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Old 07-14-2011, 08:21 PM   #1
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Stranded in Casper, WY...AC compressor froze

You haven't lived until you've camped out at a repair facility!

Successfully dropped off my son in Lander, WY for his rock climbing class and was headed home to NJ when wife innocently turned on the coach AC. Nothing was blowing through the vents so I figured a fuse had blew. All other engine functions were operating fine.

Stopped for fuel in Casper, WY and found that AC 'circuit breaker' blew so pushed the button back in and fan blew and all seemed fine.

Pulled out onto I-25 South and dashboard lit up with a STOP engine light and we pulled over. Antifreeze leaking from hose clamp connection. Put a new hose clamp on, tightened it up, added some antifreeze and figured we were OK.

God was not done with me yet...

Started engine and got low AC engine voltage and saw that engine fan was not blowing through the radiator. Shut off again, crawled under the MH and saw that serpentine belt was gone. No problem - I carry a spare belt.

Arranged to have a mobile mechanic come out and help me install the belt. While waiting, crawled underneath again to check that all pullies were free. Alternator OK, tensioner OK, idler OK, AC compressor - locked solid...

Disconnected power, banged on it, tried to free it with huge channel locks. Would not budge.

Canceled mobile mechanic and tried to find a repair shop. Called around and most said that would not be able to look at it until Wednesday (have to be back in NJ by Monday for big meeting...).

Finally found one that will look at it tomorrow morning.

Plan A: AC compressor available and get back on road Friday.
Plan B: Install a shorter belt that bypasses the AC compressor to get me home.
Plan C: Leave MH for repair and drive Jeep toad home. Fly back to Casper when fixed.

Pray for Plan A!
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Old 07-14-2011, 08:29 PM   #2
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Yes on A but plan on B ....good luck, hope all goes well for you
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Old 07-14-2011, 08:46 PM   #3
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Just a thought here for you. If plan A doesn't work out perhaps they may even have a compressor that will mount even if it doesn't "compress". At least it would allow you to re-install the serpentine belt and get rolling.
Re: Plan B.....hope the A/C comp. is not the adjusting component.
Good luck
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Old 07-14-2011, 08:51 PM   #4
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Cheapest will be plan B, if you can route the belt that way. If you plan on having dash air in the future, though, you can get a compressor. even if the shop cannot fix your AC (if your compressor froze up you are going to need more than a replacement unit), the clutch can freewheel until you get home.
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Old 07-14-2011, 09:00 PM   #5
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I wouldn't rush the A/C repair if plan b is viable. If the compressor is seized internally (likely), it may have sent a bunch of debris through the system as it failed. That requires a complete flush and quite possibly replacement of some components. Make sure that the shop is really good with A/C. Replacement compressor warranties do not cover damage from debris left by a previous failure. Discuss this with the shop before they just pop a new one in.
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Old 07-14-2011, 09:01 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrschwarz View Post
the clutch can freewheel until you get home.
There you go.......to get rolling you may just need to replace the clutch
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Old 07-14-2011, 09:34 PM   #7
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if you have a sanden a/c compressor they may not be able to just replace the clutch, but very right on the debris in the system very critical to get clean properly or will ruin warranty . like stated if they can hang a compressor just to use as idler you can run roof air home and fix later.

good luck
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Old 07-14-2011, 10:03 PM   #8
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Thanks for all the advice!

I took a long web strap that we use to secure the bikes and wrapped it around the pullies (minus the AC), marked the length so I know I'm looking for a 78-inch belt instead of the 83-inch belt that is 'standard'.

Here is a picture you never want to see!


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Old 07-15-2011, 12:30 AM   #9
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We lost the AC compressor and the serpentine belt last year in Sundance, WY. Had to be towed to Rapid City, SD where we spent 2 nights in the lot of the repair facility. Workhorse paid to overnight the compressor or we would have had to spend 5 or 6 days as it was just before July 4th. Ours was the clutch bearing so there was no debris in the system.

Hang in there and good luck to you.
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Old 07-15-2011, 01:28 AM   #10
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No advice to give - just wanted to say hope you're safe and movin' along now!
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Old 07-15-2011, 09:36 AM   #11
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Free up the AC clutch by disassembly and fixing what is binding up. For example replace the bearing in the clutch if this is bad. The shaft of the compressor does not have to turn if you are not running the AC. Something else is frozen. Replace the belt and disable the electrical part of the clutch and drive home without the AC. Nothing else would work for me. You can run your genny for AC if necessary.
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Old 07-15-2011, 09:45 AM   #12
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I hope you did better than I did with a 1990 Taurus we once had. The car had spent its entire life in Washington, a place where a/c isn't often needed. Just after the 50,000 mile warranty closed out, the a/c quit working.

When I started to troubleshoot, it turned out the compressor had seized up. The compressor electric clutch then burned out as it was energized but couldn't turn the compressor. it shorted out electrically and was not protected by fuses or breakers and the short circuit wiped out the lower section of the center console.

When it went to the repair shop, they were able to get everything fixed. The bill was $1800. The shop supervisor said that almost $800 of that was labor to get everything out of the way so they could get the compressor out and then put it all back later. They had to remove the alternator, the power steering pump and several other items stacked above the a/c.

I fell out of my chair laughing when Alan Mulally said he had decided to rename the "500" sedan the Taurus to "cash in on the name recognition that car had". It was far and away the worst car we ever owned, and our fleet had included things like a 58 DKW, a Rover 2000 and two Renaults.
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Old 07-16-2011, 09:16 AM   #13
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Here is a quick update:

We were able to locate a belt that turned out to be about 13 inches shorter than the standard 83-inch belt for the engine. This bypassed the AC pulley and allowed us to get moving about lunchtime on Friday.

I'll deal with the AC when I get home. Extended warranty should pay for it.

Just crossed the NE/IA border on I-80 and utilizing the free wifi at all Iowa rest stops.
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Old 07-16-2011, 11:00 AM   #14
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Been there Done that regarding the AC compressor.Just real glad it is on a separate belt.
So Glad you found a belt that works. Just bet that you will put that belt in the just in case it happens again box.
Have a safe trip across the hottest part of the country.
Did you miss the storm that hit Denver just a few days ago?
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