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Broken AC, load sensor?

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Old 08-09-14, 02:15 PM   #1
lostape45
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Unhappy Broken AC, load sensor?

So yesterday my AC light started blinking, and quit working. The compressor would turn on and run for a good 30 seconds and blow cold air before quitting and shutting off with the blinking light. Took my car to get an oil change and had them check the AC unit while it was in there. They claim it is the compressor load sensor located inside the compressor, basically meaning that I need a new compressor. I tried to buy a new relay from AutoZone as many in the past have done to fix it, but it didn't help.

Here's my issue,
Its going to be around $1200 total after its all said and done and there's no way I'm paying that much. I'm also nervous that all of that may not even solve the issue. How likely is it that the load sensor in the compressor would go bad?

Also I've been looking on a bunch of different websites for new/re-manufactured compressors and they all seem to be in the 100-300 range whereas the shop quoted me at $794 for the compressor itself.

Any insight into what you guys really think would be greatly appreciated, I just want my ice cold AC back

Here's my write up from the shop:

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Old 08-10-14, 01:05 PM   #2
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Anybody with a similar experience? Or any suggestions as to where/what kind of compressor to get? (Oem, reman, used) I'd like to hear some opinions before I go and buy any parts.
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Old 08-10-14, 02:04 PM   #3
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My opinion is they're shooting for the moon on that quote.

I would take it in somewhere else for a 2nd opinion, it could be something as simple as being a bit low on refrigerant. Ask around and see if there's any good shops that specialize in car ac.

But let's assume is does need a new compressor, the quote is definitely on the high side. A new Denso Ac compressor (which is basically OEM) is around $180 and a new drier is like $15.

Obviously there's some markup and labor involved when you use a shop but they're really taking advantage of the situation. There's probably about $250 in parts and nearly $1,000 in labor that quote, a pro could probably knock out it in 3-4 hours. You evacuate the refrigerant. unbolt a few lines, replace the compressor and drier, draw a vacuum, and refill with the correct weight of refrigerant, it's not rocket science. So I tend to think something more along the lines of $600-$700 is fair for a "shop" price for parts and labor, and even that is being generous.

At $1,2000, you might as well just take it to a Lexus dealer.
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Old 08-10-14, 02:23 PM   #4
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Yeah I knew that they were quoting high after searching for compressors. I know the owners of the shop very well and usually they are reasonable on work prices. I was thinking by buying the compressor and drier myself, and say I spend about $300 give or take, that's $600 less than what they quoted me just for parts.

Funny thing is I'm good friends with both shop owners in town and called the other one in my area, only to have them quote me at $1100. $900 parts, $200 labor.

I will definitely be buying my own parts and taking it to one of them, maybe have them battle for a lower price . I'm hoping I can walk away with less than a $700 bill when its all said and done.
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Old 08-10-14, 03:24 PM   #5
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In my humble experience, friends and family will screw you before a stranger will simply because they believe you'll take it and won't go to someone else. Never do business with family or friends unless you're looking for a write-off.
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Old 08-16-14, 12:58 PM   #6
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Oh man guys I'm really getting worried now. Ordered a new compressor and new drier, and had them both installed at my local shop. But they said that didn't fix the issue. Thank god they didn't charge me for any labor, but I still had to order the parts. They gave me the car back but said they needed their special IT guy to look at it so I'll be taking it again on Monday morning.

I pulled the codes from the AC climate control system and am getting code 21 which is the light sensor, but that wouldn't make sense because it was in the broad daylight and my automatic lights work completely fine. Any help at this point is much appreciated, anything you guys think it could be?

This is killing me, I really hope I can get this whole thing sorted out.
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Old 08-16-14, 01:52 PM   #7
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I've changed the compressor in my car, TWICE in the last five years... one was an OE denso unit, I just put in a cheap-o no-namer from eBay [which ended up costing as much as RA... lesson learned]

It's one of those things that needs changing once in a while. Why it's telling you the light sensor is beyond me.

On both occasions my clutch is what gave out and would squeal when turned on...
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Old 08-16-14, 02:25 PM   #8
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Holy god of simple fixes....

Decided to pull the climate control controller from the dash, put it back in, reassembled everything, started it up and BAM AC BLOWS COLDER THAN EVER. I have no clue why this even makes sense. All this time I could've simply pulled out the unit instead of replacing the compressor and such. Oh well, lesson learned, guess I'll no longer be using shop diagnostics ever again. I'm just glad to have my ice cold air back
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Old 08-16-14, 02:25 PM
 
 
 
 
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