How to Replace a Ford A/C Compressor Clutch

Written by nathaniel miller
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The air-conditioning system in your Ford is basically a circulation loop through which refrigerant is pumped by a compressor. The refrigerant is a combination of gas and liquid that becomes very cold as it is compressed and then expanded. The chilled gas then flows from the compressor into an evaporator coil. The cold refrigerant now inside the coil has air blowing across the fins and tubes of the coil, thereby cooling the air, which is transferred into the car. By following the procedures below, you can remove and replace the A/C compressor clutch in your Ford vehicle at minimal cost.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

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Things you need

  • Set of English box-end wrenches, ranging from 1/4 inch to 1 inch in size
  • Breaker bar
  • Graduated cylinder
  • Assorted screwdrivers
  • Can of quality lubrication spray
  • R-134a compatible refrigerant oil
  • New or rebuilt A/C compressor for a Ford
  • Safety goggles
  • Five 1-inch O-rings
  • 1/4-inch rubber stoppers

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Have the air-conditioning system discharged or evacuated of refrigerant by certified personnel at a dealer service department or automotive air-conditioning repair facility.

  2. 2

    Raise the hood and disconnect the negative battery cable terminal from the battery using a box-end wrench.

  3. 3

    Disconnect the electrical plug-in connector from the compressor clutch by hand.

  4. 4

    Remove the drive serpentine belt from the compressor clutch pulley by taking the tension from the pulley using a breaker bar and compressing the torsion spring tensioner.

  5. 5

    Disconnect the refrigerant lines from the compressor with the box-end wrenches. Plug the open fittings to prevent the accidental entry of dirt and moisture; quarter-inch rubber stoppers are a good fit for these connections.

  6. 6

    Loosen the mounting bolts with the box-end wrenches, and remove the bolts from the compressor clutch mounting bracket and lift the clutch out of the vehicle.

  7. 7

    Pour out the refrigerant oil into a graduated container so you know how much new oil to add to the new compressor.

  8. 8

    Installation is in the reverse order of removal. Always replace all O-rings with new ones that are specifically made for use with the new R-134a refrigerant. Lubricate the new O-rings with R-134a-compatible refrigerant oil.

  9. 9

    Evacuate and recharge the system with the proper amount of R-134a refrigerant by the same certified mechanic that discharged the unit before you replaced clutch. Have the mechanic start the engine and let it run for a few minutes; this will let the system stabilise and the compressor cycle on and off.

Tips and warnings

  • Do not remove any hoses or components until the system has been discharged by a certified mechanic (or by a failure of a component).

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