I've had a 1984 SE since new - it has 361,000 km (224,000 miles) on it now. Eight years ago it was converted to R-134A but the cooling quit after a few summers. That was a $700 repair. I revived it with the 'auto parts store' kit - gauges, seal & refrigerant, but it only lasted a couple of summers & then nothing. Since the cooling 'dwindled away', I suspect a leak somewhere.
I've been inspired by some PFF success stories to try myself so I'm going to get the gauges & some refrigerant & hunt for leaks. I have the factory service manual but it's a pretty challenging read. I think I have to get some pressure in the system for the clutch to engage. I'm wondering if it's pointless to begin without replacing the compressor (it's original). Just over the border, Niagara Falls NY stores have compressors for around $200. Can anyone offer any advice on brands?
Is it possible to check for leaks around the compressor shaft? Access looks tight to me, & if it only leaks while running how would it be checked?
A vacuum pump is nice, I found my leak at the high pressure shrader valve. Could not get it to hold vacuum. Shot a little air into it, and checked around with soapy water. Fixed the leak, recharged, and now blowing 35degree air.
If the compressor is the original DA6, I'd replace it, the shaft seal is almost certainly the leak point, and at this age/mileage, the compressor would have to be on it's last legs. The DA6 also isn't reccommended for use with R-134A.
Look at the orifice tube to give yourself a good idea of the system health. The accumulator will need to be replaced. drain the oil from the accumulator and measure how much comes out, and add the same amount back into the new one. Same for the compressor.
On my 84, it's 10X easier to replace the compressor with the exhaust manifold removed. If you use UV dye, you can see it real well from under the car. After replacing parts and vacuuming down the system, wether or not it holds vacuum overnight is a good indicator of if there's a leak. Not as good as pressurizing the system, but good to go from.
Replace the schrader valve on the compressor hose assembly if it's still there, or the one in the R-134A adapter.
Rock Auto has 11 compressors from $200 to $481 (Canadian); accumulators from $10 to $41; and orifice tubes from $0.82 to $45.64. They also have two kits with the 3 components for $256 & $265. What would you suggest?
I have a much smaller replacement cat, so I think access is ok.
I would get the Four Seasons 58255 new compressor, the Four Seasons 38902 variable orifice tube, and since it's an 84, the AC Delco 151878 accumulator. The compressor will come with instructions on the oil type and viscosity to be used with it, the Fiero oil capacity is 8oz total.
Ok. Those 3 items are $324 Cdn shipped from 2 locations. The kit is $294 Cdn shipped. (Plus fees at the door...) Postal service is another $61, but there's no additional fees (in my Fiero Store experience).
It looks like the compressor could be a DA6 or HR6 at Rock Auto's option. I recall reading on PFF that HR6 is preferred...
AutoZone has manifold gauges, a vacuum pump, and a flush kit in their loan-a-tool selection. I just picked up the whole set today. Very expensive at $367 but I will get all of that back when I return them.
At this point the compressor is 30 years old, is not the type suited for R134A, and has as many as 200,000 miles on it. It's definitely time to replace it.
It looks like the compressor could be a DA6 or HR6 at Rock Auto's option.
It's a new compressor, not a reman, so it actually will not be either. It's a compatible design made for R134A systems. HR6 is preferred when using used or reman'ed compressors. Remans are real hit or miss, and with most things being made (or remade) in China now, I'd avoid them like the plague.