belt chirp,, 1997 ford E150 XLT club wagon 5.4 235K with rear A/C / heat

jigfeett

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#1
Make
Ford
Model
E150
Year
1997
Miles
235000
Engine
5.4
Looking at a van that has a chirp with A/C on. While chirping if I turn the A/C off it stops immediately.
Report has about everything possible has been replaced except the A/C compressor or clutch. I will be going out there next week to place another new belt on it, I guess they have warrantied the belt so many times the store just gave them the money back and said don't buy another belt for us "O" Riely.
I am thinking the compressor has to much drag like the gap is out of range or just doesn't run smooth enough.
A/C works great perfect readings and very cold front and rear. No big deal to change out the compressor.
Any thoughts? Any help is appreciated
 
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#2
Chirp is typically caused by a corroded tensioner arm, can work it with a breaker bar, some are 125 ft.-lbs to learn if its sticky. Load retards it, but eventually springs back, chirp is caused by loose belt tension.

Never had enough guts to take a belt tensioner apart to clean it, lots of spring pressure, good way to get killed, a job for robots. just bite the bullet and purchase a new one.

AC puts a lot less load on your belt drive system if you keep the condenser and radiator fins clean. This is over a 120 year problem sticky these are front to catch insects and debris. R-134a is the worse, its pressure increases exponentially with heat. Plugged condensers and radiator prevent air flow.
 
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#3
1573617511688.png Check pulleys for "belt contact area" as a indicator for possible belt alignment problem.
If the compressor was replaced once before, there may be missing alignment dowels.
Harmonic balancer "rubber sleeve" may be the root cause of your problem....got a wobble?
 
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#4
Here is a concept for you to try to wrap your mind around. The compressor is the last load on the belt path, so when the compressor is engaged, the belt pushes harder against all the other pulleys (but not the tensioner pulley).
1573661089626.png
 
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jigfeett

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#5
Thank you, I know in 2015 they replaced all idler s, tensioner, water pump, radiator, ps pump, maybe the alternator not sure on that, as far as I know the A/C comp is original.
I ordered a ford belt and a Dorman tensioner, and will be checking the items mentioned here. I think the tensioner on it a Delco.
 

PC

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#6
Had a similar issue on a '01 Chevy Astro. Replaced PS pump, so needed to remove the pulley, didn't think to measure how far pulley was pressed on. Buttoned everything up, soon after belt started chirping. Replaced belt with different dimensions and lengths, GM tensioner, even thought I heard a squeak spinning the alternator, nothing. Finally laid a straight edge across the pulleys and the PS pulley was off a bit. Pulled it so everything lined up and has been quiet as a mouse since.
 
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#7
Recall those crazy interference fits on GM stuff, didn't dare clean off the shafts, wanted them as rusty as possible so the sheaves wouldn't fall off. PS pump was one, that sheave had to be centered. AC compressor clutch was the other, over a ten year span, kept on changing the clutch installing/removing tool, just enough difference so the one you paid a fortune for wouldn't work.

Ha, you only have one belt to change so the sales guy tells us, but if it breaks, lose everything, especially the water pump with an aluminum head, don't dare stretching it, your heads would crack stranded 100 miles away from anything.

What does that belt turn? Stuff with limited lubricated ball bearings. One vehicle was done right, the 04 Cavalier, PS pump was at the rear of the head rotated by a chain driven camshaft, water pump was rotated by the front timing chain, sprocket driven, no huge radial load put on it by the alternator or AC compressor.

Crooked Al Gore under crooked Bill Clinton made us replace R-12 overnight with R-134a, wonder how many bucks they got from DuPont with a fresh patent on that crap, high side pressure increases at an exponential rate putting a heck of a load on the compressor. Had to keep your bug debris radiator and condenser clean or that AC compressor running super hot would put a lot more pressure on your smaller stuff, like your water pump and tensioners.

R-12 never burnt holes in the ozone layer, big fat lie, but R-134a sure burnt holes in our pocket book. was the responsibility of the vehicle owner even purchasing a brand new 1993 vehicle with R-12. Only the USA and Canada to switch and one tiny Scandinavian country, rest of the world stuck with R-12.

Much preferred the old stuff, 1973 Fleetwood had five belts, compressor idler bearing froze on me breaking just the AC belt, but could still keep on driving, just no AC. But typical non-thinking engineers, put the most important belt, alternator, fan, water pump on the inside. To replace it, had to remove the four outer belts first.

Would think after 130 years, would find a better place to install the radiator and later the condenser, gigantic bug collectors.
 

jigfeett

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#8
Good thoughts thank you, I will take note and check the PS pulley alignment. Engineers work for one goal faster production, engineering fails could be an entire forum.
 

jigfeett

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#10
Should be replacing parts this weekend.
Tried to check alignment of pulleys and found it very difficult to get any view and still need to place a straight edge on pulleys.
 

PC

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#11
Checking alignment is not easy. Had a helper hold the straightedge from the top and from underneath noticed light between the p/s pulley and straightedge.
 

jigfeett

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#12
Change of plan,
went to do the belt and tensioner but found other issues, A/C comp hard to turn (not engaged) didn't test with engaged.
Balancer is soft I can move it with very little prying.
I guess next step get more parts
updates to follow.
Thanks
 
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#13
A/C comp hard to turn (not engaged) didn't test with engaged.
With engine off and belt removed, compressor pulley should spin easily and quietly. If you spin clutch plate with your hand, it should move easily, with several "spots of slight resistance". Looks like you are going to need a new balancer.
 

jigfeett

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#14
I agree, and it comes down to how much we want to spend on this job. I did see that at some point they installed plastic idlers so those will get replaced with metal.
 

jigfeett

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#15
How difficult is it to replace the A/C clutch and bearing in vehicle? I have never attempted just a clutch swap, I glanced at the procedure and first thing is to recover and remove the compressor but if it has to be removed then it will get replaced along with condenser accumulator and orifice and of course if the evaporator connection breaks that will be replaced. Sometimes on these old vehicles, stuff breaks!