After we unloaded the truck last weekend, I pulled it out of the garage and parked it in the street. I noticed that the A/C pulley wasn't making it's usual screaming noises, but I figured it had just worn itself into a happy place. It wasn't until a couple of days later when I looked under the hood that I discovered that the serpentine belt had snapped. That was a lucky break! (heh) The A/C compressor bit the dust like 800 miles ago, and the belt could have decided to snap any time after that, but it held on until we got home. If I am going to be that lucky, I should have bought a lottery ticket. But with the way the gods work (the gods of the lottery, the gods of broken cars, the gods of highway travel, etc.), I probably wouldn't have won enough to cover the tow I would have needed if the belt had broken on the road.
Since we already had one major expense this week, I decided to put off the $700 A/C compressor replacement, but to keep the truck drive-able it needs a belt. A discussion on a Dodge truck forum clued me in that you can get a shorter belt that could be installed without engaging the A/C compressor pulley. So I went to NAPA and bought a belt for a truck like mine, but without A/C. Oops, no, it's too short. So I go back to forum, find where the part numbers for the 'special' belt is mentioned, and take those numbers to NAPA where the counterman is able to translate these numbers into a NAPA number (25-070901), which leads to a belt and a $7 refund. Whoo hoo!
I thought about replacing the compressor myself, after all I can buy a compressor kit from Amazon for a couple of hundred bucks. But then I still need a vacuum pump and gauges and while I could buy these devices for another couple hundred bucks, the quality is not all that great and I am liable to end up with a substandard installation that will have to be revisited in a couple of years. Better to belly up to the bar and let someone who knows what they are doing, and has the right equipment, tackle the chore. Besides there's the whole psychic agony thing that comes from contributing to global warming by releasing freon into the atmosphere.
15 hours ago