Repair counsel on a 1991 Oldsmobile Cutlass Cierra

Old 08-05-04, 10:49 AM
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Repair counsel on a 1991 Oldsmobile Cutlass Cierra

I have a 1991 Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera, 3.3L V6, 4sped automatic, 4dr and I live in NJ.

My mechanic informs me that my engine mounts are worn out due to age and it will cost around $265 (Parts+lab) to fix. Does that sound about right? I did notice some jerking when accelerating shortly before he told me this.

There's also been a loud squeaky noise every time the car engine is on (regardless of whether A/C is on or not) and the mechanic says that the compressor is broken and interfering with the serpentine belt. He said that unless I get it replaced, it will snap the serpentine belt very soon because of the heavy wear it is causing the belt. Problem is that the compressor costs $800+ (parts+lab) to replace. It's around $400 if I get a junk compressor that simply enables good movement of serpentine but is not functional as A/C. Do these numbers and information sound right? Why can't my compressor just be fixed?

Old 08-05-04, 03:53 PM
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The cost on the motor mounts sounds about right. About the only repair normally done to ac compressors would be to replace the clutch asembly if the compressor itself was still good. Any other repairs would not be economical. If you can live without the ac, check with your favorite parts house to see if they list a serpentine belt for your car WITHOUT factory ac. If they do, you may be able to simply remove the compressor and install the shorter belt. You'll need to look closely at the intended path of the shorter belt, tho, to ensure there will be a good path for the belt that doesn't interfer with any other components.

You might research on-line for replacement compressors; there are a lot of supplies out in cyberspace that would probably have a replacement unit for a lot less than $800. I would NOT shell out $400 just for a space-holder compressor.

My $.02 worth.
Old 08-05-04, 06:09 PM
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You may end up finding out there isn't any shortcut here. I don't think that engine was offered without air and if you'll be throwing good money after bad if you try to cut corners anywhere. There are other things that will have to be done during that repair like flush the condenser, replace the accumulator and oriface tube. I wouldn't recommend using a reman compressor because they are not reliable at all. If you can't afford to fix it right, then just hang the compressor for now and finish the rest of the job later.
Old 08-05-04, 06:24 PM
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I think you need a second opinion from someone who can see the car.$1165 to fix a 1991 Ciera?It's a 14 yr old car most of the equity in the car is gone at this point.Other than "worn out" what problem are the mounts causing?I fixed a freinds car with squealing belt after the alt,idler and tensioner were replaced elsewhere by cleaning the pulleys with brake clean and installing a new belt.It had been contaminated by a type of rustproofing that was melting off the fan shroud on to the belt.I removed that also but the dealer and numerous others stabbed at the truck.The point is it was very obvious to me anyhow that the belt had garbage on it, so find someone who will look harder for you,explain the problem and why you wish them to help you.
Old 08-06-04, 10:45 AM
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The compressor was seized and on its way out it terribly wore out the clutch bearing. Thus if it is not changed/fixed, the clutch bearing will eventually completely fail and lockup and then the serpentine belt will burn and serious damage could occur to the engine. Already the clutch bearing has been causing burning to the serpentine.

The cheapest option (assuming we can't just buy a new clutch) would be to get a used compressor w/clutch (no warranty) and basically just use it for its clutch bearing. The AC/compressor would be disconnected in this case and thus all the costs of getting an A/C working such as charging with R12, etc. would be eliminated.

The other options all involve putting in a compressor and going through the trouble of charging it. That's expensive any way you look at it, whether it's a reman. compressor or used. At least the reman comes with 1 year warranty. R12 is like $50/lb and the accumulator, hoses etc. need to be changed. Add that to the almost $300 to fix engine mounts and it comes to around $1100 + tax. For the record, the reman compressor is around $315, the rest of the money is for R12, miscellaneous parts such as drier/accum, etc. With an hour or two of labor it comes to around $800.

I too feel that it's a lot of money on a car so old, but the car has barely over 100K miles on it and I cannot afford a new or used car right now. I need to keep this for a year or longer, so though the price of repairs is worth more than the car itself, it's not more than what the car's worth to me.

I can't really drive it to another place because each time I drive it I risk the serpentine completely burning off and ruining the engine.

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