Cadillac Owners Forum banner

1 - 20 of 28 Posts

·
Registered
1995 SLS, 1996 STS
Joined
·
81 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I have my car in the shop scheduled to have its AC compressor replaced tomorrow morning. The total bill I'm looking at is $822. That includes a new compressor ($450), accumulator ($95), serpentine belt ($65), and labor ($165) and some other thing I don't recall. I'm going to sell the car this weekend and all of this fell in my lap. Not happy.

I'm wondering whether or not I need this done. This is the situation:

I drove the car around last week and didn't have a problem although I did hear a weird noise coming from under the hood. The next day I took the car out again and I got a "Battery Low Charge" message, and I had no power steering. I looked under the hood and found the serpentine belt shredded to pieces (thanks to Ranger for pointing this out). A day later, with no belt in place, the car wouldn't start. I could turn it on, use the lights, power windows, etc., but I couldn't start the car. I called AAA and they towed it to my local mechanic, who knows as much about Cadillacs as I do about the rate of algae mutation in the Arctic Circle. The mechanic looks under the car and tells me the AC compressor is shot, and that's what caused the belt to shred.

This seems very possible, but considering that my mechanic isn't that great, it's also very possible something else aside from the AC compressor caused the belt to shred. I had the water pump changed a few weeks back and they removed the upper and lower hoses, and in the process might have moved something around the serpentine belt. Maybe they put a washer or bolt in the wrong way... I don't know.

Previous to this incident, I have never had a problem with the belt or AC. The car does have a blown head gasket (still hard for me to accept this). Is there any connection between the AC compressor and the car overheating? Is there any connection between the bad serpentine belt and the head gasket?

I'm selling this car this weekend, and I want to be 100 percent sure this car needs this work done. I asked my mechanic if it could be something else, and he said no. I'm not sure. If I just put a new belt on, will it shred again? Probably. Maybe it was just loose or misaligned? Couldn't I just put a new belt on and then see what happens? Maybe once a new belt is on and turning, they can see where it's getting caught?

The belt was shredded. It was the original belt. 11 years old.

Let me know what you think about this. The shop opens up at 8 AM. He may have ordered the parts already, but I'm sure he can just return them and get his money back. I want to be sure I NEED this.

Thanks again.
 

·
Registered
1995 SLS, 1996 STS
Joined
·
81 Posts
Discussion Starter #2
Re: ***Need important advice before I spend $800 at 8 AM tomorrow***

The car is a 1996 STS with 47,000 miles. Would an AC compressor go bad at that mileage?
 

·
Registered
'94 Seville STS N*
Joined
·
247 Posts
Re: ***Need important advice before I spend $800 at 8 AM tomorrow***

dang. that sucks man. sorry to hear. :-/

p.s. i wouldn't spend the money. won't bump up the resale value at all.
 

·
Registered
1995 SLS, 1996 STS
Joined
·
81 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Re: ***Need important advice before I spend $800 at 8 AM tomorrow***

Ranger thinks it could just be the clutch. When I turned the car on -- with the belt off -- I smelled something burning.

I just hope I don't spend $830 tomorrow and find out it was a power steering issue or some other pulley that tore up the belt.
 

·
Registered
'93 STS (sold), now looking for a CTS Wagon soon!!
Joined
·
503 Posts
Re: ***Need important advice before I spend $800 at 8 AM tomorrow***

The car is a 1996 STS with 47,000 miles. Would an AC compressor go bad at that mileage?
If it was me...... Put on a new belt & see what happens. I always try the simple fix first. You did say the belt was the original.

Also, if you aren't sure of the mechanic, have him put it on ( if you will be there anyway?)

The labor estimate doesn't seem like he's trying to get a freebee.... ( R&R an A/C isn't the easiest thing to do) In my opinion.

If you want to replace the belt yourself, you can replace it by removing the battery, or if your wrists are not thin, remove the front wheel and you have better access around the balancer.
 

·
Registered
'93 STS (sold), now looking for a CTS Wagon soon!!
Joined
·
503 Posts
Re: ***Need important advice before I spend $800 at 8 AM tomorrow***

Ranger thinks it could just be the clutch. When I turned the car on -- with the belt off -- I smelled something burning.

I just hope I don't spend $830 tomorrow and find out it was a power steering issue or some other pulley that tore up the belt.
If the belt is off, turn all the spinning parts and feel/hear any odd sounds or a wobble. That might give you a better idea?:hmm:
 

·
Super Moderator
White Diamond '03 DHS (with DTS floor shift)
Joined
·
86,982 Posts
Re: ***Need important advice before I spend $800 at 8 AM tomorrow***

I had the water pump changed a few weeks back and they removed the upper and lower hoses, and in the process might have moved something around the serpentine belt. Maybe they put a washer or bolt in the wrong way... I don't know.
The water pump is not driven by the serpentine belt. It is on the other end of the engine and is driven by a separate belt driven off of the left bank intake cam.

Is there any connection between the bad serpentine belt and the head gasket?
No.

Couldn't I just put a new belt on and then see what happens?
No. Whatever seized and shredded the first belt will shred the new one. Could be the idler pulley bearing, tensioner bearing, alternator bearing, A/C clutch bearing or the compressor, but you said in your PM that the A/C was not on when this happened so I would tend to rule out the compressor.
 

·
Registered
2013 XTS
Joined
·
2,087 Posts
Re: ***Need important advice before I spend $800 at 8 AM tomorrow***

could have been the bearings in the alternator you did say you got low voltage first.
 

·
Registered
96 SLS
Joined
·
160 Posts
Re: ***Need important advice before I spend $800 at 8 AM tomorrow***

I agree with changing the belt and see what happens. Replacing the AC when not sure its bad - get second opinion. My belt went to shreads when tensioner went bad. Bearings were crushed. I was just driving along and I lost power steering and low battery message. Have mechanic check tensioner. My car is 96 sls with 79,000 miles. PS: When my compressor went bad it made loud rattling noise for several months before I replaced.
 

·
Registered
2008 SRX
Joined
·
403 Posts
Re: ***Need important advice before I spend $800 at 8 AM tomorrow***

but you said in your PM that the A/C was not on when this happened so I would tend to rule out the compressor.
I was thinking up until reading this that the compressor locked up. If your A/C was off though....hmmmm. Several things here: Why does the mechanic say it is the compressor (specifically). Did the comp. lock up, the bearing seize, or bearing totally come apart?, and did he check for a free pulley while the key and A/C were on (you wouldn't be able to turn by hand because it's engaged)?; Also, if this is the 96 and if the comressor was weak, you may have turned the compressor off but it remained on hence the compressor could have seized and thrown the belt with A/C 'turned' off. I'm not sure about your 95 but on a 96, if the compressor is weak but is engaged, it will not turn off until you turn the key off.
You're in a tough spot. The machanic is not trying to get rich with those prices though. Just hold his feet to the fire. If he's wrong he holds the bill.
 

·
Registered
94 Eldorado, and a 99 ETC
Joined
·
3,887 Posts
Re: ***Need important advice before I spend $800 at 8 AM tomorrow***

I agree with Ranger. If the A/C was off, then the compressor pulley should have been freewheeling. You can replace the clutch/pulley separate from the compressor.
 

·
Registered
2008 SRX
Joined
·
403 Posts
Re: ***Need important advice before I spend $800 at 8 AM tomorrow***

I agree with Ranger. If the A/C was off, then the compressor pulley should have been freewheeling. You can replace the clutch/pulley separate from the compressor.
Key words 'should have been' and I absolutely agree with replacing bearing/pulley/clutch or whichever combo it needs. I'm into the least expensive repair. When my 92 started smoking because of a weak compressor coil, I scrounged up a used coil and it works fine 3 years since. My cost $0.
 

·
Registered
1995 SLS, 1996 STS
Joined
·
81 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
Re: ***Need important advice before I spend $800 at 8 AM tomorrow***

Thanks guys. I'm going to call him the second the shop opens up, and tell him to check out the tensioner and pulleys. I don't know why he believes the compressor gave out. He just put the car on a lift and looked up in the general area with a flashlight, and said the compressor was busted. He squeezed something a few times and it made a "pss" sound as if air was being pumped out of something. I asked him a few times, "are you sure it's the compresser?" And he said, "yes."

The thing is NOBODY knows these damn Cadillacs except for the dealers and you folks - the owners. So I don't know.

The belt was completely shredded to pieces though. I smelled some burning. When it was happening, I heard a song from under the hood like there was a shoelace smacking around inside a washing machine. It was probably pieces of the shredded belt being whipped around and hitting stuff.

The car has just been sitting there for at least a few weeks. I haven't used the AC. The last few times I used the AC it blew ice cold and came on right away.

If a serpentine belt costs $80 or whatever, I'd rather just put one on with the sole intention of letting it spin so I can see what's shredding it. Then if it's in fact the compressor, OK, I'll change it. There's little difference between spending $820 and $900 when you're as miserable as I am right now.

The guy who is buying the car is a mechanic who also owns a dealership. I mean, I sold the car cheap because of the head gasket. This guy is going to probably fix it himself for cheap. I just want to get the car out of my hands and into his. I don't want to screw him up any, but there is the chance I'll throw $800 at this problem, only to have it happen again a week from now. I'd rather it just be his problem, tell him about it, and tell him to take $300 off the price.
 

·
Registered
94 Eldorado, and a 99 ETC
Joined
·
3,887 Posts
Re: ***Need important advice before I spend $800 at 8 AM tomorrow***

In that case I would just slap a smaller belt on it and reroute it to bypass the A/C compressor... The belt you would need to bypass the compressor would be #5060755 (Write it down somewhere because it's not in any autoparts store's databases. I had to wrap string around the pulleys and measure it to find the right belt when my compressor seized up a couple years back. I still need to fix mine, but over here it's always around 82 degrees so I just drive with the windows down. lol)

Also, here's how you would reroute it:
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Sedan de Ville, CTS
Joined
·
4,764 Posts
Most of us think it is not the compressor. It is not the P S pump. It is not the harmonic balancer.

Possible problems: tensioner pulley, alternator, a/c clutch.

Call potential buyer and tell him/her that you think you are having a problem with one of the pulleys. Ask if you can delay demo for a couple of days. In the meantime, you could show the car to them if car is available to show.

Then GO TO ANOTHER GARAGE. They can check tensioner pulley and other pulleys by hand spinning them.

Some Cadillac mechanics moonlight. Make quick trip to dealer and quietly ask around.
 

·
Registered
1995 SLS, 1996 STS
Joined
·
81 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
Long story short, I got home from work at 4 AM. I walked over to the shop, handed a handwritten note to my mechanic telling him not to install anything, and then bumped into a transsexual hooker on the way home. Scared the living daylights out of me.

Mechanic wakes me up at 8 AM and asks what's up. I tell him I don't think it's the compressor, and that he should check some of the things you guys mentioned above, etc. He tells me he's 100 percent sure it's the compressor and that he'll show me later how the piece is busted. He said his two assistants agree it's the compressor as well. He said he already ordered the parts and removed stuff from the car, etc. He told me not to worry, etc. Whatever -- I went back to sleep. This car situation has been a complete nightmare. It's as if I tossed $2200 out the window in just three months.

Thanks guys. I really appreciate the help. The SLS is in the shop too getting new TP sensors and such put in. Not fun.
 

·
Registered
1992 STS / 2005 MB G500 / 2003 STS / 2006 XLR-V
Joined
·
11,694 Posts
My thing is, if this dude is buying the car from you with blown headgaskets, Im sure he aint givin you much for it and doin you any favors. I would have just told him the A/C compressor was shot and you rerouted the belt for the car to run properly, if it is indeed that.
 

·
Registered
Cadillac 1992 Seville, Past 1993 Seville & a 2006 STS V-6
Joined
·
121 Posts
my 1992 has a seised a/c so I found a guy that put a different belt on my car so the a/c dont work big deal let some one else worry about that. Are you going to take a bath on the car It does have a blown head! Is this the only problem. 1996 STS with that miles her in WI a guy would for sure take that off your hands in the milwaukee journal sentinal is where you should put an ad for that car if it is in good condition. Here north of Chicago these cars are on the road. NY is mabey diff you could get 8995.00$ here I just saw a black eldo with 31k and it is 6995.00$ firm no problems.
 

·
Registered
1995 SLS, 1996 STS
Joined
·
81 Posts
Discussion Starter #19
Sold the car on eBay for $3200. Then the same day, after speaking to the guy who will be shipping the car out across the country, I found out the car has a bad compressor. The belt was torn up and the car won't start. So I can't pass this car off to the guy when it's not operable. My post said the car needs nothing except for head gasket repair. And that was the truth until after the listing expired and I found this problem. So I have to fix it. Otherwise I'll feel like a scumbag liar who ripped someone off.

It's already in the shop being fixed. The mechanic changed the compressor, although now he's saying the new part is/was faulty. He needs to do it over again. He asked if I ever had a problem with the AC and the answer is NO.

The bill is $820. I'm going to call the buyer today and tell him the story. Maybe he'll throw me a few hundred bucks for fixing it up for him. Maybe not. Either way, the title is mine as is the car. I could always re-list it with a buy-it-now price of $3500 or so and get some money back. I had several people willing to buy it for $3750 but those deals fell through.

We'll see...
 

·
Registered
1992 STS / 2005 MB G500 / 2003 STS / 2006 XLR-V
Joined
·
11,694 Posts
So yea, it sounds like the mechanic is full of shit. Obviously something else is wrong and now hes covering his tracks. I only hope he doesnt expect you to pay a dime for whatever else he finds after you told him it WASNT the A/C Compressor.

So the point of this story is ask the forum question *before* you drop the car off at the mechanic shop. Had he not already started working on it your options would be alot wider right now, including just plain telling the guy whats wrong and if he wasnt ok with it just relisting the car. I guarantee you at most you would have knocked 200 bucks off the price rather than SPENDING 820. No scumbag tactics involved, just honesty and less out of your pocket.
 
1 - 20 of 28 Posts
Top