Author Topic: 1956 A/C compressor  (Read 2560 times)

Offline J. Gomez

  • Posts: 982
    • CLC Member
      CLC Member #23082
  • Name: J. Gomez
1956 A/C compressor
« on: March 04, 2008, 09:46:17 PM »
Greetings CLC readers,

I posted a message back last June under the same subject “1956 A/C compressor rebuild”, and my last message I stated to keep the members posted on my findings.

Well after researching the options provided by several CLC members’ calls and emails to the suggested with A/C repair shops my options was slowly diminishing in getting the old A5 compressor working again (big $$$$$$  :o). So I decided to shelve the compressor and place the project on the back burner.

After a long hibernation I’ve decided to give it one more try. While searching the web I came across a Seal company that showed they had the shaft seal for the A5 Frigidaire 1956-1961 compressor which I was so desperately looking for. I contact the shop owner and after I few emails and phone calls exchanges, he stated that they could either make one or rebuilt my old seal, and asked me to shipped the old unit to compare which way would be easier since he had none in stock and had to re-machined the shop.

Well after about three weeks I must report that I just received the seal back with a new carbon and a new “O” ring  :), which he assure me to work with R-134a. I hope to dust off the compressor and start the project this weekend weather permits. Although the final test will be done after installing, recharging and testing the system when I fire the engine back (which could take several months…! :()

I’ll keep the board posted on the final chapter.

Regards,


Jose Gomez CLC# 23082
J. Gomez
CLC #23082

Time is irrelevant when you work on your classic car, eventually you will enjoy it..!

Offline "Cadillac Kid" Greg Surfas 15364

  • Posts: 1467
    • CLC Member
      CLC Member #15364
Re: 1956 A/C compressor
« Reply #1 on: March 04, 2008, 10:00:44 PM »
Jose,
Why on earth are you planning to use R-134a in this system?  With all the expense and time you are going to have in the system, a few dollars more for R-12 will give you a system that will work as all the components were designed to do.
With R-134a operating at pressures and temperatures that differ from R-12, this system will conservatively loose 20% in capacity.
If in fact you are just re sealing an old and possibly original compressor it is highly likely that the additional pressure will cause failure of internal parts.
Just a thought
Greg Surfas #15634
Cadillac Kid-Greg Surfas
CLC #15364
66 Coupe deVille (now gone to the UK)
72 Eldo Cpe  (now cruising the sands in Quatar)
73 Coupe deVille
75 Coupe deElegance
76 Coupe deVille
79 Coupe de ville with "Paris" (pick up) option and 472 motor
514 inch motor now in '73-

Offline J. Gomez

  • Posts: 982
    • CLC Member
      CLC Member #23082
  • Name: J. Gomez
Re: 1956 A/C compressor
« Reply #2 on: March 05, 2008, 11:37:58 AM »
Greg,

Thanks for your comments. Just as a precaution the shop replaced the internal shaft-seal “O” ring with a high end type in case I decided to go with the R134a route.

I’m still speculating on what type of Freon to recharge the unit R12, R134a, or going with the R12 enviro-safe equivalent. R12 is becoming extremely expensive and you required a certify tech/shop to performed the work. Last year I was quoted around $400 to $500 plus to fully charge the system with approximately 5lb of R12.

Going with R134a could be easy since it is available over the counter w/no license require, but I would also required to add a pressure switch in-line for safety (although I envision adding one regardless if I go with R134a or not), and not sure what changes (if any) need to be done to the expansion valve. I would also assume the same pressure switch would be required for the R12 enviro-safe as it is an 80/20 mix (80% R134a).

There are several things a still need to performer before I get the unit back on; for starters I need the dehydrator to be rebuilt, the thermostatic switch needs replacement. Also, if I take the R134a route the copper flex hoses must be replaced with the new style.

So I’m taking very small steps on the A/C project…!  ;D

Regards,

Jose Gomez CLC# 23082

PS The AC unit compressor and all are the original.
J. Gomez
CLC #23082

Time is irrelevant when you work on your classic car, eventually you will enjoy it..!

Offline walt chomosh #23510

  • Posts: 168
    • CLC Member
      CLC Member #23510
Re: 1956 A/C compressor
« Reply #3 on: March 05, 2008, 05:16:14 PM »
Jose,
  I recall your past post in reguards to your A/C system. When I converted my 1955 to R134,freeze"12"wasn't available. I freshened up my only leak in the system(shaft seal)and charged it with R134.(I've never leaked a drop since)My high side pressures would really peak high,so,I then installed a pair of American made fans(flex-a-lite)in front of my condensor. The fans come on using a flex-a-lite thermatically controlled sensor which senses condensor temp.(it's also adjustable)(very easy t install,just pushes between fins of condensor) Now,in traffic,the fans come on and not only improves cooling,but also keeps the pressures much lower.(doesn't effect radiator cooling going down the road either)
  Truth is,I would have used freeze"12"in the system if available at the time.Possibly then I wouldn't have needed to install the fans. Plus,my cooling isn't quite what I'd like.(it's not bad,but,I feel it should perform better)As time wears on,someday I may convert to freeze"12".I haven't used it in anything but my NAPA dealer tells me that quite a few mechanics use it in the early R12 systems and are reporting great success...good luck and please keep me advised....walt...tulsa,ok

Offline J. Gomez

  • Posts: 982
    • CLC Member
      CLC Member #23082
  • Name: J. Gomez
Re: 1956 A/C compressor
« Reply #4 on: March 06, 2008, 09:49:09 AM »
Walt,

Great feedback, I've also found several boards providing the same high remarks as you about Freeze 12, so I’m more and more incline in going with it.

I would need to inquire if the Freeze 12 hoses and fitting are identical as for R-134a units. I already have the re-charge R-134a kit hoses, fittings and gauge and would like to know if these are compatible with the Freeze12 type.

I’ll try to provide updates during the rebuild process.

Regards,


Jose Gomez CLC #23082
J. Gomez
CLC #23082

Time is irrelevant when you work on your classic car, eventually you will enjoy it..!

Offline walt chomosh #23510

  • Posts: 168
    • CLC Member
      CLC Member #23510
Re: 1956 A/C compressor
« Reply #5 on: March 06, 2008, 04:32:55 PM »
Jose,
  My A/C gage set is for R12,so,in order to service R134 I simply bought adapters for the gage set which are availble most anywhere.(auto supply)I still have all the factory hoses in my system. I did"flush"the system and change the compressors oil(ESTER) when switching to R134.Like I said,I would look at Freeze 12 before switching to R134.Incidently,when relacing R12 with R134 one should charge the system to 90% of what R12 called for.I replace my receiver/dryer with one that had a sight gage built in for easy checking of my system.My system cools,but I don't feel it's up to "prime time"! I believe the CLC has an A/C expert...you may seek his advice.....walt...tulsa,ok

greg surfas 15634

  • Guest
Re: 1956 A/C compressor
« Reply #6 on: March 07, 2008, 11:31:39 AM »
The "replacement" refrigerant issue has truly taken on a life of it's own.  There are more urban legends and myths surrounding R-12, R-134a (as a replacement) and "drop in" replacements than about the Loch Ness Monster.
The major refrigerant producers DO have a replacement which has an actual ASHRAE refrigerant number and has been rated for toxicity, flammability and compatability with those components to be found in EXISTING R-12 systems.
I did some research a while back and it ended up in an article I wrote for the Self Starter on why the problems with R-134a result in poor performance, so I won't beat that dead horse any more.
If the choice is to not keep your cars original and pay the $50+ dollars per pound for R-12 (think how much it costs to fill up your gas tank today), AND you don't want to take a chance of the chemical reactions between the Copper, Brass, Steel, Ceramic, etc in your systems with a "drop in" aftermarket chemical then I might suggest your investigation of ICOR's R-414b.  Cost at the wholesale level is about $10.00 per pound, and since the pressure levels are near identical to R-12, the compressor is not derated by the loss of Volumetric efficiency seen with R-134a.
The fact that you don't need a licence to purchase something should tell you that it's use  might be at your risk.  Just a thought from someone who has to stay cool in Southern Texas and has done a little work on Automotive AC.
Thank you all and stay cool this Summer
Greg

Offline J. Gomez

  • Posts: 982
    • CLC Member
      CLC Member #23082
  • Name: J. Gomez
Re: 1956 A/C compressor
« Reply #7 on: March 08, 2008, 10:29:18 AM »
Walt, Greg,

I truly thank you for the good technical advice; it will help me in taking the correct path.

Since the systems has been completely purge and cleaned, going forward with the appropriate charging method to avoid any pitfall as Greg mention it will be best solution in the long run.

Today I just installed the new shaft seal and place the coil cover back on to the main unit; it should be ready for the next step to be bench tested checking for any leaks. I hope to get this done as soon as the weather gets a bit warmer.

Regards,

Greg, speaking of “staying cool in Texas”, I’m in the bid “D” area, so I fell your pain and fully agree that we need to stay COOL..!  :D
J. Gomez
CLC #23082

Time is irrelevant when you work on your classic car, eventually you will enjoy it..!

Ron Draper

  • Guest
Re: 1956 A/C compressor
« Reply #8 on: March 30, 2008, 10:35:42 PM »
Hi,

I just wanted to throw in my 2 cents worth (no change needed back - ha ha).

I deal mostly with 49 to 56 Olds.  On the seal, I would like to get a replacement rather than a rebuild - could you share the company's name and contact info?

I replaced the old orings 1955 A5 (at both ends) with new ones as they were old but not leaking and I did not want to chance a leak.

While I had the compressor somewhat apart i flushed the unit and a lot of "grey" oil came out.  This reminded me that the poor seals of the era allowed water to mix with the oil and to circulate throughout out the entire system.  The water dissolved the aluminum and the oil carried it everywhere.  I owned 59 Olds and 60 Pontiac back in 69 where the oil was so grey that the sight glass was worthless to charge by.  So even back then I flushed the entire system (tried just the receiver the first time) to get a good working system.  plus with a flush and good vac you know exactly where your oil charge should be.

The copper flex lines are better than anything you could buy today - do not mess with them.

I used two original condensers with my r134a setup (in series) - looks original and keeps the head pressures down.

The rare 56 caddy 6 blade fan helps on my 56 flower car a/c (a 57/58 6 blade will work).

Thanks for your info.

Ron

Offline J. Gomez

  • Posts: 982
    • CLC Member
      CLC Member #23082
  • Name: J. Gomez
Re: 1956 A/C compressor
« Reply #9 on: April 03, 2008, 06:29:11 PM »
Ron,

I almost missed your question and feedback, other project keep me off the PC for a while.

As for the company name the place is called Seals Parts and Repair located in Houston, TX, the web site is http://sealparts.com. This company being a manufacturing place it only handles commercial accounts, so I had to take the time in process an account to place my order.

During my dealing with this company they had two options one to re-created a new seal, or rebuild/remanufacture the two units (I have one for a 1956 and a second one for a 1961 both are A5 units). The difference between new and rebuilt was primarily price (about three times more for the new), and the second was time. They had to re-tool the shop to reproduce the complete seal units from scratch, the carbon seal, and the metal housing; this would have taken 2-3 months. On the other hand re-tooling just for the carbon seal took 3 weeks to get both units done, and using the same metal housing. Beside the new carbon seal, they also added a new spring, and a new internal “O” ring.

I just recently completed both compressors and will be performing a leak test on both shortly. The 1956 has a secondary shaft seal on the front of the coil and seal housing (the 1961 has none) that needs to be verify when I performed the leak test.

Again, thanks for your input. I do intent to keep the flex copper hoses, and most likely will go with R-414b per Greg Surfas suggestion; I just received my EPA 609 certification, so I could legally purchase R-414b.

Regards,

Jose Gomez CLC #23082
J. Gomez
CLC #23082

Time is irrelevant when you work on your classic car, eventually you will enjoy it..!

Ron Draper

  • Guest
Re: 1956 A/C compressor
« Reply #10 on: April 06, 2008, 11:26:58 PM »
Thanks for the update.

I want to check on the 1955 A5 seal as the compressor shaft design tends to nick the inside of the oring.  I have tried taping the shaft but that leaves adhesive residue.  A seal protector that slides over the compressor shaft would be great even if it were a one-shot plastic.

Any one have any thoughts on this?

Thanks Again.

Ron

Offline Otto Skorzeny

  • Posts: 3853
  • 1956 Coupe de Ville aka Bismarck
Re: 1956 A/C compressor
« Reply #11 on: April 08, 2008, 07:09:31 PM »
Hi,

caddy daddy is selling a rebuilt A5 on ebay for $500. caddydaddy.com

There's one ac product company that's still rebuilding A5's. It's expensive though. I recently installed ac on my '56 Coupe de Ville and decided to use an A6. The original brackets worked just fine. The A6 still gives the OEM appearance and you can buy a new on for $150 from any auto parts store.
fward

Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for YOURSELF

HUGE VENDOR LIST CLICK HERE

Offline J. Gomez

  • Posts: 982
    • CLC Member
      CLC Member #23082
  • Name: J. Gomez
Re: 1956 A/C compressor
« Reply #12 on: April 09, 2008, 08:15:05 PM »
Ron,

In looking at the 1955 A5 this unit it is totally different from the 1956 (shaft seal designed and arrangement). What I would suggest is to check this site http://chevy.tocmp.com/booklets/ they have a 1955 Chevy A/C maintenance manual that could help you in resolving your issue. The good thing is Frigidaire made similar units for all GM product line.

Good luck..!

Jose Gomez CLC #23082
J. Gomez
CLC #23082

Time is irrelevant when you work on your classic car, eventually you will enjoy it..!

Offline Otto Skorzeny

  • Posts: 3853
  • 1956 Coupe de Ville aka Bismarck
fward

Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for YOURSELF

HUGE VENDOR LIST CLICK HERE

 



Cadillac & LaSalle Club Visa