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What sanity?
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Discussion Starter #1
It's official. Murphy and his infamous law was the previous owner of my 1992 Imperial. Whatever can go wrong, will go wrong.

Spent the afternoon touching up chipped paint on the car, and afterward decided I needed a Coke after working out in the sun. Thought the AC, while cooling pretty well, wasn't cooling as well as it should on the trip to the store. So, when I got home I popped the hood and went to inspect the sight glass. Nope, no bubbles. Plenty of grinding bearing noise from the AC compressor pulley, though.

Went and shut off the ATC while the car was still running. The noise eased up dramatically, but did not go away. Unplugged the AC clutch and engaged the AC again, and got a healthy 14V at the connector.

So, this car is now making me replace the AC clutch. I have no tools for this. What I'm wondering is, will the homemade clutch puller detailed on the main site for the C171 work for the 6C17 too? I'm already in bad shape for money - this needs to be kept as cheap as possible, and I ain't giving up my AC. Well, not for long anyway. I'm going to pull the clutch relay until I can get this fixed. It's going to suck not having AC when I know the system has a good R-12 charge in there, but not much else I can do.

That's only just the most recent problem. The car still needs struts and a hub/bearing assembly on the left front wheel. Struts are getting put off again. Not sure how long I can put off the hub/bearing assembly, but it's only making noise at low speed for now. I also need to rebuild the solenoid pack and see if that saves me from having to rebuild the tranny.

Why couldn't this car wait until fall to mess with the AC clutch? Some days I wonder about this thing. Just wait, I'll replace the clutch and it'll leak out all the R-12 just to spite me.
 

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So, this car is now making me replace the AC clutch. I have no tools for this. What I'm wondering is, will the homemade clutch puller detailed on the main site for the C171 work for the 6C17 too? I'm already in bad shape for money - this needs to be kept as cheap as possible, and I ain't giving up my AC. Well, not for long anyway. I'm going to pull the clutch relay until I can get this fixed. It's going to suck not having AC when I know the system has a good R-12 charge in there, but not much else I can do.
I removed and installed a used clutch on a 1992 Acclaim with a Nippondenso AC compressor about 1.5 years ago. I would imagine the Imperial used the same AC compressor. The Nippondenso AC clutch does not fit as tightly as the C171 so there are no threads on the inside surface opening of the clutch plate into which you would screw a removal tool. The C171 required usage of a specialized removal tool.

To remove the AC clutch assembly remove the hex nut on the outside of the clutch plate. Gently tap around the face of the clutch plate with a hammer and the clutch plate should slide off with hand pressure. There are some shims behind the clutch plate and on the compressor shaft. Do NOT loose these shims as they provide proper and necessary clearance between the clutch plate face and the clutch. You will need to use outside reach snap ring pliers to remove the snap ring that holds the inner clutch. Expand the snap ring and remove. If I remember correctly one side of the snap ring has a beveled face and the other side is flat. Note which face is pointing out (I believe it is the beveled side) so that you can reinstall and orient correctly. You probably don't need to replace the clutch electrical coil.
 

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What sanity?
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Discussion Starter #3
Sounds good. Mine actually does have threads, but if I can get the plate off without a puller that's fine with me. I have a big chain vice grip wrench I've never used that should hold it in place while I crack the bolt loose. All I really need for new tools then is a set of snap ring pliers, and possibly a feeler gauge should I need to go buy shims.

Will buy the new clutch off eBay, methinks. Can't find any cheaper option. Will replace the coil if one comes with the clutch kit.

I will say that I'm rather impressed the original R-12 charge has now held up through three of our brutal winters after living the easy life in Vancouver for so long. I'm almost ready to do a refrigerant conversion at any time, but fortunately I haven't had to yet.

Now that I think about it, that area of the engine bay has occasionally made noise for a while now. I always thought it was the water pump, so I replaced it. Then I thought it was the idler, but forgot to replace that again. Now I know exactly where the problem is.
 

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Sounds good. Mine actually does have threads, but if I can get the plate off without a puller that's fine with me. I have a big chain vice grip wrench I've never used that should hold it in place while I crack the bolt loose. All I really need for new tools then is a set of snap ring pliers, and possibly a feeler gauge should I need to go buy shims.

Will buy the new clutch off eBay, methinks. Can't find any cheaper option. Will replace the coil if one comes with the clutch kit.

I will say that I'm rather impressed the original R-12 charge has now held up through three of our brutal winters after living the easy life in Vancouver for so long. I'm almost ready to do a refrigerant conversion at any time, but fortunately I haven't had to yet.

Now that I think about it, that area of the engine bay has occasionally made noise for a while now. I always thought it was the water pump, so I replaced it. Then I thought it was the idler, but forgot to replace that again. Now I know exactly where the problem is.

The only caution for this job is that you may have a slight oil leak in the compressor front seal. I just went through the same thing on my 91 Spirit with the compressor clutch. When the front seal seeps, oil gets on the clutch plates and it slips and heats up, ultimately destroying the bearing (basically drying out the grease). Before purchasing your clutch, remove the outer clutch plate (compressor front plate). If there is any signs of oil or grease or blackening of the clutch plate, your seal is leaking and the replacement clutch won't last vey long.

In January this year, I had a noisy compressor hub bearing so I purchased a clutch kit. It wasn't until I got the outer clutch plate off that I noticed a little oil seepage. I could see it more apparently when I got the coil out. I cleaned everything up, put the new clutch in and thought I could get a couple of years out of it since the seepage seemed minor. Beginning in June, my new clutch began slipping/chattering when I first turned on the AC. For a few weeks, I just removed the front plate and cleaned everything with brake cleaner and it was fine, but only for a couple of days. This is easy to do on a 2.5 because the compressor is right at the top of the engine compartment.

Finally, last week, I finally gave up and just put a used compressor on it. I was was afraid that too much loss of oil would eventually seized the compressor and result in metal particles in the system. That would be a very costly and labor intensive job to deal with.

I can certainly understand wanting to preserve your R12, but thought I better share my experience so that you are at least aware of the situation that could exist.

As a side note, you may want to check the idler pulley for a possible rough running bearing. I had to replace that pulley because the bearing was dried out and making some noise.
 

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What sanity?
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Discussion Starter #5
Sounds like a good idea. I'm not wild about replacing the seal on the compressor, but I'll do that too if I have to.
 

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What sanity?
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Discussion Starter #6
Small update - the 6C17 on my car does require the puller to get the front plate off. I tried persuading it for 20 minutes, it went absolutely nowhere. Hammer trick didn't work at all.

Good news is, the chain vice grips worked wonderfully to hold it in place while I worked on the nut.

The clutch is making no noise this morning, but I reckon that's just because it isn't blistering hot out there right now.
 

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Small update - the 6C17 on my car does require the puller to get the front plate off. I tried persuading it for 20 minutes, it went absolutely nowhere. Hammer trick didn't work at all.

Good news is, the chain vice grips worked wonderfully to hold it in place while I worked on the nut.

The clutch is making no noise this morning, but I reckon that's just because it isn't blistering hot out there right now.
I just looked up that compressor # (Googled it) and it looks like you need the same puller as the old C171.

http://www.autozone.com/autozone/accessories/Santech-Clutch-hub-remover-for-Chrysler-6C17-compressor?itemIdentifier=952231
 

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What sanity?
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Discussion Starter #8
That's about the same conclusion I came to. I have one bookmarked on eBay. I may not find the stuff I need to make the homemade puller around here anyway.

Looks like replacing the oil seal means me having to get further into the compressor than I want to. Can't afford to buy the tools needed to recover the R12 and replace the seal. I may wait until next year and have it done for me. Or sooner, if the bearings get bad enough.

From there, I'll start thinking about whether or not to retrofit refrigerant. A lot will depend on how much R12 is still in there when it gets done.

Meantime, I'll buy the new clutch, snap ring pliers, feeler gauge, and puller. The clutch will need doing anyway... might as well have the part on hand. I'm just glad I caught this before the compressor could perish amid a cloud of escaping R12.
 

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That's about the same conclusion I came to. I have one bookmarked on eBay. I may not find the stuff I need to make the homemade puller around here anyway.

Looks like replacing the oil seal means me having to get further into the compressor than I want to. Can't afford to buy the tools needed to recover the R12 and replace the seal. I may wait until next year and have it done for me. Or sooner, if the bearings get bad enough.

From there, I'll start thinking about whether or not to retrofit refrigerant. A lot will depend on how much R12 is still in there when it gets done.

Meantime, I'll buy the new clutch, snap ring pliers, feeler gauge, and puller. The clutch will need doing anyway... might as well have the part on hand. I'm just glad I caught this before the compressor could perish amid a cloud of escaping R12.

I haven't done a compressor seal before but read a bit about replacing them. Apparently without a special tool to seat the seal in the case, the success rate is not that good. I would not want to tear one apart, replace the seal, charge it back and then find out it leaks.

As I mentioned, I took a chance and bought a used compressor from a seller on E-Bay (complete with clutch). The unit supposedly came from a wrecked vehicle that only had 45,000 miles on it. So far so good. It was $30 plus $17.50+ to ship it. Sometimes you can find a deal like that, but there is always some risk involved. My used compressor could last the life of the vehicle or it could go out on my way home from work today.
 

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What sanity?
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Discussion Starter #10
The joys of owning older vehicles. Yeah, that tool is not cheap - I looked it up.

I stopped in at the only place in town that services AC here. The guy told me to check that the high side isn't going too high due to a blocked condenser. I didn't think of that, because this car has a high pressure cut out sensor. So, I'll look into that yet, just in case that sensor's not tripping. But then, he went on to say that it sounded like I need a new compressor - he doesn't want to change the oil seal for me, even though he can.

I may go pull a yard compressor or two and just forget the whole seal replacement idea. Might not be a bad idea to stop putting off buying a set of manifold gauges. About the only thing I want this shop to do based on the guy's knowledge level of slipping clutches is recover the R12 for me.
 

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What sanity?
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Discussion Starter #11
Rinsed out the condenser - it's not the problem. System's undercooling even worse than it was yesterday.

I'm thinking the R12 is making a break for it out the compressor shaft seal.
 

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Rinsed out the condenser - it's not the problem. System's undercooling even worse than it was yesterday.

I'm thinking the R12 is making a break for it out the compressor shaft seal.

As a suggestion, since you are planning to have your AC guy capture the R12, see if he can use his sniffer (electronic leak detector) to identify the leak before you decide to change anything. That way you are not guessing. There are a lot of potential leak areas and if it ends up being an evaporator, you might not even want to spend the money or labor to fix it.

There is nothing worst than fixing something on an AC system and then discovering an unexpected leak.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Not a bad idea.

I'm probably going to let it go the rest of the year without AC though... had to spend too much on other things already this month. Can't even afford to do anything at all until August, and maybe not even then.

The problem I have is that I don't 100% know yet whether or not I'm facing a transmission rebuild with this car in the near future. If cleaning up or replacing the solenoid pack filters cures the tranny gremlins (and symptoms suggest there's a good chance it will), then I'll have the money to get the AC repaired the right way. I hate working on AC, especially without the proper tools - would rather let someone else handle it.

While I had things apart, I noted that the radiator is starting to corrode just a bit along the bottom. Hope it holds up for a while longer.

At least the air shocks are still holding air after the Slime tire sealant fix. The temporary patches have long since peeled off, but the load leveling still works like new.

Edit - I am finding quite a few re-manufactured AC compressors on eBay for not much more than the price of a clutch kit. No point in just replacing the clutch, now.
 

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The GRIM REAPER CHEATER
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Also having trouble with my a/c clutch but posted in a hurry and didn't take the time to look and see if there was another one running~sorry~ i took my truck to get the system recharged this morning and the clutch would not kick in so had to get it repaired and try and go back tomorrow to get it recharged. began chasing parts looking for a clutch dealer wanted $444.22 just for the part so that was out junkers wanted $100 for compressor they would not take the clutch off and i would have had to evacuate the system which i didn't want to do so long story short i took a flat blade screwdriver and moved the clutch out manually and restarted the truck and the clutch has been working fine though only staying cold for about 5 min. and then going warm again so i'm going to take a chance tomorrow and try and get it recharged again...Gene
 

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Edit - I am finding quite a few re-manufactured AC compressors on eBay for not much more than the price of a clutch kit. No point in just replacing the clutch, now.
Of course you could always buy a used compressor and start with swapping the clutch out (used one replacing your existing one).... but if you believe the charge is low or something else is wrong it would only be a project to learn how it's done. :)
 

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What sanity?
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Discussion Starter #16
Went outside to really clean off the sight glass to be sure there wasn't still dirt on it, and then ran the AC with a flashlight on it.

Confirmed, the R12 is definitely low. I wonder which would have happened first - seized compressor, or low pressure cutoff. I have it unplugged again. Better to remove the chance of the compressor operating than having to blow metal shavings out of the system.

As soon as I know what's up with the tranny, I'll take the car into the city and have the AC diagnosed by someone with tools. Not sure the local place has a leak detector. I'll then fix it myself when I can. Evaporator would suck, but I can handle that. Would give me the chance to really seal up the blower housing the way it should be. I looked for leaking oil or stains - couldn't find any.

Yeah, I won't be buying the hub puller anymore now that I know I can grab a reman compressor off eBay for $60-150. I'm pretty confident I could do a clutch swap if I had to, but as long as compressors are that affordable I'd rather put the tool money elsewhere.

dealer wanted $444.22 just for the part
Ouch :(
 

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What sanity?
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Discussion Starter #17
I have found a leak in the system.

Went out there with a mirror and a flashlight this morning, and carefully inspected everything I could see. No leaking oil anywhere I looked. But then the sun hit the engine bay just right, and that's when I spotted it - oil on top of the compressor. Initially, I thought it was maybe coming from where the high side hose meets the compressor, but then I pulled the cap off the high side port. Presto - bubbles coming up through the valve.

This may or may not be the only leak in the system - hard to say. I have a set of Napa R134a fittings I can put on, but not sure if they're the adapter kind or the "you need a valve core tool for this" kind.

Edit - not the high side valve, it's the low side that's leaking. Time to wake up now, self.
 

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I have found a leak in the system.

Went out there with a mirror and a flashlight this morning, and carefully inspected everything I could see. No leaking oil anywhere I looked. But then the sun hit the engine bay just right, and that's when I spotted it - oil on top of the compressor. Initially, I thought it was maybe coming from where the high side hose meets the compressor, but then I pulled the cap off the high side port. Presto - bubbles coming up through the valve.

This may or may not be the only leak in the system - hard to say. I have a set of Napa R134a fittings I can put on, but not sure if they're the adapter kind or the "you need a valve core tool for this" kind.

Edit - not the high side valve, it's the low side that's leaking. Time to wake up now, self.

If you have a Schrader valve tool, you could try tightening it just a tad just in case it is not fully seated. Otherwise, I wouldn't think the AC guy would charge too much to pull out the R12 and put a new core in it.

Good find!
 

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What sanity?
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Discussion Starter #19
I don't have a tool, but it's been on my shopping list.

Found out my Napa 134a adapter kit has the wrong size high side fitting. So much for that. But at least I can use the new low side adapter. Methinks I'll screw it on there with the old valve core still in there and see if I can get the charging hose on it. If I can't, all I have to do is remove the old valve core - no replacement necessary.

Double checked the high side valve - it's nice and clean, and when I press the valve all I get is a quick "fsst" - not the prolonged "fssssssssssssss..." the low side gave me.
 

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Checked it again this afternoon. The oil is gone off the compressor, but the second I took the cap off the low side Schrader valve it started hissing at me again. It's in bad shape. And my Napa 134a adapter fitting does indeed require removal of the old valve core. One less thing I need to buy, though I should try to find the correct high side adapter fitting as well and do both. I'm not going to want to mess with an R12 high side fitting and an R134a low side fitting when I go to put manifold gauges on there. And I worry about the high side Schrader lasting now that I know the low side is leaky.

Given the amount of R12 charge still in there, I really believe the low side fitting is the only leak. It started taking in air through there, and that's what bogged down the compressor and started the clutch slipping. The system should be just fine once I get the new fitting on there. The compressor still turns easily by hand.

I may have the AC back up and running by this time next week, at this rate. This is turning out a lot cheaper than having to mess with replacing the compressor and clutch.
 
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