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Old 07-29-2011, 01:53 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Top or Bottom: what is easiest way to change out a/c clutch pulley?

Hi All, I actually have two 2001 Taurus's: one an LX & the other an SE, both with over 180,000 miles. I Believe the SE has a bad fuel pump (cranks and won't catch unless we spray some starter fluid up the intake). Anyway, recently our LX (3.0L, V6 OHV) started making a loud noise from the engine compartment. The Taurus SE had also just started to make a similar sound not to long before the fuel pump died. Anyway I posted the video's on you tube under: 2001 Taurus LX Engine sounds loud (V6 3.0 auto with a/c
and another video with the serpentine belt off:
. The consensus of those who viewed the 2 viedos (and there is also another video posted showing the SE engine noise) is that there is a bad pulley bearing. I have changed out the idler pulley & tensioner pulley but the sound is there. When the serpentine belt is removed the loud noise seems to go away so it would appear that the bad pulley/bearing is probably correct. The water pump pulley turns fine in both directions. I cannot turn the a/c pulley much at all(by hand) and I am inclined to think that is the trouble. The air conditioner pumps out cold air so I think the a/c compressor is fine. I have been told that it is possible to change out the a/c clutch pulley assembly without having to discharge the a/c system & I am ready to do so. I am also aware that there are two methods to doing so. One method is to access the a/c compressor from the top, and the other method is to jack up the car and un-bolt the sub-frame. Can anyone here tell me what would be the easiest? I am not a mechanic by trade but I have had to work on cars a lot. However, when I hear "dropping the sub-frame" it sounds a little intimidating. Once I know what to do on the LX I can work on the SE. So, if anyone has the steps to either method I would appreciate if you could post them. Also, if you happen to have pictures that would be even better. All the input is greatly appreciated and I thank you in advance for advice and assistance. By the way, my shade-tree mechanic cousin mentioned something about burnishing the fan/clutch?? Anyone heard of this before?
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Old 07-29-2011, 09:51 AM   #2 (permalink)
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A/C pulley should turn very easily without the belt on.

In my experience it is far easier just to drop the subframe to change it. I've heard of people doing it from the top, but my guess is by they time they it got done I would have already finished the job from the bottom, downed a six pack and taken a nap My knuckles wouldn't be busted up either.

Edit:

As for the steps...

1. Remove the battery cables.
2. Remove the bolt through the upper motor mount.
3. Lift the front end and place the car on jack stands under the frame rails.
4. Remove the passenger side wheel.
5. Place a jack under the passenger side of the subframe.
6. Loosen the driver side subframe bolts half way.
7. Remove the passenger side subframe bolts.
8. Disconnect the passenger side strut. (I disconnected mine from the tower, but you can disconnect from the spindle as well.)
9. Slowly lower the jack under the subframe until the A/C pulley is visible.
10. Remove the 8mm bolt from the center of the clutch and remove the clutch.
11. Remove the snap ring holding on the pulley.
12. Remove the pulley. (It should come off easily, but I needed a puller for mine.)
13. Repeat process in reverse.
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Old 07-29-2011, 10:11 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I had a mobile Automotive A/C repair guy replace my Compressor (I was visiting family in Las Vegas and the pulley locked up then flew apart.) he pulled it from the top in 10 minutes! He removed the Fans and the Electrical junction boxes, which gave him enough room to pull the A/C Compressor out from the top. This guy was amazing and I don't have the A/C Recharge equipment or I would have done it myself.

Dropping the subframe for an A/C Compressor is not needed, and would be too much work to do given that a mobile repair guy took it from the top in 10 minutes, seriously I was watching and this guy just dove right in. He was a Ford Certified A/C Repair man (Worked for the local Ford dealership) He even used the redesigned factory ford unit and gave me a 2 year warranty on parts and labor.
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Old 07-29-2011, 10:22 AM   #4 (permalink)
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The kicker is that he removed the compressor, not just the clutch and pulley. If you don't have the equipment to discharge and recharge the system, removing the compressor isn't an option. With the compressor in the vehicle you only have about an inch of clearance to work with.
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Old 07-29-2011, 10:29 AM   #5 (permalink)
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^^ VERY True, it might be worth it to have a shop put a vac. on the A/C system and then you can remove it yourself, replace the clutch and then go back and have the system recharged. If the Clutch / Pulley failed it is adviseable to recharge anyway, they will add compressor oil to the system while they are refilling to prevent another failure.
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Old 07-30-2011, 10:50 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Top or Bottom: what is easiest way to change out a/c clutch pulley?

Thanks everyone. I do wish I had the equipment (and knowledge) to discharge the a/c & then pull the compressor. However, this whole adventure started because of a loud noise that started coming from the engine compartment. Subsequent troubleshooting & advice lead in the direction of a bad pulley bearing, or a pulley about to go out. Since at present, the a/c cools great, I think (hope) I can get by with just changing out the a/c clutch/pulley assembly. In reading through past threads, there seems to be 2 methods of working on the a/c compressor pulley. It appears that since I just want to change out the pulley/clutch assembly and NOT discharge/evacuate the a/c compressor; then dropping the sub frame would seem the way to go. Thankfully for me there are others who have done this procedure and have listed the steps. I did see for the first time the step to:Remove the bolt through the upper motor mount which I am not sure about. Does this mean the dog bone damper? If not, which motor mount & where is it? Anyway, I do appreciate everyone's help and advice, so please keep it coming.
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Old 07-30-2011, 02:47 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Here is a video by which to remove compressor:

Additionally i read a thread in which guy was dropping subframe. Thread went back and fourth because of the difficulties--doesn't the subframe drop involve removing the strut? That is a difficult job in itself.

Once you remove the manifold from the back of the a/c compressor to get it out in order to change the clutch you will be removing the gas from the compressor anyway and therefore need to vac the system and recharge.

PRice: a/c compressor the sytem is about 160. and what is price of clutch? Could it be possible that the compressor might eventually go anyway?
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Old 07-30-2011, 11:33 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by madscientist View Post
2. Remove the bolt through the upper motor mount.
I was referring to the dog bone.

As for dropping the subframe, I think more people are intimidated by the concept than the reality of the job. I did it in my driveway with a basic set of hand tools, a set of jack stands and a hydraulic jack. With an extra set of hands it took less than fours hours, and that was with some adult beverages involved

From a parts price point of view, I understand why it is tempting to change the entire compressor. At my parts store it was $110 versus $160. If I had had a shop do the work I would have had them change the entire compressor. However, when you add up all the parts you need to change when you change the compressor, the shop's markup on the parts and then labor costs you're looking at a minimum $700 job. For someone like myself who had a working compressor with a bad clutch/pulley, that made little economic sense. Other's mileage may vary.
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Old 07-31-2011, 11:51 AM   #9 (permalink)
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^+1 on the adult beverages!!!
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Old 07-31-2011, 12:58 PM   #10 (permalink)
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How do you know if it is a compressor vs. clutch pulley. Why do clutches go? Could it be the same reason as the compressor?

If you pull the compressor out to get the clutch off, then the manifold lines off the rear of the compressor must come off. Therefore the lines were opened and moisture got into the system. Therefore the the system needs vacuumed and and accumulator needs replaced. Right?

Hey, I'm the first one who would stand in line not to go through the pace of paying 65 bucks for accumulator, need to flush system, and replace orifice (2 bucks).

You replaced clutch, but how did you stop entry of moisture in line? HOw do you know it is not the compressor: is it because a/c is cold still?
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