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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
OK, so I've been running my new to me 1993 164S and I'm on my second tank of fuel. Last night, however, disaster struck.

Pulling back in the driveway I noticed a substantial amount of smoke coming out of the hood illuminated by the headlights. I've not dug into the 164 yet so didn't know how the belts worked, but observed the alternator belt was not moving with the engine running (not good) , so shut everything down for the night. I did not se any warning lights, so I think it happened in my neighborhood close to home.

Upon looking at it this morning, I have a clearly broken serpentine belt (see photo). In looking through the records for the car, the belt and idler pulley were replaced approx. 11 years and 30k miles ago by Alfa of Tacoma. Upon cold startup I would sometimes get a short belt squeal, but not enough to be overly concerned.

In trying to diagnose the cause, I can spin the alternator using a long screwdriver in the fins, but the belt does not turn the ac compressor. Normal? I felt the idler pulley and it spins freely, but I detect a bit of side to side deflection when I try to wiggle it. The idler pulley is plastic. The belt had obvious cracks in it - see attached photo.

What do we think? Just a bad/old belt ant tensioner pulley or do you think the AC compressor is seized? I also read water pumps can seize too -- hoping that is not the case.

As for changing this, how difficult is it? I've been reading threads and printing diagrams for the job. The car came with spares and I think I have everything needed to change all belts -- see attached photo. I don't think I'll mess wiht the PS belt for now though.

All help is appreciated! Glad this happened very close to home. @Alfisto Steve @pinino @Del @Alfissimo Int.

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I would be way more concerned about timing belt considering the looks/age of serpentine belt.

You need to zero time ALL accessory belts, alternator, power steering, serpentine, idler pulley, water pump, timing belt, timing belt tensioner, and compressor clutch pulley bearing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I would be way more concerned about timing belt considering the looks/age of serpentine belt.

You need to zero time ALL accessory belts, alternator, power steering, serpentine, idler pulley, water pump, timing belt, timing belt tensioner, and compressor clutch pulley bearing.
Thanks and understood, but to not get this thread off track I’d like to focus this thread on the serpentine belt.

So I realized where the water pump is and snaked my hand in there without a glove. Spins without much effort and no leak is present, so I don’t think it’s the pump.

So to me it’s either an old belt that bound up and started slipping or the AC compressor is causing it.

Should the AC compressor spin if you spin the alternator or is that small pulley not enough to spin the large compressor?

I know the real answer is take it apart and find out, but I just returned from a trip and too tired to do it today.

On that note, how hard is replacing the serp belt and tensioner?

thanks!
 

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AC compressor clutch (the part that spins when the AC is not in use; electromagnetic clutch not engaged) should spin as freely as the alternator or coolant pump. The description points towards something locked up and wasn’t spinning as it should. While the serp belt is off, pull the t-belt covers and inspect the belt, etc. Sorry, couldn’t help myself!
 
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
While the serp belt is off, pull the t-belt covers and inspect the belt, etc. Sorry, couldn’t help myself!
good idea. Ok, u guys wore me down - here is a shot of it but please let’s stay focused on the serp belt!


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Did you have the A/C or defrost mode on when you noticed the smoke and noise begin? With everything turned off, you should be able to turn the A/C compressor pulley. If you cannot, then a compressor lockup is what caused your serp belt to slip and smoke. You told us the idler pulley was free to turn, as was the alternator and water pump. Based on the cracks in the serp belt, it was on borrowed time anyway.
If the compressor won't rotate, then it will first have to be replaced and the system evacuated and recharged before installation of a new serpentine belt. If there is play in the idler pulley, replace that also.
Do you have any documentation on recent replacement of the timing belt/tensioner? That question is precautionary.
 
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Since you are telling us you can spin water pump pulley then serpentine belt for it and a/c compressor has failed. If so and alternator belt in place and it goes from alternator pulley and around compressor pulley and you should be able to spin alternator pulley and compressor pulley easily. That being said you should be able to compressor pulley turn with alternator pulley turning. Does it?

This happened to my w/p and a/c belt couple years ago: What did you do Alfa related today? | Page 670 | Alfa Romeo Forums (alfabb.com)
 

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this is what the serpentine belts and p/s belt routing looks like:

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
OK, I started the car and ran it for a bit less than a minute and completely turned off the climate control. After doing so, I reached in as best I could and pulled on the top of the belt between the alternator and the air conditioning compressor. I cannot get it to move.

Ugh! Does this for sure me and a complete new compressor or could it be just the clutch portion? Either way this is pulling me kicking in screaming into a deeper project I didn’t want to get into just quite yet. :)
 

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I'd paint a line on the air conditioner pulley. Start the car with aircon turned off and if that line is not moving (the belt would have to be slipping and making an upset noise) then you will need to make it move one way or another

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The job of belts isn’t hard. Pop off the front right wheel then the forward fender liner which is held in with a couple plastic philips fasteners in the middle, and one 6mm bolt (10mm tools) at the bottom front which will likely be corroded to nothing. Once the fender liner is out the whole job is laid bare before you. Hardest part is having the parts on hand.
Timing belt is a whole other thing all together.......
 
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OK, I started the car and ran it for a bit less than a minute and completely turned off the climate control. After doing so, I reached in as best I could and pulled on the top of the belt between the alternator and the air conditioning compressor. I cannot get it to move.

Ugh! Does this for sure me and a complete new compressor or could it be just the clutch portion? Either way this is pulling me kicking in screaming into a deeper project I didn’t want to get into just quite yet. :)
It's possible just the clutch assembly and the bearing that carries it has locked up or is tight enough to lock up occasionally. If that is the case then it's possible that the compressor itself would be ok. A good automotive AC shop will be able to verify that for you, and repair it.
 

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:)
[/QUOTE]
OK, I started the car and ran it for a bit less than a minute and completely turned off the climate control. After doing so, I reached in as best I could and pulled on the top of the belt between the alternator and the air conditioning compressor. I cannot get it to move.

Ugh! Does this for sure me and a complete new compressor or could it be just the clutch portion? Either way this is pulling me kicking in screaming into a deeper project I didn’t want to get into just quite yet. :)
Since it won't turn with A/C panel off and engine not running a/c compressor pulley bearing prolly frozen in place. Compressor innards maybe OK. You need to pull R/F headlight, alternator, inner fender liner to gain access to remove compressor. If a/c was working properly and cooling well if you are skilled it is possible if you remove radiator to manipulate compressor with a/c hoses still hooked up in a position to pull clutch pulley and replace pulley bearing. However comma I know of only one 164 owner who has done it and it wasn't me. His story with pix somewhere in this BB archives.

I think this is his story: A/C clutch disintegrates | Alfa Romeo Forums (alfabb.com)
 

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I was the person who removed the entire functioning 164 A/C system in one piece. The radiator, alternator, and false firewall must come out first. Process is not easy, but it is easier than removing the steering rack. I would only attempt this if you can first determine that the A/C clutch bearing is bad, AND that the rest of the compressor is good. I am not saying that you should or should not attempt to remove the entire A/C system as a unit.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
You need to pull R/F headlight, alternator, inner fender liner to gain access to remove compressor.
Thanks Steve. But don't I have to take it somewhere first to evacuate the lines? Not yet sure if its R12 or 134, but I wouldn't want to just leak it to the atmosphere. How hard is it to remove and replace? I know I will also need to take it to an AC ship afterwords.
 

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How hard is it to remove and replace? I know I will also need to take it to an AC ship afterwords.
Apparently can be done without evacuating the gas:
tomhenneka said:
I was the person who removed the entire functioning 164 A/C system in one piece. The radiator, alternator, and false firewall must come out first. Process is not easy, but it is easier than removing the steering rack. I would only attempt this if you can first determine that the A/C clutch bearing is bad, AND that the rest of the compressor is good. I am not saying that you should or should not attempt to remove the entire A/C system as a unit.
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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Ok, got the time and energy to work on this at lunch time. Below are photos.

The belt was snapped and the broken area was around the compressor. I tried clamping the belt with some vice grips to try to turn it and it really won't budge.

So at this point, I need to source a compressor. There is a Nissens one on RockAuto - any good? If not, where is the best price/value ratio for getting one of these??

Thank you very much for all the help.

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I've had good luck 95% of the time with Rock Auto. I see online the compressor you're talking about, but like I said previously the compressor itself may not be damaged. If you got lucky, the clutch bearing seized and threw the belt.

Question for Alfisto Steve P, can the compressor be accessed enough to get a puller on the front and remove the clutch assembly? I read where you go in through the headlight opening to drop the compressor. I'm thinking if the A/C was cooling before this happened, and it's possible to R & R the clutch with the compressor hoses attached, maybe he can avoid a tow truck to a local shop. If not, then that's what I would do, frankly.
 
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