Thanks for the link to the article. That is the same one I found from a post in the archives. I think that is the problem. I ran threw the codes on the climate control screen again with the car running and saw the same action in the evaporator temp. It was at 48 when I started the car and stayed there for about one minute. Then out of nowhere, again, the temp shot up to 145 and I immediately heard the compressor shut off. I know very little about A/C systems, or thermal dynamics, but a change from 48 to 145 in 1 second seems out of the ordinary.
I tried to find the codes that David listed but could not. For 51 (number of belt slips) I get "Lo". For number 52 I get "50 F". And I couldn't bring up the code by pressing REST and front Defrost (with the climate controls set at LO and AUTO on, as you said). I think there may have been changes to the system on post 97 W202s. Does anybody know where I can get a compleat list of code functions for the 98 W202? It would be a big help.
Anything else anybody wants to add would be helpful. Thanks to those that have replied.