AC Compressor

Welp! Now that the PS, R&P and tires are all up to snuff, the AC compressor has started leaking. Any alternatives to replacing? This is a 1997 Aerostar.
Other than recharging, is this a shade tree job or best to use a garage?
Bob
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PS -- I first noticed an asbestos burning smell a few weeks ago near the compressor. No loss in cooling yet at this point.
Welp! Now that the PS, R&P and tires are all up to snuff, the AC compressor has started leaking. Any alternatives to replacing? This is a 1997 Aerostar.
Other than recharging, is this a shade tree job or best to use a garage?
Bob
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On Mon, 27 Jun 2011 12:03:20 -0700, "Guv Bob"
May be coming from the A/C clutch. Get a pro to check it. This isn't a DIY repair.
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On Mon, 27 Jun 2011 11:55:15 -0700, "Guv Bob"

If it's leaking, there's no magic substance that you can put in that would work and not clog up the expansion orifice. Replacement sounds like the only option. And I wouldn't let anyone touch it who doesn't have the necessary equipment and training to properly evacuate and refill the system. If you don't vacuum the system down before recharging, you're just begging for more trouble down the road.
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Thanks, Tim. I didn't really want to spend another weekend head first under the hood. I'm off to the non-shade tree garage now. Are they any good or bad brands to watch for?
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On Mon, 27 Jun 2011 14:46:47 -0700, "Guv Bob"

the hood. I'm off to the non-shade tree garage now. Are they any good or bad brands to watch for?
For compressors? I'd try to stay away from anything made in China. Most professional shops use quality parts if they expect to get repeat business or referrals.
Out of curiosity (and since you made a statement that indicated your A/C clutch may have a problem), how do you know its leaking?
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Fluorescent blue liquid underneath it.
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On Mon, 27 Jun 2011 19:23:25 -0700, "Guv Bob"

Blue? I've replaced my share of compressors, and every one has used clear to very slightly yellow oil. I've never seen blue oil in an A/C system. Did you add a leak detector to the system at some point? A blue leak makes me think it's a windshield washer fluid leak, but the florescence could point to antifreeze or leak detector. And if it's leaking oil, I'd think they gas would have leaked down sufficiently that it wouldn't be cooling nearly as well as it should be, but you said it's still cooling well.
Get it to a mechanic soon to check it out.
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Good general info and T/S site for AC. http://www.aa1car.com/library/ac98.htm
Welp! Now that the PS, R&P and tires are all up to snuff, the AC compressor has started leaking. Any alternatives to replacing? This is a 1997 Aerostar.
Other than recharging, is this a shade tree job or best to use a garage?
Bob
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On Tue, 28 Jun 2011 09:05:15 -0700, "Guv Bob"

Do you own a set of manifold gauges? It'd be nice to know what your high and low side pressures are.
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Don't have them here but I have a good mechanic who can check.
I just checked again and the fluid is olive green colored. Definitely is coming from the compressor though, and not coolant.
I called for prices and a Motorcraft compressor rebuilt is $170-200 at O'Reillys. Ford is quoting $105 just to diagnose it and $700-900 to fix if it's the compressor. The local Firestone here is good for minor work and estimates $800-1200, but they want to replace everything without looking at it.
I work on industrial controls, pressure/vacuum piping, tubing, etc., and am comfortable working any car project where I have the right tools and decent instructions. At those prices, I can buy a basket full of tools and spend a few days on it, then have a shop evacuate and recharge, unless I have to lift the car or have 3 elbows, etc.
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Don't have them here but I have a good mechanic who can check.
I just checked again and the fluid is olive green colored. Definitely is coming from the compressor though, and not coolant.
I called for prices and a Motorcraft compressor rebuilt is $170-200 at O'Reillys. Ford is quoting $105 just to diagnose it and $700-900 to fix if it's the compressor. The local Firestone here is good for minor work and estimates $800-1200, but they want to replace everything without looking at it.
I work on industrial controls, pressure/vacuum piping, tubing, etc., and am comfortable working any car project where I have the right tools and decent instructions. At those prices, I can buy a basket full of tools and spend a few days on it, then have a shop evacuate and recharge, unless I have to lift the car or have 3 elbows, etc.
Forgot to say, I ran the AC just now for the first time in 24 hours and it got ice cold within a minute.
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Guv Bob wrote:

Can you tell at all where the fluid is leaking from? Maybe with an inspection mirror? If it's around a bolt, maybe retightening them would help. Looking at a picture of that compressor on RockAuto.com, it looks like one of the ones that has the four bolts pulling the whole thing together. Being a green color, it sounds like it may be leak detector, but usually there's not enough in the system to puddle like that. Not on any I've injected, any how ;-)
That fact that it cools that well means that it most likely isn't a major refrigerant leak, but the dripping fluid kind of belies that. Still wonder where that much fluid comes from. . .
Curiouser and curiouser. . .
--
SC Tom


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SC Tom wrote:

I just repaired my A/C on my F-150. I bought a new compressor w/drier & orifice on e-bay for $150.00
I got tired of giving my hard earned money to others. I bought manifold gauges for just under $50.00 from e-bay. I bought vacuum pump from e-bay for $24.95 (My buddy had an electric vacuum pump that took about 30 minutes to evacuate. I bought a vacuum pump that operates off my air compressor, takes less than 5 minutes to evacuate the system)
I had a buddy show me how to use them. My A/C is working great now.
--
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Good for you, 75er!! With that encouragement, that's exactly what I'll be doing if it turns out any of the AC stuff has to be replaced.
I'm more than happy to pay a dollar for a dollar's work, but I'll be diddly dadburned if I'm going to shell out $700 for "labor" knowing that 80% of that would end up at 'corporate.'
By the way, this particular Firestone has some good mechanics, but only one long-time top notch feller. I learned long ago, if you find someone that does a good job, to get his home phone number. That has saved me many a headache with all types of work.
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Guv Bob wrote:

I don't know how close they are, but I have a shop CD for 1996 Ford trucks, which includes the Aerostar. As with most of the shop CD's, they're kind of vague at times, but overall have pretty decent instructions and fairly crude drawings, if that would help. I can "print to PDF" the sections you'll need, then figure out how to get them to you.
--
SC Tom


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Bob
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- remove FORD from the address first.
Many thanks, Tom. Just now got around to checking my email. Nothing done yet, will update the newsgroup as I get into more troubles with the AC.
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On Tue, 28 Jun 2011 17:12:04 -0700, "Guv Bob"

O'Reillys. Ford is quoting $105 just to diagnose it and $700-900 to fix if it's the compressor. The local Firestone here is good for minor work and estimates $800-1200, but they want to replace everything without looking at it.
Yeah, that sounds way too high. For a compressor replacement, I wouldn't pay more than about $400-$500 for parts, labor, everything. Add about $50 to replace the drier, too. I had a condensor coil replaced for only $100, plus the cost of the coil.
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