air conditioning system removal [Archive] - Forum


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05-19-2011, 02:22 PM
has anyone ever had to remove and replace their entire air conditioning system--compressor, lines, etc? mine apparently has metal shavings in it and it's completely shot. i was quoted $1234 to replace everything, but i would rather do it myself if possible.

any good threads on how to go about it?

05-19-2011, 02:55 PM
I've had to do this on my grand prix. Had no A/C when I bought it and I stupidly took it to the dealership. They said the compressor was bad and replaced it, then a week later had no A/C again. The condenser was leaking and they hadn't bothered to pressure check the system before filling it to find out. 3 years later my compressor was shot again. Come to find out the old compressor had left metal particles in the tubes and had plugged up the orifice tube (little thing with a brass tube and plastic screen filter on one end), which was why it never worked very well and why the new compressor died.

When the compressor wears out and leave metal in the system, you must also replace the condenser (in front of the radiator), the accumulator, and the orifice tube. The evaporator inside the dash may or may not be ok. Mine was fine. The orifice tube stopped most of the junk before getting to the evaporator. The tube after it looked clean compared to the tube in front, and I blew it out with compressed air and nothing came out the other side. The rest of the lines that come from the firewall and connect everything... you shouldn't have to replace those. You should be able to just clean them out. Try pouring some denatured alcohol down them with a funnel until it comes out clean then blow out with compressed air. Then put everything together.

I would have shop recharge the system though. Don't use those home recharge kits. You need to put a vacuum on the system to evacuate the air and moisture before adding the compressor oil and refrigerant in order for the system to really work well and not get internal corrosion. You need a special machine for that, and it also checks for leaks while applying the vacuum, so you are better off letting a shop recharge it.

05-20-2011, 09:31 PM
thank you aaron! i'm gonna start researching costs tonight and going through my manuals to get the step by step replacement procedures.

05-20-2011, 11:32 PM
does anyone know where to find a diagram of the entire ac system? there isn't one in the official GM shop manual for our cars. (at least not in the one i have!)