Engine Size: 3.5
Refrigerant Type: R134
Country of Origin: United States
I've owned the car since '02 or '03 and never touched the AC. During the Winter months, I turned on the AC and found the compressor wouldn't run. I try to turn it on occasionally during the winter just to keep the seal wet.
I checked and found that there was minimal pressure in the system.
I evacuated it for many hours and put in one can of 134 sometime during March or April. Cooling was restored, but after a couple weeks the pressure had dropped to the point where the clutch wouldn't engage.
I checked all the hose connections and there was no sign of oil anywhere. With great difficulty, I managed to get to the compressor and found a clear yellow oil on the frame member directly below the pulley. It didn't appear to be engine oil and there didn't seem to be another source that would have deposited oil in that area.
Convinced it was the compressor shaft seal, I started to clear a path so I could remove the compressor. In the process, I managed to spill some anti-freeze in the area of the compressor. In order to get the antifreeze out of the way, so I could be more certain that the oil was from the compressor, I squirted some water from quart plastic water bottle around the area. When the water dried, I found that all of the oil had been washed away.
Now, I am in a quandary if I should replace the compressor, or do something to further isolate the leak. The compressor shaft feels normal when I turn it by hand. It would be a lot of work to put the car back together enough to be able to recharge it, and I'm willing to replace the compressor, if the odds are stacked that way.
I have done similar repairs on the AC systems in my cars that were not damaged and required nothing more than parts replacement, but I am strictly a DIY home mechanic with 4+ decades of intermittent experience doing light repair work.
Thanks for any suggestions anyone can provide.
Yellow, water soluble oil would have come out of the compressor. PAG is not strictly an "oil" in the usual sense, it does wash off with water. You could get a clutch plate tool, pull clutch plate and probably find gobs of it around the seal. Or borrow an electronic leak detector and check around the compressor.
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