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AC Clutch Coil won't always magnetize/stick

Ok finally after 3 mechanics I found someone who told me that the coil in the clutch will sometimes loose itsstick and then the clutch will stop moving. He had said it needed to be replaced and you would have to replace the entire compressor and a new clutch, not just get a coil and fix that part, simply because of the way you havre to get into the system. Then it would cost me for draining my 12 and re charging the system again to get to the clutch coil anyways.

He did show me that if it stops running I can hit the coil with a broom handle and get it to engage again and stick to the clutch, and the ac comes back on liem magic.

But there has to be another option here than buying an entire new system just because of 1 silly magnetic coil.

What about just simply cleaning the coil with brake cleaner or carb cleaner? I noticed it was very dirty and maybe that is what is keeping it from making a contact and getting magnetized.

It is getting the voltage it needs so that is not the problem. Should I clean it and hit it with a broom stick?

I would certainly try spraying it with brake clean or similar cleaner. Of course when it’s not running. I never changed a clutch, but I was under the impression you can change just the clutch (which houses the coil) without even removing the compressor or draining the system. Maybe that’s just the older ones. You might spend some time with Google and get your answer that way.

yeah I tried google but I cannot get any clear answers, i will try cleaning the heck out of it 1st

Cleaning is unlikely to help. However, it is possible to replace just the clutch and not the compressor too. Most don’t want to do that because a dragging compressor may be what caused the clutch to fail in the first place. From your description, I would just get a replacement (or junkyard) clutch and leave the compressor alone.

Or I could just keep hitting it with a broom stick LOL

I remember that the AC clutch failed on one of my father’s old cars (many years ago), and he just welded the clutch together so that the compressor was always on. (He took the belt off in the winter time.)

well that is one way I guess, Does it keep cooling then even if you have the system off at the dash? How would that affect gas mileage, or the compressor running all the time?

Yes, it would keep cooling even with the dash switches off. I think the affect on gas mileage is about 1 MPG.
Both cars that I have have auto climate controls and they both run the AC compressor all of the time the car is on, even in the winter time. The exception is that the compressor is off during starting of the engine, and when the gas pedal is pressed all the way down.

When I had the same intermittant problem on my 87 Ranger the mechanic adjusted the compressor clutch “airgap”.

As I recall he said it was a simple matter of removing a shim or spacer.

Dont know if this would work on your Tempo or not.

Ranger is correct. The problem is with the air gap between the compressor clutch and the pulley. The clutch is worn to the point where the air gap is so great that the electro-magnet can’t overcome the air gap to pull the clutch in to engage it.

The clutch can be replaced on the compressor while in the vehicle so no refrigerant is lost. If you can find a shop that knows how to do it.


ok so the shim or spacer, can they fix that instead of getting me new clutch?

To remove a shim/spacer from the clutch requires removal of the clutch plate from the compressor. And to get the compressor orientaded to that position so it can be done isn’t easy.

If you’re doing this yourself, then you can try removing a shim/spacer. If you’re paying someone else to do this, pay them once, and have the clutch replaced.