How to Replace Lumina A/C Compressor

A common problem with the air conditioning system in the Chevy Lumina is leaking seals in the compressor. It is no longer legal to vent air conditioning refrigerant into the atmosphere, so recovery of the refrigerant is a requirement. Your local auto repair shop will do this for a nominal fee. While there is an additional cost involved, you can still save a considerable amount of money by replacing the compressor yourself.


Step 1 - Lift and support the Lumina with the jack and jack stands. Position the jack stands out of the way of your work area. Some models have splash shields in the passenger side fender well and below the front bumper cover. Remove these for easier access to the compressor.

Step 2 - Remove the drive belt by compressing the spring-loaded tensioner with a 3/8 drive socket wrench inserted in the square hole on the arm of the tensioner.

Step 3 - Unbolt the hoses from the back of the compressor with a 15mm socket and socket wrench, and unplug the electrical connector on the compressor clutch.

Remove the 10mm bolt that attaches the compressor to the bracket located at the rear of the compressor. Then unbolt the compressor by removing the four 13mm bolts that attach the compressor body to the engine block. Remove the compressor by dropping it through the space between the front subframe and the engine block


Step 1 - Fill the new compressor with the recommended amount of air conditioning oil. Usually this is 8 oz., but 6 oz. is enough if you are not replacing the accumulator and orifice tube. Circulate the oil in the compressor by turning the clutch plate a few turns every few ounces of oil. This makes getting the full amount of oil into the compressor easier.

Step 2 - Bolt the new compressor to the engine block with the four 13mm bolts, but do not tighten them yet. Start the bracket bolt on the rear of the compressor and then tighten the four main bolts first and the bracket bolt last.

Step 3 - Replace the seals on the hose assembly, and reinstall it on the back of the compressor. Then plug the electrical connector back into the compressor clutch.

Step 4 - Reinstall the drive belt by compressing the tensioner and slipping the belt onto the new compressor.

Step 5 - Pull a vacuum on the system by installing the gage and hoses onto the service ports located on the high and low sidelines. Install the vacuum pump onto the yellow hose, and plug it in. Open both sides of the gauge assembly, and allow the vacuum pump to pull a vacuum on the system for 45 minutes to an hour. This causes any moisture in the system to boil off.

Step 6 - Close both sides of the gauge and hose assembly, and remove the vacuum pump. Install a can tap in its place, and insert the first can into the can tap. Inject it into the system through the blue low side valve. When the pressure equalizes on both gauges, start the engine and turn the air conditioner on to high. Allow the can to empty into the system, and then close the blue valve. Install the second can onto the can tap, and open the blue valve and allow this can to empty. When that can is empty, install 1/2 can to top off the system.

Reinstall any splash shields, and lower the car to the ground after checking for obvious leaks.

TIPS: The typical can of refrigerant only holds 12 oz., not 1 lb., so be sure to get enough refrigerant.

THINGS YOU'LL NEED: 3/8 drive socket set, Metric wrench set, New compressor, Air conditioner. oil, Vacuum pump, Refrigerant, Refrigerant installation hoses.

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