Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Hot Arizona
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First, I'd disconnect the wire to the AC compressor clutch, start engine and turn on the AC, and measure if I had 12 volts positive in that wire. If not, I'd read the static pressure of the R134a, because you may have lost refrigerant when the compressor noise started; if it contains refrigerant still, that should be evacuated/recovered, and there's danger in just unbolting stuff from a system still containing refrigerant.
Yes, when AC compressor seizes, particles can get into the condenser or drier; these modern poarallel flow condensers cannot be backflushed with solvent either because of their design.
I've got that exact same Frontier. Last September in Gila Bend AZ on the way to California, its AC compressor seized, made screeching noise, etc, I switched off the AC as we made our way through the desert in 103F. So what did I do to fix on mine? I bought a brand-new compressor and condenser (comes with drier) from Rock Auto. I did NOT replace the expansion valve as that requires removing the entire evaporator box inside the dash. The compressor did not come with refrigerant O-rings, that pi$$ed me off, had to get those separately, locally (refrigeration O-ring assortment for Nissan, at O'Reilly). Don't use anything with a sealer in your AC ever.
I purchased PAG refrigeration oil already containing UV dye and used that. I have my own vacuum pump and service gauge set, but these can be obtained as free loaner tools from Autozone.
'98 2WD, 4-cylinder, 5-speed, white regular cab, purchased in 2004 with 100K on it for the kids to drive, now it's back with us, 237K. 2004 King Cab 2WD, 4-cylinder, 5-speed, electric blue purchased in Dec. 2011 at 89K. Also 1988 Mazda B2200 Cab Plus truck (since 1994, 217K), 2WD, 4-cylinder, 5-speed, great truck. And 1971 VW Convertible (mine since 1976) and 1970 VW (260+K, mine since 1972).