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Hi Folks,

I have a '07 Mazda 3, 2.3 non-turbo and the a/c quit working altogether a few days ago. With the engine running and the a/c button on, the compressor clutch spins very slowly and almost not at all. If I turn off the a/c, the exact same is true. Is this indicative of a bad clutch and, if so, is there a way to test these clutches? The system had been working fine all summer and all of the sudden started acting up over a 24hr. period.
 

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Hi Folks,

I have a '07 Mazda 3, 2.3 non-turbo and the a/c quit working altogether a few days ago. With the engine running and the a/c button on, the compressor clutch spins very slowly and almost not at all. If I turn off the a/c, the exact same is true. Is this indicative of a bad clutch and, if so, is there a way to test these clutches? The system had been working fine all summer and all of the sudden started acting up over a 24hr. period.
The inner part of the clutch (has three small metal buttons on it) should spin at the same speed as the outside of the pulley when the clutch locks together (reasonably fast, crank speed.) If it isn't, then it shouldn't move at all when the clutch is disengaged. Spinning slowly all the time isn't a fialure mode I've seen before, but it sounds like something is off.

First and foremost, are you competent to do your own diagnosing/work. I only ask because until I dug into my AC system, I knew plenty about cars and precious little about automotive HVAC systems. I kinda jumped in the deep end, and with the FSM and some members here I figured it out.

If you're going to do this yourself, first thing in my mind is to get a gauge set on there, and verify you have good pressures. If the compressor won't engage and cycle, verify that you have enough static pressure to engage the system (too low pressure, compressor won't engage the clutch). Also get someone to cycle the button on and off while you're in the engine bay and listen for the compressor relay to click on and off.

That should get you started. If any of this sounds intimidating, don't be ashamed to bring it to a pro. AC work can run into the high hundreds/over a grand very quickly. I did all my own work/bought gauges and vacuum pump/bought a few tools and I was into my job $700 (compressor, condensor, drier, expansion valve, gauge set, vacuum pump, line flush, recharged myself, everything.) Compare $700 to $1200 to have a shop do it. If saving $500 in labor is your intent, keep posting back and I'll try to help walk you through this. Also, search through Phil's AC Hell Thread here on the forum.
 

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I'm down to help too as I just went through A/C hell a few weeks ago, I thought it was my clutch because it wouldn't engage when it was getting 12 volts, but it ended up being the compressor as well.

Testing the clutch is as simple as grounding the a/c and putting battery 12v to the one wire coming out of the A/C compressor. With the car off, the clutch should spin pretty freely, not super easy, but without needing a tool. With 12v volts going to the clutch it shouldn't spin at all if the belt is attached holding the pulley still.

Also, when you said "acting up over a 24 hour period" what exactly did you mean?
 
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