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Used OEM AC Compressors???

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  • Used OEM AC Compressors???

    Hi,
    I have 2 Honda Elements a 2005 and 2008.

    I was wondering what the opinions on here, about used or "junk yard" AC compressors?

    Is that a way to go?

    Seems present day rebuilt compressors don't have a good rep and brand new is $$$?

    Just wondering what people's thoughts are here on this subject???

  • #2
    Your call just try to know all you can about the used one. Lost a place could get my own, see the vehicle and good guess it was working when scrapped for another reason. True - the rebuilts are a crap shoot,
    Tom
    MetroWest, Boston

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    • #3
      Way back, in the early 1990s, the compressor seized up on our 1984 V6 Jeep Cherokee while Mrs. Cusser was driving to work, I had to take the AC belt off to make the vehicle move. I called around (before I had Internet) and found that compressors for this were running like $700. And rebuilts for this were scarce. One local place - maybe AMA even - said the rarity of such compressors was due to the special back plate, but that they could take a different compressor and swap my backplate onto that, would still be over $500.

      Anyway, with two little kids to feed, went to a Jeep-only parts yard in NW Phoenix, and the only compressor of same type was still on a vehicle, so they removed that for me, and $75 later I had a used compressor with a 90-day warranty. Parts yard guy said folks had been pretty OK with used compressors here because essentially noone could survive without working AC. Now, this 1984 Jeep Cherokee had manual service valves, so one could actually close off the compressor and remove it with virtually no loss of R-12. I looked into buying a new drier for it but the drier was somehow involved with the condenser, and even the radiator would need to be removed. So I just installed the used compressor, maybe topped up the R-12, and it ran fine until we needed to sell the Cherokee to get a Suburban to tow a horse trailer.

      So for me that was 1 out of 1.

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      • #4
        Hi,
        Thanks!

        I found a Honda Element Denso rebuilt at Rock Auto for about $200.

        Admittedly that is a rebuilt, new from Honda is about $900.

        A junkyard pull off from the Bay is around $80???

        I guess you make your choice and spend your money?

        Admittedly, I would probably go with the rebuilt Denso as they have been doing this awhile.

        The warranty does not impress me much, as if the compressor blows, then it has wrecked the whole system!

        Thanks for the insight!

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        • #5
          I buy used for my own use when I can get them complete with a clutch delivered for under $100 and go through them, It is cheaper than the rebuilds but not by much. I run an obsolete compressor and the re build price is rising. If I can get used cheap enough, I can afford to keep one on hand.
          If you need it now, used is not a good bet.

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          • #6
            Hi,
            Thanks, I don't need one now (hope I never do, but...)

            You can not buy a new starter for an Element, and if you buy rebuilt it is full of Chinese parts!

            The starter is very hard to get to, so I bought used OEM starters and then rebuilt them with OEM Honda parts.

            Hopefully, they will last as long as the originals, but you see my point.

            Just trying to find out what you, AC Gurus would do, if you all of a sudden needed a Compressor?

            Comment


            • #7
              One of my early memories of working as a very young mechanic at a service station was being tasked to make junkyard runs to pick-up used a/c compressors. They sent me with specific instructions. I was to place my thumb over the suction and discharge ports and spin the compressor hub and feel for good suction and pressure. Not sure if this works across the board with some of today's newest compressors, but back then, that was a good test.

              Also, I was told to judge how the compressor internals felt when I turned the compressor. If I didn't like it, I would ask for another one. They had plenty sitting around and would always oblige. I think it would pay to carefully inspect the oil condition at the outlet port too. This is usually where you will find all the bad stuff. Aside from the obvious visual checks, i.e.; compressor body damage, coil/electrical damage, clutch damage, signs of excessive heating, etc.. that basic test of suction and discharge always seemed to work for us. I don't recall ever bringing back a bad compressor. Back then (mid-eighties) new compressors were almost unheard of and rebuilt units were very costly as there was always little competition in that area. So yes, from my experience, it's a good alternative if price is an issue. Obviously, you won't really know if that salvage compressor leaks or is good until you actually install it. Be sure to drain the old oil from the salvage compressor and be sure to add the correct amount and type of oil to the system and things might just work out.

              In a shop environment, installing used compressors would not be common practice anymore. Shop labor rates are so high and new wholesale costs are so low that taking a chance with salvaged parts can be quite expensive.

              Good Luck!


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              • #8
                Originally posted by seagiant View Post
                Just trying to find out what you, AC Gurus would do, if you all of a sudden needed a Compressor?
                I'm not an AC expert, but if I needed a compressor I would buy brand-new, as cost has come down, and remanufacturing these is complicated, and pretty much as expensive.

                Last fall I bought a new UAC compressor for my 2004 Frontier. Several years ago I bought a new Denso compressor for my 2005 Yukon. And 5 years ago I installed a new SD708-7225 compressor for my 1988 Mazda B2200.

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                • #9
                  Not always an option. Harrison A-6's for example, have been out of production for years and were used in lots of application from Ag equipment to heavy trucks or imports.
                  Clutches are not made for it anymore and rebuilt clutches are drying up.
                  Clutches can, more than compressors, be visually inspected. If a used compressor has a good larger (5 5/8 or 6 3/4") clutch, and can be had for under $100, it is worth picking them up. If the compressor is beyond hope the clutch is worth that.
                  There are a lot of AG and trucks still running these unit.
                  Some of the older designs are very good, with a long service life, much longer than the newer lighter all aluminum compressors.
                  Most of the newer designs can still be had new.

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                  • #10
                    Hi,
                    Thanks Gentleman, all info and experience is appreciated!!!

                    I guess I would go with a name brand rebuild, which is double the price of used, but...

                    Way cheaper than new, which I can't really afford on the cars I drive!

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