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A C convertor noise? $1500 to fix?!

I am posting here because I have had ongoing issues with a whining noise in my Jeep Compass that I have been told is the AC convertor. I don’t know what that it is or what it does and the research I have done doesn’t answer my questions such as why it makes the noise it does and why it would cost $1500 to fix. Several people have stopped me to tell me that I need to get my power steering pump fixed because they think that is what is making the noise. Well, I got that fixed a couple of years ago and it did absolutely nothing to fix the problem. Besides, there never was an issue with my power steering - just the noise. I’ve recently tried a new mechanic and explained the whole issue to him, including that another mechanic said it might be the transmission. I’ve had two mechanics check the transmission and it was fine. I had one mechanic check it a second time and he told me it was the AC convertor and would cost $1500 to fix. Another guy told me it just needed an adjustment and I could look it up on Youtube. Of course, I know next to nothing about cars. When I bought the car, a used Jeep Compass, my x-father-in-law told me he detected a noise. I didn’t hear it, but we had it checked out, and at that time they told me it was the AC convertor and that it would cost $1500 to fix. From what I have googled, this seems like a simple device that you can buy online for $25. So why the outrageous cost? And why would it make this horrible loud noise? I mean, everyone in the neighborhood knows when I am coming up the street, it is so loud! Somebody help! I want to know what this noise is and how it can be fixed, but I don’t want to waste $1500 of my hard earned money!

I think you are looking up the wrong item in your search for a fix.

There is a AC condenser, and a AC compressor. You may have misunderstood the mechanic.

A condenser would not make any noise as it has no moving parts.
The compressor on the other hand does make noise if it is not working properly.I presume a bearing is going out in the compressor.

This entails hooking up the AC system (Air Conditioning) to a machine that draws off the old refrigerant to protect the environment. Flushing the system to clean the lines and other parts of the system. Pulling out the old compressor, replacing the compressor with a new one. Reattaching all lines, wiring, and the drive belt.
Then refilling the system with refrigerant.
This is most likely a two hour job and the machine to recover the old refrigerant, flush the system and recharge the refrigerant, is not a cheap piece of equipment.

$1500 is not an outrageous price, but you may ask around at small independant shops for a cheaper price.


Something like 8 years ago it cost me $1100 to have the condenser replaced in one of my cars. And since it had to be replaced because I’d caught a rock in it which evacuated all the coolant, I didn’t have to pay for coolant recovery, so given rising prices and the additional recovery fee, I’d say $1500 isn’t far out of line.

The others are right, btw. You were searching for the wrong term. You probably found results for a device that plugs into the cigarette lighter and gives you a standard electrical outlet to plug a laptop into. And some of those do go for right around the $25 range.

AC compressor instead of convertor maybe? The compressor is turned by the engine to compress the gas to make your AC work. It is not a $25 part so I have no idea what you found online.

And if;

then you should stop listening to people who tell you stuff like this;

So does this noise happen all the time? Or just when you run the AC? Only when you are moving or always when the engine is running? What does the noise sound like? A whine? A growl? Post back answers to this so we can help.

If you are not running the AC, the compressor should not be turning and making any appreciable noise. Any decent mechanic should be able to diagnose and noisy AC compressor from a transmission pump or a power steering whine. If it is indeed the AC compressor then yes, $1500 can easily be consumed fixing it. The compressor fails, blows metal shavings throughout the system that can’t be flushed out so it must be replaced. All those things are in hard-to-get-places so it is expensive. But you don’t have to get it fixed, just have the belt removed or rerouted.

$1500 is insane! Go get a quote from someone else. Looks like the compressor and clutch is about $275 on There is a couple hours of labor and $15 in R134a.

It is reasons like this that I do not trust mechanics. HVAC companies for home cooling are just as crooked. You pay a crazy premium to have 1st world luxuries like comfortable temperatures in your home and auto.

Thanks for the feedback,
The noise is all the time when the engine is running. It doesn’t matter if
the AC is on or not. It is a loud whining noise that you can hear from
quite a distance. Everyone knows when I am coming. Could be compressor
rather than convertor, I don’t know. The first mechanic that told me that
was at Hyundai, the other was a small shop. I have had the car for 4 years
and the noise has gradually gotten louder. The car runs fine, but the sound
is worse in the winter when it is cold. When it is cold it has a sort of
rattling noise too that goes away when the engine warms up.
If you know what it sounds like when a power steering pump is going out,
you will know what this sounds like because I have had at least half a
dozen people tell me that’s what it is. But since I got that fixed and the
sound didn’t go away, obviously that is not the problem.

The last mechanic I talked had done a diagnosis of various issues and said
that there was a belt going out. When I took it in to get repaired he told
me it was not a belt, but the AC whatever. Although they may be separate

Based on your latest information, sounds like the ac compressor is on the way out

That is NOT a $25 part

And just because Propane Car found one for $275 on rockauto, doesn’t mean the shop will sell it to you at that price

Shops have to charge a fair rate, and that includes a fair profit . . . markup, if you will . . . on the cost of the parts. Not to mention you’re also paying for their expertise and experience Shops have significant overhead costs, unlike a diy guy. So there’s no point comparing rockauto prices with what the shop is charging you for the part

If you don’t like the business model, as propane car apparently doesn’t, nobody’s preventing you from doing your own car repairs


So which mechanic do you use that shops at Rockauto?

There’s an old story about a factory owner who had a problem with a machine in his factory. He spent a week trying to fix it, but couldn’t get it to work. Neither could any of his employees. He finally called in a specialist to repair the machine. The specialist came in, looked at the machine, flipped one switch, and said “That’ll be $600.”

The owner yelled that was insane and demanded an itemized bill. The specialist obliged: “$1: Flipping the switch. $599: Knowing which switch to flip.”

In short, you’re going to a mechanic who paid a lot of money for his tools, and a lot of money to learn how to be a mechanic, and a lot of money for his building. That’s why AC jobs cost money.


The refrigerant used in AC is also highly regulated, you need to be properly trained and have the tools to store and recycle the used stuff. A DIY’er does not have that. $1,500 is not unreasonably high for a decent AC repair. @jlefae,do not listen to your friends who tell you to go to you tube and make a simple adjustment, if it was that easy they would have already done it for you. As others have said look at other shops for a competitive price. Do not tell them what you want done, tell them what the problem is so they can figure out what needs to be done.

For the 2L 2wd version of the Compass I’m seeing about $350 for the A/C compressor, and an hour in labor. The reason you are being quoted higher may be that the shop’s experience is that when the compressor goes out on these vehivcles there’s usually other stuff that needs replacement too. Sometimes metal fragments will get sent everywhere in the AC system when the compressor fails, requiring replacement of far more than just the compressor. The bill can come close to $4000 when this happens.

AC system diagnosis & fixing is best left to the pro’s, not a diy’er job for most folks. If you wanted to try something yourself, you could use a length of garden hose as a sort of stethoscope to isolate better where the sound was coming from. Best of luck there OP.

Had a similiar problem with my wife’s Rondo a couple of years ago, pop the hood and it sounded exactly like a noisy steering pump. Sucked some fluid out and added some miracle in a can noise reducer, but no change whatsoever.

The noise was the same with AC on or off, so not the compressor or clutch.

The problem was a growling bearing in the idler pulley… Not saying it’s the same problem in this Compass

As noisy as the OP sez this Compass is it’s strange he can’t get a firm diagnosis.

That means it is NOT the AC compressor. It is something else. Have the idler bearing checked, as Ranger above advised.

And find a good mechanic, you have been getting a lot of bad advice.

Everyone can hear u coming? And no mechanic can pinpoint noise? Maybe a dealer mechanic ho works on jeep compasses can pinpoint noise? Can u go to used car lot/dealer and find another compass and listen to that? Maybe it’s normal.

Just to be clear, it was just some guy in a parking lot that told me about
Youtube. I haven’t even looked because like I said, I know nothing about
cars and i would never even attempt to fix it myself. I am just trying to
figure out what exactly the noise is because it has been so hard to
diagnose, and also why it costs so much.

Unfortunately, this car, a 2007 Jeep Compass, that I bought used, has cost
me a hell of a lot of money already and to have the mechanic tell me it is
going to cost $1500 to fix, when I am currently unemployed and still owe
$7500 on this car is a huge blow. This is not even counting the lower arm
and tie rod issues that I already spent hundreds of dollars to fix just two
years ago, and now they are out again!

I really just want to get rid of this car, but the offers I have gotten are
lower than what I still owe on it. This sucks.

The noise could be coming from the AC clutch. The clutch is driven by the belt and will always turn, whether the AC is turned on or off. When you turn the AC on the clutch will engage and run the AC compressor. You can actually see the clutch engage if you watch it while someone turns the AC on or off.

It could make a horrible sound if the clutch is worn out, but it is an easy and quick fix and a competent mechanic should be able to do it in less than a couple of hours. I replaced my clutch on a Dodge Durango in a couple of hours when it started to slip and make noise. The clutch should cost about $40 or so.

Even if the compressor and clutch needs replacing it should not nearly cost you $1500. BUT, first you need to make sure the problem is properly identified. I would think by turning the AC on/off several times and someone listening closely to changes in sound, the problem can be narrowed down.

The last mechanic I talked to originally said something like that- the
idler pulley I think. But when I took it back to get it fixed (and then
went out of town), he called me to say that it was the AC whatever. I think
he was being honest about it because he knew it was going to cost me more,
but I do want to get a second opinion.
I had one mechanic I went to for years but he retired, and then I was going
to the dealer where I bought it but I felt like they screwed me over a
couple of times so I quit going there. I have had another mechanic
recommended but he currently has pneumonia.

I like Chiltons and Haynes. As far as the tools go, you can buy them all day long for a couple hundred bucks. Either the cheapo HF ones or professional used ones at pawn shops or craigslist. As far as the refrigerant, the R134a can be purchased anywhere for $5-10 per can. I buy mine at Sams in the 30# bottles.

Are you seriously suggesting that we tell someone who told us they know “next to nothing about cars” that their first forray into working on cars should be air conditioner diagnosis and repair? I think it would make more sense to start them off with rotating tires or even changing disc brake pads, don’t you? I mean, we don’t take brand new student pilots and have them drive Air Force One on their first day, y’know?

If you can do the work yourself, that’s great. OP has said that they can’t, so why are you picking on them for spending more money than it costs you to do it when you don’t charge yourself for labor?

Besides, it’s already come out that it’s probably not the compressor in the first place.


with compressor off, the clutch spins on its bearing. compressor shaft does not turn. that means clutch has issue. with compressor on, the shaft is spinning on the compressor bearing and if it is loud than you can look at compressor and not clutch. but it is sometimes easier to change compressor since you get a different clutch in the process. you can hold compressor in your hand and spin pulley. you can see the clutch face is not turning which is attached to compressor shaft. if your really bored, turn the clutch and see if you feel the compressor pumping. a new compressor is stiff and hard to turn when new