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How To Heating and Air Conditioning :: Replacing the A/C Compressor Clutch Coil

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How To Heating and Air Conditioning :: Replacing the A/C Compressor Clutch Coil

Old 08-15-2016, 01:08 AM
twoj's is offline
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Hi All,

I'm bumping this thread as I just replaced my compressor coil today and this thread was very helpful. Thank you for going through the effort to write this up! I have a couple of things to add based on my experience today:

  • I just recently bought this R50, so I wasn't sure... but you don't need the proprietary tool to remove the serpentine belt. I just put a piece of pipe on my floor jack and pushed the tensioner upwards from the bottom.
  • This project sucks! It wasn't terribly time consuming, but it could have been so much faster if there was better access to the compressor. I did remove the engine mount arm and pull the engine back and it was still extremely tight getting to the front two bolts. I am happy I won't have to do this again.
  • I much prefer shopping on Amazon to Ebay, so I went there to buy my coil. There is a listing for just the coil, but from the reviews, it does not have the correct bore size so I would steer clear of that one. The one I bought came with the entire coil/pulley/clutch assembly.
  • Mine had two wires like the ones posted about above. At first I thought that I would remove the second wire because I'm sure the coil grounds through the body like the factory one, but then I thought better... I DID NOT want to take this thing back apart again, so I played it safe. I put the ground wire under the T25 bolt that holds the coil connector to the compressor housing. It works perfectly this way, but I am unsure if it is necessary. Both the ground and the connector wire are longer than they need to be though.
  • When I pulled my compressor out, I noticed that the pulley was able to spin freely. When I got everything back together, I noticed that the clutch and pulley were already engaged and the pulley would barely turn. The kit I bought came with two new shims -- I played around with it and ended up using the two original shims and one of the new ones. I have never pulled an AC compressor apart before, so I may not know what I'm doing here, but intuitively it really didn't make sense to me that the clutch would be engaged with the pulley right off the bat.
  • Just a tip: Buy high quality snap ring pliers.
  • When I got it back together and started up the car, it was still blowing hot air! I ran to the auto parts store really quick and picked up a can of R134a with a gauge attachment. I don't remember the exact pressure, but mine was at the low end of the green zone on the dial. I charged it up and it is blowing ice cold now.
Thanks again for the write up, it was very helpful. For anyone looking to do this job, just be sure to be patient. Nothing is particularly difficult, it just takes longer than it should and that can be frustrating. Now, on to the window regulator. Cheers.

Last edited by twoj's; 08-15-2016 at 01:14 AM.
Old 08-20-2018, 01:29 PM
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I'm an original owner of a 2004 R53 currently at 71k miles. AC has never had issues but recently experienced the AC compressor coil failure. Lots of great info here (many thanks to all) to help diagnose and get the job done. Currently a replacement AC coil/pulley/clutch package is being sold on eBay for less than $40 which is pretty amazing. To try to add anything useful here based on my experience:
  • Prior tip above to buy high quality snap ring pliers is a good one. In the very helpful video posted by Mod-Mini on this procedure, he recommended this lower cost tool for the job which I purchased, but I just had no luck with getting to work. He handled it like the pro he is, but for this rookie the pins kept bending and my fat fingers just could not make it work. Picked up a high quality pair at Home Depot (these)...seemed excessive at $30 but made it simple and was a night and day difference.
  • The pulley did not come off easily for me. Took some WD-40, a rubber mallet and a little patience to get it off.
  • As mentioned the kit I purchased off eBay came with coil/pulley/clutch - but ultimately I decided to only use the coil. The new pulley did not spin as easily...this may have just been due to it being new and the grease being tightly packed and not worn in...but spinning by hand it would spin one rotation...where the old one would keep smoothly spinning for more times than I could count. The old one just felt like way less resistance, was still smooth and made no noise. I was concerned the tolerances with the aftermarket part were not as good, so re-used all other parts (clip rings, pulley, clutch). Not sure if this was the best decision but I have the backup/new parts if something fails here.
  • To do the job, I elected to put the car in front end service mode (removing bumper, etc.) since I'm familiar with the procedure and figured it would likely give me the most room for my hands to get the top bolts. Worked fine for me going this route - though likely significantly slower than using a strap to pull back the motor and shown by the original poster here (gknorr) and Mod-Mini.
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Tom516 (08-21-2018)
Old 08-21-2018, 10:29 AM
Tom516 is offline
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Thanks to the OP and you as well maxp.

Subscribing as I'll be doing this soon....
Old 05-06-2019, 05:25 AM
Sand King
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The two bolts that hold the ac compressor on the top did break any ideas how to get these out ?
Old 05-07-2019, 09:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Sand King View Post
The two bolts that hold the ac compressor on the top did break any ideas how to get these out ?
You'll probably need to drill out and re-tap the threads, so you'll need to remove the front bumper to get better access for the project. If you haven't removed the front bumper yet, a quick search on youtube will bring up a good how-to. It's not hard and has to be done for a lot of repairs, so it's a good thing to learn. Good luck!
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