If you remove the lines from the compressor, it will vent the refrigerant to the atmosphere which you will then have to pay for again. Then you will have to take it to a shop to pull vacuum on the system and have it refilled. If you bring it to a shop in the first place, they can recover the refrigerant and put it back into the system. If you try to fill it yourself using a kit from autozone you won't be able to get the air out of the system which will lead to compressor problems down the road.
All of that above is in addition to the fact that depending on how your compressor went out, if the system has been contaminated with metal shards it will have to be cleaned out.
I think you could do the replacement of the compressor yourself, that much is easy. But to get it working right you'll need to bring it to a professional, unless of course you have the right tools to do everything yourself which is not normal.
The compressor seized up. I had the defrost on one morning because it was a chilly morning and I was driving to work, started to smell smoke and when I pulled into the parking lot smoke started coming out of the engine compartment. So I don't know if the clutch just didn't engage or what actually caused it to seize.
ERIK|1998 Chevrolet Camaro SS #2008 "Claire" PaceSetter LT's|ORY|BorlaMouth into CME w/ 6LE "Double D" Tips|LS6 Intake|Ported TB|SLP CAI|MSD Wires|Yella Terra Roller Rockers|SLP STB|UMI Adj. LCA's|UMI Adj. PHB|Strano Springs|Koni 4/3's|Frame Ties|Tuned
Erik, if you replace it yourself, replace the ac dryer as well before you take it in to have it evacuated and recharged. Napa carries the dryers. Also do not forget to replace the line seals. They look kinda like washers. You can do it. It is not that hard. Oh and mine was empty of refrigerant already from a leak though.
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I had to go through this mental battle a couple of years ago too. I decided to have mine changed professionally and it cost me right at $1000. However, by the time you take it to a shop to have it evacuated, then replace the parts, and then take it back to the shop to have it refilled, I think you're looking at around $600 in parts and labor if I remember correctly. However, the posts about getting everything flushed out correctly to make sure the new parts don't fail is what convinced me to have it done. I didn't want to pay $600 and do it myself only to have to do it again a year later if I didn't get all the metal shavings out from when my compressor failed. I figured I'd rather pay the extra $300-$400 to have it done by a shop with a warranty, then do it myself and hope I got all the metal shavings out...