('06-'08) Broken Bolt on A/C Compressor Clutch - Subaru Forester Owners Forum
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post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old 06-14-2019, 06:13 PM Thread Starter
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Location: San Juan, PR
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Broken Bolt on A/C Compressor Clutch


My fiance's car started having AC issues (intermittently working) a short while ago, and after a little searching, I found one of the many great threads here about removing a shim in the compressor clutch.

I went the DIY route, and though I was a little worried I'd be one of the unlucky few who ended up bending bolts and not getting the thing off--lo and behold, it came off pretty easily. I removed one of the shims and cranked the clutch back on, but in my excitement (and probably the fact that I was being eaten alive by mosquitos at the time didn't help), cranked too hard and broke the bolt.

I *then* saw in the thread that someone else had done this, and that it is entirely unnecessary to crank this down hard. Luckily for that person, they were able to get the clutch back off and remove the bolt with some needlenose pliers. I had no such luck.

I tried to remove the clutch but now the threads on my 25mm bolt DIY option decided to give out. I at least managed to get them back out after a little cranking, and had my fiance bring it to a mechanic to see if they could get the broken bolt out. They also don't seem to be able to get the bolt out--though it could be that I didn't explain things well enough to my fiance, or that the mechanic didn't understand her spanish, or some combination of the two. (It sounds like maybe he was looking for the head of the bolt, as though it had somehow been lost somewhere else into the compressor).

They gave her the following possible options, none are ideal, at least one sounds crazy. I figured I'd ask here to see what you guys think we should do!

1. Run the AC without the bolt. This sounds crazy to me. I know that there's a huge magnet and splines to keep the thing on--but having no bolt sounds unsafe. We live in a place where some things can be a little below code--so you never really know if you're being uptight or if the guy talking to you is being nuts. What do you think?

2. Buy a new OEM compressor and have them install it. This sounded like it would be $1500 (I'll have to double check the numbers) and we'd have to wait for them to order it. We live on an island so things are expensive and slow to arrive.

3. Buy a new Chinese compressor for $900 with installation. Anyone have experience with these? It seems from the thread that some people have had issues with these--maybe only if you're trying to do the shim job--but maybe not?

4. Buy a refurbed compressor for $700 with installation. This initially sounded a little off the wall--because I don't really know what was refurbed on here, and I'd hate to have to do another shim job in a few months and get us back to the mechanic! But in the thread it seems that some people buy these and have no problem. Maybe this is the best option.

My other option seems to be to try more with the bolt or to get someone else to try with the bolt. I mean--it's just a freggin bolt, right. The main problem here is that we live where it is extremely hot and it is a hot time of year and my fiance wears a suit to work--so this needs to be done quickly if at all possible.

I've extracted bolts before but there's not a lot of access to the front of the compressor. I'm at least going to go in with her on Monday to make sure they know that we're not looking for a lost bolt, we're looking to extract a broken one.

Anyway--thoughts? Ideas? I'm still kicking myself for cranking too hard in the first place!

Thanks a ton!

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post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old 06-14-2019, 08:32 PM
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Is it the compressor shaft nut that you broke off? If so, have you tried removing the clutch to see if there's enough of the bolt sticking out to grab with vice-grip pliers?


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post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old 06-15-2019, 05:37 AM Thread Starter
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Yes, I think that's the one that I broke--not sure what it's called. It's the only one you remove to get the clutch off.

I tried getting the clutch back off but it didn't want to come off the second time. I'm not sure if the threads of the small holes used for the DIY fix got a little skewed during my first removal, but they seem to strip anything I put in there. I'm not sure how an actual clutch removal tool works--but I assume it uses the hole which is currently occupied by a broken bolt. Maybe I'm wrong about that and I should try to pick up one of those. I'm not sure what the rental options are on the island, and time is of the essence, but if there's a possibility of it working, maybe it's worth a try.
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