L27 - A/C Compressor broken? - 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 05-09-2007, 10:26 PM   #1
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Default L27 - A/C Compressor broken?

Okay I am new to the forum! This seems to be the best place on the internet to find help and people knowledgable about L27 3800 engines. So, Monday night I purchased a 1992 Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight, it has the 3800 in it and I believe it would be the L27 model. Anyway, one of the problems with the car is that the air conditioning does not work. THe guy who I bought it from told me that he tried to charge the system a few days ago and that did not help at all, So I am thinking it must be the compressor or evaporator maybe. Here is the other thing, when the engine is running a squeeling noise ... high pitched, not SUPER loud but audible and shouldnt be there, comes from the serpentine belt area, It sounds like it is coming from down low, right where the AC compressor is in the belts. So my questions:

1. If I take off the belts will I be able to tell if the compressor is bad by moving the pulley by hand? What else should I look for?

2. It seems like the tensioner is the type that I just loosen the bolt on and then it comes loose, how do I know how much tension to apply to the tensioner when I am reinstalling the belt? Any explanation of the procedure to remove and reinstall the belt would be appreciated? (I know I did an alternator on an 88 buick 3800 once and i just had to force the tensioner down with a pry bar or something while i bolted it back in, is that how its done?)

3. what other diagnosis things should I try to figure out if it is indeed the AC Compressor?

4. If it is the compressor and I decide to get one from the junkyard what can i do "in the field" to give me the best chances of getting one that works, or optimally one with decent life left in it?

5. has anyone R&R'ed the AC Compressor on one of these? Whats the job like, simple bolt work or does it get somewhat complciated?

6. Any other ideas or questions to help me figure out what exactly the squeel is are much appreciated! I am a bit more worried about getting the squeel to go away than having the AC work (both would be nice though)

7. Is it possible to get a shorter belt to just skip the AC compressor in the belt system? I hope I am explaining myself okay, so that instead of going down to the compressor it would just loop around the water pump and then back up to the alternator ? How would I go about finding the right belt for this? (is there "a/c delete belts" available from anywhere?

sorry for the rambling post. thanks all!
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Old 05-10-2007, 06:47 AM   #2
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Hi and welcome..

The sounds you describe do sound like the AC compressor clutch bearings. Does the noise go away if you engage the AC?

Not sure on bypassing on your model/year.

R&R isn't too bad...however you will find the oil to be acidic (unless that'* only R134A systems). So don't get any on you and R12 is quite expensive.
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Old 05-11-2007, 07:19 PM   #3
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well I just got a chance to check today and the sound does not go away when the AC is engaged. I am kind of at a loss for what I should be doing to furthur diagnose this.
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Old 05-11-2007, 08:03 PM   #4
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A 73" belt can be used to bypass the AC compressor.
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Old 05-11-2007, 11:19 PM   #5
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thanks J Wikoff! Okay so it looks like I am going to be pulling the compressor out probably, and either just using a 73" belt to replace it, or putting in an AC compressor bypass pulley (found one on autozone.com) in place of the compressor to use the original belt.

Although it would be nicer not to have to pull out the compressor at all, J Wikoff is the belt going to be exactly 73" ? any link to one that has worked for others on this specific engine before?

If I do decide to pull the compressor out so that I can use the bypass pulley and the belt I have now, what all do I have to take out? I guess the real question is, I know there will be bolts connecting the ac compressor to the bracket, but there must be some gas lines going in there too? What are those connections like, and when I disconnect them is a bunch of gas going to come out of the system? What do I do with the lines once the compressor comes out, just leave them hanging there?

I know these are alot of pretty basic questions, sorry about that. I haven't had a car to work on in 3 years so I forgot some easy stuff I guess. Thanks for the help everyone.
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Old 05-11-2007, 11:30 PM   #6
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A 73" belt worked on my wife'* 93 SE when the compressor died. And it did it'* job just as intended. A set of wrenches/sockets will take the compressor off. The proper way is to purge the system into an approved container of some type. If you just start loosening connections, the freon will all blow out, freeze whatever is in the way, and of course, spend a few hundred years bouncing around the atmosphere destroying the ozone.
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Old 05-13-2007, 10:45 PM   #7
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the best way and most legal way is get rid of the refridrant (expecially R-12, is to go to your local garage and have them remove it
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Old 05-23-2007, 07:21 PM   #8
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well for anyone who is curious to the resolution of this, I took a 72.5 inch serpentine belt and threw it on there, works perfectly and no more noise from the AC compressor. When the compressor pulley is rotated by hand it makes a metal on metal sqeeking noise, so yeah...Im still not sure what is wrong with it (how to diagnose?) but for now it is just out of the loop of the belt and so not a problem!
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Old 05-23-2007, 07:41 PM   #9
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The compressor isn't servicable. Remove and replace.
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