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Problem with A/C system. can anyone help why the A/C compressor clutch goes on and off while the A/C is on, especially on parked position.

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SOURCE: a/c compressor malibu

Clutch or front bearing will make noise when system is off, and belt is just idling past. If noise if present when system is running, the compressor itself is shot. there are pistons, rods and moving parts inside, there is no fixing it. It must be replaced and the rest of the system flushed thouroughly.

Posted on Apr 27, 2012


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The aircon system is fully gased yet the compresser wont engage, are there pressure switches in the system

Yes , two , a low pressure an a high pressure cut off switch . If either of these were bad there would be a DTC - diagnostic trouble code stored in the PCM - engine computer . Does your Captive have manual or automatic heating an A/C ?
Pressure transducer switching incorporates the functions of the high-pressure and the low-pressure cutout switches along with the fan cycling switch. The pressure transducer is located in the high-side liquid refrigerant line behind the right strut tower, between the right strut tower and the front of dash. The output from this pressure transducer goes to the electronic control module (ECM), which controls the compressor function based on the pressure signal.
HVAC Compressor Clutch Does Not Engage


Did you perform the Diagnostic System Check - Vehicle?
Go to Step 2
Go to Diagnostic System Check - Vehicle


  1. Start the engine.
  2. Turn the blower switch to any position except OFF.
  3. Press the A/C switch to the ON position.
Does the A/C compressor clutch engage?
Go to Testing for Intermittent Conditions and Poor Connections
Go to Step 3


  1. Connect a scan tool.
  2. Use the scan tool to command the A/C compressor clutch relay ON. When the relay is energized the cooling fan will also run at low speed.
Does the A/C compressor clutch engage?
Go to Step 8
Go to Step 4

Dec 04, 2015 | Chevrolet Captiva Cars & Trucks

1 Answer

How to change the a/c compressor clutch?

changing the clutch does not require flushing system. only time system is flushed is when compressor goes bad but you are doing just the clutch. how much more for compressor and are you sure compressor is good? why did clutch go bad? most clutches go bad due to bad compressor, they burn out ,unless it just shorted and wont engage.

Jun 29, 2013 | 2002 Ford Mustang

1 Answer

A/c compressor malibu

Clutch or front bearing will make noise when system is off, and belt is just idling past. If noise if present when system is running, the compressor itself is shot. there are pistons, rods and moving parts inside, there is no fixing it. It must be replaced and the rest of the system flushed thouroughly.

Apr 27, 2012 | 2002 Chevrolet Malibu

1 Answer

AC compressor and clutch on 2003 Ford Windstar need replacing - no coolant to drain, so that eliminates having repair shop drain it. We are trying to DIY. Anyone have the tech manual on this and/or...

There is coolant to drain...but you don't need to.
However, you should not do the compressor in your driveway - removing the lines will vent the refrigerant to the atmosphere, also professional equipment needs to be used to clear out the system of air and charge it with the right amount of refrigerant.

But....all you need to do is remove the lines from the compressor, remove the serpentine drive belt, and disconnect the electrical from the clutch. Remove all the bolts mounting the compressor to the engine or bracket. From there you can see how the clutch and what not comes off and goes on .

May 13, 2011 | 2003 Ford Windstar

1 Answer

Ac compressor not engaging it is a new compressor and clutch and we just had it charged

Double check that the charge was enough. There is a pressure switch on the refrigerant line that is inline with the wire that powers the clutch for your compressor. You can check it with an ohm meter. Disconnect the two wires and check. If the system is charged properly, there should be full continuity across the pressure switch. You can check the clutch at the same point. Take the wire that goes from the switch to the clutch and supply battery power to it. It should click positively.

Feb 18, 2011 | 2004 Dodge Stratus

3 Answers

97 Jeep TJ sport - Clutch Pedal has gone limp

It's possible your clutch fork broke. Also, check to see if it's a hydraulic clutch. You could have a leak in the hydraulic system. Both would cause your clutch pedal to go to the floor.

Jul 12, 2009 | Jeep TJ Cars & Trucks

2 Answers

Air condition compressor clutch will not engage when called for.

you should be able to run a jumper on the low pressure switch to get the same response you want.

Jun 18, 2009 | 1995 Buick Park Avenue

3 Answers

A/C Compressor not kicking on

The power to run the compressor clutch coil goes from the battery, to the AC Clutch Relay, somewere in the engine compartment fuse box, then it goes to the positive side of the AC compressor clutch coil; goes thru the coil, activating the compressor, and then goes to complete the circuit through another switch (high pressure protection switch) in the back of the AC compressor and finally reaching negative or Ground.

Disconnect the AC compressor clutch connector and using a 12 V bulb with 2 wires (test lamp) check the following:

1.- connect 1 lamp wire to battery neg; with the other check both pins at connector with the AC in the RUN (AC and ignition switch on ) you should have power in one side.

2.- connect 1 lamp wire to battery positive and with the other check both pins at connector, lamp should light getting the ground from the clutch connector thru the high pressure compressor switch to ground.

On the other side what makes the relay close and let the power flow to the clutch works with the low pressure switch, (if the freon pressure is too low it opens and kills the ground to the relay coil and that kills the compressor), that low pressure switch is in the low pressure side of the freon tubing, the fat pipe that comes from inside the firewall into the accumulator/dryer, a big aluminum cylinder sitting on the right side of the engine compartment in GM cars.

To know if the low press switch is the cause you can unplug it and connect both legs with a paper clip for a minute or two, no more, you don't want to damage the compressor. anyway if jumping the switch makes the compressor come alive and kick in, you either have low freon pressure or a bad switch; it's time for the pressure gauges and check how the compressor is pumping and that is better left to a pro.

By the way you said that your system is a R-12 system, have you considered switching to R-134a the new "ozone friendly" freon? to do that you need to evacuate the system with a recycling machine and pull vacuum in your AC, if it holds the vacuum for a while, then you can be sure that there are not leaks and then dump 1.5 or 2 pound (check the labels in the engine compartment) of R-134a into your system. it will be a good idea to put some fluorescent leak detecting dye in the system to check for leaks, just in case..

Jun 13, 2009 | 1992 Oldsmobile 88

1 Answer

Clutch pedal fades after repeated clutching - 98 Forester

if the pedal got lot of play if its hydrolique air in the system or missing oil brake fluid goes in the reservoir pierre

Dec 13, 2008 | 1998 Subaru Forester

1 Answer

1998 Nissan Frontier AC system

Go to the parts store and buy (for about $10) a mechanics stethescope.  It will have a metal piece you can carefully (MAKE SURE YOU DON"T PUT IN THE PATH OF A MOVING BELT OR FAN) put on the top of the A/C compressor, other end in your ears, and with a helper turning the A/C on and OFF,  you should be able to determine if the sound is coming from the A/C compressor clutch.  If so, replace the compress clutch or compressor.  Form the limited info I have, it sounds like the clutch is bad or on the way out.
If the A/C works (blows cooler than the ambient air), it's unlikely there is any problem with valves in high or low pressure side being in wrong position (especially if no one has been monkeying with them ;~) )

Jun 20, 2008 | 1998 Nissan Frontier

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