AC, I know I am beating a dead horse

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Mud User - Not Abuser
Feb 1, 2007
San Diego
I have been searching and reading threads for hours and days and still have a few questions, so blast me for the search comments if necessary or direct me to some good answers. I may loose my job with all the time I spend reading on this site.:doh:

First, here is the story: I purchase my 97 in november 2007 and was told by the owner that the air did not work. Owner showed me the stealership quote of $500 to repair a small leak in the expansion valve which he did not do. Mind you this is before he shows me the recipt for a stealership repairs a year earlier for $600 for schrader valves, dryer, o-rings and recharge. So I say, reduce the price I offered an additinal $500 which he does. Everything good, now doing preventive maint and mods over the last 4 months totaling $4000. This includes lift, bumper, hoses, rotors, pads, misc parts etc. most of which i am doing myself when possible. Easy to convice manegement :princess: since we negotiated the asking price down and the sell of the fj40 will fund the mods. Now Its getting hot in so cal so after much reading I decide to get a leak check from a good local air shop and explain the prior repairs and my newly gained knowledge from this site.

Second, this brings me to today: I get a call from the shop saying he added 1.5 lbs to check for leaks and he starts in the cabin with sniffer, no leaks detected even on sensetive setting. So he opens the hood and bam sniffer goes off and he eventually finds a strong reading by the compressor which appers to be leaking from the main seal near the back of the compressor. he says he lost .5 lbs in 1 hour before evacuating the system with a large leak from the compressor. He also states that whoever did the last work on the system evacuated the system and left it under vacumm and was quoting only the expansion valve since it is a common replacement part and they were likley fishing for more $ once they began the repair. He reserched prices for parts and suggests new compressor, expansion valve, shorter dryer for new short bus bumper, and pressure switch while we are at it. Total estimated cost $1400. :crybaby: So I ask 20 minutes of question (with my knowledge from this site) about the system which he gladly answers and appently correctly (from my knowledge from this site) so I believe him since he says I could do some of the work myself and bring back for a recharge. Of course without warrante for the parts I install. He suggests that if I am going to replace the compressor I use a new denso, and since i would need to spend $500 on this part alone it is advisable to replace the other parts mentioned at 5-6 hours of labor. Therefoe the $1400 price. selling this to manegment would be hard.

Fianlly, this brings me to my questions:
1. What would you do in this situation keeping in mind I have a new 5 week old girl and limited :banana:'s and time to work on it?
2. Would you source the parts and install them yourself?
3. Should I buy new or remanufactured parts when possible?
4. Does the steelership leaking expansion valve seem correct, do they leak?
5. Would a leak like this hold a vacuum?
6. Can you repair a seal in the compressor or is a new one needed or recommended?
7. Does $700 for parts-charge and 5-6 hours labor at $700 seem correct?

Answers to any of these is appreciated. Either way I am heading into the so cal desert this week for a run. Upper coyote canyon for those of you in san diego if interested. damn the heat to hell
Hmm, it's a good thing that the Evaporator and condenser are good! Could get expensive...

A/C is not cheap once you have a breakdown and don't repair it immediately, I would purchase the parts and replace them then be happy with the AC for at least the next 200k miles... I think I have $1100 in AC parts for a VW when it finally kicks the bucket...
Assuming the mechanic is right about the bad parts, I'd look for a used compressor (see if you can find one that's not got too many miles on it) and replace it myself. I wouldn't try to replace the seal myself.

If he found no refrigerant in the cabin, then you probably don't have a bad expansion valve. In any case, I don't believe that these valves themselves actually leak (they may get clogged), but the o-ring behind it may go bad, but again, no leak.

You'll need to replace any o-rings you disrupt during the repairs, and replace the dryer. CDan can get these for you.

Something else I'd check, though I don't know how common this is: on my truck, I found that the refrigerant line that runs behind the DS headlight to the dryer had rubbed up against the sheet-metal hole it passes thru and wore a groove thru the line which of course was leaking. It was hard to see because there is a rubber sheath around the line where it passes thru this hole. If you find this line is riding against the edge of the hole, I'd investigate further to be sure it's not worn. If it is, Dan can get you a replacement for this too.
After replacing my compressor with a remaned unit about a year and a half ago, I'd wouldn't consider this option again since the compressor developed the leak almost immediately. Although the remaned units come with a warranty, it's not much good when you have to spend a large chunk of money to get it remove, reinstalled and recharge. I'm thinking about digging into it myself this time.

I thought I read a thread a while back where a guy replaced the seal in the compressor and it wasn't to bad of a job.
I'd give the guy working in the back at the local A/C shop $20 and have him change the seal on the compressor and whatever else. I haven't had any problems, but if I do I have a spare.:D

Sounds like the shop wants to get you for stuff you don't necessarily need. Opinions vary. The compressor seal probably failed because it was under vacuum for an extended period of time. I'd fix the compressor, vacuum the system then charge it up. Pretty simple job.
Thanks for the above responces. I am still pondering a solution. I am leaning toward buying the compressor since it does appear to leak. some have told me that trying to repair a seal may work but they often fail, not even sure yet if there is a repair kit. I believe I will replace the exapnsion valve since it is cheap and I could use a shorter dryer due to the new slee bumper. I did find alot of mods for this as well but will likley get a shorter one and move it up in the bracket to gain 1-2".

Any other opinions on this subject and my situation?

I am still not sure if a remanufactured unit is worth while and cruiser parts has a used working one advertised for $200, any thoughts?
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many do charge up to $100 / hr in southern california
Any other opinions on this subject and my situation?

I was browsing through the archieves on this some and came across an old thread where a guy bought a compressor on line to replace his leaky compressor, and the one he bought didn't work. So he took his old compressor, replaced the gasket for top portion of the compressor and seemed to working fine for him. Said the gasket was $5 and took about 15 minutes to replace.

I'm thinking about getting a manifold gage set and putting some die in to see if mine is leaking from the same spot and if so, replacing the gasket.

I am not sure how good are you working on cars. I have worked on a few compressor and condenser on my cars. Get factory parts. I would replace every o-ring with new one I can find, new dryer, use NEW COMPRESSOR, DO NOT get REMAN unit!!! I got burnt some many times with REMAN unit. Then you can bring the car to the shop and let them vacuum the system and fill it. Good luck :)
ohh, you might able to get away with just replacing the seal on the compressor if that is what is leaking. That will save you a lot of $$. I would replace the leaky seal first.
After Market new

I may be looking into a seal kit but givin the age of the unit I was considering a new one but the oem is $$$$. I have found a new unit not OEM or toyota but a denso unit for under $200 any body ever use one of these? It seems worth saving $400. Either way I will be calling dan soon to get the dryer, expansion valves, and o-rings, anything else I am missing when doing a compressor fix?

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