Compressor seized or clutch? - Chevy Impala SS Forum
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 09-17-2012, 01:06 AM Thread Starter
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Compressor seized or clutch?

Hi all,
Something is wrong with my AC compressor. Tonight driving to a restaurant with the AC on, after pulling into a parking spot some weird smell came out from the front. I shut the car off, popped the hood and saw a little bit of smoke come up from the AC compressor/belt area. Everything else seemed fine so we just went to eat and afterwards I came out, turned the HVAC off and then started the car. No smell, all the pulleys were turning, the compressor was disengaged since I turned it off.
Drove home, popped the hood while it's running, I then tried to turn the AC on to check the compressor clutch engagement. NO ENGAGEMENT. I shut the car off and tried to turn the clutch by hand. It would not turn! I am thinking the clutch might have blown a fuse therefore it wouldn't engage but I haven't checked the fuse yet. I know it's not the pulley bearing since it still rotates and not making any noises. My questions are: is this a clutch problem or the compressor internals are seized? If it's the clutch, is it possible to replace it without removing the compressor? Is the lack of compressor oil one of the causes for it to seize up?

1995 FWB, 162k miles and counting, all stock
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 09-17-2012, 01:14 AM
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when the compressor is seized the clutch should be changed along with the compressor, its rare to find a compressor sold without a clutch anyways.
what caused it to seize will be determined by previous ac repair history and condition of oil in the system.
how it looks inside will also determine if the system needs flushing.
replace the orifice tube and acumalator also.

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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 09-17-2012, 01:51 AM
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If it turns out to be the clutch, it can be changed easily without removing the compressor. Mine was replaced for $140, parts and labor, a couple of years ago and is still working 80,000mi later. Good luck.

Jim B.

'95 9c1, 93 tune, Dynomax Ultraflo catback, K & N box filter, LT4 KM, 160 stat, 3.08 Posi.
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 09-17-2012, 10:37 AM
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If you grabbed the front of the compressor and tried to turn it by hand, you have a locked up compressor. The clutch may have burned off enough surface that the air gap between the clutch hub and pulley is too wide for the clutch to engage. It's also possible that when the compressor seized, it let pressure off that is now keeping the low pressure switch from allowing the compressor to engage.

I suspect you'll be replacing the compressor soon. As others recommend, replace the orifice tube and accumulator, as they may be full of compressor parts.

Gene Beaird
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 09-18-2012, 11:56 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the helpful replies. I think the compressor is definitely seized as I tried to turn it no matter how hard, it just wouldn't turn.

Well this AC thing is now low priority. My fuel pump is also shot. I tried to start the car yesterday it won't start. Only cranks. I then removed the intake duct at the TB and sprayed some starting fluid inside the butterflies and it started, but died quickly. So I know there's spark. I don't have a fuel pressure gauge so I couldn't test the pressure. BTW, there's a valve that looks like a tire valve at the back of the intake manifold on the fuel line, is that for the fuel pressure gauge hook up? Anyway I do have a factory service manual and went through the diagnostic procedure for the fuel and determined a faulty FP... Great. After some searching here it's necessary to drop the gas tank to get to the pump... Even more great. Two major problems at the same time! I know, I am counting my blessings because the pump died while the car is at home and not on the road. Maybe this explains why I been having intermittent idle issues.

1995 FWB, 162k miles and counting, all stock
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