WHY THE AC COMPRESSOR FINALLY DIED A PAINFUL DEATH

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Technical Discussion' started by Dxta, Jan 15, 2018.

  1. Dxta

    Dxta Senior Member

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    HISTORY
    Well, I just decided to put this out here, perhaps it would help someone.

    Recently, a client of mine, called and complained that each time, his Prius gen2 (with 330, 542miles), was recharged, it doesn't last long, before it starts loosing its cooling efficiency.

    I had asked him to bring the car down to the shop, to have the system diagnosed. But each time he tells me he's on his way, he just didn't show up.

    He uses the car, as a Taxi with Uber, and doesn't have that time. Well, according to him though.

    Finally, car was brought to the shop, after it had spent close to a month, in his place.

    DIAGNOSIS
    1.Physically inspected the AC system, for signs of refrigerant leaks on the compressor, discharge hoses/tubing's, and all that.

    There weren't any signs of leaks or wetness on those components.

    That made us believe, we're fine with them.

    2. Checked the AC cabin filter, it was terribly dirty, and had to replace em with a new one.

    3. Readied the car, and put on the AC system. There was some silence.Only hot air was blowing through the vents.

    4. Disconnected the service plug, and waited for some minutes for the HV battery to discharged to zero volts, before we commenced testing the orange cabling connected to the AC compressor. We did all that, to be certain, it wasn't a voltage supply issue it had.

    This checked OK, with about 200+volts coming to the orange cabling.

    5. After finishing the voltage supply tests, we concluded it was the compressor that was faulty.

    SOLUTION
    1. The entire AC system was overhauled.

    The reason was because when the compressor was removed, IT HAD ALREADY BURNED OUT(See pictures).

    ¶compressor replaced with a used one
    ¶condenser and all discharge hoses
    ¶flush the entire system
    ¶vacuuming the entire system, after flushing with a compressed air
    ¶repalced the cabin filter

    2/ Recharged the system using only R123 refrigerant, and ND11 compressor oil.

    WHY DID THE AC COMPRESSOR BURNED OUT?
    In order for me to investigate the reasons for this failed compressor, I had to teardown the electric compressor, to investigate what happened.

    MY FINDINGS
    1. Compressor had its windings shorted out.
    Electric compressors don't get shorted out for nothing. Its either a non specified compressor oil was used, which resulted in the dielectric on the copper windings to short out, or there was an over or low voltage supply problem.

    The AC compressor assembly is susceptible to heat, just like your car's HV battery.

    The refrigerant and compressor oil, helps to cool it(the electric motor in it).

    In this case, the real culprit why the compressor burnouts, was because the previous AC system tech, had no knowledge of hybrid system, and decided to use the wrong oil(ND8), instead of ND11, and then flushing the entire system to get rid of cross contamination.

    Hybrid vehicles use a special kind of compressor oil, ND11, which is non conducting between the windings of the armature in the compressor casing.

    They are quite different from the ND8 used on conventional AC system.

    So, if you want your AC system to last longer, and probably, for ever lime the Prius, use recommended compressor oil for the AC system.

    Using other PAC oil, would cause shorting of the internal windings, and poses a shock risks to you, or a technician working on the car.

    PS: Used an electric filing machine to rip open the compressor for investigations.

    The blackish stuff is the soot from the burnt out compressor insulation windings, and the wrong compressor oil.

    Only give your car to a hybrid professional knowledgeable about electric compressors.

    Carry out total system flush of the AC, to get rid of probable cross contamination from the previous wrong compressor oil IMG_20180113_103909-1.jpg IMG_20180113_132254.jpg IMG_20180113_132858-2.jpg IMG_20180113_132858-2.jpg IMG_20180113_104637.jpg
     
    #1 Dxta, Jan 15, 2018
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2018
  2. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Sand Pounder

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    Ugh!

    What would you say is your best bet, stick with dealership? Or are they just as likely to screw up?

    Is dealership even an option in Lago??
     
  3. Dxta

    Dxta Senior Member

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    Mehn, dealership isn't an option. Even in the so-called dealerships, there aren't competent hybrid pros.

    Some of the problems we ha e here with hybrid cars are just that owners try to look for cheaper means of fixing those cars, without thinking of the long-term consequences.
     
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  4. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Sand Pounder

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    Probably DIY with some purchased refrigerant cans, no thought about compatibility. Expensive outcome. :(
     
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  5. Dxta

    Dxta Senior Member

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    Noooo! The dude took the car to some AC guy whose got no knowledge on hybrids.

    That's what happens over Herr with lots of folks. Just gambling with expensive stuff
     
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  6. 05PreeUs

    05PreeUs Senior Member

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    Yup!

    Compressor oil has become a BIG problem and not just on hybrid or electric vehicles!
     
  7. Dxta

    Dxta Senior Member

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    Yeah, as that, lots of folks over here, even the dealerships cross contaminate compressor oils during such services without knowing.

    I don't know about the USA, or some places though.



    Dxta
     
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  8. Dxta

    Dxta Senior Member

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    IMG_20180113_134620.jpg IMG_20180113_104904.jpg IMG_20180113_104614.jpg

    PA: I forgot to upload these pictures after the write-ups.

    Notice how the burnout looked like. Powedery, and kinda like soot from a diesel engine.


    Dxta
     
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  9. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Sand Pounder

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    Don't they say not to use hoses/gauges from one oil type on another. That's maybe a bit much, but: something should be done about this, make it fail-safe. Either standardize the oil, or make the fitting a different size? Something.
     
  10. 05PreeUs

    05PreeUs Senior Member

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    It is EVERYWHERE.... it used to be simple, but now OEMs are changing the oil specs from model-to-model in the same year and even from one year to another of the same model. What USED to work, can KILL the system today.
     
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  11. jbirdawg

    jbirdawg Junior Member

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    Thanks for all your work in the posts. Very informative. Hopefully our prius will only need a hose replacement or easy leak fix and charge. Crossing my fingers.
     
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  12. Apatel1101

    Apatel1101 Member

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    can you tell me the procedure to flush. I can remove the lines and condenser to flush but what about the evaprator. How to go about that? I put in walmart freeon without reading that it also contained generic oil. Assuming its pag because in the back it said not for hybrid in small font.
     
  13. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Sand Pounder

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    Dealership can evacuate and refill for about $150. Phone them and sound it out: let them know what you put in, get their opinion?
     
  14. Apatel1101

    Apatel1101 Member

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    Their opinion: change every ac component which would be more than my car’s value so my only option is to flush.
     
  15. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

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    Wait, what? 200+ volts measured at the cabling with the service plug disconnected?

    Wouldn't find me in the same room with that....

    In another thread active recently, the Automotive Career Development Center reported a test of recovering after use of the wrong oil, by replacing only the compressor, and flushing all the rest of the system with a HECAT H-1000 flush machine. The dealer might not want to go there, but you might find an independent A/C shop willing to try it, if they have the machine.

    Worth noting that their success was in doing the compressor replacement and flush before any trouble symptoms related to the wrong oil. If the compressor has already begun to fail. the contamination of the rest of the system might be more severe, I don't know.
     
  16. Apatel1101

    Apatel1101 Member

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    I cant find anyone with that machine in illinois. I placed an order for compressor which should come anytime this week. I might have to take dash apart so evap can be pulled and flushed and leave it in sun for awhile
     
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