Model: Grand Cherokee
Engine Size: 5.2
Refrigerant Type: R-134a
Country of Origin: United States
Hello Everyone. I could really use the help.
Last year I got tired of putting in a can of R-134a every week, so I took it to a local AC shop who told me that since he could not locate the leak it had to be the evaporator (in the dash). He wanted far too much money for me, so I replaced it myself - a long job but not too bad overall, and the old unit was definitely bad - UV dye, leaves, assorted other crap. I figured that I may as well change the condensor as well since the Jeep was down and during the removal of the condensor lines, I noticed the line that went from the compressor to the condensor was corroding at the o-rings (I believe it's called the High Side) so I changed that as well. I rented a vacuum & gauges and left it on for about 6 hours or so, shut off the guages and turned off the vacuum. The vacuum read 29.5" for quite a long time. I left it overnight and when I checked in the morning it was down to 24" or so. Fine, winter's about here, I'll wait for spring.
So this year I read through a few forums and decided to change the Low Side line that goes from the condensor to the evaporator, just in case the orifice tube is blocked or other problem. It still has an extremely slow leak. I take it to another two local shops who work on AC and they supposedly cannot locate any leaks and say it seems fine to them. So maybe my guages are bad, but I'm worried that one of my "new" components still leaks. Well, I throw caution to the wind and vacuum it back down and charge it with 24 oz. (28 oz. is recommended from the factory specs). All works well for about 6 hours of use and now I'm back to a cycling compressor with poor performance - my leak is real.
I cannot see any residue or oil anywhere except on the front clutch of the compressor, but I don't know if that's road grime or AC residue. I guess my question is, since I've replaced just about everything except the compressor and accumulator line, is there a way to check these components or another way to locate the leak? Also, can I rebuild the compressor or is the only option a new one?
Sorry for the long sob story but I'm real stuck,
That's a big leak. An electronic leak detector will find it readily. Did you install dye? Take the clutch plate off and check right at the shaft seal. It should be dry, no oil, on the clutch mating surfaces.
As soon as I see Jeep of the mid to late 1990s vintage with A/C problems the very first bell that rings is the evaporator - they're notorious for failure - second is the compressor shaft seal. So since you fixed earlier, you're left with the latter, and the oily residue is around the clutch face is the telltale sign. Where else is would the oil be coming from? It's probably not on your alternator, power steering... etc.
Good news is the site sponsor has a shaft seal for your vehicle for around $20:
21-34629 - SHAFT SEAL KIT
Provided the compressor shaft itself isn't corroded or otherwise damaged, you should be good to go. Provided there are no other leaks, the system should then hold a vacuum. The site sponsor also has very reasonably priced new and quality rebuilt compressors if that's the route you want to go.
If you want better confirmation of leaks, a UV dye test would be in order. It's also available inexpensively from the sponsor.
Thanks for the replies guys. So it seems like it probably is the compressor. I just didn't want to spend a bunch of cash for nothing, so even if everyone's wrong, at least I tried running by some people. I went to the ACkits website and did a search under my 97,Jeep,Grand Cherokee,5.2 V8 and I don't see that seal kit listed. How did you find it?
Only because we know the compressor on your vehicle is the 10PA17C - looked up the shaft seal by compressor type.
You don't even have to spend a nickel to remove the compressor and check the shaft first. If it's nice and smooth, install the new seal, vacuum and recharge. If not, then you can replace the compressor. You'd just be without air until the seal arrives.
Probably also a good idea to get the 91320 - Nippondenso Compressor Seal Service Set to make the job go easier and avoid damaging the compressor and new seal. Besides, as guys, we're always looking for excuses to buy tools!
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