Chevy Silverado 1500, Suburban, Tahoe, GMC Sierra 1500, Yukon and Cadillac Escalade named in suit.

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Chevy Silverado 1500, Suburban, Tahoe, GMC Sierra 1500, Yukon and Cadillac Escalade named in suit.

— A GM air conditioner compressor and condenser lawsuit alleges the AC systems fail and cause owners and lessees to lose cold air in the vehicles and money from their bank accounts.

Plaintiffs Billy Frank and John O’Brien filed the General Motors lawsuit that claims the compressors, condensers and other AC parts cause the systems to blow hot air, and trying to get replacement parts could take months.

The proposed class-action lawsuit includes anyone who purchased or leased one of the following vehicles in Tennessee:

  • 2015-2017 Cadillac Escalade
  • 2014-2016 Chevrolet Silverado 1500
  • 2015-2017 Chevrolet Suburban
  • 2015-2017 Chevrolet Tahoe
  • 2014-2016 GMC Sierra 1500
  • 2015-2017 GMC Yukon

According to the lawsuit, the air conditioning systems have defects that cause a loss of pressure, loss of refrigerant and a loss of cold air to cool the occupants. The AC systems are allegedly too weak because internal and external pressures can't be tolerated.

The plaintiffs also claim the AC systems typically fail the first time within the 36,000-mile warranty period, but owners may wait for months for the systems to be repaired because dealers cannot get the parts. Based on court documents, there are so many AC failures that compressors, condensers and other parts stay on national backorder.

"I have been waiting to get my air conditioner fixed now for months and I keep getting told there are no Condensers available. I have talked with service writers at GM dealership's well as other Sierra owners and they all have the same problem for the most part."

"1.) A/C stops working 2.) Mechanic does vacuum test and replaces refrigerant ($200) freon 3.) A/C is blowing hot air again after 3 days; refrigerant completely gone 4.) Mechanic runs dye through lines to find the leak, replaces refrigerant again and states the problem is compressor failure ($200) again 5.) The overall fix would be to replace the compressor ($1,000) but there are no compressors to be found, the part is on National Backorder because of the widespread problem."

In addition to the long wait for parts, the lawsuit alleges dealers replace the faulty systems with the same faulty systems, creating a constant revenue stream for GM. Customers report paying anywhere from $150 and $2000 to fix the air conditioners, sometimes by purchasing aftermarket parts when GM dealers can't provide the needed parts.

Plaintiff Billy Frank purchased a new 2015 Chevrolet Suburban in 2014 but allegedly started experiencing AC problems in May 2017 when the system failed. The vehicle had about 63,000 on it when the dealership diagnosed the problem as a crack in the system that allowed refrigerant to leak out.

Because replacement parts were on national backorder, Mr. Frank had to wait three weeks before his vehicle could be repaired, so he bought cans of refrigerant to get his AC to work.

Frank says he paid $1090.58 out of his own pocket for the repair to the air conditioner, making him regret ever buying the vehicle.

Plaintiff John O’Brien owns a 2014 GMC Sierra 1500 he purchased new in 2013, but by October 2017 the air conditioner allegedly completely failed. The dealership found a leak in the condenser, leaving the plaintiff to pay $875.49 of his own money.

The lawsuit alleges General Motors has known about the compressor and condenser problems for years because the automaker sent technical service bulletins (TSBs) to dealers concerning air conditioning problems.

On October 6, 2014, GM issued TSB PIT5331 covering 2015 Escalades, Suburbans, Tahoes, and Yukons, and 2014-2015 Silverados and Sierras. The bulletin concerned cracks in the AC components that allowed refrigerant to leak out, resulting in a “very low/empty refrigerant level” and the system “blowing warm."

Dealers were advised to replace the compressor-to-condenser lines and install line brackets in the AC systems.

On May 29, 2015, GM issued TSB PIE0340 covering 2015 Escalades, Silverados, Suburbans, Tahoes, Sierras and Yukons. The bulletin said “A/C not performing,” a problem that could be noticed prior to purchase/lease and even “during Pre-Delivery Inspection” of the vehicles.

The GM air conditioner compressor and condenser lawsuit joins a separate but similar AC lawsuit filed against the automaker in December 2017.

The Tennessee lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee - Billy Frank and John O'Brien et al., v. General Motors Company.

The plaintiffs are represented by Lieff Cabraser and Bruno Newsom.

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