Do I really need a new A/C compressor or could it be just the expansion valve?

So last summer my A/C stopped blowing cold air. The Jeep dealer diagnosed it as a bad clutch and wanted to sell me a new compressor. To make a long story short, I figured out how to install a new clutch and charge the system (Less than $100 repair). Started up the car and began celebrating as the clutch kicked in and ice cold air was once again coming through the vents. After about 10 minutes, I heard a very load hissing in the engine compartment. My freon escaped. So before I invest in a new compressor for my Jeep Liberty 2007, I wanted to get your opinion as to whether replacing the A/C expansion value is an option or even worth a try. Keep in mind, I have no idea where the expansion valve is or if it can be replaced without taking the AC compressor off the car. If I need to take the compressor off the car to replace the expansion value, then it may just be worth it to buy a new AC compressor. It doesn’t look all that hard to replace the AC compressor but it may be even easier to replace the expansion valve…

Thanks for your help.

It’s not the expansion valve.

In what manner did you recharge the AC system?


Was the refrigerant discharged from the pressure relief valve? Is the electric radiator fan operating?

Hi Tester- I bought a can of Freon from AutoZone and follow the instructions on the can.

Not sure how the system got discharged but the electric fan did kick on

You need to find the leak.

So you didn’t use a manifold gauge set when you recharged the system?



Sounds like you need to find a good a/c shop, no need for the dealer.


Leave A/C to a professional mechanic. High pressure freon leaks are nasty cold and can cause serious injury. Also each time you have a leak you put green house gasses in the air, which may be illegal in some jurisdictions.

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It’s possible your diy’er job, while well-intended, overfilled the system. Newer AC systems take considerably less refrigerant than older ones, and are more fussy about overfilling. Does replacing the A/C clutch require the refrigerant be removed? If not, what was the motivation for the recharge? Suggest you consider the advice above to let an AC specialist figure this out for you. AC system problems can really escalate fast if any debris gets strewn about inside the system.

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I will only add a few things here.
Given the Jeep is 15 years old my suggestion would have been to replace the compressor from the get-go. No sense in replacing a clutch just to have a compressor shaft seal leak.

The other is that if you absolutely, positively insist on DIY then you must wear gloves and safety goggles. Refrigerant can lead to frostbite or permanent blindness in a few seconds if a hose, seal, or refrigerant can decides to let go.

If you decide to go with a full set of manifold gauges then you should NEVER open the high side valve with a tapped can of refrigerant open. See 2nd paragraph…

Thanks you all for saving my life and for knocking some sense into me in a kind way. This job is way too dangerous/.complicated for a DIY’er like myself. I hope I don’t have any long-term side effects from the freon I may have come in contact with last summer when the system let loose after I charged it (I was sitting in the drivers seat when I heard the hiss and the hood was open thank goodness). I’m going to leave this job to the professionals and find myself a good A/C mechanic (Not the dealer) to check out the system and do whatever repair may be necessary, including the compressor to fix it. My wife’s going to kill me for spending the money on a 15 year old car with 175,000 miles but as I keep telling her (repair after repair), it’s cheaper than buying a new/used car. At this point, I’m too deep into it with all the parts I’ve replaced already, plus I don’t have to worry about parking it on the streets of Brooklyn…

Until the next mechanical issue,

Enjoy your day


Good for you. If the car is otherwise sound, repairing it makes a lot of financial sense. Probably a lot less than several years of car payments.


I think the danger is in instant freeze or blown into the eyes. I don’t think anything to worry about now but I long ago quit working on my air conditioning myself.

Some years ago when I was finishing my downstairs, I popped a 12 d framing nail from my nail gun through my air conditioning line. Yeah filled the whole basement with smoke. Not the same freon but under pressure. Quite surprising but no physical harm done except to the checkbook.

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Thanks so much for the affirmation.

April 17

Good for you. If the car is otherwise sound, repairing it makes a lot of financial sense. Probably a lot less than several years of car payments.

Hi Bing- Thanks for helping ease my mind. I’m glad your run in with a/c only cost you money…

Twice I have seen a can of refrigerant blow up in someone’s hands. Both guys were well experienced with A/C work but for whatever reason there was a lack of concentration moment and the gauge high side was opened with the refrigerant can also opened.

Think 12 gauge shotgun going off and someone vanishing in a cloud of steam. Luckily, neither was injured and both were wearing goggles/gloves.

On a side note, I never screwed up with auto A/C but did get careless (108 outside and sweating like a pig…) with someone’s home central unit and inadvertently blasted my right forefinger with a shot of R22. That forefinger is still numb 10 years later and makes it a bit difficult at times to feel a bolt or nut while starting it.

Oh brother…I’m glad I asked the question and very appreciative of all the answers. You couldn’t pay me enough to work with Freon. I hope everyone out there who does takes the necessary precautions.