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AC compressor replacement

I just got a text from a friend that is dropping their 2002 Dakota truck off at my shop.
They said that either the alternator or the AC compressor locked up.
They are only 500 ft from my shop door.

I presume that it is the Compressor and that they burned through the serpentine belt. I have not looked at it yet so further info is not available.

If I replace the compressor, I know that the system should be blown out to be sure that no shards of the compressor are in the lines.
I would also have to send them with this vehicle to have the system recharged and tested for leaks. I do not have the equipment to recharge.

Is it safe to replace the compressor, attach the lines, but not the power to the compressor. So that the place they take it for recharge can blow out the system, plug in the power to the compressor and recharge it.

Will this avoid any debris from getting into the new compressor.


It depends on how the compressor failed.

If the compressor clutch bearing failed, then there’s no reason to be concerned about any debris in the system. But if the compressor failed internally, then the system will have to be disassembled so the components can be flushed of any debris.

Then the filter/receiver/dryer and the orifice tube/expansion valve will have to be replaced.

Then the proper amount of refrigerant oil will need to be added to each component.

Then the system is reassembled.

It doesn’t matter if you plug the electrical connector to the compressor or not.

The low pressure switch will prevent the compressor from operating because there’s no refrigerant in the system.


While I know you’d like to do the work, wouldn’t it be better to have an a/c shop handle the whole thing? What if it fails in a few weeks? You or the other shop to blame?

Texases makes a good point. After all no good deed goes unpunished.

Thanks for everyone’s input.

I called two places and they said the same as @tester explained. That was what I had thought.

The belt was fine and after loosening the tensioner I could tell that it was just the clutch that slightly was bound up. Still turned but now freely. My local parts stores don’t show a replacement clutch kit, so an entire new compressor would be the only way to go.
I also checked and offered to the owners that we could bypass the compressor and just get the new belt for the 3.9 w/o AC. They opted for the later and I will be doing the belt w/o AC tomorrow for them.

It is a 2002 Dakota and I’ll bet they only use it 20 days out of the year. I think they only keep it as a spare vehicle if another breaks down.

Thanks again.


Sensible decision.

For that little use I think you’re doing the right thing with a bypass kit.

are you sure the clutch kit isn’t avail from rock auto? online, is the only place I could find just the clutch bearing. saved me a bundle…as it only cost about $20 bucks. try the internet.