Auto AC Compressor GM HD6 Shaft Seal


Old 03-13-13, 05:41 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 563
Auto AC Compressor GM HD6 Shaft Seal

Hey all,

I'm getting that telltale splatter strip under the hood and on the sides of the engine bay indicating a failing AC compressor front shaft seal. This is on my 13,500 mile 1995 Chevy Impala SS. When I bought the car less than a year ago with 6400 miles on it the AC wasn't blowing cold but still had a little bit of pressure, topping off the refrigerant with some more R134a had restored function, and even now it still blows cold. I suspect that it sitting for so many years is why the seal died.

I dug out the factory service manual and found the instructions, which call for some specialized tools:
  • J 23128-A Seal Remover and Installer
  • J 9553-01 O-Ring Remover
  • J 34614 Shaft Seal Protector
  • J 33011 O-Ring Installer
  • J 5403 Snap Ring Pliers
I think that I can get away with my existing snap ring pliers, and I also think I can get away without the o-ring remover if I use a pick and am very careful. The other parts looks essential.

This doesn't include whatever will be needed to pull the compressor clutch, I'll look into that here shortly.

So, the FSM makes it look like I can do this on the car. Any tricks or tips or pitfalls that might not be in the factory book that I should know?

BTW, I called two shops, neither would do a shaft seal replacement. Both insisted on a replaced compressor to the tune of about $500, no warranty unless I replaced everything to the tune of about $1200. Friggin' ripoffs for what can probably be fixed for $10 in parts... Even if buying the special tools gets me close to $500, I'd rather do that and have the tools than pay so much for something so unnecessary. At least with the tools I could do another seal later if necessary.
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Old 03-20-13, 11:09 AM
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: United States
Posts: 6
Well, the front seal is a ceramic seal and is very brittle. Make sure all freon is evacuated before starting. And no this needs to be done on a bench

Pull Clutch assy, to access seal.. Hopefully you get the remover or you will be in for a big headache I'm afraid.

I own a shop also and we do not replace seals, we replace compressors..
Old 03-20-13, 07:45 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 563
Yeah, I'm going to get the tools before I start. It's worth buying the tools before I dig into the project.

GM factory service manual indicates that this is doable on the car. There's a LOT of room on the front of this engine, as the fans are electric, the water pump is driven off the cam, and there's only one belt. There's almost a foot of space between the front of the clutch and the radiator.

I've pulled AC clutches on Mopars before, never on a GM. I'm planning on reading up on the procedure and buying whatever tools I need before I start.

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