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a/c clutch, compressor bad?

Discussion in 'Under the Hood' started by Pokface, December 28, 2004.

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    1. Pokface

      Pokface New Member

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      I suspect one or both are bad.

      when I turn on the a/c, an awful noise and I get sparking and smoking from the clutch area but belt spins ok. With the air off, it doesnt smoke, and I hear lots less noise.

      I assume the clutch is locked up since it doesnt turn. but how do I determin if its the clutch or the compressor or both?
       
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    3. Eneurb

      Eneurb Active Member

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      If you can't turn the clutch disc (not the pulley) by hand when the engine is NOT running, the compressor is seized. Since you have no problems when not using the A/C, it would lead me to believe that the clutch is okay, but if you're going to replace the compressor, I would install a new clutch field, disc and pulley.
       
    4. Pokface

      Pokface New Member

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      thanks for the quick response.

      I tried to turn the clutch disc by turning the small 3/8" bolt in the center of the clutch assembly and it does not turn. I'm afraid to put too much muscle on such a small bolt it feels like it might strip and you did say "should turn by hand meaning easy to turn". I guess that confirms it's the compressor then.

      the next step is to bypass the compressor or replace it. From searching here it seems I can get a belt for a non a/c engine and bypass the compressor.
      If I was to replace. Right off teh bat im in the hole cause I dont have any a/c tools and I'm unemployed. Would it be cheaper on me to replace parts and let a shop evacuate it and charge it? how should I proceed?
       
    5. Glacier991

      Glacier991 EF Tranny Guru Moderator Emeritus

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      for now I'd bypass it. If your compressor is seized... a proper repair is going to require replacement of a lot of parts that are more than likely contaminated... when you are better off you can see about doing that, but if you start now you'll be into a project that COULD likely be expensive. So, my advice? Bypass for now.

      (if you want more info do a search using the search terms "black death".)
       
    6. Pokface

      Pokface New Member

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      thanks for your feedback. I figured with my luck it had to be bad. "black death" they named it right - sounds real bad like a plague.

      I did the search (thanks for that) and it seems a very good indicator is the condition of the orifice tube
      http://www.ackits.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=Black+Death

      Is there any harm in checking this orifice tube. If its fried I cant hurt it any worse right? If the tube looks ok any harm or is there an immediacy to close the system back up and evacuate to avoid future contamination or something?

      I am reading the archived posts regardless.
       
    7. Eneurb

      Eneurb Active Member

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      You can't check the oriface tube with out evacuating the system. Just because the compressor is seized, it doesn't mean that the system is empty. Repairs would involve replacement of the compressor, oriface tube, accumulator and a flush and re-oiling of all the lines and cores, and with most compressors, the installation of an inline filter.
       
    8. Pokface

      Pokface New Member

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      OK didn't know it had to be evacuated I thought I could just release the pressure.

      One more question, if I may. Why does the clutch/compressor whatever make noise with the a/c off? does it mean the clutch is going bad as well (it got so hot that all the paint peeled off and it is rusting - not a good sign huh)? If it wasnt for that noise I would just drive it as is without using the a/c or can I still use it as is in your opinion?
       
    9. Glacier991

      Glacier991 EF Tranny Guru Moderator Emeritus

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      Clutches are not terribly difficult to understand. The coil and the receiving plates are bolted to the compressor. The pulled plates spin with the pulley. Add electricity and the electromagnet pulls them across the air gap and they act like any other clutch.

      If the compressor is seized... when it tries to lock up you get sparks and maybe smoke from the belt... oin the Ex that clutch operates even with out AC on... (defrost etc). If it IS the compressor alone... unplugging the electromagnetic clutch will solve the problem... it freewheels in the "off" position. (I often unplug mine in winter for periods of time). If the clutch is bad, or had gone bad as a result of a seized compressor (somethig I have not experienced but suspect anecdotally)... engaging the clutch will be problematic as well. Usually, replacing the clutch and compressor together is a good idea. GO to an AC supply house for an Explorer AC compressor (fs-10 or fx-15).. I hate to dis anyone, but the reman's from the usual places are not all that good.

      I guess to answer your Q directly... if you unplug the clutch wire harness and it still makes noise, don't use it ... bypass it or fix it.

      Last point... the Explorer AC compressors are amongst the worst on the market reliability wise. Be interesting to see how many make it to or past 100,000 miles. or 60.
       
    10. Glacier991

      Glacier991 EF Tranny Guru Moderator Emeritus

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      Oh, another point. You are correct that the first line of defense is the orifice tube. the screen there can catch a lot of the debris. It kind of serves as the canary in the mine, so to speak. BUT.... a clean one is a good sign, a dirty one does not mean nothing got downstream.

      A charge should properly be captured not discharged into the atmosphere. but YOU can do all the work back to the point of recharge. In the Useful Threads forum I did a thread on changing over from R-12 or R-134 that ended up being a compendium of auto AC... it's a few years old now but chock full of interesting and good info... check it out....it's WAY more than just a thread on converting anymore.
       
    11. Pokface

      Pokface New Member

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      I went with glacier's advice to bypass the compressor. The parts store had a belt for a '95 without a/c for $18. changed it with the help of the "list of useful threads area" under how to change of fan belt on a 95+, although the sticker on the frame spelled it out as well). Need to get a service manual if I continue to drive a 10yr old X with 130k miles one her - thats for sure. any idea where and how much a good service manual?

      Just for kicks, I removed the clutch disc. It was easy enuough - remove center bolt. little bits of debris was everywhere and all the ball bearings were dry as a bone. definately would have been a problem if I kept using it.

      Anyway thanks to both of you guys for your help. I have read up on the a/c stuff (very good read and lots of it :) but will hold off on the a/c for now. It does seem to be an interesting challenge and one to add to the skills aquired
       
    12. Eneurb

      Eneurb Active Member

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      If you take your time, the A/C repair is quite simple, it's just the parts that'll run you a few bucks.
       

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