A/C refrigerant leak at Compressor


Old 04-06-10, 11:22 AM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: USA
Posts: 38
A/C refrigerant leak at Compressor

To start, this is a 2001 Pontiac Sunfire (R134a system). My A/C system has a major leak. There appears to be refrigerant sputtering from around the compressor or the compressor itself, on the pulley side. Here is a short history, the compressor clutch was replaced, then about six months later the A/C stopped working. The refrigerant was low (or empty), so I tried recharging to see if it held and it did not. Unofrtunately I had moved 5 hours away from the shop where the A/C was serviced, so now after another year later, I am trying to figure out if I need to replace the compressor or something else.

Is there anything to check for around the compressor such as a gasket or fitting that commonly needs replaced? I want to make sure before I go and fork out what I need to replace the compressor.

Also, how important is it that I replace and flush the rest of the system as stated on a few websites i've seen. They say its necessary when a comressor fails, but I am not sure if they define fail as a seize, ceases to function, or if no longer sealed.

I've read up on how to replace the parts, pull a vacuum, and recharge, I just want to see how much its going to cost. If I have to replace the whole system and buy the tools I might as well have a garage do it, but that didnt work out so well last time.
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Old 04-06-10, 01:19 PM
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: North Central Indiana
Posts: 912

If its leaking at the pulley its most likely the shaft seal. With the amount of miles that is likely on it the smart thing might be to replace the comp. I wouldnt think you would have to flush the system,that is for cases of catastrophic failure of the pump. When you price a vacum pump you might change your mind about tooling up for AC work unless you are going in the business.
Old 04-06-10, 06:18 PM
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 1,312
I would replace the whole compressor.

Then once an A/C system is open to the air, you need to replace the dryer, evacuate the system with a pump, then recharge to factory specifications.

Factory service manual set with complete instructions and specifications for charging $150
Vacuum pump $280
Set of gauges (also shows vacuum)* $130

*Some A/C gauges just show pressure. If using a vacuum pump, you would want gauges which also show vacuum. You evacuate the system, wait, then see that it has held the vacuum and is not leaking.

You might find the instructions and factory specs at the following link or ask there. These are the experts on this and of course located in hot Arizona!...
Automotive AC Information Forum - ACKITS.COM

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