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Hello,

I drive a 2004 Xterra and about a couple days ago, the car started making awful squealing and grinding noises along with burnt plastic smell without no cool air coming out of the vent.
Went to the mechanic and was told that the air compressor was all jacked up and needed to replace a new one. I was quoted around $1,000 for the replacement and to flush out the debris inside something.. (Sorry, I'm not that car techy)
I am about two month's short of buying a new car and didn't want to spend the dough on repair. So I asked if the car is drive-able for two month and he told me as long as I don't push that a/c button and don't do the rear window defrost, I should be fine.
So I went on my merry way trusting my dear mechanic. However, even when I was driving out of the garage, I still could smell burning plastic and also, the grinding sound was still there. Thinking that it was residue smell and since the squealing went away, I thought it would be okay.
However, driving home from the freeway today, I had a vision of my car suddenly stopping, causing a 7 car wreck in the middle of the freeway. Of course, since I'm writing this, I am thankfully still alive.
Question is, is it worth to trust my dear mechanic? Is the car still drive-able even though there is a slight burning smell and grinding sound?
Also, I drive a manual shift and not sure it's because the a/c is off but it feels extremely hot next to the clutches.

Thanks for any advice.
 

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I had one lock up on me going down the interstate once. It managed to stall the V8 in my F150 and sieze the drive train while I was going 70 ... Definitely not an experience I would recommend to others.

Newer A/C compressors have a lock sensor to detect this condition and release the clutch on fixed displacement models... I honestly can't remember how the variable displacement (fuel efficient) compressors address a lock situation.

Anyway, what you're probably smelling is the belt slipping on the compressor pulley. Your only option if you want A/C is to replace the compressor and belt, and have the system recharged professionally. I was a poor college student when mine went, however, and couldn't afford the repair. I removed and disassembled the compressor, pulled out the pistons, and reassembled. It became an idler at that point. Just make sure the bearings are still in good shape. In my case, the swash plate was shaving little pieces of aluminum from the sides of the pistons, and one became lodged between a piston and the cylinder wall. The newer Denso designs have Teflon wear pads in this location, no doubt to address this exact problem.

Good luck, and be safe.

Sent from my XT1060 using Tapatalk
 
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