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Old 09-22-2009, 06:43 AM   #1
allfiredup
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Default Heard a LOUD screeching noise and A/C died instantly....how bad is it???

I've got 72k miles on my '06 MZ3 s 5-door. Last Friday, I was driving on the highway at 70-75mph with the A/C running. All of a sudden, I heard a VERY LOUD screeching/squealing noise and the air vents started blowing warm air.

I'm thinking one of two things happened (and have a gut-feeling in it's the much more expensive one)- either a belt on the A/C compressor broke or slipped (I had driven thru standing water several times in the few hours prior) OR the A/C compressor seized and will need to replaced.....

Anyone have any advice or ideas?
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Old 09-22-2009, 10:57 AM   #2
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Default Re: Heard a LOUD screeching noise and A/C died instantly....how bad is it???

Easy enough to check, take the wheel well cover off on the passenger side, if the belt is still on then its the later.

I'd actually suspect the belt based on the sound, but it could be either.

Later, unless it was simply the shaft seizing with no collateral damage is going to require replacing EVERYTHING related to the AC, all the lines, compressor and condensor core as frequently when one dies it gets metal particles through the lines which will just kill the new compressor if you don't replace everything.
-matt
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[quote author=crazyduckme]
Yay for doing it by hand then! That will probably last about an hour tops.I was craving meat REALLY bad. plus, my mom gets really hot, so I was uncomfortable. So I have to really stretch.
[/quote]
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Old 09-22-2009, 04:10 PM   #3
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Default Re: Heard a LOUD screeching noise and A/C died instantly....how bad is it???

[quote author=azazel1024 link=topic=156712.msg3335645#msg3335645 date=1253631423]
Easy enough to check, take the wheel well cover off on the passenger side, if the belt is still on then its the later.

I'd actually suspect the belt based on the sound, but it could be either.

Later, unless it was simply the shaft seizing with no collateral damage is going to require replacing EVERYTHING related to the AC, all the lines, compressor and condensor core as frequently when one dies it gets metal particles through the lines which will just kill the new compressor if you don't replace everything.
-matt
[/quote]

Hey Matt,

Thanks for the info, especially the latter part about the metal particles mucking everything up! I've only had to replace an A/C compressor once and that was on a Honda Accord with 120k miles (vs. 70k on my MZ3). But my MZ3 is actually older now (will be 4yrs old in about 3mos) and the Honda wasn't quite 3yrs old at the time...I drove a lot more back then. But I just got a used compressor from a wrecked Accord that barely had 20k miles on it. It was about 1/3 the going rate at a dealership and worked fine for the 18mos I owned the car after that....

I can't believe how much a new A/C compressor from Mazda costs, though! The best price I've found for a new one is about $650 (+shipping/tax) and my mechanic will install for about $200. I'd like to find a used one for about half that (or under $300 would be even better).

I should also replace the condenser as well, according to your advice....correct?
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Old 09-22-2009, 05:24 PM   #4
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Default Re: Heard a LOUD screeching noise and A/C died instantly....how bad is it???

Update- I just took it by to let my dad's local mechanic check it out and give me his opinion. In his words, the A/C compressor is "trying to seize" but the belt is still intact for the moment....obviously, when it does seize, it will break the belt.

At this point, have the other parts of the system (condenser, lines, etc.) already been damaged or does the damage occur when the compressor actually seizes (and breaks the belt)? Would removing the belt now (cutting it) serve any useful purpose?

Thanks a million....I really appreciate your help!
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2014 Mazda6 Touring- totaled by a drunk driver on 4/12/14! T-boned on passenger side at 50mph and I walked away with just a few bruises and minor airbag burns! Trying to decide between a 2012/2013 Mazda6 s GT (love the V6) OR another 2014 but Id get a Grand Touring this time
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Old 09-22-2009, 05:34 PM   #5
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Default Re: Heard a LOUD screeching noise and A/C died instantly....how bad is it???

our a/c systems fucking suck.....
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Old 09-23-2009, 12:52 PM   #6
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Default Re: Heard a LOUD screeching noise and A/C died instantly....how bad is it???

I'd pop the belt off now to be safe. I think the only way to tell if you need to replace the lines and condensor is by taking the compressor off and inspecting it. If there appears to be anything in the lines (IE metal particles), then you'll need to replace everything. Its possibly all you'll need to do is replace the compressor.

http://www.mazdapartscheap.com/

your welcome, compressor for $480ish brand new.
-Matt
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[quote author=crazyduckme]
Yay for doing it by hand then! That will probably last about an hour tops.I was craving meat REALLY bad. plus, my mom gets really hot, so I was uncomfortable. So I have to really stretch.
[/quote]
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Old 09-23-2009, 05:45 PM   #7
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Default Re: Heard a LOUD screeching noise and A/C died instantly....how bad is it???

[quote author=azazel1024 link=topic=156712.msg3337370#msg3337370 date=1253724776]
I'd pop the belt off now to be safe. I think the only way to tell if you need to replace the lines and condensor is by taking the compressor off and inspecting it. If there appears to be anything in the lines (IE metal particles), then you'll need to replace everything. Its possibly all you'll need to do is replace the compressor.

http://www.mazdapartscheap.com/

your welcome, compressor for $480ish brand new.
-Matt
[/quote]

Again, I sincerely appreciate the info you've shared with me! In the next few hours (before dark), I'm going to remove the belt from the A/C compressor just for good measure...can't hurt, might help?!?

The $480 price tag is a lot better than any I've found, but that's still a LOT more than I prefer to spend right now. I've found several used/salvage units from various reputable sources for about $160-170 including shipping! With labor, I'm still under $400 with one of the used ones I've found...much better than I was afraid it would end up costing to fix! But until it's actually installed and works properly in my car, I can't be certain that I won't need to repalce other parts fo the A/C system....but I hope not!

The used A/C compressors I've found have under 20k miles on them, so hopefully they'll last longer than my original one!

Based on several searches, I haven't seen any other '06 MZ3 s models whose A/C compressor has seized! At only 72k miles and several months shy of being 4yrs old, I wonder what happened to cause the problem with mine?

A separate issue that I've not even discussed with a mechanic is the far-too-common worn/damaged synchro on 3rd gear...it pops out of 3rd sometimes, too....it never grinds though, just a little stubborn to engage 3rd but the popping out of 3rd (especially under light acceleration).

Back in early 2008, at 49,200 miles (800 miles before the warranty expired) Mazda replaced the entire engine under warranty. It was making a noise I'd never heard and can only describe as sounding almost like holding a game card against a bicycle wheel and spinning it! It wasn't a good thing, that much I knew. The problem was a bad connecting rod (#3, if I'm not mistaken) and it took almost three weeks to get it ok'd, order the engine and do the swap. I was happy driving a CX-7 that whole time...and didn't want to give it back! =)

But the 3rd gear issue didn't start until shortly after the engine replacement and just after the warranty had expired! I also had to go back to the dealership twice once I got my MZ3 back because the A/C wasn't working...not sure what they had missed but they fixed the problem in under 30 minutes on the last visit. But still, I wonder if there could be any correlation between the repair work they did and the premature Compressor failure??? On the plus side, my car only has 22k on the engine!

I still love how my car looks and drives, but the "catastrophic engine failure" and transmission problem make me feel less-than-confident in the long-term reliability...and now a major A/C repair...

I spent a few hours earlier this afternoon at the local Honda dealership and I test drove an '06 and '07 "Certified Used" Accord. The '06 was a EX V6 4-door (Bronze/Black Leather, 24k miles) and the '07 was an LX V6 4-door (Silver/Black Cloth, 19k miles)- either could be had for $16k....and I'm very tempted...the only other car I was considering when I bought my MZ3 was an '06 Accord SE 2.4 4-door (Silver/Black cloth), but I'm really trying to talk myself out doing anything other than fixing my A/C and keeping it.....


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2012 Mazda CX-9 Grand Touring FWD- Crystal White Pearl w/ Sand, Moonroof/Bose

2014 Mazda6 Touring- totaled by a drunk driver on 4/12/14! T-boned on passenger side at 50mph and I walked away with just a few bruises and minor airbag burns! Trying to decide between a 2012/2013 Mazda6 s GT (love the V6) OR another 2014 but Id get a Grand Touring this time
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Old 09-24-2009, 02:21 PM   #8
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Default Re: Heard a LOUD screeching noise and A/C died instantly....how bad is it???

[quote author=allfiredup link=topic=156712.msg3335448#msg3335448 date=1253616219]...either a belt on the A/C compressor broke or slipped (I had driven thru standing water several times in the few hours prior)
[/quote]

If the drive belt had fallen off, you'd have lost power steering, alternator, etc..etc.
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Old 09-24-2009, 02:29 PM   #9
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Default Re: Heard a LOUD screeching noise and A/C died instantly....how bad is it???

[quote author=OPaul link=topic=156712.msg3339359#msg3339359 date=1253816510]
[quote author=allfiredup link=topic=156712.msg3335448#msg3335448 date=1253616219]...either a belt on the A/C compressor broke or slipped (I had driven thru standing water several times in the few hours prior)
[/quote]

If the drive belt had fallen off, you'd have lost power steering, alternator, etc..etc.
[/quote]
not really, the ac is on its own belt
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Old 09-24-2009, 02:31 PM   #10
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Default Re: Heard a LOUD screeching noise and A/C died instantly....how bad is it???

Ah, did not know that, interesting.
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