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  1. #1
    Senior Member TheDecoy's Avatar
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    Unhappy They don't make AC Compressors like they used to!

    ... or maybe they do an I just have a disturbingly effective technique for killing them

    So I just got the call I was dreading from the auto-elec place I left my car at this morning. My third AC compressor is leaking from the front (pulley shaft) Seal.

    This makes 2 new (1 recond and 1 brand new from usa) compressors in just over 2yrs.

    Both in A1 condition except for the this bloody shaft seal

    Now I know all the 3rd gens like to kill AC comps but this is getting ridiculous and I'm pretty much having my "Mendozaaaaaaa!" moment




    So ... what I really want to know is ... what the hell in my AC system keeps killing these front seals???

    For that matter, what process could kill these seals in any car when they haven't been in there long enough to perish???

    I know several of you are already hovering over the "quick reply" button to post something about just removing AC and putting in a short belt ... but I live in Brisbane, my prelude is my daily driver and my work doesn't appreciate me arriving soaked in sweat

    I am open to the idea of replacing other parts of the AC system if it means I can stop buying compressors ... just wondering what other components could be causing this?

  2. #2
    PA Janitor Bob's Avatar
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    No idea on cause, however I have 2 A/C pumps here. 1 I know has working seals (even though its 20 yo) but both have wobbly pulleys. You are welcome to them if you want them.

  3. #3
    Senior Member TheDecoy's Avatar
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    Thanks Bob, although I am pretty sure I would kill them in record time based on my current rate.

    But their existence does further support my giant W T F over the fact that I can blow the seals on two brand spanking new ones with non-wobbly pulleys.

  4. #4
    Silver Member PJF_Lude's Avatar
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    just remove AC and put in a short belt

    But seriously. I don't know what car mine is from, but it's not from a 3g lude, and it's been fine for at least the last 13 years. I'll see if i can spot some sort of useful number on it.
    ~Ian~

    Anything thing I say is my opinion, all care, but no responsibility taken.

    1989 Prelude Si Turbo - Laguna gold - Progress thread index or My Garage
    Prelude Australia POTM - June 2009 ..... Prelude Power POTM - July 2010
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  5. #5
    PA Janitor Bob's Avatar
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    While you are there change the belt Ian.

  6. #6
    Silver Member PJF_Lude's Avatar
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    haha, thanks Bob. I've been to auto parts stores multiple times over the last week, and only once did I remember to look for a belt and guess what. They didn't have the right size.
    ~Ian~

    Anything thing I say is my opinion, all care, but no responsibility taken.

    1989 Prelude Si Turbo - Laguna gold - Progress thread index or My Garage
    Prelude Australia POTM - June 2009 ..... Prelude Power POTM - July 2010
    2006 CBR1000RR - Silver Metallic - Clicky

  7. #7
    PA Janitor Bob's Avatar
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    Dan, what type of refrigerant are they filling it with? It may play a part in the seal issue. I can only assume they are using a suitable gas.

    Mine was never re-gassed and still running on R-12.

  8. #8
    Senior Member TheDecoy's Avatar
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    haha, thanks Ian. Although again I wonder if that model comp would last any longer given that real 3g ones seem to live that long in other cars too (just not mine).

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob View Post
    Dan, what type of refrigerant are they filling it with? It may play a part in the seal issue. I can only assume they are using a suitable gas.

    Mine was never re-gassed and still running on R-12.
    Now that is something I have seriously been wondering myself. I will ask them when I go pick it up in the morning (I have opted to just re-gas it for now and test how long it takes to leak from full).

    Even still I am sure I remember both of these new units supposedly being compatible with modern gases.

    Just to get all Dr House for a minute ... what are the basic causes of this seal leaking?
    - excessive shaft play stretching seal (but new shafts == no play)
    - over-pressurised gas (but in 2 differently sourced new comps, and why no leaks elsewhere)
    - corrosive gas
    - ???
    - lupis

  9. #9
    PA Janitor Bob's Avatar
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    OK. What if the system held pressure but had a blockage. Say for instance the expansion valve was blocked with a small particle. The system would continue to pump but over pressurize. Leads to failed seal.

    I wonder if they can confirm flow of gas. I guess this would be noted but a lack of cooling too.

  10. #10
    Senior Member TheDecoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob View Post
    OK. What if the system held pressure but had a blockage. Say for instance the expansion valve was blocked with a small particle. The system would continue to pump but over pressurize. Leads to failed seal.

    I wonder if they can confirm flow of gas. I guess this would be noted but a lack of cooling too.
    Excellent! Start the patient on chemo, high-dose antibiotics and ... erm, sorry got carried away there.

    Seriously though, that sounds very plausible to me. I will run it past them tomorrow.

    There is also the nagging feeling I get about that custom vampire relay circuit I have on my compressor power line (that relay controls power to my ac fan) ... it was done by the place that swapped out my first compressor when they couldn't get the AC control unit to power on the fan when it should. Basically it means the fan gets power whenever the AC comp does, but it also created a strange return earth circuit that powers the lights on my climate control after the car is off (for as long as the fans run their cool down cycle). Perhaps this removes the ability for the comp to emergency power-off in an over-pressure situation too.

  11. #11
    PA Janitor Bob's Avatar
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    Any situation where human hands have touched the wonders of OEM manufactured items it will always leave the possibility open for faults.
    It would certainly be nice to find out exactly what they did. It might be worth a search and destroy mission to trace the wiring.

  12. #12
    QLD Administrator AdReNaLiN's Avatar
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    I was also going to suggest the existence of foriegn particles in the AC system...

    Could cause blockages or premature wear on the seal?

  13. #13
    Gold Member Pacman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PJF_Lude View Post
    haha, thanks Bob. I've been to auto parts stores multiple times over the last week, and only once did I remember to look for a belt and guess what. They didn't have the right size.
    Try that place on Ipswich rd. Just near the Donaldson rd overpass at Rocklea. I think it's named 'Pulleys' or something random like that. If they don't have it. They'll get it.

    Thats where I got my Gates Racing belts from.
    Last edited by Pacman; 23rd February 2011 at 07:53 PM.
    http://www.preludeaustralia.com/foru..._view&id=12025
    Link to my garage.^^^^

    When words fail, VTec speaks!

    Quote Originally Posted by EXO8IC View Post
    My car is a twin turbo and has a blow valve with another little valve thing attached which silences that WOOSH (which I HATE) but it makes more of a strange sucking noise which can be heard quite loudly from my vents on the bonnet. It's quite odd...

  14. #14
    Regular Member forbeszy's Avatar
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    I had the exact same problem... Went through a couple of new & recon'd compressors.
    It turned out that my TX valve in the evaporator box was fcuk'd... Was told by the bloke that fixed it, that mine was jammed closed and a build up of ice can actually form in the evap' box and in turn stuff the compressor... Something along those lines.

    I got mine done at Natrad, I was very happy with their service

    Just my experience with the same problem, hope it helps...

  15. #15
    Senior Member TheDecoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob View Post
    Any situation where human hands have touched the wonders of OEM manufactured items it will always leave the possibility open for faults.
    It would certainly be nice to find out exactly what they did. It might be worth a search and destroy mission to trace the wiring.
    Actually it isn't as mysterious as it sounds. I long ago traced it all out and it literally replaces the power wiring for my condenser fan with one directly to the battery terminal (via a relay which is spliced into the main power wire on the compressor). Essentially if the compressor gets power, the fan does too.

    Quote Originally Posted by AdReNaLiN View Post
    I was also going to suggest the existence of foriegn particles in the AC system...

    Could cause blockages or premature wear on the seal?
    Yes, this has been my concern too. Now I am wondering if those foreign particles might be ice vvvv

    Quote Originally Posted by forbeszy View Post
    I had the exact same problem... Went through a couple of new & recon'd compressors.
    It turned out that my TX valve in the evaporator box was fcuk'd... Was told by the bloke that fixed it, that mine was jammed closed and a build up of ice can actually form in the evap' box and in turn stuff the compressor... Something along those lines.

    I got mine done at Natrad, I was very happy with their service

    Just my experience with the same problem, hope it helps...
    Thankyou, that is exactly the kind of info I am hunting for. Definitely a new avenue to investigate because the multiple different workshops I have dealt with always just want to blame the previous compressor and put in a new one.

    I picked up the car this morning and spoke to the guy. Ran the idea about blockages past him and he was not convinced (although that was before I knew about the evap-box icing) so we were talking about other causes of over-pressure events.

    He was suggesting that the condenser overheating would also generate excessive pressure that could blow seals ... which isn't entirely impossible considering I have the 2-row radiator in between the condenser and the slim fans, on top of which I have that custom wiring for the condenser fan (which in theory should be running the fan more than the comp control unit would as this supposedly does it based on some kind of logic as opposed ON/OFF slaved to the compressor).

    So the strategy I am working on right now is to:
    1) re-wire my condenser fan again, this time I will relay it from the main radiator fan so that they are both on full-time (other than power drain and noise I can't see a downside here)
    2) install small additional pusher fan(s) on the front of the condenser, and relay that off the compressor power (pretty much just re-use the existing condenser fan wiring)
    3) Learn all I can about this evaporator box, it's tx valve, and make whatever replacements/repairs are possible there.
    4) Try and get a seal kit done on the compressor as cheaply as possible (probably remove comp myself to save on auto-elec labor charges)

    The AC is fully operational again right now (thanks to a re-gas) so I have until this gas leaks out to get all of this lined up.

    EDIT: Removed comment about High-Low pressure switch as Prelude already has one (although replacement may be an idea)
    Last edited by TheDecoy; 28th February 2011 at 11:33 AM.

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