I love my old Chevy truck. But it is old. Which means things break on it every now and then. Of course the AC pump’s been broke for a loooong time. But it finally got so bad I needed to take it out. It was whining so loud that people would look up to try to see the RC plane they heard. I may one day put a new one in there, but then, I like summer and have never had a vehicle with AC. So… not today.
I got a pulley to replace it and set about removing it. Seemed like it would be a pretty easy repair. Take off the belt pull the electrical connectors and hose connection. Remove the three bolts, whip it out and drop the pulley in place and zip tie the lose electrical and hose connections. I’m going to kill the next person who asks me to do something and adds, “it’ll only take five minutes.”
I pulled the belt. Pulled the connections. Loosened the five inch long bolt and discovered that there was only two inches clearance to pull it. It jammed up hard against the pulley of the compressor that it was holding in place. Ditto with the other two bolts.
After looking at it a while it was clear that the pulley would have to come off the compressor. I looked online seems I’m not the only one who had this problem. Some of the guys actually cut the bolts off. As you will see in a moment that’s a Real Bad Idea ™. But several of them said that the bolts will come out if you wiggle them around..
I took another look at it. The pulley probably can come off, but it looks like you need The Special Tool ™. I don’t have it of course. So I tried the wiggling idea. After some unproductive moments trying really hard not to say any words the group of 6 years old gathered around don’t need to learn, suddenly, one of the bolts is now flush with the ridge on the pulley that was blocking it. I was momentarily fascinated by the fact that it seemed the bolt and the pulley were now occupying the same space and time. But I didn’t bother to really wait to figure out what I was seeing and jerked the bolt out.
Now, with the bolt in hand, I had time to be fascinated again. At first glance the bolt appears to be a standard metric flanged cap bolt. However, one side of the flange is ground away flat, which allows the bolt to come past the pulley when magically turned just right. So basically, instead of designing the bracket’s bolt diameter to be just an 1/8” larger, the solution was to make three special bolts only for this AC compressor. All those people that cut them off and bought new bolts were screwed.
We really should spend some time and resources to find the Design Guy and eliminate him.
I bet you can buy the Special Bolts ™ from the dealer. I bet they’re ten bucks each.