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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
2000 SEL Duratec, 171000 miles. California car.

Replaced AC clutch less than 2 years but almost 45K miles ago. The entire clutch assembly was replaced, including the pulley and the coil, after market from NAPA.

Now it is making a grinding noise again, even when the compressor is not engaged. So it appears the clutch, not the compressor, is going again.

What do you think? Should I replace the clutch again, or am I better off just replace the entire compressor?
 

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I've replaced the compressor since it usually isn't far behind, unless it has low miles. I believe the clutch has been redesigned, At least on the unit i purchased.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The main reason I am reluctant to replace the compressor is I am unwilling to evacuate the AC system. How hard is it? What tools do I need?
 

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Does it sound liek this:
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Yes, is does. Only mine is sort of mixed with a clicking noise.

I used a long screw driver to check for the source of the noise. I am 100% sure it's from the compressor.

The compressor never engaged during the time I checked, so I am thinking the clutch is bad.

Curiously, on a few right turns, the noise became louder. Any idea why?
 

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I wonder if the shaft in the compressor has too much lateral play. If so putting new clutches on it won't really help.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I took off the belt. There isn't much play on the clutch. When I turn the clutch pulley, it feels normal. There is some play on the magnetic plate (is that the right term?). Is this plate attached to the compressor shaft? If so, it appears that indeed the compressor shaft may be the problem.

On the other hand, the compressor never engaged -- it's been cold. Still there is this grinding, clicking, dinging noise. So I am thinking it has to be the pulley bearing. Any thoughts?
 

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........... Is this plate attached to the compressor shaft? If so, it appears that indeed the compressor shaft may be the problem. ................
AC clutch has 2 plates. One is attached to the compressor shaft. It is stationary. The other is a part of the pulley that spins all the time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
AC clutch has 2 plates. One is attached to the compressor shaft. It is stationary. The other is a part of the pulley that spins all the time.
Thanks.

I was referring to the outer plate that has a triangle thingy. I am fairly sure this plate is attached to the compressor shaft. I seem to remember that from 2 years ago, when I replaced the clutch.

This plate has some play that seems abnormal to me. The pulley appears normal.
 

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I agree. The plate should not be spinning.

I think it's your call. I replaced just the ac clutch at 110k miles. Some recommended replacing all (compressor and clutch). The only reason I didn't replace the compressor was the previous owner could have replaced the original already. If you are the original owner and you know it's original compressor......
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I am the original owner and it's the original compressor.

I know, this thing is over 10 years old, I really should replace the compressor. But I have done the clutch before, but never did a compressor. If I replace the compressor, I not only have to evacuate the system, but also I would need to replace the condenser, etc.

I am thinking of removing the outer plate as the first step. This I can do without lowering the subframe. I want to see if the noise goes away after the removal of the outer plate. Do you think it is safe to do? Specifically, I want to make sure the pulley won't drop off. I think the pulley is hold in place by the snap ring, but would want a second opinion.
 

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If you replace the compressor, you should replace the accumulator and orifice tube and possibly flush the system (condenser, etc.). Yet with only a clutch prob., i dont think i would do anything but compressor replacement. No need to change out the condenser.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
When I tried to loosen the center bolt holding the outer plate to the compressor shaft. I heard a hissing sound. What can it be?

I am guessing that because I cannot hold the outer place tightly, when I loosened the center bolt, the compressor shaft is turned as well, and something inside the compressor is leaking, generating the hissing sound. What do you think?
 

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If you replace the compressor, you should replace the accumulator and orifice tube and possibly flush the system (condenser, etc.). Yet with only a clutch prob., i dont think i would do anything but compressor replacement. No need to change out the condenser.
Replacing compressor before it fails has an advantage. Good to know. Thanks.

I remember looking at the cross section of compressor. Eventually, it comes down to an O-ring for sealing. If the hissing sound is only when the shaft is moved, it may be a temporary leak.

Have you isolated the grinding noise to the clutch? Not the compressor as you initially suspected?
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I haven't isolated the problem yet. But I am almost sure the cause is a broken coil.

Like I said, every time I checked the AC, the compressor was not engaged. Today I got down the car and found that the coil connector has come off.

So here is what I am thinking: I think somehow the coil went bad and made contact with the pulley. This contact is the source of the noise. The electric connector came off for the same reason -- because the pulley dragged the coil, and pulled the connector off.

I haven't been able to find time to do any real work on the car yet. Hopefully I can find some time this weekend.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
So I dropped the sub-frame, replaced the A/C clutch, and all is well now.

As I suspected, for some reason, the coil made contact with the clutch pulley. So when the pulley rotates, which is all the time when the car is started, the coil would rotate as well. The grinding noise is from the coil rotating and rubbing nearby parts.

To my surprise, both the coil and the pulley are otherwise in relatively good condition. My guess is dirty/sand got in between the pulley and the coil.

The coil connector wires were broken, which took me considerable time to repair due to its awkward location.
 

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Cool glad you got it fixed. So you dropped the subframe down on the front only?
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I took the two passenger side bolts completely out, and loosened the two on the driver side a bit. The subframe dropped probably 5 inches.

The clutch cost me $109. Two years ago I spent $90 for exactly the same thing, and they wanted us to believe there was no inflation? Oh, well.
 

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I'm new to the forum and am hearing a grinding noise coming from the compressor. When the compressor is off, the clutch looks like it is "slipping" and acts as if it wants to engage but doesn't. When th ecompressor is on, it cools down great. Do i just replace the clutch assemebly or clutch and compressor? I don;t want to do all the this work and find the compressor is bad as well. Or am i not looking at it correctly and maybe low on freon which is causing the clutch to "slip". Let me know what you think.
 

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I'm new to the forum and am hearing a grinding noise coming from the compressor. When the compressor is off, the clutch looks like it is "slipping" and acts as if it wants to engage but doesn't. When th ecompressor is on, it cools down great. Do i just replace the clutch assemebly or clutch and compressor? I don;t want to do all the this work and find the compressor is bad as well. Or am i not looking at it correctly and maybe low on freon which is causing the clutch to "slip". Let me know what you think.
 
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