Question about 2003 Nissan Altima

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Noise from A/C Compressor

I am getting noise and vibration from the a/c compressor when it kicks in. I am guessing that the clutch and/or bearings are going out. Can I replace the compressor clutch with replacing the whole compressor? Do I have to remove the compressor to replace the clutch?

Thanks for any help.

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  • Anonymous Mar 15, 2014

    while driving my car there is a high pitch squeaking nose coming from my compressor. I would like to know how to replace the compressor clutch or bearing

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  • 86 Answers

Yes, look for an aircon technician that can swap a/c compressor clutch without removing the compressor from the bracket. if your lucky enough there are technicians who can do it without even leaking or discharging the gas from your aircon system

Posted on Nov 24, 2008

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SOURCE: Noise from A/C Compressor

Hi,it is allways better to remove the compresor ,do to the lack of room to work on the engine compartment,by what you are telling me it sounds like your compresor is bad you may try to replace the bearing but you may found the compresor on line for the same price with less troubles. good luck.C1

Posted on Nov 27, 2008

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clutch engaged or now , look and see? or turn it off. and make sure it is off the clutch free spins, OFF.
if off, and noise still, get a new clutch bearing.
if only noise, with clutch engaged that is pump noise
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if only the compressor makes noise its bad, end of life.
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An A/C clutch will not make this concern happen, more likely the A/C compressor is begining to go out. The belt on the A/C clutch Assy. free wheels (spins feree on the pulley) when clutch is not engaged. If concern is not present with A/C off this means the bearings in the puley assy. ok. Once the A/C clutch is engaged it locks the compressor against the spinning pulley and turn the compressor chaft and spins the A/C compressor internal shaft. If you hear a loud "screach" when you turn on the A/C it means the belt slipped for a second, if it continiues to screach it means either the belt is loose or that the compressor is internaly locking up. I wouild start by checking the belt tension (if not equipted with and auto tensioner). You can also remove the belt and turn on the A/C and attempt to turn the clutch/pulley by hand, it should turn with a little effect but should not bind or lock at times if that happens compressor is bad.

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How can you tell if the a/c clutch or the a/c compressor is going out if the noise is coming from the same location as well as the compressor still blowing cool air?


This answer is a little tricky to understand unless you read it carefully.

The compressor clutch has an idler bearing in it. This means the clutch can constantly make noise while it turns and the compressor is off. On an individual basis, each bearing is unique by the amount of bearing wear has occurred. Most will be quieter when engaging the compressor in "lock" position, but a bearing missing rollers can be loose in the locked position and be lopsided in how it grips the compressor. The pulley will not roll true or straight to the rotating compressor shaft.

The compressor can make noise separately from the clutch because it needs an internal oil supply for its bearings. There are A/C oil cans and
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When the compressor is turning, the inner pulley will be locked to the front pulley clutch and both pulleys will be turning. If there is a rumbling sound, it is likely the compressor, but try oil first. The compressor is a pump. It is not silent. You can expect to hear the muffled chirping or clicking of internal valving as it forces compressed gas or liquid past the valving. The valving clicks or chirps as it keeps the flow from backing up into the compressor head.

For a time, the compressor will cool as long as it turns and the clutch turns the compressor shaft. If the bearings inside the compressor seize up, it will probably break the serpetine belt. If the compressor clutch bearings fail, they will start making noise both when the A/C is off and when the A/c is on.

Many times a clutch will be changed only to find that the compressor is also bad. It is not a 1 to 1 relationship. A guess would be a 1 in 10 or 20 occurrence. And it is something even the best mechanics may misdiagnose. This is why sometimes a compressor is included as part of the total estimate, a worst case senario.

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Hi,it is allways better to remove the compresor ,do to the lack of room to work on the engine compartment,by what you are telling me it sounds like your compresor is bad you may try to replace the bearing but you may found the compresor on line for the same price with less troubles. good luck.C1

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