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Not Willing to Lose my Harrison A/C Compressor

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Old 04-21-2012, 05:25 PM   #1  
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Not Willing to Lose my Harrison A/C Compressor

My A/C system is in need of an overhaul, probably everything. I put it off over the last few years since I knew I wasn't going to be around to drive the car these last few years. Last time I had the car out in 2010 the compressor would engage and disengage every 5 seconds, like it was trying to compress but there was nothing in there to compress? Now I noticed it doesn't seem to engage at all.

I suspect that in addition to being converted to 134a and being overhauled in general, the compressor will probably need to be replaced. However, I don't want to lose the original compressor in the car.

Are there any recommended compressor rebuilders out there, or is that even possible? What have you guys done when your AC went out long after GM quit making the parts (I'm assuming the parts are not available from GM anymore)?
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Old 04-21-2012, 06:04 PM   #2  
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Re: Not Willing to Lose my Harrison A/C Compressor

IIRC,the outer sleeve of an R4 style compressor is
basicly held in place by o-rings and possibly a bend-over
tab when the compressor is not mounted-if old
compressor is bad and you cannot locate someone to
rebuild it,you could probably slip the outer sleeve off
the original compressor and install on the replacement
so that everything looks authentic-paint the cylinder
block of the replacement if needed and reuse your
original pulley and clutchAt a junkyard once i bought
an R4 compressor off a '95 S-10 to possibly use as
replacement if my original goes bad(thinking the'95
compressor might have improments over the original
somewhat troublesome 1976 design...)the '95
compressor,meant for R134 does have a different
hose fitting but i think my v-belt pulley and clutch
will fit.
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Old 04-21-2012, 08:11 PM   #3  
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Re: Not Willing to Lose my Harrison A/C Compressor

$200 will get you a new one at Advance auto parts. Avoid rebuilt - anything I have got rebuilt always falls apart in the first year. Another $50 on ebay will get you about 3 cans of Freeze-12 which you can use as a replacement for R-12. Works great!
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Old 04-21-2012, 08:28 PM   #4  
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Re: Not Willing to Lose my Harrison A/C Compressor

He's wanting to keep it stock appearing and as original as possible because he appreciates the originality of the car.

While not engaging is a bad sign, the fact it followed the 5 second engaging/disengaging stage makes it suspect that the system is simply too low on charge. The clutch on the compressor will not engage if the system is too low to prevent damage to the compressor. The compressor needs oil - which is part of the charge. There's a switch that's used in the system that controls this. The 5 second cycle is also an indication of possibly low charge.

Therefore, I wouldn't immediately suspect the compressor/clutch is bad, but it could simply be you've got slow leak to the point that it gone from a 5 second engage/disengage to a point there's not enough pressure/charge to close the pressure switch to engage the clutch on the compressor.

Do you know where the leak is? Is there oil around the compressor/clutch? If so, that will be bad news. How long as it stayed charged?

I'm sure Scott will chime in, as I believe he went through this issue himself of wanting to keep the system as original, or looking, as possible.
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Old 04-21-2012, 09:19 PM   #5  
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Re: Not Willing to Lose my Harrison A/C Compressor

puma,

I had the 5 second cycle issue with my IROC when I first bought it...adding 1 lb of freon to it 2 years ago has yielded perfectly chilled AC ever since. I would recharge the system first...
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Old 04-21-2012, 10:49 PM   #6  
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Re: Not Willing to Lose my Harrison A/C Compressor

As far as the compressor goes, try a local rebuilder- I was faced with the same thing on my '82, 82s have a cool pink sticker on the compressor that says "DelcoAir" I called the rebuilder, and asked them to rebuild my compressor without painting it or harming the sticker, they did a great job, my rebuilt compressor looks and works like new, pink sticker and all!
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Old 04-21-2012, 11:39 PM   #7  
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Re: Not Willing to Lose my Harrison A/C Compressor

Quote:
Originally Posted by JT View Post

While not engaging is a bad sign, the fact it followed the 5 second engaging/disengaging stage makes it suspect that the system is simply too low on charge. The clutch on the compressor will not engage if the system is too low to prevent damage to the compressor. The compressor needs oil - which is part of the charge. There's a switch that's used in the system that controls this. The 5 second cycle is also an indication of possibly low charge.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason E View Post
puma,

I had the 5 second cycle issue with my IROC when I first bought it...adding 1 lb of freon to it 2 years ago has yielded perfectly chilled AC ever since. I would recharge the system first...
Thanks, this is good to know. When I checked it in 2010 and saw that the compressor wasn't locked up I was pretty happy. It's possible that over the 19 months since then it just leaked out what little was left.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JT
Do you know where the leak is? Is there oil around the compressor/clutch? If so, that will be bad news. How long as it stayed charged?
I've never had the AC serviced in the 13 years I've owned the car. I've rarely used it though, since I usually only take the car out at dusk/nighttime, as opposed to sunny afternoon cruises. I'll say that I don't know that it ever worked great but it did work so-so back in the day (probably could've used a charge back when I bought it in '99 but it worked ok). I don't recall seeing any visible oil around the compressor/clutch though...everything looked pretty dry.
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Old 04-22-2012, 12:07 AM   #8  
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Re: Not Willing to Lose my Harrison A/C Compressor

I've got my old compressor with 120k miles, if you need it let me know, $105 shipped.
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Old 04-22-2012, 06:24 AM   #9  
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Re: Not Willing to Lose my Harrison A/C Compressor

Your compressor might still be ok. But if not, there's nothing wrong with a quality rebuilt unit. In fact putting new guts into the orininal case might be better than a cheap new Chinese one.
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Old 04-22-2012, 09:29 AM   #10  
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Re: Not Willing to Lose my Harrison A/C Compressor

Get yourself some R12 and charge it up a bit. It will probably be good as new. You can find people selling R12 cans on Craigslist. Regardless of what you have heard, R134A will NOT work as well to cool your car. Jump out the low pressure switch to make sure the compressor is good. More then likely the compressor is fine. If you feel the need to change hoses, I would still find a few cans of R12 to recharge it. Pull a vacuum before you charge it to get all the moisture out.
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Old 04-22-2012, 10:47 AM   #11  
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Re: Not Willing to Lose my Harrison A/C Compressor

I'd like to keep my Harrison also, So can anyone suggest a rebuilder? (name, contact info) or a kit to rebuild one? Thanks.
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Old 04-22-2012, 09:58 PM   #12  
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Re: Not Willing to Lose my Harrison A/C Compressor

Ok, I'm chiming in. I replaced my AC system last year as my belt was dancing all over the place. I was told that the belt was dancing because the bearings were going. Another way to know the bearings were going was the oil spray on the hood liner. Finally, the compressor let go and made a nasty roar when it was on. I replaced the compressor, orifice tube and dryer. I had R12 put in. Everybody I spoke to said that the original R4 compressor was junk. Any original replacement is junk! All rebuilt R4s are junk! I bought a new R4 compressor.

I went to my local AC Delco shop and asked what the replacement part number was for my car and was given multiple part numbers. One was a replacement part number for the Harrison and another was a generic replacement for the same car. I went with the 1st option and it was an almost perfect match. I peeled off the new sticker on the compressor and carefully peeled the Harrison sticker off. I used a heat gun and a razor blade and slowly peeled up the Harrison sticker. Heating it up allowed the glue to loosen up and the aluminum sticker separated from the glue leaving a perfectly clean aluminum Harrison sticker. I then purchased some 3M doubles sided tape (uber thin) and carefully laid the Harrison sticker on it. I started at one end and rolled the Harrison sticker onto the tape to eliminate any bubbles. I then trimmed the rest of the tape from the edges of the Harrison sticker, peeled the paper from the other side of the 3M tape and applied it to the exact spot the old one sat. You can't tell the difference!! Here is my sticker after I removed it. Even being careful, it looks like it's stretched in a few places, but it laid nice and flat when applied to the 3M tape. The razor blade was used to get up one corner enough to grip with my fingers and carefully pull it back. You can see the damage I did to the top right corner. That's the only imperfection.

I'll try to get a pic tomorrow so you can see how perfect it looks now.


Last edited by scottmoyer; 04-22-2012 at 10:04 PM.
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Old 04-22-2012, 10:31 PM   #13  
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Re: Not Willing to Lose my Harrison A/C Compressor

My car still has the Harrison compressor, but it's cracked at the edge of the casing (seam). I had it charged, and it all leaked out within an hour. I hear this is a common problem, it's a shame there's no way to seal that crack back up.
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Old 04-22-2012, 10:42 PM   #14  
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Re: Not Willing to Lose my Harrison A/C Compressor

All three of my Camaros spray compressor oil on the hood liner. My '89 has done it, literally, ever since I can remember.
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Old 04-22-2012, 11:21 PM   #15  
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Re: Not Willing to Lose my Harrison A/C Compressor

that oil leakage is because R4 compressors generate
fine aluminum dust as they operate and this mixes with
the oil to collect and ball up on the shaft seal face and
cause the leak-can be taken apart and cleaned...
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Old 04-23-2012, 01:19 PM   #16  
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Re: Not Willing to Lose my Harrison A/C Compressor

The new replacement I bought from GM parts direct was a perfect match and I simply had a local sign shop create me an identical replacement sticker/decal. No biggie.
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Old 04-23-2012, 06:24 PM   #17  
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Re: Not Willing to Lose my Harrison A/C Compressor

Ok, here's my new compressor and old sticker replaced. The only difference in my factory compressor and this one is the bare aluminum areas. The factory was completely black. I figured nobody would notice. Okfoz saw the car a couple weeks ago and the first words outta his mouth when looking under the hood was, "That's not the factory compressor, is it?"



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Not Willing to Lose my Harrison A/C Compressor-imag0269.jpg   Not Willing to Lose my Harrison A/C Compressor-imag0272.jpg  
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Old 04-23-2012, 06:40 PM   #18  
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Re: Not Willing to Lose my Harrison A/C Compressor

Thanks for those pics, looks good.

This is definitely on the list of seemingly endless things to take care of to get the car back on the road reliably after sitting so long, though I've got some other priorities to take care of first but hopefully I can get it taken care of sometime this season.
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Old 04-23-2012, 06:58 PM   #19  
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Re: Not Willing to Lose my Harrison A/C Compressor

I have one with 65k miles on it in my basement. Make me an offer and its yours. Feels smooth and looks pretty good too. Should clean up nice.
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Old 07-05-2016, 08:21 AM   #20  
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Re: Not Willing to Lose my Harrison A/C Compressor

Quote:
Originally Posted by scottmoyer View Post
Ok, here's my new compressor and old sticker replaced. The only difference in my factory compressor and this one is the bare aluminum areas. The factory was completely black. I figured nobody would notice. Okfoz saw the car a couple weeks ago and the first words outta his mouth when looking under the hood was, "That's not the factory compressor, is it?"



What should I do to pull out the pulley?
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Old 07-19-2016, 05:33 PM   #21  
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Re: Not Willing to Lose my Harrison A/C Compressor

I ended up going the route scottmoyer went with the replacement. I have yet to transfer the sticker, though; the replacement has one that is actually quite close to the original. The one downside is on the 91 TPI, the compressor is on the passenger side so the silver face is exposed and more obvious. Most people would never know, but we do. I kept the original compressor.

It is nice to have working AC again, though. Did a full R134 conversion and I actually had to turn the AC down to low despite sitting in stop and go traffic at close to 100 degree weather.
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