AC Went out, Strange Discovery

Discussion in 'Gen 3 Prius Care, Maintenance & Troubleshooting' started by Electromagnet83, Aug 3, 2019.

  1. Electromagnet83

    Electromagnet83 New Member

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    Hey everyone, New to the forum!

    The AC on my 2011 Prius just went out. I checked all the basic things, fuses, fluids, etc. All seems fine. When I run Diagnostics I get error code 97, which leads me to believe it's the compressor. Am I right in assuming the compressor is on the passenger side down low? If so, then I made an interesting discovery. See the attached pic.

    If that is indeed the location and this is indeed the compressor...did the dealer sell me a 2011 with a 2003 compressor slapped into it?
     

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  2. Electromagnet83

    Electromagnet83 New Member

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    If it's not clear in the pic, that's a belt wheel.
     
  3. StarCaller

    StarCaller Senior Member

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    that pulley doesn't have a belt attached in the prius, it's on there for balance /
     
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  4. Leadfoot J. McCoalroller

    Leadfoot J. McCoalroller Senior Member

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    Compressor should be very front, right side, low. Follow the orange high voltage cable to it.
     
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  5. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

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    The crankshaft always ends in a thing that looks like a pulley, even in the generations that don't have a belt. It would have to end in something, so why make two parts?
     
  6. Electromagnet83

    Electromagnet83 New Member

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    Well as many other 2011 Prius Owners have experienced...my compressor is shot. 8 Year old car with 70k miles on it. That's sad. Toyota wants $3500 to fix it (new compressor, new drier receiver element)! I'm not a car guru but I'm no slouch either. The compressor kit with drier receiver element is $588 brand new from Rock Auto. Is this a doable job worth saving $2500?
     
  7. Leadfoot J. McCoalroller

    Leadfoot J. McCoalroller Senior Member

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    I do a lot of DIY but I’d probably leave this one to the pros if it were my car.

    You’ve still got gas in, so you should use a recovery machine to capture it vs. bleeding it off.

    Once the old compressor is 99% removed, you’ll need to clean the other 1% of it out of the system. I’m speaking of the 1% of your compressor that is now metal dust in the loop along with oil and refrigerant. I’d guess that a lot can be blown out with compressed air.

    Then the new one can go on, pull a vacuum, give it the right oil and then charge it to the ounce. These systems demand precision fill: undercharge = significantly reduced cooling capacity. Overcharge = early compressor death. It really doesn’t take much to be wrong.
     
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  8. Electromagnet83

    Electromagnet83 New Member

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    Thanks Old Leadfoot. I bought all the parts and they should be here Wednesday. So my plan is to take it to a friend's shop and have them drain the system. Then I'm going to put it on a rack at a DIY place here in town, swap out, and take it back to the friends shop to be recharged.

    Totally agree that I wouldn't want to mess with all of the things that require precision tools to do correctly. But as far as removing parts/reinstalling parts, that part shouldn't be too tough I would imagine. Right?
     
  9. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

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    It would probably blow out more easily if it were just dust, not dust in oil.

    I think the shops more likely use a flushing agent for that.
     
  10. Electromagnet83

    Electromagnet83 New Member

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    I just did the low pressure valve test and one tiny little, wouldn't even call it a burst but more like a "puff", came out and then nothing. My readings indicate this means the freon is low/empty right?
     
  11. lech auto air conditionin

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    If it’s truly a burnt compressor . You will be replacing the entire condenser not just the filter dryer desiccant sock. I would highly recommend replacing the expansion valve but if you want to take that gamble that’s up to you. And the reason the compressor died was because you never serviced the refrigerant and replaced it to keep it up on charge about every 2 to 3 years or as soon as you notice the first signs of it not cooling properly. You continued using your air conditioning as its performance was going down so therefore it was you who starts the electric hot compressor from its refrigerant to cool the hot electric windings and as it ran Low on refrigerant it also runs low on oil return. So it’s not Toyota and a bad design it’s the loose nut behind the wheel. Lol no offense.
    As long as there is no outside force to cause damage to the air-conditioning system and leaks are taken care of before they actually run low majority of compressors will last the life of the vehicle whether that be 10 years 20 years 30 years 40 years as long as they continuously receive a full charge of continuous cool refrigerant to cool them off with their lubricant they have no reason to wear out . It’s usually caused by the customer who owns the vehicle or a poorly trained technician will you take your vehicle to get your air conditioning serviced by causes the compressors to go out and burn up.
     
  12. schmuber

    schmuber Member

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    (flipping through pages of Toyota recommended maintenance schedule intensifies)
     
  13. lech auto air conditionin

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    You probably will not find it in the maintenance manual they leave that out.
    I believe infinity at least recommended to replace the desiccant bag or the receiver dryer every couple years and at that time you would get an AC recharge .
    Some of the Ferrari models are ridiculous and told you to do it every year .
    Remember manufactures do not want their vehicle to be touted as having high maintenance cost so they have to pick and choose what they leave out for necessity to get a better star rating as a vehicle that needs less service to appealed to the consumer
     
  14. TMR-JWAP

    TMR-JWAP Senior Member

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    So you're saying the Prius AC system does not protect itself with a low suction pressure interlock safety? IDK one way or the other, just curious....
     
  15. lech auto air conditionin

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    Do you know why they call the idiot light on the dash an idiot light. Sometimes it works and time and sometimes it’s too late .
    The low protection cut off on most vehicles is just somewhat protection. Like the cycling clutch switch on a Ford or general motors as long as the refrigerant pressure gets above roughly 44 psi it will allow the system to engage even if it’s very low on refrigerant but because it is very low on refrigerant it will almost immediately drop below 21 psi and cut off the compressor but then as soon as it heats back up the refrigerant about 44 it comes back on again and keeps repeating this process . In the meantime the compressor was getting starved of oil and refrigerant return so it’s the gamble of rolling the dice whether your compressor is the one that survives or the one that dies it’s not full proof and it’s definitely not idiot proof.
    Some compressors container oil samples that have a small reserve of oil many modern compressors do not because you can reduce the size of the compressor which reduces the weight on the vehicle and the cost on materials and you get higher gas mileage but they rely on a full charge charge of refrigerant to return oil and cold gas to cool off the compressor. And way before you get that low your superheat climbs to the roof and you start baking the oil in the compressor as the refrigerant level slowly drops you no longer get that fine return aerosol of cold refrigerant mixed with an oil mist like a WD-40 can of spray . now you get a return delivery of warm refrigerant gas lacking oil return acting as a excellent solvent to make its return journey through the compressor to bond with more oil inside the compressor to be ejected once again to repeat this process of continuously wiping out oil from the compressor but not returning it at the same time slowly overheating and breaking down the compressor this is how the lifecycle works .
    This was all explained back in high school auto shop in your first year of high school. It was also explained in the ROC or vocational schools and the repeat information was also explained in your first class at a community college HVAC/R and automotive A/C 101 class or VICA training.
     
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  16. TMR-JWAP

    TMR-JWAP Senior Member

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    I'm impressed. You managed to throw all that out there when a yes or no would have worked.....:D...........I have a grasp of the refrigerant cycle.

    This was all explained back in high school auto shop in your first year of high school. It was also explained in the ROC or vocational schools and the repeat information was also explained in your first class at a community college HVAC/R and automotive A/C 101 class or VICA training.

    ???? This was not the path I took........maybe you're confusing me with someone else.
     
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  17. lech auto air conditionin

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    The explanation or for the do it yourself Who may not have gathered that information and do not know where to go to get it. As long as you move forward and constantly gather more information to improve your technical skills to provide good service to customers. Not the mass-market franchise style of learning grab a human body with a beating heart and sometimes shows up to work and as long as he knows how to open up a white box pull out a part and replace it and if it breaks again he just repeats the process all over again. Unfortunately the sad truth on a big percentage of shops I’m a vendor to over 1200 mechanical shops in my city area and nearby towns for the last 30 years I opened up the box and replace the part repeatably is very common.
     
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