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Old 12-17-2008, 12:39 PM   #1
jaguaero
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Default Saturn SL2 compressor

I have a 96'Saturn SL2. About 4 months back I realized that my A/c was not blowing cool air. The air was being blown by the blower motor but not cool. The degree of coolness started going down as and when days progressed. After reading the forums I found that I maybe low on R-134a. So I got my A/c checked at an A/c place and they recharged the gas but also told me that there was a leak in the compressor so it won't last long. Now the price that they quoted was $350 for a compressor made by them and $250 for installation.

I found compressors for $200 at autozone. Are these the kind I can depend on coz Saturn dealership is charging $664.49. I have also found several online retailers selling it at for around the autozone price. I also have a quote from a junk yard for $75. I need to install it to know if it works and I am not sure if its worth the effort.

Last thing I am looking for is instructions on the removal and installation of a compressor, any pics or written instructions? Chilton's manual that I own does not have them I think.

I do my own oil changes and have replaced the ECTS, thermostat, radiator but A/c maybe a tricky I think.

Jags

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Old 12-17-2008, 01:08 PM   #2
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Default Re: Saturn SL2 compressor

Some light reading before you decide on what could become a nightmare if you're not fully aware of the pitfalls; http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/showthread.php?t=80107. If the a/c shop was honest enough to warn you of a compressor leak, you should be able to verify it.

...
*The CPS is the heart of the entire EFI system. No cps = dead EFI system*
*There's more to a/c than just a few cans of refrigerant*
*There's more to brakes than just replacing parts*

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Old 12-17-2008, 01:45 PM   #3
1995sl1sohc
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Default Re: Saturn SL2 compressor

It is very easy to remove and install, it takes about an hour maybe 2. 4-8 bolts and removing the belt and 2 AC hoses and it sits in a very accessible place.
Take it to an A/C shop to have the system evacuated and recharged, any moisture in the lines will shorten the life of the AC system. Which is why it should be properly and completely evacuated before recharging.
You should also replace the drier/filter to prevent future compressor failure from metal shards going through it.

IMO it is not worth it to fix AC just roll down the windows, from what I have seen once one thing fails the rest of it usually isn't to far behind and it turns into a money pit.

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Old 12-17-2008, 02:20 PM   #4
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Default Re: Saturn SL2 compressor

Get a second opinion that it is indeed the compressor. An A/C leak usually leaves a oily residue where the refrigerant is leaking. Successfully repairing an A/C system requires special tools and procedures if the system is to last. Keep in mind, a poorly remanufacured compressor or a used one can fail, spitting debris throughout the system leaving a mess and big repair bill.

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Old 12-17-2008, 02:29 PM   #5
angelaw
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Default Re: Saturn SL2 compressor

I bought one of those at advanced. Ever since I have this rattle/squeal on my belt (not the tensioner, belt, power steering pump, p/s pulley, alternator, or water pump. all been replaced due to failures SINCE the a/c was swapped) so now I'm either going to have to replace the clutch on the a/c or fight for warranty replacement within the 90 days. And yes, everything was replaced in the a/c system except for the hoses and condensor.

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Old 12-17-2008, 02:56 PM   #6
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Default Re: Saturn SL2 compressor

I would be fighting with then for the warranty replacement. Sounds like the clutch is not assembled properly. I think fdryer has a link to a reliable place to get rebuilt compressors.

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Old 12-17-2008, 03:22 PM   #7
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Default Re: Saturn SL2 compressor

Location?
A/C wont turn on under 40F ambient temps.

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Old 12-17-2008, 03:46 PM   #8
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Default Re: Saturn SL2 compressor

Thanks for all the responses. fdryer I have read your post several times which is why I had my doubts about getting into a/c repair by myself. Firstly I think I have read somewhere that there is recharge kit with dye available which will also show you where the leak is. And in the case I find out that the leak is indeed in the compressor using the cue from the dye, then I will need resources to help me buy rebuilt compressors. From the horror stories I have seen i would rather just take it to the shop who gives me the best price especially the folks who are into a/c and heat only to get the installation.
Its weird how they sometimes don't want to touch on aftermarket parts and prefer the parts that they sell. Some people even have labor costs escalated if I get the part myself.

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Old 12-17-2008, 05:47 PM   #9
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Default Re: Saturn SL2 compressor

Although I may have some knowledge about a/c systems, unfortunately I don't have the best sources of any a/c supplies, whether OEM or rebuilt. I have to search the 'net just like everyone else!? Its during my searches for more information is where I stumble onto sites that have parts competitive to OEM rebuilts or third party components altogether. When deciding on a/c repairs there are many factors to decide on and compressor costs vary widely so I honestly cannot comment on whether X-brands so-and-so is better than OEM for far less cost. To me, a compressor is a compressor and buying a replacement depends on how long I hold onto my car and whether I do my own work to save the most money. A lot of things to juggle so I don't comment on which ones to buy. Whether non-OEM brands last as long as the originals is another issue. After all, the original gave up prematurely unless the system was meddled with incorrect store-bought refills without attention to refrigeration principles. Contamination is very easy to do by anyone not fully knowledgeable about sealed systems that suddenly leak.

Unless anyone is willing to go through the tedious procedure of ensuring parts replacement is done correctly, mistakes can cost time and money. There are many that have made the plunge and a/c work isn't for the average person unless willing to spend the time to learn something new, totally unrelated to cars. Airconditioning has nothing to do with cars since it applies to refrigerators, freezers, and whole house airconditioning. Learning airconditioning can be valuable as a second job when taken seriously enough to work in the refrigeration field. Its no different when tearing out a car's a/c compressor and replacing it, using all the refrigeration techniques.

As I understand it, our cars with R134a have dye from the factory so a leak can be located easier.

...
*The CPS is the heart of the entire EFI system. No cps = dead EFI system*
*There's more to a/c than just a few cans of refrigerant*
*There's more to brakes than just replacing parts*

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Old 12-18-2008, 07:24 AM   #10
Mike94SL2
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Default Re: Saturn SL2 compressor

The DYE can only be seen with a black light. If you are going to add the dye yourself. I would only add enough so that with your A/C on that your clutch will engage. Once this happen the unit will be delivering cool air. The old school freon was added by weight measured on a scale. Now it is still by weight but the delivery system is a flow controller. When the A/C tech recovers your freon the flow controller displays how much freon was removed from your system. I have a good friend that owns a AC/Radiator shop for 20 yrs now and I get my parts thru him even still they are not cheap.

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