A/C Compressor Clutch Kit. Worth it?

I have a 2009 Honda Odyssey with working A/C…however the bearing in the pulley is bad and causes quite a scream when you start it up.

I want to buy a $50 clutch replacement kit to replace the pulley with that one. Is it worth it? No shop I’ve called is willing to do this repair. They want to drain the system and replace the compressor completely then refill the system. I’d rather save a couple hundred on my working compressor and just do this job. Am I nuts? Has anyone else done this repair and had success?

Edit: shops have quoted me between $800 and $1300 to do this. I’m not lazy, I just don’t like laying on the concrete when its 10 degrees outside.

My gut feeling is the shops you’ve called don’t want to do this job because they know it will be coming right back when it fails again.

I’d say fix it right and be done with it.


I love this answer because I have the same feeling. My wife wants me to do the whole compressor because I told her my concern too.

I was not looking forwards to disrupting the refrigerant though.

As you have just discovered, there is a huge difference between what a person working on his own car can get away with, versus what a professional shop would do. As a DIYer, you can do the job to whatever quality standard you feel comfortable with. You don’t have to worry about liability, or a possible repeat failure, and you certainly don’t have to worry about protecting your business’s reputation. A professional shop does have to worry about those things, so a lot of “expedient repairs” which a DIYer might do are simply not going to be available.

For example, as a DIYer, I could get away with cutting back and reusing old hoses if I wanted to, or replacing struts and reusing the old rubber bushings if I wanted to (not saying that any of these would be a good idea, just saying that I could do it). A professional shop is going to demand that you do the job correctly and by-the-book, or take your business elsewhere.

If you want to replace just the clutch mechanism on an old compressor, then buy the tool and do it yourself when the weather improves. If you want to have the repair done professionally, then expect to pay for a new compressor, accumulator-drier, O-rings and seals, and of course a new belt and tensioner.

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[quote=“bcohen2010, post:4, topic:175336”]
there is a huge difference between what a person working on his own car can get away with
[/quote]well of course. I’m looking more from a perspective of “is it worth doing” versus “will it cost more money later.” Of course I’m capable of the repair, just don’t know if anyone’s had any experience with failure or longevity of the fix. I’ve got a few months till I need AC and I’m not above doing it the shop way, I just feel it may be wasteful if there is another option. An alternative thinking may be that it’s easier to replace the entire compressor than fool with a repair kit.

The compressor clutch can be replaced in the vehicle without reclaiming the refrigerant, with the proper tools.


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I have replaced clutch assemblies only on compressors with no issues.

The reason for a shop’s hesitation is that too many people (and I’m not saying you are one of them) will willingly agree to a clutch only repair and made aware of unintended consequences.
When the aged compressor gives up a month or a year later the same customer will scream bloody murder that the shop screwed something up and bad mouth them to everyone on the planet.

If you can DIY and the A/C is currently cooling fine I don’t have an issue with a clutch only repair.

My daughters car had a compressor replacement 6 months…and then I found the clutch had failed. Since I didn’t have a tool or the time, I took it to the Mazda dealer and said replace just the clutch. When I went to pick up the car, they told me it had needed a new compressor at $800. As I walked out of the garage, there by the door was my compressor, with the clutch still attached, but now the clutch was obviously heavily beaten with hammer and screwdrivers. I learned never to go to that dealer again.

I bet $10 the compressor is on bottom of motor 3” from subframe. A bear to reach. Very hard to remove clutch/pulley hub in situ and even harder to press it back on. I did it 2 yrs ago on a similar rig. You have to unbolt compressor from motor to even reach the hub.

Try it, nothing to loose

The clutch hub bearing is under the same load when the engine is running regardless whether the AC is on or off. Did the scream suddenly appear or did it occur soon after adding refrigerant?


I haven’t tried it with the AC on, but it is 100% the pulley.

I did the clutch kit, and it was amazingly easy. I only had to remove the wheel well cover. However the noise still remains and I’m obviously wrong. The pulley did have a bad bearing, but it wasn’t the source of the noise. Now of course I spun and shook every pulley and determined that they were all in great shape except for the compressor pulley. Could another pulley still spin like new and be bad at the same time? I mean this could be as simple as an idler pulley and I just missed it, right?

I had bad seals in an AC compressor about 25 years ago. It was a warranty job, and the dealer tried to repair it without replacing the compressor. After this first attempt, the compressor squealed when the clutch engaged. They tried a few more times, and I eventually put in for a lemon law replacement of the car. When the dealer saw that, they replaced the compressor. No more problems.

Yep, replace compressor next.

How did the compressor hub look? When the bearing fails the bearing’s inner race galls the hub and quickly damages the inner race of a new bearing.

As far as I was able to see it looked fairly clean.

The noise also returned immediately upon starting it back up. No break-in time either

All right guys and gals, this morning I stuck a piece of rubber hose to my ear and stethoscoped my way around the pulleys. Something I’ve done in the past and knew that it worked.

Drummroll…Verdict is I’m an idiot. I probably NEEDED the new compressor pulley anyway, but the noise was coming from the tensioner pulley.


The REAL idiot would have waited until he replaced the compressor before he checked the tensioner pulley!


on the positive side, you have a new clutch now!

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