Thread Number: 74707  /  Tag: Other Home Products or Autos
automotive AC compressors
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Post# 985157   3/3/2018 at 21:17 (201 days old) by cfz2882 (Belle Fourche,SD)        

Who else likes automotive AC compressors(and other components of auto AC systems)? :)Thinking about salvaging ac parts from the Dodge Raider I am junking and using them to build the AC unit for my backyard observatory:Raider system has a Nippondenso compressor and microchannel evap and condenser.Thinking about subbing the ND compressor with an Airtemp v-twin(used~1960s-78 Chrysler products)or York twin just for coolness purposes :)Good 'ol GM A-6 also considered along with Sanden 508.The ND I think is axial with 3 double ended pistons.Don't know about recent model OEM factory AC compressors,But brushless DC 12v hermetic compressors have recently became avalible in aftermarket automotive AC systems-they look just like the BLDC units in "mini split"home AC units.

Post# 985158 , Reply# 1   3/3/2018 at 21:19 (201 days old) by washman (Butler, PA)        
I love compresors

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especially the Mopar RV-2, perhaps the finest design ever to keep an automobile cool.


The A6 Delco was pretty decent except for the front seal that was prone to leakage. At any rate, it was a much better unit than the lousy R4 that superseded it.

Post# 985162 , Reply# 2   3/3/2018 at 21:31 (201 days old) by cfz2882 (Belle Fourche,SD)        

I have quite a few R4s in my spares stash,but I don't really care for them-noisy,Large O-rings leak when they get old,and they generate aluminum debris internally that gets between the shaft seal faces causing a leak...made 1976-95,my 82 z28 has one...I don't have a Mopar v-twin on hand,but hoping I might find one far back on a shelf at one of my fave junkyards...They look cool :)

Post# 985165 , Reply# 3   3/3/2018 at 22:17 (201 days old) by norgeway (mocksville n c )        
The Yorks

That Ford used were good, but the 2 cylinder Airtemps were the very best I thought.

Post# 985173 , Reply# 4   3/3/2018 at 23:10 (201 days old) by CorvairGeek (Gem State)        
GM Seal Retrofit

The leaky GM front seals (both ceramic '62 to mid '84, & single lip mid '84+) can be successfully remedied with a double lip seal, AC-Delco 15-30948 (GM part number 2724954). GM doesn't officially recommend it to replace the ceramic, but it works fantastic (the 'bird cage' is removed along with the ceramic seal). Fits all A6, R4 and V5, plus any others with the same diameter shaft. There is an odd ball, a DA6 or HR6 that had a different size shaft.
As bad as R4s were new, the replacements now are even more questionable. GM / Delphi quit production years ago, so all are aftermarket, no matter what name is on them. I found a good used Delphi service compressor (probably right at the end of production) for my '84 (I bought the car new, had to swap from the serpentine clutch to a light weight vee clutch to fit my car). I had put a new double lip seal in the old compressor years ago, but the big body o-ring finally gave out. I don't have any faith in replacing those. I think the body shell actually expands with age and time.

Post# 985209 , Reply# 5   3/4/2018 at 08:20 (201 days old) by vacerator (Macomb, Michigan)        
Those York,

and Airtemp V compressors were heavy, and old cars still had cold A/C when the car got old.
Not like today, wether the compressor fails or not, usually after 7 years, or high mileage, the A/C quits working by a leak elsewhere or and electrical fault.
To me, on an old car, it's expensive to repair so not worth it. The again, in this climate, we only really need it a few months out of the year anyway.
My dad did not have A/C on a vehicle until the early 80's. We called him cheap.
He cusotmized a '76 van and made us go camping in it. No opening back or side windows. Only a power roof vent fan. We called it the coffin.

Post# 985214 , Reply# 6   3/4/2018 at 08:42 (201 days old) by panthera (Rocky Mountains)        
As best I can tell

panthera's profile picture

Automotive AC compressors are subject to an enormously wider range of quality control than would be tolerated inn any other part in the car.

Our Cadillac has had at least three, our S10 is on its fourth and our late '90s Buick with 150K and the A/C never turned off by the previous owner, not ever is still a frigid ice-box in June-July-August with the original compressor and not even a recharge, not one.



Post# 985231 , Reply# 7   3/4/2018 at 09:27 (201 days old) by firedome (Binghamton NY & Lake Champlain VT)        
I concur...

firedome's profile picture
Mopar/Airtemp V-2 compressors were the most effective and durable ever made, we have on on a 1959 DeSoto, nearly 60 years old, and it's almost identical to the one one our recently sold 1979 Newport.

Post# 985232 , Reply# 8   3/4/2018 at 09:31 (201 days old) by cfz2882 (Belle Fourche,SD)        

thanks for that seal info,CorvairGeek :).I think part of the reason some AC systems lose their charge is too many o-ring fittings that leak when aged O-rings shrink in cold weather and seep...I know this has been going on with the Raider and my '03 LandRover,because oil residue can be seen at the fittings...One of the more effective ACs I can remember was a ~1971 mercury station wagon-strong streams of very cold air out the vents on that one,i remember each vent would spin a pinwheel briskly!Most effective AC in my vehicle fleet is in the '77 blazer:A-6,large blower,and the variable expansion valve setup instead of the cycling switch method used later-1978 up I think.'82 z28 system is R4,cycling switch,and though same blower as the Blazer,a little less airflow out the vents.

Post# 985250 , Reply# 9   3/4/2018 at 13:34 (200 days old) by dartman (Portland Oregon)        
Bad compressor in my Neon

The air in my Neon died a year after I refilled the low side with one of the slightly better kits that had a real gauge. The seals finally blew out and smelt bad and air stopped working completely shortly after. At least I got the refill kits dirt cheap and it gave me a extra year. I wonder if there are any upgrade compressors that would fit it as the Neons were pretty good cars very much hampered by cost cutting measures the Germans put on all the cars Chrysler was trying to build. They are the ones that decided to use a crap head gasket to save a few bucks per car, and I believe they also made them put a much smaller air conditioning system in then they normally would to save even more money.
It's not super critical but I sure miss my nice cool ride home during summer, and the quick clearing of foggy windows during the winter. At least the heat still works very well.
SO if anyone has any suggestions I'll look into it. Probably eventually I'll yard another compressor that looks good and get it tested and everything cleaned out so it works again.

Post# 985288 , Reply# 10   3/4/2018 at 19:07 (200 days old) by cfz2882 (Belle Fourche,SD)        

Looks like Neons us a Nippondenso compressor-those normally seem to be good,4 of my vehicles use ND and no problems.Could be yours was damaged by high head pressure from the fan not coming on?I'd just grab a JY compressor and see what happens with that one :)

Post# 985326 , Reply# 11   3/4/2018 at 22:46 (200 days old) by dartman (Portland Oregon)        

The fan has always worked like it should right to the point the freon all leaked out. Was nice to drive a car that had actual cloth still covering the seats, air conditioning, and 19mpg in town vs about 11. I think the refill might have finally blown the seals out and was figuring the same thing. Get a yard one and take my chances as they made the same body till 99 and didn't change much of anything. The 95 has some unique features like a slightly hotter cam, a different metal valve cover and pcv system that uses a oil separate box, and the gas tank and fuel pump is different. Of course you can swap over the newer parts if you want. There are tons of them in the yards for parts and they still have a loyal following as they handle really well for what they are.

Post# 1002832 , Reply# 12   8/7/2018 at 11:27 by turbokinetic (Northport, Alabama USA)        
Another use for this seal!

CorvairGeek - you said "The leaky GM front seals (both ceramic '62 to mid '84, & single lip mid '84+) can be successfully remedied with a double lip seal, AC-Delco 15-30948 (GM part number 2724954). GM doesn't officially recommend it to replace the ceramic, but it works fantastic"


Maybe you saw this before, but that same double-lip seal can be used in a 1931 Frigidaire fridge compressor as well!


The pictures attached show the following:

Seal kit and the front housing of a dead V5 Delphi compressor, beside the Frigidaire compressor.

The machined down bushing made from the V5 front housing.

The finished seal install.


The Frigidaire shaft was slightly larger than the V5 was. This was perfect, because the shaft was horribly corroded from the slow SO2 leak at that point over the life of the compressor. When it was turned down to size of the V5 shaft, the damage was all gone.




  Photos...       <              >      Photo 1 of 3         View Full Size
Post# 1002834 , Reply# 13   8/7/2018 at 11:50 by CorvairGeek (Gem State)        
I didn't realize that was you, David!

I wondered about the seal used, but never noticed the user name. Terrible getting old....
I just don't understand why I still notice and remember more than employees 20 years younger than me!

Post# 1003487 , Reply# 14   8/13/2018 at 09:42 by turbokinetic (Northport, Alabama USA)        

CorvairGeek - Yep, I am all around the Internet here and there. I tend to focus on one hobby for a few months at a time and then shift to another. That's why I seem to come and go around the car forums and places like here. smile


Post# 1003595 , Reply# 15   8/13/2018 at 21:22 by askolover (South of Nash Vegas, TN)        

askolover's profile picture

My 01 TDI VW had a Japanese Sanden compressor in it from the factory.  About 8 years ago it stopped cooling.  It would kick on but couldn't build pressure...some kind of valve failure inside.  I replaced it with a new one from ebay that was made in China.  I was skeptical but the price was right and it isn't difficult to replace.  Knock on wood it's still going strong!  Now I try to make a point of turning the AC on several times during the winter months to keep things inside moving as they should.  My 01 Jimmy is still on the original, and my Lincoln is new.

Post# 1003668 , Reply# 16   8/14/2018 at 12:29 by GusHerb (Chicago/NWI)        

My Nissan has a variable capacity swash plate compressor made by Valeo. It only cycles when it's below 50º outside. It'll run even when it's below freezing outside. 

Post# 1003993 , Reply# 17   8/18/2018 at 03:16 by richnz (New Zealand)        
I love automotive AC

I have a 1993 Honda Civic and its AC still works. Originally R12, I regassed it with R-152a.
Works really well but when its very humid it can fog on the outside of the windscreen.
The compressor is a Matsushita and it leaks from the front seal.

For a small car with such a large amount of glass, it is necessary to have and will endeavour to keep it going as long as possible.

Post# 1004779 , Reply# 18   8/25/2018 at 09:44 by cfz2882 (Belle Fourche,SD)        

isn't R-152a just propane that has been "dried"? :)or am I wrong on that?.Decided reworking an automotive AC system would be way more capacity than needed for my observatory/telescope shack project,so decided instead to butcher a beat-up 1987 white-westy 7500 window AC,remounting the evaporator and reworking the fan arragements to suit a ducted indoor portion.

Post# 1004802 , Reply# 19   8/25/2018 at 12:07 by turbokinetic (Northport, Alabama USA)        

Just a quick reply; R152A is not propane. It is difluoroethane. This is an HFC gas in the same class as R134A. It is purchased in Office Depot duster spray cans and extracted from the can using an R12 side-puncturing can tap.


If you're into chemistry, you can read all about it here:,1-Difluo...

There are propane / butane blends sold for automotive A/C but they are blends. Blends are a bad idea, trust me.




Post# 1005308 , Reply# 20   8/29/2018 at 00:57 by richnz (New Zealand)        
R152a is probably flamible

But so too is petrol.
I don't smoke and expect that should a leak occur, it will be at the front (under the bonnet).
It was originally R12 but that ran out after 15 years (front seal) and was converted to R134a. That did not have enough cooling power (it was a joke really).

The R152a has far better cooling and I got the idea from Youtube.
There are videos of people regassing their old R12 systems using the cans of spray dusters.

Post# 1005324 , Reply# 21   8/29/2018 at 04:47 by turbokinetic (Northport, Alabama USA)        

Hi richnz; you're right about R134A being a joke in systems not specifically designed for it.  It also tends to ruin compressors which end up running at an insane high pressure. I fought that battle since the R12 debacle became a thing. 


Before using R152A in my cars, I did some flammability studies on it. It seems to be very difficult to ignite. In fact, it will extinguish a propane torch quite instantly. I believe that when combined with certain other materials, it could have more flammability than it does when spraying out of a duster can.  I had to solder a puncture in an evaporator of an old fridge, after an attempted R152A charge. There was a tiny, candle-like flame that existed only while the soldering torch was present.


I sprayed a lot of it in liquid form onto a paper towel, and that was able to ignite. It seemed to burn only because the paper was already sustaining it.


When sprayed in gas form, it would not ignite.


Bottom line is, for a car A/C you would already need a catastrophic fire in progress before the refrigerant would become ignited. There aren't any substantiated accounts of R152A burning accidentally in a vehicle due to a leak. It's just not a valid worry. If you already have a catastrophic fire in progress, there are other things which are present in higher quantities, and burn with a lot more heat.


The main reason I like it is because it's not a blend. There is only one compound in it. If it leaks, you have less of it but you still have the same thing. It's not like a hydrocarbon blend that separates if it leaks. You can recover R152A and re-use it. There are so many benefits to it compared to the other things you can use.

Post# 1005659 , Reply# 22   8/31/2018 at 21:27 by StrongEnough78 (California)        

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I've read a lot about using 152a in place of R12. Many people seem scared to try it due to the flamability factor. But others have also said it seems to work better than even R12. I've been considering converting my 92 Caprice and 93 LeSabre back over to R12 as the 134a just doesn't always cut it here in the California summers. Once they're on the highway a few miles it'll cool down no problem but driving in stop and go traffic in town, it just takes way too long to get comfortable. I found a guy here in Cali that has a salvage yard and tells me he has quite a bit of R12 stock piled. So once I get the money I may do it. I miss being able to freeze out sitting at an idle on a 110 degree day. Why must the government always take away the good stuff!!

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