97 F150 Aircon Pump Seize

Hello, I’ve got a 97 Ford F150 XLT 4x4, with 150k mi. The aircon pump had a slow seize-up. It started out sounding like a stick poked into a fan over and over, but with serious jerks felt through the entire truck. When the pump finally seized - lots of bangs, squeals, and smoke - everything that says my truck is dying, the serpentine belt popped, and PRESTO! all was well. Purred like a kitten. I shut it down/started it up a couple of times and all was good. Then it wouldn’t start. It cranked, but no joy. Luckily or unluckily, this happened in my driveway out in the mountains. I read that the starting problem was most likely insufficient juice to start AND power fuel system (spec- alt not spinning, battery depleting w/each start, batt gets low & can’t power injectors). I only had a short time before I had to leave, so I shelved the “won’t start” issue as a result of the alt not spinning, and gave the pump a once over. I Discovered rusted out bolts inside of what looks like a freakin birdcage! Oh crap, no joy at all! I guess it shouldn’t surprise me, I mean, you almost need a physics degree to get the oil filter out.

That was some time ago, and now I want to fix it. I just want to pull the pump, and use the truck w/no aircon. Got any ideas about how I can get that damn thing out? It looks daunting, even if the bolts were still good. Thanks for your help.

Why not leave it in and just get a belt the right size to operate the engine without the AC compressor?

To determine what size you need, get an old belt and a piece of heat-shrink insulation. Cut the belt about as long as you’ll need, and stick both ends in a long length of the heat-shrink. Put the belt on, pull the ends together as best you can, and shrink the heat-shrink. Then remove the belt and bring it to the parts store. They’ll be able to use the heatshrink-sized belt to select a proper belt for you, using a belt a bit shorter to allow for the tensioner. You can then write the belt part number on the air cleaner canister or somewhere with magic marker so you’ll remember it for the future.

There is possibly a kit or instructions on how to fit a new serpentine belt sans the A/C compressor…Don’t try to drive the truck with no belt…And yes, hidden / difficult nuts and bolts are very common in todays automotive world…

You need something in its place for the serpentine belt. You cannot leave this spot blank. However, it may not be necessary to remove the AC compressor at all. You just need to remove the clutch assembly and pulley, clean out what ever has it jammed up and reassemble, but do not connect the clutch control solenoid.

You may need a new clutch assembly as the issue may be a failed or seized bearing. You may be able to replace just the bearing if you can get it out, measure it and order a new bearing based on size from a bearing supply house. You would need access to a small press to do this ad it would probably be a multi weekend project.

The best source for just a clutch assembly would probably be ebay. Most parts houses only carry complete compressors.

To get at the front of the compressor, you will probably need to remove the radiator and possibly the AC condenser (looks like a radiator in front of the radiator). If you don’t repair or replace the compressor, you won’t need the condenser. This should give you a clear shot at the front of the compressor. You will need a good (professional grade) set of large snap ring pliers.


If you’ve got the 5.4 V8, you can install this ac compressor bypass pulley kit


You remove the ac compressor and install this kit instead. Then you can use the exact same serpentine belt . . . assuming it wasn’t damaged when the ac compressor catastrophically let go

napa can also get it, meaning they show it in their system, for what it’s worth, if you want to shop locally


if you want to go this route, be aware that you need to recover the refrigerant before cracking any lines

No disrespect intended to any other posters, but in my opinion, the entire ac compressor is probably toast, not just the clutch

db4690, I agree with you that the entire compressor is junk, but if the AC switch is off, then the pulley should freewheel. Based on the description provided, I surmised that the clutch assembly was not free wheeling anymore, most likely due to a bad bearing. That would make the pulley wobble around, make unusual noises and destroy the serpentine belt.

But I could be wrong. I don’t have eyes that can do a visual inspection through the internet.

Thanks everybody for your responses. DB - thanks for the link it looks like a winner. Keith - thanks for the specifics to remove the pump, because it’s gotta come off.


you’re welcome

Hope you manage to get it going

Please let us know when you do


On most late model compressors a failed hub bearing will spin its inner race and destroy the compressor. I have replaced quite a few Sanden and similar compressors, often due to the hub bearing failing and all had damaged hubs. If the inner race has any free play on the hub a new bearing won’t fix the problem.