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1987-1991 Parley with regards to your 1987 to 1991 Bonneville, Olds 88 or Buick Le Sabre Please use General Chat for non-mechanical issues, and Performance and Brainstorming for improvements.

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Old 08-27-2004, 10:11 PM   #1
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Default A/C Problems

I was driving my 90 se and there was a smell that was quite unusual. When I looked under the hood there was smoke coming from the A/c Compressor and clutch unit. I was toldd that it needs replaced. I was wondering if anyone knows what is involved in replacing the unit. Thanks in advance!!
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Old 08-27-2004, 10:15 PM   #2
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You'll need to do a full recharge of the system with R12, or convert it to R134A.

Do a search on "R134A" here on the Forum. You'll find all the info you need.
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Old 08-28-2004, 01:06 AM   #3
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The same thing happened to me on my 90 Cutlass Supreme SL. The reason it smoked was cause the condenser had a leak and the oil leaked out, funny thing is that it was still blowing cold air while it was smoking. After the cost of a new compressor and new condenser and other things I ended up just bypassing the pulley.


If you plan on replacing it you may want to have someone look to make sure another component is not leaking that may have cause the compressor to go up in smoke.
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Old 08-29-2004, 12:07 AM   #4
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how easy is it to just take out the A\C all together. mine died and i've been using the alternative, windows rolled down and driving fast
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Old 08-29-2004, 01:27 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by misfit-x
how easy is it to just take out the A\C all together. mine died and i've been using the alternative, windows rolled down and driving fast
Not worth pulling out, It'* deeply intertwined. 4-60 A/C will work, and the weight you'll save is negligable due to cost of an idler pulley.
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Old 08-29-2004, 03:11 AM   #6
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I've been reading up on the AC system in '87 but have reached a few stops in my mission.

First off I know i need a new compressor (when it goes you might as well get an accumulator (~80 - 100 bucks) and a new orifice tube (~4 - 9 bucks).

Anyway, by "take out whole AC system" i guess you mean all the componenets of the system (not counting the controls for it in the dash).

well you'd have to remove compressor (easy enough), condenser (behind the radiator... should be a li ttle harder than the compressor but not that hard).. of course the condensor is a good what.. $150 buck from a regular parts store.. then the evaporator (inside the firewall) might be a pain to get out but not impossible. thats another $150 give or take.

Oh and the compressor should run you at least $180 bucks...

Thats assuming your hoses are all good and your pressure switches are fine too (switches should be.. your hoses you'd have to check to see if you had "black death" go down in there and its mucked up.. which you'd need at least a new liquid line i believe which should be 50 -80 bucks?)

That comes to a total of about $618.00 U.*. .. maybe you can find parts cheaper but i dont know. most of those prices are from advance auto parts (i worked there.. dont any more I AM NOT ADVERTISING haha) those prices don't include core charges so that 618.00 is how much it should be after you turn in your old compressor (should be only part with a core charge).

Then if you wanna do the refill of the system yourself:

Anyways tack on that a can or two of ester oil for about 8 bucks... and 3 - 4 *12 oz* cans (say 4 to be sure but i think 3 should do it) of R134A.... $30 bucks for a conversion kit (30 bucks oughta get you one that comes with refill hose, adapters for your R12 system and even some cans of charge... )
And the total is ~650.00....

Then let'* hope you have an evacuation machine that can pull the necessary vacuum... if you have a normal air compressor there are add-ons that can make it pull vacuum for about 15 bucks.. (assuming you have an air compressor already... else a compressor is like 150-200 for a descent one)

Tack on that some flushing solution (~20 bucks?) and of course a manifold guage set for (30 bucks?) and you're up to around $710.00 (assuming you have an air compressor)...


All in all i'd say its best to see which ones of your components you can salvage..
your evaporator should be ok, your condensor has a good shot of being ok... if you had black death it might have a clogged passage you might never know about which could cause pre-mature failure..


that why i never got around to doing mine... i got a new compressor and accumulator and orifice tube.. but some dumb a$$ mechanic never gave my parents 2 of the hoses (including the cut off switch on it) and I don't have any equipment for evacuation and refill so i'd hate to put in so much money into it and not do it... i gotta think about it for a while... in any event i guess i'd get a shop to flush, evacuate and refill the system if i did get the new hoses but oh well...

Good luck ! Don't 'not do it' cuz of my down view of it... there'* nothing i'd want more than cold air for summer driving in my bonne but i just couldn't make the ends meet, if you know some good shops and got some nice prices you should be able to do it at far below the estimated 700 bucks i mentioned... maybe your hoses are fine and all you need is a new compressor and accumulator! in that case ~250 to 300 (compressor+accumulator) + evac / flush / refill is all it would take!

sorry for long post
mike Diaz
'87 Pontiac Bonneville
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Old 08-29-2004, 01:10 PM   #7
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I once built an "evacuation device" from the vacuum pump for an Oldsmobile deisel 350 (hung on the side of the engine like a p/* pump) and an old 1/4 horse electruc motor (think it came from a fan). Pulled a real good vaccuum. Have alse heard of people using the compressor from an old a/c or refrigerator.

Even knew a guy who claimed to pump the system down (had to add oil twice) just by closing the system, hooking up the guages, and starting the engine with the compressor on. Open the high side and wait until the low side goes to zilch.

I never tried that one because it didn't sound like it would pull enough of a vaccuun besides being hard on the compressor.

Nowadays I just have a shop I trust.
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