Air Conditioning Compressor Replacement Options (A/C, aircon)

Discussion in 'General Technical Discussion' started by SiliconAngel, Nov 22, 2018.

  1. SiliconAngel

    SiliconAngel 1 AYC Bar

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    The A/C compressor in the VR4 is an MSC90C. This compressor was used in a huge range of vehicles (some details you can find in my original post here), so it's actually not too difficult to find a new replacement. Ben (@benny__S) has managed to find some in Australia for us, but I'll let him provide those details in the following post.

    I managed to find some on AliExpress fairly cheaply - I got this one for ~$260 delivered. Just be aware that there are several variants of the MSC90C - pay careful attention to the type of pulley used. You're looking for one that looks like this:
    [​IMG]

    Not like this:
    [​IMG]
    I'm actually not certain if the pulley on the second variant is just a shroud that can be removed, but as the port arrangement is also slightly different that's not overly important, as it isn't going to fit anyway.

    Hopefully having these available fairly easily we can avoid anyone else having problems with their compressor bursting into flames :wideyed:

    EDIT: There are two important issues to be aware of with the aftermarket compressors.
    1. They'll probably be missing the dowels next to the hot and cold pipe inlets - these help align the pipes as they attach. Without these dowels attaching the pipes is quite difficult - they have to be lined up exactly or you won't be able to get them on straight, making it extremely difficult to bolt them in (and if you manage to get the bolt in and the pipe isn't lined up straight and you tighten it up anyway, you might damage the mating surface which will lead to leaks and will require potentially expensive repairs). Now it may be possible to pull the dowels out of your original compressor and transfer them over - I didn't get a chance to try because I was on the clock trying to swap them over as fast as possible. So you can give that a shot. But if you can't pull them out of the original without damaging them, just be very careful and patient when attaching the pipes - they will go on, it's just fiddly.
    2. The aftermarket pulley may have a larger diameter than the original, even though they look very similar. It won't cause any issues fitting on the car, but the belt won't fit anymore. The original belt for the VR4 is a 6PK1060, so you might need to go to a 6PK1075 or 6PK1080.

    View attachment 61825 View attachment 61826
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2018
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  2. Nitephyre

    Nitephyre Flaccid Member Lifetime Member

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    Hey Trev, have you installed your new compressor yet? Also, did you get a new receiver/dryer as well?

    Looks like I'm up for a new compressor as well, trying to decide whether I can be bothered to spend so much, heh :p
     
  3. SiliconAngel

    SiliconAngel 1 AYC Bar

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    Hoping to get this done in the next few days Matt. Yes, I got a new dryer from Spareto. Cost me €30 all up including shipping (the dryer itself was only €9).
     
  4. SiliconAngel

    SiliconAngel 1 AYC Bar

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    Booked in for tomorrow! :D
     
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  5. Nitephyre

    Nitephyre Flaccid Member Lifetime Member

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    Ouch... tossing up whether it's worth it :(
     
  6. SiliconAngel

    SiliconAngel 1 AYC Bar

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    Hit a slight speed bump. Replacing the compressor turned into something of a drama. Once I got it off the car I realised a few things:
    1. There's a bracket attached to the top that holds two electrical connectors. One is for the A/C, the other is for something else (I forgot to trace it back, it may be for a timing sensor or something, it's late and I'm being lazy so CBFed looking it up right now). You need to remove this and transfer it over to the new compressor.
    2. There should be dowels in the mating face for the coolant pipes, to help align the pipes. There are no dowels in my replacement, making connecting the pipes bloody fiddly - I thought it would take all of a couple of minutes to reconnect them, in the end it took about half an hour, with help from the A/C mechanic. Utter PITA.
    3. The pulley on the new compressor is slightly larger, by about 10mm radius (20mm diameter). That means the belt won't go on. After five minutes of frustration (and embarrassment while the A/C guy looked on and I looked like a complete idiot unable to fit a simple belt) I pulled the tensioner pulley completely off, and the belt still wasn't near long enough. That's when we measured the pulley diameter and realised the problem.
    So he went away as we couldn't finish the job. The stock belt is a 6PK1060, so I opted to go for something that would definitely be big enough and found a 6PK1090 available locally. It turns out I've gone a bit too big - it does just fit, but my tensioner is only a couple of turns away from maximum tension. If anyone else buys one of these compressors, I'd recommend a 6PK1080 belt, or even a 6PK1075 if you can find one.

    I've reassembled everything now, so hopefully I'll be able to organise the regas tomorrow or Friday and I'll be back on the road without the damned thing rattling and squealing itself apart. :rolleyes: Unfortunately this is going to be even more expensive as it's taken about ten times longer than it was meant to - I feel bad for screwing the A/C guy around, but he was really understanding about it.
     
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  7. Nitephyre

    Nitephyre Flaccid Member Lifetime Member

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    Yeaaah... I think I might just deal with the lack of cold most of the time. :D
     
  8. SiliconAngel

    SiliconAngel 1 AYC Bar

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    All regassed now, working beautifully. Ended up costing me $220. If anyone else goes down this path get a quote for a degas and a regas at a later time - it's too much pressure trying to do it all at once, unless your A/C mechanic has nothing better to do. You're also not limited to mobile A/C - it could be a lot cheaper driving to an A/C place and just do the changeover at your leisure.

    Engine is running much quieter now, no more squealing and rattling with new tensioner pulleys and compressor. It's been a bit of a drama but really glad I've done it. Now I just have to hope the engine doesn't rust itself out! :whistle:
     
  9. SiliconAngel

    SiliconAngel 1 AYC Bar

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    Oh one last thing - the A/C mechanic said dryers are about $18 and not difficult to get, so instead of organising it all yourself you might want to make some enquiries with your preferred A/C repairer as that might save you some money and hassle.

    I've realised every time I drive my car I'd become accustomed to the little whines and rattles from the old A/C compressor and tensioner pulleys that simply aren't there anymore. I know a little bit of squeak from 20yo engines probably isn't something to whine about ;) but despite it costing me over $700 all told ($200 for pulleys, $260 for compressor, $220 for degas and regas, $50 for belts, $50 for dryer) I'm still glad I've done it - not that I had much choice, when my old compressor was on the fritz. But apart from that, it gives me a lot more confidence about the car (and satisfaction that I've knocked that niggling issue on the head). Is it ideal that the Chinese compressors from AliExpress don't have dowels and have slightly larger pulleys? Of course not. But they're significantly cheaper than locally sourced parts, even considering half the cost is in shipping. And if you've been putting up with a tired, old compressor, the end result is sublime.

    Hopefully my experiences can help someone else do this easier and cheaper :D
     
  10. naughtika

    naughtika OzVR4 Stalker Moderator Trader

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    I believe there are sanden (singapore or taiwan made) compressors for our cars.. I'll ask my friends in PH in case they know of any
     
  11. Jazdogz

    Jazdogz Member Lifetime Member

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    Reviving this old thread just to add that you need to get the correct plug type as well - I purchased one from the US that was listed as an MSC90C, has the correct pulley type and hose ports as above, but when I gave it to my aircon guy he found it was the wrong plug type. This one has a triangular-shaped connector with 3 prongs, and I'm guessing the one we want is the circular one in the pics above which only has two prongs (that's what I'm hoping anyway, otherwise I'm going to be out another $300 :()

    See these not-great pics for an example of what not to get.

    BadCompressor.jpg BadCompressorPlug.jpg
     
  12. Jazdogz

    Jazdogz Member Lifetime Member

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    Another fun fact: the official TX valve apparently hasn't been made in years and is basically impossible to find. Luckily my mechanic found one that would do the job with a bit of modification - the TX1023, I believe this is the one: https://www.pjevans.com.au/products...tx-valve-tx1023-suit-magna-lancer-challenger/. To get it to fit he had to delicately bend one of the capillary pipes but it works and is ice cold.
     
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