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Discussion Starter #1
I found the prime weakness with the 2012 I just got is a weak AC compressor.
As such, I'll need to replace that and the condenser along with it before summer comes.
Have any of you had to replace or any other work on the compressor of a 2010 - 2012? If so, what advice and/or tips do you have?
Are after market brands like Four Seasons good for replacement AC compressor/condensers?
I can get a variety of after market compressors and condensers from Rock Auto for <$400 for the set, or from a LR dealership, the real LR ones for $513 + $625 (~$1138 for the LR set).

The compressor sits on the low left side of the engine, so getting to it from the top doesn't look like the prime access.
When I've had to replace a compressor that's mounted low before, the best (rather access easy too) access was through the bottom and the wheel well.

Anyone have any helpful input?
 

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Are you 100% sure it is weak? Is it leaking, making a noise? If it's up to pressure no leaks/dripping/corrosion and the clutch functions the compressor itself should be fine and the problem could be elsewhere, it's a very simple thing. Also make sure when the clutch snaps on the belt isn't dragging on it. I had a similar issue and found the clutch was all fouled up and only intermittently engaging. I'm working with a 4.2L so I can't comment on how tough it is to remove on a 5.0 but if it is indeed bad you must vac pump it first, probably best to just let a shop evacuate the thing before replacement unless you want to invest in the tools. Also make sure whatever compressor you order is the exact replacement. I know rock auto sells a range of them and they're all not necessarily correct or up to the task.

How do you know it's the AC compressor? Is there something obviously wrong with it?
 

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2010-2012 Range Rover MkIII / L322
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Bear in mind that if you're going to replace the condenser too (you should, when replacing the compressor) you're going to need to remove the radiator too, to gain access.

Once you have the radiator, radiator fan and fan shroud out of the way, there's more room for access to the compressor than you imagine, right now.

*As you're removing the radiator assembly, I recommend that you replace the radiator hoses as well, along with the water pump (and gaskets, along with the oil cooler pipe seal) and thermostat housing. The small, thin water pump "L" shaped hose breaks easily (gets hot, becomes brittle) so be very careful when you begin the removal of the air plenum, which sits on top of the motor.

Replace both serpentine belts and, if there's any noise from the idler pulleys, replace them too.

By sourcing the parts from Rockauto (I use them too) you can probably complete the entire "refreshment" of your cooling system and belt drive with the savings you achieve by using them for the a/c compressor and condenser, not forgetting the new drier/dessicant also needing replacement rather than sourcing the compressor from a JLR vendor. LR Direct may be worth checking to see if they have a decent price too.

Realistically, once an a/c shop has de-gassed the system, you're looking at a good weekend's worth of work to do all this but you'll have the satisfaction of doing it yourself (just once, instead of repeating the teardown if you skip the other work for a later date). Do it once, do it right.

The compressor unbolts fairly easily from underneath with the under-trays removed. Easier to replace/install with the PAS pump removed.

Get yourself a decent fan clutch removal tool. Also, I would order the correct OEM o-rings for the a/c compressor, condenser fittings and PAS pump ahead of time. They're not necessarily cheap but they don't leak, either ;)

Order them ahead of time (I use LR Direct) for maximum savings. Don't skimp on those parts. There's nothing worse than having to take it all apart again because of questionable o-rings (you can gamble and re-use the originals but I wouldn't).

Once you've switched out the a/c compressor, condenser and re-connected the a/c hoses, if you're able, pull a vacuum and then wait for 30-45 minutes to make sure that the a/c will hold the vacuum to check for potential leaks before advancing.

It probably sounds like a lot more work than you're initially contemplating but you're already going to be removing many of the items I recommend you replace, anyway. Plan ahead to save time and money.

Rob

* unless you're certain these items have already been recently replaced - 100,000+ mile vehicles would certainly benefit from replacing these before they fail.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Are you 100% sure it is weak? Is it leaking, making a noise? If it's up to pressure no leaks/dripping/corrosion and the clutch functions the compressor itself should be fine and the problem could be elsewhere, it's a very simple thing. Also make sure when the clutch snaps on the belt isn't dragging on it. I had a similar issue and found the clutch was all fouled up and only intermittently engaging. Also make sure whatever compressor you order is the exact replacement.

How do you know it's the AC compressor? Is there something obviously wrong with it?
Hi Brad-
I had an auto AC shop that does good work check it out, and separately spoke with the dealership and described what's going on, with a quick recognition of a compressor problem they've seen.
This compressor works differently from the one on pre-2010 models. There is no clutch that you can see engage or disengage. That threw me off when I was trying to identify the AC compressor. There was no clutch engagement with AC on, it's on all the time.
I wish it wasn't weak, it would be working fine if it wasn't.
A dealership quoted ~$3100 to do the job using LR-brand compressor & condenser, or ~$2300 using the OEM branded, same parts without the LR branding.

But if the compressor's reasonably easy to get to, and the condenser sits in front of the radiator, which I've replaced a few times on my '03 (same as '12); I could use the loaner vacuum pump, manifold gauge set and flush tank (optional) from the auto parts store and do it for <$500.
And as AnvilRob said, I could go ahead & replace hoses, belts & maybe radiator and check the tensioners while I'm in there.
Hoses aren't cheap, but they are 7 years old now.
 
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