Air Compressor Oddity


Just looking for a few comments in regards to an A/C compressor problem on one of my daughter’s 2 cars. It’s a '95 Mitsubishi Galant, 2.4 auto, with about a 125k on it that is used as a daily driver.

The car runs great and HAD ice cold air until a week or so ago. On the way out to visit the A/C quit blowing cold a few miles away from me. No noise at all, no overheating, etc.; just instant swelter.

Examination shows the entire end cover of the compressor, with the clutch and most of the innards, had blown outward on one side by about 5/16" of an inch. There are 8 bolts holding this on and 6 of them were snapped off.

One would think - well, excessive pressure, something seized, cooling fans seized, etc.

The clutch was still turning, although cock-eyed.

Complete diassembly of the compressor shows it clean as a pin, no debris at all, all hoses, condenser, expansion valve, etc. are free and clear.

A flush of the system produces not one particle.

The compressor is a scroll design and there is not a mark anywhere along with every bearing being smooth as silk.

The compressor is equipped with a high pressure cut out switch and a pop-off plug, but both are fine.

The compressor end plate, 5/16" or so thick, was cock-eyed but was not fractured by the 2 remaining bolts that were still tight. No idea why thin aluminum being forced that much did not shatter. ??

I always like to know “what happened” and after 4 or 5 days of batting this one around I still can’t come up with a logical reason why the compressor did this.

Yes, it had oil in it and was surgical room clean.

Eventually something will hit me (maybe) but I’m open to any comments as to why.

Another compressor/drier and the system is fine now.


Had a simmilar problem. 98 Galant LS, auto, same engine and tranny as you. While driving in Florida heat, compressor randomly seized dead stuck. Belt was too new/tight to slip or break, so instead, the bolts that hold the pulley on all sheared out. No explanation as to why.