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    Chevy truck K1500

    My compressor went south on my 1999 Chevy truck 8 weeks ago. It put a lot of metal in system. I changed the line going from evaporator to compressor, installed new condenser and orifice accumulator/drier. I flushed the system as good as I good. Since then I have had to remove orifice tube and cleaned it . Sometimes it is almost impossible to get all the metal of of these systems when this happens, at least for me.

    Now yesterday the compressor started leaking at the pressure valve on back and the thing was making noise. It was under warranty and the parts place that sold it to me give me another so I said what the heck I would just replace it with a new pressure valve. I also replaced the pressure valve at accumulator while I had it down as oil was showing on wire where it plugs in. I bought another accumulator/drier installed them and pulled a good vacuum. The orifice tube was clean this time but I put a new one in anyway.

    I started putting the Freon in it and it would not suck the 12 oz can out. No matter what I did it would not go in. I kept messing with it and all of sudden the Freon started going in. It takes 32 oz. and I got that amount in. After I got it charged with the correct amount The high side went crazy going to almost 400 and then falling back. It never did this when I installed the 1st compressor.
    I was tired so I came home and just left my truck at my shop.

    Today I go back and the head pressure on system goes to almost 400 pounds again. Low side was at 25. I had bought a new clutch fan and installed it yesterday. No help.
    This afternoon while I was watching the high side pressure go that high it all of sudden dropped to 225 which was about normal for the shop heat. It then shot back up to 350 after a few minutes at the correct pressure and I turned it off and again went home.

    It would appear something is plugged up , too much oil or the compressor is detective ??? It never did this with the other new NAPA compressor and I added same amount of oil as before. High side never got above 260 and it was hot in the shop.

    What did I do wrong ? Is it possible there is too much oil in system.? I poured what was in the new compressor out and put 3 oz of new back in it. I also added about an Oz to accumulator. I have never been told exactly how much to add to a new compressor and I sure don't want too much. Manual says to pour out what is in the compressor and add only that much. No way to know on 1st compressor because it was locked up and no oil came out.

    I cannot run this truck knowing that the head pressure will go that high again. It is also not cooling good. Only getting down to 52 degrees.

    I cannot think of anything else to add. Need HELP. Tom
    Last edited by sixputt; 09-22-2018, 10:01 PM.

    Quote you first lines of this project - ">Since then I have had to remove orifice tube and cleaned it . Sometimes it is almost impossible to get all the metal of of these systems when this happens, at least for me.<"

    Right there job isn't going to work it still had debris in it and does again. Condenser is a filter new one is no good right away again with high pressure shooting right up like that would blow out a pressure valve if condenser can't exchange heat. Fan clutch - yes you need a good one but just water on it should make high side plummet for charging just FYI.

    Other is don't clean "O' tubes and do check they it's not backwards OR that your new hose doesn't also have an "O" tube at least once reported in archives above a couple put it there and again at condenser it doesn't work out.

    Always hard to say but seem you need to start all over again is the nightmare of this. Perhaps the best choice is send the truck out to flush out no guessing start from clean as can be known obviously it wasn't - bummer,
    MetroWest, Boston


      Originally posted by sixputt View Post
      . Sometimes it is almost impossible to get all the metal of of these systems when this happens, at least for me.

      That is the sad truth, it can be impossible to get it out with out replacing everything, and that can be cost prohibitive. The telling thing is there is still debris in the system. How to help? I don't know, with the high side jumping around I would guess some of that debris is stuck in the condenser tubes, so the new condenser is likely junk now as well. I don't fault you, it just can be next to impossible to do, flush guns don't always carry all the debris to the outlet.
      On commercial stuff, with high and low cut-outs and even compressor oil pressure cut-outs it is possible to put a filter or strainer in the high pressure line to catch the debris before it gets too far. There are two problems with that on automotive, one is there isn't likely to be room or a straight section of hard line to put the filter in, and second, there isn't the needed safeties to shut the system down on a plugged filter.
      Back in the old days, when there was more iron in the compressors than aluminum, less debris resulted from a compressor failure, they tended to seize rather than tear them selves to little metal chips and dust like today.
      You've gave it your best shot of replacing the most likely problems, and at least this time, it proved not to be good enough ( not due to your fault, but due to the amount of failure material in the system). I think the only way forward is to assess how much replacing everything will cost, and whether that is worth it to you.
      You could go back and just replace what you replaced before and hope, but it is still a crap-shoot, and not 100% that it would restore the system to where it was before the failure.
      I feel your pain, and I think every tech who faces a catastrophic compressor failure, can not know with certainty that they will ever get the system back without a complete replacement.


        This is actually not my truck. It belongs to a good friend who I was only helping and he was using my shop. I am retired but still work 7 days a week Got the shop and cannot sit still so why not work again. I retired 7 years ago and that is not for me. I will croak here at my shop for sure
        I think if he had replaced the line with the muffler in it before he started it up first time we would not be where we are now. There is no way to get all the metal out of that line and he didn't even remove it like I told him to.
        I do think the condenser like you said is trash because of the tiny passages in it. He removed it yesterday and tried to flush it but there is no way to tell for sure if things are still on there. I do know the head pressure has never been this high and I have warned him about running it like this. Something has got to give with head pressure above 400.

        Maybe I can convince him tomorrow what has happened. I doubt he will be believe me .
        I do know this. If someone ever asks for my help when a compressor has locked up I will pass.
        I can see how a restriction would not let me charge the system. I agree that metal is still in the system. It did have a tiny amount yesterday when he replaced the orifice tube but only a few specks.
        Again I think the damage was done when he didn't replace the line that was holding all these junk. Dang what a mess.
        I really don't think any metal is in the evaporator core. I just about know it is the condenser. Thanks for the help. Any more tips always appreciated. Tom


          Ugg, no good deed goes un punished! I'd rather have a stranger threaten to take me to court than the disappointment of a friend. Often it seams the time I try and do a favor come back to bite me, may be 'cause I remember them longer.
          Had a guy who was on a budget and had a blown head gasket. It crack the head and did a bunch of damage, did all I could to make the repair as cheap as possible, and let him do as much as he could. When I gave back the car, I gave him a list of what he needed to do so it didn't happen again, 6 months later none of the things (like radiator hoses etc) had been repaired, he bust the lower hose and replaced with a flex hose that he "crimped" in a 90 deg and blew the headgasket again. I had him bring it back and once I saw what happened had to wash my hands of it. He threatened to take me to court, but I kept the write-up of what he agreed to do, so that put an end to it, and to me doing favors!


            sixputt: I/we feel your pain this crap isn't forgiving for debris, dirt or call it what you want.

            Yup - one thing wrong back to even worse than before you touched it! Stinks but it's real. There has been so much bullsh*t for quick fixes and stuff all over the place anyone can do this stuff may try to warn of impending doom but would rather sell products IMO.

            Here's another opinion on what to do when you have "Catastrophic Compressor Failure" another place I'm at written by "Discretesignals" he goes by. You can sign up there or other places you'll hear the same thing. Here it is if it will just copy and paste here...…………

            Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator

            Apr 29, 2012, 11:16 AM

            Post #1 of 1 (6492 views)

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            Catastrophic compressor failure is when the internal components of the compressor come apart resulting in debris circulating through the system.

            It's important to determine the reason why this occurred, so you can prevent the same thing from happening to your replacement compressor. Most failures occur from the compressor overheating, lack of oil circulating through the compressor, or some type of mechanical failure from worn or defective components inside the compressor. Just remember that lack of oil circulation could had occurred from a system that was running on a low refrigerant charge due to a leak. Just like doing an autopsy, sometimes it is a good idea to disassemble the compressor to see what kind of failure occurred and what may have caused it.

            Before installing a replacement compressor there are some steps to take. If these steps are not performed, your new replacement compressor may end up with catastrophic compressor failure or will have a short service life.

            Here are some steps to take:

            * Replace the accumulator or reciever drier. Don't attempt to flush out the drier or accumulator. The drier cannot be flushed out due to its internal filter and desicant.

            * Replace the condenser. Most condensers are parallel flow designs and the debris gets caught up in the small transfer tubes. No amount of flushing is going to remove all of the debris.

            * Replace the orifice tube and/or expansion valve. This includes replacing expansion valves on rear air systems. Some orifice tubes are captured, so you'll have to replace the line or install an orifice tube kit if available.

            * Replace the compressor manifold hoses if there is a muffler. The muffler is designed to dampen the pusations from the compressor as it pumps refrigerant through the system. Most mufflers have a screen that the debris can get caught up in.

            * Flush the lines and the evaporator with an approved flushing chemical. Be sure to follow the chemical manufacture's directions. Also follow the vehicle manufacture's recommendations for flushing ac systems.

            * If possible, install an inline filter and/or install a capture screen at the suction port of the compressor. This is extra insurance for your replacement compressor just incase there are fragments in the system that don't get removed.

            * Follow the manufacture's procedures for reinstalling the components in the system, oil balancing, and evac and recharging. Oil balancing is important because you don't want all the system's oil in one component. The oil has to be distributed through the system to insure the compressor doesn't starve for oil when you turn the system on for the first time after repair. Be sure to install the recommended amount of oil in the system and to use the correct type and viscosity of oil recommended by the manufacture.

            * Before turning on the system, rotate the drive plate on the compressor clutch 10 turns or more by hand. This ensures the cylinders or scrolls are purged of oil, so you don't have a hydro-locking condition (compressor slugging) when the compressor clutch is engaged.

            * When the compressor is engaged, listen to the compressor for abnormal noises. If you hear knocking or grinding, shut the system off and determine the cause of the noise. This might be difficult to do on a noisy diesel engine. You don't want to have a defective compressor grenading and sending fragments through the system you just cleaned out.

            * Monitor system pressures with your gauges. Be sure that your high side and low side pressures are in range for the ambient air temp. A higher than normal high side pressure is going to cause the compressor to run hot. If you have a higher than normal high side pressure, make sure you have good air flow through the condenser and your electric cooling fans and/or mechanical fan clutch are operating properly.

            * Check for refrigerant leaks.

            Since we volunteer our time and knowledge, we ask for you to please follow up when a problem is resolved.

            (This post was edited by Discretesignals on Apr 29, 2012, 5:17 PM)
            {It doesn't like copy and pasting exactly as you can see}
            Last edited by Tom Greenleaf; 09-24-2018, 07:55 AM. Reason: To show another on this problem what you do about it
            MetroWest, Boston


              Tom, I will indeed get back with you when I get this thing back going.

              Right now I am at a stand still on exactly what I need to do. I do know that he didn't replace the line with the muffler in it until it had put metal back in the system. I had mentioned to him that I didn't think any amount of flushing agent would clean that line and your post confirmed that.

              I really think if he buys a new condenser, line with muffler, drier and orifice tube, pull a 1 hour vacuum , flush the system then fill it up with the correct amount of 134 it will cool.

              The one question I always have is how much oil to add back to the system. I know too much is just as bad as not enough.

              I have been told to use liquid nitrogen is the way to flush but I cannot say that for sure.

              THANKS again and I will be back. THANKS also to Cornbinder89 Tom


                Way too much oil can "slug" the compressor and break read valves, but it would have to be a lot of excess oil. A little to moderate amount over will tend to reduce the heat transfer from the condenser and evaporator but not harm anything else. I'd rather be an oz or two over than under.


                  Installed all new parts. Flushed the evaporator good . Pulled a two hour vacuum. It took a while to put Freon in this truck. The 12 oz cans started freezing up but it finally went in. I removed all oil from New compressor and put 4 oz in suction port. I put 4 oz in accumulator. I turned the compressor by hand many times before I charged the system. I added a little Freon before I started it up also as the vacuum pulled it right in. A Four Season rep told me to do all this and so far all is good. Today was not hot here today. His vent temp went to 40 degrees on his way home. Compressor is nice and quite. We will see how it goes. Thanks for the great info here. Tom


                    Quick note on cans freezing: Keep a pan of warm water not to hot to touch and dunk cans in water to warm them up. Pressures will always travel from higher to lower if frosted it's lower than or equal to where it's being directed to go - follow that?

                    It's not warm out here anymore either. Testing performance is a real trick when not over a real 80F best when entire vehicle is that warm as well or more,
                    MetroWest, Boston


                      Originally posted by Tom Greenleaf View Post
                      It's not warm out here anymore either. Testing performance is a real trick when not over a real 80F best when entire vehicle is that warm as well or more,
                      Well, it was still 103F in Phoenix yesterday, and we drove back here from San Diego yesterday with no AC, as compressor seized up Monday in the 2004 Frontier on the way there. Let's just say that Yuma and 150 miles either way of it is not a garden spot in the summer...will fix that in a couple of months...


                        Been ages Cusser but been thru AZ stayed in Vegas a bank sign said something like 115F isn't faking it. Here can do that for a split second doesn't count.
                        Just once really had a local shop knew I could heat my shop nasty hot had an accident repair couldn't so much as charge the system was all done just do it and see and prove it work? Ha? Heated shop, tools and all takes forever was below zero and windy - real sweet the body of that car was 2 tons of cold warm that up too! Yikes took forever with thermos everywhere dang thing also had climate control not to be fooled.

                        Only heard it worked out car was destined to South Fla. just reported it was working as intended. No freaking way to know for sure any better by anyone I know anywhere near here which isn't nowhere USA. I don't know of anyone who'll pay to heat anything - shops tools or supplies warm enough for A/C bad enough for spray anything - cleaners paints stuff like that.

                        Gettin' old not loving it as much anymore but deal with it again and just roll with it. Good ole MA do look there's 3 New England states North of this all colder in Winter and folks just love it. Hmmm? Have a great day it's almost Oct. already dag-nabbit what the heck happened to Summer?

                        (edit addition)

                        To add, knew ACProf from the old site. Came here was a great visit. Love the comment on AZ "But it's a 'dry' heat thing. He said "SO IS A FREAKING BLOW TORCH YOU FOOL" or something close to that. Too funny,
                        Last edited by Tom Greenleaf; 09-29-2018, 09:47 AM.
                        MetroWest, Boston


                          It's still summer hot here in central Alabama. The humidity gets us here. Except for four years in the Air Force ( 1966-70 ) I have been here so I am use to it. Fall is near. I got to get some heat in my shop this winter. Been away from my old shop for 21 years but back for good now Thanks again for the expert help here.
                          Last edited by sixputt; 09-30-2018, 04:42 PM.


                            OK - 'Bama heat type, got it. Where I am ground doesn't warm up a lot such that concrete floors of shop is cool/cold all the time in a shop out of sun's heat. Smile, of all thing I recall Huntsville and the NASA place there think it still is,
                            MetroWest, Boston


                              Yes Huntsville is still booming. Cost of living there is probably 5 times what it is here in central bama. I am looking out my shop door now watching traffic go down highway 280. Nice day and also busy highway


                                I hear you on costs. Insane here by the foot. Some time ago someone bought a parking space in "Boston Proper" is tiny for a world record price of about $550,000 bucks! It's also home to the most costly ONE mile of road in the world - google out the "Big Dig" if you are bored. Was also a world record for refrigeration use because they had to freeze the mud/ground to dig it and not be a collapse of everything around it already there.

                                I'm inland of that whole mess if you ask me nothing to do with it.

                                Where are you with this truck and job now? The killer point is when a compressor burns out is you really lost the system not just the part itself. It's just plain not cost friendly any which way you slice it. Wish you luck with getting it going and that it can last,

                                MetroWest, Boston


                                  I have completed this job and all is good so far. Everything new except evaporator core and I flushed it two times. Let the stuff that came out sit overnight and yes it did have black stuff in it. I just hope most of this is gone from the system. Pressures are good and 40 degree vent temps now. Compressor is nice and quite for now
                                  I am hoping anyway. Tom D


                                    Great. Just what I do for myself now all older vehicles than this and harsh Winters the norm. Even old stuff the A/C would kick on when you request defog/defrost even if quite cold out too cold to allow it to stay engaged does cut off but have been leaving LPCO switches unplugged off season can't tell if A/C really works anyway don't want it running may let it once in a while just to let oil move over "down" time for them. That way so far have saved the horrors of a sudden hot day after Winter and hear one like marbles are in them are killing themselves. So old now, 22 and 30 year olds still all original both leak thru shaft seals when super cold unseen without detection say below about 20F.

                                    Saves them so far. Eeek, means you need to be real good at tweaking charge back up they shut up again stay fine all season, one is never exposed now below 45F or so stored no less than that. Still R-12 so old never touched last a few years on one good tweaking if I hear it.

                                    Those just mine. Would do that for others I saw routinely probably NOT good for newer let them get some exercise over the OFF season both intended and the lie (IMO) their running dehumidifies the air for defrosting - not at super cold it doesn't so a lie. Engine heat if shut one off or just use and park for a while even super cold will allow compressor to click on even super cold I hear it! NO, I don't want it to then.

                                    This just all IMO but proof is the two main vehicles I've owned or known since new and many others like them lost to rust now just want to keep what I have and possibly just forget it if one did what yours did the heater box in one is plastic city I just know would just bust up if taken apart now don't want that fight nor parts headaches.

                                    Just think about that only thing if you do that is place connector to LPCO out of harm's way not just dangling is all I do so far so good. Others with your level of failure here wouldn't fix it at all it's just annoying for a month or two just put up with no A/C for that time - not everyone can - all understood. Carry on,
                                    MetroWest, Boston


                                      A lot of the newer compressors use a contact type seal that rides on the shaft itself. It is less likely to leak in the short term, but wears the shaft and causes a leak in the long term. Earlier compressors use a face seal, where the part that touches the shaft rotates with the shaft, and the stationary part of the seal is O ringed to the compressor head. The seal is partly sealed by compressor oil between the two part of the seal. With this type seal, the wearing parts are always replace when the seal is changed.
                                      I know many say you should operate the compressor through out the winter months to keep the seal oiled, I have even seen it written in manuals, but my experience dis assembling compressors that have sat for months or even years, is the seal stays oiled, surface tension of the oil is enough to prevent it from "drying" out the seal.


                                        That's the real worry. Is any lube there for off season or long term plain storage? NO. Brand new vehicles that's a problem seals anywhere for assorted things never mind sealing a gas under pressure hard enough to seal a liquid same deal many made to leak just the smallest amount keep that from exactly "drying" out.

                                        Took me a while plain 100s of vehicles can't all be stored indoors in a controlled environment where did the refrigerant go come real warm weather again? Conclusion that I can't verify with other than basic reality is the seal and a shaft do NOT expand and contract at the same amount hence a leak while sitting still that leaves no evidence of oil, dye nor a sniffer for refrigerant when warm again. OMG then where. Nothing else leaks and same vehicle(s) didn't if not allowed to get sub zero find those almost empty without an apparent reason and same one another year stored above 32F just a rough mark not conclusive for exactness DID NOT leak down with no other changes!

                                        For an A/C compressor IMO it's doomed to fail over time with temp changes and any humidity that seal has to be able to seal pressure and vacuum so both ways is just a marvel they last an hour never mind many years. My head hurts just thinking about how they last at all!
                                        MetroWest, Boston