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I just bought my 2003 TDI and unfortunately the AC doesn't work. After taking it to a shop, I found out that the AC clutch has basically rusted away and is no longer there. First question: Is this common or normal for a 2003 automatic with 172k miles?

The shop said I cannot just buy a new clutch assembly, that a new compressor is the only way to go. Second question: Is this true or do I have other options?

Finally, I am on a budget so if possible I am willing to do this myself. Is this a fairly easy procedure to do given that I have an approved establishment release the system charge and then recharge it after installation?

Any feedback is greatly appreciated!
 

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I don't know about the TDI, but I'm faced with replacing the compressor in my '04 1.8t and it is BURIED in there. High lowside pressure--reeds shot, 236k. Same issue with a '98 happened after 175k or so. Lots of stuff has to come off such as the alternator, etc.

Even if you could only buy the clutch, which I think IS possible, you would still probably have to remove the compressor to install it. This is one of those items that you should consider either replacing other stuff while apart such as belts and/or consider letting a shop do it (and have to warranty it). If you have gauges, hook up one to see what the "static" pressure is. If 75psi or lower you could probably release into the atmosphere SLOWLY or you will lose oil. Follow directions that come with a new compressor--too MUCH oil is a bad thing...

First see if you can turn the compressor (not where the belt rides) by hand to make sure it hasn't self-destructed... If the compressor blew up it will require the system be flushed of metal particles...

PS: I'm thinking of getting this compressor "KIT" for my car for $225: LINK . If your system has held pressure, there is a good chance that the hoses, evaporator and condensor are NOT leaking. And if convenient, sure, go ahead and have a shop recover the 134 refrigerant out of it.
 
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