How to Replace a Mazda Tribute AC Compressor

by Lee Sallings

The Mazda Tribute comes equipped with an R134a air conditioning system. Replacement of the air conditioning compressor in this vehicle is made difficult by the location of the compressor; unlike most vehicles--in which the compressor is mounted to a bracket on the engine--the compressor in the Tribute mounts directly to the aluminum oil pan. The vehicle's tight engine compartment and unusual compressor location, therefore, make this repair comparatively challenging.

Have any remaining refrigerant in the system evacuated by a qualified technician at an auto repair shop. It is illegal to vent any form of air conditioning refrigerant into the atmosphere.

Remove the serpentine belt by rotating the tensioner, using a serpentine belt removal tool inserted in the 3/8-inch hole in the tensioner arm, and slipping the belt off the alternator pulley. The tensioner on the Tribute is located on the front of the engine, just above the crankshaft pulley.

Disconnect the A/C hose assembly from the compressor by removing the 15-mm bolt that secures it to the side of the compressor. Remove the four 10-mm bolts that attach the compressor to the oil pan, and lower the compressor to the ground.

Fill the compressor with 7 oz. of PAG air conditioning oil, by pouring the oil into the compressor while turning the compressor by hand. Install the new compressor into the SUV by bolting it into place on the oil pan, and attaching the hose assembly to the compressor. Slip the serpentine belt over the compressor pulley, and reinstall the serpentine belt on the remaining pulleys.

Attach the hoses on your A/C gauge set to the service ports located on the aluminum A/C lines under the hood of the Tribute. (The fittings on the service ports are different sizes to prevent attaching the gauges incorrectly. They can only be attached one way.) Attach the vacuum pump to the yellow hose in the center of the gauge set, and open both valves on the gauge set. Turn the vacuum pump on and allow it to run for one hour to remove all the moisture from the system.

Close the valves on the gauge set, and turn off the vacuum pump. Remove the pump from the yellow hose and attach a refrigerant can tap in its place. Attach a can of refrigerant to the can tap and open the can with the tap. Start the engine and set the dash controls to "MAX" air conditioning, with the blower set on medium. Open the blue valve on the gauge set to allow the refrigerant to flow into the system. When the can is empty, close the blue valve and install additional cans until the system is full. Refer to the decal on the radiator support for the exact capacity of refrigerant for your year model.

Items you will need

About the Author

Lee Sallings is a freelance writer from Fort Worth, Texas. Specializing in website content and design for the automobile enthusiast, he also has many years of experience in the auto repair industry. He has written Web content for eHow, and designed the DIY-Auto-Repair.com website. He began his writing career developing and teaching automotive technical training programs.