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A/C Compressor Clutch Question For KHE


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My wife's clutch was making a scraping noise. I suspected a bad bearing. Released the belt tension and spun the clutch. It was smooth and no play, but I noticed metal shavings (from years of use I suspect) and almost no clearance between the clutch and the pulley (I'd guess a couple of thou at best). FSM says .020 - .030. I blew it out with compressed air and it got quiet. The question is should I have the gap adjusted (I don't have the tool)? Should I leave it and wash it down with Brakleen? Can the clearance change? I suspect it was always like this. Compressor has never been out.

I was going to have the clutch changed as I don't have the tools and was not looking forward to doing it myself. I had an estimate of $340 labor only to do it. I had to supply the clutch as he said he could not get one. Rockauto had them for $50. Fortunately it looks like that will not be necessary.

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My wife's clutch was making a scraping noise. I suspected a bad bearing. Released the belt tension and spun the clutch. It was smooth and no play, but I noticed metal shavings (from years of use I suspect) and almost no clearance between the clutch and the pulley (I'd guess a couple of thou at best). FSM says .020 - .030. I blew it out with compressed air and it got quiet. The question is should I have the gap adjusted (I don't have the tool)? Should I leave it and wash it down with Brakleen? Can the clearance change? I suspect it was always like this. Compressor has never been out.

I was going to have the clutch changed as I don't have the tools and was not looking forward to doing it myself. I had an estimate of $340 labor only to do it. I had to supply the clutch as he said he could not get one. Rockauto had them for $50. Fortunately it looks like that will not be necessary.

Usually the gap opens up with age. Has this compressor ever been replaced at some point? The reason I ask is that most of the reman compressors at parts stores seem to have the clutch gap set too close. When that happens, the clutch mechanism will make a scraping noise when the clutch is NOT engaged.

I would clean the clutch plate with brake clean and then reset the gap. IdiotZone has some A/C tools in their loan-a-tool program. The tool you need threads into the threads on the clutch plate and then a bolt threads into the first piece. You hold the first piece with a large wrench and then tighten the bolt to move the clutch plate away from the clutch itself. I'd set it to .020 with a feeler gage.

Kevin
'93 Fleetwood Brougham
'05 Deville
'04 Deville
2013 Silverado Z71

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'96 Bonneville with about 160K. Compressor has never been touched.

The scraping noise occurs when the compressor is not engaged correct? If so, I'd adjust the gap to spec. after cleaning it up.

Kevin
'93 Fleetwood Brougham
'05 Deville
'04 Deville
2013 Silverado Z71

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That is correct Kev or at least it used to. After cleaning it up it is pretty quiet. I think I may stop over at the guy who gave me the estimate and see what he wants to adjust the gap. On the other hand, it has probably been running like this for 160,000 miles.

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Update:

Upon further inspection, there IS a little play in the pulley. In looking at the FSM the bearing appears to be pretty easy to get to. I am tempted to rent, borrow or buy the puller and replace the bearing. I THINK there is enough room to do it on the car. This would be my first time messing with an A/C clutch. Any words of warning, caution, advice, encouragement etc.?

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Replacing the clutch bearing is a piece of cake - make sure you have the proper tools and you will have success.

Make sure the clutch plate puller tool properly threads into the clutch hub. You don't want to use the incorrect puller and stripout the threads. on the clutch plate. Also, when you remove the plate, mark the key with a marker or paint pen in order to re-install it in the same orientation. I just marked the outside surface of the key so I could get it in the same position for reassembly. If it is oriented improperly, it won't retain the clutch plate. Don't worry if you do not see a retaining nut on the shaft - GM eliminated it in favor of just pressing on the clutch plate.

If you still have the shop manual from your '97 Deville, the steps in there should be identical to the '96 Bonneville. You will need a pulley puller - it fits into the slots on the pulley and uses a center bolt to force againt the shaft to pop the pulley off the bearing. You should be able to use a piece of pipe along with a bench vise to press the old bearing out of the pulley. be sure to support the pulley close to the bearing ID so it doesn't deform.

You can probably buy the bearing at a bearing suply house for less than $10.00. Once you have the old bearing out, look at the numbers on the race and provide that information to the bearing house.

The good news is that all this work can be done without messing with the refrigerant charge.

Kevin
'93 Fleetwood Brougham
'05 Deville
'04 Deville
2013 Silverado Z71

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I don't have the '97 FSM Kev, but I have one for the Pontiac. Probably not a tool I will use again so I may try and see if AZ has one for rent. May tackle it in a day or so and will let you know how it turns out.

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If you have the Pontiac manual, that's even better - specific for the car. For some reason, I thought you didn't have a manual for that car but still had the one for your old Deville.

You could make the pulley puller very easily out of a piece of pipe with a cheap socket welded to the ID of the pipe. The tool sort of reminds me of the Northstar waterpump tool with teeth that engage the slots in the pulley along with a bolt in the center - the shop manual will illustrate it better than I can describe it.

Kevin
'93 Fleetwood Brougham
'05 Deville
'04 Deville
2013 Silverado Z71

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Hmm, make a new tool. I like this idea. I don't recall the manual having a very good picture of it, but I'll check again. Any chance you can post some pictures of it? Sounds rather easy to make.

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I checked the manual when I got home Kev and it's picture (drawing) is not much help. If I am to make one, I will be dependent on any info and pic you can provide (no pressure). ;)

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Do a search on ebay for the J-xxxxx number from the service manual and you should be able to come up with a picture. I was going to make one a year or so ago but that project fell off the priority list.

I'll see what I can find or sketch up in the next couple of days.

Kevin
'93 Fleetwood Brougham
'05 Deville
'04 Deville
2013 Silverado Z71

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Do a search on ebay for the J-xxxxx number from the service manual and you should be able to come up with a picture. I was going to make one a year or so ago but that project fell off the priority list.

I'll see what I can find or sketch up in the next couple of days.

OK, I'll do a search now. I peeked inside with an inspection mirror and a flashlight. I can see the nut. It looks like a regular socket (maybe a deep well) would take it off if I figure out how to keep the pulley from turning. Then what? Does the clutch plate just fall off? I assume tightening it on reinstallation is how the gap is set?

EDIT:

Disregard. I see that there is a snap ring and then I need a puller to get the pulley off. Maybe I'd better go see if I can locate these tools first.

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You need the A/C clutch holding tool. IdiotZone has that in their loan-a-tool program - I used theirs as a pattern to make one of my own... Then you can hold the clutch plate while removing the nut and using the puller to remove the clutch plate. I'm not sure what snap ring you're referring to as the only one I know is the snap ring that retains the shaft seal. That's only visible after removing the clutch plate. You DON'T want to remove the shaft seal snap ring or you'll lose the refrigerant charge, shaft seal, etc. The clutch pulley and bearing assembly comes off while leaving the shaft seal intact - that's why you don't need to evacuate the system.

Once the clutch plate is removed, the pulley puller us used to remove the pulley & bearing assembly. The pulley puller locks into the concentric grooves in the pulley and has a bolt that forces against the shaft to pull off the pulley.

Here's a link to an ebay site that has pictures of the pulley puller:

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/GM-Kent-Moo...omotiveQ5fTools

Kevin
'93 Fleetwood Brougham
'05 Deville
'04 Deville
2013 Silverado Z71

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You need the A/C clutch holding tool. IdiotZone has that in their loan-a-tool program - I used theirs as a pattern to make one of my own... Then you can hold the clutch plate while removing the nut and using the puller to remove the clutch plate. I'm not sure what snap ring you're referring to as the only one I know is the snap ring that retains the shaft seal. That's only visible after removing the clutch plate. You DON'T want to remove the shaft seal snap ring or you'll lose the refrigerant charge, shaft seal, etc. The clutch pulley and bearing assembly comes off while leaving the shaft seal intact - that's why you don't need to evacuate the system.

Once the clutch plate is removed, the pulley puller us used to remove the pulley & bearing assembly. The pulley puller locks into the concentric grooves in the pulley and has a bolt that forces against the shaft to pull off the pulley.

Here's a link to an ebay site that has pictures of the pulley puller:

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/GM-Kent-Moo...omotiveQ5fTools

The bearing is on order from AZ. I saw the holding tool and will pick that up when I get the bearing tomorrow, but the pulley puller did not look anything like what you showed me. Not even in the FSM.

Here is a pic of the snap ring.

http://flashoffroad.com/Maintenance/hvac/a...ullyService.htm

I think the clutch removal tool is in the first pic and that one they have as well. I'll have to check when I go back for the pulley puller or have to use the pry method shown in the pictures. Sure hope I have enough room to work on this and haven't bit of more than I can chew.

Here is a link that explains the snap ring. I had a good exploded view like the FSM last night, but I can't find it now.

http://en.allexperts.com/q/Cadillac-Repair...TS-C-clutch.htm

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I forgot about that snap ring - you need to remove that one. The snap ting that retains the shaft seal is an internal ring that you need to close up in order to remove - it is in the nose of the compressor. You will be able to see it once you remove the clutch plate. As a side tangent, the service manual states to remove the pulley to R&R the seal but that is not necessary.

I would recommend finding or making the pulley puller rather than prying it off. The pully is thin and is easily damaged.

Most shops don't want to mess with repairing the whole compressor because they can get the customer to pay for a new compressor and it can be easier for them to replace the compressor vs. repairing the components and keeping the tools on hand.

I would rather repair the shaft seals, clutch bearings, etc. on the FWD Cadillacs as it can be done without removing the compressor from the vehicle. Much easier than messing with all the mounting bolts that are difficult to get to and the refrigerant manifold line at the back of the compressor.

Kevin
'93 Fleetwood Brougham
'05 Deville
'04 Deville
2013 Silverado Z71

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Got the bearing today from AZ. I don't like buying parts from them, but they delivered the fastest and since I was renting the tools from them I figured I'd order it from them. They where the cheapest as well (which also worries me). Anyway, the pulley puller is a little different than the one you linked to. This one looks like it pulls from the outside edges and I think I have enough room for that. 3 specialty tools just to get to the bearing. Anyway, I'm going in tomorrow. If I'm not back by this time tomorrow night with a successful report, send help. In the mean time, wish me luck.

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I humbly stand before you, bruised, cut, bloody and defeated. :wipetears I started this morning and was about to give up as there was just no room to work when I though about going in from beneath. I pulled a panel from the wheel house and had a little more room, so I pressed on. The clutch plate holder left a little to be desired, but I managed to get the nut off the shaft. When I went to install the clutch plate puller it became obvious that they gave me the wrong one as it would not begin to thread on. Back to AZ. :angry: Get back home and I can still only catch a few threads. I managed to clean the rust out of them with a 90 degree angle scribe. Finally got the plate off. Now I get a good feel on the pulley and the "play" in the bearing is almost inperceivable, but since I went this far and have the bearing, what the hay. Well, the pulley puller they gave me did not fit and was not going to work. It was now late afternoon and I was bruised, bloody and sore. I gave up and put it back together since I don't think it really needed any more than to regap the plate in the first place. Had a bit of trouble getting the clutch plate back on. The key was aligned perfectly, but I rounded the nut trying to draw it in. I had to use a large socket on the pulley and drive it on. Then had to find a new nut. Never again!

Then I noticed that the belt was in pretty sad shape so I purchased a new one, but had to loosen up a motor mount to put the belt on as it runs around the mount. :angry:

So here I sit with a cup of coffee...... soon to be scotch, licking my wounds. :(

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I humbly stand before you, bruised, cut, bloody and defeated. :wipetears I started this morning and was about to give up as there was just no room to work when I though about going in from beneath. I pulled a panel from the wheel house and had a little more room, so I pressed on. The clutch plate holder left a little to be desired, but I managed to get the nut off the shaft. When I went to install the clutch plate puller it became obvious that they gave me the wrong one as it would not begin to thread on. Back to AZ. :angry: Get back home and I can still only catch a few threads. I managed to clean the rust out of them with a 90 degree angle scribe. Finally got the plate off. Now I get a good feel on the pulley and the "play" in the bearing is almost inperceivable, but since I went this far and have the bearing, what the hay. Well, the pulley puller they gave me did not fit and was not going to work. It was now late afternoon and I was bruised, bloody and sore. I gave up and put it back together since I don't think it really needed any more than to regap the plate in the first place. Had a bit of trouble getting the clutch plate back on. The key was aligned perfectly, but I rounded the nut trying to draw it in. I had to use a large socket on the pulley and drive it on. Then had to find a new nut. Never again!

Then I noticed that the belt was in pretty sad shape so I purchased a new one, but had to loosen up a motor mount to put the belt on as it runs around the mount. :angry:

So here I sit with a cup of coffee...... soon to be scotch, licking my wounds. :(

You should have been drinking the scotch while doing the repair - it probably would have seemed to go easier. :D

IdiotZone should have had a clutch plate installer - it threads onto the shaft and then uses a large nut with a bearing to press on the clutch plate. Maybe they didn't have one in their loan-a-tool program - that wouldn't surprise me.

Kevin
'93 Fleetwood Brougham
'05 Deville
'04 Deville
2013 Silverado Z71

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Couldn't tell you if they had one or not Kev. I think they might have, but being a virgin at this I did not know what to ask for. IF there is ever a next time, I'll be better prepared. Finished putting the battery in and cleaning the corrosion off the cables this morning and it runs nice and quiet. No scraping from the clutch and the pulley seems to run true. Hopefully it will last the life of the car. I know that is asking a lot as it probably has already lived beyond it's life expectancy.

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