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Replacing compressor

Techylady's Avatar
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05-26-02, 11:43 AM   #1  
Replacing compressor

I have a 1988 Chevy Suburban
5.7L 350 engine
Automatic transmission
I recently had the AC converted so it can use the new kind of freon. However, it has all leaked out twice. They tell me that there is a leak(duh) and that I need a new compressor. I believe that this is true. But I have a LMC Truck catalog and the compressor is around $200, the repair shop wants to charge me twice that just for the part. My questions are: if I order the part, could I just take the old one out and put the new one in and have the shop recharge my system? I'm good at taking things apart and putting them back together, but I've only changed the oil and replaced the spark plugs on this truck. Would I need some special tools? I'm so tired of paying such high prices for repairs. I know the guys need to make a good living, but if I can help myself, it sure would be nice. Thank you for your advice.

At their mercy in Texas!!!

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GregH's Avatar
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05-26-02, 12:52 PM   #2  
If your vehicle was converted from R-12 to R-134A they should have removed the compressor, dumped the old oil, REPLACED THE SHAFT SEAL and then added PAG oil to the compressor.
If they did not do this , they did not do a proper job.
If they did, then you could ask them why the new seal failed.

On the other hand the vehicle has been around for awhile and it would not be unusual for a compressor to go.
Also, keep in mind that although this mark-up is maybe too high, a service shop needs a fair profit on the parts to be able to afford to give a decent warranty.

GregH.........HVAC/R Tech

the_tow_guy's Avatar
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05-26-02, 06:43 PM   #3  
But to answer your question, yes it is possible for you to replace the compressor yourself. Will basically involve removing belt, disconnecting electrical connections and freon lines and unbolting (may have to move other componenets to gain access; I haven't been under the hood of an old 'burb lately). Just find a repair shop that is willing to drain your system prior to the job and reservice afterward. You're probably looking $50 or so. You do not want to just open the system and let the freon out. You will need to also replace the receiver/dryer. That will be a small cylindrical cannister normally mounted somewhere near the front of the engine compartment and is in-line with the system plumbing. Do that last, after the new compressor is in and you are ready to go get reserviced.

Keep in mind that the shop that does the draw-down and reservice will likely NOT be interested in any way, shape, or form with any subsequent problems you have with the system. One of the drawbacks of d-i-y'ing it. Good luck.

Joe_F's Avatar
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05-26-02, 09:25 PM   #4  
I agree with TowGuy and will add:

1) And they will charge you if the part turns out to be defective anyhow.

2) They will not guarantee it will not leak out the same year.

3) They will not likely warranty any labor or parts since they didn't provide the latter.

4) They may back shelve your car because they are making less money on it than another vehicle.

Just some things to keep in mind as TowGuy said.

Techylady's Avatar
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05-27-02, 04:18 PM   #5  
Thank you all for the very good advice!! I don't know what I'm going to do, but I will most likely try it. The car is so old that I think my repair shop hates to see me coming anyway. I might cause more problems, but sometimes mistakes are the best way to learn. If I take it apart and put it back exactly like it was, it should work. Thanks again!

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