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Air Conditioning Compressor Shop?

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Hello,

   I have a 1974 Camaro with A/C.  I've had it converted to R134A using as many original components as possible during its restoration (the original system was trashed).  The rebuilt system worked great, but the compressor seals keep leaking oil out of the front.  I just blew out my 5th seal.  5TH!!!!  At first I had a pro shop do the work, but these all leaked.  I decided to do it myself with a modern seal that fits, after reading about it online, since it is such a hassle to suck the system dry, take it apart, and ship a 30-ton compressor to FL each time, warranty or not.  The seal I installed worked great for about 3 months, then today, seal broke and all the compressor oil leaked out of the front of the compressor.

 

I would think that someone, somewhere would be able to repair the seal on a generic mid 70's GM A/C compressor, but I've had no luck at all.

 

Could anyone recommend an A/C shop where I could take my car to have professional make this right in the mid-Atlantic states, preferably in the northern VA area?  Since this is very unlikely, is there an A/C shop anywhere in the country that could do this job correctly?  (I've had issues with Classic Auto Air, the only other place I know of).  Any leads would be appreciated.

 

-Chris

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I would call Vintage Air. They deal in new A/C systems for customs/hot rods/street rods and classics. They would be a good place to call and get information about who to work with fixing your old compressor. They might be able to repair it, but should be able to tell you why you are having these problems, and where to go.   https://www.vintageair.com/      worth a phone call.

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It is a common compressor, maybe see if you can buy one from a local A/C parts house? I bought one last year for a late 70's Impala and they did not even want my old one for a core. For that many seals to go I would look seriously at the compressor for some sort of issue causing the problem. I realize that it is not the original one, but they are pretty much all the same even to the trained eye.

Edited by John348 (see edit history)

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Is there a shaft through this seal?

 

If so, and it repeatedly fails, look for a groove or roughness in shaft, seal not perpendicular to the shaft and the mounting hole not being round. Also, and more importantly, are the shaft bearings in good condition? Any movement - worn bearings or bearings eccentric to the seal - will destroy the seal in short order, as you are finding. And with multiple lips, you have to make sure they're all lubricated when you install it.

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Does it have a high pressure switch fitted and if it does is it working?  This switch is fitted to just about all A/C systems to prevent high pressure in the system which may be what your problem is.

 

I had one blow a hose in a car I had a few years ago because the switch was faulty.  Sounded like two tire blowouts at once.  Certainly got my attention.

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How concerned are you with stock appearance?  I used a Pro6Ten compressor on my 70 deVille, painted it black, and it doesn't stick out like a sore thumb.  Works great.  It's a modern compressor that doesn't have seal failures like the A6 does.  Best part is it's a direct replacement for the A6.  Not cheap at $345.00

 

The key after a seal replacement in an A6 compressor is to set the compressor on it's clutch, face down, for about 20 minutes after filling the compressor with oil to lubricate the seal.  It is a seal that's designed to weep - it's actually the thin film of oil that weeps from the seal that makes the seal, and not the oil seal itself.  Failing to wet the seal will doom it to a failure from the get go.  There should also be a wick in there to help absorb the oil.  This weeping was bad enough that I think, Oldsmobile, mounted a shield over the compressor to keep the hood pad clean in the 1970s.

 

You can use the shaft seal from the later R4 compressor also which seems to have better results.

 

Pic of the 70 with the Pro6Ten installed.

20180603_174309.jpg

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Thanks for all the replies, great input. 

 

Xander, thanks for the vintageair tip.  I will keep that in mind to see if they have any decent rebuilt A6's in stock.

John/Spinnyhill, I will probably replace the unit.  I think after 5 tries, there has to be something wrong with the shaft or other component, and it's time to give up.  It's a huge money pit at this point.

David, yes the high pressure switch works as far as I know.  The compressor disabled itself because of low pressure before; not sure if this is the same switch or not.

Dan, very concerned about originality, just won my Senior at Spring Eastern Nationals, so won't go modern.  These compressors worked great in the past, just have to find one that is sealed properly.  I used a modern 1-piece seal, but I did not soak the seal; didn't know that was a thing.  Could have been the problem as well. Compressor has a wick.

 

I think the best advice here would be to buy another A-6 with a warranty, and start over again.  No sense in trying to put yet another seal in, when nothing I've tried has worked, whether I did it or some "pros" did it.  Starting over.  Thanks for helping me make a decision on this.    Now on to the faulty power steering pump that has failed 3 times.  Ugh.  Time to replace that as well.  Thanks!

 

-Chris

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As both the A/C Compressor and the P/S pump have had multiple failures, is there a misalignment issue with the belts driving the units thus causing issues?

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No, the belts are fine.  Took the car to my old car mechanic to get his thoughts on the power steering problem.  It works at speed, but does not work at all when the car is stopped and heated up. Works so-so when fluid is cold.  My mechanic theorized that the fluid is not viscous enough.  Asked me what I used, and I used synthetic PS fluid, so his theory may be correct in that it's a simple PS fluid issue.  I never would have thought of that.   He recommended Lucas power steering fluid, so will try that this weekend.  Sounds logical, as the pump was rebuilt last year and nothing else appears to be wrong with it.

 

Also buying a rebuilt A6 compressor to replace my always-leaking one, from another AACA member who seems to know his stuff.  I'll try it out and hope for the best.  May be easier repairs than I first envisioned.  I think a lot of these problems are lack of knowledge on my part, such as with the viscosity of PS fluid and the fact that the A6 is apparently designed to weep a little oil (although not dump it all out or spray it throughout the engine bay).  This is why this forum is so valuable, to pick up knowledge like this that can keep our old cars on the road.  Thanks again!

 

-Chris

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