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Air Conditioner


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1996 LS400 with 108,000 miles. Noise under the hood is a buzzing/whirring sound. Hard to describe, but noise stops when air conditioner is turned off. I think it's getting slightly louder, but am not postive since my wife just bought it for $13,500 a month ago and we're still getting used to it.

Air conditioner performs perfectly. No lights on dash, good cold air. Terrific car otherwise. Thinking about getting one for myself.

What is the problem?

I'm assuming, but don't know for sure, that the air conditioner has a problem. Compressor? Bearings (if that's different from compressor)?

If so, is there harm in letting the sound continue until the air conditioner stops working or lights start flashing? I don't want pieces of metal to fly off into the condensor or evaporator or hoses, unless they are going to have to be replaced anyway.

Now, assuming it needs to be fixed. Are Lexus air conditoner parts such as compressors, condensors, evaporators, etc. "special" or are they generic such that remanufactured, generic, or Toyota parts would work.

Assuming I would have to replace the whole air conditioning system, how much am I looking at? Lexus dealer? Or, more likely at an independent shop, although we could go to the Toyota dealership if necessary. I'm not mechanical, so that's not an option.

We would like to get another 100,000 miles out of it without any air conditioning problems (even though this is Florida and that may not be realistic, although the car has made the first 108,000 without any air conditioning problems).

Thanks for any suggestions, solutions, or just brainstorming.

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Thanks, RFelde, for the tip. That's a good price and good suggestion. I'll explore that option. Has anyone else used them and are satisfied?

It's interesting that the compressor for the Lexus costs $50 more than the one for the Acura with the same model number and description. I'm sure there's a reason. Good old American enterprise?

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My understanding is that the inline filter is not necessary since most of the lexus hoses are metal lined not rubber. But, if the compressor trashed itself it would be a good idea to filter the shavings. As far as Tampa compressors I found out about them on this forum and everyone found them helpful and knowledgeable. They also sell on E-Bay and have a high feedback rating.

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I still have to determine if my compressor is bad. It doesn't engage, and the A/C light still glows steady. I read that if the compressor locks up, the A/C light is suppose to flash? The code check gives a "33" The dealer told me my compressor was locking up but I'm not so sure about that as they have been wrong about other things in the past.

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