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Old 06-02-2011, 05:01 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default A/C compressor clutch

So, assuming I can rent/borrow the proper tool(s) from AutoZone, and assuming the weather cooperates on Saturday, I'm thinking of trying to adjust the clutch on the A/C compressor by removing that shim. As I looked at it this morning though, I'm wondering if it will be necessary to remove the fan housing in order to get at things. With the connected hoses and hidden screws, that part looks almost more intimidating than the compressor itself. Can the clutch shim be removed without pulling that fan housing? Looks like the coolant reservoir could also be an issue.

Do you think this is a job better left to someone who may have done this before and already has the proper tools? Is there a step-by-step tutorial with pics anywhere? I haven't seen one.
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Old 06-03-2011, 02:34 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I have done these by just removing the overflow bottle and the belt guard.

There is just enough room on the ones I have done to get the puller in place and remove the clutch face plate.
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Old 06-03-2011, 05:41 PM   #3 (permalink)
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If I could just ask your indulgence for another question or two, please.

In looking at the available tools to borrow from Auto Zone, I'm thinking that the only two I should need are the first and fourth in the list: the A/C Clutch Holding Tool and the A/C Clutch Plate Remover. I know they don't mention for Subarus, but I'd think the principal behind their use would be the same. Oh, I guess some spring clip pliers would also be a good idea, too.

Based on research here, it's a matter of removing the compressor clutch, removing the shim, replacing the clutch. In theory, it may be simple, but I also realize it probably won't be easy. I just don't want to make things worse. What do you think?
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Old 06-03-2011, 06:04 PM   #4 (permalink)
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what are the benefits of removing the shim?
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Old 06-03-2011, 06:43 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Omjenkins View Post
what are the benefits of removing the shim?
It decreases the gap, which is likely too wide to allow the clutch to engage properly. Lots of explanations here on the forum using the term "shim" and reading the threads referencing A/C. For example: Subaru Forester Owners Forum - Search Results
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Old 06-03-2011, 07:07 PM   #6 (permalink)
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The search results don't seem to work when they're used as a link. You might need to pick the specific post or thread & link to it.

Bobby...

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Old 06-03-2011, 07:18 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Oops. Didn't realize that. Here's a good one to start with. And there's another link within that thread, as well.
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Old 06-04-2011, 11:07 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Well, I figured I'd attack this today. I went to AutoZone and borrowed the aforementioned Clutch Holding Tool and Clutch Plate Remover. The holding tool was helpful for letting me remove that main center bolt, but the other thing was useless for my purposes. Once I got the main center bolt out and saw that the clutch plate wasn't budging at all, I tried carefully prying around the perimeter with a couple of screwdrivers, but I certainly didn't want to force anything. When I realized that I was making absolutely no progress, I gave up.

And as I look at the gap, I can't help wondering how "off" it really is. If I did get in there to remove a shim, it almost seems like it would be too close. That's assuming I'm looking at the right gap.


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Old 06-13-2011, 11:26 AM   #9 (permalink)
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cutter - I am having the same a/c issues. anymore info with your repair? Thank you.


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Originally Posted by cutter44 View Post
Well, I figured I'd attack this today. I went to AutoZone and borrowed the aforementioned Clutch Holding Tool and Clutch Plate Remover. The holding tool was helpful for letting me remove that main center bolt, but the other thing was useless for my purposes. Once I got the main center bolt out and saw that the clutch plate wasn't budging at all, I tried carefully prying around the perimeter with a couple of screwdrivers, but I certainly didn't want to force anything. When I realized that I was making absolutely no progress, I gave up.

And as I look at the gap, I can't help wondering how "off" it really is. If I did get in there to remove a shim, it almost seems like it would be too close. That's assuming I'm looking at the right gap.


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Old 06-13-2011, 03:46 PM   #10 (permalink)
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No, I haven't done anything more since that last post. I don't want to go crazy trying to "fix" something that may not be the problem, and as I mentioned (with the pic), I'm not sure it's really that far off that it could cause the issue. As it happens, we've had only one really hot day in the past week, so it hasn't really been a terrible inconvenience...yet.

I'll probably spend the $70 to have the system serviced. Here's a reply I received when asking what was involved for the money.

The service is a recover of any remaining 134 then it runs through a filter in case anyone added a sealer to the system it is weighed and measured and then I vacuum the system for 40 min then wait 10 min to see if the needle has lost any PSI, if it has then we know we are looking at a leak somewhere. If not I measure the proper weight in your case 0.6 kg or 1.32 lbs. Charge it up and your on your way. $69.95
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Old 06-13-2011, 03:58 PM   #11 (permalink)
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double post...sorry
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Last edited by cutter44; 06-13-2011 at 03:59 PM. Reason: double post...sorry
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Old 06-13-2011, 04:14 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Thats worth it for $70, they know what they're doing. Hopefully thats your only issue and not the compressor.
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Old 06-13-2011, 04:32 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Good to know. Thanks. I might just give them a call.
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Old 06-19-2011, 01:12 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Sorry to resurrect this thread, but wanted to update the symptoms to get a little more advice.

I was all set to just spend the $70 and get the A/C service/recharge done when I figured Id try one more thing. After dealing with the sometimes cold air/sometimes warm air issue again the other day, I happened to be almost home when it was in the middle of a warm air cycle. While the engine was still running, I removed that cover over the compressor pulley so I could get a better look and noticed that it wasn't engaged. I turned off the A/C, shut off the car and started it back up. I turned on the A/C and it still didn't engage. I watched it for a few minutes to make sure, then found a thick stick and gave a little whack to the front of the pulley. It kicked on and sure enough cool air started coming from the vents.

So here's where I need some advice. Should I...

A. Still do the A/C recharge, or would that just be throwing good money away? Would low refrigerant cause the same symptoms as the clutch gap issue?

B. Spend a bit more time and effort screwing around trying to remove the A/C clutch so I can remove that shim? I couldn't budge the thing last time I tried, but it also looked like I wouldn't be able to get a proper tool in there without removing the fans and I didn't feel like dealing with that at the time.

C. Do A and B.

D. Break down and just get a new (or slightly used) compressor and hope I get a little more life out of my A/C? I realize that replacing the whole compressor means more extra work with capturing refrigerant, etc. Which means I'd probably NOT do it myself.

E. Something else I'm not thinking of?


Thanks for your thoughts.
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Old 06-21-2011, 05:55 PM   #15 (permalink)
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I might give this clutch thing a try again tomorrow. Any other suggestions for removing the compressor clutch? Symptoms seem to indicate that removing the shim might do the trick, but I haven't had any success trying to get the clutch off. PB Blaster, then try prying it off with a couple of screwdrivers? Some other magical tool I'm not thinking of?
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