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2003 T&C with 140k miles: when the engine is warm, and the A/C is turned on, I hear a terrible screech that persists for3-5 seconds after the A/C switch is tuned off. I don't heat the noise when the engine is cold and the A/C is turned on. When the engine is cold and the A/C is turned on, cold air comes out the dash vents.

My guess is that the A/C compressor needs to be replaced. Any advice would be appreciated.
 

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If it happens only with engine warm, or worse then, it is usually a sign that the compressor is starting to drag/seize. Is it leaking oil near the pulley, or elsewhere on the system?
 

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t&c_fool said:
2003 T&C with 140k miles: when the engine is warm, and the A/C is turned on, I hear a terrible screech that persists for3-5 seconds after the A/C switch is tuned off. I don't heat the noise when the engine is cold and the A/C is turned on. When the engine is cold and the A/C is turned on, cold air comes out the dash vents.

My guess is that the A/C compressor needs to be replaced. Any advice would be appreciated.
Check to see if there is an idler pulley in your belt train. If there is, remove the belt and see if the pulley spins freely. Check the tensioner pulley as well. Also check to see that the pulley on the AC compressor spins freely. Any oil leakage from the front of the AC compressor would indicate a problem that would require replacement of the compressor, but check the least expensive stuff first. You might get lucky.
 

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I don't see any signs of leaks from the compressor. The belt and idler pulley were replaced a year ago.
 

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There was a 7/70 extended warranty on '01-'03 minivans for A/C compressor seizure that has since expired. It was covered under TSB # 24-004-04. Try Googling it.
It included new plumbing to prevent refrigerant oil pooling and a PCM software change as well as a replacement compressor.
If compressor debris has entered the plumbing, the condenser and receiver-dryer should be replaced. Sometimes an A/C system 'flush' is not effective.
Have a technician reclaim and inspect the system for compressor debris. You will need an A/C reclaim, evacuate and recharging station for this compressor (or more) service.
It may not be something that can be readily done in a driveway.

http://www.allpar.com/forums/topic/123394-replacing-ac-compressor/
 

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Thanks for the tip about the TSB. I called Chrysler and it expired at 70k miles. This is relatively stupid when they know they have a defective part - the warranty should go much longer.
 

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I think 7/70 coverage for a suspect part, when the regular coverage was 3/36 or less, is reasonable. If it hasn't shown up by 7/70, it's probably going to meet its design life. Your vehicle is now 10 years old. It's not reasonable, IMO, to cover it that long or longer; especially since the TSB was issued when the vehicle was one year old.

We had an 89 Grand Am with a known head gasket problem, it had an extended warranty of 60K miles. At 69K and about 7 years old, it blew in dramatic fashion - clouds of steam billowing 30 feet in the air. GM said 'too bad'. it was $860 to fix.
 

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The only problem I have with the expired warrany issue is the damage caused by a known defective component. It is one thing not to cover a compressor that has exceeded the 7 year warranty, but if the (so called) defective compressor caused debris to circulate in the system and require replacement of other components such as the condensor.... plus the labor to discharge/recharge and flush, I don't feel that is right.

All the OEM compressors on my vehicles newer than 1990 lasted well over 12 years (the 96 mini still has the OEM). The failures on the older cars were just seal leaks and no condenser replacement or flushing was required (i.e. no contamination - simple R&R, vacuum, drier, and oil).

Of course we don't know at this time if there is debris in the OP's system, but it will still need to be checked. Hopefully, if the problem just started it can be corrected before the damage begins.

Perhaps my expectations are too high. :). But typically I have a problem with changing a design that was originally perfected, obtained high quality, lasted 10++ years, only to be replaced by a product that is inferior and fails prematurely. That is what I call being blind sided. It hurts the consumer and the manufacturer's reputation.

I'll step off the soap box now. :)
 

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We don't know if there was a design change, or if the supplier of the compressor had a quality glitch that would go unnoticed by Chrysler. We get nailed every so often when a supplier has a problem and we find out the hard way.
 

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The design change was in the suction line plumbing and the PCM software. The old suction line dipped below the level of the compressor and refrigerant oil could pool in the line. When the compressor started up to a gulp of liquid, it would damage the compressor. Compressors can't handle liquid (which don't compress).
The new suction line keeps the compressor the lowest point in the system and the software runs the compressor briefly to purge any collected oil.
The compressor itself wasn't re-designed, but the damaged one would need replacement anyways. The first symptom was a usually a squealing belt, noisy compressor, melted clutch or seized compressor. The collateral damage would be compressor debris sent into the plumbing. It may appear as a wet, gray residue.

Edit: Diagnose this first. If your compressor has lasted this long without failure, it simply may have failed for reasons other than that given in the TSB. The other possibility is that there wasn't enough lubrication (instead of too much) and it is seizing due to running dry?
Turning the compressor inner pulley by hand may show that it is hard to turn. We won't know for sure about debris until the the system is reclaimed and opened for service.
 

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Final word: the A/C clutch had died. The compressor hadn't fragged the rest of the A/C system. The shop reused the Freon fill when they replaced the compressor and dryer. Cost $1100.
 
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