I expect that the shock is necessary to prevent belt slippage under certain conditions. There is a sensor system that will shut down the a/c if slippage is sensed. Because the damper prevents impact in the belt tensioning, I expect that it goes a long way toward preventing this problem under certain conditions.
It sounds like it's time to check the tensioner, pulleys, bearings and everything else accessory related, replace what is needed and maybe install a new belt.
'01 C Class, Six Speed
'84 Euro 240D, manual, 533K miles
'88 300E 5 Speed
'81 300D Daughter's Car
Over 800,000 miles in