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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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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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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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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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^^ 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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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
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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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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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 :D

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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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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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?

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?
I wish I had taken pictures when I changed my clutch as it seems a lot of people are confused as to how the system works. The clutch and pulley are completely external from the compressor itself. You do not have to remove the compressor, unhook any of the lines or in any way open the system to change the pulley and clutch.

I'll attempt to explain how the system works...

On the front of the compressor is a metal snout that surrounds the compressor shaft. The pulley and bearing mount on this snout with the clutch coil mounted on the compressor face inside the pulley. When the clutch is not engaged the pulley free wheels on this bearing. The clutch plate has a shaft on it that slips over the splines on the compressor shaftt. It does not turn, and therefor the compressor does not turn, unless the magnetic coil mounted inside the pulley on the compressor face is on, which pulls the clutch plate against the pulley making them turn as one.



From what I have seen on several Taurii, the most common cause of clutch failure is that the springs on the clutch that hold the plate away from the pulley when the system is not engaged wear out. This causes the clutch plate to drag on the pulley creating a large amount of heat, which cooks the pulley bearings and the clutch surface. Also, the coil can lose strength over time, though this seems much less common.

Rarely does the clutch instantly fail. Usually failure will be preceded by noise from the pulley and occasional slipping. As long as the system still cools well when the clutch is not slipping, it is a fairly safe assumption that the compressor is still working well and the clutch is the cause of the problem.

I hope this answered you questions.
 

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What a wonderful explanation. It is a logical explanation, that you simplified for a guy like me to understand. I prefer to put a clutch on instead of hours of the other and the cost associated. I believe i will need to do the work within the next 2 mts.

I took notes on your explanation.

It appears to have small quarters to work on while leaving compressor in place. Also, are shims used to effect the distance between clutch plate and pulley?

Is there a critical need for them?
What could i do to mess up the installation process of the shims etc?

Finally do you know where i can find or are you in position to describe the procedure to follow in order to carry this out. I wish i had pics--my mind works better with visuals.

Well if you can't assist with any of the above, I want you to know I appreciate your pics and time you served others with.

truly--scott
 

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Some further consideration: How to remove clutch plate, did you use tool as a loaner from parts store. i saw that attached to front of clutch plate with 3 connectors on it, autozone, and a handle on it used for turning. but it said it is used for 3 different compressors named.

Is that all that is needed for its removal--i really want to do the clutch work instead of compressor. I did a compressor, my first for sister n law last week, ford focus--did the whole flush, orifice, and vac process, her neighbor had a vac to use. but i can't go beg for it again. he uses it at work and i can't compressor to do the flush i had to borrow and did it in a parking lot because i live in condo and man are they snoopy, pushing and rude about car work.

scott
 

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You are correct that the shims are used to set the distance between the plate and the pulley. This is referred to as the "air gap". The new clutch will have instructions as to what this should be and should come with the shims. You check it with a feeler gauge. Takes a little trial and error, but not very difficult.

I did not use a clutch removal tool. Since I was replacing the clutch, I just wedged a small screwdriver in there to keep the plate from turning while I removed the bolt. Once the bolt is out, the plate slides off easily. My pulley did need a puller to remove, though I know some people have been able to just pry it off after they removed the snap ring holding it on.

As for the tight quarters, refer to my first post regarding the process of dropping the subframe to gain access.
 

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I want to try Madscientist's way to re-adjustest my wifes air gap on the compressor clutch cause it sounds like fun but am curious if any one has loosened the subframe bolts on a car up north in the salt belt, it's a 97 Taurus and even though i have oiled the car every winter is seems like that would be the only hard part.
 

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Its 12 at night, so can't go outside and hope to see subframe below and visualize how to get to clutch. My concern was getting a puller in front of the pulley to remove it--the space between the fender wall and front of clutch is, ....what maybe 3 inches. You got a pulley in there but how, didn't it butt up against fender?.

I am just recalling in my mind the space allowed, not seeing right now. And yes dropping the subframe is intimidating especially after reading the thread the guy was having and screwing up because bolts were snapping off and wouldn't come off etc.
 

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My concern was getting a puller in front of the pulley to remove it--the space between the fender wall and front of clutch is, ....what maybe 3 inches. You got a pulley in there but how, didn't it butt up against fender?.
The whole point of dropping the subframe is that the motor comes down with it. This is how you gain access to the front of the pulley. You can safely drop the subframe enough for the entire clutch to be out in the open.

For what it's worth though, I live in Texas and my car has spent it's entire life here. In my cars existence we've had maybe a dozen days with snow or ice on the ground, so corrosion is not an issue. I cannot comment on how corrosion may effect the subframe bolts on a car in a northern climate.
 

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I did my clutch from the top on my 24v.
Salt zone car, didn't want to drop the subframe.
A mirror and right angle tips for the snap ring pliers with a big dose of patience got mine changed. Getting the old one off was easy, getting the snap ring back on in a mirror was the hardest part.
I got another 20k miles on my worn clutch by pulling out all the shims before the plate and pulley wore past the engagement point. My bearing and coil were fine BTW, clutch surfaces were worn away after 185k of auto temp cycling
 

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What are "right angle tips". Do you get several shims with varying degrees of thickness?
Do you remember brand name of clutch/pulley
 

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Madscientist- I am in Lewisville, Texas with this exact problem on a 2003 T
You are welcome to come over anytime! Bring your jack, I'll bring the shiner bock!
 
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