This time, it was the Jeep.
This morning on my way to work--day #3 at the new job--I'm sitting in traffic when I hear this ungodly "failing machine" noise. I thought it was the semi in front of me grinding gears or something, but no--the pitch of the noise rose and fell with my tachometer needle.
Drove the rest of the way to work with my heart in my mouth. "The rig ain't young any more," and there are so many parts which connect to the engine I went through various disaster scenarios until I finally figured that it was coming from the frontmost part of the truck, so it was probably something attached to the accessory drive.
Got to work, opened the hood, and my attention went immediately to the AC compressor, left top of the engine, for the awful "bad bearing" noise it was making. Turning the AC on did not change anything; neither did the compressor start turning. It should have, but did not.
Now--last week, in Wisconsin, the Jeep died, unexpectedly, and then worked fine almost immediately thereafter. I wonder if it died because it was venting refrigerant, and the refrigerant was getting sucked into the intake? R134 is lots heavier than air but the compressor is up high and the intake was downwind of it.
Anyway, nothing else was making noise. I was barely on time so I went in to work and got started on my day.
When I left work, I tried turning on the AC again, and this time I was rewarded with the most god-awful racket you ever heard, and it was definitely the AC compressor pulley that was doing it. And it kept going, and going, and going.
The first hour of my commute home never saw speeds higher than 45. I actually had to stop at an oasis to take a leak; and thereafter it was 60 MPH all the way home, and the thing only made that horrifying noise when I was idling.
Third day on a new job--all the way home nightmare scenarios went through my mind: having to order a compressor; not being able to get it fixed tonight, having to rent a car, all of which would make me egregiously late tomorrow. I most assuredly could not afford to call off.
Got home, checked on-line, went to O'Reilly's, grabbed a new compressor for all my cash-on-hand--and no guarantee because I didn't also buy an orofice tube and dryer for the system--and prepared to go home, but there was a couple in there who were trying to get a decent pair of jumper cables.
I helped them. Their jumper cables were very new and not very good. After about 10 minutes with theirs, and only getting the car to click fast, we put my jumper cables on the thing--and after another 10 minutes vroom. I gave them some suggestions on how to fix it, then headed home.
To my surprise, the hardest part of replacing that compressor was getting the electrical connector unplugged. The system was indeed depressurized, and the front of the compressor was oily, though why that should wreck the clutch I don't know. Maybe the clutch went bad and ruined the bearing, or something. Anyway, didn't break any laws, and the new compressor is in. Nice and quiet.
...and I won't plug it in until I can get the system evacuated and recharged. That will not happen this week.
I set the old compressor down and spun the pulley, and it just spun for a long time, even though it made a good amount of noise. This thing might have gone merrily along for six months making noise like that.
And it might have seized up a week from now, probably when I could least afford it, stranding me by the road. So, yeah.
Thank you Lord; thank you Jesus.