The A/C Evacuation Predicament (Solved)

7/14/19 update: It turned out to be the Harmonic Balancer that needed to be replaced. That’s what was causing the loud noise when the A/C was turned on.

Thanks for everyone’s help. The last post, in response to db4690’s inquiry, is detailed of how I found out it was the Harmonic Balancer.

So I need to replace the A/C *Compressor (terminology edited from condenser). There are a few things I’m going to do to try and ascertain that the loud squeeling sound when the A/C is turned on is from the condensor and not the belt/pullies.

With as much of my own work that I’ve done and experience with shops, I do not trust shops anymore. If they aren’t lying about what needs to be done or sabotaging your 're car then they’re trying to get as much money out of you as they can.

To replace the A/C unit the refrigerant needs to be removed, which the EPA, or the law, requires it be done at a licensed shop with certified equipment. This forces me to have to deal with a shop. Of the two calls I made the first one said they don’t do just an evacuation service and another one said they will for $50.

For $50 I can get a used A/C unit and refrigerant to refill it from the store. They want that amount of money for something that takes probably 10 minutes.

Then, you’ll either get a nice woman talking when you call which is there to soothe you into doing business with them or a like grunt talking guy that just wants to rip you off.

*edit, I’m not trying to come off the wrong way about people here who have a small auto shop though with my experience with shops and then doing work myself and comparing that to shops price there’s a reason I have my feelings about it.

Do you own a vacuum pump? If not, you can’t evacuate the system before you introduce new refrigerant so your AC repair won’t work very well, if at all.

I’m going to be brutally honest here . . .

you should take your car to a professional shop to have the ac diagnosed and repaired

The ac condenser is physically incapable of making any squealing noise

You’ve either misdiagnosed the car . . . or your terminology is completely wrong

I have my suspicions . . .

Here’s what’s going to happen . . . you’re going to walk into the parts store and ask for the part you mentioned. They’ll give it to you, but it either won’t be what you thought it was, or it won’t fix the problem. Either way, you won’t be happy

Save yourself the grief and pay for a professional diagnosis and repair


I’ll look online to see if there’s a way I can do it myself that’s legal though my understanding is that certified shops have approved equipment to be used.

Of course you can legally do the work yourself in your garage . . . provided you pony up for the proper equipment to perform the job, and get 609 certified

The cost of a used one from a junkyard is $40-$50 and I get buy refrigerant from Walmart for $10.

Here’s a short clip with sound:

The advice I received online with video showing it is to replace the condenser.


show us a picture of the part you’re intending to replace, please

I really think you’re using the wrong terminology . . . I’d hate for you to buy the wrong part, because of this

I don’t think you should be buying used ac parts . . . who’s to say they’re in better shape than yours?

Looks like it is called a compressor, not condenser

I can only speak for myself and say that under no circumstances would I ever evacuate the AC for a walk in customer. Doing so would almost certainly result in a costly time consuming situation ending with the owner certain that whatever problem wasn’t corrected perfectly by him was my fault and required my correcting it for free.

Every mechanic has learned how costly such situations are and learned to recognize and avoid them . Of course that makes us crooks.


So now I’ll have to call a bunch of shops to try and get a fair price, which means I have to deal with people who won’t like the fact that I want just an A/C evacuation knowing I’m done the rest of the work myself. A fair price to me is $30 max.

You can read my post about the bearing which I had to deal with a shop because of the bearing press.

When they did not press it right because someone inexperienced did it resulting in the ABS sensor being too far from the tone wheel and the axle nut sticking out beyond the end of the axle several millimeters, the attitude and unwillingness of them to do it over and make it right and them saying “you’re just trying to save money by doing it yourself that’s why you should have had us do the whole thing” when their mechanic did not press the bearing properly.

They didn’t like the fact that I was bypassing them and doing the majority of the work myself.

Shops may not want to evacuate your cars A/C system for fear of contamination their equipment. Sealers and incorrect refrigerant can contaminate the machine.

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Well there’s plenty that will do evacuation and recharge I just don’t think I should have to pay the same price as evacuation and recharge for just evacuation.

Unless you’re saying that an evacuation and recharge is where they reuse the same refrigerant.

It’s simple though. It’s just removing the refrigerant from the system. That’s probably hooking up one line maybe two to a machine then turning on the machine. I don’t want to come off the wrong way if you own a small auto shop though my expression is from experience.

For 30 bucks I wouldn’t make you a cup of coffee. My shop labor rate is $105 per hour, and I would also charge some money towards depreciation and amortization of my expensive equipment.


A great many people don’t get it and never will @old_mopar_guy. And my best answer for them was also pricing them out before their car ever entered the shop. A shop can’t afford to adopt other peoples problems.


Rod, may I plagiarize that last line and hang it on the wall?

With your comment about shops lying, sabotaging, and trying to squeeze every last dime out of you along with your 30 dollar max comment, you’re the exact type of person no shop wants to even see on the lot. :“Grunt talking guy that just wants to rip you off”. Nice attitude for someone groveling with a “any price is too much” attitude.

Based on your comments I feel that a lot of your perceived past problems are quite likely due to not understanding things and always wanting something on the cheap.


“I’m not trying to come off the wrong way.”

It’ too late… You gave already come off the wrong way. I used to do almost all my own work because I enjoy it and it saves a lot of money.

However when I take something to a shop, I don’t begrudge them what they have to charge. If I listed all the things they have to pay, you would get bored and not finish reading the sentence. It might surprise you that the shop might be paying more for parts than you do. They need to buy parts from someone who carries almost everything, will quickly deliver it to the shop and carries good quality parts because doing jobs over for free is a nightmare that wipes out the profit from many hours of labor.

You have no Idea of how much it costs to own or rent a building with licences, insurance utilities, taxes etc. You pay yourself nothing for your labor, ot the yime searching online for the cheapest part.

Getting $30 for each evacuation would never cover the cost of the machine or the cost of the square footage of the space it takes up.


I manage an independent repair shop. I have discharged A/C systems for customers planning on doing their own work. My price would be $52.50. This price is for existing customers that I know and trust or for other shops that don’t have proper A/C equipment. The fact that it only takes 10 minutes is irrelevant. My time and equipment are worth something. An X-ray at the dentists only takes a matter of minutes but it costs a lot more than $30.

Now the fact that you are planning on installing a used A/C compressor and have pre-conceived notions about what a procedure should cost would mean that you are not qualified to be a customer at my shop and I would refuse the job from the outset. I simply don’t have the time to deal with partial or incomplete repairs.