I am in a pickle here and can't figure out how to proceed with this
car I don't know any history about. The compressor in this car is not
turning on. The mechanic found that even when he supplied power to it
directly, the clutch didn't engage. He saw also that of the three
wires going to the compressor, one has been cut. He reasoned that it
at least needs a clutch, but the price of a compressor and clutch
together is only $10 more than just the clutch. I found a rebuilt
compressor for $200, compared to $300 at AutoZone so I am assuming
it's a good deal. The labor to replace the whole compressor is the
same as replacing just the clutch. Either way, the system has to be
evacuated and charged with R134A freon, so there is no difference
there. He said, though, that since he applied compressed air to the
system and saw it is clearly leaking and found only one visible leak,
which he fixed by tightening a connection, there is no way to tell if
the evaporator is leaking easily or if it is coming from the
compressor. He said for $50 he could block off the system and check
whether it is the compressor, evaporator or both before I decide
whether I want to pay for the compressor and get it installed. So,
here are the choices.
1) Just buy the $200 compressor w/ clutch and have him install, evac
and charge for a grand total of $450. Risk: evaporator leaks, which
is another $550, parts and labor. If I new the evaporator was bad, I
probably wouldn't do anything to the A/C and I would just suffer in
2) Pay the $50 before the go/no go decision on the compressor
I am leaning toward just skipping the $50 test. On the other hand the
aluminum in the engine looks corroded/oxidized so maybe that's a sign
that the evaporated probably is too.
Am I missing anything in the decision process? What about the
expansion valve or some other component? Some or all of those could
be bad too, right?
Lastly, he said, don't worry about the automatic climate control unit.
That's the least of our worries, because he can get around that if he
has to by just putting in a relay and a switch for the compressor for
He's a good guy; trying to save me money.