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Replacing AC compressor..replace accumulator too?

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  • Replacing AC compressor..replace accumulator too?

    So, I post a week or two ago about leaking AC (got a slow leak, lasts a few weeks before recharge). I decie to go the environmentally friendly route and have it checked out one more time. I take it to the local AC guy. He keeps it most of the day, calls me and says compressor is leaking. Can fix it for $850Ö..$850!!!!! !@#$%^&#$$%!!!!!! So, after I stop laughing, I pick the car up (at least the guy didnít charge me anything for the testing), and tell him no-can-do. Iím a pretty good wrench-turner, Oreilly has the compressor for $189, hell...I can handle it.

    Questions: Do I take the car somewhere and have the system de-pressurized or can I just crack it open? The guy quoted a new accumulator also. He said once you break open the system, you must replace the accumulator. Is that true and if so why?

    Thanks all

  • #2
    yes the acumulator is suppose to be replaced when you open the system up. now if it is for a short time then it should be all right.

    But the accumulators often rust through so if you are spending the money on the A/C system you might just want to replace it anyway to save money down the road if it where to rust through.

    as for the system, it should be evacuated and the R-134A captured as it isn't legal to just vent it to the atmosphere.

    fyi 850 doesn't sounds that bad for a shop to do the work. It cost me about $600 a few years ago to have my a/c system checked and the accumulator replaced as it rusted out, recharged, etc at a Ford dealer.
    - 12 Focus SE
    - 95 Mystique LS <-sold
    - 99 Contour SE Sport <- traded in 2/13
    - 99 Contour SeVT <- 3L/NPG Turbo
    - 2k Contour SVT - #2137

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    • #3
      thats sounds about right dude. i just replaced my condenser which was about 150bucks. with recharge and shop supplies, my bill was about $450. the shop labor time to replace a compressor is more than the condenser. as for the dryer, it depends on how long the system's been open. between those 2 parts, $850 definitely sounds right.
      Julian
      98.5 csvt #6226 of 6535
      Rally Inspired 3L turbo'd monsTOUR
      Modifications??? well...lets just say this ain'tcha grandma's contour

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      • #4
        I just had my condenser replaced and you got a good deal at $450. I paid $600 for a shop to replace my condenser.
        1999 Silver CSVT
        3L SVT heads SOLD
        2007 Mercury Montego 3.0 Duratec

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        • #5
          its quite easy to replace too. a few bolts here n there, and it comes down. i just didnt have the time to replace it and recharge the system.
          Julian
          98.5 csvt #6226 of 6535
          Rally Inspired 3L turbo'd monsTOUR
          Modifications??? well...lets just say this ain'tcha grandma's contour

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          • #6
            Originally posted by svt_fomoco View Post
            I just had my condenser replaced and you got a good deal at $450. I paid $600 for a shop to replace my condenser.
            There is a lot more work involved with replacing the condenser though.
            2000 "Amazon" Tropic Green CSVT #836/2150

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            • #7
              If you are lucky and have an auto a/c distributor close you can buy the gasket/seal set and change them yourself. Last time I did it a while back seemed like the kit was about $30. Accumulator changes because humidity lets water get in it. If you break the system and quickly plug any open holes good, you can keep the old one. Water (even a SMALL amount) reacts with freon to make acids that eat away at system, also water-even a drop-freezes across the freon restriction and cooling stops. That's why accumulator contains desiccant bag to dry up any left over humidity inside system. System must change any accumulator open to air more than 24 hours.

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              • #8
                Can put Accumulator in the oven for 24 hours at 110C to remove all the moisture?! If there is only coal inside it it should be possible...

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                • #9
                  Not so sure the desiccant is charcoal, I know the desiccant changed material type when freon changed from R12 to 134A. Interim accumulators had 2 bags so part could be used on both types refrigerant. I've heard forever that the vacuum drawdown must take place for at least 30 minutes at 29" to properly boil any water so vacuum can suck it off. I've never done that. I let it vacuum for maybe 5 minutes, have never ever had any trouble. I do know that if you think you got some water in it, you can charge the system maybe halfway (1 can?) and run for a day or 2 and then discharge that out, it'll carry a lot of residual moisture with it. The a/c guys call that a "sweep". It may pull some moisture out of the desiccant. Then do your final full charge. I've wondered myself if one could bake accumulator and reactivate it.

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                  • #10
                    Some compressor suppliers will not guarantee a compressor unless the accumulator is replaced at the same time.

                    Have a good shop pump it down before you start and then return to them to evacuate and charge the system if you don't want to buy the evacuation pump and gauges yourself.
                    Jim Johnson
                    98 SVT
                    03 Escape Limited
                    10 Fusion Sport

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