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Old 10-29-2014, 03:19 PM   #1
TheSilverSaturn
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2008 Astra XE
2008 VUE 2.4L
Default DIY Exhaust Manifold Replacement Concern

Hey All – Sourced a replacement exhaust manifold with a good primary Catalytic Converter – Wanting to install it myself before the car needs to be inspected
The Astra service manual on alldatadiy.com calls for steps that include the AC Compressor to be removed. Besides removing the drive/serpentine belt; the refrigerant needs to be recovered prior to the compressor removal and recharged after putting back.
As I know absolutely nothing about car AC systems and through some youtube research I’m going to need to avoid this step in order to replace this bad boy myself in a cost effective and timely manner.

Does anyone know if the compressor can simply be unbolted and “moved out of the way” maybe temporarily secured to something else in the engine. without having to go through the draining/I would imagine I’d be trying my best not to kink any of the AC lines…

Looking through Saturnalia I found someone with a similar problem on an L series and they were advised to set it on the radiator mounts? (I think) which worked.

I’d rather not pay a mechanic as I’ve been able to source everything on the relative cheap so far…

Thanks so much!

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Old 10-29-2014, 04:49 PM   #2
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Default Re: DIY Exhaust Manifold Replacement Concern

Every vehicle a/c system is the same as your refrigerator, freezer, room or whole house a/c system - they're all sealed to contain refrigerant under pressure. The safe way that's recommended in service manuals to remove refrigerant before moving a/c system parts is to avoid an inadvertent high pressure discharge if damage occurs where a crack in soft aluminum or hose ruptures. Refrigerant is only dangerous under pressure as it super cools upon contact with skin. Frostbite. Oil and refrigerant spews out a rupture. Legally, refrigerant is supposed to be removed into recycling containers. There is no regulation against leaks that occur to 98% of vehicle a/c systems.

In reality, if you have enough wiggle room to dismount the a/c compressor with its two hoses allowing the compressor to move out of the way without damaging soft aluminum tubing, use caution and move just enough for clearance. Use anything to hold the compressor in place so the load isn't on the hoses. Since the engine vibrates and is mounted on rubber isolation, hoses are designed to allow a certain amount of flexing for power steering, cooling and a/c systems. Remember, aluminum tubing is soft and bends easier than copper tubing. A ruptured a/c system requires repair and a vacuum pump to remove all air and moisture from an opened system that's resealed. This is where the headache occurs when not familiar with refrigeration.

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Old 10-30-2014, 07:40 PM   #3
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Default Re: DIY Exhaust Manifold Replacement Concern

You don't need to remove the compressor lines. Simply unbolt the compressor and rotate it out the way. Follow the rest of the instructions. Make sure you have plenty of penetrating oil and anti-seize lubricants to put on bolts. If you need a detailed breakdown, I can help you out with that.

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Old 12-01-2014, 07:59 AM   #4
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Default Re: DIY Exhaust Manifold Replacement Concern

Thanks everyone! I got scared and took it to a Valvoline and had them drain the coolant for $40.00 Considering the money I saved on everything else doing this myself - I guess it was a small sacrifice. Followed the steps from the alldatadiy online service manual - Rented a few specialty tools from AutoZone. (O2 socket was the most important). Had to buy some compressor oil, a deep drive 10mm socket, and a thread tap for the O2 port (junkyard manifold port was stripped) Sunday 6 hour (dissasembly) and Monday 8 hour (re-assembly) - Fired right up and purred like a kitten - Cleared the codes and drove it the rest of the week to make sure everyhting reset. It passed inspection that Friday - Including the parts and tools I didn't have I invested about $300.00 into it (which includes the $40.00 for the coolant drain) - I didn't count tool rental into the costs as I got all that money back when I was done. Going to cost me 120-150 to have the AC recharged or alot less to do it myself (if i'm brave enough)


Anyone want to buy an exhaust manifold with a hollowed out Cat? (anyone from South Carolina?)

Peace!
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Exhaust Manifold.jpg (188.4 KB, 40 views)
File Type: jpg Inspection.jpg (154.5 KB, 26 views)

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Old 12-01-2014, 08:40 PM   #5
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Default Re: DIY Exhaust Manifold Replacement Concern

Great job, glad you followed up with this post. You have any future projects planned for the car?

I was hoping you didn't crack the lines for the refrigerant. AC requires expensive specialty tools, most importantly a vacuum pump to clear the system. Get the system serviced by a professional. Sure, it will cost extra, but will ensure that you have super cold air for the hot summer months.

Keep up the good work!

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Old 12-04-2014, 09:53 AM   #6
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Default Re: DIY Exhaust Manifold Replacement Concern

Thanks!

Next projects - Windshield washer pump/line/fuse fix - then back door window wiring inspection/fix (got the instructions on how to access that from this site) Horn service bulletin at the dealer somewhere in there - Then an installation of a more manly horn - Sick of some of the locals and most of the Northeastern transplants down here in Carolina thinking the roads are a Nascar road course or a Northern Jersey highway! (no offense to anyone who doesn not tailgate)

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Old 12-04-2014, 09:58 AM   #7
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Default Re: DIY Exhaust Manifold Replacement Concern

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheSilverSaturn View Post
Thanks everyone! I got scared and took it to a Valvoline and had them drain the coolant ...
Did they replace it? YOur engine will overheat without a proper amount of coolant mixture.. ANd always use distilled water ( not tap) mixed with it!

Did you replace with DEXCOOL or regular antifreeze?

...
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Old 12-06-2014, 03:32 PM   #8
Dartregor
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Default Re: DIY Exhaust Manifold Replacement Concern

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheSilverSaturn View Post
Thanks!

Next projects - Windshield washer pump/line/fuse fix - then back door window wiring inspection/fix (got the instructions on how to access that from this site) Horn service bulletin at the dealer somewhere in there - Then an installation of a more manly horn - Sick of some of the locals and most of the Northeastern transplants down here in Carolina thinking the roads are a Nascar road course or a Northern Jersey highway! (no offense to anyone who doesn not tailgate)
The horn was one of my first modifications. i went with a dual horn set up that runs off the normal oem wire. I think it might be the one that comes on 2012 malibu, but don't hold me to it it was just a spare part laying around in my attic. had to make a custom bracket for it though but not hard mod at all, like 30 mins tops for all of the bracket making and wiring. if you want ill post the after picture.

...
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Old 12-08-2014, 07:35 AM   #9
TheSilverSaturn
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Default Re: DIY Exhaust Manifold Replacement Concern

Quote:
Originally Posted by billysvue View Post
Did they replace it? YOur engine will overheat without a proper amount of coolant mixture.. ANd always use distilled water ( not tap) mixed with it!

Did you replace with DEXCOOL or regular antifreeze?
Hey Billy - I meant I had them drain the Freon - not coolant... didn't have to touch the anti-freeze throughout the process...

Thanks,

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Old 12-08-2014, 07:37 AM   #10
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Default Re: DIY Exhaust Manifold Replacement Concern

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dartregor View Post
The horn was one of my first modifications. i went with a dual horn set up that runs off the normal oem wire. I think it might be the one that comes on 2012 malibu, but don't hold me to it it was just a spare part laying around in my attic. had to make a custom bracket for it though but not hard mod at all, like 30 mins tops for all of the bracket making and wiring. if you want ill post the after picture.
An after picture would be awesome!

Thanks!

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Old 12-10-2014, 09:41 AM   #11
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Default Re: DIY Exhaust Manifold Replacement Concern

What trouble codes did you get that led you to a faulty exhaust manifold? I'm curious if I have the same issue...

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Old 12-10-2014, 11:42 AM   #12
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Default Re: DIY Exhaust Manifold Replacement Concern

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheSilverSaturn View Post
Going to cost me 120-150 to have the AC recharged or alot less to do it myself (if i'm brave enough)
Peace!
Cool. Seems like a big job at 14 hours invested... Glad you made it through.
I dunno but around here you can get an A/C re-charged by a mobile tech who drives to your house for $50-$60 and for $40 if you drive to them.
Look around craiglists.... There is some time before the summer hits so in winter may be able to score a better deal.

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Old 09-16-2017, 05:38 PM   #13
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Default Re: DIY Exhaust Manifold Replacement Concern

I spent about 8 hours today changing my manifold out on a 2005 2.2L Vue. It was a *****, but I bet I can do it in half the time next time.

Here are a few notes:

Spray the heck out the manifold bolts with penetrating oil the night before. Just look at the bolt pattern on the replacement. I was shocked to find that the nuts came off very easily from the back of the engine. It also helps that you can use the engine to help get leverage. Just feel for all of the bolts with your fingers. They are 13mm.

The three bolts between the manifold and the cat were shot on my '05. Chances are they will be on yours too. All three broke off on me. Cut those suckers and save yourself a bunch of time.

I didn't have to touch the AC Compressor or any of the AC lines. It's tight, but if you're using a 3/8 deep socket ratchet, you can sneak it past it.

I had the Vue up on ramps. You actually get a pretty good look at the back side of the manifold from down there. I alternated between under the Vue and up in the engine compartment.

You can definitely pull this job off on your own. The guy who did my inspection wanted to sell me on a new catalytic for 600 and god knows what else, not to mention the labor (especially when the cat wasn't even the issue). I think the Dorman replacement I got from Amazon cost me $120.

Good luck!

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