A/C Leaks



Does anyone know much about A/C leaks in 1994-era Dodge Intrepids? I’ve heard they seem to inflict most of these cars. Can anyone tell me where the leaks usually are at? I know my compressor’s clutch is shot, would a new compressor fix the leak? And if my system has been leaking for a while and not used, should there be anything left in the system, or is it okay for me to just take the compressor off without adding to the destruction of the ozone?


If the compressor is “shot” just disconnect it. If it has a separate drive belt, just cut the belt. If it has been leaking for some time, it has probably stopped by now, and whatever is left in the system will stay there.

There are some jursidictions, however, where during the annual checkup you will be required to restore the system to pristine operating condition. In such a case, it makes sense to completely dismantle it.


Most A/C systems are pretty much giving up by the 7 or 8 year mark on any car. That’s not a sign of bad engineering or anything like that; just normal wear and tear.

The usual suspect in most compressor leaks is the shaft seal. Considering the age of the car and a shot clutch I think you’re better off with a rebuilt compressor and accumulator. As a compressor ages and lose refrigerant it also loses oil and this is what does the compressors in; failure to replenish that oil.

Chances are the system is empty so you’re not going to hurt anything by changing the compressor out.

You did not state exactly what you’re going to do about evacuation and recharging of the system. The easiest way to check for leaks initially is to pull a vacuum on the system and allow it to sit for a half hour or whatever. If there is any leak anywhere the gauges will show a vacuum loss.
At that point some refrigerant needs to be put in there and the system inspected for leaks with dye/ultraviolet light or an electronic sniffer. I prefer the latter.
Any leaks are then repaired and the process repeated.

(A system that has been empty should be evacuated for at least a couple of hours IMHO. The purpose of evacuation is not just to remove air but to make sure all moisture is removed. And you MUST replace the accumulator drier if you change the compressor. A/C repair can be a bit hazardous if you’re a novice at this so either read up on it first or farm this part of the job out to an A/C shop)
Anyhoo, hope some of that helps. :slight_smile: