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Compressor seized, now pulley spinning freely again??

Andreas E. on Mon September 15, 2008 12:08 PM User is offline

Year: 92
Make: Buick
Model: Lesabre
Engine Size: 3.8
Refrigerant Type: R12
Ambient Temp: 0
Pressure Low: 0
Pressure High: 0
Country of Origin: United States

Hello all!

Last fall it appeared that my A/C compressor seized. I was on my way home and the A/C was all of a sudden not colling at all any more. When I got home, I saw some smoke coming from underneath the hood, and the serpentine belt was smoking. All pulleys except the A/C pulley were turning fine. Not having the money to fix the A/C system (and approaching the cooler Pacific NW season), I just bypassed the A/C pulley with a shorter serpentine belt.

Fast forward to May: I had the system diagnosed at a shop, and they recommended upgrading to R134a for over $1000. I said thanks but no thanks and left it at that.

Fast forward to August: I was at a local parts store, and while waiting in the checkout line I noticed DIY kits for the R12 to R134a conversion. I researched a little more online, and it appears this would be a possibility if it were not for my compressor that needed replacing first.

A few weeks ago I had the R12 "drained" and the system evacuated in preparation to replace the compressor and drier.

Yesterday, as I was doing some regular maintenance, on a whim I decided to turn the A/C pulley by hand (engine off), and it turned fine, with a "hangup" here and there. I then turned the engine on and set the climate control to 60 deg. The pulley still turned just fine by hand.

Does this just mean that the clutch is disengaged, or is there a possibility that the compressor is ok, and that perhaps the discharge and evacuating removed debris, so that I might be ok?

mektek on Mon September 15, 2008 12:46 PM User is offline

It looks like the pulley bearing overheated and siezed up causing the belt to be overloaded and smoke. Now that it's cooled off the bearing clearances have increased and it will spin.
You could pull the clutch and clean/relube the bearing, but there are no guarantees with that so you're probably better off replacing it,

Edited: Mon September 15, 2008 at 3:25 PM by mektek

bohica2xo on Mon September 15, 2008 2:16 PM User is offline

Your clutch is not engaging, because the system has been emptied. The low pressure switch is protecting the compressor by inhibiting clutch operation.

You should try turning the clutch plate on the front of the pulley. This plate is connected to the actual compressor shaft. It should turn smoothly. The "hang ups" in the clutch idler bearing indicate it is bad. If the compressor itself turns smoothly it may be ok. The clutch bearing can be replaced, but if it siezed & spun on the compressor snout the entire compressor must be replaced.

The "DIY Kits" you were looking at we call Death Kits. A proper conversion involves replacing parts, flushing the system of all the old oil & debris, adding the proper oil charge...

If your old compressor did sieze, it spit debris into the condensor. That particular condensor is damn near impossibe to flush without some expensive equipment. A replacment is about 90 bucks, and I would replace it if the compressor has come apart.

The orifice tube will be a good indicator of how much trash is in the system - it is the only filter. Remove it & examine it for debris.

B.



-------------------------
"Among the many misdeeds of the British rule in India, history will look upon the act of depriving a whole nation of arms, as the blackest."
~ Mahatma Gandhi, Gandhi, An Autobiography, M. K. Gandhi, page 446.

Andreas E. on Mon September 15, 2008 2:45 PM User is offline

Thanks for the responses. No worries, I was not going to use one of the "death kits." I had a A/C mechanic discharge the system, my plan was to change out the compressor and the accumulator and then have him evcuate, leak test and recharge it. So the evaporator may be another item... ugh...

bohica2xo on Mon September 15, 2008 2:54 PM User is offline

"evaporator" ? Huh?

The condensor may be full of trash, but the evaporator usually stays clean. You should flush the old oil from the evaporator if you plan to convert to 134a, but that can be done with solvent & dry shop air - without removing it from the dash.

The condensor change out is fairly simple, and gives you a chance to check the radiator & air path while you are doing the replacment.

B.

-------------------------
"Among the many misdeeds of the British rule in India, history will look upon the act of depriving a whole nation of arms, as the blackest."
~ Mahatma Gandhi, Gandhi, An Autobiography, M. K. Gandhi, page 446.

Andreas E. on Mon September 15, 2008 7:01 PM User is offline

Sorry, wrong end. That's what I meant.... :-)

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