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Can I Bypass The A/c With A Shorter Belt?

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Hey. I've been searching all over the place to find an answer to this question. I want to bypass my A/C compressor. Can I use a belt from a non-A/C car to bypass the compressor? My compressor's clutch makes a lot of noise, and I'm afraid it will seize. I'm not interested in repairing the A/C on this car, but I would like to keep it reliable as I mainly use it for long trips.

Thanks very much.

2001 Chevy Prizm (corolla) 1.8L

You'll likely have to get a custom sized belt - measure the running distance between the active pulleys and get a belt to closely make up the that length. Any leftover slack will be taken up with the tensioner. Only issue I see is that the pulley might still be in the way, I don't remember off hand. Should be able to eyeball it and see if it will clear that pulley.

For comparison, Corolla/Prisms with A/C have 74" belts, the ones w/o A/C use 60" belts. But I'm almost positive that their belt layout is different, as the lower portion has to wrap around that idler pulley that one way. If you just "short circuit" that compressor pulley, that belt run between the remaining pulleys is a LONG distance, might be more than what the belt is rated for.

They do make compressor bypass blanks that specifically to replace the A/C compressor assembly with a bracket and free-wheeling pulley. That way you keep the original belt and its run path, just have to remove the A/C compressor and plug the disconnecting lines. Those bypass pulleys run about $25-$30. Good thing, you keep the original belt and routing, downside is you have to remove the compressor - but if the bearing is bad, you'll end up pulling that anyways.

I realize that this is years after the original post, but I thought I would put this here for future users. I have a 2001 Chevy Prizm with a seized AC compressor. I just installed Gates belt # K060605, which is for a 2001 Toyota Corolla without AC. The belt fits perfectly and keeps the belt tensioner in the same position as it was in with the longer belt installed. The belt routing is the same except that the new belt goes straight from the alternator to the water pump instead of from the alternator to the AC to the water pump. The new shorter belt doesn't introduce any new long stretches of unsupported belt. It also has more contact area with the alternator pulley and less contact area with the water pump pulley, but I don't foresee any problems. In my test drive, everything went OK. If I run into any problems due to the non-stock belt, I'll edit this post. Hope this helps someone.

Dayco also makes a belt for this (#5060605). It is identical to the Gates. Did this today to my 98 Prizm.



Guest 2005 Corolla A/C Bypass

This same belt (K060605) by MasterPro also seems to work on a 2005 Corolla to bypass a bad A/C pulley. The tensioner seems a bit tighter with the new belt, but I haven't noticed any change in performance or slipping on decreased contact areas, the increased tension likely helps to counter that. 

Yes actually you can. I have bypassed mine on a 2002 Ford Taurus and the car runs fine. I went the parts store about 4 times to find the right size belt to bypass it. Just keep your receipt and go one size smaller everytime. Good luck.