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1999 Mercury Sable compressor removal and more

11-09-2004, 04:15 PM
I have more to add, now that I am done with a working AC again. As per my last follows:

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October 23, 2004

My compressor/clutch cratered this past weekend on my 1999 Mercury Sable. I started work on it today and found out why so many people bad-mouth these cars. The thing is almost impossible to remove with out practically taking the whole front end apart. Does anyone have any suggestions that make this task any more home mechanic friendly???

I am half done now, however...I have the unit finally out of the car....which took a good part of 5 hours to do. I have to finish tomorrow by putting the new one in and reassembling everything....which I do not believe is going to be as easy as taking it apart..........I had brought the car into a local Ford dealership for an estimate...they told me that it would cost between $1,200 to $1,500 to fix. SHEEZ! I told them I could not afford that, so I took it to an individual.....he told me $730, but he can't get to it for a few weeks. Here in Texas, a few weeks without AC in the car simply sucks. He also said he had never worked on a 99 Sable before.....I think, after experiencing this myself...he would have gone up on the price after one day.....WORD OF WARNING!!!! If you can afford the money to have it fixed. The engineers who designed this set-up should be doubt.

Long gone are the days of simple do-it-yourself auto AC repair, eh? Not to mention the fact that the last AC I replaced was in a 78 Olds Omega. Quick, easy, no problems. When it went out, I simply removed the one belt that went to the compressor/clutch/pulley, and had no problems driving until I could get to it to replace it. This whole single serpantine belt idea is for the birds. Just a personal thought y'all.
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November 09, 2004

After getting all of the parts back together, putting a vaccuum on the system, and charging it to the still did not cool. Take my advice. When you replace the compressor and accumulator.....also replace the liquid line (orifice) and have the system flushed.....this will clear any junk that may have blown into your sytem, and will save the tension of doing alot of work to no success. I have now replaced the liquid line and had the system flushed as AC blows very cold again, and I am happy. Though I still think those Ford engineers should be beat..........

11-09-2004, 04:26 PM
I received an email from a fellow AF member. I would like to add what I replied to him here in hoes that it will help someone somehow.

He wrote:

I'm in the same boat as you. I pressed my luck and pushed my 98 sable past the 150k mile mark. My AC clutch is shot, and the pulley is about to freeze up. I'm going to buy a new (read: used) car this week, but I'm stuck with this d#@* Sable that is worth $1500 but needs $1000 in repairs in order to run again. I'm trying to figure out whether or not to drag it into my brother's garage and give it a go.

Did it really take you five hours to pull the compressor? Having done it
once, are there any things you would have done a second time around in order
to save time?

Thanks man
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Here was my reply:

Hey FarmboyEric...

Yeah, I do have some pointers. I hope they help you out.

First step is this. Tell yourself that you can do it......that you will not
hate Ford engineers too much....that you will be so glad once you are
finished. Take a deep breath, and proceed.

Do not forget this, when replacing the compressor, also replace the
accumulator (to maintain a warranty on the compressor), and the liquid line
(do not bother buying a orifice filter, because the orifice is built into
the liquid line). If you have the capabilities, flush the AC system....if
not, take it somewhere that can.....chances are, it will need to be done.
You may also consider replacing the belt while you have it off. I ended up
paying the following for all of these:

Compressor/Clutch Assembly ------ $324
Accumulator----------------------- $65
Liquid Line ------------------------ $130
Belt------------------------------- $24

Total ----------------------------- $543 ....... plus other
charges....(i.e anti-freeze, coolant, labor for getting the system
flushed...etc)(all-in-all, I spent about $700 to $750)

This price compared to the $1200 to $1500 that Ford wanted to charge me was
quite acceptable.

First, get the easy stuff out of the way, the accumulator. You will have to
remove the radiator coolant reservoir....on the riders side of the engine
compartment. This involves 2 or 3 screws, 3 hoses, and on electrical plug.
Once the reservoir is removed, the accumulator can be accessed. Remove the
high and low side is close to the accumulator, the other
is on the can trace the line and find it pretty easily.
Then the accumulator can be removed by taking out 2 screws on either side of
the "cage housing" it is in.

Next, remove the liquid line. This I had done after I had "fixed"
everything....or so I had thought. I had a shop do this for me and flush my
system, however, you may be able to do it yourself. Sorry I cannot be of
any more help on this particular part.

To remove the compressor, you will have to put the front end on some jacks,
and slide up under it. Remove the splash guard (about 10 or 12 small screws
if I remember correctly). Once removed, you will see a whole bunch of hoses
and junk that will be in your way. I had to actually take out the
thermostat housing and the 3 hoses attached to it, which is incased in a plastic "manifold" in line with some of
the water hoses down below. Crazy, I know, but this is how it is.

After I removed this stuff, I could access the compressor rear connection
and bottom 2 mounting bolts....but not without some twisting and tool
slinging mind you. heh heh heh.

Before you get too far with your compressor removal......go ahead and take
out the cooling fan assembly. This is easily done, and is a must. You may
also find that you will need to remove some more hoses at this point. Just
do it. I found no other way around it, and spent too long trying to find
another route. Take out the battery and the battery mounting
will see how this helps shortly.

Now you hopefully have a better path to the top of the compressor. Once you
remove the two remaining mounting screws, the unit will be free to move.
However, you will not be able to pull it up or drop it down due to
wonderfully engineered brackets/engine mounts and the frame. To get the
compressor out, I had to slide it along the front of the car, maneuvering it
VERY carefully across the radiator and its white plastic "protective"
cage....this can be done so don't give up hope, just be VERY careful, again,
not to hit your radiator with the compressor. Now you will see the path I
am suggesting. Keep sliding it across the front of the car to the area
where the battery used to sit. Here you will find it easy to lift it up and

Now wasn't that easy?!?!?!?!?!? Now once you have the new compressor
prepped, filled with oil, and plugged to not lose all of what
you just did, in reverse order. Do not forget to put a little oil in the
accumulator before you reassemble that portion. (about 2 oz. I think is what
we used.)

Once it is all done, you bow to your knees and pray to God thanking him for
giving you the patience and where-with-all to complete this hellish task.

I assume from here on out, you know what needs to be done. I hope this
helps you out, and you get your car cooling again. Let me know if this
helped or not.

10-06-2005, 11:31 AM

You rock! Thank you for this information..... I am about to give it a shot maybe. I may decide to trade this sucker in instead though.

09-10-2008, 04:06 PM
Thanks for the detailed write up on the Sable ac compressor removal. I am in the process of doing it as I write this. Dis you remove both fans or just the left fan as you face the car? Great work on the detailed write up.

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