Author Topic: 1956 A/C Compressor rebuild dilemma  (Read 4588 times)

Offline J. Gomez

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1956 A/C Compressor rebuild dilemma
« on: June 06, 2007, 02:41:11 PM »
Here is another mess I got myself entangled with..!

As part of my on-going restoration, I’ve decide to removed the complete A/C system (except for the trunk evaporator/blower unit) compressor, lines, etc for a good cleanup and recondition. Yesterday I started dismantling the compressor (this is the original Frigidaire A5 unit) for a well deserved cleanup and was hoping to rebuild it back (mainly new “O” rings, seals, etc), in trying to get the A/C back to a working condition.

Today while searching several discussion boards I came to realize that I could be heading into trouble in trying to restore the unit. It seems parts for the GM A5 units are impossible to find, A/C rebuilders may not be willing to tackle in working on the old A5 units (if I screwed something out..!).

My dilemma is should I go forward with the project and the possible cost in trying to get the unit back in operation, were to find the parts (other than "O" rings..!). Being the original units and in trying to keep her as original as possible, maybe this could be an impossible dream.

If anyone has tackle this type of recondition any help, comments, information in going forward with the original compressor work or replacing it with a newer unit, pros or cons would be appreciated it.

Regards,

Jose Gomez CLC # 23082
J. Gomez
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Time is irrelevant when you work on your classic car, eventually you will enjoy it..!

Offline quadfins

  • Jim Eccleston CLC 16079
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Re: 1956 A/C Compressor rebuild dilemma
« Reply #1 on: June 06, 2007, 05:30:47 PM »
I had my 1961 A-5 compressor rebuilt by Classic Auto Air in Tampa. I will be recharging the system soon, so I can not yet give you a report other than external - it looks fine, right down to the correct inspection stamp. A friend of mine had his rebuilt there, too, and he says it works fine, so I am optimistic.

Classic Auto Air
2020 W. Kennedy Blvd
Tampa, FL   33606

(813)   251-2356

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Offline J. Gomez

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Re: 1956 A/C Compressor rebuild dilemma
« Reply #2 on: June 06, 2007, 06:44:06 PM »
Jim,

Thanks for the feedback. I'm in the Dallas area and having this shop work on my unit will be a bit complex. I'm currently researching a few local shops/parts centers in TX such as Oldairproducts.com in Ft. Worth.

I was able to find the GM A5 unit is similar for 1956-1957 and possible for 1959-1960 from Frigidaire and these were made available in several GM products such Pontiac, Buick, Chevy, and Olds.

If I'm lucky in finding at least the shaft seal kit the rest should be straight forward.

Regards,

Jose Gomez CLC #23082
J. Gomez
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Time is irrelevant when you work on your classic car, eventually you will enjoy it..!

Offline 35-709

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Re: 1956 A/C Compressor rebuild dilemma
« Reply #3 on: June 06, 2007, 07:11:36 PM »
I second Jim Eccleston's advice concerning Classic Auto air in Tampa.  They claim to be one of the few outfits still rebuilding the A5's.  If you have no luck in Texas (and you well might) possibly you can get the parts you need from Classic Auto Air.  Bottom line ---- whether you do it or they do it, the A5's can still be rebuilt.
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Offline John Washburn CLC 1067

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Re: 1956 A/C Compressor rebuild dilemma
« Reply #4 on: June 06, 2007, 07:23:39 PM »
Jose,

Me too.

They reguild my compressor years ago........

John Washburn
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Online The Tassie Devil(le)

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Re: 1956 A/C Compressor rebuild dilemma
« Reply #5 on: June 06, 2007, 09:31:53 PM »

They reguild my compressor years ago........

John Washburn
CLC #1067

G'day John,

Was it an expensive job?

Wouldn't it have been cheaper just to have left it black?

Bruce. >:D
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Offline 35-709

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Re: 1956 A/C Compressor rebuild dilemma
« Reply #6 on: June 07, 2007, 07:35:40 AM »
Jose,
Here's a fellow in Texas you might check with if you haven't already ----- airpartsstore 877-542-8192
He claims to have OEM AC parts going way back.  He is also on eBay.  Good luck.
1935 Cadillac Sedan
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Offline J. Gomez

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Re: 1956 A/C Compressor rebuild dilemma
« Reply #7 on: June 07, 2007, 09:46:54 AM »
Goeff, and John,

Thanks to both for your information, this will be helpful. At least I know now the unit could be put back to service from either or the two sources, great.

Much appreciated it.

Jose Gomez CLC # 23082
J. Gomez
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Time is irrelevant when you work on your classic car, eventually you will enjoy it..!

Offline John Washburn CLC 1067

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Re: 1956 A/C Compressor rebuild dilemma
« Reply #8 on: June 07, 2007, 05:18:19 PM »
Jose,

Just had an A5 Rebuilt last year by the folks in Florida. Was over $640.00 with shipping the damn thing both ways.

Great job with all the original decals and markings.

John Washburn
CLC #1067
John Washburn
CLC #1067
1937 LaSalle Coupe
1938 6519F Series Imperial Sedan
1949 62 Series 4 Door
1953 Coupe DeVille
1956 Coupe DeVille
1992 Eldorado Touring Coupe America Cup Series

rex crews 18304

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Re: 1956 A/C Compressor rebuild dilemma
« Reply #9 on: June 17, 2007, 07:54:33 PM »
I don't know what you've done yet, but are you certain the a/c compressor needs a rebuild?  About all that can go bad on the flanged A-5 is the shaft seal, which is still available.  If the compressor is locked up or something like that, you might consider going to an A-6.  These old compressors are pretty reliable in my experience, and often if the shaft seal is leaking some, it will reseal when you run the charged system for a while.  I've messed with a lot of these old systems, so if I can help you further, feel free to email me.  If the '56 system is workig properly, it should make your neck stiff with cold air!

Good luck,

Rex

walt #23510

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Re: 1956 A/C Compressor rebuild dilemma
« Reply #10 on: June 19, 2007, 11:53:25 AM »
Rex,
  I couldn't find a source for a shaft seal for my 55...where are they available?...walt..tulsa,ok

Offline 35-709

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Re: 1956 A/C Compressor rebuild dilemma
« Reply #11 on: June 19, 2007, 03:57:34 PM »
Walt,
You read the posts above and you had no luck at ---- airpartsstore 877-542-8192  or at -----

Classic Auto Air
2020 W. Kennedy Blvd
Tampa, FL   33606
(813)   251-2356
?
1935 Cadillac Sedan
1973 Cadillac Caribou
1950 Jaguar Mark V Saloon

Offline J. Gomez

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Re: 1956 A/C Compressor rebuild dilemma
« Reply #12 on: June 26, 2007, 02:20:10 PM »
Rex,

Sorry for the late reply vacation time..!  :)

I took the unit a part to be clean, the unit rotates free w/and w/o the coil energized, and all internal components looked ok, pistons, rings, bearings, etc. What I was looking for if I were to take the task in rebuilding it was for availability of the shaft seal kit as the primary item to complete the unit, the one in the unit is cracked (carbon material) at each opposite corners.

I did check Old Air Products in Forth Worth and although the have the item at the web page they were out and no longer available. I was told and I checked USA Auto Parts has the kit available for $287. So at this stage with the cost of having the unit rebuilt over $600 or just buying the seal kit as a DIY project and hoping everything works, I would probably go with an A6 retrofit unit instead from Old Air for $335 part # 21-3260 and making the system R-134 ready.

The question is could I reused the existing brackets front and back to fit the “big log”, without major modifications. The rest hoses, fittings, receivers, etc should be straight forward. I’ll contact the folks at Old Air for additional “411” on the A6 unit and if I could retrofit it in my ’56.

Regards,

Jose Gomez CLC #23082
J. Gomez
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Time is irrelevant when you work on your classic car, eventually you will enjoy it..!

Offline John Washburn CLC 1067

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Re: 1956 A/C Compressor rebuild dilemma
« Reply #13 on: June 27, 2007, 05:41:37 PM »
Jose,

You might consider having them rebuild you dehydrator (dryer) and checking out your expansion valve.

I spent a lot of money just to discover that the expansion valve has a metal screen to filter out junk. This was  my problem on the 56 it was clogged, but it took a lot of time and money to fix it. When I found the problem, as always, it took 5 minutes to clean the screen. So again if it is apart, check all the parts.

John Washburn
CLC #1067
56 Cadillac A/C now working well...
John Washburn
CLC #1067
1937 LaSalle Coupe
1938 6519F Series Imperial Sedan
1949 62 Series 4 Door
1953 Coupe DeVille
1956 Coupe DeVille
1992 Eldorado Touring Coupe America Cup Series

Offline J. Gomez

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Re: 1956 A/C Compressor rebuild dilemma
« Reply #14 on: June 28, 2007, 10:02:20 AM »
John,

Thanks for the suggestion..!

I envision in replacing/rebuilding those items that are a “must” to get the system back in service. I also need to replace the flex copper tubing from and to the compressor and use today’s conventional AC hoses at these points. I was told if the system is charged with a non-R12 Freon these (the originals) could leak.

I’ll start the dialog with the folks at Old Air in a few weeks to start the retrofit 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 jgreene

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Re: 1956 A/C Compressor rebuild dilemma
« Reply #15 on: November 05, 2013, 09:30:14 AM »
While we are on this topic, has anyone actually pulled off the pulley and the clutch from an A5?  I have the service bulletins and the manual.  It doesn't say how to check the clearance on the front set of shims.  There is a spacer in the front set along with two shims.  The rear set of shims appears to have no spacer. 
Thank you
Jim Greene
Jim Greene

Offline J. Gomez

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Re: 1956 A/C Compressor rebuild dilemma
« Reply #16 on: November 05, 2013, 10:58:45 AM »
Jim,

I tackle several of these from 56 to early 60..!

The rear spacer will be inside the coil and seal housing cavity. The spacer has a conical shape (flat on one side and cone shape on the other) the flat side rest against the shaft seal, it should barely extend pass the coil and seal housing front face, the shims would rest against it.

You may not be able to see it and you will need a needle pick to get it out from the seal housing.

You will need to place these with the shims in the same order as they came out to set the appropriate gap front and aft.

The front gap is measure by placing the shims and spacer (front) on the inner race of the pulley, press firmly and rotate the clutch to obtain a slight drag. Then add an additional .010 shim for correct clearance.

The rear adjustment is done with the clutch, pulley in place and coil energized to measure the .025 - .035 between the clutch armature and the coil housing.

Just add or removed shims as needed to get the proper clearance.

Good luck..!
J. Gomez
CLC #23082

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

Offline jgreene

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Re: 1956 A/C Compressor rebuild dilemma
« Reply #17 on: November 05, 2013, 08:42:38 PM »
J. Gomez,
Another question and thank you for your response.  You are referring to pushing the clutch and the pulley together with my hands?  I have the pulley and clutch off of the compressor.  The compressor is on the car because I don't have the ability to evacuate the system.
Jim Greene
Jim Greene

Offline J. Gomez

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Re: 1956 A/C Compressor rebuild dilemma
« Reply #18 on: November 06, 2013, 07:32:13 AM »
Jim,

That would be correct; you place the shims and spacer on top of the bearing and lay the clutch assembly inside. Press the clutch and rotate to feel/hear if the clutch friction plates drags against the pulley wall.

If you have not changed anything in the clutch i.e. the nylon balls and the unit work fine before, then the front and rear gaps should be within specs with the existing shims. If however someone had changed something or had open the unit before you it would be prudent to recheck the gap.

If you need additional details on servicing the unit you can download the Chevrolet manual at http://chevy.oldcarmanualproject.com/booklets/56top29/index.htm. The same Frigidaire unit was used across other GM models.

Good luck..!   
J. Gomez
CLC #23082

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

Offline jgreene

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Re: 1956 A/C Compressor rebuild dilemma
« Reply #19 on: November 06, 2013, 09:24:50 AM »
J. Gomez,
Thank you very much for the website on '56 Chevy A5 compressors.  There are many more pictures, and it makes much more sense.  Why couldn't Cadillac do that?
Thx again
Jim Greene
Jim Greene

 



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