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Explorer clutch smoking

Minx on Sun May 16, 2010 5:07 PM User is offlineView users profile

Year: 1993
Make: Ford
Model: Explorer
Engine Size: 4.0
Refrigerant Type: 134

Out driving today, after about five minutes, the system stopped cooling, and within a couple of minutes the compressor clutch started smoking. I switched if off immediately and found some heat damage (melting) around the rim.

The system was converted to 134 at least five years go by a previous owner. It has the sticker indicating it was done by a shop. The compressor does not look like an original.

Think I should replace the compressor and clutch?

If I do, what are the merits of an adjustable O-tube? This is in Dallas where it gets over 100 most summer days.

TRB on Sun May 16, 2010 10:18 PM User is offlineView users profile

I don't care for the VOV. The ones we used never did much. Seems like a lot of marketing hype in my personal opinion. Some have claimed results so I guess it is a hit and miss deal. Smoking clutch could be related to an overcharged system, poor air flow or just a compressor going out. Need to find out what caused the compressor to act this way or your replacement could act in a similar manner.

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iceman2555 on Mon May 17, 2010 1:05 AM User is offlineView users profile

Agreement with trb on the VOV. Service the system properly and it will cool....yes....even in Dallas.
My first thoughts concerning the 'smokin' clutch,considering the age of the retro fit....and possible leakage...my first inclination is to a failed compressor due to lack of lubricant flow.
Test the compressor by turning the drive plate (front of the compressor). Not the pulley. If the drive plate is locked or difficult to rotate...the compressor is history.
Replace the comp, orifice tube,accumulator, by all means flush the system...re lube (prefer PAGS) evac and recharge the system.
Good luck with your repair.

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NickD on Mon May 17, 2010 6:59 AM User is offline

Have to look, Ford was using a rubberized clutch hub in this era with only a 9 mil maximum gap, over time that rubber would get brittle, so the plate would slip and get red hot. So hot, would also burn up the idler pulley and even the compressor bearing, and fry up the clutch coil. They did come out with a clutch with real springs on it, was their mistake, but you had to pay for it.

If you have a real spring clutch, could be excessive gap or low clutch voltage due to corrosion in the wiring, but what the heck, the average life of a vehicle is 14 years, and you are 3 years past that. You just cannot keep on running your air without looking at it every once in awhile. I would replace both the clutch and the compressor with that kind of smoke and definitely check your clutch voltage.

Minx on Mon May 17, 2010 7:55 PM User is offlineView users profile

The compressor turns by hand just fine. I went out for a test drive today and the system still works.

I'm guessing that sitting at idle under a full load yesterday, the iffy clutch y'all describe finally started to give.

This car has never cooled very well -- engine temp or vent temp. I'm thinking I might solve both problems by going to an electric fan. The Flex-A-Lite 180 looks sturdy enough, but wow that thing is spendy.

NickD on Mon May 17, 2010 10:51 PM User is offline

If you can upgrade to a late 1994, will get a Ford already manufactured for R-134a, the pre-94 models never converted very well. As a matter of fact, Ford had a TSB back then recommending a firewall forward kit they produced, for sale. Thought is kind of criminal how quickly the EPA condemned R-12 with no notice and never made the OE's foot the bill for these conversions, sticking the consumer with it. At least R-12 is still legal for use in this country, but also kind of pricey.

R-134a cools very very well, in a properly designed R-134a system.

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