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A/C not working


Explorer Addict
July 26, 2009
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1991 Ford Explorer XLT
I took a pic of my a/c compressor, its not working for whatever reason, the front part (cant remember what its called) is not turning when the a/c button is on. My heater works fine, so I know its not the blower motor. Is it possible that the whole compressor needs replaced?


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That's the compressor clutch.

Most common reason it doesn't engage is low refrigerant. Easy way to check that is to disconnect wiring harness from the low pressure switch on the accumulator and jump the two terminals then go turn the A/C on. If the clutch engages, remove the jumper and figure out where the leak is.

If it still doesn't engage, post back up.

Put that wire on top of the compressor back on. Well, jumped the switch and low and behold the clutch turned on. Now I gotta find out how to find a leak without taking it in to have that done.

Wow.....I didn't even notice the compressor clutch wire harness was disconnected. :crazy:

With the clutch harness plugged in and the low pressure switch plugged in, does the clutch engage?

Leaking refrigerant often leaves an oily residue on the area where it's leaking and that residue tends to collect dirt, so you may want to give it a good looking over around all the lines and components. Otherwise, you can take a blowgun hooked up to an air compressor and put some air into the system and see if you can hear it escaping.

Yes the clutch engaged after i plugged it in and jumped the switch.

Ill have to do a thorough check of the system to see where its leaking from.

Well, I looked around, and found a couple suspicious spots, but don't know what they are....tubes or whatever. If anyone knows what these things are called, please let me know so that I can start my search.


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Top 2 pictures are the hose assembly that hook up to the rear of the compressor.
Bottom picture is where the hose assembly hooks up to the accumulator.

I replaced the hose assembly earlier this year when it started leaking at the crimp on the line that's right by the radiator fan. Looked kinda like the area in the picture on the upper right. I also developed a leak in the evaporator core when the upper line cracked right at the weld.

Great thanks IW! Are these hose assemblies expensive? Where would you suggest I buy them from like Auto Zone or any place similar?

You know I like working on stuff as much as anyone. This is one case where I might look for a shop doing a free A/C analysis and see what they think. My best guess is somebody unplugged the clutch because the system leaked down and figured it was going to protect the compressor in some way.

Great thanks IW! Are these hose assemblies expensive? Where would you suggest I buy them from like Auto Zone or any place similar?

Got my assembly @ Autozone for around $100, but I knew for a fact it was leaking there. You want to try and do as much diagnosis as you can before you start dumping money into it. As RoadRunner suggested, see if you can find someone doing free A/C checks around your area. Out here, they're pretty popular this time of year.

Ok i will do that first. Im sure i can find a place that offers a free analysis. I just dont trust lots of ppl cuz im a woman and male mechanics here like to take advantage of us..

Ok i will do that first. Im sure i can find a place that offers a free analysis. I just dont trust lots of ppl cuz im a woman and male mechanics here like to take advantage of us..

Find a male to help you. Hehe... out of high school, one of the girls I dated and 'just wanted to be friends', actually just wanted to be friends. We had a good understanding and were friends for over 10 years before I moved away. She went with me to social events where I needed a date, I helped her with her car and stuff, she was also studying to be a CPA, and would do taxes in exchange for my homemade chinese chicken salad. This is a vehicle forum, I don't mean to get personal.

Well, coming back to the current century... it doesn't really matter, all you want is their diagnosis. What you really want is for them to use their valuable and expensive leak test equipment to tell you where the problem is. Heck, if I knew a good mechanic, I would pay his shop rate for this. Like I said, the equipment to work on A/C 'properly' is expensive and not something a DIY mechanic would use more than once every couple of years.

Yeah, I understand. I will do some searching for a good a/c tech and go from there. I sure hope its not gonna cost an arm and a leg. At least the compressor still works.

I bought one of these:
I tested the pressure and it was low. I also needed to buy one of the adapters to make the connector fit.
Then you can add the leak detector and use a special light to find the leak, or add leak detector/oil charge and refrigerant.
Buy the cans that have the screw-on top that will work with your gauge/hose, not the ones with the hose on it those are junk. Any questions let me know. I have been using this system for about 7 years now, and it has always worked well for me.

My x is a 94 i dont need a conversion kit. Ill see whats cheaper to do then go from there.

Well, I went and bought a new can of R134 refridgerant to see if I can hear a leak or detect a leak, and nada. The a/c compressor clutch still won't turn on. I think that part of the compressor is bad. Soooo, I guess that's on the list of stuff I eventually will need to replace. I've got 2 door lock cylinders to replace so I don't get locked out of my ex. Then comes shackles for the rear, I don't think I'm gonna get to the A/C this year. Oh well. Thanks for the replies everyone.