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Old 07-08-2012, 08:02 AM   #1
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On the Road , Michigan
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Possible to re-route serpentine belt and by-pass AC unit?


We're kind of stuck in the boonies and apparently the AC condenser has frozen and thrown the serpentine belt. Question is, is it possible use a shorter belt and by-pass the AC?

We're in a 1997 Airstream Land Yacht with a 454 Chevy engine...

Many thanks...

crazy eddie
"Of all the things I've lost, I miss my mind the most."
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Old 07-08-2012, 04:57 PM   #2
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I had a '95 GMC Jimmy that threw it's belt due to locked A/C Compressor.
I just disconnected the wires going to it to keep the AC clutch from engaging until I could get the compressor replaced (a year later) Be careful if you do that as the connections have ceramic insulators and I broke mine. Hope this will help. Good Luck

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Old 07-08-2012, 05:06 PM   #3
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1992 29' Excella
Van By The River , Georgia
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I am not familiar with your particular belt layout so I'll give a qualified maybe.

I would just turn off the A/C. That should keep the clutch disengaged. If that doesn't work (for instance your rigs automatically turns on the A/C to control the inside temperature) then disconnect the wires to the clutch as mentioned above.

If the clutch is frozen then you may need to consider an alternate route with a shorter belt. A couple things come to mind - 1) all the accessories must rotate in the correct direction when the shorter belt is installed 2) you'll need to ensure the belt tensioner is still part of the loop so you can maintain a reasonable tension in the belt.

It's very likely possible to use a shorter belt but if you're not mechanically inclined it may be more difficult than it sounds.

Lucius and Danielle
1992 29' Excella Classic
1996 GMC Suburban C2500 7.4L
2005 Chevrolet Suburban K2500 8.1L
Got a cooped-up feeling, gotta get out of town, got those Airstream campin' blues...
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Old 07-09-2012, 05:13 AM   #4
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On the Road , Michigan
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Thanks for the suggestions... Our son is rather handy and gave them a go, but unfortunately, no go...

We suspect the AC clutch was "frozen" in the engaged position, which is what caused the belt to break, as turning it off and disconnecting it didn't free things up. Fortunately, a few sharp taps with a hammer loosened it enough to allow it to turn, so he could put the original-length replacement belt on.

Fortunately, we have several hammers in our on-board toolkit, and so far I don't recall ever having to use them to drive in stakes... just freeing frozen parts of various motorhome parts...

Thanks again!
crazy eddie
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Old 07-09-2012, 05:19 AM   #5
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Cumming , Iowa
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I did the shorter belt approach and it worked like a charm. Obviously, you have to get the right length of shorter belt - if there is one for your engine but without the A/C option, that would be ideal. Good luck.

John S.
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