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AC Trouble on 1996 Bonneville

The clutch and/or bearing on my AC compressor is on its way out. When the compressor is disengaged I can hear a rattling noise and there are little bits of shiny metal underneath the pulley. I have decided that the car is not worth the ~$400 for a new compressor and would like to install an AC bypass pulley which costs ~$40. My question is: Is removing the compressor a straightforward task, or do numerous other items need to be removed so I can pull it out of there. Of course I wou

Should have read:

Of course I would have a professional evacuate the refrigerant before I started.

A service manual for your car would tell you exactly how to remove the compressor. Looking under the hood should tell you how many things, if any, need to be moved to access the compressor.

Why is the car, or the AC, not worth $400?

I have a Haynes manual, but I have little faith in its accuracy becuase it covers 7 different models over a 17 year period. (Haynes 19020). According to the manual, the only big other component that needs to be removed is a “right lower splash shield”. Looking under the hood tells me that I might be able to pull it out the top, but it will be tight…maybe too tight. Thats why I was hoping to get some input from someone with previous experience with this model.

The car has 170K miles on it and the transmission is starting to slip. when the tranny goes, the car goes. Thats why I’m reluctant to shell out the cash for a new AC unit.

There are company’s that sell idler pulleys that take the place of the compressor pulleys. That’s because the vehicle never came equipped without AC. So what serpentine belt do you buy?

Dorman used to one company


After some exploratory wrenching and ALOT of google-ing, it looks like a relatively straightforward process. The plan is as follows:

  1. Have the pros evacuate the system.

  2. Jack up the car and remove the splash guard underneath, as well as the splash guard at the front of the passenger side wheel well. Also loosen serpentine belt (no need to completely remove). May also need to remove the front pass. side wheel.

  3. Disconnect both refrigerant lines. These are held in place with one bracket and one bolt.

  4. Disconnect electrical plug.

  5. Remove 3 bolts on the pully end of the compressor and one underneath at the back end.

  6. Extract compressor through the passenger side wheel well.

  7. Tie up wiring and seal off refrigerant lines to prevent contamination in case I ever repair/replace compressor.

  8. Mount by-pass pully and re-run serpentine belt.

  9. Replace all splash guards.

  10. Enjoy a tasty adult beverage and take pride in another DIY success story.

If anything appears to be out of place or missing…try to let me know before I tear this thing apart and cant get it back together. Thanks.