Question re: AC compressor replace - top o-rings missing?

Question re: AC compressor replace - top o-rings missing?

Postby the_bruce [OP] » July 8th 2021, 7:48pm

So I spent last night replacing my leaky heater control valve (curse the fool who decided to put spring hose clamps on, what a PITA), and after that got my accumulator and compressor out of the engine compartment. Plan on putting in new parts, pulling a vacuum and recharging. I removed the manifold on top of the compressor. The bolt was hard to reach, but I ended up using a universal joint to access the bolt since my small extension was too long and the socket by itself was too short.

The problem is that when I removed the manifold on the top of the compressor , I could not feel any o-rings. I poked around for about 20 minutes and nothing ever came off. The compressor certainly did not have any where the thing was attached. So I am wondering, do they get seized on there and have to get pried off? Or did someone remove them when the exhaust manifold gasket was replaced many moons ago when my dad owned the van? Not sure what they would have removed to do that job, but since the AC has not worked for at least 15 years they might not have put new ones in.

For what it's worth, before I opened the system it would hold vacuum for about 5 or 6 hours before slowly losing it. Not sure if it would hold that long if there was no o-ring in place. Had an ac shop diagnose the leak a few years ago and they said they detected one at the front of the compressor. Could have been leaking at the top too since the refrigerant is heavier than air.
AC compressor tube connection manifold.jpg


Don't want to install new o-rings on top of the old ones if they are there.
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Re: Question re: AC compressor replace - top o-rings missing

Postby WinnieVan » July 8th 2021, 7:52pm

Get a mirror in there and have a look. My guess is the old O-rings are in there -- or it wouldn't have been able to hold vac that long.

Old o-rings are sometimes really hard to remove... it might make sense to remove the compressor if you got it in ya.. just to be sure.
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Re: Question re: AC compressor replace - top o-rings missing

Postby the_bruce [OP] » July 8th 2021, 8:02pm

Compressor is already out pending a new one waiting to be installed, and there is nothing on the top ports, just bare metal. The pic is looking up at the bottom of the AC tube manifold, there is a red ring on the one of the tubes and a black on on the other. But there does not appear to be anything I can get loose. I am afraid to damage it so didn't want to start digging at it with screwdriver unless that is what has to be done.
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Re: Question re: AC compressor replace - top o-rings missing

Postby sfeaver » July 9th 2021, 1:21am

Those are the orings.. they should pry off.
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Re: Question re: AC compressor replace - top o-rings missing

Postby Leeann_93 » July 11th 2021, 4:37pm

They've hardened due to age, but they're o-rings.

The spring clamps came from the factory. They work better than screw/worm clamps. Easier to remove with remote hose-clamp pliers (pliers with a sheathed cable and slidy clamp thing on the end). Those things are worth their weight in gold...
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Re: Question re: AC compressor replace - top o-rings missing

Postby the_bruce [OP] » July 21st 2021, 2:44am

UPDATE AND RESOLUTION!

The things on the compressor intake/output manifold were indeed o-rings. They had no resemblance to the o-rings that came with the o-ring kit I bought or the with new AC Delco compressor itself. One was really thick red metal outer ring and the other was two stacked black metal rings, the combination of which equaled the thickness of the red one. This system was never serviced after manufacture to my knowledge so not sure why that was done. Seems like it would lead to unavoidable leaks. No one would put two head gaskets on top of each other, right? Anyway, after prying off those o-rings and cleaning the mating surface with a brake fluid-dampened scotchbright pad, I installed the new o-rings on the new compressor with a slather of pag oil. Replaced the accumulator, orifice tube, and all the o-rings I could access, also with a generous application of pag oil. There was no pag oil in the old compressor or accumulator so I guessed and added 6oz to the new compressor and 4oz to the accumulator (neither of which were shipped with oil inside). Rotated the compressor clutch after reattaching all the connections to push the oil in the lines so it would not slug. Pulled a vacuum for 90 minutes, then started the engine, set controls to max AC and began to slowly add refrigerant to the low pressure side via my gauge set. Compressor kicked in after about half of the first can, and ran continuously until I got most of the way through the third can. Once the fourth can was empty it was cycling normally, on for a minute or two then off for a few. Accumulator had tons of condensation on the outside, and the windows began to fog up on the outside where the vents were blowing (humid night). Condensation was dripping on the driveway under the evaporator. Sat in the driver's seat, closed the door and breathed a sigh of relief. First time this van has had cold AC for MANY years. Rear AC is also blowing ice cold which is nice when needed.

It has been two weeks and is still working great as of this afternoon. :banana:

Thanks to all for your help and advice. I am now more confident affecting AC repairs which I would never have tried a few years ago. :rockon:
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