Compare the weights of the old and the new dryers. The new one probably is much lighter. That means you need to install the new one, because the old one is loaded with crud and moisture.
most manuals recommend that you replace the accumulator whenever you replace the compressor.
More than likely the metal is coming from the compressor. Replace the compressor along with the accumulator/receiver dryer and orifice tube/expansion valve. It is difficult to flush all of the metal out of the system but you must try. Any metal left in the system will eventually destroy the new compressor.
The air conditioner/compressor sits on the front passenger side on top of the fender. Remove the water reservoir and then you can disconnect and remove the air compressor. I do not know yet how to remove the air dryer as I cannot see how to remove the air lines from the dryer. I did remove the dryer from the compressor though, by removing a single screw then turning the 1/4 turn and pulling it out of the compressor....so at worst I will be able to put my new compressor in with the old dryer.
You should be able to ask at the autoparts store that the rebuilt compressor came from. Usually a system without rear ac has 8oz. of oil in it if the whole system was evacuated. You need to add at least a couple onces of PAG oil (probably PAG 150 for yours, but confirm it first) into the suction side of the compressor before you install it, then turn it on the clutch end and let it stand for a few minutes to lube the internal front seal. After that install it and once the lines are connected you must rotate the compressor (make sure you are rotating the compressor and not just the clutch) about 10 times to clear the oil out. If you have any trouble adding the oil to the compressor you can rotate it as you add it to pull it in also. You then should have replaced the orfice tube and accumulator/receiver/dryer anytime you replace a compressor and you will add a couple onces of oil into the accumulator/receiver/dryer as well before you install the new one. They both are cheap parts normally. If you replaced the condensor then you need to add a few onces oil into the new one as well. I dealership might be able to tell you more if you ask the parts or service dept. or your local parts stores etc...
It is recommend, my air bags finally went out on my 01 Expy and I just replaced them with a new after market set from Suncore Industies. They highly recommended replacement of the dryer. It will extened the life of the air compressor. I replaced the air dryer being I still had my original OEM. The entire job was easy to do and everthing works great.
You are better off replacing the whole compressor. You can purchase a remanufactured compressor for $30 more and it comes with a 1 year warranty. Also replace the dryer/accumulator with this. It only has 4 bolts that hold the compressor on and it's a one for one swap. First, remove the hoses from the dryer SLOWLY!!! This will allow the system to depressurize. Once the air stops hissing, remove the front and rear connectors from the dryer. Remove the 4 main bolts from the compressor and the one bolt holding the hose connections. Remove the serpentine belt and lift off the compressor. CAUTION****** Drain the oil from the compressor and fill the new one with the same amount of new GM AC oil. Install the new dryer and the new compressor. After installation, I suggest taking the vehicle to a service shop and have them vacuum the system and recharge it. You just saved yourself approximately $400 anyway, so having a professional perform these tasks is only a few dollars. This could save your new ac system in the long run.
The compressor compresses air and send it to either a wet tank or directly to the air dryer. Oil and moisture in the compressed air are absorbed by the desiccant in the air dryer canister. When the compressor signals cut out, it also send a signal to the dryer to open the purge valve, which purges the canister.
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