AC repair on a van.

AC repair on Chevrolet vans

In Diagnostics by Steves Auto Repair and Tire

Chilly temperatures are lingering in Northern Virginia. However, AC repair has already begun for the year at Steve’s Auto Repair.

Last week, one of our technicians performed A/C diagnostics on a small bus body that’s used by a local Boys & Girls Club.

Our Woodbridge mechanics are able to do AC repair on Chevrolet vans and GMC vans.

These particular types of vans – so the 1500, 2500 and 3500 series of Chevrolet vans and GMC vans – basically use all of the same air conditioning components. 

A/C diagnostics: Blockage in the compressor

On the Boys & Girls Club vehicle, the A/C compressor stopped working and actually ended up even throwing the air conditioning belt. So, it had a belt on it, and we saw the compressor was really dragging down. 

Through some testing and by taking some lines apart, we were able to find out where a blockage was. You could tell that there was some blockage with the compressor just by reading the gauges. The high-pressure side was going way too high. 

This one has a dual AC system. Your normal vents in your dash is the front A/C. There’s also a small evaporator in the back where some more lines run to, but that also has its own receiver dryer.

Desiccant material and compressor material create little balls that clogged the line.

Desiccant material and compressor material create little balls that clogged the line.

Desiccant material helps collect moisture that might be in the system, and it acts like a little filter. In this case, desiccant material and compressor material – such as seals and oil – was cooked together, creating little balls and clogging up the line. So, as the compressor was trying to force Freon through the line, it couldn’t go anywhere.


How we performed the AC repair

So, we flushed the lines with some special solvent, and  – afterwards – made sure that they were all dry. We got everything all cleared up and put a new receiver dryer in the back. On the front, our technician added a new A/C accumulator. It kind of works the same way, but it contains what’s kind of like a holding tank for Freon. 

A new compressor, A/C compressor belt and seals were also installed. New oil was added, and an EVAC and recharge on the system were performed, as well. We wrapped up the air conditioning repair by putting in the correct amount of R134 Freon and retesting the system. Everything was working fine. 

When you’re looking at doing an air conditioning job on a vehicle, sometimes you need to look below the surface. Yes, the compressor was bad, but it can also be important to find out what was the problem that made it go bad. Sometimes, the compressor just fails. 

But even with that, you want to make sure that you’re changing the expansion valve or an orifice tube – if that’s what goes in the particular vehicle – and the accumulator and/or the receiver dryer. Changing all of those necessary parts is the correct way to do the job, so your money is well spent and it lasts.  

A lot of problems could lead to car AC repair. Common reasons why an air conditioning system can stop working are explained in this article we shared.

Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire is an authorized Goodyear tire dealer located in Woodbridge, Virginia. Automotive repair services are performed on all makes and models, including BMW and Mercedes. Services include oil changes, brakes, alignments, inspections, and computer engine diagnostics.

This article is co-authored by Contributing Writer Lily Brown.