eeking every last mile out of an AC compressor....

Messages
7,521
Location
FL, USA
My AC compressor has been leaking for at least a couple months now, and has seemed to have gotten worse. I am about to take it (the Accord in my sig) on a 8 hour trip tomorrow, and then 8 hours back two days later. Its about a 900 mile round trip. The majority of the driving will obviously be on the highway, so as far as helping the AC compressor is it better to keep it off/or on to help it get as far as possible. I was just thinking, I wonder if the constant cycling of the compressor for 8 hours at highway speeds will wear it out earlier, or if its better to leave it on. I know very little about AC systems.
 
Messages
12,925
Location
Northern Kentucky
The leak may have nothing to do with the compressor. I would run it til it burns, it's going to be hot! Maybe bring a can of AC Pro with ya in case you need to top up mid trip?
 

JHZR2

Staff member
Messages
46,303
Location
New Jersey
Leaking? It's illegal to refill a known leaking system. The reality is that higher operating pressures will cause a faster leak. Have you done any investigation as to where the leak is? At ambient temperatures, r-134a sits at about 70 psi static equilibrium. Operating pressures will be about half that on the low side and about double that on the high side when operating. So the question really is if the leak is on the high or low side. If it's on the low side, operating may slow the leak since the pressure will only be half of what it is if it were sitting non-operational... Actually even more favorable since as the AC system heat soaks, it's static pressure will increase. If it's on the high side, the question really becomes if static pressure when heat soaked underhood will be higher or lower than the operating high side pressure of 140-200ish psi.
 
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904
Location
Hawaii, USA
You should be ok running the a/c for the entire trip. If the refrigerant leaks to a low level, the compressor will shut off and will just be blowing ambient temperature air from the vents. A shop with a injected dye can find the leak. Mine leaked from a broken expansion valve. Good luck
 
Messages
680
Location
Hawaii
As posted above, your compressor should shut off if refrigerant pressure goes below a certain limit. You may not be sure that the leak is in the compressor. I'd at least have it checked before the trip and find out where the leak is.
 

gregk24

Thread starter
Messages
7,521
Location
FL, USA
Originally Posted By: gregoron
As posted above, your compressor should shut off if refrigerant pressure goes below a certain limit. You may not be sure that the leak is in the compressor. I'd at least have it checked before the trip and find out where the leak is.
I already had it checked, the shop confirmed it was the compressor, but they were not sure exactly where the leak was coming from on the compressor. They said run it till it goes. So I am just trying to make it last as long as I can because I dont have the $$ to get it fixed.
 
Messages
1,731
Location
stl
Originally Posted By: anndel
You should be ok running the a/c for the entire trip. If the refrigerant leaks to a low level, the compressor will shut off and will just be blowing ambient temperature air from the vents. A shop with a injected dye can find the leak. Mine leaked from a broken expansion valve. Good luck
This. If it's super hot, I'd looking into finding a super cheap rental car. But that's me.
 

gregk24

Thread starter
Messages
7,521
Location
FL, USA
Originally Posted By: MarkM66
Originally Posted By: anndel
You should be ok running the a/c for the entire trip. If the refrigerant leaks to a low level, the compressor will shut off and will just be blowing ambient temperature air from the vents. A shop with a injected dye can find the leak. Mine leaked from a broken expansion valve. Good luck
This. If it's super hot, I'd looking into finding a super cheap rental car. But that's me.
I did, but I dont want to spend the money. Plus I dont have enough time. We would take the Uplander in my sig but its having some safety issues.
 
Messages
522
Location
New York
If they cannot find the leak from the dye- I would suspect maybe it is the evaporator. Saying it is the compressor with no comprehensive proof seems suspect.
 
Messages
6,122
Location
Baltimore, Maryland, USA
Originally Posted By: tdpark
If they cannot find the leak from the dye- I would suspect maybe it is the evaporator. Saying it is the compressor with no comprehensive proof seems suspect.
Not really. I have had leaking compressors, but never found the actual leak on the compressor.
 
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11,699
Location
Illinois
If the compressor goes, can it take out any other components? If that's possible, then running it until it goes could be more expensive than replacing it now.
 
Messages
8,598
Location
Florida
Originally Posted By: javacontour
If the compressor goes, can it take out any other components? If that's possible, then running it until it goes could be more expensive than replacing it now.
You will always have to replace the drier/accumulator and expansion valve/orifice tube. As for causing damage else where, it can happen. My mom had a Nissan Maxima that always had A/C problems. One time a piece of the compressor internals went through the condenser.
 
Messages
758
Location
MN
Sludged up condenser wouldn't be great, the orifice tube would probably catch the worst of it before it got to the evaporator. If the pump fails completely you might be in for a system flush before new parts get installed.
 
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