AC compressor Toyota RAV4

I have a 1996 4 door AWD Rav4 with 177,00 miles and a loud AC compressor whine.I have to replace it. Apparently there is no pulley bypass to run the alternator, no rebuilts available, and used are nearly the same price.

I’ve replaced the gaskets (still burning a quart of oil every 1500 miles), water pump, timing belt, one CV boot, and exhaust pipe within the past couple of years.

So at $759 to do the job, I wonder at what point do I give up on this vehicle? As an artist, my income is nil, but I need something to get me safely through VT snowdrifts.

What do you recommend?

An off the wall idea…As an ex-Vermonter I rarely used AC and now the weather is cooler …could you put on a smaller belt and forget about AC???

Maybe you can take a long string and put it around pulleys bypassing commpressor to find out what length belt you need.

thanks- I never use AC either, but somehow it is connected to the alternator too-- that is why it has to be replaced. It is not a belt, but a bearing inside the AC compressor.
Having to spend all this dough for AC that I never use is galling, to say the least.

“I never use AC either, but somehow it is connected to the alternator”

Yes, it is “connected” to the alternator by the serpentine belt. Or, to be more accurate, the compressor is not connected to the alternator by the belt, but both components are driven by the same belt.

You are apparently not understanding the suggestion from hd72mm. He is aware that the problem is in the compressor, rather than the belt. He is suggesting that a shorter belt (one that bypasses the compressor) may work in this situation.

If you take the vehicle to a good independent mechanic, you can simply ask:
“Can you install a shorter serpentine belt that bypasses my defective A/C compressor?”

Any decent mechanic will understand the question and if this is possible (maybe or maybe not, given the design of the vehicle), he should be able to give you this low-cost remedy.

Incidentally, most of the other items that you listed are either normal maintenance items (water pump, timing belt), or are repairs that are normal and expected on a vehicle that has over 150k miles on the odometer (CV boot, exhaust pipe).

As to the oil burning, gasket replacement will not have any effect on this. Replacing gaskets should help to reduce or stop an oil LEAK. However, if the vehicle is burning oil (consuming oil, with no visible leaks), that has nothing to do with gasket replacement. Oil leaks and oil consumption are two different issues, and both do arise when a vehicle has a lot of miles on the odometer. (Is it possible that you had a head gasket replaced? If so, let us know, as what led up to the head gasket replacement could have something to do with oil consumption.)

Make sure that you are checking your dipstick very frequently!

there is definitely a leak, oil on engine. Replaced the gaskets to try to remedy it,but it made no difference.

They tried to figure out a bypass thing for the AC compressor, but after calling around said that this model is not designed to do that (the parts store guy told me that too). Bummer.

Thanks for your interest and suggestions–

Here is another idea, but don’t ask a parts retailer about it. You need to go to a good old-fashioned independent mechanic who is used to repairing older cars and keeping them running at low cost for their owners.

Ask if he can remove the dead A/C compressor and install an idler pulley on the bracket that held the compressor. This would allow you to use the standard belt. It is an unconventional approach, but an old-fashioned New England mechanic who appreciates the value of thrift may just be able to do this for you.

Also, make sure that the leaking motor oil is not getting into the area of the timing belt cover. If oil contaminates the timing belt, it will eventually destroy the belt and give you major repair problems.

thanks for your response.
yes,that is the route I have been pursuing, but keep hearing that no one can get a pulley that will fit this vehicle. Seems to me that any idler pulley should be able to fit onto the bracket-- but all the places I have asked so far say no.
I am with you on the good old fashioned approach!