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Replace A/C compressor

Just as I was thinking (honestly) that my 2003 Tahoe was a great car - 85,000 miles and not one bit of trouble or maintenance - the AC went out. I took it to a local shop and he said it was beyond his experience level (talk about a set-up). So I went to a bigger shop, and they said it was teh AC compressor ($1,000), but in addition some debris may have gotten in the lines and that would be another $250, and if I wanted to be sure the rear AC worked that would be another $250. So my question is: can a somewhat handy guy change the AC compressor himself? What about belts, springs, etc.?

Sure, you can change the compressor, but if, when it died, it sent debris through the system you’ll never get it all out.

You need to take the vehicle to a shop that specializes in automotive HVAC, not as a side line, but as a main business. They will know what you need and what you don’t.

In my opinion the only thing about the AC system that falls within the “Do It Yourself” category is replacing the compressor drive belt. The rest requires specialized equipment and knowledge that you and I don’t have.

mcparadise is right. Changing the compressor is not like changing another part, like an alternator. Find a certified A/C technician to do the job.

Thank you. I think you’re right.

Really rare for a 2003 compressor to come apart internally,is this what happened? or is the compressor simply leaking?

Now GM compressors from the 70’s 80’s 90’s, they like to blow up.

I don’t entirely agree with all the replies. I am not a certified mechanic (ASE, EPA certified, etc.). Nonetheless, I was able to successfully change every part in my a/c system (compressor, condenser, drier, expansion valve, evaporator, one dented line). Changing the compressor generally involves evacuating the refrigerant, replacing the a/c compressor, then finally recharging the a/c system.

As noted, if the compressor failed, there is a chance that some metallic pieces ruined other a/c parts. Probably the condenser and the drier. My car has a single drive belt, so it wasn’t difficult to replace the compressor belt. Not sure what you mean about the springs.

If you have doubts, please don’t change the compressor. Refrigerant oil and refrigerant is toxic. The system is also under pressure - even after the refrigerant is evacuated.