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Discussion Starter #1
Okay, so... sequence of events.

I was driving home last night along a series of highways with speed limits 65 and 55 and I was driving 70 and 60, respectively. I was on the road driving 70 MPH for about 25 minutes and 60 MPH for about an hour before I got to the next 65 MPH area. Not ten minutes after I got to the 65 MPH highway and resumed driving 70 MPH, I noticed sparks flying from behind the car. Initially my reaction was "oh, I ran over a cigarette" but there were no cars within a mile ahead of me and it was raining pretty well all night. I glanced again and noticed another cluster of sparks fly from what seemed to be the underside or right side of the car in the mirror - there were a lot of sparks covering the road. Instinctively I slowed down until the sparking stopped, which happened at only 65 MPH. I continued to drive this speed for about ten minutes before I tried resuming the previous speed of 70 MPH. When I got to 70 MPH again, I carefully watched my mirror for any activity - no sparks.

After I got off my exit and was waiting at the traffic light to turn, a smell that reminded me of burnt electric circuits filled the passenger compartment and I was almost forced to open the window to recover from the potency of the smell. It dissipated mostly as I drove the rest of the way home, but never fully cleared - each time I stopped the smell would return on some level. As I approached home I thought "turn off the fans and radio and listen" so I shut off the fans, I shut off the radio, and I listened. I could hear a sound coming from the engine compartment that reminded me of the sound made by an overheated radiator overflowing. However all gauges were normal. When I put the car in park, the noise persisted. However, when I shut off the engine the noise stopped. The total time on the road was about two hours, the final 45 of which were after the initial sparks were seen.

For reference, there were no problems or symptoms of anything gone wrong with the car aside from the aforementioned criteria. There were no odd instrument readings (temperature normal, no oil indicators etc.) and no odd behavior (brakes seemed fine, steering was fine, ride was smooth etc.) other than the smell, sound and sparks (which lasted for less than a minute before I slowed down).

Where should I look for trouble?
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Let me add...after starting the car this morn. I heard a small grinding or rubbing sound that I never noticed before. I decided to turn on the a/c compressor and noticed that although the pulley was turning , the outside of it (a plate attached w/3 bolts) witch I believe is the clutch was not moving except for a little jerk every few seconds. After I shut of the engine( I had it running 2 or 3 minutes) I felt the clutch an it was hot enough that I could only touch it for an instant. I also thought I noticed a spark while the eng. was running @ or near one of the bolt hole areas of the comp. clutch. This was while the A/C wasn't engaged. Thanks a lot!!! Larry
 

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Could have been a caliper sticking or a rock stuck between your rotor and pad. Hot/burnt brakes kinda have the same smell as electrical

Nvm looks like you figured it out :tongue:
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
If it's the A/C compressor or clutch what would be easier to change (comp. or clutch)? Is it difficult? Is there a way to by-pass this thing so I can drive it for a while? Thanks, Larry
 

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As long as the A/C isn't turned on, the pulley should just spin freely. If it doesn't, you have bad bearings for the pulley as well. You can change the clutch of the compressor without removing the compressor or discharging the system. It might be a little tedious due to the compressors location, but it is doable with the rights tools. A new clutch costs about $100 and comes with a new clutch, pulley, coil and bearing.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Chris:I removed the center bolt that holds the clutch ass'y. and I found 2 things: the disc is worn and scored badly and also the 3 holes in the attaching plate do not have the bushings or whatever to keep the clutch disc centered. I re- attached the the ass'y leaving out the disc so that I can use the car till I can replace the clutch. I still hear a swishing/grinding sound coming from the front to front right side and am thinking that perhaps either the idler or tensioner pulley may be going bad. Perhaps when I replace the clutch I'll remove the serpentine and spin the pulleys to hear for wear. Do you recommend anything else? Thanks again to you,Chris, and all who have answered my call for help again!!! Have a great day! Larry
 

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I think Chris has you on the right track. A/C clutches can get really annoying when they go bad. I've had the same thing happen on several of my cars. Get a new clutch on there and you should be good.
 
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