1996 SE Air Conditioning Compressor replacement - GM Forum - Buick, Cadillac, Chev, Olds, GMC & Pontiac chat


1992-1999 Series I L27 (1992-1994 SE,SLE, SSE) & Series II L36 (1995-1999 SE, SSE, SLE) and common problems for the Series I and II L67 (all supercharged models 92-99) Including Olds 88's, Olds LSS's and Buick Lesabres Please use General Chat for non-mechanical issues, and Performance and Brainstorming for improvements.

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Old 11-25-2008, 11:23 PM   #1
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Default 1996 SE Air Conditioning Compressor replacement

OK, when the AC compressor is disengaged, i get a tinny sort of rattling noise coming from the clutch on the compressor. WHen i engage the AC, rattling stops and cool dry air comes from the vents. There are also very fine metal shavings under the compressor pully. All this leads me to believe that I have a bad cluth on my AC compressor.

The car has 170K+ and is starting to show its age. Tranny is starting to slip, developing a fairly significant oil leak from an as yet unidentified source, and little plastic bits and pieces all over the car are starting to break off (air vent pieces, clothing hooks, convenience light lenses, etc.). So, I'm going to keep the car, but would rather not stick $500+ into a new, professionally installed AC compressor. I've decided to install a $40 AC bypass pully and do the work (mostly) myself. After some exploratory wrenching and ALOT of google-ing, it looks like a relatively straightforward process. The plan is as follows:

1. Have the pros evacuate the system.

2. Jack up the car and remove the splash guard underneath, as well as the splash guard at the front of the passenger side wheel well. Also loosen serpentine belt (no need to completely remove). May also need to remove the front pass. side wheel.

3. Disconnect both refrigerant lines. These are held in place with one bracket and one bolt.

4. Disconnect electrical plug.

5. Remove 3 bolts on the pully end of the compressor and one underneath at the back end.

6. Extract compressor through the passenger side wheel well.

7. Tie up wiring and seal off refrigerant lines to prevent contamination in case I ever repair/replace compressor.

8. Mount by-pass pully and re-run serpentine belt.

9. Replace all splash guards.

10. Enjoy a tasty adult beverage and take pride in another DIY success story.

Has anyone done this on a similar model? I'd really appreciate some first-hand advice. If anything appears to be out of place or missing...try to let me know before I tear this thing apart and cant get it back together. Thanks.
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Old 11-25-2008, 11:26 PM   #2
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It'* very easy to do, so easy I did a write up. And here it is

https://www.gmforum.com/t277814/

Any questions, just ask
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Old 11-27-2008, 10:41 AM   #3
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Dan, thanks for the step-by-step...with pictures even. I had been scouring google on and off for weeks looking for something like that. I am glad to know I was on the right track. I'll post again to let everyone know how I turned out.
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Old 11-27-2008, 12:11 PM   #4
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It'* a easy job. Your best bet is to look or ask here if you need to do something. If I haven't done a write up, then someone else I'm sure has.
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Old 11-29-2008, 10:48 AM   #5
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I did the same thing to my '95 88 but had to "adapt" a compressor delete pully for a 96. I had to "jump" the pressure switch on the AC line to make my cooling fans operate correctly. Seems with no pressure in the system, and no jumper, the fans came on high all the time, don't know if its the same deal on a '96 Bonnie, but something to look for. I was able to buy on Ebay, a new compressor w/clutch, condenser, receiver-dryer and oriface tube for less than $400 (compressor was U.*. made and came with a two year warranty.) Reinstall of all these parts was pretty straightforward. Paid $95 to have the system purged and filled and so far, everything is working very well
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Old 12-07-2008, 01:05 PM   #6
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Well, the job is done. Everything went almost as planned. The only change was that it was easier to remove the lower AC lines than try to cap them in-place. That alse meant that a pressure switch had to be unplugged. The whole thing took 3-4 hours. Thanks for your help everyone.

-Dylan C
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Old 12-07-2008, 01:16 PM   #7
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Glad it went some what smooth. Were you able to use the write up, and was it easy to follow?
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