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A/C Compressor - 2001 - Small leak on ground- Questions for all you A/C experts.

JGBuick

Active member
353
126
43
Buick Ownership
2001 LeSabre Touring Edition
Hi All,

Thanks for reading this... I'll get to it.

2001 LeSabre with almost 60k. Beginning to be hotter than Hades here in AZ. Car has never seen any type of A/C work with this exception -

Last week I added a few ounces of 134a into the system to see if I could fix a "Driver's side vents blowing warm" condition. (Checked actuators and they work fine.)

That actually worked. I now have cold air on BOTH sides of the dash. Go figure. I'm told after twenty years... things have away of leaking out.

Now... perhaps its' just because.... and I've been running the A/C quite a bit... Today, I noticed a few small sticky-oily green florescent drops on the garage floor.

I always check that area and it's been spotless since I completed my intake/valve cover/gasket/elbow/plenum/wires job months ago. Anyway...

I wipe the few drops from the floor.. Not tranny fluid, not motor oil.... Not power steering... Gotta be compressor oil. (Did the factory come with green/yellow dye in it?)

So.... I'm concerned. I plan on getting under the compressor to look closer this weekend. Doing some research and apparently O=ring seals go bad...

Questions - Is this a coincidence to me adding refrigerant? (about a half shot-glass of fluid loss on floor) What am I looking at here? Just seals and parts or a whole new compressor? IS there a blockage or something? Have any of you repaired your own A/C before? Is the LeSabre difficult to work on with A/C?

I know these questions are speculation... but??? Looking for some answers about how to approach this issue.

I appreciate anything you can tell me. Thank you!
 

lbear

2004 Buick LeSabre Limited Celebration
496
281
63
My LeSabre has a small green colored dye around the AC compressor but never enough to cause a drop on the ground but it is visible when you go underneath the car and look at the compressor.

The AC blows ice cold and the pressure is around 35 psi when running. So I don't worry about it unless it starts blowing hot or leaking a lot.

I've read AC compressor seals leak over time and the factory did use and recommends using a green colored dye in the refrigerant to show any leaks. Without the dye, it would be difficult to spot leaks.
 

JGBuick

Active member
353
126
43
Buick Ownership
2001 LeSabre Touring Edition
My LeSabre has a small green colored dye around the AC compressor but never enough to cause a drop on the ground but it is visible when you go underneath the car and look at the compressor.

The AC blows ice cold and the pressure is around 35 psi when running. So I don't worry about it unless it starts blowing hot or leaking a lot.

I've read AC compressor seals leak over time and the factory did use and recommends using a green colored dye in the refrigerant to show any leaks. Without the dye, it would be difficult to spot leaks.
Thank you for this. It's probably coincidental. What's the worst that can happen here?? Will the compressor fry itself and burn out if too much leaks out? Will the other accessories connected to the serpentine belt be affected by a bad compressor? I'm worried that something will seize.
 

lbear

2004 Buick LeSabre Limited Celebration
496
281
63
Thank you for this. It's probably coincidental. What's the worst that can happen here?? Will the compressor fry itself and burn out if too much leaks out? Will the other accessories connected to the serpentine belt be affected by a bad compressor? I'm worried that something will seize.

Compressor will be fine as there is a factory built in cutoff if there are any serious issues. The compressor clutch will disengage from the unit so the serpentine belt will not be affected.

Put a gauge on the port and see where the refrigerant pressure level is. As long as it's in the green when running, all should be okay.

gauge.jpg

That's where mine is at and it blows ice cold. Temp readings at the drivers side interior vent is around 32F.
______________________________
 

JGBuick

Active member
353
126
43
Buick Ownership
2001 LeSabre Touring Edition
Compressor will be fine as there is a factory built in cutoff if there are any serious issues. The compressor clutch will disengage from the unit so the serpentine belt will not be affected.

Put a gauge on the port and see where the refrigerant pressure level is. As long as it's in the green when running, all should be okay.

View attachment 38093

That's where mine is at and it blows ice cold. Temp readings at the drivers side interior vent is around 32F.
Good idea. I'll check it tomorrow and report back. Thanks for the info on the compressor & clutch. Is it fair to say that "leakage" is normal and if not... I'm looking at a future repair or replacement? I'll check back tomorrow with the gauge reading.
 

lbear

2004 Buick LeSabre Limited Celebration
496
281
63
Good idea. I'll check it tomorrow and report back. Thanks for the info on the compressor & clutch. Is it fair to say that "leakage" is normal and if not... I'm looking at a future repair or replacement? I'll check back tomorrow with the gauge reading.

Engine running, AC turned on, install gauge on low pressure port and get reading.

I wouldn't say it's "normal" for the compressor to be leaking but it's probably more common on the older GM's I've owned. Every GM vehicle I have owned had a small leak on the compressor but it was never enough to cause the AC system to stop working or need repair. Usually the leak would happen over winter as the refrigerant in the lines doesn't circulate and the rubber seals dry out. Once the refrigerant circulates again, the rubber seals get lubricated and swell up to stop leaking.

If you need to install a new compressor, you would have to take it in to a shop to have it done as they have to capture the refrigerant and then put new refrigerant in once the compressor is installed.
 

JGBuick

Active member
353
126
43
Buick Ownership
2001 LeSabre Touring Edition
Engine running, AC turned on, install gauge on low pressure port and get reading.

I wouldn't say it's "normal" for the compressor to be leaking but it's probably more common on the older GM's I've owned. Every GM vehicle I have owned had a small leak on the compressor but it was never enough to cause the AC system to stop working or need repair. Usually the leak would happen over winter as the refrigerant in the lines doesn't circulate and the rubber seals dry out. Once the refrigerant circulates again, the rubber seals get lubricated and swell up to stop leaking.

If you need to install a new compressor, you would have to take it in to a shop to have it done as they have to capture the refrigerant and then put new refrigerant in once the compressor is installed.
Gotcha on that. I'm thinking if it got really bad, there wouldn't be any refrigerant left in the system...
 

BuickGirlFromMars

Well-known member
4,189
1,201
113
Buick Ownership
1999 Buick Park Avenue Ultra (Supercharged) , 1977 Buick Electra Limited (350 SBB)
Hi All,

Thanks for reading this... I'll get to it.

2001 LeSabre with almost 60k. Beginning to be hotter than Hades here in AZ. Car has never seen any type of A/C work with this exception -

Last week I added a few ounces of 134a into the system to see if I could fix a "Driver's side vents blowing warm" condition. (Checked actuators and they work fine.)

That actually worked. I now have cold air on BOTH sides of the dash. Go figure. I'm told after twenty years... things have away of leaking out.

Now... perhaps its' just because.... and I've been running the A/C quite a bit... Today, I noticed a few small sticky-oily green florescent drops on the garage floor.

I always check that area and it's been spotless since I completed my intake/valve cover/gasket/elbow/plenum/wires job months ago. Anyway...

I wipe the few drops from the floor.. Not tranny fluid, not motor oil.... Not power steering... Gotta be compressor oil. (Did the factory come with green/yellow dye in it?)

So.... I'm concerned. I plan on getting under the compressor to look closer this weekend. Doing some research and apparently O=ring seals go bad...

Questions - Is this a coincidence to me adding refrigerant? (about a half shot-glass of fluid loss on floor) What am I looking at here? Just seals and parts or a whole new compressor? IS there a blockage or something? Have any of you repaired your own A/C before? Is the LeSabre difficult to work on with A/C?

I know these questions are speculation... but??? Looking for some answers about how to approach this issue.

I appreciate anything you can tell me. Thank you!
It could be residue on the compressor that water is condensing on the outside and then picking up the green. if you had green coolant in your system you could mistake it for that. my compressor had so much stop leak and UV dye it was insane ... if i go turn it over it will ooze out a lot I bet. lo.l.
______________________________
 

JGBuick

Active member
353
126
43
Buick Ownership
2001 LeSabre Touring Edition
It could be residue on the compressor that water is condensing on the outside and then picking up the green. if you had green coolant in your system you could mistake it for that. my compressor had so much stop leak and UV dye it was insane ... if i go turn it over it will ooze out a lot I bet. lo.l.
No green coolant. It's definitely compressor oil. I went underneath the car this past weekend. Looks like the O-rings as I can see it emanating from there. I'm having it looked-at by a GM mechanic soon. I would say it's due as the car is 21 years old at this point. Adding some refrigerant last week probably increased pressure enough to move something that was static and old. We'll see what happens
 

BuickGirlFromMars

Well-known member
4,189
1,201
113
Buick Ownership
1999 Buick Park Avenue Ultra (Supercharged) , 1977 Buick Electra Limited (350 SBB)
No green coolant. It's definitely compressor oil. I went underneath the car this past weekend. Looks like the O-rings as I can see it emanating from there. I'm having it looked-at by a GM mechanic soon. I would say it's due as the car is 21 years old at this point. Adding some refrigerant last week probably increased pressure enough to move something that was static and old. We'll see what happens
i dont recall if the V5 has a drain/fill bolt for oil but if you have had it off or wrenched on it, id say check out the back. if not, its probably like you say the age of it lol. You could buy a brand new V5 from GM, but you can also have yours rebuilt. Assuming things are in good condition, rebuilding it would probably save headaches as new/rebuilt can be junk or treasure if you like to gamble
 

JGBuick

Active member
353
126
43
Buick Ownership
2001 LeSabre Touring Edition
UPDATE: Well... I'm having a new compressor installed today. (Yes, they are evacuating the 134a). They just called me and advised a new "Orifice Tube" be replaced. They said they are getting about 49degs while the compressor (Engine is at 2k rpm) and mid 50's @ Idle) Mechanic said Low/High sides could be balanced more... It's 108degs here in the valley today, so.... not sure the A/C system can get into the low 40's...?

What temps are ya'll reading on your cars? Do you notice a huge variable when driving vs. idling?
 

HotZ28

Full Member Since 2005
9,165
1,357
113
SE
Buick Ownership
1996 Roadmaster Limited Collectors Edition 58k - 1996 PAU 2019 Regal GS
Vent temps all depends on the ambient temps and air flow through the condenser. Most AC shops put a big fan in front of the car blowing through the condenser when testing vent temps. That simulates the car moving @ about 30-mph. My Chevy 05' 2500 HD will freeze you out in on one block of driving. Today, I checked the vent temps wile driving and @ idle & there is about 5°F difference in vent temps. This was in 100° F temps here today. I am getting low 40's moving about 30-45 MPH and @ idle, about 45°F in the sun shining on the front of the truck for 10-min.
______________________________
 

JGBuick

Active member
353
126
43
Buick Ownership
2001 LeSabre Touring Edition
Vent temps all depends on the ambient temps and air flow through the condenser. Most AC shops put a big fan in front of the car blowing through the condenser when testing vent temps. That simulates the car moving @ about 30-mph. My Chevy 05' 2500 HD will freeze you out in on one block of driving. Today, I checked the vent temps wile driving and @ idle & there is about 5°F difference in vent temps. This was in 100° F temps here today. I am getting low 40's moving about 30-45 MPH and @ idle, about 45°F in the sun shining on the front of the truck for 10-min.
Wow... I can only imagine what 45degF would feel like! I got my car back... New Compressor, new orifice and not happy. Not cool but more like in the 60's. Lord knows if they added refrigerant or not. (Of course they did...but was it done correctly?) They tell me it's not "AS cold" because the condenser might be clogged etc... Hmmm... What's wild is that it was actually colder "prior" to after they did the work. Debating if I should let them touch it again... Hard to find good A/C guys. <Frustrated>
 

BuickGirlFromMars

Well-known member
4,189
1,201
113
Buick Ownership
1999 Buick Park Avenue Ultra (Supercharged) , 1977 Buick Electra Limited (350 SBB)
Wow... I can only imagine what 45degF would feel like! I got my car back... New Compressor, new orifice and not happy. Not cool but more like in the 60's. Lord knows if they added refrigerant or not. (Of course they did...but was it done correctly?) They tell me it's not "AS cold" because the condenser might be clogged etc... Hmmm... What's wild is that it was actually colder "prior" to after they did the work. Debating if I should let them touch it again... Hard to find good A/C guys. <Frustrated>
If you paid for your system to be repaired and they handed you the car back and its not even the same performance, but worse, id say you got hosed

I would really double check the compressor is actually new by finding a sticker or part number on its body and looking it up
And I would also tell you that any competant shop can easily figure out where a restriction or a cause is. cabin filter ok? You see the evaporator or replace it ever?

did they charge you for oil or o rings or was the work order vague because Id wonder if they even did something as simple as evacuate the system for enough time at 28.5 or better vacuum to boil off water and dry it out. And the condensor can be checked externally for problems and also you can check heat difference across it with a temp gun or probe. You should at least have 30-40 degree drop in temp from in front of condenser to your vents
actuators calibrated? System on full cold, recirc?
Skip auto, that can eliminate the auto-system as being the problem. then operate your car moving.

Fans both on full speed with AC?
Clutch doesnt literally cycle while engine is running right? it should engage and never cycle while its on.

Dont have a leaky heater core right? Hot steamy coolant spraying on or near evaporator would probably warm air up coming off it(you should be able to know if this is happening lol!)
THen find out the part number for their new orifice tube? Was it right? Why did they replace it? broken? plugged?

Hows the accumulator, drier

but idle/driving is always going to be unfair for your comparison. the air flow is crucial to the ability to exchange heat and yes elec fans are fast and all, but slow engine and sun temps and possible asphalt driveway youre sitting on... things can add up. not counting any temp mix problem.

also the ports have the caps back on right? If not thats a prob
What are you using to measure temps at vents lol

AIR Baffles/deflectors on properly?
 

HotZ28

Full Member Since 2005
9,165
1,357
113
SE
Buick Ownership
1996 Roadmaster Limited Collectors Edition 58k - 1996 PAU 2019 Regal GS
A lot of good info here, but first you need the system pressures tested by another shop. I had to take another short drive in my 2500 HD truck but that was after sunset & still above 90°F ambient temps, I checked my vent temps once again with an IF reader. I got mid to low 30's when accelerating & low 40's when idling for more than 10-min. I had to put my coat on! ;)
 
Last edited:

JGBuick

Active member
353
126
43
Buick Ownership
2001 LeSabre Touring Edition
A lot of good info here, but first you need the system pressures tested by another shop. I had to take another short drive in my 2500 HD truck but that was after sunset & still above 90°F ambient temps, I checked my vent temps once again with an IF reader. I got mid to low 30's when accelerating & low 40's when idling for more than 10-min. I had to put my coat on! ;)
Man.... Good for you! My other car (Santa Fe) has extremely cold air. Crazy cold... So, it was quite the disappointment when this shop told me they couldn't get it any colder. I've very pissed at this point... I did my research and they have a 4.7 rating on Yelp... lots of good things were said... seemed to know what they were talking about. They (shop) said the seals on the OEM compressor couldn't be replaced as they were integral and would require taking apart the compressor. I was told the system would be better-off if I changed the compressor along with everything else.. Like $1500.
I said... no.... and they replaced the compressor "only" along with the Orifice tube. I understand it was over 100degs... but... I know cold air when I feel it... This was marginal at best. Sigh.... I'm kicking myself for not doing it myself.
______________________________
 

JGBuick

Active member
353
126
43
Buick Ownership
2001 LeSabre Touring Edition
If you paid for your system to be repaired and they handed you the car back and its not even the same performance, but worse, id say you got hosed

I would really double check the compressor is actually new by finding a sticker or part number on its body and looking it up
And I would also tell you that any competant shop can easily figure out where a restriction or a cause is. cabin filter ok? You see the evaporator or replace it ever?

did they charge you for oil or o rings or was the work order vague because Id wonder if they even did something as simple as evacuate the system for enough time at 28.5 or better vacuum to boil off water and dry it out. And the condensor can be checked externally for problems and also you can check heat difference across it with a temp gun or probe. You should at least have 30-40 degree drop in temp from in front of condenser to your vents
actuators calibrated? System on full cold, recirc?
Skip auto, that can eliminate the auto-system as being the problem. then operate your car moving.

Fans both on full speed with AC?
Clutch doesn't literally cycle while engine is running right? it should engage and never cycle while its on.

Dont have a leaky heater core right? Hot steamy coolant spraying on or near evaporator would probably warm air up coming off it(you should be able to know if this is happening lol!)
THen find out the part number for their new orifice tube? Was it right? Why did they replace it? broken? plugged?

Hows the accumulator, drier

but idle/driving is always going to be unfair for your comparison. the air flow is crucial to the ability to exchange heat and yes elec fans are fast and all, but slow engine and sun temps and possible asphalt driveway youre sitting on... things can add up. not counting any temp mix problem.

also the ports have the caps back on right? If not thats a prob
What are you using to measure temps at vents lol

AIR Baffles/deflectors on properly?
Probably got "hosed".... Perhaps they just didn't put in the time... Compressor is new, The thing to remember here is this - Aside from the compressor leaking oil, everything else was in tip-top shape. Air was "Semi cold" and now it's not even close to the temps I obtained prior by adding some 134a. I'm thinking I may have caused the compressor leak by adding some 134a. Fans all working... Compressor on...

The gave a report of 55/175 on the pressures stating " Which are a little high on the LOW side and and a little LOW on the HIGH side..."

They suggested replacing the Orifice tube. Vent temp is 60 degs driving and 62 degs Idle. (That's not a cold temp!)

Dunno... I don't know how the accumulator is or the drier? Car is in excellent shape with only 59,000 miles... AZ. driven. No rust or anything... The orifice tube was slightly dirty but it didn't look all that bad... Man.... I guess it's just one of those things. My old AC guy retired and I went to another shop.

I put a gauge on the low side when I got home and it seemed "High" and no anywhere in the 40-50lb range... I'm no AC expert but I do know that too much is as bad as too little. It's science and pressures and well.... Sorry... I just am a bit miffed right now....

I plan on taking it to another shop for a second opinion. Hell, I wish I had a shop evacuate it and I could have replaced the components myself...
 

HotZ28

Full Member Since 2005
9,165
1,357
113
SE
Buick Ownership
1996 Roadmaster Limited Collectors Edition 58k - 1996 PAU 2019 Regal GS
I understand the frustration! I had a winter home in Lake Havasu AZ back in the '70's and had to leave there in late May and go back home, due to the scorching 111°F heat. The chart below shows the normal pressure low & high side with different ambient temps.

1655452073810.png
 
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JGBuick

Active member
353
126
43
Buick Ownership
2001 LeSabre Touring Edition
I understand the frustration! I had a winter home in Lake Havasu AZ back in the '70's and had to leave there in late May and go back home, due to the scorching 111°F heat. The chart below shows the normal pressure low & high side with different ambient temps.

View attachment 38186
Thanks Z28, I appreciate the chart. I will put some guages on it today and see what I can see. AZ. sucks during the summers... Coming from much cooler temps myself, I can identify with your experience also. Friends live in Parker, so yes, we know.... Crazy HOT!!!
 

BuickGirlFromMars

Well-known member
4,189
1,201
113
Buick Ownership
1999 Buick Park Avenue Ultra (Supercharged) , 1977 Buick Electra Limited (350 SBB)
Probably got "hosed".... Perhaps they just didn't put in the time... Compressor is new, The thing to remember here is this - Aside from the compressor leaking oil, everything else was in tip-top shape. Air was "Semi cold" and now it's not even close to the temps I obtained prior by adding some 134a. I'm thinking I may have caused the compressor leak by adding some 134a. Fans all working... Compressor on...

The gave a report of 55/175 on the pressures stating " Which are a little high on the LOW side and and a little LOW on the HIGH side..."

They suggested replacing the Orifice tube. Vent temp is 60 degs driving and 62 degs Idle. (That's not a cold temp!)

Dunno... I don't know how the accumulator is or the drier? Car is in excellent shape with only 59,000 miles... AZ. driven. No rust or anything... The orifice tube was slightly dirty but it didn't look all that bad... Man.... I guess it's just one of those things. My old AC guy retired and I went to another shop.

I put a gauge on the low side when I got home and it seemed "High" and no anywhere in the 40-50lb range... I'm no AC expert but I do know that too much is as bad as too little. It's science and pressures and well.... Sorry... I just am a bit miffed right now....

I plan on taking it to another shop for a second opinion. Hell, I wish I had a shop evacuate it and I could have replaced the components myself...
if you have to evacuate at any point(did you NOT do the orifice tube?) then put a new drier on. it only lasts so long. it has dessicant in it
 
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