How to remove the AC Compressor

Write ups and tutorials for maintenance and modifications.

How to remove the AC Compressor

Postby vash169 » Fri Dec 12, 2008 4:30 pm

The writeup at is good to give you a general idea of what's involved. But, after doing it there's a lot of details that weren't mentioned that could have saved some time. So I'm going to give a step by step into removing the parts so that there's as few bumps in the road as possible. Note that this is for the ST185, but I have no reason to think the 165 is any different. Mind that I did this with a 3’ downpipe so no primary cat to get in the way, this shouldn’t change anything but it might give you less space to work with.

It starts with having the right parts. As you may have seen, the accessory belt runs the AC and alternator, with the smooth side of the belt against the tensioner. With the AC gone suddenly the original belt is too big. I used Goodyear belt #4050395, which I just managed to fit on with the tensioner pulley all the way in. As for the pulley wheel itself, some people just run the grooved part of the belt along the original smooth wheel, but that's the sort of thing that would annoy me to the grave. I don't like to play the 'maybe' game, so I got a brand shiny new grooved wheel from Toyota, part #16603-88360. It comes with a new bearing installed, which is good because yours is probably as old as the engine itself so you don't want to reuse it.

Have your AC drained and depressurized by a garage. Attempting to remove the lines while it’s still full will be like a grenade full of Freon going off, and you most certainly need your hands to not require amputation to continue.

There's a few things you have to remove in order to access the AC compressor, as well as give it space to be removed;

Use either a small ratchet or a longish ratcheting box wrench (12mm) to extend the pulley, then remove the old belt.

Pop off the negative terminal on your battery, then unplug the alternator, remove it's bolts, then remove it. If your plug is all gross and stuck like mine, you can leave it plugged in and set it down out of the way, no sense in trying to pry them apart and having one more thing to fix right now.

Remove the bracket that held the alternator in place, 3 long screw (14mm) are holding this in. Also remove the tensioner pulley bracket, which should now be held in with one screw near the bottom. At this point you can switch the pulley with the grooved one, or if you're really keen you can sandblast it and the alternator bracket to help clean up that side of the engine bay.

The only thing between you and the compressor now is the spout that contains your thermostat. It's up to you how you want to do this, if you want to just drain and replace all your coolant then go ahead and drain it now. If you don't want to or don't have a way to drain and replace at your disposal, like I did, then you better have plenty of paper towels handy. When you disconnect that spout all the coolant within that hose will start to pour out, but the majority of your coolant is held in by your thermostat so as long as that stays in place and you keep the hose as high up as you can you won't lose a whole lot. It’s held in place by 2 screws, remove those then ziptie it out of your way.

You should have easy access to the compressor now. Two coolant lines need to be disconnected, and three long screws hold it in place. If you find the bottom 2 screws are hard to get at, it’s probably easier to get at them from underneath. Unplug, or just cut the wires going to it (you can safely cut the wires with no CEL or any ill effects). You can now lift the compressor up and out, maybe have a friend help guide it out so you don’t bump anything as it is a bit heavy.

Reattach your radiator hose, don’t forget to refill the rad! Put the alternator bracket back on, and using it as a guide you can put the pulley tensioner back on properly. Install the alternator. Slip the shiny new belt on and tighten the tensioner down until the belt is fairly tight. Checking the original belt’s tension beforehand will give you a decent idea of how tight to make it. Plug the battery in and fire it up, you may hear a squeal as the new belt settles into the tracks. Observe the new belt for a few seconds to make sure everything looks fit, it all should be rock solid. Turn the car off and double check the tension on the belt, the loosening that will have occurred due to the belt falling into the track should be unnoticeable by hand.

All done! You’ve successfully removed the AC compressor. You can drive around with all the lines still hanging there for now, as long as the ones from the compressor don’t bounce around and hit anything. I actually cut mine apart with a hacksaw to make removal easier. I’ll continue this writeup once I can get into a garage again. Next step will be removal of the rest of the lines!
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Postby JDM GT-Four » Sun Mar 29, 2009 2:12 am

thanks for the write up!! this is going to be my next weekend project! :P
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Postby timmey » Sat Oct 10, 2009 9:23 pm

Hey guys,

I can't seem to find the Toyota part # for the belt used here, my supplier doesn't do Goodyear. There was a thread with pictures of this install and the Toyota part numbers that another guy did, but I can't find it now after several searches. Better yet, what year/model belt works for this mod...some st182 non-ac?

If someone knows the article I speak of, please let me know the link! The guy did it all with Toyota parts; an OEM pulley and OEM an belt.


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Postby vash169 » Wed Oct 21, 2009 3:33 pm

Toyota #99365-01000 is the belt in question. I bought this one and the Goodyear to give myself options if one didn't seem right. The Toyota one is a bit shorter than the Goodyear, I wasn't able to get it on right away so I just went with Goodyear.

I believe the Toyota belt will fit if you retract the pulley tensioner the entire way, which I'm pretty sure I didn't do (it was cold in the garage, I didn't want to hang around testing things more than I had to).
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Re: How to remove the AC Compressor

Postby TRDcelica90 » Sun Jan 24, 2010 2:38 am

great write up love when people go the extra mile..

can any1 confirm that the toyota belt will fit??

doing this today lol
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Re: How to remove the AC Compressor

Postby underscore » Sat Sep 10, 2011 6:16 am

I found there was only 2 bolts holding in the actual compressor, and they were at the base/bottom? :shrug:
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