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Old 06-13-2021, 05:26 PM   #3
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Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: NYC
Posts: 45,209

2003 L-Series 3.0L Sedan
Default Re: A/C Clutch vs Compressor

With several compressor configurations, GM/Saturn may have settled on one type with one clutch. If I'm not mistaken, original S-series compressors don't have three tapped holes for a clutch puller tool. When the center bolt is removed, using a long screwdriver propped against two of three buttons on the clutch to prevent rotation while loosening the bolt, the bolt is removed for the GM tool. The tool is a two piece unit; the outer body is externally threaded to mate with the clutch plate internal threads, not the bolt threads. Fixing this tool onto the clutch plate then allows a second longer bolt threaded into the tool to turn against the compressor shaft to pull the clutch plate off the shaft. The end is ground similar to a center punch to fit over the compressor shaft. This GM tool is specific for Saturns using Zexel compressors with specific threads on the clutch plate so it's not a parts store item sold everywhere. GM supplies dealers with this tool. The manufacturer supplying this tool may sell it online. Repair shops may have this tool and pads repair bills if used. I don't know if dealers and repair shops replace clutches when it's time consuming for this procedure as compared to wholesale replacement of the compressor to rule out debris contaminating diy refill repairs. When a compressor is replaced, the drier is replaced as insurance against moisture contamination for a complete repair. Along with compressor replacement is balancing the oil removed by draining the original compressor and using this amount to pour new oil into the replacement. The replacement is drained of any oil before pouring in the correct amount. Too much or too little oil can be detrimental to proper lubrication.

I see on rockauto several compressors, one having three threaded holes in the clutch plate. The others either don't have these threaded holes or images are lacking clear front views. A different clutch puller is made for this.

If you are familiar with refrigeration repairs then a gauge set is necessary along with an electric vacuum pump to remove air and moisture from a repaired system. The best way to determine if damage occurred with 98% of vehicle damage resulting in leaks is to use an inexpensive uv blacklight. This makes factory dye glow in a dark garage or after sunset to reveal the source of leaks. Examples of dye would be the two service valves containing residual oil and dye. Dye mixed in with refrigerant oil is permanent no matter how old a vehicle as it isn't released into the atmosphere. Sudden catastrophic damage or slow leaks releases refrigerant, oil and dye. Refrigerant evaporates immediately but oil and dye mark the area of damage. If you're lucky, an inspection with a uv light doesn't show damaged parts leaking with dye markers with service valves the likely source of leaks, especially when refilling occurred and caps aren't tightened. With vehicles over ten years and ac repairs needed, replacing the two service valves should be included in the list of parts. If the o-rings are worn or missing in caps, replace the caps. Any major repairs to vehicle ac systems always includes replacing o-rings and one flat seal (the flat seal is on the suction side of Saturn compressors). This seal is used dry, all other o-rings are lubed with mineral oil from a drugstore or r12 oil. Using pag oil will absorb moisture and accelerate corrosion on fittings leading eventually to leaks. Refrigeration repairs are unforgiving of mistakes.
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