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Old 02-28-2009, 11:10 AM   #1
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i took my 3.8 96 camaro down to the shop to get my a/c check and they said i had a small leak in the compressor and my condenser will have to be changed. is it smart to let them do it? or is it a easy enough job to do it in the garage?? and what are some good sites to purchase those parts?

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Old 02-28-2009, 12:43 PM   #2

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Since you had to ask the questions you asked, I'd say you need to let a shop perform the task. It takes special tools to do A/C work.
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Old 02-28-2009, 12:50 PM   #3
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Unless you have the tools and might want to let them do it.

But just make sure you have a good mechanic.
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Old 02-28-2009, 01:18 PM   #4

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A/C work is not diy work imo, always take it to a licensed mechanic. Freon can be some nasty stuff if not handled and disposed of correctly.
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Old 02-28-2009, 03:54 PM   #5
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The problems that DIY'ers have with working on AC systems has mainly to do
with the refrigerants and the CFC's that they contain. CFC's are ozone killers;
because of this are restricted substances; you need a certification to handle them.

So if you want to replace the parts in your garage your will first need to have
someone that is "certified" to handle refrigerants to evacuate them from your
AC system. After that it would be a good idea to have them purge your system
with nitrogen. You need to prevent air from entering the system; O2 and water
are real killers to an AC systems. After you've replaced the parts you will once
again need someone that is "certified" to handle refrigerants to recharge your system.

Your compressor leak is more than likely cooked seals, #18 in the diagram below.
That is a fairly easy fix; but you MUST keep everything clean and dry, you don't
want any contaminants entering your AC system. Also remember that the compressor
is 12 years old; you may want to consider replacing it.

Condenser???? Are you sure that's what they mean? #3 or #4 in the diagram?
The condenser sits in front of the rad; unless it has been punctuered by something
it should be just fine. I would think that your shop is refering to #4 the receiver.
This part is commonly call the accumulator in the refrigeration industry. It is there
to dry, filter and receive/accumulate (hold) the liquid refrigerant prior to being applied
to the evaporator. As this part contains desiccants to remove any moisture, it is
commonly replaced any time the AC system is opened up.

Parts? Summit Racing, NAPA, or similar outlet; but here's a word of caution.
Make sure that the parts that you purchase are NOT "made in China"; parts coming
from China are GARBAGE, I repeat GARBAGE, of LOW quality, inferior and will not last.
Pay the extra dollar and find parts made in the USA, Canada or Europe; parts
made in these places will be of much higher quality and will last a long time.

So if after reading this long winded advice, you still feel up to the task; fly at it.
Though you should keep in mind that if you get the work done at a reputable shop;
their work should come with a warranty. Plus you will be helping your local economy.

Last edited by UA488Fitter; 09-10-2012 at 10:36 PM.
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Old 02-28-2009, 05:32 PM   #6
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First of all, why is the mechanic telling you that, your condensor needs replaced when the leak is supposedly in the compressor. It is normal practice to have to change the filter drier and orifice tube when changing out the compressor. Also, what was said earlier about needing special equipment to service this system is very true. A round about guess at what it should cost if indeed the seals are bad in your compressor, a system flush, a rebuilt compressor and orifice tube is probably going to cost around $800.00 and 1,200. By all means get a second opinion, most are free.
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Old 03-31-2009, 02:59 PM   #7

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I can vouch for the work involved stated in UA488Fitter's post. I am certified to work with freon on everything but automobiles and it can be a pain. I also agree that if the compressor has a leak, there is no need to replace the condensor. I actually have to get mine checked out too as when my engine was replaced the guy recharged my A/C system and it has already started to not cool again so I have a leak somewhere as well. Best bet though is find a certified mechanic and get an estimate, then go somewhere else and get a 2nd estimate.
Hey, you want to lay the fate of the world on the kid's Camaro? That's cool.

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