Replacing a grinding A/C compressor clutch


#1

1996 Chevy S-10, 2.2L engine, 61K miles



I had noticed some time back that the A/C compressor clutch was making very loud grind/rattle noises when it was not engaged, so bad that it felt like it was dragging the engine. The noise would stop upon turning on the A/C and engaging the clutch, or liberally spraying some WD-40 on the face of the clutch where the grinding seems to be worst.





To stop the engine-dragging problem and the incessant grinding noises, I installed a serpentine belt that does not attach to the compressor. The system works fine (or at least it did a couple months ago; a recent attempt to put the old belt on and run the system failed to get the compressor engaged), so I think I can just change out the clutch and be done with it.



However, I can’t find anywhere on the 'net how to do this. I know special tools are required to yank and install it, but the actual step-by-step isn’t anywhere, not even Autozone’s repair guides. As far as I can tell, I can’t even purchase the clutch by itself; everywhere I look, all I can find are entire compressors and that’s not what I need.



Does anyone have some idea of where to find just a clutch, and where to find removal/installation procedures? Also, does pulling the clutch on this unit require that the system be evacuated before proceeding?


#2

Try Rockauto.com. They sale all the clutch parts


#3

Here is a Sanden compressor service manual I found http://www.sanden.com/support/servicemanual/english/table_of_contents.html 14 clutch service


#4

Maybe someone that knows what they are talking about will reply but you will only get that kind of detail in the factory service manual, All Data, or maybe the specialized Chilton Air Cond. manual. You need the holder, puller, etc. Just the clutch can be done on the vehicle if you can get access without discharging. I’ve only had it done once though and to be truthful it didn’t last long and wouldn’t do it again. Used compressors are only about $50 and rebuilt a little over $100 and that would be the route I would go if the clutch is shot. Of course that means evacuating, flushing, etc. so not real cheap.


#5

You’ll need a few special tools but I think these can be rented from AutoZone under their tool rental program.
One puller is used to remove the face plate of the clutch and there are several pairs of snap-ring pliers involved.

The system will not have to be evacuated nor will you have to pull a vacuum if you’re only changing the clutch assembly. No problem at all there unless access to the front of the compressor is a problem. Sometimes it’s difficult to access those snap rings when working blind.

Took a quick look at several parts sites and no clutch available w/o the compressor. That’s kind of odd on a common Chevrolet S-10.


#6

Fortunately the compressor is the highest-mounted external component on this engine, so access is no problem at all.

And yeah, I don’t understand why places like Autozone and Advance not only don’t have it, but apparently can’t even get it. Fortunately that rockauto.com site americar recommended does seem to carry all the parts, though even there it’s not completely clear what I should be looking for. There’s “A/C compressor clutch” which looks like just the front, outermost plate, and then there’s “A/C compressor clutch pulley” which is almost the entire works except for the front plate, and costs quite a bit more ($150 vs. $48)

I’m guessing that it’d make sense to get both, might as well do it all.


#7

I took a look at the Rock Auto site and I don’t understand why they’re selling a compressor clutch in that manner. They’re selling it piecemeal? Every time I’ve bought a clutch it’s been an assembly.
A 150 is pretty pricy for a compressor clutch even if you do have to build it from scratch. I have no answer for that one.

You might take a look at eBay or Craigslist and see if by chance someone there has a clutch or compressor. If the compressor was cheap enough then buy that and simply swap the clutch over.


#8

The clutch, Field coil, and pulley are AC Delco only parts. I guess its AC Delco marketing geniuses at work. Will the Chevy dealer sale a complete clutch assembly?


#9

I imagine they will, but I shudder to think what a dealer parts shop will charge for this. I’d like to get the system working again, but I’m not pressed enough to spend hundreds of dollars.


#10

First thing I would do before buying a new clutch is remove the old one, and inspect the hub part of the compressor that the pulley bearing rides on. If the bearing had seized up and the bearing race had spun on the hub of the compressor, then chances are the hub is out of spec, and compressor with clutch will need replaced.