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A/C Problems on 98 Mazda Protege

My 98 Mazda Protege is having air conditioner problems. When I first noticed it, the A/C wouldn’t work at low RPMs (driving around town), but worked fine at highway speeds. I also noticed that the engine was idling pretty low when the A/C was on. Then one day, when the A/C was on and I was stopped at a stop light, the engine died.

I’m guessing the problem is either the compressor or compressor clutch. Since this is not a DIY repair, I was wondering if I could just remove the belt for the A/C. The belt also drives the power steering pump, but I’m not sure if anything else is a part of that. So is it safe to remove the belt?

If the AC system isn’t turned on then the compressor isn’t working and the pulley on the compressor really doesn’t create a load on the engine. It just spins around so removing the belt to it isn’t going to do much for you, unless the clutch is seized up. Then you would need to bypass the compressor using a shorter belt that just ties to the power steering pump.

There usually is a device to kick up the engine idle speed slightly when the AC is turned on. This compensates for the compressor load to the engine so the engine dosen’t idle too low or die at stops.

Sorry, I forgot to mention that I wanted to remove the belt only if I had a serious problem with the compressor (like you mentioned, the clutch seizing up). Something similar happened to me on another car years ago.

Good idea about using a shorter belt to just the power steering pump. Thanks!

Any idea what that engine-idle-speed-device-when-AC-is-on is called?

Thank you, Cougar!