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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey folks,

New user here. I have a 2001 9-3. I was having problems with ac not blowing cold air recently which I figured was freon related. So, I just had the freon recharged but soon as that was done I began hearing a grinding/whirring sound while I was driving away from the shop. So I brought it back immediately, just to learn that the ac compressor may be going bad.

I started doing research and found that it is possible that ac compressor clutch bearing could be bad rather than the whole compressor. After posing the same question of the mechanic, I was told that the bearing is not the issue in my case. I am a bit torn with that evaluation and wondering if I should seek a second opinion?

Does anyone on the forum know of any reputable ac mechanics in the Northern Virginia/DC metro area?

Thanks for your help in advance...
 

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I'll give you very good odds that it is the pulley/bearing. It's possible it's the compressor, but it's actually rare that they bearing inside it goes and makes noise. It usually just doesn't compress any more when it's bad. OTOH, it's very common for the pulley bearing or clutch to go.

Professional mechanics as a rule do not replace the bearings because of the labor involved, they replace the entire compressor. With aftermarket compressors now available, that is probably the wiser choice for that job. However, you do need a vac/refill when you change the compressor, so the price could be higher.

Are you at all mechanical? Can you handle simple tools? We could likely direct you how to check the pulley bearing. However, unless you want to get into some advanced DIY or have a friend who can do it, you will likely end up back at a mechanic who will want to replace the whole unit.
 

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Sounds similar to what happened with my 02 9-3 last year. It was the bearing and I wasn't going to go to the expense of the new compressor route. Managed to find the bearing on eBay and took the pulley off going through the right wheel area (used a bearing puller around the pulley), went to a local mechanic and gave 10$ for him to press the bearing out and put the new one in (took about 1 min). Has been working great ever since.
 

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A common problem is the clutch wearing so that gap between the electromagnet and pulley gets too wide and the clutch won't engage properly. You can remove one of the shims and the problem is resolved.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Bob - Unfortunately, I'm not that mechanical but can handle simple tools. Thats why I was hoping to get a recommendation for a mechanic in my area from one of the forum regulars. From the sounds of the comments so far, the bearing/pulley is most likely the problem and not the compressor.

If you can offer guidance on how to check pulley/bearing, that'd be helpful and a good starting point. I do have a few friends that are mechanically inclined that could possibly help if I can narrow down the problem to be actually bearing/pulley.
 

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ac compressors from Gold Auto Parts in Dallas, TX (reman.) are dirt cheap. Mine just arrived today for $87. Looks almost new. I used one in my other Saab and the AC is still cold a year later.
 
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