Buick LeSabre Air Conditioning

My 1996 Buick LeSabre had a bad air conditioning compressor. The shop ordered a rebuilt compressor. The first rebuilt compressor came in and turned out to be bad, after it was installed by the shop. The second one was also bad. The third one worked for 3 months, and then went bad. The shop is replacing it all under warranty. They explained that the compressor died and exploded metal shards throughout the system, which they explained was the condenser. They say they have to replace the compressor again and also flush the system. My question is how could four compressors all be bad. GM has made millions of these cars with the 3800 V6 with air conditioning. Is this a chronic problem or was I just unlucky? And will the next compressor go bad too? Is there anything I should do to prevent the next compressor from going bad?

If the first compressor failed catastrophically, it left metal fragments insde the system and probably would have caused all subsequent failures.

The only way to avoid future failures is to replace everything in the system, including the condensor. When you find out how much that’s going to cost, you may decide to do without AC or sell the car.

Depending on who and how they did the rebuild would determine the quality of the rebuild. I never had any luck with rebuilt compressors period and either put brand new in or else used from the junk yard. You go to all that work and expense to replace a compressor only to have it go bad makes no sense. New ones are not all that more expensive. Correct though, anytime the compressor goes, you have to flush the system and replace parts or you’ll just ruin the compressor again. Normally they are good for 2-300,000 miles if maintained so a used one with 50-60K on it is to me better than a rebuilt of unknown quality.


What the shop should have done is

Flush the system
Replace the condenser
Replace the ac manifold hose assembly
Replace the accumulator
Replace the compressor
Replace the orifice

. . . and install this


I’m guessing if they had installed that screen, your new compressors would have survived . . .

It’s also not known as to whether or not the correct amount of refrigerant oil was added on any of these jobs. A catastrophic compressor failure usually points to lack of oil.

They must have a pretty lenient parts supplier to allow this to continue.