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GMC V5 compressor - Can I repair or should I replace?

rgnprof on Fri September 07, 2007 7:38 PM User is offline

Year: 1997
Make: GMC
Model: Sonoma
Engine Size: 2.2L
Refrigerant Type: R134a

I have a '97 GMC Sonoma with the V5 compressor that is leaking from around the large o-ring at the rear of the compressor. The shaft seal looks alright, but of course, you have to pull the shaft seal to replace the case gaskets. I have the gasket kit and the shaft seal kit, and pretty detailed instructions - I think I know HOW to do the job, I just know if I can.

I talked with a good mechanic friend today about rebuilding this V5 compressor and I'm having second thoughts. He said that I could not get the case back together w/o it leaking (he didn't seem to think I would have trouble replacing the shaft seal, just the case o-rings).

He explained the way the case was originally put together, that all of the long bolts are screwed down at once and that their is hardly any way to get them torqued back down without them leaking. And he mentioned that I would have to replace the small brass washers under the head of each bolt.

What do you guys think? I'm always up for a second/third opinion. Can I get this thing back together without it leaking?

Ryan

Chick on Fri September 07, 2007 7:52 PM User is offlineView users profile

What happens is corrosion gets between the O rings and the case. If you do try to do it, you will need the proper tools for replacing the shaft seal..But you will need to use a scotch brite pad or emery cloth to remove the corrosion...Sure it can be done, but a quality reman V5 might be cheaper in the long run..Not much goes wrong with the V5, but case leakers come around more than any other problem second only to the shaft seal leakers.. Tools needed to replace the shaft seal are available from the sponsor, as the below pic shows..Hope this helps..


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Chick
Email: Chick

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Freedoms just another word for nothing left to lose

rgnprof on Fri September 07, 2007 10:30 PM User is offline

Chick,

I spoke with someone at Arizona Mobile Air on Tuesday and I purchased the seal kit and the gasket kit and some nylog (arrived today). I asked about the tools and he told me that he didn't think I would need them - that the shaft seal would come off by itself by hand and that I could oil the new seal, slide it partly on backwards to stretch the seal a little and then it would slide on without the tool.

Not right?

Also, the tool you show is one for a ceramic seal - I think - but I don't have a ceramic seal do I?

Also, do you have any hints to increase my chances of success at this job?

Thanks again, Ryan

Chick on Sat September 08, 2007 4:54 AM User is offlineView users profile

"Also, the tool you show is one for a ceramic seal - I think - but I don't have a ceramic seal do I?

Also, do you have any hints to increase my chances of success at this job"
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Same tool. The seal shown in the pic is the GM double lipped seal, which is what you should use. As far as tips, I do change front seals, but not usually body gaskets. (o-rings) Only did a few, but you do have to be careful that the parts go back on "exactly" as they came off and do the front seal last. You do need the seal protector, and the seal removal tool. And the clutch removal installer tools if you don't have them already..and a pair of snap ring plyers... .. The pic below shows how to remove the clutch, and of course install it when it's done..




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Chick
Email: Chick

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Freedoms just another word for nothing left to lose

rgnprof on Sat September 08, 2007 2:53 PM User is offline

OK, I have a practice V5 compressor - my mechanic friend, in the spirit of trying to talk me out of this repair, gave me an old V5 he had laying around to really see what I was getting into. I had no trouble pulling the clutch, but how do I get the pulley off? What else do I need to do after removing the clutch?

Ryan

rgnprof on Sat September 08, 2007 5:16 PM User is offline

Well, I've been fooling around with this old compressor off and on this afternoon and I'm about ready to go the replacement route!

Chick, everyone local tells me to skip the remans and just buy new, but I know you recommended the reman on this site - who did the reman and do you know the warranty? Are some remanufacturers better than others - I guess that is obviously the case.

ryan

rgnprof on Sat September 08, 2007 5:20 PM User is offline

Should have specified my problems - I got the pulley and the coil off with a little prybar action, but I can't figure out how to get to the seal. The snap ring and seal are down inside the compressor and I can't get to it - I'm not sure what I missed taking off???

ryan

Chick on Sat September 08, 2007 5:45 PM User is offlineView users profile

Quote
Originally posted by: rgnprof
Well, I've been fooling around with this old compressor off and on this afternoon and I'm about ready to go the replacement route!



Chick, everyone local tells me to skip the remans and just buy new, but I know you recommended the reman on this site - who did the reman and do you know the warranty? Are some remanufacturers better than others - I guess that is obviously the case.



ryan

The V5 is a pretty good compressor and only has a couple points that have issues, one being the single lipped seal, and the other the control valve..I would use a reman on one of these, and you can e-mail the sponsors for the warranty and reman company, but they only use the best, and sometimes switch around different rebuilders.... This keeps quality parts at reasonable prices for the DIY'er and professionals alike. they can get you new also..Ackits.com e-mail
You need an awl, or thin snap ring plyers to get the snap ring that holds the seal in..Once thats out the seal removal tool twists it right out...

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Chick
Email: Chick

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Freedoms just another word for nothing left to lose

rgnprof on Sat September 08, 2007 9:52 PM User is offline

Ok, I had figured out the snap ring and I can see the seal better - I'm just not familiar with how the tool works, but it makes better sense now that I have moved a little further. I am back now to trying to fix this thing... I don't know....

I did get the rear part of the compressor off - I don't think there is much trick here. The only way that I can figure is to use a piece of wood and tap it off, and it looks like the same approach to replacing the big front o-ring. The gasket set comes with a new head gasket and it looks like the trick - once you pull the case apart - is to keep (or get) everything aligned properly when you reassemble. The instructions that I came across indicate some 'guide rods' - I'm guessing some long bolts will work as well.

It's nice to have a "practice" compressor.

Thanks, ryan

flash on Mon September 10, 2007 9:54 PM User is offline

Quote
Originally posted by: rgnprof
I have a '97 GMC Sonoma with the V5 compressor that is leaking from around the large o-ring at the rear of the compressor. The shaft seal looks alright, but of course, you have to pull the shaft seal to replace the case gaskets. I have the gasket kit and the shaft seal kit, and pretty detailed instructions - I think I know HOW to do the job, I just know if I can.



I talked with a good mechanic friend today about rebuilding this V5 compressor and I'm having second thoughts. He said that I could not get the case back together w/o it leaking (he didn't seem to think I would have trouble replacing the shaft seal, just the case o-rings).



He explained the way the case was originally put together, that all of the long bolts are screwed down at once and that their is hardly any way to get them torqued back down without them leaking. And he mentioned that I would have to replace the small brass washers under the head of each bolt.



What do you guys think? I'm always up for a second/third opinion. Can I get this thing back together without it leaking?



Ryan

I have the same compressor on my '97 LaSabre and the same leak. I picked up an o-ring and shaft seal kits for under $25 and I'm going to do this. My B-I-L is the GM instructor at the local comm college and he's going to do it for me. He first suggested buying a new compressor because remans have a very high failure rate (the college will not install remans unless the customer insists. A new Delphi (GM) compressor w/clutch is a little over $300 here.

So I got on the Net and found an o-ring kit. Now he just needs to get a little free time to do this. According to my B-I-L, the V5 has a history of leaking around the case and the thrust bearings can be problematic as well.

If your compressor still cools well, is not noisy and the air gap hasn't grown (evidence of the thrust bearing wear) then he would say give it a shot but avoid remans if at all possible. His sister and I can't afford a new compressor.

So give it a shot, but that's easy for me to say.

Fred

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