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Thread: A/C Compressor - Anyone fitted a new clutch?

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    Regular Member RobW's Avatar
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    Default A/C Compressor - Anyone fitted a new clutch?

    Apparently, all compressors can have the clutch replaced so instead of replacing the whole unit (including a de-gas and re-gas!) would be a triple money saver.

    Anybody got any experience with this? Any links to parts etc?

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    Regular Member rich r's Avatar
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    I've not done it on a Vectra, but I have on Nissans and Subarus with Denso aircon compressors.

    The pulley that's driven by the belt just freewheels on a bearing on the nose of the compressor. Inside it there's an electromagnet that pulls in the clutch plate which is fixed to the shaft. The clutch plate usually has a rubber part between the inner and outer parts to prevent it snatching when it engages and I've had this perish and fail.

    On the Denso type, the clutch plate is simply fixed to the shaft by a 10mm nut -just undo it and off the clutch comes. You can insert or remove washers on the shaft to maintain the correct distance between the friction surface on the clutch plate and the pulley as it wears, so it's designed to come off to allow you to do this.

    Some scrapyards are a bit funny about letting you have just the clutch plate though - I've had arguments with more than one about this. The clutch plates are available separately from the compressor, but not through the normal motor factor/dealer channels.

    I've picked up a complete compressor in the past, pinched the clutch plate, and sold on the rest of the compressor to someone with a failed compressor with good clutch...

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    Forum Moderator John LE's Avatar
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    Hardest bit will be getting tools for the job mate, you'll need some decent circlip pliers and something to hold the compressor wheel so you can slacken the centre nut.

    Cheapest way to get a clutch is to find out which other compressors fit your car. Iirc all of the diesels and the 3.2 v6 share the same compressor (don't quote me on that though)

    Compressors come up on ebay all the time from 20 quid upwards. Buy a compressor get it home and apply 12v to the terminals to test it, obviously the clutch should lock.

    If your stuck for a tool to hold the centre pully you can use the one I made for the job and then send it back to me

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    Regular Member rich r's Avatar
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    I think I used an oil filter removal tool to clamp the clutch whilst undoing the nut. The other way if the compressor is still on the car is to apply 12V to engage the clutch, then undo the nut - without the engine running, there should be enough resistance in the compressor to allow you to undo it.

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    Forum Moderator John LE's Avatar
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    There is nothing to get a hold of (on the dti anyway) as the inner and outer pulley sit flush. The inner pulley has 3 holes around circumference of the centre nut to counter hold it.

    The flaw of your other solution is that normally the clutch is knackered and thats the reason it's being taken off. The electromagnet in mine overheated and then disintegrated meaning it wouldn't engage at all

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    Regular Member rich r's Avatar
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    True - it would depend what's wrong with the clutch. And I've only got experience of the Japanese type.

    But it should give some ideas...

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    Regular Member RobW's Avatar
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    Well, I have had a fridge repair man say he would do it so would assume he has experience and tools. Where is the compressor on the engine? Bottom front drivers side?

    Is it driven from the alternator belt or timing belt?

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    Forum Moderator John LE's Avatar
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    It's driven off of the aux belt matey. I started to mine today....and wish I hadn't , what a pain in the ass of a job

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    Regular Member rich r's Avatar
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    Yeah - it's not in the best position on the Vectra. I really do miss working on nice flat four Subaru engines where everything like this is mounted nice and conveniently on the top at the front!

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