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Dodge Nitro AC Compressor Clutch

The Dodge Nitro AC compressor clutch is an easy to understand machines, and a working knowledge of it can help you to better comprehend the functions of your vehicle. Knowing the warning signs of a failing system can also help you to be better informed of when something needs inspection to avoid further damage. Because of the way that the compressor is connected to the engine, a failure can cause significant damage to many other components.

How does an automotive AC compressor work?

The AC in your car needs the refrigerant in the system to be cooled down, but to do that, it must be in a liquid state. The compressor is the part that is responsible for compressing the usually gaseous refrigerant into a liquid so that it can be pumped through to the rest of the system. The mechanism that it uses to put the refrigerant under pressure is pretty simple. It takes the refrigerant in as a warm gas, and after filling an internal buffer tank, proceeds to put it under enough pressure to force it to compress into a liquid. The compressor gets the energy that it needs to do this directly from the engine, specifically from a belt that runs between the two. Because the rotor in the compressor is driven by a belt, there needs to be a separate way to turn off the system, since the rotor cannot be independently stopped without shutting off the engine. The method that is used to toggle the AC is the compressors clutch mechanism.

How does a compressor clutch work on the SUV?

The Dodge Nitro AC compressor clutch works using a simple principle of magnetism. The process uses an electromagnet to magnetize two metallic plates such that they come together to connect the spinning rotor of the compressor with the pump that needs to be driven in order to compress the gaseous refrigerant. There are two friction plates inside of the compressor, one of which is connected to the rotor and is the drive plate. The other is connected to the pump and needs to spin in order to start the AC pumping. To bring them together, there is an electromagnet located nearby that, when activated, magnetizes them and causes them to be mutually attracted to each other and come together. At this point, the friction between the plates causes the secondary plate to spin with the first, which drives the pump. When it comes time to shut down the system, the electromagnet shuts off, and the plates lose their magnetism, then a spring connected to the secondary plate pulls it back and disengages the system.

What are some signs of a failing compressor clutch?

There are a few different signs that can point to a failing clutch on your Dodge model Nitro. If your car exhibits any of these, it should be checked out immediately to prevent the damage from getting worse:

  • AC stuck on/off: If the AC is unable to switch between on and off, then there may be a problem in the clutch, which is responsible for toggling the AC.
  • Excessive noise: Loud noises coming from the cars engine bay when you turn on the AC may be a sign that a bearing is starting to fail. This is usually caused by some other problem that results in enough heat to cause significant damage.