'94 Town & Country A/C caught fire- now what??

Discussion in 'General Motoring' started by frankandjane, Jan 7, 2006.

  1. frankandjane

    frankandjane Guest

    Hi. I have a beautiful 1994 T&C with 209,000 miles, no rust...we love
    it.
    Last night I smelled burning and saw a lot of smoke coming out of the
    hood.
    Now, I'm a professional firefighter and usually enjoy working a car
    fire, but not when it is in the car I'm driving.

    The A/C has not worked well in awhile....what would be the cheapest way
    to make this safely driveable...?? It has the 3.8 Litre engine. I
    cannot find a bypass A/C pulley for this engine. I hate to have to put
    in a new A/C compressor/clutch/etc/etc....

    Can I install a smaller serpantine belt and skip the A/C pulley? It
    does not look like I can from the routing....although NAPA, etc, says
    they do sell a belt for that engine w/o A/C. I believe it is a 80"
    belt. The two pulley near the A/C pulley are smooth, for the back of
    the belt....I cannot envision how you could skip the A/C pulley and
    make it work.....any ideas??

    Thanks in advance for any help.

    UPDATE- what I've learned so far is this- the belt does not seem hurt
    at all, but there is black ooze now coming out from the front of the
    a/c compressor clutch. The Dodge dealership says i can buy a
    replacement pulley and bracket for a non a/c 3.8 engine but they want
    over $100 for this simple bracket and plastic pulley. Maybe I can find
    one at the junkyard.

    I cannot just reroute a smaller belt and miss the a/c pulley....won't
    work. I either have to replace the whole a/c compressor/clutch/dryer,
    (about $300 before labor + recharging), or perhaps just the clutch,
    (about $100 before labor)

    I already unplugged the clutch wires, and I think the pulley is still
    free wheeling. The pulley never stopped spinning, just smoke and black
    goop came out of the very hot clutch area.

    I tried to loosen the serpantine belt with a belt wrench, but even that
    was quite difficult on the 3.8 L.
    Just not sure which way to go or what to do next. My mechanic says he
    may be able to look at it soon, but i think he is already leaning
    towards a total A/C job, costing hundreds.....I'm not sure if I want to
    do that, but I can drive it if it is going to cause another fire....

    Thank you in advance for your help.

    Frank D.
     
    frankandjane, Jan 7, 2006
    #1
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  2. frankandjane

    maxpower Guest

    when you use the defrost the A/C is also on, if the burning smell is coming
    from the Clutch coil only, all you have to do is disconnect the connector
    from the compressor and be on your way. If the pulley is causing the burning
    smell from friction due to air gap setting gone between the clutch and coil
    you have to remove it out of the system.
    I have done this before when we got alot of these vans in the shop and if
    I'm not mistaken all you need to do is go to a parts store and tell them you
    want a belt for your vehicle without air conditioning. I think it is just a
    shorter belt that eliminates the a/c without an idler pulley. Some of the
    independents in this group may be able to confirm that.

    Glenn Beasley
    Chrysler Tech
     
    maxpower, Jan 7, 2006
    #2
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  3. You can try at a junkyard but that will take time on your part.
    Can you ask which junkyard has a non a/c 3.8 engine in the first place?
    That might save some hours in the first place - using the junkyard
    hotline.

    $100 might sound expensive but it is also cheaper and less time
    consuming than all your other options so far, unless you have the time
    to research this. And enough warm weather.
     
    treeline12345, Jan 7, 2006
    #3
  4. frankandjane

    maxpower Guest

    when you use the defrost the A/C is also on, if the burning smell is coming
    from the Clutch coil only, all you have to do is disconnect the connector
    from the compressor and be on your way. If the pulley is causing the burning
    smell from friction due to air gap setting gone between the clutch and coil
    you have to remove it out of the system.
    I have done this before when we got alot of these vans in the shop and if
    I'm not mistaken all you need to do is go to a parts store and tell them you
    want a belt for your vehicle without air conditioning. I think it is just a
    shorter belt that eliminates the a/c without an idler pulley. Some of the
    independents in this group may be able to confirm that.

    Glenn Beasley
    Chrysler Tech
     
    maxpower, Jan 7, 2006
    #4
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