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Discussion Starter #1
So 96 Impala I am getting a metal on metal sound from the AC "Pulley".

I am getting the sounds all the time even with AC off.

I removed the belt and turned by hand and can feel a drag and hear the grinding.

Your best guess.... Would this be the clutch? and that is all that needs to be replaced?

Could I rent the special tool for removing and just back off the clutch a little bit to get rid of the noise?

Any thoughts thanks?
 

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This isn't a job I'd recommend to someone who hasn't done it.
It's a royal PITA, requires special tools, and get it wrong = failure.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
So......Do you think its the clutch? pulley? Whole thing needs replacing?

It doesn't seem too hard to rent the tool and pull the clutch off. (Or at least back it off so the rubbing stops)
I've seen people do it before and I will probably try to do it myself. If I mess it up I'm not too worried I can just replace the whole thing if needed.
 

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Sounds like it's New Compressor time to me. As babywag mentioned, I don't this it is easy or even cost effective to try and replace the clutch assembly. I recently got a kit from advance that was the compressor (Lifetime warranty), drier, Orifice tube and a new Manifold hose for about $250.

I'm good with bolting on new parts and not so much repairing a part that requires special tools/skills. In those cases, I may just swap the part and call it a day.
 

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IF it is only noisy when disengaged , and perfectly quiet when engaged,

You might try blasting the hell out of the clutch with air while the engine is running.

Likely not your issue but I have had rust flakes and crap in the clutch before and this fixed it.

Free to try.

If not, I would look into a complete new compressor because of the cars age.

Nothing like hanging a new clutch on and then the old compressor dies, or leaks months later.


Gerry
 

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I understand your concerns however the ac clutch bearing is not a simple job on a vehicle this old .. IMO pure waste of time... my 96 had only 70K miles on it and the compressor seals blew very common because its so old .

no bearing failures because I never use it in rain or into puddles etc....

since I did ac work I have the tools to do this ... ac compressor / filter dryer / O ring kit / oil refrig / leak detector uv / 134 refrigerant / orifice screen and a flush product to clean out the evap and condenser ..add 8-9 OZ of oil pag 150 is what I used as the compressor stated to use ..

vacuum pump to suck it down then add refrigerant ..also a pressure gauge set .. air compressor to blow out the evap and condenser ..after the flush product ..

the only problem I had was the filter dryer came with a bad O ring on the low pressure switch port .. about 3yrs after I installed/fixed it ..

common failure because these are down low get mucked up ..it will lock up on you for sure ...so gotta do it ..
 

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Been down this road. Clutch made noise whether A/C on or off. It was the rotor/pulley hub bearing.
Replaced the clutch (rotor/bearing and outer plate) with everything still on the car using standard loaner tools.

You can try backing off or pulling the clutch plate, but that won't help if it's the bearing. But if it's still noisy then, at least you know, and you've got a good start on the rest.

Hope this helps.

Jim
 

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Also, even if it quiets down, still check the rotor hub bearing for play or wobble - when worn the balls can bind up in the races and sieze up with no warning.

Jim
 

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If it does it all the time and he said it does, it is the compressor. If you do the compressor, do the accumulator and the orifice tube. For those who have A/C clutch failures, the clutch is $70 and the labor is about an hour. Don't complicate things with all that other advice. Use an A/C shop.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Rented the puller from AZ, pulled the clutch back a hair and no longer felt drag on the pulley. Drove it all day today no noise no matter what. I think there was just some rust build up from sitting, hit it with some PB blaster yesterday. (car sat for a couple years before I bought it)

The puller is super easy to use anyone who knows who to use a wrench can use it. If anyone reads this and wants to replace the whole ac clutch/pulley do not be discouraged, rent the pulley and get a snap ring removal tool. Autozone has the AC clutch "kit" with everything and the bearing pressed into the pulley already so all you have to do is take out the old and put in the new if thats what you want to do. Super easy.

I didn't end up having to do this but I was going to if needed. I think it was like $80 for the clutch kit.
 

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noise

I drove my RMS to Wisconsin one winter day after my TBSS was stolen in Canada. It sat for a year in my garage. The AC clutch had a horrible noise for the whole drive. Took it to an independent garage in Milwaukee. They pulled the clutch out .025". Never made noise again, and it still worked when needed.
 
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