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OT- howling bearings

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  • OT- howling bearings

    Only reason I ask this here is 'cause this IS da board!

    My van has been making a growling noise for about a week now. Getting worse everyday, and today it was notably worse everytime I started it up.

    The bearings are going in the air conditioning compressor. Anyone ever gone to a shorter belt to bypass it? This is a '94 Astro. I bought a belt meant for this same vehicle without air conditioning, but haven't put it on yet. What are my chances that the length is right, and that the compressor won't interfere with the belt as it bypasses it?
    I seldom do anything within the scope of logical reason and calculated cost/benefit, etc- I'm following my passion-

  • #2
    I don't know about your vehicle, but I did this for a neighbor not to long ago on his Ford. The non-AC belt was too long and I had to remove the compressor to keep it from interfering.
    You are just going to have to look for interference and probably go back to the parts store several times to get exactly the right length belt.
    Location: North Central Texas


    • #3
      You will need to pull the compressor.

      On the radiator support or hood there should be a diagram showing both, just look to see what the belt is routed around, and check that you have all the idlers in the right places.
      Most are identical except for the compressor, some have an alternate place that one of the idlers or tensioners are mounted without the AC

      Use string to measure while someone holds the tensioner out of the way before you go get the new one that way you can compare measurements right there at the store.



      • #4
        If worse comes to worse find a clutch in the junkyard and swap it,PITA I know,but sometimes it's the only way around it.
        I just need one more tool,just one!


        • #5
          Had to do that on the side of the road once, to a Mopar I have (with V Belts) in order to get the alternator back working. But, it might be easier just to change the clutch bearings. Have done that on older Mopars and it was not a big deal removing and disassembling the clutch.


          • #6
            There are bolts on the front of the clutch, so maybe, just maybe I can get that assembly off and replace the bearings. It's just a guess, but I'm thinking the pulley's bearings ride on a stationary boss on the housing, and the shaft that drives the pump doesn't carry those bearings. That would make sense from the pump's own perspective, where it's own bearings never have the load from the fan belt on them. That does explain why the noise changes little as the clutch comes on, only the momentary lag as the pump guts come up to speed.

            Maybe I have a chance at just changing the pulley bearings without having to disturb the pump and it's hoses. I will be looking to do just that- but now that I've had the belt off and looked at things closely, I find that both idler bearings are noisy, as is the alternator bearing. The rear alternator bearing is gone also, but it doesn't sound bad when the belt tension is on.

            I have some work to do.
            I seldom do anything within the scope of logical reason and calculated cost/benefit, etc- I'm following my passion-


            • #7
              I have changed several A/C pully bearings, its not easy but can be done without removing the A/C compressor from the vehicle. You will need a puller ( I improvised one with bolts and 60* points on them) but I had a major problem getting the snap rings out and back in. I had to buy a LARGE snap ring plier from HF and modify it to reach in and get the snap ring out. This was on a '92 Dodge 3.3L engine van.

              Good luck!


              • #8
                Head over to AC Kits, search on your model compressor, and they have illustrated instructions on how to change the clutch bearing.
                You have probably an H6 compressor.


                • #9
                  Well, the shorter belt won't go without another idler, which the engine without A/C has. I made a tool to wind the tensioner over to release pressure on the belt, and that's when I discovered that most of the bearings on that loop are going bad. The power steering pump is ok, and the water pump seems ok, but both idlers are noisy and the alternator needs service. These are all the higher speed pulleys, so it's to be expected I suppose. The A/C pump has a larger pulley, so I wouldn't expect it to be worn out as quickly as say the alternator, but that's a moot point anyway. I put the belt back on 'cause I need the vehicle for a few more days at least before I can tie it up.

                  I can always insure the Bronco and drive it for awhile, not that I want to. It's not mine, but I seem to be in charge of trying to sell it, so it might be better if I had it on the road for a while.

                  I wish it was warm enough for the bike, but I'm not fond of getting soaked and frozen just to get somewhere. March is going to be hot, right?
                  I seldom do anything within the scope of logical reason and calculated cost/benefit, etc- I'm following my passion-


                  • #10
                    You are correct,the pulley rides on a bearing that presses on to a machined boss on the compressor case.The three bolts come out and the clutch center slides off after removong the center nut(there might be several small spacers underneath save them they are used to set the air gap).The boss will have a snap ring on the front,that comes off and then the pulley assembly can be wiggled off with a pair of screwdrivers working opposite sides.

                    The bearing unfortunatley is usually an oddball double row ball bearing that costs more than a new clutch assembly,so a trip to the junkyard or Autozone might be the best bet.Last new clutch I bought cost $120,that included the coil.

                    Hope that helps.
                    Last edited by wierdscience; 02-13-2008, 12:54 AM.
                    I just need one more tool,just one!


                    • #11
                      Thanks, WS. Soon as I can arrange it, I'm diving in.
                      I seldom do anything within the scope of logical reason and calculated cost/benefit, etc- I'm following my passion-


                      • #12
                        Well, I re-built the alternator, replaced the idlers, and that put me back to the original problem- but I can't get the clutch off the compressor. It goes into a shop tomorrow. I've had enough bashing my knuckles on this.

                        The alternator was an interesting repair. The front bearing is pressed in and then some of the boss is swaged over the bearing, so that had to be milled away before I could press the bearing out. I turned a pvc adapter ring to fit both the front bearing and my mill pivot point, and just turned the housing around by hand as the milling cutter ate that swaged part away. Pulling the bearing out of the housing meant I needed to machine a tube for a close fit to actually engage the outer race of the bearing, since it wouldn't even budge by pressing from the inner race. There was all of about .050 of the outer race visible to push against, but I got it out without damaging the housing. For the rear bearing I had to make up a special puller to avoid the fins. Got that done, then the next step was to turn the slip rings till they were clean. Did that, after a trying time getting the shaft to run true at that end. But that left me with about .010 of copper on the rings- I figured that's about six months worth at best, so the next step was to build a new slip ring assembly, or build up the existing rings.

                        I chose to build up the rings. Not finding any copper tubing of suitable size, I went and got ripped off at the local crap shop and came home with some copper tubing that was a bit too small inside to fit. I then turned a steel stub about 3 thou larger than the cleaned up slip rings, put a taper on the end of that, and forced a short section of the copper tubing over it. Checking the fit of the enlarged tubing, I had just a bit of looseness. Turned the stub down a hair and pressed another test piece of tubing over it. That one came to a slight interference fit over the slip rings, so I cut off two rings and teased them into place.

                        Before putting them on, I used an xacto knife to chamfer the inside of both ends of each ring so that solder could wick in a bit. These rings are a bit shorter than the originals and that leaves some copper available to solder to. My 150 watt soldering pencil had just enough power to get the parts hot enough to melt solder, so I managed to get both new rings placed and secured.

                        I pressed the rear bearing into place and used it to control that end of the rotor shaft so I could machine the new rings to be concentric. Some suitable polishing up had those shining like someone elses teeth, so I figured that was good to go. Assembled and sanded the brushes a bit to partially seat them, then used a constant string of four letter words to help get it all back together. There's barely room for a drop of sweat under the hood, let alone a wrench, but it's all there and working.

                        Did I mention that it's a real pain in the used grocery dispensing tube to work under the hood on vans? I don't feel bad about abandoning the do-it-yourself compressor bearing repair. I think I may have scared the neighbors with the four-letter-word study course that I felt was appropriate to be working on at the time.
                        I seldom do anything within the scope of logical reason and calculated cost/benefit, etc- I'm following my passion-


                        • #13
                          Hey Darryl,don't feel bad,Two things I have working on,#1 is vans and #2 are 2-ton trucks.#3 would be forklifts,but I actually prefer them to cars since everything starts by pulling the engine out
                          I just need one more tool,just one!


                          • #14
                            Next time, check out Dorman products. They make idler pulley assemblies that bolt into the vehicle in place of the a/c compressor. I've installed a few of these and they work really well if it's available for the your vehicle.


                            • #15
                              Next time. This problem kind of crept up on me quickly, so it was something I had to get done or lose my transportation. I've got better things to do than work on the van, but to save a few bucks (hundreds) I opted to do as much of it as I could.

                              I'm going to check out Dorman anyway and see what they have. Maybe I'll need something from them in the future.

                              I knew when I bought this van that it would be a cusser to work on when the time came. Now I'm living it. Reminds me of a woman I know who trades in her vehicle every three years for a new one just because she wants to avoid maintenance and breakdown issues. I'm kind of the other way- I'll run it into the ground and hope I got some good 'free' years out of it before I have to start pouring the money back into it. This van has been good to me, so I can hardly complain. (but I still do- some things just irk me, like electric fuel pumps in the tank, that work hard and don't last that long) Oh well. The job is done and I figure the money I paid a shop to do what I couldn't is well enough spent.
                              I seldom do anything within the scope of logical reason and calculated cost/benefit, etc- I'm following my passion-