A/C Clutch Installation Questions Dodge Stratus 2000

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Old 11-04-06, 07:31 PM
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A/C Clutch Installation Questions Dodge Stratus 2000

My wife's Dodge Straus 2000 AT Sedan 2.4L DOHC recently developed a loud intermittant noise that stops when the serpentine belt is temporarily removed, the A/C clutch pully bearing is very loose and steel balls are falling out of it. I've done some engine repair but never worked on A/C before. I have a new Mopar A/C clutch kit (but no instructions came with it) and managed to free the remains of the old bearing from off the compressor housing, almost have the old pully off except it will not quite clear the chassis so I guess tomorrow I will have to loosen the compressor bolts a bit to finish getting the old pully off - looks like 1/8 inch compressor tilt is all it needs and hoses should not need to be removed. If this is not the correct procedure someone please say.

My main question - the new clutch comes with various thickness shim washers, I assume these are used to set the clearance between the pully and the front plate that slides onto the compressor shaft. My Haynes manual does not specify this clearance. Is there an actual dimension that I must set with a feeler gauge or is the idea to barely clear just enough so that the pully does not turn or rub the front plate with the A/C turned off?

Second question - the old clutch had a metal ring (not the circlip snap ring) sitting loose between the front plate and the bearing with a small rounded raised outer lip, inside diameter 1 11/16" and outside diameter 2". There is no replacement for this in the hardware kit for the new clutch. Is this ring no longer necessary or do I need to re-use the old ring? Does the raised lip go inwards or outwards, it was so dirty I did not notice the lip when removing it.

Third question - the new kit contains a replacement electromagnet. Is it possible to replace this too (in case of heat damage from the old bearing) and get it's 2 wires connected (one is a push-on round connector, the other a ring lug) without having to remove the compressor? I can't drive the car anywhere at the moment to get the freon removed, and do not want to disconnect wires that I can't reconnect easily.

Fourth question - in the event I botch this, is there a replacement serpentine belt of shorter length that bypasses the A/C pully to let me get the car running for the winter?

Last question - the new kit contains 2 sizes of circlip snap ring, obviously only the smaller needed, the larger for a different model? But it also contains a 5/16" long Philips roundhead screw, looks about #6, in a small bracket or clip with a double bend 'dogleg' about 1/4" x 5/8". I have not come across this yet, does anyone know if the snap ring, screw, and clip are used to hold the electromagnet of if there for different models.

Thanks in advance to anyone who has done this before and can give some advice.


Glen in Dallas, TX
 
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Old 11-05-06, 03:27 AM
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..."almost have the old pully off except it will not quite clear the chassis so I guess tomorrow I will have to loosen the compressor bolts a bit to finish getting the old pully off - looks like 1/8 inch compressor tilt is all it needs and hoses should not need to be removed."

-- You don't have to disconnect both hoses, they can be done w/o remove the compressor by pushing the Engine back and jammed a piece of 2X4 in between the body and the crank pulley, although other preffer loosen the compressor and just let it hang.

.."Is there an actual dimension that I must set with a feeler gauge or is the idea to barely clear just enough so that the pully does not turn or rub the front plate with the A/C turned off?"

--Basically that how I did it.

.."the old clutch had a metal ring (not the circlip snap ring) sitting loose between the front plate and the bearing with a small rounded raised outer lip"

--I'm not so sure about this as of I haven't see one and couldn't figure it out what is it, may be that was a piece of the old one that came apart.

.."the new kit contains a replacement electromagnet. Is it possible to replace this too (in case of heat damage from the old bearing) and get it's 2 wires connected ".

--When replacing the A/C clutch, it's recommended replace them as a set, clutch and coil set up.

.." in the event I botch this, is there a replacement serpentine belt of shorter length that bypasses the A/C pully to let me get the car running for the winter".

--This's something that you have to do some leg work of trying to get the correct belt for it.

.."the new kit contains 2 sizes of circlip snap ring, obviously only the smaller needed, the larger for a different model? But it also contains a 5/16" long Philips roundhead screw, looks about #6, in a small bracket or clip with a double bend 'dogleg' about 1/4" x 5/8". I have not come across this yet, does anyone know if the snap ring, screw, and clip are used to hold the electromagnet of if there for different models.

--Actually you'll need to replace them both, the smaller one is for the bearing/clucth as you already knew and the larger one is for the coil, once you get the pulley and the clutch out, you'll see it.
The Phillip screw and the bracket is for the coil's wires, if you replace the coil, you'll have to remove the screw which on the side of the compressor, you'll need to reuse the bolt/nut to hold the Electromagnet on the shaft as it may not comes with the kit.

Hope it helps.
 
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Old 11-06-06, 10:45 AM
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Thanks to Newguy

Yes, your advice helped big time. Caused me to take the extra time to replace the coil too; glad I did, the old coil looked fried from the heat.

The 2x4 trick worked great, did not have to undo all the compressor bolts. Did have to take the top bolts and bracket off to get at the wiring since the Philips screw near the clutch stripped the head as usual when trying to work it loose, but under the upper mounting bracket there is a Torx #25 screw to the compressor housing that can be loosened with a bit of liquid wrench penetrating oil and light hammering on the ratchet under slight CCW wrench pressure (and 3 extensions) which eventually works it loose without mangling the screw head. Love those Torx screws! This screw became the new coil ground wire connection point. The small wire-holder bracket under the mangled Philips screw can bend upwards to release the original coil wires, then bend back into place to hold the new wires without need to loosen the screw.

For clearance, with the 0.1mm shim I could hear rubbing, but no rubbing at 0.2mm shim. I settled on the 0.3mm shim to allow for thermal expansion, so far the clutch works fine with this.

The rest of the job was the usual blood, sweat, and cuss. I much appreciate your info on the 2nd snap ring, once at that stage and trying for 2 hours to remove it with my short-jaw ring pliers that simply could not reach deep into the coil, finally my wife came home from work (in MY car) and I could get to the auto parts store to buy a cheap but deeper snap ring pliers. Within 5 minutes the ring was off - amazing how the right tool can get the job done so much easier! Getting the new pully on took some banging, had to use a smalle piece of plywood with a hole to pass the compressor shaft to cushion the hammer blows to get the new pully back onto the compressor. Why do these fittings have to be so durn tight?

Hardly any room in the Stratus for hands or hammer, let alone wrench manipulation. Sockets and extensions must be the precise length to allow the ratchet to swing freely without interference from some other component. The professional auto repair folks have to go through this all the time, no wonder this kind of work costs so much. I spent a whole miserable weekend on this, and probably saved about $400. Well worth it, I now know how to change a Dodge Stratus A/C clutch in the vehicle.

Next time I'll know what I'm doing and may not take as much time, but for the first timer the advice from others is invaluable.

Thanks again, Newguy.
 
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