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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
How difficult (or easy) is it supposed to be, to manually rotate the shaft on an air conditioning compressor from a 1994 Taurus 3.8L?

I removed my car's compressor because its pulley wasn't rotating, and though I found the pulley's bearing was damaged (wedged and missing ball bearings, rust, contamination, etc.), the compressor motor also seems to be a problem. I fitted the triangular plate (which holds the outer clutch plate in place) back onto the shaft to allow me to rotate the shaft, and for part of its travel, it's difficult to turn, and for the smoother parts of its travel, it feels like it's grinding inside. I'm assuming this means I need to replace the compressor too?

(I know sometimes a compressor's pulley/clutch can be removed without removing the compressor from the car, but I suspected the compressor had problems too, and it turned out the pulley on my compressor model needed a removal tool which wouldn't have fit between the pulley and the body of the car, unless I dropped down the subframe (and maybe not even then), which for me would have been more work than just removing the compressor from the top. I also didn't want to use a hammer to remove the pulley.)
 

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Cake monster
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How difficult (or easy) is it supposed to be, to manually rotate the shaft on an air conditioning compressor from a 1994 Taurus 3.8L?

I removed my car's compressor because its pulley wasn't rotating, and though I found the pulley's bearing was damaged (wedged and missing ball bearings, rust, contamination, etc.), the compressor motor also seems to be a problem. I fitted the triangular plate (which holds the outer clutch plate in place) back onto the shaft to allow me to rotate the shaft, and for part of its travel, it's difficult to turn, and for the smoother parts of its travel, it feels like it's grinding inside. I'm assuming this means I need to replace the compressor too?

(I know sometimes a compressor's pulley/clutch can be removed without removing the compressor from the car, but I suspected the compressor had problems too, and it turned out the pulley on my compressor model needed a removal tool which wouldn't have fit between the pulley and the body of the car, unless I dropped down the subframe (and maybe not even then), which for me would have been more work than just removing the compressor from the top. I also didn't want to use a hammer to remove the pulley.)
Sounds like it's probably damaged inside. Are you turning it with the clutch on the shaft?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Are you turning it with the clutch on the shaft?
The pulley part of the clutch is still in place, but I've gotten it to spin again by hammering lightly on its stuck ball bearings to make them drop back down into the bearing housing, and I'm turning the shaft using the triangular metal plate, but I didn't reinstall the outer clutch plate. There's no contact between the pulley and the triangular plate.

Autozone's website (see link below) lists several compressors that are supposed to work in my Taurus, but only one (item 618141) is accompanied by a note that says: "Requires spanner wrench to rotate compressor; compressor will not turn by hand." I've never rotated an A/C compressor before by hand, so I don't know if this applies to all A/C compressors, or to just a few.

http://www.autozone.com/autozone/pa...?filterByKeyWord=compressor&fromString=search
 

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Cake monster
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The pulley part of the clutch is still in place, but I've gotten it to spin again by hammering lightly on its stuck ball bearings to make them drop back down into the bearing housing, and I'm turning the shaft using the triangular metal plate, but I didn't reinstall the outer clutch plate. There's no contact between the pulley and the triangular plate.

Autozone's website (see link below) lists several compressors that are supposed to work in my Taurus, but only one (item 618141) is accompanied by a note that says: "Requires spanner wrench to rotate compressor; compressor will not turn by hand." I've never rotated an A/C compressor before by hand, so I don't know if this applies to all A/C compressors, or to just a few.

A/C Compressor | 1994 Ford Taurus 6 Cylinders 4 3.8L EFI | AutoZone.com
I don't think there should be grinding or resistance like you're describing. If you think the noises are coming directly from the compressor housing, then it might be damaged inside and ready to seize. If it does end up seizing, it can end up putting a lot of crap in the system. You should be able to rotate it with a wrench. I would at least put one on from the junk yard, or go and take it to a refrigerant shop and ask.

Just out of curiosity, did you plan on recharging it yourself? Because you need a vacuum and manifold gauges at least along with R134a (it's r134a, right?) and it's good idea to have a way of weighing it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
If you think the noises are coming directly from the compressor housing, then it might be damaged inside and ready to seize. If it does end up seizing, it can end up putting a lot of crap in the system. You should be able to rotate it with a wrench. I would at least put one on from the junk yard, or go and take it to a refrigerant shop and ask.

Just out of curiosity, did you plan on recharging it yourself? Because you need a vacuum and manifold gauges at least along with R134a (it's r134a, right?)
It's less of a noise, than an uneven grinding I can feel with my hand, but it's definitely coming from inside the compressor housing. I agree this is likely to be a sign that it might seize up, or not turn at full speed and thus the belt may slip against the compressor pulley when the AC is on (though not as bad as when the pulley was seized), which may add to the load on the engine, etc., and that there might even already be junk inside the compressor, so I'm not going to reinstall it into the car. I've already been planning on going to a local junkyard to compare rotational behavior in other similar compressors so I can learn what it's supposed to be like, and if I find one that feels OK and whose clutch, etc. look OK, I may pull it and install that into my car, and later recharge it and see if I've lucked out. I'd rather take the chance a junkyard compressor may work, than just replace mine with a simple bypass pulley for about the same price (though a lot less effort). If the junkyard compressor doesn't give me AC, at least its pulley may continue to work as a bypass pulley, and I'll do without AC until I can afford to buy a new compressor/pulley/clutch combo.

I'm also planning on taking the bad compressor apart to see if I can find the cause of the grinding. I'll post back with what I find.

Here's a link I found here on the TCCA website, showing the insides of a typical FS10 compressor (which is what mine is), one which may be nearly identical inside to mine (the outside looks nearly identical, except the manifold connection on mine is in the rear):

Ford Visteon FS10 Air Conditioner Compressor Dissection Pictures

When I get whatever compressor I install recharged (it's R134a), I may have my sister's fiancé do the job, since he used to do it for a living, and still has all the equipment in his garage (guess I lucked out there, though I'll still pay him to do it). Matter of fact, I forgot I could ask him about the compressor grinding too. Time for a phone call.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
I took my old compressor apart (an FS10), and found it's nearly identical inside to the one pictured in the link I supplied in my prior post. The only difference I can see, is there's no Teflon around the ends of the cylinders.

Here are a few of the parts:

Auto part Engine Metal Wheel Automotive engine part


Upper item is the interior of the pulley, with its fallen-apart, rusted bearing and some of its remaining ball bearings; lower left is the burned-out coil; lower middle is the cylinder shell that fits over the shaft and pistons; lower right is the cylinder shell that holds the pistons and the shaft.

The inside looks relatively clean, but the swash plate has a fair amount of wear, and some other surfaces looked like they might be worn too, and even slightly burnt, but I couldn't tell for sure. The pistons weren't shiny like in the link I provided above, but were dark instead, but I don't know if this means they're corroded or burnt, or if that's their normal color in my compressor model.

I tried to rotate the shaft once I removed the cylinder shell half that fits down over the shaft, but without that cylinder shell half in place, one of the pistons canted outward a bit:

Machine tool Machine Auto part


...and its two ball shoes got jammed against the swash plate as I turned the shaft, and I haven't been able to get it loose no matter how much twisting, pushing, and hammering I've done, preventing me from turning the shaft any further. I'm still not sure, looking at how things are put together inside, whether it was normal to have the uneven resistance I felt earlier when rotating the shaft with the cylinder shells bolted together (it felt like there was a bad bearing at the other end of the shaft, but maybe it was some resistance by the pistons moving up and down, and/or their ball shoes rubbing against the swash plate, or something), but hopefully I'll find out by rotating a few at the local junkyard, and/or a new one in a local parts shop.
 

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Cake monster
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I took my old compressor apart (an FS10), and found it's nearly identical inside to the one pictured in the link I supplied in my prior post. The only difference I can see, is there's no Teflon around the ends of the cylinders.

Here are a few of the parts:

View attachment 60610

Upper item is the interior of the pulley, with its fallen-apart, rusted bearing and some of its remaining ball bearings; lower left is the burned-out coil; lower middle is the cylinder shell that fits over the shaft and pistons; lower right is the cylinder shell that holds the pistons and the shaft.

The inside looks relatively clean, but the swash plate has a fair amount of wear, and some other surfaces looked like they might be worn too, and even slightly burnt, but I couldn't tell for sure. The pistons weren't shiny like in the link I provided above, but were dark instead, but I don't know if this means they're corroded or burnt, or if that's their normal color in my compressor model.

I tried to rotate the shaft once I removed the cylinder shell half that fits down over the shaft, but without that cylinder shell half in place, one of the pistons canted outward a bit:

View attachment 60611

...and its two ball shoes got jammed against the swash plate as I turned the shaft, and I haven't been able to get it loose no matter how much twisting, pushing, and hammering I've done, preventing me from turning the shaft any further. I'm still not sure, looking at how things are put together inside, whether it was normal to have the uneven resistance I felt earlier when rotating the shaft with the cylinder shells bolted together (it felt like there was a bad bearing at the other end of the shaft, but maybe it was some resistance by the pistons moving up and down, and/or their ball shoes rubbing against the swash plate, or something), but hopefully I'll find out by rotating a few at the local junkyard, and/or a new one in a local parts shop.
Was there much oil? Did it look dirty?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
Was there much oil? Did it look dirty?
To me it looked like there might be enough oil still inside to do its job (though I don't really know how much oil is normally inside a compressor when it's removed from a car and taken apart)--it coated the insides of the two cylinder shells, enough to drip down a bit, and some was pooled in the bottom housing, and there was some on the pistons and the various discs inside. It looked clean--a nice translucent fluorescent green (though I suspect the green was the dye from the refrigerant?). I also looked for bits of junk that shouldn't be in there, but I didn't see any that looked like it would have been a problem to the operation of the compressor, and no metal filings--there were what looked like a few tiny shreds of something on some of the discs, but when I touched them, they dissipated, so apparently they weren't solid.

Some parts inside the compressor are darkened (pistons, part of the surface of the cylinder shells, etc.), but I don't know if that's normal for some compressors. The ends of the pistons have a little "dark rainbow" look to them, as if they've experienced some high heat.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
In your second picture, the piston on the right is missing its teflon ring. Its probably in the condenser or the orifice tube screen in the liquid line.
Thanks for pointing that out. I thought earlier that the teflon rings were missing from all the pistons, but now I see that the teflon is just darkened on the pistons where the teflon is still in place. From other pictures I've seen of the insides of a compressor, I expected it to still be whitish. Maybe the little flecks of stuff I see inside the compressor are some bits of that missing teflon ring. When I service the rest of the AC system, I'll replace the condenser, orifice tube, etc.

I'm wondering how the loss of the teflon ring on one end of one of the pistons would affect the operation of the compressor, besides clogging up parts in the lines.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
I'm finding lots of good info on compressors and other car air conditioning parts at

Automotive AC Information Forum - ACKITS.COM

...where there are plenty of details on "black death", and general contamination inside the A/C system and how to clean it out. It's heavily recommended there that if you see symptoms of contamination, that in addition to replacing the usual parts (accumulator, orifice tube, etc.), that you also replace the condenser (sits in front of the radiator), since it has very thin passages that often get clogged and sometimes can't be flushed adequately, and then give the system a very thorough flush and drying before recharging. Lots of other precautions and procedures there--I didn't know an A/C system was so complex. Old news to many people here, I'm guessing, but not to me.

Also interesting to me, is something I found in the Autozone website's repair data sections:

| Repair Guides | Air Conditioner | Orifice Tube | AutoZone.com

...which says that on some Tauruses, the orifice tube isn't housed inside a section you can easily open to remove it--instead, you have to use a saw to cut through the metal line it's contained in, then install a housing kit inline so next time you don't have to do any sawing. I'll check later whether mine requires that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
Turns out my car's A/C orifice tube is inside a metal line that will have to be sawed through to get to it. I can imagine what that must do for the rest of the system if the metal shards from the sawing get into it. Other 94/95 Tauruses I checked at a local junkyard are the same.

I've answered my original question that I started this thread with, as to how difficult (or easy) it's supposed to be, to manually rotate the shaft on an A/C compressor from a 1994 Taurus 3.8L, by going to a local Pick N Pull, where I found several 94 and 95 Tauruses. Each of their compressors rotated easily--only a little resistance one would expect from rotating a swash plate that's causing five pistons to move up and down. So I'll assume that any more resistance than that (as with the uneven and grindy movement mine makes) probably means the compressor has to be either repaired or replaced.
 

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I think normal procedure is to replace the entire liquid line with the orifice already inside. That is what I did, about $24 at o'reillys, auto zone etc. Although it would be nice to just replace or remove and clean the orifice with one of the splicer kits, I was afraid it would be two more potential leak places.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I think normal procedure is to replace the entire liquid line with the orifice already inside. That is what I did, about $24 at o'reillys, auto zone etc. Although it would be nice to just replace or remove and clean the orifice with one of the splicer kits, I was afraid it would be two more potential leak places.
Thanks. Maybe that's what I'll do when it comes time to get my car's A/C running again.
 
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