$2200+ for truck A/C repair?

Discussion in 'Shiny Things' started by madeouttaglass, Jun 11, 2013.

  1. madeouttaglass

    madeouttaglass Awful Kanauphyl

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    The compressor on my 2001 Tacoma seized up recently. When you turn it on the clutch tries to engage and it smokes. The truck is otherwise in mint condition and I'd like to have everything right. While we only need A/C a few weeks a year it also goes on with the defroster which we need about six months a year. The estimate is about 1/4 the book value of the truck. Any less expensive alternatives besides taking the belt off?
    #1
  2. vwboomer

    vwboomer Buffoon

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    junk yard
    #2
  3. SamRus

    SamRus Been here awhile

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    Be careful with Junk Yard AC compressors.
    I got one for my Camry, and it didn't turn out too well.

    The body of the compressor consists of 2 large halves, and on the one I got, the gasket between 2 halves leaked. Since the compressors are not serviceable, the gasket is not something you can buy, so the whole compressor was junk. It put out pressure, and ran, just leaked, so the whole exercise was pointless.

    And if you don't have your own vacuum machine (to suck the old freon & air out), you'll have to pay someone for the labor twice, regardless whether you're good at wrenching or not.
    #3
  4. A-Bone

    A-Bone Indubitably

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    If you don't care about AC....Can it be gutted and a new pully put in so it is effectively an idler?
    #4
  5. AZstrommer

    AZstrommer Long may she wave!

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    When my compressor blew up last summer (Tucson - 100+ for weeks at a time), I took the plunge and got a new compressor, drier, filter and evap on ebay and installed them myself. I took it to a shop to be charged. Works like a champ! The parts cost $400 and the servicing was about $80.

    This was on a 2001 Toyota Echo. YMMV.

    AZ
    #5
  6. Sniper X

    Sniper X De Oppresso Liber

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    Are you sure the clutch isn't bad? That happened on my FILs Chevy van and he just changed out the clutch and the AC works fine.
    #6
  7. papalobster

    papalobster With Gusto!

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    Repalce the compressor yourself, order a new one from Rock Auto. Hook all both hoses and the one wire back on and find an independant A/C shop to evac and charge and you will be out maybe a total of $400 instead.

    Stop by the local auto parts house and see if they have a, A/C bypass pulley for around $30.
    #7
  8. troidus

    troidus Long timer

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    I did something similar to an '85 T-15 Jimmy, but I replaced the entire gas loop because I switched to R-134a, so I was out $800 in parts, many of them GM factory parts.

    If the OPs compressor shelled, the gas loop may be full of metal. I could see parts + labor for that being four figures. He may be better off doing what I did and just swap the whole loop himself, then have it evacuated, oiled, and charged in a shop.
    #8
  9. madeouttaglass

    madeouttaglass Awful Kanauphyl

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    Thanks for the replies. I've built engines and transmissions successfully but have never touched A/C before. I'm thinking along the lines of AZstrommer and buying new- not rebuilt- parts online and replacing it myself. The two trips to a shop is what had me wondering if that kind of thing was done.
    Any advice on what parts should be replaced? I've heard that a bad compressor often fouls other parts.
    Sniper- Thanks, I will check the clutch before I buy everything.
    #9
  10. Trail Ryder

    Trail Ryder Your Hero

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    About $200 from here: http://www.rockauto.com/

    Sounds like a case of Stealership Gouging.
    #10
  11. madeouttaglass

    madeouttaglass Awful Kanauphyl

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    No doubt. I have done all my own work for decades. The one time I say screw it, let someone else do it and get a quote it drives me right back into my own garage.
    #11
  12. troidus

    troidus Long timer

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    You can try disassembling everything and washing the system out with denatured alcohol, then drying it with clean compressed air. The condenser and evaporator will be the PITA parts to get clean if they're fouled. Check the high side line between the compressor and condenser and if it's clean, the condenser and evaporator should be fine. You should replace the desiccant tank, regardless.
    #12
  13. Murf2

    Murf2 Been here awhile

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    Why don't you look for an independent shop to do it? Should be way cheaper than the dealer and they would have to back their work. One problem with doing it your self & having someone evac & charge, would be if you had a problem. I bet they'd say "not our fault" you did the install. It is easy to roach the new compressor with junk in the system. I don't know how it is where you are but we have a couple independent A.C./ radiator shops that are very reasonable.

    Good Luck!

    Murf
    #13
  14. Sniper X

    Sniper X De Oppresso Liber

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    Spend 20 hours doing all that, with no guarantee it'll work or buy a new one for 400 clams.....I vote new. At least he will know it works.
    #14
  15. troidus

    troidus Long timer

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    I meant the non-compressor parts of the gas loop, not the compressor itself. A rebuild of one of those is best left to a specialist.
    #15
  16. broncobowsher

    broncobowsher Long timer

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    If the compressor went boom inside, it typically sprays debris through the whole system. Just putting a new compressor on will be an expensive short term fix. Like putting a new engine in but putting the used oil back in it.

    Some systems can be flushed, which generally removes most of the debris. Many times parts cannot be effectivley flushed and must be replaced. The evaporator box inside the dash is often a very labor intensive job, labor isn't cheap anymore. Add in toyota is generally proud of there parts. I can see an easy grand in parts (compressor, evaporator, condensor, accumulator, expansion valve) and at that point you might as well play it safe and just spend a few more bucks and get new hoses to make it a truely new and clean system. Yes, I can completely see $2k+ to properly fix the A/C system.

    As for the comments about gutting a compressor to use it as an idler, they have no idea how the clutch system on an A/c compressor works. The pulley is already an idler, it only engages the compressor when the magnetic clutch is energized.

    I have encountered several A/C system with "black death". When the compressor gives up and sprays fine gritty black goo through the whole system. There is no cheap easy good fix for it. If it isn't fixed right it WILL fail again and fail soon and be expensive all over again.
    #16
  17. troidus

    troidus Long timer

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    I've read that that's from mixing incompatible oils. I think mixing mineral oil and polyester oil is the main culprit, and usually comes about from trying to convert an R-12 system to R-134a.
    #17
  18. rapidoxidationman

    rapidoxidationman Easily trainable

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    Unplug the wire that engages the clutch. Your AC compressor is now an idler pulley.
    #18
  19. Mambo Dave

    Mambo Dave I cannot abide.

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    I spent $660 to get my compressor replaced and the system fixed up on my 1999 Ford... only to have the blend door finally lock closed (so - heat only). It's bill-able for an eleven-hour job to take the dash all the way off to get at the door.

    I figured I'd get to it some day, but years later I'm still running around with no AC despite having good parts.


    #19
  20. _cy_

    _cy_ Long timer

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    that's way too high!!!

    there's several options .. find an AC compressor shop that rebuilds compressors. or Orielly, Autozone, etc usually stocks a reman compressor.

    AC work is equipment intensive. anytime an AC hose is removed, orings need to be replaced. replace all Orings when compressor is apart. you will be sorry later if you don't.

    if refrigerant is all gone, treat compressor replacement like any other major part. after compressor is installed, take to a shop to finish.

    best is to find a shop that reasonable $$$ and you trust.... let them do it all ...
    #20