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Air conditioner fails twice in two years - advice appreciated?

Pandalus

Member
Dec 1, 2015
24
14
Surrey, BC
Short version: I replaced the compressor in my 2014 Model S just two years ago. Service is telling me it has failed again and want to charge me $4000 for the full fix. Something feels off about all this, and so I'm seeking advice.

Longer version:

In 2019, I bought a used 2014 Model S85. I bought it from an EV dealership in Ontario, and transported it to St John's NL. I bought it in the late spring, when it was cold out, and didn't notice the A/C wasn't working. As soon as it started getting hot out, I noticed the AC didn't work at all (fans were fine).

Mobile service diagnosed it as a failed compressor, and I had to take it to Quebec City (nearest service centre). They replaced the compressor, and all was well - everything worked fine. Here's the description of work:
1631131660649.png


Fast forward to this summer. Last year (2020) we shipped the car to Vancouver, where we now live.

Probably 2 months ago, just after the big heat dome, we noticed the A/C was underperforming. It still blew cold air, but the fan speed would dwindle to almost nothing after driving for 30-60 minutes. Turning off the AC for a few min and then turning it on again would fix the problem, but temporarily.

So I made a service appointment at the Langley Service Centre. I brought it in last Wednesday (the 1st). Each day, it was the same story "we aren't done, not sure how long it will take." So after a couple days I had them set me up with a rental.

Finally, today, after being in the shop for a full week, I got a message: They have determined that three parts had failed: the compressor AND two condensers!

1631131871294.png


My red flags are going off all over the place here.

1) I just replaced the compressor 2 years ago. These things aren't supposed to fail that quickly!
2) Why would three parts have failed at exactly the same time?
3) Why is it more expensive to fix an AC system that is still partially working than it was to 100% fix the system before, when it wasn't working at all?

I expressed my frustration to the technician and the manager approved a 10% discount on a compressor. I declined. I don't think I should have to pay at all, quite frankly, to replace a compressor after just two years of normal use. These things are supposed to last a long time. They claimed that this compressor we'd be getting is a "new generation" and I pointed out the invoice from Quebec showed I already got a second generation one, so is there a third generation? And they weren't sure.

I'm about to go pick up my car and am trying to figure out what to do next. I'm considering booking another service appointment at a different service centre to get a second opinion. I'm wondering if there's anything else I could try instead, if people on here have other ideas?

I have to say I'm immensely disappointed by all this. This is the first time I feel like I'm getting the "shady garage" treatment by a service centre.
 
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Pandalus

Member
Dec 1, 2015
24
14
Surrey, BC
Just to add to this, the service centre has offered to give us two months to consider getting the work done wherein they would still honour the 10% off deal on the compressor itself. I'm still highly skeptical about all this.
 

ucmndd

Well-Known Member
Mar 10, 2016
6,995
13,785
California
Tesla service centers operate more or less like part/module replacement centers. I observe very little of what I’d call mechanical troubleshooting or diagnosis. They plug in a computer, run the diagnostics, and that’s about it.

The solution to most every problem is to replace parts and see if that fixes the problem. If not, try again. This obviously gets very expensive when you’re the one paying the bill vs the warranty.

unfortunately, I doubt your experience will be any different at another service center. they are just going to read the work notes from the last service visit.
 

Pandalus

Member
Dec 1, 2015
24
14
Surrey, BC
Update: I picked up the car today and talked to the guy at the centre. I was quite pointed in my questioning...

I pointed out it’s weird that when the system was totally broken they fixed it by replacing the compressor. Now that it’s just underperforming they’re telling me they need to replace three parts, a compressor (only 2 yrs old) and two condenser fans

So then the guy changed his tune and said actually what's happening is the three parts aren’t totally broken but there is a slow leak from all three

And I said: wait, so three separate parts are each showing evidence of a slow leak of refrigerant? It’s not just a single leak somewhere in the system?

So he said well actually, after they recharged it, NONE of the parts showed a leak. They just figure it’s a very slow leak.

This is not inspiring confidence in dropping thousands of dollars on parts to maybe possibly fix this.

I'm especially skeptical because they didn't seem to have a good handle on the compressor models.

Re: the generations of compressor... the Quebec centre installed 1028398-00J, which is marked as second generation.
This one (langley) wanted to order me 6007380-00-D, which is marked as first generation

Verbally he told me that 6007380-00-D is actually the new improved one despite what it said on the invoice. I need to do some sleuthing to figure this out but too many parts of this aren't adding up. That, and also I'm seeing threads like A/C Compressor finally failed. But $3400??! that seem to suggest there are serious ongoing problems with Tesla A/C systems in older cars.
 

Boeingpilot

Member
Oct 11, 2018
187
399
Central PA
Update: I picked up the car today and talked to the guy at the centre. I was quite pointed in my questioning...

I pointed out it’s weird that when the system was totally broken they fixed it by replacing the compressor. Now that it’s just underperforming they’re telling me they need to replace three parts, a compressor (only 2 yrs old) and two condenser fans

So then the guy changed his tune and said actually what's happening is the three parts aren’t totally broken but there is a slow leak from all three

And I said: wait, so three separate parts are each showing evidence of a slow leak of refrigerant? It’s not just a single leak somewhere in the system?

So he said well actually, after they recharged it, NONE of the parts showed a leak. They just figure it’s a very slow leak.

This is not inspiring confidence in dropping thousands of dollars on parts to maybe possibly fix this.

I'm especially skeptical because they didn't seem to have a good handle on the compressor models.

Re: the generations of compressor... the Quebec centre installed 1028398-00J, which is marked as second generation.
This one (langley) wanted to order me 6007380-00-D, which is marked as first generation

Verbally he told me that 6007380-00-D is actually the new improved one despite what it said on the invoice. I need to do some sleuthing to figure this out but too many parts of this aren't adding up. That, and also I'm seeing threads like A/C Compressor finally failed. But $3400??! that seem to suggest there are serious ongoing problems with Tesla A/C systems in older cars.
There is such a thing as leak detectors. Abs they find very small leaks. Sounds to me they’re just covering theirselves
 

blodg1

Member
Mar 24, 2020
82
111
Laguna Niguel, CA
Update: I picked up the car today and talked to the guy at the centre. I was quite pointed in my questioning...

I pointed out it’s weird that when the system was totally broken they fixed it by replacing the compressor. Now that it’s just underperforming they’re telling me they need to replace three parts, a compressor (only 2 yrs old) and two condenser fans

So then the guy changed his tune and said actually what's happening is the three parts aren’t totally broken but there is a slow leak from all three

And I said: wait, so three separate parts are each showing evidence of a slow leak of refrigerant? It’s not just a single leak somewhere in the system?

So he said well actually, after they recharged it, NONE of the parts showed a leak. They just figure it’s a very slow leak.

This is not inspiring confidence in dropping thousands of dollars on parts to maybe possibly fix this.

I'm especially skeptical because they didn't seem to have a good handle on the compressor models.

Re: the generations of compressor... the Quebec centre installed 1028398-00J, which is marked as second generation.
This one (langley) wanted to order me 6007380-00-D, which is marked as first generation

Verbally he told me that 6007380-00-D is actually the new improved one despite what it said on the invoice. I need to do some sleuthing to figure this out but too many parts of this aren't adding up. That, and also I'm seeing threads like A/C Compressor finally failed. But $3400??! that seem to suggest there are serious ongoing problems with Tesla A/C systems in older cars.
These two compressors are not interchangeable. The break point happens to be July 10th 2014. I'm guessing your car was built after that date which means the first part was correct. Had you accepted the new repair quote the part number would have been revised when ordered.
 
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PWlakewood

Active Member
Jan 9, 2019
1,797
1,118
US
I had a 2013 S with poor performing AC and I took it to Tesla and they recharged for free and the issue went away for 6 months. Next time it happened I took it in again and this time they said the compressor failed and gave me an estimate for 2700 or some dumb ish pricing. I lol'd and went and got some refill containers and did it myself. Worked great after i refilled it. No leaks detected by tesla or the AC shop I took it to.
 

Phlier

Bluebird
Jun 12, 2019
1,901
3,290
Utah
Definitely sounds like they're trying to fix the problem by shooting the parts cannon at it.

Man, I'm sorry to hear about your problems with this. FWIW, I think you should take it to just a regular ole mechanic and ask him to diagnose the AC system for you; you don't need to be a Tesla certified mechanic to diagnose the AC system. They should be able to accurately tell you what parts are bad, and should be able to find any leaks for you.

This is a perfect example of why "Right to Repair" needs to pass... although I see you're in Canada...
 
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MP3Mike

Well-Known Member
Feb 1, 2016
16,464
38,458
Oregon
So he said well actually, after they recharged it, NONE of the parts showed a leak. They just figure it’s a very slow leak.
So they recharged it and returned it to you without replacing any parts? Is it working well now, or is the capacity still reduced?

Often when a compressor fails it sends metal shrapnel through the system and the passages in the condensers are too small to be able to flush it out. So it could be that the shrapnel has built up and clogged passages in the condensers reducing system performance. (In the ICE world it is normal when replacing the compressor that they require you to replace the condenser as well or you get no warranty on the compressor because some of it will dislodge and take the new compressor out as well sending even more shrapnel through the system.)
 

Pandalus

Member
Dec 1, 2015
24
14
Surrey, BC
Betcha it's a fuse in the DC to DC converter

I've been reading up on this, but what doesn't add up to me is that the vents are still trickling out cold air. What fails is the fan that blows air into the cabin. If I turn things off for a few min, then on again, the fan works once again. I feel like if the fuse was gone, it just fully wouldn't work

Remove the Frunk and check the grounding wire on the left side. Sometime it will corrode and cause electrical issues
I'll take a look

So they recharged it and returned it to you without replacing any parts? Is it working well now, or is the capacity still reduced?

Often when a compressor fails it sends metal shrapnel through the system and the passages in the condensers are too small to be able to flush it out. So it could be that the shrapnel has built up and clogged passages in the condensers reducing system performance. (In the ICE world it is normal when replacing the compressor that they require you to replace the condenser as well or you get no warranty on the compressor because some of it will dislodge and take the new compressor out as well sending even more shrapnel through the system.)

So, the first compressor indeed failed. But it didn't blow or anything, afaik. This was the 2019 failure. The tech showed me that the connector (circled in red) had failed. The compressor itself was probably still fine, but he said there was no way to replace the connector only.
1631241333335.png


I think that's why they ONLY replaced the compressor back then.

Definitely sounds like they're trying to fix the problem by shooting the parts cannon at it.

Man, I'm sorry to hear about your problems with this. FWIW, I think you should take it to just a regular ole mechanic and ask him to diagnose the AC system for you; you don't need to be a Tesla certified mechanic to diagnose the AC system. They should be able to accurately tell you what parts are bad, and should be able to find any leaks for you.

This is a perfect example of why "Right to Repair" needs to pass... although I see you're in Canada...

I think this is the route I'm going to have to go. FWIW the Liberal party has right to repair in their platform!

I had a 2013 S with poor performing AC and I took it to Tesla and they recharged for free and the issue went away for 6 months. Next time it happened I took it in again and this time they said the compressor failed and gave me an estimate for 2700 or some dumb ish pricing. I lol'd and went and got some refill containers and did it myself. Worked great after i refilled it. No leaks detected by tesla or the AC shop I took it to.
Sounds like you had a leak in the system. I'm open to going this route but am also aware the Global Warming Potential of refrigerant is horrifying and we really don't want to be leaking it into the environment.

My understanding though is those refrigerant kits also contain some sort of a compound that can plug small leaks.

Is there a way to check what type of refrigerant the car can take? I think I read that older Teslas use the bad one, whereas new ones use a less bad one.
 
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David.85D

Active Member
Oct 29, 2016
1,499
1,267
USA
So they recharged it and returned it to you without replacing any parts? Is it working well now, or is the capacity still reduced?

Often when a compressor fails it sends metal shrapnel through the system and the passages in the condensers are too small to be able to flush it out. So it could be that the shrapnel has built up and clogged passages in the condensers reducing system performance. (In the ICE world it is normal when replacing the compressor that they require you to replace the condenser as well or you get no warranty on the compressor because some of it will dislodge and take the new compressor out as well sending even more shrapnel through the system.)
I was going to say this. BUT remember these are high voltage DC driven compressors. Even a little contamination will cause high voltage breakdown and completely dead compressor. If they can recharge it and it’s working, it has a slow leak and they are being dirtbags for not finding it. It’s not metal shrapnel from the previous repair. I would still have the system vacuumed out , desiccant replaced, and properly refilled.

Take it to an AC shop that works on hybrids. They also have the same DC powered compressor. They will know how to properly troubleshoot it. It is a little different than an ICE AC because it’s DC powered and not belt driven - you are limited by what dyes you can add, have to avoid mixing oils, contaminating the oil, etc. otherwise the parts are identical.
 

Pandalus

Member
Dec 1, 2015
24
14
Surrey, BC
I was going to say this. BUT remember these are high voltage DC driven compressors. Even a little contamination will cause high voltage breakdown and completely dead compressor. If they can recharge it and it’s working, it has a slow leak and they are being dirtbags for not finding it. It’s not metal shrapnel from the previous repair. I would still have the system vacuumed out , desiccant replaced, and properly refilled.

Take it to an AC shop that works on hybrids. They also have the same DC powered compressor. They will know how to properly troubleshoot it. It is a little different than an ICE AC because it’s DC powered and not belt driven - you are limited by what dyes you can add, have to avoid mixing oils, contaminating the oil, etc. otherwise the parts are identical.
I think this take is right. If I go into my car right now and crank the AC it's working. The issue is if I'm driving on a hot day for a long time, the fan stops blowing air - cold air keeps trickling out. And even, when I have it on recirculating, I can hear a fan blowing intensely - just no air coming out of the registers.
 

MP3Mike

Well-Known Member
Feb 1, 2016
16,464
38,458
Oregon
I think this take is right. If I go into my car right now and crank the AC it's working. The issue is if I'm driving on a hot day for a long time, the fan stops blowing air - cold air keeps trickling out. And even, when I have it on recirculating, I can hear a fan blowing intensely - just no air coming out of the registers.
That sounds more like a blend-door failure or the thermo-controller failing. (If the interior fan is blowing but the air isn't coming out anywhere then that means that the diverters are not positioned correctly.
 

David.85D

Active Member
Oct 29, 2016
1,499
1,267
USA
That sounds more like a blend-door failure or the thermo-controller failing. (If the interior fan is blowing but the air isn't coming out anywhere then that means that the diverters are not positioned correctly.
Second… Failure to teach troubleshooting… hiring inexperienced mechanics. Sigh. Modern cars have a low pressure switch that disables the compressor if system pressure drops too low. Sounds like you don’t have that problem. All the doors/flaps inside the dash that control air flow are plastic. They can get stuck, break, cable pops out, etc.

Needs competent troubleshooting.

might be worth taking it out of auto and see if you can get air by manually selecting the air direction setting ( the buttons under the fan speed) and fan speed. You might even deduce which one is stuck closed…
 
Last edited:

houstonian

ಠ_ಠ
Sep 2, 2013
225
194
Houston. Duh.
Take it to an AC shop that works on hybrids. They also have the same DC powered compressor.
Thanks for the tip @David.85D - this is the second time my compressor's gone out. The first time was ~December 2020 around 110k miles or so, give or take.

Currently on a road-trip and the compressor went out during a supercharge when driving from Vegas → Phoenix. Luckily the weather's great, not too hot, and the Tempe service center got me in the next day (big thank you to those guys) but still disappointed compressor #2 failed after ~30k miles and less than a year.

Asked for a goodwill on the part - SC was like lmao...no...not after 30k mileage - but did request the failed part.

When I get back to Houston I'll track down an independent shop that works on Hybrids and take both my failed compressors over and see what they say.

For anyone searching by part numbers here is what was affected:

1063369-00-J (AC Compressor)
1007718-00-A (Cap - Receiver and Drier)
1007717-00-A (Desiccant Bag - Subcool Condensor)


Wacky compressor.png
 
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DerbyDave

Active Member
Jul 2, 2020
1,255
771
Kentucky
Remember that the AC also cools the HV batteries. If AC is underperforming, your AC in the cabin will be minimal, as the car prioritizes the batteries over your comfort. This also is true at a Supercharger. The AC is really needed then for the batteries, and you heard the exterior fans screaming because the AC was unable to properly cool the batteries, and you felt little or no AC for passengers. I would also be concerned that the AC failures are not doing your HV battery any good.
 

PWlakewood

Active Member
Jan 9, 2019
1,797
1,118
US
Remember that the AC also cools the HV batteries. If AC is underperforming, your AC in the cabin will be minimal, as the car prioritizes the batteries over your comfort. This also is true at a Supercharger. The AC is really needed then for the batteries, and you heard the exterior fans screaming because the AC was unable to properly cool the batteries, and you felt little or no AC for passengers. I would also be concerned that the AC failures are not doing your HV battery any good.
Incorrect

the hv system has radiators and fans that cool the battery. The ac compressor used to cool the cabin is only used for the cabin. If I am incorrect please feel free to correct me. I had my ac compressor fail years and went thru this same issue.
 
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