97 Sable A/C Died Over weekend



c has the 3.0 liter vulcan engine with factory air.

On Friday my wife and I were on a 250 mile trip from Washington DC to Blacksburg, VA. A day prior to the trip the a/c was runing beautifully, nice and cold. It actually got too cold so I turned the temp up a bit. I got into some stop and go traffic and noticed that the a/c was no longer cold at all. so i turned it off and then back on again and it was fine. AT that time I made a mental note to check the r-134a pressures when I got home to see if maybe the system needed a recharge.

Well, we startd off on our trip and on th highway the a/c erformed fine. Ny wife kept asking me to turn the temp up a bit cuz it made her too cold.

After about 180 miles we pulled into a rest stop and let the car idle with the a/c on while we prepared to exit the car for a break. I heard some clattering sound, and we noticed blue smoke coming from under the hood. I shut the a/c off an checked under the hood. with the a/c off the compressor clutch would turn manually without much effort. everything else checked out OK.

So off we went, and tried the a/c again. on the highway it was fine.

but at another rest stop some miles later, with the engine idling and the a/c on full, we got the rattling from under the hood, and the blue smoke from under the hod again. I suspected it was either the compressor or the compressor clutch. so we shut off the a/c and drve the rest of the way with the a/c off and wndows open. we had no more toruble wit the clattering or blue smoke.

The next day when we left t return home, I tried the a/c again and I noticed that it was blowing hot air. not cooling at all, and the compressor would only engage very briefly and then shut down.

we drove homre with the a/c off. when I got some, i hooked up my a/c guages with the engine off and found hi and low side were reading 60 PSI. i turned the engine on and a/c on, and compressor would engage, low side would go quickly to 15 psi and then compressor would shut down. it would only stay on very briefly.

i added a can of refrigerant, but unfortunately withinn a few minutes the pressure on both high an low sides actually dropped to Zero, and of course the ompressor would not re-engage.

So, it would seem safe to conclude at this point I at least have a pretty major leak. SHould I do further leak testing on the system, or is it a virtual certainly that the compressor has let go and I should go ahead and replace it? ANy advice would be appreciated… thx pop


The high/low pressure readings of 60 PSI shows that there was a serious leak already. That stabilized reading should be in the neighborhood of 115-120 PSI on both high and low sides.

My feeling is that the compressor was going bad and the blue smoke was the belt slipping due to the compressor trying to lock up.
The car is 11 years old and refrigerant loss also means compressor oil loss.

You might grasp the center front section of the compressor and attempt to turn it by hand or with a ratchet and socket on the center nut. It should turn somewhat freely and smoothly. If you feel it catching then the compressor is out.

If you change the compressor also change the accumulator and the orifice tube. Be sure to flush the system out with solvent before installing new parts.
Note. If a poster with the ID of Star882 offers any advice you should ignore it. The advice is always wrong and does not apply to automotive A/Cs.
As to why he does this - no idea.


Its sounds like to me that the system was building up to high of pressure, causing the pressure relief valve on the compressor to open, dumping the refrigerant. Now its possible the relief is stuck open, or you busted a line so now it wont hold refrigerant. This could be caused by

  1. grossly overcharged
  2. radiator fans not coming on with A/C do to defective Constant Control Relay, or fans
  3. compressor not shutting off when pressure is to high, defective pressure switch.
  4. radiator coil face clogged in between condenser coil. Sometime requiring radiator to be removed for proper cleaning.


First of all… how would you have him check the oil, there is no dipstick in a automotive A/C compressor.

Second… A loose electrical connection will not cause a overheating problem in the wiring and it will not burn up from a loose connection.

MODERATOR!!! This is what I and other posters have been talking about. STAR882’s responses are way off base and have no application in automotive A/C. Many of us have triied to point this out to him but he refuses to acknowledge our points.



I just flagged stars response and it was pulled.

I had a post of mine removed last night becuause I was tired of seeing the moderator leave stars posts on the board. The moderator didn’t like what I had to say about the way the board is being moderated.



GEEZ… STAR you are such a dope. The compressor draws no electrical power, the compressor clutch does. I can’t start to tell you how many ways you are wrong. The power draw from the clutch will not cause a wire to melt or burn. 25 years in this business and I’ve never seen it once.

Once again this is automotive A/C. You need to find a different site to troll on.


That boy has problems. I never flag anyone’s posts on any board, but I’ve been flagging Star’s posts since they’re so off the wall and goofy.

The moderator mailed me back and said if it continued they were going to suspend this buffoon.
Well, moderator, suspend anyway because it has been continuing since you said this.


Are you nuts or bored? Your advice has no relevance to automotive air conditioning. Please find something else to do with your time.

OP: Ignore any and all advice from Star he has less knowledge of automotive AC then I do. I cannot help you with your situation but I am aware of my limited knowledge of AC star apparently is not.


Hallelujah! The Moderation Gods have answered!
Thank you immensely! :slight_smile:


Thanks guys for the advice and for steering me clear of unreliable information. I am going to go ahead and replace the compressor, receiver/dryer, and the condenser (alldata says this needs to be replaced when swapping the compressor), anmd of course the orifice tube and all the o-rings. One question I have is one of the lines has baffles in it (look like mini receiver/dryers). Should I go ahead and replace the line too, or will it and its little tanks clean ok with the solvent I’ll run through there?


No. The baffle is just a noise dampner.


So those baffles will clean out OK?