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Old 04-09-2021, 09:14 PM   #1
nealt
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1999 SC2
Default AC Compressor Compatibility

These past 2 years, I have had to recharge my AC system. Using a UV light, there appears to be small leakage around the compressor pully area.

While I was in the salvage yard, I picked up a compressor from a 96 SL thinking it was compatible with my 97 SC2. However, after getting it home, the 96 compressor low pressure connection is next to the edge of the compressor... not centered like on my 97. The connection appears to be the same. Also, the 96 compressor is rated 200cc while my 97 is rated 150cc.

Is this 96 compressor compatible with my 97 and does it make any difference?
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Old 04-09-2021, 11:33 PM   #2
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Default Re: AC Compressor Compatibility

Not knowledgeable enough to state whether or not a larger displacement compressor will run in place of the original lower displacement one. My guess is it may draw a slightly higher load on the engine while working better(?). I'm assuming without knowing the condenser and evaporator coils are the same size in the S-series line. Hvac engineering takes into account expected heat loads, engine torque needed to run, hothouse glass area allowing solar heat into the cabin, interior color, etc. You're in the only position to call the shots.

Most importantly are the two fittings, discharge and suction ports. Carefully compare your compressor ports to the replacement. Be sure both fittings on the compressor matches hose fittings and how the flat seal seats in the suction port. Whether or not the suction side port is centered or off to the side depends on if the suction hose has matching thread size and diameter. Is there clearance for the suction side hose without hitting the exhaust manifold, shield or other things? Previous threads mentioned incompatible compressors due to the rear suction fittings are different, preventing simple substitution from any year. You'd have to make a trial fit to see if both hoses thread correctly with O-ring on discharge side and flat seal on suction side seating/sealing correctly.
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Old 04-10-2021, 07:51 PM   #3
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Default Re: AC Compressor Compatibility

Ok. I will swap the compressors when it gets a little warmer. The compressor from the salvage yard had a positively charged system... so it should not be contaminated.

Since I have had to add R134 to my current system these past two years due to a small leak, would it be advisable to add any additional AC oil to the system when I swap compressors?

All lines on the salvage compressor are plugged to eliminate moisture contamination. If I do a "quick swap", is the vacuum procedure still necessary to purge the system? I can't imagine very much moist air propagating through the system in a couple of minutes.
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Old 04-10-2021, 09:40 PM   #4
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Default Re: AC Compressor Compatibility

AllDataDIY says #21031323 for a '97 SC2. The official GM parts sites come up either blank (no parts found) or say it fits any year/model while RockAuto has 4 relevant aftermarket part numbers show up; 1 is '97 only, 1 is '98 only, 1 is '96 only and 1 is '96-'98.

This other promising looking site appears to say '94-'97 use the same base compressor with different accessories (fittings I assume). https://www.uacparts.com/legacy/Sear...rs-SATURN.html
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Old 04-10-2021, 09:41 PM   #5
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Default Re: AC Compressor Compatibility

The old adage, do it right or don't do it at all, applies to vehicle refrigeration. I didn't buy all my equipment at one time. I learned awhile back and the first purchase was an r12 set of gauges and hoses. Somehow I found out junked refrigerators can make a great vacuum pump so I lucked into finding one decades ago, slapped on a bullet valve, connected the vacuum gauge and applied 120 vac. A free vacuum pump that lasted many years. Miscellaneous items were added as needed. When the pump died, I found another one but it didn't last long. I inherited a commercial quality vacuum pump, bought r134a gauges to update my equipment. I try to follow procedures.

While anyone can ignore evacuating a system prior to refilling, many my not know the hidden reasons not often mentioned why evacuating a system is important. One, a complete vacuum lets you know as soon as the pump and valves are shut to see in seconds or minutes if a leak still exists. Without a complete evacuation, this final test for a leak doesn't exist leaving you to guess if your repairs are correct or not. Two, any moisture left in a system despite presumptions of air and moisture never entering an open system allows contamination to occur. Air interferes with correct pressure measurements. Moisture reacts with refrigerant to eventually create acid to eat away at internal parts and create corrosion. This may not happen overnight but it will happen. Evacuating a repaired system ensures a final leak test passes and removes traces of air and moisture in a system. The recommended replacement of the drier also takes into account any traces of moisture is absorbed to prevent compressor and thermal expansion valve damage. Moisture left in a system will freeze at the expansion valve because of physics. A high pressure liquid released into a vacuum of the evaporator coil triggers an immediate reaction of a liquid refrigerant expanding back to its gaseous form. Expanding results in absorbing heat from the evaporator coils creating cold air as heat is removed from hot air flowing across the fins. Refrigerant changing from liquid to gas absorbs heat and any moisture in the system will freeze. Freezing can block the txv from operating and block or damage the compressor since it's supposed to suck gas before compressing it. Any frozen moisture flowing past the txv and evap coils to enter the compressor may cause damage. Think of frozen moisture as sand. This sand will cause compressor damage. Gas and misting pull are the only things that should return to compressors. A vacuum pump serves as a valuable tool in refrigeration repairs. Your choice to do it right or wrong.

Balancing missing oil is easy. Drain the old compressor of oil and measure it. Use this as the amount needed for the replacement compressor. Drain the replacement compressor. Examine it for sediment and determine if its usable or pour in new oil. Don't add more oil than needed. If a small oil amount leaked, this may be more cosmetic and not a hint to add more oil. A major leak requires a different and more complicated method to determine oil replenishment.
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