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  1. #1

    Question XL19i Trane Compressor failure

    Hi All,

    I am a newbie on this forum who's had a Trane XL19 5 Ton dual compressor and air handler system for just over a year. My home in Davie, FL, had another brand 5 ton unit. Upgraded both compressor and air handler to a Trane after being in the home from new- same tonnage but the old one was way less efficient. Cooling was a problem in the home but no failures of any kind prior seven years.

    I have the Clean Effects air cleaner installed as well, which by the way has failed previously is awaiting parts. And the Extended Warranty. The full monty. I have been pleased by the efficiency and the house has been cool and seemed to run fine up to now.

    The contractor also put a remote sensor in the warmest part of the house which seems to have helped the balance. All was well, almost.

    My problem now, however... The smaller 2.5(?) ton compressor kicked the bucket Sunday last. Compressor's 60A 240V breaker kicked off overnight for no apparent reason. I found it tripped and the house warmer than normal (77) with only the air handler running at about 4AM.

    The installer/servicer company sent their service manager out later on Monday (not to mention names but they are a Trane Comfort dealer and well known here). He came out, looked it over, and said, 'Yep... It's the smaller compressor that's blowing the breaker.'

    Indeed, the compressor winding was not shorted, but even when manually energized, he showed me that it immediately tripped out. Though he said there were some contactor markings on there for that compressor, there was no apparent reason that the compressor itself was bad. He checked as I watched him Ohm out the windings, and they seemed OK (did not note the exact readings, several Ohms though). Said it should be fixed under warranty. Nothing inside the compressor housing that looked amiss, certainly no charred wreckage...

    The servicer's office called that day and said that they would replace both compressors and many major parts...BUT... Trane warned(?) them to warn me that in the event that they found the compressor damage was due to lightning, then the warranty on this repair was void.

    The good news, I am able to run with the bigger 5ton compressor for now.

    Here's what I'd like to know from this group:
    • Is this a normal disclaimer to make right off the bat? Are these suspicious circumstances? The owner of the company tried to reassure me that even though they have not seen this on the XL19, they have never been refused on warranty claims and have had no problems supporting warranty work with Trane.
    • Are these suspicious circumstances? The dealer said that this is the very first time they have EVER had this issue with this model- XL19- or a failure of a compressor. EVER???
    • Chances are that Trane will never return the parts so I can claim it as a lightning strike on my homeowner's policy, but the insurance company may never get to inspect it.
    • Should I claim it now, even though it doesn't seem to be the case, so a thrid party can inspect it?
    • Are there any other reasons that the compressor might quit in this way?
    • Is it time for a second opinion now, before the evidence is gone? Am I being paranoid?


    I think that though warranties should have disclaimers, Trane's reaching a bit red flagging this issue now. Any other opinion's? What would you do?

    They are supposedly going to change out everything- large and small compressors, driers, etc.. They will recover/reuse the refrigerant (R22 is what I read here, right?), recharge the system and wait for Trane to analyze the equipment and report. Supposedly they have all the parts and will put them in tomorrow unless I call in some screeching halt to the works. They haven't asked for money up front so I assume that they're thinking it's all a warranty issue...

    I am going to take pictures of the carnage as, I'm told, will the servicer, to at least somewhat protect my interests. Anyone want the pics posted? Replacing parts without knowing the cause of the failure is a troubleshooter's nightmare because it's likely that whatever the true cause might be, it might still be reinstalled or still there. I don't need to be an AC guru to figure that out. Maybe you guys can comment more technically?

    Is there anything that can be done to better protect the compressor from a lightning strike? Is this a shortcoming of a very advanced, complex Trane system?

    I never had a problem like this and to have it almost exactly a year after putting in a very expensive system like this is VERY disconcerting, to say the least, and for no 'apparent' reason?

    Any advice appreciated!!! Thanks in advance. I am by far no expert, and not dumb enough to deny it...
    Last edited by BubbaInFlorida; 06-25-2008 at 05:26 AM.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by BubbaInFlorida View Post
    [*]Are there any other reasons that the compressor might quit in this way?
    I've never had a problem with an XL19i, but we did have an XL1800, the predecessor to the 19i, eat the first stage compressor twice in a year.
    Turned out to be that the expansion valve in the indoor coil was sometimes sticking open when the system went from 2nd stage to 1st stage, which slugged the first stage compressor.
    Replaced the TXV and haven't had another problem with it in 6 years.
    If more government is the answer, then it's a really stupid question.

  3. #3

    Thumbs up

    Quote Originally Posted by mark beiser View Post
    I've never had a problem with an XL19i, but we did have an XL1800, the predecessor to the 19i, eat the first stage compressor twice in a year.
    Turned out to be that the expansion valve in the indoor coil was sometimes sticking open when the system went from 2nd stage to 1st stage, which slugged the first stage compressor.
    Replaced the TXV and haven't had another problem with it in 6 years.
    Do ya think my guys from the servicer/installer, when they show up, will appreciate your advice. Do you think I should pass it on, would they take offense?

    Thanks anyway, Mark.

  4. #4
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    Yours is an electrical burn out. Shouldn't be from oil slugging.
    Since they are replacing both, they will test it in both modes, and you can ask them how its doing switching from high to low.

    A second opinion won't help much. Other then to say its a burnout. Linghtning strike proof isn't always easy. Did you have anything else electric burn out.
    Usually, if one appliance is damaged by lightning, so are others.
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  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by beenthere View Post
    Yours is an electrical burn out. Shouldn't be from oil slugging.
    Since they are replacing both, they will test it in both modes, and you can ask them how its doing switching from high to low.

    A second opinion won't help much. Other then to say its a burnout. Linghtning strike proof isn't always easy. Did you have anything else electric burn out.
    Usually, if one appliance is damaged by lightning, so are others.
    Thanks, BT.

    Nothing else was damaged, absolutely. We were home most of the day and over night and most likely would have heard. What does it take to whack one?

    Don't know the term 'oil slugging' means. Near as I can tell and from what the tech could tell there is no lightning damage. Just what the Trane rep who lives in the area said over the phone without seeing my system. Maybe his system got whacked?

  6. #6
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    Mtself. I have never been at a place while the lightning strike occured.
    Only after the fact. Usually there are several appliamces damaged. And more then just a slight marking on the contactors.(not always)

    You can pull up the weather for your area for the day it stopped working and see if there were any storms in your area.
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  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by beenthere View Post
    Mtself. I have never been at a place while the lightning strike occured.
    Only after the fact. Usually there are several appliamces damaged. And more then just a slight marking on the contactors.(not always)

    You can pull up the weather for your area for the day it stopped working and see if there were any storms in your area.
    There were storms earlier that afternoon, but that's a good point. I know the darn thing was working earlier because I was outdoors and the compressor was definitely running.

    These days with the radar that's out there, maybe I can pinpoint it to a time? I know approximately when it may have happened- overnight Sunday.

    Certainly if other appliances were on, they should have gotten at least some damage and there wasn't any! I guess my question is just how sensitive are these compressors?

    We definitely didn't lose power or my clocks (sad but true) would have been stopped. I got a MW clock that always quits at any mometary power failure and it didn't so no proof of anything like that.

    I'm certainly willing to consider the possibility, but aren't there any other explanations? Why were the windings' resistance checking good if the compressor got whacked? Why wasn't there any charred wreckage? Are these units really that sensitive?

  8. #8
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    Is there anything that can be done to better protect the compressor from a lightning strike?
    Yes. Being in Florida you have a high probability of lightning. You don't have to be near a direct hit to get electrical surges.

    Have an electrician add suppressors near the compressor/condenser (s). Some brand names are DeltaLA and Tytewadd. Your electrician should place them in a box. Lead length of the suppressor should be the minimum possible. The suppressor will have to have breakers on electrically hot wires.

    You also should check your electrical ground. Chances are it is marginal. If you are on sand then it is marginal. A better ground is lightning smart.

  9. #9
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    Lightning protection? I like to use these at the service disconnect of the equipment you want to protect like your condenser. I have seen the effects of a surge taken by this unit. No apparent damage to equipment it was protecting but the protector absorbed something. The bottom blew out and there was charded carbon on the shell. They even have a warranty if your equipment fails due to lightning they will pay up to certain amount. The customer had several other appliances fail in their home at the time of the strike.
    Why did it fail? Who knows? All manufacturers have shortcomings some more than others. I would be happy to have the system you have. Given the certification of technitions and equipment choice you should be in good hands. I have installed dual compressor units with no compressor failures to date. Relays yes.
    Good luck.

  10. #10
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    Stator short won't show up on the meter.
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  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Danceswithfish View Post
    Lightning protection? I like to use these at the service disconnect of the equipment you want to protect like your condenser. I have seen the effects of a surge taken by this unit. No apparent damage to equipment it was protecting but the protector absorbed something. The bottom blew out and there was charded carbon on the shell. They even have a warranty if your equipment fails due to lightning they will pay up to certain amount. The customer had several other appliances fail in their home at the time of the strike.
    Why did it fail? Who knows? All manufacturers have shortcomings some more than others. I would be happy to have the system you have. Given the certification of technitions and equipment choice you should be in good hands. I have installed dual compressor units with no compressor failures to date. Relays yes.
    Good luck.
    I'm still hoping that wasn't it; but we'll see. I like the looks of the Ditek unit, their M/N 120/240CM or 120/240CM+ seems to be the ticket. Will recommend that to the guys doing the work and/or maybe get it myself.

    Don't have to preach to the converted, BIG believer in power protection. Worked in TV and know what a lightning rod a big tall antenna tower makes. I'm still hoping that if it proves, in fact, to be a lightning strike that the factory will say that and that my ins. co. will at least participate in the replacement.

    I will insist that something to protect the system is installed. Apparently there isn't presently anything there.

    Danceswithfish, interesting handle

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