Is my AC on its way out? It still blows very cold air.

    I also have about 300miles untill I cross over the 36000 mile mark, so would this be something that I could still potentially get fixed from the dealership under warrently if I act quickly?

    Thanks
    Fresh into a Suby...

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    Registered User psychobooe's Avatar
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    I think I may have the same issue. I get a strange sound that seems like the AC belt is slipping. I can replicate the sound in the garage by holding the rpm's at about 2500 and turning the AC on. It seems that when the compressor kicks in the belt slips a little and makes that noise. It only started happening after I replaced the AC belt.
    That being said, this is only my personal diagnosis of the problem. If you could take it to a dealership and have them look at, determine the problem, and then report back here, that would be a huge help. I've been thinking about getting a new AC belt to hopefully cure the problem, but I'd rather know specifically what is wrong before just throwing money at the problem.
    In closing, I'm pretty sure that it's just an issue with the AC belt itself. I say that because I never had this problem with the stock belt. It only started happening after I changed the belt.
    Please let me know if you find out anything. Thanks.

    P.S. To actually answer your question (sorry for my ramblings on), yes this is absolutely something that should be fixed under warranty. Get that thing to a dealership on Monday morning and make an appointment. If they can't get you in right away, make sure you let them know that you're close to your 36,000 mile mark and that you want the problem fixed under warranty. Have a tech check the odometer that day. That way if it goes over 36K before they get you in, you'll still be set.
    Last edited by psychobooe; 09-13-2008 at 02:42 PM.
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    He simply abides. SD_GR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SubyDude05 View Post
    Any ideas as to what this could be?... I also have about 300miles untill I cross over the 36000 mile mark, so would this be something that I could still potentially get fixed from the dealership under warrently if I act quickly?
    It's likely the belt. Make an appointment and make them replace the belt under warranty if necessary. In my experience tightening it is not the answer; once it starts slipping it's time for a new one usually. They're not expensive but you are still under warranty anyway.

    Quote Originally Posted by psychobooe View Post
    It seems that when the compressor kicks in the belt slips a little and makes that noise. It only started happening after I replaced the AC belt.
    If you did not use an authentic belt or if you did not tighten it enough initially, it may very well be slipping (again). I used the Subaru belt and tightened it well, and have had no problems (plus everything is quieter now; I did the alternator belt too while I was there anyway and am glad I did).
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    Registered User psychobooe's Avatar
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    Yeah, I used a Goodyear Gator belt which I thought would be better. Obviously I was wrong. Also, I might not have tightened it enough initially. I was a little worried about over tightening it. I'll probably end up replacing both belts (alternator/power steering and AC) again and tightening accordingly.
    Hey SD, do you happen to know the part numbers for the OEM belts? Thanks man.
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    He simply abides. SD_GR's Avatar
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    Part No. Description Amount
    73323AC000 PT871096 A $19.43
    809218260 V Belt-18X $22.43

    I assume the first part is the A/C belt and the second is the alternator belt. Prices were from a semi-local dealer and current on 19.03.2008 in CA.
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    Registered User psychobooe's Avatar
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    Thanks SD.
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    You're welcome!
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    I lied. I cheated. I bribed men to cover the crimes of other men. I am an accessory to murder. But the most damning thing of all... I think I can live with it. And if I had to do it all over again - I would. Benjamin Sisko
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    I had to replace the alternator belt a few weeks back because it broke. I later examined the AC belt and saw that it too needed replacement.

    I took my STi it to a local shop and had them replace the AC belt.A week later while running the AC noticed a loud noise every 25 seconds when RPMs were above 2k. I took it back to the repair shop today and he diagnosed it as an AC clutch problem. I asked him if it was belt slippage and he said no way. I am not convinced because the problem wasn't there until after he replaced the belt with some generic made in Mexico one. I wonder if the belt is slipping as you guys say or if it really is the AC clutch. Is there an easy way to test w/o installing a new belt. Maybe I should try to increase (decrease?) the tension.

    I've looked a a couple of online Subaru parts sites but have yet to find an AC clutchpart. I may try to change it out if I can find one.

    I'd be really interested to know how you guys solve the problem: OEM belt or new compressor or ?.

    BTW does anyone know what proper tension is for the AC and serpentine belts? Thanks.
    Last edited by sti_rick; 09-14-2008 at 12:28 AM.

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    sorry, double post.
    Last edited by sti_rick; 09-14-2008 at 12:28 AM.

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    Registered User psychobooe's Avatar
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    I'm 100% sure that my issue is the belt slipping. I've tightened it up, and the sound went away for about a week, but then it came back. If your problem is the same as mine, and it sounds like it is, then it's just the belt slipping. Get an OEM belt, and the problem should be solved.
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    I just had this happen to me starting about a week ago. Initially about 3 months ago one of my drive belts tore apart and I went to the AutoZone and got 2 replacement belts (dont remember the mfg) and replaced them myself. They were just a little too big, even though they worked fine (after a second tensioning) they were creating this fine dust of rubber because the belt was obviously rubbing up against something causing it to flake off. I didnt worry about it too much, and after 6k miles I took my WRX into the Sub dealership for its 60k mile checkup and they told me the belts were too big and they would replace them with Sub OEM parts, which I was fine with (they actually did it for free). Unfortunately about 3 weeks later this same thing happened to me, I'd get that PSSHHTT sound, and a drop in power every 30 seconds or so. Shutting off the AC stopped it so I figured it was the condenser. I plan on adjusting the tension tonight and see if that helps, but definitely I will be taking it back to Subaru so they can fix their belt so it stops slipping.

    I was super stressed about this for a bit, I had no idea what the h3ll was wrong with my WRX. I'll let y'all know how it goes. Odd that the AutoZone belt worked fine (although a little too big) and the Subaru Genuine parts are causing me heartache.

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    When I first bought my WRX awhile back, I heard could hear the same noise, feel the same loss of power, and I was scared. I had no idea what it was. I posted here and someone told me it was probably the air conditioner. I then found it was true when the noise stopped once I shut the AC. I think it's just the way the ACs are built in our cars, they seem to make that sound.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

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    It ended up being the belt tension. After ratcheting it up some the belt no longer slips and it has been running fine for the past 4-5k miles. I had the same thing that when the AC was off it didn't have the issue, although i dont think the AC is actually to blame for this one.

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    Registered User shello007's Avatar
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    Angry Slippage

    I had the Squeeling/ Chriping noise from the Cluth Mechanism. Tightening the belt helped alleviate that. But now it slips and you can feel the power loss. ( Same thing you guys are talking about) When this slippage occurs, not only does the car lose a little power, but the air also starts to feel a litle ambient. The Summer's here, and I really cannot afford a compressor. I am a bit cautious about tightening the belt further. It's kind of comforting to see more people with the issues. ( BTW) I changed my belt this spring after the tensioner pully shelled and I replaced it with a new one and a new belt. I hope if anyone finds a solution they can post it immediately if not soon.

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    Registered User Panicbutton18's Avatar
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    I'm getting a similar noise, but I'm pretty sure the AC compressor in my car is completely hosed. I started hearing the "Pshh" noise and feeling the power drop every so often about a month ago whilst driving at high RPM, and now every time I turn the AC on its only a matter of time before the noise and subsequent power loss occur. I don't think this is a belt tensioning problem unless a slipping belt will cause the clutch in the compressor to disengage (if this does occur let me know). That, and the belts were replaced by a dealership and the proper tension was recorded on the service records. Also the noise began after several thousand miles of normal AC function. I am going to replace the entire compressor (if I cant find the clutch part) and I'll let everyone know how that went.
    -excuse spelling and/or stupity I'm ridiculously tired right now

    --- editing to avoid a nasty double post XD. Turns out that the "pshhh" I kept hearing followed by the compressor cycling off ever so often was caused by a simple OVERPRESSURE problem, as opposed to the underpressure issues many air cons have after a while. I had just got my subie from the dealership a few months ago and since they did charge the a/c before letting me have it I never suspected a pressure problem, but I should have expected as much from the grease monkeys at the local dealership. So before you replace expensive parts make sure you've checked the simple stuff... For a second there I was dreading the 300+$ bill for that compressor (guys at local parts store were sure it was hosed...)
    Last edited by Panicbutton18; 07-18-2009 at 01:32 PM.

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