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A/C clutch smoking / fire


shreaves

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92 Explorer
Ok all, I'm new on these forums, so please take it easy on the newbie here.

Background: Had problems starting the truck yesterday. Local Autozone tested battery and starter and both tested good. They gave me a new starter anyhow as I had a lifetime warranty one and it was 5 years old. Got it installed and truck started right up.

That's when I moved to the A/C issue. I tried engaging the A/C (even though it was warm) so I could go get the gauges to see if it was just low on juice. After about 10 seconds I saw sparks from around the bearing and coil area. Lokked real quick and the bearing assembly looked red hot. Turned her ignition off real fast... Guess it was pretty hot as it melted the serpentine belt off.

In the past couple weeks, the clutch did seem to engage and disengage - just repetitive on/off every 10 seconds or so. I figured I'd just leave the A/C off till I could check the pressure. Well, then the little smoke / fire incident.....

Status now: Pulley is quite loose - bearings obviously shot.

Question: from what I have stated, do you think I might get away with just replacing the bearing / pulley assembly, or need to replace the field coil too?

It looks like Autozone sells the bearing separately but other auto places only sell the set.

Thoughts almighty gurus?
 




shamaal

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With the mention of field coil and A/C in the same sentence, I want to make sure we're talking about the compressor.

Given the heat you described I'd say any insulation on the clutch coil is toast. As this occured in the bearing area and was very hot, I'd speculate that there may be significant damage to the compressor seals as well. Perhaps sending gunk through the system, you may have shut it off quickly enough; very observant. Unless you have a compressor rebuild tool set, I'd just by a new compressor and check the orifice for gunk.

Is the system R12? Consider an upgrade unless you have access to R12.

You can also purchase a belt from a parts place that does not go around the compressor. Just tell them that you don't have A/C. There should be a sticker next to the hood latch.
 
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shreaves

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Thanks for the quick reply.

Yeah, I figured as much. I've got the full set of Ford original manuals (dad bought the set shortly after he bought the truck even though he barely knows what a torque wrench is). It shows the diassembly pretty well.

I'll have to see when I can pull off the hub and bearing pulley assemblies to see further what the damage looks like at the coil. From the outside it looks alright, but it could be toasty burgers on the inside.

Fortunately the A/C had died in 2000 and dad had it rebuilt then. They did the r134 conversion at that time.

Depending on how bad it looks I may look at just the parts or at a used compressor (or bypass the thing for a while as you suggested). I only use the truck for Home Depot runs and such where I need the hauling room. Too much of a gas guzzler compared to my daily driver car and my GoldWing.
 




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