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Silly Questions from New Fiero Owner by arstneio
Started on: 08-26-2013 10:32 PM
Replies: 22 (1257 views)
Last post by: masospaghetti on 09-20-2013 11:27 AM
arstneio
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Report this Post08-26-2013 10:32 PM Click Here to See the Profile for arstneioSend a Private Message to arstneioEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Hey everyone,

Just wanted to say I got my first Fiero recently. I'm pretty new to mechanics and working on cars, but I figure the best way to learn and get good is to dive right in. I have an 88 GT 5 speed.

The first thing is my brake system doesn't seem to be working very well; the fluid is a rather disgusting black color. I sucked most of it up and replaced it with new fluid, but was unable to bleed the brakes. I tried to bleed them, but I snapped the bleeder screw right off, and I'm not sure how to fix this. Any suggestions? I was told I may need to purchase a new caliper, which sounds expensive.

The second thing is the air conditioning was working wonderfully for about a week when I got it, and the previous owner said that he had the system upgraded from freon to 134. For some reason, the air conditioning unit stopped working though, and I'm not sure why. I'm also not sure how to get started on troubleshooting this--again, I'm pretty new to this sort of thing, though willing to learn.

I figure I'll go through the Haynes manual and try to check and do all the routine maintenance and make sure the car is running in tip top shape. Just thought I'd ask questions as I go along, and these were the first problems I was running into.

Thanks in advance for all your help! I really appreciate that there's such a strong community out there that loves this car, and would love to be part of it!
Will
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Report this Post08-26-2013 10:41 PM Click Here to See the Profile for MacarchieClick Here to Email MacarchieSend a Private Message to MacarchieEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Welcome!
I test drove an 86 GT back in February 1986 and then decided to buy the Firebird instead. Now, 27 years later I bought an '87 coupe to play with. I recently reworked the brakes (all new calipers, pads, rotors, lines) and flushed the whole system... Brakes are important; don't try to save on the brakes or the brakes may not try to save you (if you know what I mean!).
Right now, I have 1 driver and 2 donor cars in the garage. I have a friend (retired mechanic) down the street that has a couple of Fieros behind his house that I can buys parts off of when needed.
Anyhow, I am right up the road in Fredericksburg.

Good luck.

------------------
1987 coupe; Blue; 2.5L; 5spd

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fierobug
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Report this Post08-27-2013 07:26 AM Click Here to See the Profile for fierobugClick Here to Email fierobugSend a Private Message to fierobugEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Welcome to Pennocks fiero heaven! WIsh I was closer to try to help you with some things on your car. The forum here guided me through basically everything I have worked on. AC conversion, Brake repair, Coolant replacement, all the basic needs to get the car up to spec. Their are experts here that can tackle anything, if I EVENTUALLY retire HA HA maybe I too will swap an engine in JUST BECAUSE!! The car I have has given more headaches and peace of mind than dreamed of. A damn good time! Don't be afraid to ask silly questions either - some will ignore and some will answer it. Good luck!
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James Bond 007
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Report this Post08-27-2013 10:28 AM Click Here to See the Profile for James Bond 007Send a Private Message to James Bond 007Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Welcome to the forum. Brake fluid absorbs moisture and over time causes internal rust inside the brake caliper. I agree,your brake calipers should be replaced, and are done in sets.As for cost. It depends if you need the brake pads too. Considering all the crud in your brake fluide I change all four, at about $32 each, plus pads. Possibly cheeper,if you search for Fiero Calipers on ebay.Allso try Summit Racing or Rock Auto, for quality parts.
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fierofool
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Report this Post08-27-2013 10:47 AM Click Here to See the Profile for fierofoolClick Here to visit fierofool's HomePageClick Here to Email fierofoolSend a Private Message to fierofoolEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
If you're buying new calipers, you can usually save some money by getting loaded sets. Loaded means that they have the brake pads included. When filling or refilling your hydraulic clutch or brake system, DON'T use DOT 5 fluid. DOT 3 is preferable but DOT 4 is compatible with the system. Be sure to read up on the rear caliper replacement and rebuild before installation or repair.

Contact these people to find out if there are other members in your area. They're based in Virginia Beach.
http://www.vafieros.com/

[This message has been edited by fierofool (edited 08-27-2013).]

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TopNotch
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Report this Post08-27-2013 10:56 AM Click Here to See the Profile for TopNotchClick Here to visit TopNotch's HomePageSend a Private Message to TopNotchEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
1988 Fiero calipers are more expensive than previous years, since they are unique to 1988. A good source for them is Calipers Online. They still have some new old stock for front calipers (not remans).
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4thfiero
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Report this Post08-27-2013 11:49 AM Click Here to See the Profile for 4thfieroClick Here to Email 4thfieroSend a Private Message to 4thfieroEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
I agree with what's been said on here. If it were me I would get a new caliper. But if your really tight for money and want a bubblegum fix in the meantime?? You can take a small blow torch to the broken bleeder screw and heat it up carefully till its nice and hot, then u can do one of two things...either stick a candle stick on-top the now hot broken bleeder screw on the caliper and hold it...the heat will melt the candle wax and draw the melted wax into the threads of the broken screw, then you can take a vice grip and clamp it down and slowly wiggle that screw out...

If you dont wanna do the candle wax trick. Heat it up good and hot. and then immediantly clamp down on the broken part of the screw (if there's enough of the screw to grab it with vice grips) and clamp down...the metal should compress under the vice grips creating leverage for you to twist it out.

Both tricks have worked for me removing broken bleeder screws from calipers. Obv be careful while using the torch that you dont accidently heat your brake lines...if your not comfortable with a torch...like we said, get new calipers

Hope this helps too.
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TONY_C
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Report this Post08-27-2013 12:05 PM Click Here to See the Profile for TONY_CSend a Private Message to TONY_CEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
You can also drill out the broken bleeder screw and use this kit:

http://www.jegs.com/i/Dorma...=1645461#moreDetails
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project34
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Report this Post08-28-2013 12:28 AM Click Here to See the Profile for project34Send a Private Message to project34Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by arstneio:
The second thing is the air conditioning was working wonderfully for about a week when I got it, and the previous owner said that he had the system upgraded from freon to 134. For some reason, the air conditioning unit stopped working though, and I'm not sure why. I'm also not sure how to get started on troubleshooting this....

I'm not an air conditioning expert but here are three potential causes for that air conditioning problem you described, arstneio:
  • broken or slipping compressor drive belt (inexpensive repair, and you easily can inspect for this)

  • insufficient R134 refrigerant level remaining in system (more expensive problem)

  • failed compressor (most expensive repair of the three listed here, by far, and possibly extremely noisy at the time when that first happened)
You'd asked about troubleshooting your Fiero's air conditioning problem. This is discussed in more detail within an archived thread authored by Joe4x4 which may be of interest to you. It's titled: "AC-belt and R134 charge" ( http://www.fiero.nl/forum/A...020208-2-011648.html ).
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arstneio
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Report this Post08-29-2013 12:05 AM Click Here to See the Profile for arstneioSend a Private Message to arstneioEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Awesome guys, thanks for all your help! I contacted the good folks at VA Fieros, hoping to meet some new Fiero enthusiasts in person soon!

Given that I broke the rear left bleeder screw, does that mean that I should have to replace all 4 brake calipers? Or just the rear ones? I guess I might as well do all four since as you said corrosion and dirt might be griming up my whole system. Also because I didn't actually check if the other bleeder screws were ok or not, I just broke the first one, thought "welp" and decided to stop working on that, I guess I should at least plan on the possibility that more than just that one bleeder screw will be stuck.

What's the verdict on remanufactured calipers? I can't seem to find any new rear 1988 Fiero calipers. Do I have to get OEM calipers or will certain aftermarket calipers work as well? Any other recommendation?

Also, thanks tons for the link to that AC fix! Hopefully I can get the system back online. I don't think it was "low on 134" because I tried to refill it but the gauge said I was pretty full. Maybe I was doing it wrong though. And I don't think it was the compressor since I didn't hear anything, it was just on one day and then at some point it stopped working, and I didn't notice until maybe the next day or two. If the belt's the easy fix that's great, here's hoping I can fix it this weekend!
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Report this Post08-29-2013 07:34 AM Click Here to See the Profile for fierofoolClick Here to visit fierofool's HomePageClick Here to Email fierofoolSend a Private Message to fierofoolEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
You can disconnect the pressure switch on the receiver-dryer and put a jumper wire into the terminals. That will make the compressor run, if it's capable of running. If the system is over-filled with 134A, it won't operate properly, either. I was having problems with mine and I decided to slowly drain the refrigerant. Then I refilled the system with 2 cans of R-134A and the system worked like a charm. It only takes about 25.5 oz of R-134A to bring the system up to pressure. The tendency is to fill the system with the same amount as is required with R-12 Freon.
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benoitmalenfant
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Report this Post08-31-2013 04:51 PM Click Here to See the Profile for benoitmalenfantSend a Private Message to benoitmalenfantEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by arstneio:
Given that I broke the rear left bleeder screw, does that mean that I should have to replace all 4 brake calipers? Or just the rear ones? I guess I might as well do all four since as you said corrosion and dirt might be griming up my whole system. Also because I didn't actually check if the other bleeder screws were ok or not, I just broke the first one, thought "welp" and decided to stop working on that, I guess I should at least plan on the possibility that more than just that one bleeder screw will be stuck.

What's the verdict on remanufactured calipers? I can't seem to find any new rear 1988 Fiero calipers. Do I have to get OEM calipers or will certain aftermarket calipers work as well? Any other recommendation?


TopNotch pointed you to a source for NOS 88 calipers (They only carry front NOS ones for 88 though).: Calipers Online

@ 125$, loaded (with Pads, pins and retaining springs), that's a very good price for 2 front calipers. It's pretty much the same price as any decent rebuilt pair.

I would get new calipers if you can afford them and only get rebuilt units if you have no choice.

Why get new calipers? I strongly suggest reading The Ogre's articles about brakes in his cave:

Brake Service: http://home.comcast.net/~fierocave/brakes.htm
Rear/Park Brakes: http://home.comcast.net/~fierocave/brakerear.htm
How are the Fiero brake pistons built: http://home.comcast.net/~fierocave/brakes1.htm

Rebuilt calipers (especially rear) often come with bad pistons.

------------------
Ben
87 GT / 88 GT
84 Indy #1863

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Raydar
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Report this Post08-31-2013 07:05 PM Click Here to See the Profile for RaydarClick Here to Email RaydarSend a Private Message to RaydarEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
A word of warning about Calipers Online...
Don't be in a hurry, and don't buy the expedited shipping. He ships when he's good and ready (having said that, he always does ship) and his communication pretty much sucks.
Would I purchase from him again? Yeah. Probably. He's the only one I know with NOS 88 front calipers.
Note... The stock 88 pads (that come with the NOS calipers) work fine, but they dust like a fiend. I would replace the stock pads with Raybestos or Wagner Thermoquiets.

Edit - I almost forgot... Welcome to our obsession!!

[This message has been edited by Raydar (edited 08-31-2013).]

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arstneio
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Report this Post08-31-2013 09:06 PM Click Here to See the Profile for arstneioSend a Private Message to arstneioEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Thanks again for all the help and the warm welcome.

Benoit, I'll probably go for the new front calipers, but it's one of the bleeder screws on my rear brakes that broke off. I don't like the sound of "bad pistons", but is there a way around buying rebuilt rear calipers, given my problem? I can't seem to find new rear calipers online.

Also you're from Chateauguay? That's awesome! I was born in Montreal, wish I could go back more often
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benoitmalenfant
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Report this Post08-31-2013 10:55 PM Click Here to See the Profile for benoitmalenfantSend a Private Message to benoitmalenfantEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by arstneio:
Benoit, I'll probably go for the new front calipers, but it's one of the bleeder screws on my rear brakes that broke off. I don't like the sound of "bad pistons", but is there a way around buying rebuilt rear calipers, given my problem? I can't seem to find new rear calipers online.


New rear 88 calipers are hard to find, period. Sometimes they show up on ebay or craigslist.

How close to the caliper is it broken off? If you still have some of the screw that is sticking out, you can try the candlestick trick 4thfiero mentioned above.

If it's broken flush to the caliper itself, you could drill it out and replace the bleeder with an oversize one using the kit TONY_C mentioned also.

If you're not sure how to do both these tricks, bring your caliper to a local garage and ask them to do it for you, they'll charge you a small fee and you'll be able to keep your calipers.

How is the rest of the caliper itself? Are the dust booths still in good shape (no cracks) ? Does the piston go in-out when you slowly move the park-brake lever in the back of the caliper?

If your dust booths are still in good shape and the parking brake actuator works, It's worth bringing the caliper to a garage the get the bleeder off if you don't want to do it yourself.

If none of these options sound any good, then no other choice but to get reman calipers. Either you buy them or get yours rebuilt from a local shop. Just make sure the rear pistons properly go in-out when moving the parking brake brackets.


 
quote
Originally posted by arstneio:
Also you're from Chateauguay? That's awesome! I was born in Montreal, wish I could go back more often


Where specifically in Montreal were you born?
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benoitmalenfant
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Report this Post09-07-2013 11:16 AM Click Here to See the Profile for benoitmalenfantSend a Private Message to benoitmalenfantEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by Raydar:

A word of warning about Calipers Online...
Don't be in a hurry, and don't buy the expedited shipping. He ships when he's good and ready (having said that, he always does ship) and his communication pretty much sucks.
Would I purchase from him again? Yeah. Probably. He's the only one I know with NOS 88 front calipers.


I have to second that. Ordered a pair of NOS fronts on Aug 31st, they were listed as stock and he still hasen't shipped them. Sent him an e-mail on Thursday asking if he had an ETA for shipping and still have not received an answer... guess I'll just have to wait 'till he feels he's ready.
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arstneio
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Report this Post09-08-2013 07:07 PM Click Here to See the Profile for arstneioSend a Private Message to arstneioEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
The caliper is broken pretty flush. I had heard about drilling and saw Tony's post with the repair kit, but I wasn't exactly sure what the process for doing that was. How exactly do you use that kit? Do I need to match sizes after I drill out the old screw, or what exactly is going on? I'm relatively new to working on cars and don't want to do anything without fully understanding what I'm actually doing.

I think the calipers look like they're in pretty good shape, but I'll do the specific tests on the booths and pistons. What exactly am I looking for? What is the dust booth? Where is the park-brake lever? I know these questions are probably hard to answer without pictures and looking at it together. I read the links you posted from the Fiero Cave, just having some trouble applying that to what I see in person in front of me. I'll definitely try and give it another look. For what it's worth, the brakes seem like they're in ok shape, and the parking brake works fine.

I was born in the Jewish general hospital, moved to Gatineau and then the USA where I am now. I've steadily been moving South, haha--from Quebec to New York, Jersey, now Virginia.

Thanks again for your help!
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benoitmalenfant
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Report this Post09-08-2013 11:18 PM Click Here to See the Profile for benoitmalenfantSend a Private Message to benoitmalenfantEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by arstneio:
I think the calipers look like they're in pretty good shape, but I'll do the specific tests on the booths and pistons. What exactly am I looking for? What is the dust booth? Where is the park-brake lever? I know these questions are probably hard to answer without pictures and looking at it together. I read the links you posted from the Fiero Cave, just having some trouble applying that to what I see in person in front of me. I'll definitely try and give it another look. For what it's worth, the brakes seem like they're in ok shape, and the parking brake works fine.


I was in your shoes not so long ago, when I purchased my first Fiero, I had almost never turned a wrench on a car. I fully understand that you need to see to understand, I'm that way too.

I went ahead and snapped a few pictures of spare 88 calipers I had and I will edit the pictures to show the different parts refered to in the Ogre's Cave so you know what to look for to make sure your calipers are good to go.

I should be able to post them tomorrow.

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benoitmalenfant
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Report this Post09-09-2013 11:23 PM Click Here to See the Profile for benoitmalenfantSend a Private Message to benoitmalenfantEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by arstneio:
I think the calipers look like they're in pretty good shape, but I'll do the specific tests on the booths and pistons. What exactly am I looking for? What is the dust booth? Where is the park-brake lever? I know these questions are probably hard to answer without pictures and looking at it together. I read the links you posted from the Fiero Cave, just having some trouble applying that to what I see in person in front of me. I'll definitely try and give it another look. For what it's worth, the brakes seem like they're in ok shape, and the parking brake works fine.


In french we say: "Chose promise, chose due", so I said I was going to post some pictures of spare calipers I had to help you visualize what you've read, here comes, by the numbers:

Rear caliper, Top view:




1- Park brake lever
2- Piston dust booth
3- Piston (rusty face I might add)
4- Caliper bridge
5- Brake pads and their springs/clips
6- Pins (they go through the pad's flange holes and guide the pads in-out)
7- Flexible brake hose

Rear caliper, bottom view:



1- Sleeves (or sliders) and their dust booth (2 for each, one facing inside the caliper and other facing outside)

Rear caliper, rear view (notice how my bleeder broke off too, you can't see it in this picture):



1- Park brake lever
2- Brake lever lock nut (that's the one the Ogre keeps telling you not to replace with a regular nut!)
3- Sleeves/sliders (right one has it's torx55 screw)
4- Bridge screws (19mm)

Caliper with bridge removed:



A Sleeve/slider with it's dust booths off (see how one is ripped = bad, has to be replaced):



Here's 2 picutres of the back of the caliper with the spring (mimicked, just to show where it goes), showing how the parking brake lever moves:

Park brake lever against the stop (brakes not engaged):



Park brake lever off the stop (park brake engaged):



I've got other pictures from different angles. If you ever need to see something else

Hope this helps a bit!

------------------
Ben
87 GT / 88 GT
84 Indy #1863

[This message has been edited by benoitmalenfant (edited 09-09-2013).]

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RACE
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Report this Post09-10-2013 12:34 AM Click Here to See the Profile for RACEClick Here to visit RACE's HomePageClick Here to Email RACESend a Private Message to RACEEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
A poorly done R-134A conversion can destroy a compressor in a month. R-12 and R-134a use incompatible oils within the system. People may argue with me but the only way to do it right is to throw away the old accumulator/dryer and orifice tube then buy new ones. Totally flush the system before installing them. It needs a completely fresh start. If you still talk to the previous owner, ask him how the conversion was done. My guess is that he bought a conversion kit then just slammed in some R-134A.

Sorry to bring potentially bad news but that's what the previous owner did to my car when he had it "converted over". The good news is its nothing that about a thousand dollars won't fix. (That's what it cost me last fall)

You may want to keep a non-a/c serpentine belt in your trunk in case the compressor pulley seizes up. (Like mine did twice after the first conversion) It will destroy the belt when it happens.

Good luck.

[This message has been edited by RACE (edited 09-10-2013).]

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arstneio
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Report this Post09-19-2013 11:21 PM Click Here to See the Profile for arstneioSend a Private Message to arstneioEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Thanks for the pictures and all the help! Haven't gotten a chance yet to take a look; the transmission broke down this weekend so she spent the weekend at the shop getting a cotter pin. Unfortunate, but what can you do; at least it's working again.

I'll try to take a look at the brakes this weekend. Thanks for everyone's help! The pictures look great--super clear and detailed, thanks so much!
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Report this Post09-20-2013 10:15 AM Click Here to See the Profile for FierotoyboyClick Here to Email FierotoyboySend a Private Message to FierotoyboyEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Race is entirely correct about the 134a retrofit. I had mine done by a very good shop; the AC worked great for a week, then the compressor blew. While that failure was probably not caused by the changeover, eventually we had to just replace/flush everything and start over. You will need every o-ring replaced for sure, just as an example.

Good luck with your car. You got the most coveted model.

The people on this forum are the greatest!
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masospaghetti
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Report this Post09-20-2013 11:27 AM Click Here to See the Profile for masospaghettiClick Here to Email masospaghettiSend a Private Message to masospaghettiEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
To redo the air conditioning system shouldn't be too expensive, even if the compressor is blown. Rebuilt compressors can be found for $150-200 if you shop around. I got lucky and found a Vista-pro compressor rebuilt for $50 at Rockauto. The other components are cheap - accumulator, $25, orifice tube - $2. The rest is refrigerant and oil.

Be warned though that the compressor is a major PITA to get out. The two upper bolts are VERY difficult to access.
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