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Old 05-25-2019, 08:29 PM   #1
01SC94SL
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2001 SC1
1994 SL1
Default A/C compressor swap

I have an 02 SL1. I took the car into the mechanic and they fixed all the leaks they could find and vacuumed up the entire system. They told me the compressor was bad. I went to the junkyard and bought a compressor that has a 90-day warranty on it. I need to know what my procedure would be for installing the junkyard compressor on my car. How do you add oil and refrigerant etc. Thanks.

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Old 05-25-2019, 10:24 PM   #2
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2003 L-Series 3.0L Sedan
Default Re: A/C compressor swap

How did this repair shop determine (presuming they repaired or replaced parts) the compressor faulty? Did they refill with refrigerant? Other than testing for a blown clutch coil thermal fuse, compressors rarely fail except under unusual conditions.

A brief procedure from service manuals;

The Saturn air conditioning system requires 150 ml (5.07 oz) of PAG compressor oil. Service compressors have 65 ml (2.20 oz) of PAG oil installed.

New oil quantities must be added to the system during component replacement and conditions stated as follows:

With no signs of excessive oil leakage, add:

1.Compressor: Remove, drain, and measure oil. Drain the replacement compressor. Add the same amount of new PAG compressor oil drained from the removed compressor to the replacement compressor. Refer to Compressor Replacement .
2.Evaporator: Add 67.5 ml (2.25 oz) of new PAG compressor oil.
3.Condenser: Add 22.5 ml (0.75 oz) of new PAG compressor oil.
4.Receiver-dehydrator: Add 30 ml (1 oz) of new PAG compressor oil.

During oil removal procedure, condition of oil should be evaluated. Compressor oil never breaks down unless something is wrong with the compressor or A/C system. If one or more of the following conditions exist, replace compressor and receiver-dehydrator.

Color of oil is dark brown or black
There is a presence of foreign substances, metal fittings, etc. in oil
If receiver-dehydrator is not replaced damage to A/C compressor will occur.

1.Remove the A/C compressor from the vehicle.
2.Drain the oil into a clean container.
A-Position the A/C compressor to the drain from the high side port first.
B-Move the A/C compressor to different positions to remove all the oil possible.
C-Turn the A/C compressor over to drain the oil from the low side port.
D-Rotate the A/C compressor drive plate in both directions to remove the oil from the A/C compressor chambers.
E-Stop the oil draining when the oil coming from the low and high side ports becomes only drops.
3.Measure and record the oil removed from the A/C compressor.
4.Discard the removed oil.
5.Add the recorded amount of oil drained from the removed A/C compressor, measurement amount was obtained in previous steps, and the amount of oil lost during the recovery process to the new A/C compressor.
6.Install the A/C compressor into the vehicle.

Use only Polyalkylene Glycol Synthetic Refrigerant Oil (PAG) for internal circulation through the R-134a A/C system and only 525 viscosity mineral oil on fitting threads and O-rings. If lubricants other than those specified are used, compressor failure and/or fitting seizure may result.

Use new seals. Do not lubricate the new slim line seal washer on the compressor side of the suction hose. The slim line seal washer cannot be interchanged with a typical O-ring in the A/C system. Use only suction line slim line O-rings as a replacement.

7.Evacuate, charge and leak test the A/C system.
8.Run the A/C performance test.


Refrigeration gauges are needed, PAG oil, One O-ring, one flat seal and a vacuum pump. Once a system is repaired along with any pag oil and seals to ensure a repaired system is sealed against vacuum and pressure leaks, a thorough evacuation with a vacuum pump is performed with gauges to monitor vacuum. After a complete vacuum, pump is shut off and vacuum is monitored - vacuum should not change (admitting atmospheric pressure back in) with the vacuum gauge displaying at or near 29.99 in hg fro at least 10 minutes. If a vacuum remains, refrigerant is installed. If using 12oz cans, the first can is installed thru both service valves. A warm bucket of water to swish each can will transfer heat to help empty refrigerant. After the first can is installed, ac can be turned on to help install the second can (1.5lbs or 24 ozs) but only thru the low side (be certain the high side gauge valve is shut. Swishing the second can in warm water will help pressurize contents otherwise the can will freeze and slow the emptying process into the system.

Once the system is filled, shut off gauge valves and run the engine at 2k rpm with blower on medium speed. Center vent temps should be around 42F for a warm day. Low side pressures should be between 30-45 psi, high side between 150-250 psi. Measuring pressures at idle rpm is incorrect for the S-series.
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Old 05-26-2019, 03:09 PM   #3
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2001 SC1
1994 SL1
Default Re: A/C compressor swap

Thanks for the info. They charged the system and found some leaks which they fixed. Then they tested the compressor because the clutch didn't engage. They told me you can't just replace the clutch on this model and I needed a whole new compressor and it was $750 for a new one and them replacing it. I told them to just vacuum out the system.

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Old 05-26-2019, 03:23 PM   #4
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2001 SC2
2008 SKY Red Line
Default Re: A/C compressor swap

yeah I was told the same thing a few years ago. my clutch was not engaging so no ac. The shop told me 1k+ with labor for basically a whole new system. The procedure is on this website which taught me how to test and change the coil out. I confirmed that my coil was bad so I went to the junkyard with a multimeter and pulled a good coil, installed in the car and have been enjoying cold air for years now. It cost me about 20 bucks.

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Old 05-26-2019, 11:15 PM   #5
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2003 L-Series 3.0L Sedan
Default Re: A/C compressor swap

Thermal fuse opening is rare as it occurs from thermal overload - someone putting in too much refrigerant in amateur attempts at servicing their ac system, assuming more will make cooling colder. It doesn't work. Over filing any ac system simply forces higher loads on the compressor, increasing discharge pressures while overheating occurs. Thermal fuses open once very high temps are achieved over and above normal operating temperatures. The only other way to overheat compressors would be a severely worn out clutch, slipping and creating instant heat.

A few here have successfully replaced only the clutch coil without disconnecting the two ac lines and lose refrigerant. This type of repair is rare and hit or miss, depending on the center bolt and clutch disc not corroded on the shaft, making it difficult to remove. The clutch coil has three mounting screws that may be corroded too, making it difficult to remove before the coil can be replaced.

If you decide to try replacing a blown clutch coil, this is the cheapest diy repair but the system still needs a total evacuation before refilling with refrigerant. The repair shop removed only refrigerant (if they filled the system) as reclaiming refrigerant that isn't contaminated can be reused. Every repair shop required to reclaim refrigerant only evacuates a system until refrigerant is removed, gauge needles approaching zero (0), not below zero (negative pressure). This isn't a total evacuation that's required prior to refilling a system. If a clutch coil is replaced without disconnecting lines, the system still needs a complete evacuation again before filing with refrigerant.

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