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Ford Explorer A/C Compressor and Clutch

Most drivers know the benefits of having air conditioning during hot, summer weather, but it can also be useful in the wintertime by making the use of the window defrost setting more effective. The Ford Explorer's cooling system is made up of a series of different parts, but one of the most crucial to its operation is the compressor clutch, which engages the system's compressor.

How does a compressor clutch work?

When the compressor clutch on a Ford Explorer is activated, it will engage the flywheel that runs from the engine to the compressor, which is belt-driven. When the compressor clutch is signaled to disengage the compressor, it will stop the operation of the flywheel, which will turn the compressor off.

How do you repair an A/C compressor?

The key to repairing a cooling system varies depending on what parts are malfunctioning in the vehicle. Some items that could be causing problems for the Ford's air conditioning system include:

  • Pulley belt: Check the pulley belt to make sure that it is making contact and that there is not a significant amount of slack.
  • Refrigerant levels: Once the system is activated, it pressurizes a liquid that becomes cold. If the coolant levels are low, it can cause the compressor to emit strange noises and to prevent it from being able to cool the air in a car.
  • Clutch malfunction: If the compressor clutch is not engaging, it will prevent the A/C system from operating. Replacing the part can remedy the issue and restore power to the compressor unit.
How do you know an A/C compressor clutch needs replacement?

The A/C system should operate without creating excessive noise. The presence of a high-pitched whining sound during operation is one of the primary indicators of a problem with the compressor clutch. Another common issue that can be an indicator of serious problems is its inability to engage the compressor when signaled to do so by the climate-control system.

What causes an A/C unit to stay engaged?

During normal operation, the Ford Explorer's A/C system will cycle to provide power to the compressor as needed. This can be hindered by:

  • Malfunctioning bearing: If the bearing in an air conditioning system is worn out, it can prevent the device from being able to disengage when not in use.
  • Pulley issues: If the belt on the pulley system is not installed correctly or if there is excessive slack, it can prevent the system from engaging and can cause the compressor clutch to operate inefficiently.
  • Low refrigerant levels: When the refrigerant liquid levels are inadequate, it will prevent the compressor from being able to reach the desired temperature inside the cabin of the vehicle. This will cause the parts to run endlessly and will prevent the clutch from disengaging.