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Thread: Any compatible AC Compressors from GM cars to fit my 1990 Century with 3.3 V6?

  1. #1
    Senior Member white89euro's Avatar
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    Question Any compatible AC Compressors from GM cars to fit my 1990 Century with 3.3 V6?

    Now that my car has a new transmission fluid line and a new water pump I found out it needs more work.

    My mechanic said he could see the Freon dye (added by the AC shop last year) leaking around and on the AC compressor. I took my 1990 Century with 3.3 V6 to the AC shop and, yes, it is leaking.

    First they'll see if there is any Freon left to save. If not, he'll convert the car to R134a. But first I need to find a good deal on a new or rebuilt compressor to fit the 3.3 motor set up. Would anyone have some ideas on interchangeable compressors from GM for my car. Or would anyone have a good deal on a new or like-new compressor they would like to sell?

    Thanks in advance for your help!
    George



  2. #2
    Senior Member white89euro's Avatar
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    Default Is getting a used AC compressor a smart move?

    One other idea occured to me. Since a new AC compressor for my 1990 Century will cost $285, would it be a good move to get a used compressor from a wreck? Is there anyway to check condition?

    Thanks!
    George

  3. #3
    Senior Member turbokinetic's Avatar
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    I can hopefully answer most of your A/C questions!

    Regardless of wether there is any freon left in the system, please use R134A when you repair the system. It works equal to R12 and is cheap and available. Future repairs will be much less expensive.

    The factory-issue compressor should be a "DA6" or "HR6" which are the same. These were lubricated by a continuous mist of oil and liquid Freon from the drier and depend on a full refrigerant charge for lubrication. They have no oil reserve in the compressor and will die in mere minutes if operated with a low charge. I would not trust a used one AT ALL.

    If yours is still working but is leaking, it may be repairable. If the compressor is leaking around the shaft seal, this can be replaced. Any other leaks are not worth attempting to repair. Last seal kit I bought was about $15.

    My favorite compressor is the V5. It has a built-in oil reservoir and usually lasts much longer than the DA6. It can tolerate a low charge without damage.

    If you are trying to save money and buy a used compressor, buy a V5 and change the shaft seal, drain the compressor oil compartment, and refill with the new R134A-mixible oil. I've had great sucess with these, even out of the salvage yard!

    Here is a conversion from HR6 to V5:





    Here, there is a spacer made of 3/8 steel plate between the bracket and engine:








    The same hose harness conennects to the V5, but may have to be bend a little to clear the manifold. Also, make sure to use the correct seals between the hose assembly and the compressor. There are several versions of the seals. There are: 2 o-rings, 2 identical flat washers, and 2 different size washers. Make sure they match the compressor.

    Let me know if you need any further info, I've done loads of A/C work and would be glad to explain further.

    Thanks,
    David

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  4. #4

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    R134A is much cheaper than R12 but it requires a kit to change it over, which i think is like 40-50 bucks. i wouldnt get a used compressor cause there is a good chance its no better than yours. and believe it or not, $285 is pretty cheap as far as compressors go. or just have the AC recharged every year/other year and just leave the compressor (unless its completely shot). we have a lot of customers do that, it usually lasts at least a summer and its much cheaper than a compressor.

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    Senior Member turbokinetic's Avatar
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    The only thing that is totally incompatible between R12 and R134A (in your car) is the oil. 1989 already has barrier hoses and fluroelastomer o-rings. You'll want to install the quick connects, they are much easier to deal with than the old style ports!! It is the law that you should install the new ports, and the retrofit labels. You may or may not have a high pressure test port. That may be occupied by a pressure switch. In that case you will only have one quick connect port.

    Those DIY kits contain the ports, label, oil, and some o-rings. The only catch is, you have to get a good portion of the old oil out, or else when you add the retrofit oil, the system will have a double-oil-charge and that will hinder the cooling ability.

    The way I do it is to flush the condenser and evaporator and replace the drier bottle. Ensure the system is properly discharged of refrigerant. Unhook the car's battery and make sure the cable will not be able to touch the battery. This will eliminate any sparks that could ignite the solvent you will be using.

    Disconnect the hose harness at the compressor and place a large towel around it to catch the mist. Place a drain pan under that area also.

    Disconnect the condenser fitting at the oriface tube, (behind grill on car's left side). Then blow at least a half a can of brake cleaner through the condenser coil. I usually wrap electrical tape around the spray straw of the brake cleaner can, so that it will be a force fit in the line I am flushing. Chase it with dry compressed air to remove the brake cleaner. The oil / cleaner mix will come out the compressor fitting.

    Pull out the oriface tube from the line you unhooked at the condenser. Blow a can of brake cleaner through the line, through the evaporator, drier, and out the compressor fitting. Use compressed air to dry out the lines and evaporator coil.

    Replace the drier, it will contain much oil and solvent.

    Pour the bottle of retrofit oil in the new drier and install with new o-rings. After re-assembling the system with new o-rings connect a vacuum pump and evacuuate for 90 minutes.

    Charge as usual.

    If you don't have a vacuum pump and don't live an an area subject to US EPA regulations, there is another way to remove air from the system. After system is assembled, charge in 1/4 can of R134A and operate compressor for 10 seconds. Release the charge until no further gas escapes. Charge in another 1/4 can of R134A, operate compressor for 10 seconds. Release the charge. Repeat until this has been done 4 times. Charge the system as usual. This will dilute the air to a concentration low enough to allow the system to work. This is not legal in USA (deliberate release of refrigerant) use at your own disgression.

    In my humble opionon - I generally discourage DIY air conditioner work. Unless you have a very strong mechanical aptitude you can mess up the system in a hurry and will not save any money in the end if it is not done exactly right.

    Respectfully,
    David

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    Senior Member white89euro's Avatar
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    Hello again and thanks for the advice. A question for David, can you tell me how to find a new HR6 or V5 compressor on eBay? I'm not sure what to look for.

    I found this rebuilt HR6 converter - would this be a good choice? It is eBay item #200298071467
    http://tinyurl.com/9tak9r

    Someone just sold a BRAND NEW HR6 converter on eBay for 99cents + $20 shipping. What a deal! I guess with summer so far off I could hold off on buying a compressor and keep up a search on eBay until I find a similar give-away. http://tinyurl.com/93he9k

    Also on eBay these remanufactured V5 compressors: 250358272030, 260347749964

    Thanks!
    George

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    Senior Member turbokinetic's Avatar
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    My internet is screwed up today. No phone or DSL so on the cell phone dial-up again. It is slow and intermittent.

    Anyway there are numerous pulley and mounting ear configurations for these compressors. I will look for the part number of the compressor I have on my 3.8. It would work on your motor with similar modification to the bracket. I hope you saw the bracket pictures before my DSL went down.

    There are several pulley diameters. The smaller the pulley, the better the compressor will cool at low engine speeds. The trade off is you will need a shorter belt.

    There are also several mounting ear configurations. Some have all 4 ears, and some come with one ear cut off. Many times the missing ear doesn't matter.

    I think (but not100% sure) that all V5's have the ports in the same position. The HR6/DA6 may be available with the rear housing turned in various different positions.

    With all that in mind, it would be easiest to get a part number and try to cross it to one of the ones for sale on eBay.

    The box mine came in is at the farm where I put the motor in the car. Will try to get by there this week and get the part number. I matched it up by looking at different compressors at a local parts store. It may have been spec'd out for a late model car with a Series II 3800.

    My connection is too slow to do any research now, plus I have some errands to run. Maybe when I get back the DSL will be back up.

    Thanks,
    David

  8. #8
    Senior Member turbokinetic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by white89euro View Post
    .....I found this rebuilt HR6....eBay item #200298071467
    http://tinyurl.com/9tak9r.....George
    Hmmmm That looks like a junkyard core item being sold by "Scooby The Core Man." It was probably a reman put on a car that was then crashed and junked.

    Look how cruddy and greasy and scratched up it is.

    David

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    Senior Member white89euro's Avatar
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    Thanks for the further advice David. I can't see the pictures you posted, just small boxes with an X in each box. I'll keep checking back. Maybe I can get a part number from GM and start an eBay search that way. I'll check with my AC shop guy next week to see if he is confident in doing modified brackets or compressors. Thanks a lot!

    George

  10. #10
    Senior Member turbokinetic's Avatar
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    Last week my server died totally and it took 3 days to replace it and reprogram it. During that time any pictures I had posted were X boxes. Now, Bellsouth is having issues and my landline phone AND the DSL internet are down. I am on a cell phone dial up which is horrifically slow and once again I can not post pictures.

    The bracket mod only involves slotting some holes and adding a spacer. Shouldn't be a problem. THe V5 compressor is a much more reliable unit. I bet your A/C guy would prefer to install that one because it is less likely to fail and gause him any rework!

    PM sent also, check your forum messages.

    David

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    Senior Member white89euro's Avatar
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    Hi David,

    This is the Compressor I'm looking at on eBay right now. Remanufactured (not just "rebuilt") by Four Seasons. Here's the number at eBay: 190023318581

    I checked your PM for additional advice. Thanks!
    George

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    How will the V5 function in place of the HR6? The V5 is a Variable unit... The HR6 is a cycling unit and at the right pressures the HR6 will cycle off then on again due to pressure on the low side and high side...

    Would I be able to use the V5 Variable unit on my HR6 cycling system? and how do the control systems differ between the HR6 and the V5?

  13. #13
    Senior Member turbokinetic's Avatar
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    Yes the V5 will work on any GM oriface-tube system, without system modifications. The systems that had a factory V5 were constructed exactly like HR6 systems.

    I would also recommend (consider mandatory actually) use of a variable oriface valve instead of an oriface tube. This item fits in place of the oriface tube without any modifications to the fittings. The V5 compressor is monitoring and regulating the _low pressure_ side, using its compensating valve. It pumps as much as is necessary to keep the low side down around 20 to 30 PSI. It doesn't care
    what the high side does (up to the point it overloads and breaks). All the VOV does is meters liquid refrigerant from high to low side. Basically it is sensing the temperature of the condenser coil, and reducing the amount of flow when the condenser is overheating. This slower flow reduces load on the
    compressor in several ways. First, it allows the refrigerant to stay in the condenser longer and cool off more before reaching the end of the condenser coil. This reduces head pressure. By reducing the amount of liquid going into the evaporator, there is less Freon vapors coming into the compressor
    inlet. This takes some load off the compressor and allows it to keep the low side pressure down around 20 to 30. Some people have a very hard time grasping the concept of "restricting" the flow is "reducing" the load of the system.

    In a nutshell: V5 compensating valve regulates LOW PRESSURE side of system. VOV valve regulates HIGH PRESSURE side of system. They work together very well. . VERY tried and true, some new cars come equipped with this now.

    http://www.sherco-auto.com/smartvov.htm

    V5 Compressor used in above modification; part number:
    Four Seasons: 58974

    Variable Oriface Valve:
    Four Seasons 38902 / NAPA 207325 (fits evaporator inlet or liquid line after condenser, not inside condenser) (THIS FITS MOST A-BODY CARS)

    Four Seasons 38903 / NAPA 207324 (fits inside condenser - other models cars besides ours)

    Don't forget to order a new drier bottle and PAG oil for your A/C if you put a new or reman compressor.

    PS - Bellsouth is saying mid week to fix our land-line phone and DSL internet. Whole neighborhood is out. The bracket modification pictures will show when my DSL is back up!

    Thanks,
    David

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    Very interesting... I look forward to any more info you can provide as this would make it easier for me to go to the V5 when I do the swap as the OBD2 system will come later..

    I will pay attention to anything else you post on this as I want to install the V5 on my 95 van in place of the HR6

  15. #15
    Senior Member turbokinetic's Avatar
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    Look at my page below on this, as well as the You Tube video of the V5 comversion on my 72 Nova. Will be glad to give any advice I can, but I go back to work tomorrow for 2 weeks maybe more.

    There are not really any mods required other than a normal A/C rebuild. That part number compressor should replace the HR6 on any Buick engine application with the bracket modification shown. (when my DSL is fixed).

    http://home.hiwaay.net/~davida1/aircond.htm

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P5hkkgqcE3Y

    Trying to get my cruise control hooked back up after the engine swap in the 84 Olympia. It's a long ride back to work, 6 hours or more to be exact and the cruise is nice!
    David

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