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.
" I can handle things, I'm smart - not like everybody says - not dumb,
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.
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.
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
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
91 Bonneville 310,434
05 Park Avenue 63,343
Motorsforum.com is a website by car enthusiasts for car enthusiasts. It is not affiliated with any of the car or spare part manufacturers or car dealers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.