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850/960 etc. A/C clutch quick fix

500dollar744ti

still rides with MrDoug
300+ Club
Joined
Feb 2, 2007
Location
Falls Church, VA
many volvo owners find that the a/c compressor on their car develops a condition where the compressor clutch does not engage after prolonged use or just not at all. the issue is attributed to the gap in the compressor clutch being too wide for the magnet to engage it. a lot of people replace the clutch or compressor itself which does indeed fix the problem but takes time and costs money.

being that this is turbobricks and we are all about the cheap reliable fix, let me show you how i've been fixing this issue on my own vehicles, coworker's cars and friend's cars. there's articles floating around the internet that show how to do this various ways. the first time i attempted this cheap repair, i used bread clips as instructed by the internet. it worked for about a day and then the clips flew out of the compressor. i tried to do it again and the same thing happened. i devised a way to do it reliably using mechanics wire while the compressor is still on the car. i've seen this done with bread clips but they fly out. i've seen it done with strips of metal but it requires the clutch to be removed. i've seen it done with zip ties but after a while they slip out of place. i came up with something that works better than the other ways i've seen it done.

for demonstration purposes i took pictures of it being done to a compressor off the car so it's easier to see. the compressor does not need to come out or even be unbolted to do it.

on FWD volvos it is a lot easier to do this with the front subframe lowered. don't let that scare you, it's real easy and the engine won't fall out. you just remove the two 18mm bolts holding the front of the subframe up. i don't even use a jack to lower it because it doesn't come down that far. it won't fall or scare you when it comes down so don't worry. once the fix is done you can bolt the subframe back up. you may need to jack it up a touch to get the bolts started, i just lift it by hand and get the bolts started. that's it, you don't even have to take the belt off.

let's get started.

here's an a/c compressor that has too big of a compressor clutch gap. it stops engaging after prolonged use on hot days. take note of the gap, it may not look like much but trust me, the gap is too big.
<a href="http://s294.photobucket.com/albums/mm104/promise383/repair%20articles/?action=view&current=S6303756.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i294.photobucket.com/albums/mm104/promise383/repair%20articles/th_S6303756.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket" ></a><a href="http://s294.photobucket.com/albums/mm104/promise383/repair%20articles/?action=view&current=S6303757.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i294.photobucket.com/albums/mm104/promise383/repair%20articles/th_S6303757.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket" ></a>

now here's a piece of mechanics wire long enough to do the job. if you don't know what mechanics wire is, google it.
<a href="http://s294.photobucket.com/albums/mm104/promise383/repair%20articles/?action=view&current=S6303758.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i294.photobucket.com/albums/mm104/promise383/repair%20articles/th_S6303758.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket" ></a>

now you want to rotate the inner part of the compressor clutch so you have good access to one of the rubber dampers at the corner of the triangular spring mount. using a long flat head screwdriver, pry the compressor clutch in so you have enough space to push the mechanics wire behind the damper as pictured. you may want to use two long flat screw drivers, one to pry the clutch back and one to help push the wire into position.
<a href="http://s294.photobucket.com/albums/mm104/promise383/repair%20articles/?action=view&current=S6303761.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i294.photobucket.com/albums/mm104/promise383/repair%20articles/th_S6303761.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket" ></a><a href="http://s294.photobucket.com/albums/mm104/promise383/repair%20articles/?action=view&current=S6303762.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i294.photobucket.com/albums/mm104/promise383/repair%20articles/th_S6303762.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket" ></a>

once the first corner of the clutch is done, rotate the inner part of the clutch 120?, that's 1/3 of a turn for those who didn't make it through elementary school. next you want to pull the wire taught and push it behind the second rubber damper as pictured here.
<a href="http://s294.photobucket.com/albums/mm104/promise383/repair%20articles/?action=view&current=S6303765.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i294.photobucket.com/albums/mm104/promise383/repair%20articles/th_S6303765.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket" ></a>

if you were one of the people who understood what 120? means, you can probably guess what we're going to do next. that's right, rotate the inner part of the clutch again and push the wire through the last rubber damper.
<a href="http://s294.photobucket.com/albums/mm104/promise383/repair%20articles/?action=view&current=S6303766.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i294.photobucket.com/albums/mm104/promise383/repair%20articles/th_S6303766.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket" ></a>

pull the wire tight and twist it together by hand, then cut off excess wire BUT don't cut it all off, leave about 1cm of twisted length for the last step.
<a href="http://s294.photobucket.com/albums/mm104/promise383/repair%20articles/?action=view&current=S6303767.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i294.photobucket.com/albums/mm104/promise383/repair%20articles/th_S6303767.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket" ></a><a href="http://s294.photobucket.com/albums/mm104/promise383/repair%20articles/?action=view&current=S6303768.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i294.photobucket.com/albums/mm104/promise383/repair%20articles/th_S6303768.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket" ></a>

take some needle nose pliers and twist the wire so it's uniform and taught. don't go crazy on it or you'll break the wire.
<a href="http://s294.photobucket.com/albums/mm104/promise383/repair%20articles/?action=view&current=S6303769.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i294.photobucket.com/albums/mm104/promise383/repair%20articles/th_S6303769.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket" ></a><a href="http://s294.photobucket.com/albums/mm104/promise383/repair%20articles/?action=view&current=S6303770.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i294.photobucket.com/albums/mm104/promise383/repair%20articles/th_S6303770.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket" ></a>

lastly, bend the excess twisted wire so it's flush with the rest of the wire.. not really required but it makes it look less ghetto. your finished product should look something like this.
<a href="http://s294.photobucket.com/albums/mm104/promise383/repair%20articles/?action=view&current=S6303774.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i294.photobucket.com/albums/mm104/promise383/repair%20articles/th_S6303774.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket" ></a><a href="http://s294.photobucket.com/albums/mm104/promise383/repair%20articles/?action=view&current=S6303777.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i294.photobucket.com/albums/mm104/promise383/repair%20articles/th_S6303777.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket" ></a>

check out your new compressor clutch gap and compare to the gap pictured up above.
<a href="http://s294.photobucket.com/albums/mm104/promise383/repair%20articles/?action=view&current=S6303772.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i294.photobucket.com/albums/mm104/promise383/repair%20articles/th_S6303772.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket" ></a>

and there you have it.
 
it depends if it has this style compressor, i've seen very, very few redblocks with that type of compressor. it's mostly on all whiteblock cars, front or rear wheel drive.

it fixes a compressor that fails to engage because the gap between the clutch plates is too big.

i know a lot of people on here daily drive 850s/960s so i figured it may be relevant info.. most folks like working a/c in their daily driver.
 
Not to sound critical, but...

Why not just pull the cover plate, remove/adjust shimming to get the gap right? Took me 30 minutes to devise a puller at home with a piece of steel and 3 holes to thread into the outer plate, a center bolt and nut, popped the plate off, dropped .025" off the shim pack (the gap was .043"), reinstall, done.

FWIW as well, the correct air gap is .012-.018", or roughly a normal thickness business card. More than .030-.035" is where you'll start having issues, with the wear being accelerated above that gap due to slippage when engaged. Been thru this on the R. I THINK the standard 7/9 compressors use shims as well, so removing appropriate shims should correct it Kenny.
 
Not to sound critical, but...

because we are doing this in the car with the compressor bolted up, most of them are on FWD cars and you have to pull the compressor to remove the clutch. if i had it out i would do that but i only was using an old compressor to demonstrate what i do with the compressor on the car.

why don't i pull the clutch and do it that way? because this takes 10 minutes and it is reliable. why share on here? because most of the people on here don't have the mechanical skill to pull the clutch and re-shim but they have enough aptitude to wrap some wire around something and use a screwdriver.
 
I am assuming my S70 fits this fix? Oh please say yes, cause my fat ass sweats to much with an A/C that works for ten minutes and then smells like dirty socks......
 
it depends if it has this style compressor, i've seen very, very few redblocks with that type of compressor. it's mostly on all whiteblock cars, front or rear wheel drive.

it fixes a compressor that fails to engage because the gap between the clutch plates is too big.

i know a lot of people on here daily drive 850s/960s so i figured it may be relevant info.. most folks like working a/c in their daily driver.

my 1995 940t had this style of compressor.

I wonder if this will work on a 2005 V50. The clutch has worn and has excessive play and will only engage sometimes. I can push it in and it'll engage and blow cold. I was just going to try the ole' bread clip trick which has worked perfect for me in the past.
 
v50 should either have this style or the 960 style. the 960 one looks slightly different but the procedure is the same, i've done it on both.
 
my 1995 940t had this style of compressor.

I wonder if this will work on a 2005 V50. The clutch has worn and has excessive play and will only engage sometimes. I can push it in and it'll engage and blow cold. I was just going to try the ole' bread clip trick which has worked perfect for me in the past.

The V50 is a bone to do.

Remove the right front wheel and pull back the front part of the fender liner. Bam, compressor. Rent a clutch removal tool from your local auto parts store, remove the clutch and remove the thick shim, reassemble. Enjoy.
 
Uber relevant to me. I just replaced the condenser last week and refilled. Only to find out that my evaporator blew out a few days later.

Anyway, initial startup of the compressor resulted in Partial engagement of the clutch.
That means the compressor was spinning at partial speed.

After a while, it seemed to clean up, but I may try this out.

I have to get some baling wire though.
 
for those who were wondering about the other style compressor on later cars, this is what you should end up with. also take note of how far the subframe hangs down with both front bolts completely removed. that's as far as it's going to go when you do this so don't be scared to take the two bolts out.

S6303813.jpg


i wonder who's going to be the first numbnuts to ask if the belt is on backwards..
 
incidentally, I did this on the 940 last night with welding wire (.035), as an experiment. I can't say that it's fixed my problem yet (haven't gotten everything buttoned up enough to try), but it greatly reduced the gap, so I have high hopes.
 
I imagine I have the same type of compressor as you. I need to stop being lazy and try it out.
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