Q: Can the ac compressor be disconnected and noise go away

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The engine makes a rattling sound on the passenger side. It does it all the time regardless of the AC running or not. Everything runs and drives fine. I think it's the AC clutch or the compressor. Can the AC compressor be disconnected and the van still run ok. Also will the heat still work.

My car has 126000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

The a/c compressor cannot be permanently removed because the serpentine belt powers all accessories, including the compressor, in one "circuit". If you were to take the compressor out you won’t be able to install the serpentine belt because a key component will just not be there. The A/C and heating systems are independent of one another and so each will work regardless of the status, or even presence, of the other. If the noise is occurring, and is completely unchanged, regardless of whether or not the compressor is engaged (i.e., A/C turned ON), then the noise has nothing to do with the compressor or clutch. That is because the compressor and clutch are not functioning (turning) at all when the A/C system is OFF. So, if the noise is there all the time the cause has to be elsewhere. There is a bearing on the A/C pulley that does turn all the time but that bearing would just simply be one of many rotating elements in the serpentine belt circuit that could be causing the noise.
If the sound is not really obvious (pinpointed) on your or a mechanic’s initial inspection, a quick diagnostic can be performed by simply taking all of the belt driven accessories out of the picture by disconnecting the serpentine belt and then very briefly running the engine. If the sound disappears, the faulty component is then isolated amongst the accessories and pulleys driven by the belt. If the sounds does NOT disappear, that means the noise you are hearing originates within the engine and/or transmission. If you want these steps performed by a certified Mechanic, dispatched by YourMechanic right to your location, please request a vehicle noise diagnostic and the responding certified mechanic will get this resolved for you promptly. If you have further questions or concerns, do not hesitate to re-contact YourMechanic as we are always here to help you.

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