95 LaSabre Compressor

Hello. The compressor on my Buick is noisy and going out. When I kick in the defrost the noise subsides but doesn't stop. The clutch also starts and stops. My question is what damage can I expect if I just
continue to drive the car without using the compressor? I saw a replacement idler to use in lieu of the compressor, but don't know if it is a viable solution to the problem. I'm told replacement compressor work to be in the $1000. range. Any suggestions? Thanks.
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Jeff Wald
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I don't recall the cost, but I had a rebuild compressor installed for much less, probably closer to $500. It lasted two years and I had other AC problems at that time and I never bothered fixing it as the car was not worth it at that time.
The idler is a good solution if you don't mind losing the AC.
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The clutch kicking in and out sounds like low refrigerant level. Have you had this looked at yet? You can get R134A in any auto parts store and top it off.
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-Mike-
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The refrigerant was topped off about a month ago. I can see oil spew on the frame directly in front of the compressor. I'm afraid this thing is just shot.
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Jeff Wald
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Well, it's actually not shot Jeff. The GM compressors have a seal in the front of them that fails. The seal kit is only something like $20 or so at the dealer and can easily be installed in your garage. You do have to take the compressor off the car to do it, and then re-charge the 134A, but with a car of that age, it's a worthwhile approach.
A/C experts have lots of very valid reasons for why you should not take a short cut like this, but should instead purge and/or replace other elements of the system, but again - it's a matter of practicality. The car is going on 10 years old and one has to weigh how much to throw at a car that age. Just putting seals in the front of the compressor and recharging the system with cans from the parts store has gotten many tired A/C systems up and running again for another couple of years.
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If you dont want the air conditioning, then just switch it off, or disconnect the wire to the compressor. It will serve as its own idler for no expense (as long as the compressor clutch pulley doesnt freeze up. Using it as an idler will not provoke this possible failure mode.)
As previously posted, these GM compressors have an inherent weak spot with the shaft seals. They can be replaced with a new and improved seal.
If you pay somebody to replace the compressor, recharge, etc it might well run $1000.
You can buy a new compressor (see www.ackits.com) for about $200 (when I bought one last year, at least.) If you can install it yourself and charge it with R134a, you can ride cool for not too much money. (Note...to do a really good job, it may be recommended to flush the system, dry it, and recharge with refrigerant. Each step you take like this adds to the complexity and the cost of the replacement).
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If your car has the Automatic Climate Control Option you may need to have the compressor working properly in order to get heat.
On my Buick the compressor runs all the time and in every mode, even Vent. I hate Climate Control.
A friend just had a compressor replaced on a 97 Park Ave for about $1100
good luck,
harryface 91 Bonneville 310,434 05 Park Avenue 63,343
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