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Clutch Only versus Compressor Assembly Replacement

Discussion in 'Stock 2002 - 2005 Explorers' started by we87, July 20, 2019.

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  1. we87

    we87 New Member

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    2004 Explorer XLT 4.0 v6 with 200,000 miles

    Air conditioning has been working fine, car is working fine. A few days ago I get home from work and shut down the engine and I hear what can only be described as a fan being slowed down with a piece of cardboard, noise is coming from under the hood.

    Mechanic friend looks at it, tells me it's the clutch for the AC compressor going bad.

    Car still works fine, ac still blowing cold, and clutch engages and disengages just fine. Only issue is when the AC shuts off even with the engine running, the AC clutch makes the noise. I'm assuming it's a bad bearing in the pulley after doing some reading.

    Called around to some mechanics and explained I want to only replace the clutch assembly, not the whole compressor - and they either hang up on me or tell me that's only going to cause more issues if I do that. Nobody wants to only replace the clutch. And everyone thinks I'm crazy when I ask if it's possible to replace the clutch without removing it from the engine.

    Is it really that uncommon of a thing to replace clutch only?
    Since I don't have a compressor failure, will I need to replace condenser and evaporator and orifice tube and all that jazz, too?
    If I do go with replacing the compressor, I'll be going with the one O'Reilly has that's from the brand Murray for $300. Opinions?

    By the way I cannot do the work myself, I have to hire somebody. My body isn't what it used to be.

    Thanks for reading my rant. I appreciate all your information and help.
     
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  3. Joe in NY

    Joe in NY Active Member

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    NAPA reman units are good. It's almost as much work to replace the clutch as it is the whole compressor. So, logic says new compressor is a better path as you wont go back in twice. Not wroth mechanics time anymore to be replacing AC clutches, voltage regulators, etc. Remove and replace whole assemblies.
     
  4. we87

    we87 New Member

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    Thank you for the reply.

    I can understand not wanting to do double the work, I just assumed it was a easier fix that it actually is. I also assumed new after market compressor isn't as good as factory working just fine compressor. But I'm realizing that isn't true either.

    I've been reading conflicting information about the rest of the system though - if I don't have an issue with the compressor, just the clutch and the whole compressor assembly is getting replaced : is it okay that everything else is staying the same? Evaporator coil etc
     
  5. Joe in NY

    Joe in NY Active Member

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    If you had no issues prior, and find no evidence of compressor failing upon removal, then it does not warrant replacing the orifice tube & drier. Be sure to remove and replace in the same day, have PAG46 oil handy, and a measuring cup ready. You'll need to drain the old compressor of oil and measure what came out, and then refill the new compressor with the same amount of new oil. Vacuum down for an hour, let rest for an hour as a leak check, and then recharge.

    Also recommend to check if the compressor comes with new manifold seals and if it doesn't buy new ones so that there will minimal risk of a leak when done.
     
  6. 974X4BLACKSPORT

    974X4BLACKSPORT Active Member

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    I would replace just the clutch, I have done this many times in the past, however this was on older cars where there was ample room to work, it requires a special tool to (puller) to remove and install the clutch, on a newer car like a 2004 Expl, there may not be enough room to work with the compressor mounted on the engine. Before you discharge the a/c system, take a look at your a/c compressor mounted on the front of the engine and see if there is enough room to work on the front of the compressor using the clutch removal tool, or is it possible to make room for the tool?
     
  7. we87

    we87 New Member

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    Thanks guys for the information.

    I will have my mechanic measure the oil that's a great tip. Thanks.

    I don't see enough room to get a pulley puller in there. Honestly there's not enough room for a hammer enough to whack everything back on IF you were to get it all off. There's a metal tube in the way that I'm assuming is one the AC lines, and it doesn't look like it can be moved easily.
     
    Last edited: July 23, 2019
  8. we87

    we87 New Member

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    Here's some pictures of the compressor.

    I would personally LOVE to replace the clutch only, and honestly see if I'm correct in thinking that it's just the pulley that's the problem too. But I just don't have the tools or know how. Just what I've seen on YouTube and of course it looks easy on there, it only takes 3 minutes and 22 seconds to do it (I'm being sarcastic of course)

    20190723_194745.jpg

    20190723_194741.jpg
     
  9. Joe in NY

    Joe in NY Active Member

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    Get those battery terminals cleaned up and painted!
     
  10. 974X4BLACKSPORT

    974X4BLACKSPORT Active Member

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    Nice pictures, it looks like there is plenty of room in front of the a/c comp. to change the clutch, but first, remove the serpentine belt and give the pulley on the a/c compr. a spin with the hand and listen to see if the pulley bearing is making noise, then give the pulley a wiggle side to side and see if there is slop in the bearing, this will verify if the noise you hear is actually coming from the a/c comp. clutch pulley bearing.
     
  11. we87

    we87 New Member

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    Well my mechanic replaced the clutch assembly, but it's still making the same noise. But I'm almost positive the clutch plate (front disk looking thing) got bent when he installed it. It looks been when I look straight down on it.

    So I am hoping I can remove the plate and replace it with the original plate, or buy another plate by itself. I'm hoping this is something I can do myself because I don't trust that guy to do any more work on this truck.
     
  12. we87

    we87 New Member

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    Ok. Mechanic I had was a complete idiot.

    The nut I took off the compressor was a standard nut, and barely on there at that maybe two threads. I basically removed it with my fingers.

    I've attached a picture of the spindle/bolt coming out of the compressor. This is what I'm left with.

    I do not know what the original but was, or where it is. I have been to the hardware store and bought several nuts. I believe it's a M8x125 nut but I still do not know for certain because I can't get ANYTHING to thread this tore of spindle.

    Is there anything I can do to try and force a nut on here? Does anyone know what kind of nut I need?

    Screenshot_20190725-191801_Gallery.jpg
     
  13. 974X4BLACKSPORT

    974X4BLACKSPORT Active Member

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    The pinched threads on the shaft will have to be filled with a small file, or a thread chase will be needed to remove the damaged threads to allow the nut to thread on without further damage. It looks like someone used a standard pulley puller and not the proper removal/install tool.
     
  14. we87

    we87 New Member

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    I've never heard of thread chasing? Is that different than tap and die?

    I had a tap and die kit from harbor freight. Tried to use that and couldn't get it on the bolt. Tried and tried and tried.

    Used a Dremel with a wire brush to try and smooth it out a little. Didn't help much.

    Went to summit and they recommended me a thread filing tool that has different pitch etched in it and I used that, didn't help much for either.

    There was about 5 guys out there all day yesterday until the wee hours of the morning, my family members and I and just couldn't get a nut to screw on properly.
     
  15. 974X4BLACKSPORT

    974X4BLACKSPORT Active Member

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    Take a grinder and grind the shaft square on the end until the damaged thread is gone, then clean, de-burr/ chamfer the end.
     
  16. we87

    we87 New Member

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    Okay so bolt has been fixed. I'm not sure which tool actually fixed it or what magic happened but I am able to remove the nut and put it back with no problems - fantastic.

    But after removing the clutch plate, and trying different shims/washers to change the Gap and making sure the bolt is securely in place - nothing has changed. I still have that noise when the compressor actually shuts off.

    I've attached to YouTube video links to show what's going on.

    Compressor still works, air is still blowing cold and for all intents and purposes EVERYTHING is working fine except for the noise. Noise doesn't happen while driving unless the air is switched off. I'm in Texas so it's hot here right now, I start the truck with the air on and turn off the truck with the air still on and only hear the noise when I park.

    I did try to put the old factory clutch plate back on just because, and it doesn't work. It engages but doesn't hold the engagement and spins while the compressor is on. Kinda looks like the magnet isn't powerful enough to pull the factory clutch plate in. I'm sure it's just not calibrated for the factory clutch plate.

    I do not know what else to try.
     
  17. Joe in NY

    Joe in NY Active Member

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    Ohhhhhhhhhhh!

    You *need* a new compressor. This is a very fascinating issue. These compressors are scroll compressors. They can be spun either direction but are directional. Early scroll compressors in residential hvac system made this exact same noise. Until the addition of a one way clutch. When the motor, or clutch, is shut off, the pressure forces the scroll to orbit in reverse causing this loud chattering. So when your clutch disengages the pressure is orbiting the scroll in reverse and spinning the clutch backwards. The real noise is coming from the orbital mechanism and scroll running backwards and chattering.
     
  18. Joe in NY

    Joe in NY Active Member

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    Check these vids out:



     
  19. we87

    we87 New Member

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    Well that is some unfortunate news ☹️

    I wish I would have uploaded some videos before I bought the clutch and paid for the install, would have saved me all kinds of headache.

    Coincidentally, today my wife drove it to the store just a few blocks away and she said she saw smoke from under the hood. When I got there I noticed the clutch wasn't engaging. I thought I just put too many shims in place so I drove it home with the AC off and waited for it to cool down and removed one of the two shims. It's still not engaging.

    I've uploaded two videos. First one is manually making the clutch engage by putting power to the relay and hearing and seeing it "click". The second video is the engine turning off and on so you guys could see what it's doing.

    I guess it's just completely given up the ghost, right?

    Important question: do y'all think it's safe to drive if the AC is off?



     
  20. Donystoy

    Donystoy Elite Explorer

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    I agree that the early scroll compressors in residential A/C had the occasional issue. I have only had an issue after an intermittent power failure years ago before installing a thermostat that has a time delay feature on start up.
    If this was true with the compressors in our Explorers why is everyone's A/C not having the same issue. If this was an issue it should only happen for a brief period of time after the clutch disengages. When the clutch is disengaged, it is only spinning on its own bearing and doing nothing to the compressor. Since everything works fine when it is engaged I certainly think that the issue is solely with the clutch. Having said that, If I was having the same issue and giving that my compressor is the original, I would probably replace the compressor and clutch as a package. Then on the other hand I retired from the industry so I have all the tools to do it myself.
     
  21. we87

    we87 New Member

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    I had no issues replacing the compressor as a whole, before I started.... But all of the advice I was given was don't get an aftermarket compressor because they're not as good as the original factory Ford one and I couldn't afford the motorcraft replacement so I was told "Well, it's only the clutch anyway. Should be easy" by several people. Believe me if I was to do it over again I'd replace the compressor.

    But here I am. At this point I don't even know if I should try to diagnose anything. I'm scared that the belt will pop if I keep at it, blind, not really knowing what I'm looking for or doing. I dunno.
     

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