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Old 07-01-2021, 08:39 AM   #1
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2006 AC Clutch Fail

I was driving from Phoenix to SLC recently and the AC cut out. Blower is still working fine.

When I inspected the clutch, I noticed it wasn't spinning anymore and there were some very faint sparks occurring between the clutch plate and the pulley. I gather this was happening because the air gap was very small and there was still some metal to metal contact occurring.

When I went to remove the clutch to inspect, I noticed that when I turn the ignition to the on position (engine not running), and turn the AC to "on", the clutch does not engage at all.

I was able to vice grip the clutch to the pulley enough to pull the clutch bolt out and inspect the clutch. There was one shim under the clutch and I removed it and reinstalled thinking maybe that would help engage the clutch. The result was the same.

Basically my clutch isn't engaging at all. I tried to locate the clutch relay but my research only identifies a blower relay and and AC clutch fuse. The 15a fuse is fine.

My next step is to throw some gauges on the system and see where my pressures are at. Perhaps I'm out of freon and that's why the clutch isn't engaging....due to low pressure?

Any other thoughts before I dig into this further?

Thank you.
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Old 07-01-2021, 10:52 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by leblanc View Post
I was driving from Phoenix to SLC recently and the AC cut out. Blower is still working fine.

When I inspected the clutch, I noticed it wasn't spinning anymore and there were some very faint sparks occurring between the clutch plate and the pulley. I gather this was happening because the air gap was very small and there was still some metal to metal contact occurring.

When I went to remove the clutch to inspect, I noticed that when I turn the ignition to the on position (engine not running), and turn the AC to "on", the clutch does not engage at all.

I was able to vice grip the clutch to the pulley enough to pull the clutch bolt out and inspect the clutch. There was one shim under the clutch and I removed it and reinstalled thinking maybe that would help engage the clutch. The result was the same.

Basically my clutch isn't engaging at all. I tried to locate the clutch relay but my research only identifies a blower relay and and AC clutch fuse. The 15a fuse is fine.

My next step is to throw some gauges on the system and see where my pressures are at. Perhaps I'm out of freon and that's why the clutch isn't engaging....due to low pressure?

Any other thoughts before I dig into this further?

Thank you.
Without actually touching the system my money is that the low pressure switch threshold hasn't been met and the pump is not being engaged. If you don't have a manifold gauge set buy one and some refrigerant cans and do it yourself...it's not hard at all! Aim for 35L/160ish H and you will be frosty cold.

Scott
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Old 07-01-2021, 11:14 AM   #3
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Without actually touching the system my money is that the low pressure switch threshold hasn't been met and the pump is not being engaged. If you don't have a manifold gauge set buy one and some refrigerant cans and do it yourself...it's not hard at all! Aim for 35L/160ish H and you will be frosty cold.

Scott
Thanks for the feedback Scott.

I left my gauges at home so Iíll grab a set from autozone and check the pressures.

Odd thing is... it was cold cold... then gone. So if I did lose refrigerant, probably a failure elsewhere in the system Iíll need to find. Or... like you said, maybe it just dipped below the switch threshold and needs a top off.
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Old 07-01-2021, 11:28 AM   #4
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Thanks for the feedback Scott.

I left my gauges at home so Iíll grab a set from autozone and check the pressures.

Odd thing is... it was cold cold... then gone. So if I did lose refrigerant, probably a failure elsewhere in the system Iíll need to find. Or... like you said, maybe it just dipped below the switch threshold and needs a top off.
The last several vans that I've dealt with have had issues with the rear a/c lines rubbing or corroding and leaking. My personal one leaked behind the coil spring tower and was a royal disaster to repair. Before I found that pinhole leak I was chasing it for weeks. Vacuum testing actually didn't catch the problem even. I suspect you have an issue though if the system was cold and then not...checking the pressures will tell a lot about the system health.

Scott
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Old 07-06-2021, 06:36 PM   #5
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The last several vans that I've dealt with have had issues with the rear a/c lines rubbing or corroding and leaking. My personal one leaked behind the coil spring tower and was a royal disaster to repair. Before I found that pinhole leak I was chasing it for weeks. Vacuum testing actually didn't catch the problem even. I suspect you have an issue though if the system was cold and then not...checking the pressures will tell a lot about the system health.

Scott
i finally got some gauges on the manifolds to check my pressures. Static pressure on the low side is 121 and high side is 124 psi.

I also jumped the AC relay and found that the coil did pull in the clutch hub, but it’s either not enough power, an overly worn clutch surface, or too large of an air gap perhaps (same as worn surface)

Replacing the entire clutch assembly with a new pulley and coil is verydifficult on an E series van. The radiator has to be removed along with some other pieces and parts.

Any reason why I can’t just throw a new hub on there and see if it engages?


Link to video of weak clutch engagement:
https://youtube.com/shorts/0Q6G_Vlguag?feature=share
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1708BB04-E3CB-445F-946B-D4AE928C63A3.jpg  
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Old 07-15-2021, 02:17 PM   #6
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I'm going through something very similar on mine. My clutch wasn't engaging when I turned on the AC. I could get it to engage when I jumped main power on the relay like you have done. Have you checked you're getting trigger voltage? Mine was getting trigger voltage but somehow wasn't getting enough current to trip the relay. The trigger works by the PCM shorting it to ground. I could trip the relay by using the trigger power and chassis ground but not the ground through the PCM. I have some kind of wiring issue between the trigger and PCM or the PCM itself. That I haven't resolved yet but I temporarily wired the AC to be engaged when the ignition is on.

With respect to your pressures, you can't really tell much from the static pressure other than being undercharged or overcharged. you're static pressure seems awfully high. I think it's supposed to be like 60-70 psi. but that doesn't really have anything to do with your clutch not engaging.

In your video, did you jump the power on the relay? Is that what it looks like when it's "engaged"?
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Old 07-15-2021, 02:52 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by kikisadventures View Post
I'm going through something very similar on mine. My clutch wasn't engaging when I turned on the AC. I could get it to engage when I jumped main power on the relay like you have done. Have you checked you're getting trigger voltage? Mine was getting trigger voltage but somehow wasn't getting enough current to trip the relay. The trigger works by the PCM shorting it to ground. I could trip the relay by using the trigger power and chassis ground but not the ground through the PCM. I have some kind of wiring issue between the trigger and PCM or the PCM itself. That I haven't resolved yet but I temporarily wired the AC to be engaged when the ignition is on.

With respect to your pressures, you can't really tell much from the static pressure other than being undercharged or overcharged. you're static pressure seems awfully high. I think it's supposed to be like 60-70 psi. but that doesn't really have anything to do with your clutch not engaging.

In your video, did you jump the power on the relay? Is that what it looks like when it's "engaged"?
I did check my voltage at the coil on the compressor...there is 13.3v.

Agreed on the static pressures...really tells us nothing other than that the system does have pressure.

When I jump the relay, the video shows the clutch pulling in, but not fully engaging the compressor.

Upon further inspection of the compressor, I noticed that the pulley only rotates freely about 270 degrees before it stops moving. This tells me that the compressor is seized internally. I have a new one on the way.

I'll report any finding I have when I pull orifice tube out and pull the system apart.
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Old 07-15-2021, 02:56 PM   #8
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Let me know how the compressor swap goes. I'm not too far behind you. Are you replacing the orifice tube and accumulator?
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Old 07-15-2021, 03:27 PM   #9
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Let me know how the compressor swap goes. I'm not too far behind you. Are you replacing the orifice tube and accumulator?
Yes.I bought an OE kit from Pensacola Diesel (online) and it comes with all that as a kit.
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Old 07-21-2021, 01:14 PM   #10
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Just wanted to share the pics of my orifice tube. Clear signs of compressor fragments it seems.
Attached Thumbnails
55A7EE0B-36C9-4C15-B0A7-BC3516CE8699.jpg   56DB32A4-B799-471B-8322-CAEED6AEEE37.jpg  
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