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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My wife's 1996 Camaro with the V6 3.8L had the AC go out many years ago and she just took it in to see how much to fix it. The guy said it would cost around $1800 which is far more than we can afford so I'd like to bypass it in case the clutch does ever fail since we aren't using it anyhow.

(I am replacing the serpentine belt anyhow since the existing one is cracked and long overdue for replacement.) I see I can buy one from Autozone for the 1996 V6 Camaros that came with no A/C compressor but can I really just bypass the compressor with the shorter belt that was designed for Camaros that came with no A/C or do I need to install any new pulleys to make this work correctly with our Camaro that originally came with A/C?

I see they make a compressor bypass pulley for many other years but they don't seem to offer one for the 1996 Camaro V6 3.8.

From the diagrams I have seen the pulleys on the non A/C models look slightly different and have sides on them so do I replace the idler pulley too? :confused:
 

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CZ's Turbo Gawd
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1. Welcome to the forum
2. the clutch isnt going to fail if your not using it, the only issue you might have would be the bearing going out which is a lot less likely when its not being used. For $1800 was he replacing every component in the A/C system cause otherwise that's a ripoff go somewhere else. The non a/c versions have a different pulley configuration so the belt for a non a/c car wont work.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
To clarify my question I am posting two diagrams I just found on google of the 1996 Camaro V6 3.8L with and without AC.




See how the idler and tensioner pulleys look different on the non-AC models?
Can I just bolt on the different pulleys from the non AC version and use the shorter belt or do I need to keep the compressor in the loop, stick with the longer belt, and just hope our AC clutch never seizes up?

Anybody else been in this situation before?
The guy at autozone said they make a pulley for the 96 but I searched every corner of the internet and can't find one...
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
1. Welcome to the forum
2. the clutch isnt going to fail if your not using it, the only issue you might have would be the bearing going out which is a lot less likely when its not being used. For $1800 was he replacing every component in the A/C system cause otherwise that's a ripoff go somewhere else. The non a/c versions have a different pulley configuration so the belt for a non a/c car wont work.
Wow thanks for the quick reply, you answered before I could clarify!

The AC guy said the compressor had "blown aluminum" through the entire system and we would need new everything (compressor, hoses, condenser).
Can you say what would be a realistic ballpark estimate to replace the entire AC system on that car? I thought 1800 sounded insanely high.

My goal is to prevent her from being stranded out there if the bearing ever did go out but if it is very unlikely I will just replace it with the longer belt. If they are not too expensive can I just buy the pulleys and just bolt them on my AC model Camaro or is that not an option here?

I appreciate your advice!:biggrin:
 

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CZ's Turbo Gawd
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If the compressor did actually spit aluminum into the system everything would have to be replaced compressor, lines, condenser, evaporator, dryer everything because the oil for the compressor makes it practically impossible to clean it all out. So to redo the entire system that price would be about right due to all the parts that have to be changed. I don't have a 3.8 so I cant say for sure if the pulleys from a non A/C car will bolt right up but there might be a difference in the accessory bracket, maybe one of the V6 guys will chime in on that one.
I would still take the car somewhere else and get a second option on the repairs needed, its common for the compressors to die in these cars but its not often that an A/C compressor destructs like that.
 
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Always Watching...
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Personally, I'd get the A/C fixed. I don't know where you live, but in most states down here in the south, it's miserable during the summer.
Regardless, you're asking for an AC delete pulley so-
ZZPerformance - AC Delete #ZZ-GPACD
(Read the "Other Resources" tab to see how it'll work on an Fbody).
 

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The "Senior" Member
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Actually, any metal from the compressor should never get past the receiver drier.
Compressor condensor and receiver drier should be all that's needed, and the receiver drier is mandatory with a new compressor anyway.
Wife had hers done recently for about $500.00 IIRC.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Personally, I'd get the A/C fixed. I don't know where you live, but in most states down here in the south, it's miserable during the summer.
Regardless, you're asking for an AC delete pulley so-
ZZPerformance - AC Delete #ZZ-GPACD
(Read the "Other Resources" tab to see how it'll work on an Fbody).
Well I stopped at Autozone last night and just got one of their Durlast brand belts for about $20. I installed it keeping the compressor pulley in the loop for now but thanks for the link Superman, it is nice to have that option if I am ever in a bind and needed to replace the ~$200 compressor with a cheap $40 pulley.

Getting the A/C fixed is definitely something I would like to have done for her but for $1800 smackers I just can't afford it right now :18: Believe me it does get over 100 here in the summer and the wife isn't exactly in the friendliest mood after driving home from work in that kind of heat. She said it makes a "god awful squeeling sound" when she turns on the AC.

I am going to try and get a second estimate at another shop. Thanks for the tips guys.
 

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The "Senior" Member
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Squeeling sounds is the clutch because the compressor is locked up
 
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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
I have never worked on AC before (obviously), but I was wondering if I drove down and had them evacuate the system then took it home and bolted on all new everything and then took it back to have them charge it for me could I save myself some bucks or is this definitely not a project you want to DIY? I found a Delphi compressor for about $200 and a Spectra condenser is about $80 on PartsTrain. The receiver drier looks like it will be $50 at OReilly's.

NavyVet, wish I lived closer to Florida because $500 is sounding way better than $1800 right now...
 

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drop top cruzer
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You would want to pull the vaccum after you change the parts and you can get a complete kit on eBay for less than $300, that's where I got mine 3 years ago. Yes you can charge at home, but it's hard to get it exact without the machine, car holds 26oz cans come in 12oz so it's going to be hard to get those last 2 oz.

Btw Ive never seen a 4th gen without ac, it's a very rare option.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
You would want to pull the vaccum after you change the parts and you can get a complete kit on eBay for less than $300, that's where I got mine 3 years ago. Yes you can charge at home, but it's hard to get it exact without the machine, car holds 26oz cans come in 12oz so it's going to be hard to get those last 2 oz.

Btw Ive never seen a 4th gen without ac, it's a very rare option.
Just checked ebay and I found a remanufactured compressor and drier/accumulator kit for the 3.8L V6 for $127 before shipping. It comes pre-filled with oil.

Do you have a recommendation where to get the recharging stuff? What about O-rings and new lines? Would I need to order those OEM?
 

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CZ's Turbo Gawd
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Have a shop fill it, unless you happen to have a evacuation machine. If you just change the parts and fill it it won't last. The system has to be put under a vacuum for at leasst 30 minuits to get all the moisture out of the system. If you don't do this when moisture mixes with refrigerant it makes acid which will ruin the system.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Have a shop fill it, unless you happen to have a evacuation machine. If you just change the parts and fill it it won't last. The system has to be put under a vacuum for at leasst 30 minuits to get all the moisture out of the system. If you don't do this when moisture mixes with refrigerant it makes acid which will ruin the system.
Okay I will take it in to get it done because I do want it to last... no evacuation machine here.

So should I take it in before I unbolt all the old parts to have the old fluid removed or can I just drain the old stuff into a pan and take it down to have it properly disposed/recycled? I read somewhere you have to have an AC tech do this part but you know EVERYTHING you read on the net is true right? :icon_wink:
 

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drop top cruzer
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Make sure your get a new orifice tube as well, there only like $2-$3 at autozone.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Make sure your get a new orifice tube as well, there only like $2-$3 at autozone.
So the complete shopping list would go like this:

-compressor + oil
-drier/accumulator
-condenser
-orifice tube
-o ring (how many I wonder?)
-visit AC shop for recharge

Am I missing anything?
Will go test to see if the system is charged tonight.
 

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CZ's Turbo Gawd
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So the complete shopping list would go like this:

-compressor + oil
-drier/accumulator
-condenser
-orifice tube
-o ring (how many I wonder?)
-visit AC shop for recharge

Am I missing anything?
Will go test to see if the system is charged tonight.
looks good, get a red FORD orifice tube it has a smaller orifice and will make the system colder...
 
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drop top cruzer
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So the complete shopping list would go like this:

-compressor + oil
-drier/accumulator
-condenser
-orifice tube
-o ring (how many I wonder?)
-visit AC shop for recharge

Am I missing anything?
Will go test to see if the system is charged tonight.
most the kits come with all the orings you need, hell i still have a whole bag of them left over form mine
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Hey thanks again for all the tips you guys. I will report back when that baby is blowing cold air again.

And you were right fbodyrs96, I checked back and the kit I was looking at DOES have the O rings.
 
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