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Q: a/c system is noisy on 1997 Chevrolet Lumina

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Recently, my 1997 Chevrolet Lumina's a/c has been running noisy when I turn it on. The noise exists for all fan speeds, but doesn't really seem to get louder as I increase the fan speed. When I turn off the a/c but leave the fan on, the noise disappears. Also, the air isn't very cool anymore, even after 30 minutes of driving it. What is causing this problem, and how can I fix it?
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Check the air conditioning fan belt tension, and condition of the fan belt, but it is more likely the compressor or compressor fan clutch is starting to fail. Sometimes exhaust heat shields or engine sheet metal can vibrate in resonance with engine load when the air conditioning is on.
Thanks for the information. As it turns out, I didn't have to go to the extent of checking the fan or compressor. The problem was simply that there wasn't a lot of freon. I added more freon. Immediately, I noticed really cool air coming out of the vents again, and the noise disappeared.
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