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2004 Taurus SES Duratec
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
A month or so back, I managed to replace the AC clutch on my 2004 Duratec from the bottom without lowering the subframe.

I was planning to attack it from above but my offset wrench was the wrong size / shape to get onto the clutch bolt. I do understand that with the right offset wrench you can do this from above, but I found it was quite simple doing this from the bottom, and one advantage was it was easy to get a hand onto the clutch to hold it still, remove it to try different washers and measure the air gap.

You will need 2 things

1) A wobble socket set. I used this: https://www.harborfreight.com/9-pc-wobble-socket-extension-set-67971.html
2) An assistant although it may be possible without one

Steps

1) Remove the front passenger wheel and front inner fender shield
2) Locate the hole in the wheel well through which you will get a socket onto the ac clutch bolt. Watch this video to see the locations of the inside and outside holes.

https://youtu.be/DJJLQ_e_RJU?t=42

Note that there is an outer and inner panel and a hollow space between. The single hole that you see on the outside panel is directly opposite another hole on the inside panel. However, the inner hole that you want to go through which is directly in front of the ac clutch bolt is slightly offset to the outer panel hole.

Note there is no need to make another hole as in the video, the wobble sockets will let you maneuver the socket through the offset outside and inside holes.

3) Put your socket on the shortest 1/4 wobble extension and then put that extension on the next shortest 1/4 wobble extension.

4) Poke the socket through the outer hole up and to the left to get it into the inner hole. You can put your hand up between the inner hole and the ac clutch to feel the location differences between the two inner holes. An assistant looking down should be able to tell you what adjustments to make to get the socket through the correct inner hole.

5) Once through the inner hole, your assistant can help you locate the socket onto the bolt. You may be able to do this through trial and error or even by using your other hand.

6) You should then be able to hold the clutch with your left hand while undoing the bolt with a ratcheting wrench in your right hand.

Other Thoughts

1) I used a Motorcraft replacement AC clutch and found that the original washer created the right air gap.

2) I did not change the ac pulley. From the bottom however, you are far closer to the pulley and it seems it would be easier to get snap ring pliers onto the snap ring. It is also possible that an inspection camera could be routed between the outer and inner holes to let you see what you are doing.

3) Another member used this offset wrench to get to the bolt through the top, albeit with moving some things out of the way. It may be possible to use this wrench from the bottom and not have to go through the holes.

https://www.harborfreight.com/8-piece-metric-offset-box-wrench-set-32042.html?hftref=cj
 

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Nice job detailing how to access this from the underside of the car. This is one of those jobs that can be approached from both directions. I have the luxury of a U Pull yard 15 mins from my house so I could go there and practice to see which method I felt more comfortable with before attempting it on my own car. When I finally felt ready to tackle this project, I went at it from the top and it wasn't bad. Just used a small 8 mm box end wrench to get the bolt off. It was tight between the clutch and the inner fender frame...but, I was able to get my fingers down in there to break it loose (it isn't that tight of a bolt). Fun part was using a mirror-on-a-stick and maneuvering a 90 degree tip snap ring pliers to remove the c-clip to get the pulley/brg ass'y off. Fortunately, this was as far as I had to go to fix things and the compressor has worked flawlessly since.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Thanks. I intended to do this from the top and had all the tools but my offset wrench was too chunky.

A few other advantages in going through the bottom:

1) I was also changing the serpentine belt and the ac clutch had thrown a lot of rust onto the old belt and onto the pulleys. I was able to easily clean the bottom of pulleys inaccessible from the top. It was good to know that I'd gotten all the junk off the pulleys before putting on a new belt.

2) I was able to see and hear the crankshaft pulley once I restarted the car. There was a slight noise which I'm leaving for now.

3) I could also access a couple of oil pan bolts which I was unable to tighten from the bottom. I completely forgot to tighten them though. Doh! There was definitely a lot of dried up oil on that side.

4) If it is necessary to change the magnetic coil, I think it would be helpful to run a long piece of wood from the top to the bottom and apply equal pressure to press it in. As mentioned, I also suspect removing the snap ring for the pulley would have been easier.
 

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I lowered the subframe last time I did an A/C clutch on one of these. If you get the four seasons clutch you need to use the smallest shim. Ask me how I know...

The nice thing is that the coil rarely fails on these cars, so you can just ignore it most of the time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Your next assignment (should you choose to accept) is to detail the easiest way to remove that nasty alternator on these '04/'05 Duratecs...lol!
Ha!

I do already know the answer to that. Give it to a shop!
 

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Your next assignment (should you choose to accept) is to detail the easiest way to remove that nasty alternator on these '04/'05 Duratecs...lol!
I have done 4 on '01 & '03's.
From the "school of hard knocks": I would suggest.
Drop the sub frame as in the pic. First remove the bolts, and detach the big wire from the mega fuse and take the Alt out with the wire in place.
For putting back. See pic, I tape the long bolt in place so it does not fall out. Use a parachute cord or rope as in the pic to pull the alt up. place the wire and rope up to the top first then place the Alt in the frame. Jack the frame up before pulling the Alt up. Hold the Alt by the rope for installing the long bolt.
I am not suggesting, but I do not take the battery cable off but remove the wire hot. Just use care.
And you must have the right Alt for the year. I made the mistake, you do not have to.
And, if you use the sub drop, remember only have the sub low while the Alt is down. The Sub drop closes the gap between the engine and fender.


-chart-
 

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I lowered the subframe last time I did an A/C clutch on one of these. If you get the four seasons clutch you need to use the smallest shim. Ask me how I know...

The nice thing is that the coil rarely fails on these cars, so you can just ignore it most of the time.
I have lowered the subframe removed both passenger side bolts, and front driver side, I had to pry and force old parts off now, O don’t have clearance to put pulley on, any help appreciated.
 

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I have lowered the subframe removed both passenger side bolts, and front driver side, I had to pry and force old parts off now, O don’t have clearance to put pulley on, any help appreciated.
Got a picture? I don't know how you don't have clearance, there would be enough clearance even if you didn't lower the subframe. The lowering just gives you access to the 8mm bolt. Did you unbolt the passenger strut nuts up top and dog bone as well? If you didn't, then thats probably why.
 

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Mine just started making noise, although it blows ice cold with no grinding sound when it's engaged... am super intimated by the idea of dropping the subframe.

Can I get an opinion on this? ac clutch/pulley issues (fiddling with the pulley)
That's a broken a/c clutch, right? Should I replace the pulley and coil while I'm down there, or just the clutch?
180k miles - it runs smooth and blows cold when the A/C is engaged.
 

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Mine just started making noise, although it blows ice cold with no grinding sound when it's engaged... am super intimated by the idea of dropping the subframe.

Can I get an opinion on this? My thought is the bearing, but am still new to this.
ac clutch/pulley issues (fiddling with the pulley)

That's a broken a/c clutch, right? Should I replace the pulley and coil while I'm down there, or just the clutch?
180k miles - it runs smooth and blows cold when the A/C is engaged.
The clutch plate you are turning is supposed to flex because it gets pulled into the pulley when the clutch coil gets energized. What has happened to me is the bearing in the pulley bearing fails and the pulley wobbles or tilts and contacts the clutch plate and ticks or scrapes. That plate heats up and the rubber isolation bushings melt and deform and fails.
 

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The clutch plate you are turning is supposed to flex because it gets pulled into the pulley when the clutch coil gets energized. What has happened to me is the bearing in the pulley bearing fails and the pulley wobbles or tilts and contacts the clutch plate and ticks or scrapes. That plate heats up and the rubber isolation bushings melt and deform and fails.
So there's supposed to be a gap between those plates? There doesn't seem to be any gap between the clutch and the pulley too.. I'm guessing I that means my issue is the bearings.. Looks like it'll be best to buy the assembly and just replace the components. Thanks for all the help! :D

 

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So there's supposed to be a gap between those plates? There doesn't seem to be any gap between the clutch and the pulley too.. I'm guessing I that means my issue is the bearings.. Looks like it'll be best to buy the assembly and just replace the components. Thanks for all the help! :D

The standard gap between the drive plate and the pulley face is 0.025". With age that may get larger and not pull in. In the case of Ford, they use rubber springs that in time will fail. Rubber in a hot area and age will fail. If yours is OE and/or has rubber springs as in the picture, check the condition of the rubber. If the gap is OK, take the belt off and spin the pulley. It should be smooth and noise free. If all is good, then turn the drive plate and it will be hard to turn but should be noise free. If you have a noise with the A/C off and the gap is OK, it is a pulley bearing noise. The drive plate is held on with a bolt and can be removed and the plate removed in the car. The pulley is held on with a snap ring and it will pull off once the snap ring is removed.
-chart-
 

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Once I realized it was ok for my strut to fall, the subframe came right down. Don't think I would have had the patience to squeeze in between stuff. New Clutch & Pulley installed.

That'll make some noise..
Tire Wheel Automotive tire Tread Camera lens
 
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