AC compressor seize (clutch) and blown gauge fuse...

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Thought I'd share an entertaining occurrence on a road trip I recently finished up over the weekend with my 95. Was relatively hot over the weekend travelling north on I-5 and running the air conditioning. I rarely use it and it's been fading in efficiency slowly over the years. In any case, cruising up the freeway at 70 mph and the compressor clutch seized up solid in short order. Truck shuttered, followed by a heavy drag on the engine (clutch melting on the compressor and the belt smoking from the lock up). Truck shut itself off as I pulled to the side of the freeway due to the drag on the belt. Popped the hood and smoked rolled out - melted clutch material all around the AC pulley (attached a pic of some fully melted pieces) - had to cut the belt off, cleaned off as much of the debris that had flown around the front of the motor and headed for the next exit to better assess the situation.

This is one circumstance where *not* having a serpentine on a 1fze made this only a delay to get home as opposed to a tow truck event.

What's strange (maybe you all have thoughts on this?) is at the moment of the ac clutch lock up, I lost all gauges (among other accessories). Items that did *not* function as I was troubleshooting - no dash gauges, no overdrive (up to 3rd gear only), no windows, no sunroof, no radio, no AC fan and maybe a few other things I'm forgetting. Thankfully I was running my Ultragauge and it was still giving me all my expected data points (temps, speed, etc). I started pulling fuses and the *only* one blown was the 10a gauge fuse. I replaced and everything came back.

So at this point I have an AC replacement job to do...but I'm still a bit perplexed on the gauge fuse. It was the only bad fuse and it had a LOT of control over a range of accessories. Maybe this is a 95 thing but I was surprised how many functions stopped. If you have any experience or input on this I'd be very curious.

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This exact same thing just happened to me in my '93. Unfortunately, as I didn't piece it all together I ended up getting a tow. My belt was in tact and the engine wouldn't turn over. I thought it was the alternator actually given several of the symptoms. Nope... compressor seized and took out the 10A fuse. Cut the belt, pulled the clutch wire, new fuse and I'm mobile again. Now to start sourcing an AC replacement.
 
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Out of curiosity, any of you guys doing an at-home regas and omitting to add oil at the same time? We can't regas at home here in Australia, the refrigerant is more tightly regulated than crack. I don't believe those cans of refrigerant you can get in the US contain any oil though, so I've wondered if people are regassing systems without realising that oil needs to be added too. If the compressor is seizing hard like that I'd suspect a lubrication issue.
 
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but I'm still a bit perplexed on the gauge fuse. It was the only bad fuse and it had a LOT of control over a range of accessories. Maybe this is a 95 thing but I was surprised how many functions stopped. If you have any experience or input on this I'd be very curious.
If you download the Toyota EWD, you will see that the 10 amp GAUGE fuse has its hand in 40 or so different circuits. He's a very popular fellow.
 
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Out of curiosity, any of you guys doing an at-home regas and omitting to add oil at the same time? We can't regas at home here in Australia, the refrigerant is more tightly regulated than crack. I don't believe those cans of refrigerant you can get in the US contain any oil though, so I've wondered if people are regassing systems without realising that oil needs to be added too. If the compressor is seizing hard like that I'd suspect a lubrication issue.
The Denso replacement compressor I purchased came pre-oiled. I added a bit of pag 46 to the system since I also replaced the dryer.

In my case, it was an original compressor and had simply worn out and seized (as you say, likely from no lubricant - or even refrigerant).
 
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If you download the Toyota EWD, you will see that the 10 amp GAUGE fuse has its hand in 40 or so different circuits. He's a very popular fellow.
yeah it sure does...I had never bothered to look in to the fuse labeled "GAUGE" until it popped...but it has a lot of dependent circuits. Still haven't 100% ascertained exactly what caused it to blow but apparently a heavy load on the circuit when the compressor seized.
 
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If you download the Toyota EWD, you will see that the 10 amp GAUGE fuse has its hand in 40 or so different circuits. He's a very popular fellow.
Yep, Toyota wants you to know when things get wonky with the AC. This is as intended. Nothing unusual about it. Cut the belt if it's still trying to hang in there after an AC clutch meltdown, R&R the fuse and proceed home. You'll likely be miserable from the heat without AC relief, but you can limp home especially if you take care of the fuse.
 

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