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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Sorry to post about this again but I'm really stuck and I need some help.

A/C went from ice cold to zero cooling at all. This change wasn't noticeably gradual--it happened either immediately or over the course of a day at most.

Observed symptoms: Clutch hub does not appear to lock up with the compressor pulley when the A/C is switched on, and the clutch hub spins very slowly and at erratic speeds whether the A/C is switched on or not. I also can hear what I would call a subtle metallic scraping sound with the car running and the hood open from what I believe is the A/C pulley.

My new theory is that the pulley bearing is beginning to seize up and is actually grabbing the compressor shaft, turning it slowly even when the A/C is off.

But if that's true, then I don't understand why that would prevent the clutch from mating to the pulley when the A/C is turned on. This sounds like a bad coil IMO, but then a bad coil wouldn't explain the clutch hub moving slowly even when the A/C is off, right? So which is it?

FYI, just as a quick test I swapped out the #22 10A fuse next to the battery, and it made no difference.

I badly need help with this diagnosis. Thank you!
 

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Steve, you just need to install a new clutch/coil before the it locks up and snaps the belt (more common to happen on DOHCs). It's at the age where it needs to be done anyways.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Steve, you just need to install a new clutch/coil before the it locks up and snaps the belt (more common to happen on DOHCs). It's at the age where it needs to be done anyways.
Yeah, just trying to understand what's going on. The whole set is hardly any more money than just a clutch or just a coil anyway and 90% of the work on Vulcans is just getting to the damn thing, which is what I'm worried about. Car has a bad history of eating through bolts--pinch bolts and swaybar bolts just snapped off, so I'm sure the subframe bolts will do the same. Fortunately this time around I've got an impact wrench so... fingers crossed.

I'm taking the belt off this weekend to make sure the compressor itself isn't seized up and then ordering parts to do the job next weekend. Was going to leave this til next spring until I realized the bearing is going and not just the clutch or coil. Sigh.

Had this car coming up on 7 years and I'm afraid it's getting close to being sold...
 

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You have an impact? Yea your life will be better now :) You did see the recent thread about doing the clutch/coil job on a Vulcan right? Lots of good tips in there (I know you know your way around a car though...)

Ah c'mon man, don't dump the car over a couple hundred buck repair you can do on your own. At least you noticed the issue before the clutch burned up...then this would cost more $$$.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
You have an impact? Yea your life will be better now :) You did see the recent thread about doing the clutch/coil job on a Vulcan right? Lots of good tips in there (I know you know your way around a car though...)

Ah c'mon man, don't dump the car over a couple hundred buck repair you can do on your own. At least you noticed the issue before the clutch burned up...then this would cost more $$$.
Well... I do okay but this is probably a bigger job than anything I've done before. In theory not that bad without the rust, but honestly the rust has been what's made every job torture on this thing... struts, drum brakes, swaybar links...

The thing is about to turn 10 years old and if the compressor isn't seized up then I'd say I got lucky, because that's pushing a $1,000 repair at a shop on a car that I'd be lucky to get $3,000 for. I'd actually be willing to get a vacuum pump to recover the refrigerant myself, but AFAIK replacing the accumulator involves removing the exhaust and I'm simply not doing to do that on this particular car. If the compressor goes then I gots problems and it could happen any time...

It's not so much about this repair that I am thinking about tossing the car. It's just the potential for what else is likely to break at this age. Plus I think the main bearings aren't in the best shape (oil pressure is less than outstanding).

Yeah I've gone through tons of threads about doing this job. I at least understand how this all works. I just don't yet understand exactly what failed, but I'll find out if I manage to get it all apart.

I just need to find another $5,000 Taurus, around the 2006 era. :) Seriously though I need to get a truck...
 

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Steve, i will be replacing my clutch/pulley in next month or so. Have a small sound coming from it. Plan on going subframe route. You mentioned replacing accumulator. On my 03 vulcan, exhaust removable isn't necessary to remove accumulator. If you replace accumulator you will need to vac system of course and then optional to replace compressor vs. clutch/pulley.

You probably saw link video below to remove compressor, if you haven't then check it out.

 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
Thanks scooter. Yeah I'm gonna try the subframe route too. The front struts were replaced a few years back by a shop so hopefully I can get the strut and swaybar unhooked without a huge debacle. I think it's just going to be all about getting all the subframe bolts out without breaking anything and being a car short until I can get what I need to fix anything that doesn't go smoothly.

On the accumulator... Yeah I'm not going to change it. I just meant if it was the whole compressor that died instead of just the pulley and clutch, the compressor would have to come out, system evac, new accumulator, new orifice tube, and recharge. More work than I feel good about attempting myself without a spare vehicle, plus I'd need a few hundred bucks in tools and gauges to do it. That's why I say, I'm probably going to unload this car not to long from now because this is something reasonably likely to break in the near future. Let it be someone else's problem. :) Just don't want the hassle...
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
Just wanted to follow up on this in case anyone was following the thread or this comes up in a search later. Think I've got this wrapped up for now.

I took the serpentine belt off this afternoon to identify the problem. The two clutch hub discs separated, so the triangular plate and the circular plate are no longer directly connected, and all three of the rubber dampers have magically disappeared completely. If the dampers were what was keeping the plates together, then I'm guessing they have rotted away over time until the torque of the clutch engaging finally threw off whatever was left of them.

The reason the clutch still spins slowly even with the A/C off is that the circular plate of the clutch hub is rubbing against the pulley and dragging on it since it's no longer attached to the triangular plate.

As to why the clutch won't engage when the A/C is turned on... I assume that the clutch plate being separated is the cause of that as well. If not that, then perhaps the coil got bonked when this thing failed. The clutch plates do still spin freely so the compressor is NOT seized thankfully.

So... I need a clutch. And the clutch/pulley/coil isn't much more money than just a clutch so I'll likely do all of them at the same time when I'm ready.

So the pulley seems to be just fine, which, happily, makes this repair less of a priority. I'm hesitant to do this repair myself without a spare vehicle because this is a rusty car and bolts have been known to break, and I don't care to drop the $600-$1000 that the dealer will want to do a compressor swap. At this point I think I'm going to wait until late winter or early spring before it gets hot out again to find a reasonably priced spare vehicle and put my $500+ in savings on this repair toward that vehicle, and then I can have this car in the garage for 2 weeks if I get stuck needing to order parts or hardware.
 

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