1991 Ford Taurus Remove and replace A/C clutch?

Tiny
NAPOLITAN_2000
  • MEMBER
  • 1991 FORD TAURUS
  • 6 CYL
  • 2WD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 70,000 MILES
I have a 1991 Sable wagon. Automatic with a 3.8L engine. I figure its the same as a Taurus so I would get responses faster here.

I brought my car in to have the AC checked for not working. I was told I need a new AC clutch. The mechanic said they don't sell just the clutch for the car I have to get the whole compressor. I checked with the parts store and he confirmed it, but the manager suggested I go to the junk yard and pull one off a junker. I called The local junk yard and they have a ton of Tauruses like my sable, and I should be able to find one that has the correct compressor like mine, and I can just pull it off. I just haven't figured which of the two possible compressors I have or how to get to it. The parts store said to look at the label on the compressor. I can see the compressor pulley and barely see the compressor, But I can't see a lable, an it looks difficult to get to.
Do I have to get at it from underneath to take the pulley off (doesn't look like much room against the car body to work with) or do I have to remove the power steering pump to get at it?. Also coming home last night the serpentine belt broke as I got in the drive way. The pulley started squealing the day before so I think it seized or whatever and I have to do it in my driveway so I don't have to pay for a toe.
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Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009 AT 11:00 AM

4 Replies

Tiny
JGAROFALO
  • MEMBER
The compressor is in a bad spot to reach, but you can get to it from underneath. Since the compressor clutch has failed, you have a host of challenges facing you.

First, the system uses R-12 refrigerant. This stuff is VERY expensive, and requires a license to purchase or handle it.

Second, the power steering pump removal for access has challenges of its own. Requires special tools to remove and install the pulley. The mounting bolts are behind the pulley.

Third, should you be able to get to the compressor, you will find that it is too cramped to just remove the clutch assembly in place.

My suggestions:

First remove the old compressor completely from below. You can then match it up at the junkyard, and get a compressor and clutch as an assembly.

Next, replace the broken belt once the compressor has been installed. Take it to a shop to be evacuated. VERY IMPORTANT! Air or moisture in the system can really foul things up.

Next, on your way home, pick up a conversion kit to use R-134a in the system. These kits are relatively inexpensive, and contain eberything you need to use the newer refrigerant.

OR. You can have it recharged with R-134a at the shop.
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Wednesday, June 24th, 2009 AT 12:28 PM
Tiny
NAPOLITAN_2000
  • MEMBER
I can change a belt no problem I just never worked on this AC compressor b4. And I did plan on removing mine 1st but I was only going to chance the clutch so I wouldn't have to disconnect the compressor and go through having it evacuated and all, as I have next to no money since I lost my job and decided to start college full time this past year. I pretty much borrow money from my parents and brothers when things like this arrive. So you say I have to take it out from underneath? This will be fun. Bringing back memories if me changing an alternator on my old Pontiac Fiero.

Now one last thing I know it has no conversion kit on it. The Mechanic who told me the clutch was bad told me that year car took R-134a Because he put in a pound of it and the dye when I took it to them to check why it was not working. When I was talking to him he said they don't even work on the old stuff. I know because when I dropped it off I asked which it was because I have a recovery recycler unit for the R-12 with about one pound in the tank on attached to the unit. I just lost the manifold.
Are you sure they used R-12? Because then I was charged for something he didn't do, or he mixed in the 134a with the 12.
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Wednesday, June 24th, 2009 AT 7:59 PM
Tiny
JGAROFALO
  • MEMBER
Ford cars used R-12 up until the end of the 1993 model year. A few late '93s used R-134a, but the real start of it was 1994. It is possible that some earlier cars may have had R-134a used as a pilot type of program. I did hear about it in Ford training school back in that era. The fittings will tell the story. R-12 uses the 37-degree flare (an industry standard), and the R-134a uses the "quick connect" tyoe of fitting that attaches like a compressed air line.

I really don't see having much room to remove the clutch without disconnecting the lines. Not an easy task in limited quarters. I suppose it would be possible if given enough time and determination.
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Thursday, June 25th, 2009 AT 5:32 PM
Tiny
NAPOLITAN_2000
  • MEMBER
Well it is the R-12 fittings, I called the place that checked it last where they guy said he put in a pound of freon and the dye and charged me for it. Well they only do r134a and that mechanic no longer works there as of last Friday. He was fired for steeling, and I paied 65 dollars cash and theirs no record of it at the shop. So he lyed and took my money. I guess he was right about the Clutch tho.
Dam just when I started to trust mechanics again.

Anyway about my AC Compressor, I was thinking I would unbolt the compressor let it drop a little and then remove the clutch. Without disconnecting the lines.

I have done this with other ac compressors in the past sorta. On a 92 Chevy Beretta when my friend and I did an engine swap we just moved the AC compressor out of the way. The lines bent out of the way and then back without breaking. That was back when I had a place to work on cars. This last summer the engine blew when I came home from school so I saved up to buy a used one and had a guy install it and picked it up in January when was all finished. He also said he didn't need to disconnect the compressor. But in the winter its hard to tell if its not working. There was a small squeal then but we thought it was coming from the power steering pump. But later on the 1st hot day of this year when I went to use it and it didnt work, I took it to the midas shop and learned it was the AC clutch, located right underneath it that was squealing and that's why it wasn't working
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Thursday, June 25th, 2009 AT 11:39 PM

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