Screw You, Factory Air

Oh Factory Air, how doth thee suck? Let me count the ways.

What a shit company. Did I say that already? I was trying to replace my A/C clutch. It’s not that easy, but it’s not rocket surgery. Here’s how it is supposed to work:

Step 1: Remove captive nut
Step 2: Remove retaining ring
Step 3: Remove clutch engagement mechanism
Step 4: Remove another retaining ring
Step 5: Remove other half of clutch

Here’s what happened:
Step 1: Remove captive nut
Step 2: What? There’s no retaining ring? Where… how… why… uh? huh? How is that attached? What do I………. oh… THEY WELDED THE DAMN CLUTCH TO THE AIR COMPRESSOR.

Guess what? I got off half of the clutch, so I’m to the original Step 5, believe it or not. But here’s a funny story: I checked the charge on my A/C system and saw that it was low. It shouldn’t be low, since I charged it 12 months ago, but it is. I have looked for the damn leak for months and could not find it… until today. After I got the damn clutch off, I noticed there was a nice ring of almost glowing goo inside the clutch compartment. The front seal of the air compressor has apparantly blown (this compresor is only 15 months old!!!) and the clutch dust and bright green glowing PAG oil has mixed with the clutch dust and hidden the leak from sight, until today. Maybe the thermal shock of welding a clutch to an impeller shaft created a warped shaft right at the front main seal? Maybe the additional weight of a non-perfect weld job moved the center of gravity off the axis of the impeller shaft, thus creating a small vibration that opened the seal from the shaft. Or maybe the act of using hundreds of amps of electricity to melt two metals together was enough to melt the fragile plastic seal.

So here’s my delema: I’ve got a $114 clutch that I can install tomorrow, or I can return the clutch and chuck that piece of shit in the trash and get a $300 compressor from Delphi. I’m leading Delphi. Not that anyone comments here, but if you’ve got two pennies worth of a thought, I’d like to read it.

So Screw You, Factory Air. You have ruined my day. It’s 9:20, I’m dirty, I have a headache, I’m tired, I’ve run around town looking for solutions to your crappy design, and I am not getting much accomplished in my kitchen today, because of you. And I went to the dentist today.