Serpentine belt blues or My Hell is Serpentine

Well, yesterday I had truck problems. For a while my A/C compressor has been having issues with the electronics so I unplugged a sensor so the clutch would disengage and go into free-spin since the compressor was stuck on the ON position. That worked for a while until yesterday. I was in the drive-thru of a Jack-in-the-Box that is attached to a Shell gas station and when I was told to pull forward my truck decided to die. I figured it just hiccupped or something like that. I tried to start it and my truck squealed then died again. At that point I figured out what happened. Nobody was behind me so I pushed my truck backward to get it out of the way. It was still in the way of people wanting to get gas. I decided to see if I pulled power from the compressor maybe it would free itself up. I could not get the red plastic pin off that was holding the power plug together. A guy came by and offered help and was able to get that sucker unplugged. That of course did not free it up. After that he got the idea that since the belt was crap now anyway, I may as well try to get my truck totally out of the way. I figured, why not…

I got back into my truck and swallowed hard as I prepared to start my truck and then hurry up and back it into the space that happened to be behind me. I got the truck started and revved the engine and put it into reverse and backed it up. I got it in place and turned the engine off. Thankfully I did because the belt was about to catch on fire from that little bout with friction. It was smoking at the point of the compressor. I thanked the guy and he went on his way. I ended up thinking that while I figure something out I may as well be where I can look up prices for parts and all that jazz. I was down the street from my mother-in-law so I gave her a call. I spent a few hours over at her house and I ended up calling my father to tell him the fun news. He offered to help. He does not live in Houston so he had a drive ahead of him.

I got dropped off back at my truck and my father came on by. We started to look closer at the truck and noticed it has a belt run diagram with a method for running the belt without the A/C on the run. We figured it is worth a try. The bad thing is that there was no standard belt size documented without an A/C that would work at either Advance Auto Parts or O’Reilly Auto Parts. We ended up cutting the bad belt and mapping out the run with the old belt. On the 5th belt or so we got the right size and tested my truck. It took us around 5 or so hours total to get this knocked out. Nice thing is, we did not have to purchase a compressor for an A/C that was broken for other reasons, which would have been a waste of time and money. I drove to work with my truck today. It has run nice and quiet so far.


    • Peter on 12/28/2010 at 1:52 pm

    My A/C compressor appears to be making a noise like, bearings in it are about to wear out. However, this noise does not increase when I step on the gas. It remains constant. Long story short, its winter time, finances are tight, so getting a new compressor is not an option right now. I also saw the diagram posted on the brace thats in front of the radiator, that shows the path of the belt with or without the A/C. I purchased the belt that is listed for not having A/C, in hopes that I could bypass the A/C compressor, since it is winter right now. This belt does not fit. What was the length of the belt you use? Where did you purchase this belt? I have a 2001 Ram 1500 with the 318 engine…

  1. It has been a little while since I did that to my truck. I am sorry but I do not remember. What was done in my case was a trial and error until we found one that worked properly. Thankfully we were able to take the other belts back after each size failure.

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