Right now my TJ sits in my garage, disabled for who knows how long.
This all started because the A/C clutch on my new TJ had some broken parts on it. I could either throw $50-100 at it in clutch parts to fix it or I could drop $184 on a brand new, non-rebuilt
compressor (one of my friends owns a Carquest so I get a good deal on parts). I figured with the rest of the whole system being 14 years old, that wouldn't be a bad idea even though it was just a bit more than messing with the clutch. My friend also has the vacuum pump and set of gauges, and has done this job about 5 times himself. I'm pretty mechanically inclined and pay attention to detail so I wasn't too scared to jump into A/C work. I also have a copy of the '97 Wrangler factory service manual on PDF (let me know if you want a copy) so I had a fairly good guide which was specific to my Jeep.
I got started on the project last night and things were going well. When I flushed the system I ended up blowing PAR oil all over the engine compartment but that was about the only bad thing that occurred. All connections came apart fairly easily so that wasn't an issue. This morning, I prepped the new compressor for installation and added the proper amount of oil to my accumulator. I installed the new accumulator and everything seemed to fit up fine to the outlet of the evaporator coil and the suction hose to the compressor. Then, when I went to install the new orifice tube line assembly, I noticed something was out of wack...the goosenecked outlet of the accumulator is too high and will not allow a straight shot into the evaporator inlet with the orifice tube hose. I know this sounds like jibberish but wait for the photos.
At this point, I'm thoroughly frustrated... after calling my friend to let him now that his accumulator sucks, I made a call to AutoZone and Oreilly to check for accumulators. Both stores have one in stock within a 20 min drive of me. I head to Autozone first and looked at their accumulator; exact same problem. I then went to Oreilly Auto; they showed me the photo on their computer first and it looked perfect. The gooseneck was lower than the inlet which is what it needs to look like. They brought the box out and I opened it up; much to my dismay, the part in the box did not match the photo in their computer!! It looked just like the Carquest and Auto Zone accumulators. The parts lady asked if I wanted to look in their book and see is one matched up to what I needed. I said sure, and then began flipping through the accumulator catalog. "There it is", I thought! Wait a second... thats the same Murray 33570 that they brought out to me which is made differently than what the computer and catalog show. After figuring that out, I asked if there was someone at corporate who I could alert this issue to so that someone else didn't make the same mistake.... she basically said that they wouldn't care.
Now, I sit at my house with a broken Jeep in the garage and no leads on the correct Accumulator. So much for taking a nice trip to the beach today in my new TJ....
Some pics to show you whats going on:
The original accumulator as installed. Note that the gooseneck just passes under the inlet tube to the evaporator. They are both separated by a clip with about a 1/8" gap.
Another photo of the original as installed.
The original accumulator pulled out. See the outlet gooseneck?
What the photo in Oreilly's book shows. Looks okay right?
The actual part that Oreilly is supplying.
So what should I do guys? Are your Wranglers set up the same way? I think this design is the same for '97 and '98 but may have changed in '99. I'm at my wits end and my wife is yelling at me about a Jeep I just spent money on and is now sitting in the garage. Any help or ideas would be much appreciated.
Thanks so much,