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    Thread: #@$%! AC Compressor clutch bearing dead

    1. Member JPX's Avatar
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      11-11-2005 03:38 AM #1
      So an hour after I agreed to buy this car from a friend, a lot of noise near the pulleys turned into an unbelievable amount of noise from the pulleys. I had already ruled out the power steering pump and the water pump as the source earlier.
      So tonight, thanks to some inspirationhttps://forums.vwvortex.com/zerothread?id=2288999, I decided to hunt down the racket.
      After wrestling with the belts and various inconveniently located brackets and bolts (8mm hex on the compressor and 13mm everywhere else), I was able to isolate the AC compressor. The clutch/pulley bearing sound like a blender crushing ice. And boy was it a pain getting that inboard slider nut to turn in 1 click increments.
      [URL="http://memimage.cardomain.com/member_images/4/web/2164000-2164999/2164711_19_full.jpg"]
      I was kneeling in front of the car with my head on the radiator in grief that this was the case. Particularly painful considering that the AC didn't work anyway, but I cannot simply bypass the compressor because the alternator belt links to it. (I could retrofit this, but the complexity level shoots up a magnitude).
      So as I tried to pull out the compressor, I tried to get the engine-side bracket loose and heard a sickening *snap*. I had pressed one of the AC hoses into the oil dipstick plastic and broke it in half.


      I gave up at this point , changed clothes and parked in front of the computer to see what kind of cost impact this is looking like. *GASP* $250 for a rebuilt compressor.
      All I need is a bearing that spins a pulley - I don't really need the back end of the compressor!
      Oh and to turn a mechanical dilemma into a moral matter, I discovered that my non-working AC still has a lot of R-12 refrigerant pressure in the lines. I'm not going to chain myself to a Humboldt County redwood tree over this, but hey, I live in California and have to admit this makes me uncomfortable.
      Should I simply replace the compressor? Can I get the pulley assembly only replaced? Should I push the car into the bay? Any suggestions on this matter would be appreciated.
      Modified by JPX at 9:29 AM 1-29-2006


      Modified by JPX at 11:34 PM 3-24-2010

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    3. Member tolusina's Avatar
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      11-11-2005 03:58 AM #2
      R,
      First, don't fret about the dipstick funnel, they break easily all by themselves. They are real cheap, keep a spare in the glove box.
      You should be able to buy the compressor clutch assembly, shop at AC specialty shops, there should be several in the S.J. area.
      Alternately, you could remove the AC completely. Grab your tools and head to Pick and Pull, look for an A2 with power steering but no AC. Grab ALL the power steering mounting brackets including the bolts and the coolant pump pulley. Make a note of the belt sizes so everything will line up and work. Bolt in all on your car.
      Most any AC shop that still services R-12 systems should be happy to recover your R-12, it's valuable enough they should pay you, don't count on it though.
      Ron
      Quote Originally Posted by kamzcab86
      I hate reading: "But I bought this car for $500 and don't want to put another dime into it."
      ____(hey, it's VW AND it's electrical, what's not to fail?) neoBentley+



    4. Senior Member briano1234's Avatar
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      11-11-2005 05:54 AM #3
      You can go to a wrecking yard and look for a compresser, if there is slight amount of pressure in the lnes and it dosen't make anw noise it is probably good, replace it. If you are worried that the EPA police will get you take it to a shop to have the r12 bleed off, other wise...
      Drain all the oil out and go to pep boys by a 134a 3cans and a bottle of pag oil. and a 134a nipple kit. Two new nitrite o-rings for the compressor hoses
      Add the proper amount of pag oil to the compressor, connect the hoses.
      Add 1 can of gas to the suction line. (strut tower lo-side)
      Then at the bleeder nipple at the radiator (high) side. depress the valve till r134a gas is expelled about 4 seconds worth, be sure to clean out the nipple of crud first with some air or brake cleaner.
      Wait 2 minuites, Then start the engine, engage the a/c and add one more can, during this addition the compressor will kick in, and suck that can down. Then add one more can.
      If the compressor cycles then shuts off a bit bleed some more gas from the hi side.
      Shade tree repair 101.


      Modified by briano1234 at 2:46 PM 11-11-2005

    5. Member backinthegame's Avatar
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      11-11-2005 10:33 AM #4
      Excellent writeup! [IMG]http://*****************.com/smile/emthup.gif[/IMG]
      Sent from my Droid using an escape pod to Tattoine.


      Quote Originally Posted by mad8vskillz View Post
      they're trying to skip out on their contracts via rapture. not very christian of them

    6. Member JPX's Avatar
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      11-12-2005 12:24 AM #5
      briano1234 thanks for the 134a info. I'm not quite there yet, but I can't rule anything out at this point.
      On the no AC option, I just wish I could leave everything on and run a belt to the alternator from the crank. Maybe an extended pulley to match up? Hmmm..
      Anyway, I still haven't been able to extract the compressor from it's position. Once I do, I'm going to crack open that clutch assembly and see how bad the situation is. AC shops here already pointed out that 1:10 chance the entire compressor shaft/bearing assembly is toast - it would be a miracle if a simple bearing change makes things right.
      Here is a good write up I found on the clutch pulley bearing replacement. I hope it ends up being that simple for me. http://www.stu-offroad.com/oth...1.htm
      And here is an interesting article about overall compressor repair. http://www.ryderfleetproducts....l.jsp
      You guys are providing some great advice and I appreciate it.
      More to come ....unfortunately $$$$$$

    7. Member JPX's Avatar
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      11-12-2005 02:18 AM #6
      So I finally got the alternator cleared out of the way and got the compressor off it's mounting breacket without disconnecting the hoses.
      The 19mm nut on the clutch plate is a tough one to crack without good leverage. I borrowed a removal tool to keep the plate from spinning while wrenching the nut.
      [IMG]http://*****************.com/smile/emthup.gif[/IMG]
      A friend of mine gave me a giant puller from Harbor Freight. I tried to get the pulley off using it. But it felt like the pulley was bending from the puller. I think I have to use the small threaded holes in the plate to drive screws in to back the plate off. That's as far as I got tonight.



      Modified by JPX at 11:44 PM 3-24-2010

    8. Member moparVWfreak's Avatar
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      11-12-2005 03:08 AM #7
      if you dont care about weather you have AC or not i would go out to the boneyard and pick up a NON A\C alt CORE and yank the pully off. thats what i did when my last 85 cab needed an AC compressor... worked great till i needed an alt and saw the price... $125 plus core... sold the car....

    9. Member JPX's Avatar
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      11-13-2005 02:00 AM #8
      Well, still beating my head against this. Making lots of use of the Autozone free loan a tool program. This trip required 1/4"x20x2" bolts and a harmonic balancer puller to yank the clutch assembly off. Now I see the error of my ways from last night when I was beating on the pulley - there was a circlip on the inside of both the pulley and the nose cone. It is clear that the compressor is indeed seized - grease blown and the shaft with the key no longer rotates.

      The pulley surface that faces the clutch is a mess. But I plan to reuse it since both the pulley race and the compressor shaft still retain their shapes.

      Once the clutch assembly was removed, the pulley was easily removed.

      I drove out the bearing with a big socket It wasn't in there that tight. But it practically feel apart in my hands. There is NO grease left and it looks like some of the balls disintegrated.

      At this point I'm hoping to locate a replacement bearing. This will allow the pulley to freewheel while the compressor and clutch just sit there as a pulley carrier. There was no part number. Bearing dimensions on this SD508 compressor are 57mmOD x 41mmID x 24mm thick.


      Modified by JPX at 10:01 PM 4-8-2010

    10. Member tolusina's Avatar
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      11-13-2005 02:31 AM #9
      Go here, https://www.motionindustries.c...n.jsp
      find the nearest, give them the dimensions and maybe they can help. Clean it real well first, look again for bearing numbers.
      Quote Originally Posted by kamzcab86
      I hate reading: "But I bought this car for $500 and don't want to put another dime into it."
      ____(hey, it's VW AND it's electrical, what's not to fail?) neoBentley+



    11. Member JPX's Avatar
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      11-13-2005 01:17 PM #10
      Thanks for the link. Turns out the bearing is a replaceable part. axial ball bearing part# BCA 5001KFF [Sanden SD-508 compressor] - for about $30. I've ordered one and am eagerly awaiting it's arrival so I can put this thing back together.
      In the meantime, I will have to amuse myself by working on little things like tightening loose interior parts, cleaning vinyl pieces and blanking off the radio plate. I'm afraid to open a new can of worms by checking out the brakes - but safety first, right?

    12. Member JPX's Avatar
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      11-16-2005 11:46 PM #11
      Well, the replacement bearing arrived today and to my dismay, it won't fit.
      The inner diameter is correct for the SD-508 compressor shaft. But the outer diameter is too large for the v belt pulley.
      Comparison of the two bearings (old left, new right).

      Now I guess I don't really have much of a choice but to hit the junkyards. Not that I mind, but I would have preferred to go under less demanding circumstances for more fun things like trim parts and upgrades.

    13. Senior Member briano1234's Avatar
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      11-17-2005 05:33 AM #12
      If you have a bearing dealer local to you, go down there with the bearing in hand. They will mic it and get you the correct bearing. I had to do that years ago with a lucas starter.

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      11-17-2005 01:18 PM #13
      Quote, originally posted by briano1234 »
      If you have a bearing dealer local to you, go down there with the bearing in hand. They will mic it and get you the correct bearing. I had to do that years ago with a lucas starter.

      yeah... bearing stores are awesome for stuff like that. We have an Applied bearing place about 4 miles from here. (work)
      I suggest you go to one of the places on here: (whichever one is closest I guess)
      http://www.google.com/local?hl...ocalr




      Modified by vw_nick at 10:20 AM 11-17-2005

    15. Member JPX's Avatar
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      11-18-2005 02:49 AM #14
      Thanks for the bearing tips guys . Since it was a nice day out and I had a clear agenda, I took a trip to the junkyard. Didn't even need my tools when I opened one of the wrecked Cabriolets....conveniently someone had already pulled off a compressor that had a good bearing/pulley.

      Added 11/30/2006
      Quote, originally posted by tolusina »
      Once fully re-assembled, there should be a gap of 0.016" to 0.032" between the clutch plate and the clutch hub. The gap is set with shims that fit on the compressor shaft, under the clutch plate.
      If you replace the complete compressor assembly, this gap should be pre-set and a non-issue.
      If you choose to save some bux and replace only the bearing as JPX outlined or the complete clutch as JPX ended up doing, you'll want to check this gap, adjust as needed.

      So I pulled off the pulley and stuck it onto my current seized compressor. It took a little pounding to get the bearing back on the shaft. I had to finish destroying the inner race of the old bearing to drive everything together. And you'll notice the U-bolt I used to hold the compressor upright while I put the pulley on. But it's on there now!

      Of course I noticed that the water pump hoses are looking a little sketchy. This would be a great time to change them and the coolant anyway ( OMG are those original clamps?!). But now yet again, I need parts!

      Hopefully I will be getting this thing together this weekend enough for a quick drive while it is still sunny.

      Modified by JPX at 9:55 AM 11-30-2006


      Modified by JPX at 11:43 PM 3-24-2010

    16. Member tolusina's Avatar
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      11-18-2005 03:21 AM #15
      R,
      Quote, originally posted by JPX »
      ......OMG are those original clamps?!......

      Those clamps are the best design ever. they are a complete PITA to deal with but well worth it. They continually compensate for the natural settling of the rubber hose underneath the clamp, no leaks for the life of the hose.
      They also prevent crushing or cracking any of the plastic flanges commonly used on our cars. Screw clamps are easily overtightened attempting to get a good seal.
      Buy the special pliers for those clamps, a very worthwhile investment!!
      Ron
      Quote Originally Posted by kamzcab86
      I hate reading: "But I bought this car for $500 and don't want to put another dime into it."
      ____(hey, it's VW AND it's electrical, what's not to fail?) neoBentley+



    17. Member JPX's Avatar
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      11-20-2005 12:08 PM #16
      So to increase my frustration on the AC compressor problem, I decided to replace the 3 way cooling hose. That was incredibly difficult to remove since the hose was fused onto the water pump flange.

      In addition, the water pump flange is kind of a mess. After I crammed the new hose back onto the flange, it still seeps a bit - even after putting on a second clamp. I guess I am doomed to carry a bottle of coolant with me or simply (pffft) replace the water pump.

      Bah - enough.........proceed with assembly.
      I bought new belts for the alternator and the power steering pump. I figured since the alternator belt is BEHIND the water pump belt, I might as well make sure I don't have to go after the belt again.
      I found that the new belt, although the same size as the old one, was a hair tighter. So even after fiddling with the tighteners, the pulleys looked like they were pretty close to each other.

      But at last, I got everything put back together.

      Fired it up and everything runs. Wow! I didn't realize just how quiet (relatively) that engine is. When I first got the car, the AC bearing was so loud that I really couldn't hear anything else. Took it for a drive - ah what fun! Finally get to putter around with it before the winter rains set it!
      I'm sure I'll have more drama to share when I get to the blown CV and trans fluid change!

      All these 'tex links and posts have helped me a lot. Thanks for all the great info guys! [IMG]http://*****************.com/smile/emthup.gif[/IMG]
      Modified by JPX at 9:14 AM 11-20-2005


      Modified by JPX at 11:42 PM 3-24-2010

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      11-20-2005 12:18 PM #17
      I had a coolant flange on my water pump housing that was corroded a bit, I wound up cleaning it up and using some JB weld to build it smooth again, sanded it down and it doesn't leak at all... might be tricky to do on the car tho... maybe next time you have it all apart again.

    19. Senior Member briano1234's Avatar
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      11-20-2005 06:01 PM #18
      I had a brother that had shaved his head, and that opened up little pockets in the Metal. JB weld filed and shanded smooth, and 10 years later nooooo problems.

    20. Member JPX's Avatar
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      11-25-2005 05:23 PM #19
      I might have to revisit your solution if the leak gets any worse. For now it still seeps a little, but not enough to completely freak me out.
      I am happy to report that the transmission oil change went, well...fine.
      This link was very very useful: http://www.vintagewatercooleds...l.htm
      Had to throw on some new wiper blades now that it actually rained today. Now that the Cabriolet is operational, I can (reluctantly) deal with my Subaru's head gasket leak. I'd rather work on other things on the Carbiolet...more satisfying, you know.



      Modified by JPX at 12:51 PM 7-4-2006

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