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Chevy Suburban and Tahoe AC and Heater Problems



  • dwalton1dwalton1 Posts: 1
    rear air not working at all front works great .I checked fuses under hood and dash .Just need some help
  • calipagcalipag Posts: 1
    I am having the same problem, did you ever figure out what was wrong?

  • domabrosdomabros Posts: 1
    Front air is ice cold on my 99 suburban,rear air not.Vent door selectors are both working in rear,one for heat or a\c,one for floor or ceiling.Any suggestions?
  • nflguynflguy Posts: 90
    I have a 2007 tahoe LT3 that I bought in October 2007.

    In Dec 2007 the readout on the dash (where you can view the odometer or the tire pressure etc) went haywire. Instead of the usual stuff it displayed some random numbers and was stuck on that screen. 20 minutes later it suddenly started working fine. I brought to dealership and they said nothing was wrong.

    My XM radio will go out briefly now and then and I don't live anywehere near tunnels, mountains etc. I could be in the middle of a parkinglot and suddenly lose reception. This is weird becuase XM is sattelite.

    Now for the bigger issue:

    Around March I noticed that the blower speed seemed to fluctuate without me touching a thing. I would set the fan speed to a middle setting and then while driving it would go up and down. I called the dealer and they told me to turn on the max air/recirulator button that would fix the problem.

    It didn't fix the problem so i dropped my tahoe off at the dealer. They kept it overnight and told me everything was fine. They said that if the fan speed was having problems there would be a code and they didn't find any codes...

    Now it's late June, 2008

    My fan speed fluctuates wildly while driving(i never use the auto function).

    The Max air/air recirculator button will turn off on it's own!!!!

    I called another dealership and they said it could be a problem with a blower resistor or the control head BUT the only way they can replace those items is if the onboard computer shows codes indicating those items need to be replaced.

    ANY help ior suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    You can also email me at
  • natalenatale Posts: 5
    I have a 2002 Chevy Tahoe that when you put the ac or the heat on and step on the gas you hear this really lound like clicking noise. You let off the gas and the truck idle and there is no noise. The air comes out cold as ice and the heat works great as well. I had a mechanic look at it and he suggested changing the tensioner and the belt or it might be the compressor. I changed the tensioner and belt and the problem still remains. Does it sound like the compressor? Has anyone else had this same problem? Mechanic stated it will cost $500.00 to replace? Does this sound correct?
  • I have a 2002 Suburban and I have the same exact problem and i have done the same things so far as replacing the tensioner and the belt, and it is still doing the same thing, I want to know how long i can drive and how far I can drive my suburban like this.
  • natalenatale Posts: 5
    When i took it in to the dealer tha ti bought it from for this problem (Not a chevy dealer) they said it would not hurt the vehicle. I am ultimately going to bring it into chevy to have them take a look at it and diagnose it. I dont honestly think it is the compressor because they said it is gumming up because of the freon. So my answer then is ok, then what about when i turn on the heat? Their is no freon being used when you run the heat. They also told me they received a memo from GM on this problem. I just hope it is not going to cost $500.00 or more to replace. This is the first problem i have had with this vehicle in the three years i have owned it. On top of the cost of gas now unfortunately i have to worry about this. I have found tha twhen driving after you get going you can turn the air on and the truck will not make the nosie, unfortunately after you stop for a light or to turn you need to shut off the air so that when you step on the gas the truck will not make the noise. Let me know if you find out any additional info and i will do the same.
  • jerryingajerryinga Posts: 1
    the problem could be the radiator fan clutch. while driving there is enough air blowing across a/c condenser and radiator. when you stop if the fan clutch is defective, there is not sufficent air flowing to cool freon in condenser coil.
  • arriearrie Posts: 312

    I understand that you have found out that the noise comes from the AC compressor? So, if you turn the whole heating / cooling system OFF you do not hear it? In some cars, like in my '04 Tahoe, AC compressor runs almost always regardless if you are heating or cooling. Even in heating mode some systems use AC compressor to dry the air so your windows do not fog over. That is why compressor typically runs if you select the wind shield operation.

    If the noise really comes from the compressor, like I believe it does based on what you say, there is one very simple and inexpensive thing to do to see if it helps. Go to any auto part store and buy a can of oil charge for the AC system. Your car is 6 years old and possibly has never had this done.

    Just like in any oil lubricated system the oil loses its lubricating properties over time and this can lead to wear and ultimately burning of your AC compressor.

    To charge your AC system requires a charging hose, which should not cost more than $10. Anyway, the can of oil charge and the hose will cost less than $20. If you don't have a handy man at home to do the job I would think someone at parts store might do the job for you but you will need to buy the can and the hose.

    The job is very easy and you probably can do it yourself too. You first make sure the needle valve on the charging hose is turned all the way open. This ensures the needle on the valve does not pierce the can when you screw the can in the valve.

    Then you unscrew the plastic cap from the low pressure service port in the cars AC system. This is the port right close the AC dryer canister (aluminum bottle at passenger side on fire wall). This line is also the one that is cool to touch (when AC system is running). When feeling the line do it next to the service port because the same line is HOT if you touch it on high pressure side of the expansion valve. In my car the expansion valve is just about 10 inches before the service port in this same line so the same line has hot and cold parts to it.

    You will connect the charging hose to the low pressure service port (the fitting on the hose will not fit in the other ports if you have purchased correct charging hose) while the engine is running on idle with AC on max cooling.

    Then holding the can upside down you will turn the needle valve on the charging hose to full closed. This will pierce the can. After this you open the valve holding it upside down and the ac system will suck the contents in the system. You will need to shake the can before you do all this and they instruct to shake it while it is flowing in too. It only takes about 30 seconds for the oil charge to flow in the system.

    If oil charge gets rid of the noise you should be fine as you say the air coming out of the vents is ice cold.

    If oil charge does not help at all you might have a bearing problem with the compressor.

    Bearing problem can be such that when you accelerate the extra force from acceleration can cause the bearing to make noise but when you drive constant speed or do just moderate acceleration during driving noise is not generated as acceleration force is not big enough to cause problem.

    If it is bearing issue you could try lubricating the bearing but it is very difficult to do and probably requires removal of the clutch and pulley that turns the compressor.

    $500 is not bad for AC compressor change as just the part for my car costs almost that. I guess the mechanic was talking about the cost for the compressor, not it installed. For the job you need to re-charge the system and to do that correctly the system must be vacuumed first after compressor change. And if you are to have compressor changed you probably want to replace expansion valve and the AC dryer canister too. At least that is what I would do if I had to replace my compressor.

    With all this work and parts you might be looking a bill around $800 instead of $500 so please do yourself a favor. Try the oil charge first as if the compressor is just running little dry it might save you that $800!

  • esther08esther08 Posts: 3
    The rear air doesn't work on my '02 tahoe. I checked the fuses in the box but couldn't find any that where blown, any ideas?
  • esther08esther08 Posts: 3
    I have the same problem, did you ever find out how to fix it?
  • natalenatale Posts: 5
    Good Morning! Thanks for getting back to me. Yes when i shut everything down, Heat/Ac and drive the truck it runs normally, no sound no nothing. I am going to try and charge the system as you suggested. I will let you know how it turns out. Thanks for the detailed instructions it was very helpful. I hope this works. I would really have to go through changing the compressor and having to spend $800.00.

    Best Regards,
  • arriearrie Posts: 312

    please post back wether it helps or not. This way it helps others in this forum too.


  • I have the same issue, just started on my 2002 Suburban 2500. The lower AC belt broke and the shop replaced it. Immediately, we started hearing a rattling noise from the AC when we stepped on the gas. Brought it back, said the tensioner was broken. They agreed to replace it because this was the 3rd time we'd had to come back in for stupid issues. They replaced the tensioner and I went out, started the truck, turned on the AC and hit the gas and the noise started up again. Two guys from the shop were right there. They checked and they said the tensioner broke.

    I looked up the service bulletins on this truck and 01139B is the exact issue. Doing some more research, I found that it's a down problem where slugs of liquid refrigerant are being pushed into the compressor. They clog a tube which then blows the tensioner. Ugh.

    I'm pissed because the AC kicks just fine. It's cold and the fan works. It's just noisy as all getout and sounds like the belt is going to go flying. This wasn't happening prior to them replacing the belt or the tensioner. I'm wondering if they could have reinstalled something wrong and caused the problem.

    The shop quoted me $1300 to replace the compressor, tube, tensioner, etc. I just don't want to put that money into this truck right now. I'm having a hard time believing that this is the issue, if it was, it would have done this before the new belt. Right?
  • arriearrie Posts: 312
    You say ...A/C kicks just fine...why do they want to replace the compressor then?

    If the issue is that ...slugs of liquid refrigerant are being pushed into the compressor... then the fix for that is very simple...let some refrigerant out from the system. This is very easy to do. Just have a refrigerant charge hose connected to the low pressure side service port and let some refrigerant out. Have hose spraying in a container or something covering it with paper towels or something else so the refrigerant does not get on painted surfaces. It could hurt the paint.

    If you let out big amount of refrigerant you might want to add an oil charge after that to make sure you don't drain the system from lubricating oil that the compressor needs.

    If your compressor runs well and works, i.e. cools the air then if the compressor itself is quiet there is no need to replace it. And if it makes noise oil charge can fix that too.

    The tensioner breaking right after new one is installed does not make sense. The tensioner simply is a pulley mounted in the end of an arm that is spring loaded against the belt. The way tensioner normally fails is that the bearing of the tensioner pulley wears out. Very seldom the spring breaks but is possible.

    Almost sounds like the shop that fixed your tensioner installed the old broken tensioner back in and then tell you you need to replace $1300 worth of parts to fix it. I say this because I see so much scam amongst the car repair shops and it is getting much worse in a hurry. And it seems dealer service shops are amongst the worst ones with this.

    I don't know if you are a hands-on person but a belt tensioner is not very difficult to fix/replace. In these vehicles I think you need to get under the car to do it though so you need to have vehicle elevated on ramps or at shop.

    Here are steps I would take before costly compressor replacement:

    1. Go to car parts store and buy A/C charging hose, pressure gauge, 2 cans of oil charge and 1 can of refrigerant. All this for about $30-$35.

    2. Start car and turn A/C ON at max cooling.

    3. Let run for a few minutes and then connect pressure gauge to the low pressure side service port. Record pressure reading. The pressure is ambient temperature dependent but the pressure gauge should have an area marked with green where the pressure reading should be at.
    4. Use one of the oil charges, i.e. charge the A/C system with oil.
    5. See if the oil charge helps any. One of the ways the noise from tensioner occurs is that the compressor could be hard to turn, i.e. low oil lubrication could cause the compressor run a little bit tight and at each piston compression stroke could cause drive belt tension change and start bouncing the tensioner that then causes the noise.
    6. If problem does not get better let some refrigerant out. This would be necessary if slugs of liquid refrigerant enters in the compressor. No liquid should enter the compressor as liquids do not compress. Let out fairly big amount of refrigerant checking pressure at times and see if it helps. If the belt tensioner is broken you might need to have it fixed before you can definitely tell if your noise problem has improved but even with broken tensioner you should hear a difference.

    After letting all that refrigerant out add the other oil charge in the system to make sure you have enough oil charge in it. If you happen to drain the system low enough so that the cooling performance goes bad then use the can of refrigerant to re-charge the system to point where cooling is good again.

    If oil charge and lowering refrigerant level in the cooling system do not help you might be facing that $1300 repair cost. But, for making sure you are not spending all that money just because your compressor is running on low lubrication or the system is over charged (liquid entering compressor) the above explained less than $40 trouble shooting procedure might pay off.

    There is another lower than $1300 cost repair to try before replacing the compressor if the above explains oiling/charging does not help, the expansion valve replacement.

    Cooling system working principle is as follows: Compressor increases gas refrigerant pressure to a very high level. With this the temperature of the high pressure refrigerant also gets very high. When this high pressure and high temperature gas enters the condenser (at the radiator at front of car) it turns into liquid form when the heat is removed (air flow cools it down). Now at liquid form and still under high pressure the refrigerant flows thru expansion valve. This valve simply is a fixed size hole in the tubing and it separates (like the compressor) the high and low pressure sides of the cooling system. The liquid refrigerant turns in gas form after the expansion valve and causes cooling in the evaporator element, which the air is blown thru inside the car.

    If the orifice of the expansion valve would wear out and be too large it could let too much flow thru it and cause some liquid form refrigerant to appear in the low pressure side of the system.

    The expansion valve is very low coast item. I have bought 3 of them in the past for some older cars I had and the most expensive of them was $7 + tax. It could cost perhaps even $20 now. Anyway, the problem is not the cost of the part, it is the work to have it replaced because the whole A/C system must be drained. Expansion valve is located inside the A/C tubing right at the break point in line before that low pressure side service port. While A/C is running you can feel this in temperature of the line as the high pressure side of the expansion valve is hot while the low pressure side is cold.

    The problem with this work is not the replacement of the expansion valve. It is the re-charging the refrigerant because before that you need to vacuum the system. Vacuuming is necessary because air in the system causes poor performance as air is incondensible gas, i.e. when compressor compresses air it does go to high pressure with high temperature but it does not turn in liquid form in the condenser but remains in gas form and circulates back to compressor taking room from the refrigerant to be compressed. But, you could change the expansion valve and then take the car in an A/C shop just for vacuum and charge.

  • nflguynflguy Posts: 90
    Is there not anyone else with the same problem on a newer model Tahoe?

    Our 2007 Tahoe has fluctuating fan speed on the ac. It seems especially worse on the middle speed settings. I will be driving along (or sitting at an intersection) and the speed will suddenly go up or down for a few seconds. NOBODY else has this issue?

    I took it in twice to the dealer and each time they said the system was fine. I took it back a third time and they said the aspirator was bad. However the problem continues.
  • arriearrie Posts: 312
    Is it an automatic climate control system or is it manual?

    Automatic system does change fan speed according to temperature reading inside the vehicle.

    A sudden change in fan speed can happen for example if the driver's head is located too close to the air temperature "sampler" intake in the ceiling and suddenly changes distance to the sampler. Help for this issue is to set driver's seat lower so that head is not too close to the sampler intake at any time.

    Sounds weird but drivers head being too close to this small "speaker looking" air intake can change air temperature entering inside the tube where temperature is measured. This happened to me and I had to lower my seat down from where I first wanted to have it.

    Above assumes that the air temperature measurement is made to work the same way as in '04 Tahoe with automatic climate control.

    If your system is a manual climate control and has fixed fan speeds and fan speed suddenly changes you have an issue, which must be fan or fan speed controller related.

  • nflguynflguy Posts: 90
    I can have it set to manual or auto. We don't typically use the auto but when we do the same problems happen.

    This is a VERY frustrating problem. I'm likely to be out of warranty by the time next summer rolls around so I wanna get this fixed asap.

    They said nothing was wrong the first few times they checked it out. The problem got worse and worse until eventually the max air button would click off on it's own even though we were on manual setting. I brought it in again and they said the aspirator was bad (the thing above your head) so they replaced it. Now the max ac button no longer shuts off on it's own but the brief changes in fan speed have returned. I fear it's some kind of electrical issue with voltage problems on the blower resistor. The problem is that dealers rely on the vehicle computer system when deciding if replacing parts is needed. If there is a problem but the computer doesn't show it (via codes) then the dealer won't do anything to fix.
  • arriearrie Posts: 312
    Just wait until your warranty is gone and your dealer will find all sorts of issues to repair on your vehicle.

    GM is in so deep mess at the moment they cannot afford fixing vehicles on warranty unless they absolutely have to. Issue like yours, if not absolutely repeated at the dealer's service shop and you having witness with you will not be repaired on warranty but as your warranty goes out I can guarantee they will want to change all kinds of parts on it as it will be done on your dime.

    I had to trouble shoot and fix my car myself after the first about 2000 miles when fuel consumption went from 18+ MPG to 13 MPG on highway driving. Dealer claimed there was nothing wrong as there were no trouble codes in computer. I found all sorts of problems the intake manifold leak being the biggest one...and whole bunch of improper electrical connections on wire harnesses...

    Good luck with yours.

  • nflguynflguy Posts: 90
    What year Tahoe did you have the problem with???
  • arriearrie Posts: 312
    2004 LT,

    I have been buying "little used" 2 - 3 years old cars before as I am kind of a mechanic and fixing cars for me is easy unless it is a computer issue or something like that.

    After years saving money I finally was able to consider buying a new vehicle and it sounded so good not needing to work on it. It cost almost $40 000 to get my hands on this Tahoe LT and then all but trouble. And chevy dealer does not do anything to fix it.

    Tail pipe looks like it burns a gallon of oil between oil changes, but it did not and still does not burn any oil. It just sent unburned fuel thru tail pipe as engine was not working at the most effective way and biggest problem with this seemed to be intake manifold gasket leak. Believe or not but it has a lot to do with engine performance as leak changes MAP sensor reading, which is part of controlling ignition timing.

    Leaking intake manifold gasket also caused rough or jerking idle.

    I also soldered almost all wires to the pins at sensor harnesses. I believe the only one I have not done yet is the crank shaft position sensor wire harness and that is because it is not easy to get to. Starter motor has to be removed to gain access to it.

    My Tahoe works quite well now and I still get about 18 MPG with 77 MPH speed on highway. I have 94 000 miles on it.

    Last scare was coolant level dropping off but it seems to have fixed itself after I poured some Bar's leak fix in it.

  • nflguynflguy Posts: 90
    Finally last week they said there was a problem. They told me my aspirator was bad and that was causing the blower speed to vary and the max ac to shut off. That fix lasted one day.

    I dropped the tahoe off this morning and showed the tech guys how my ac fan speed will go up and down even when parked. They called and said they can't figure it out so they are gonna replace the control head. Well see if it works.
  • I know exactly what your talking about. I bought our 2008 Tahoe in May. I have had it into the dealer six different times, due to the AC clutch making a clattering sound, air flow problems and a short within the rear AC. On the second visit the dealer found the short in the rear Ac and fried the main AC control. Know I am still having problems with the air flow. I did check the lemon laws here in AZ and filed a complaint with the Better Business Bural I was wondering if you ever resolved your issue and how!
  • I am having very similar problems with my 2008 Tahoe. I was woundering if you were able to resolve anthing?
  • treedogtreedog Posts: 12
    Hey Arrie, I never heard anything back from the post you made on july 21st,I was wondering if your information helped the other two (Natale and Waltherchic) i have the same problem with my chevy tahoe...the a/c works fine but i have the same noise ...its not the tensioner...So I added 1 can of oil, didnt help me...i let out a bunch down to 35 and my ambient temp was 45-55 was my range..Right?..should i go lower then 35? a/c still blows seems a little better since i lowered to 35....but still does it sometimes when i rev the engine at idle...just wondering if i should ad oil from here or let more out first?...Whats your opinion? you have been a great help..I really apreciate your knowledge...thanks
  • natalenatale Posts: 5
    Sorry it has been awhile for you to hear back from me i had two deaths in the family since july 21st. I have not tried what Arie suggested yet in regards to the problem i have with my Heat/AC. In a week or two i am going to be putting it in the shop to get it fixed. I have already changed the belt and tensioner and it still makes that noise i described in my first posting. I am willing to bet it is compressor. After i bring it in i will get back to everyone letting you know what they find.
  • We finally gave up. Fall is almost here and we won't need the AC shortly. We snapped 2 tensioners right from Chevy. They put them on, put on the belts, turned on the truck, turned on the AC, hit the gas the tensioner broke. Threw a piece right off. The only thing that anyone can come up with (and 3 guys have all come up with the same thing) is that the Compressor is gone and when we step on the gas, we're putting too much pressure or torque (it's early, and it's been awhile since it was explained to me) and that's snapping the tensioner.

    Basically, we were looking at at least $1500 in repairs to possibly fix the issue on a truck that's worth $5000 and needs new plugs and wires and new tires. $3000 total. I just can't do that right now. So, DH can suffer his 2.5 mile commute w/o AC for a few more weeks.

    Good luck figuring out the issue. I'll check back to see if anyone does find a resolution. The guy who did most of the work for me thinks the tensioner is a piece of crap and Chevy should have made it heavier. FWIW.
  • kiawahkiawah Posts: 3,666
    Unplug the compressor power wire. If the driver turns on the defroster in the fall/winter to defrost the windshield, that will turn on the compressor to get the humidity out....and you'll break another tensioner on the road somewhere.
  • treedogtreedog Posts: 12
    Natale, Sorry to hear of your losses,..You've had a tough Month. Hopefully i can figure it out for ya ,with Arries help,.. It did get better when i lowered the pressure to 35..Im gonna drive it today and see if the air stays cold and see if the noise comes back.ill let you know...Just waiting for arries advice on wether to lower further before adding oil and freon...Its definately not the tensioner, i put on a new one and it made the same noise right away, so i returned it to the parts store..Thanks
  • arriearrie Posts: 312
    Hi there treedog,

    I had not heard back from anybody regarding the issue until today.

    I am visiting in Europe and have not been able to connect to internet. This is the country with Autobahns and it feels kind of good driving 140 MPH in a car that is made for driving fast...but that is another topic.

    If your A/C still blows cold I would let some more refrigerant out. You can do this until you see a drop in the A/C efficiency and then add some back until it works ok again. But before letting more out you might want to make sure you have enough oil in it as oil is lost when you let refrigerant out.

    There is another thing to consider too, which I am thinking to do myself to my own Tahoe...replace the expansion valve.

    Expansion valve can be a problem as it has a very fine mesh screen with it. Over time the compressor wears and all of the metal dust that it spits out is meant to be caught by this screen on the expansion valve. Well, if this screen gets plugged too much it starts to restrict coolant flow thru it and this could be causing some trouble.

    The job includes vacuuming the A/C system before re-charging it.Vacuuming is possible to perform at home too. I have done this in the past a couple of times and it works fine.

    For vacuuming the A/C system you need to purchase another charging hose and then cut off the end that screws to the refrigerant can. Then you find a vacuum connection in your car's intake manifold (there usually are plenty of those) and see what size hose you need to get to connect to one of these ports. Then you get a proper size hose and connect it to the charger hose end that you cut the refrigerator can connector off. Now you have tools to vacuum your A/C system before re-charge.

    You turn off the A/C system (it should not run without refrigeranr anyway but to make sure turn it off) and start car and run it on idle. When idling the engine generates very high vacuum inside the intake manifold. Some cars over 24". When you connect the hand made hose to the A/C system service port and then the other end to the intake manifold port you will vacuum the A/C system very well. You have it "vacuuming" 15 minutes and it is pretty empty.

    After about 15 minutes disconnect the hose from the service port before turning off the engine. Now you are ready to re-charge the A/C system. You will start with a can of oil charge. It will go inthe system without running the engine as the vacuum in the system will pull it in. Then you start with a can of refrigerant and when that stops going in you will need the help of the compressor, i.e. turn on the A/C system for max cooling. This probably will not start the compressor as the coolant level is still so low in the system. To make compressor run you need to short the two wires on the harness that connects to the pressure sensor that is mounted on the side of the dryer bottle.

    A new expansion valve is very low cost item. Last one I bought for my Dodge Ram tryck cost $6 or something like that. Expansion valve is located inside the tubing where there is a union on the line just before that dryer bottle. If you run the A/C before the job you can feel the line for temperature as before the expansion valve it is hot and after the valve it is cold.

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