1996 SW2 pulsed rattle under hood

Hi all. A few days ago my '96 SW2 DOHC began emitting about a half a second of rattle, every two seconds, from under the hood. Like clockwork.
I noticed that the air conditioner clutch was turning the compressor about a half-turn each time the rattle occurs, so since the airco leaked out last year I disconnected the clutch wire. The clutch no longer turns but I stil l have the rattle.
I should note that a couple months ago my girlfriend and I jumped the car w ith the cables reversed for about ten seconds, eliminating radio, fog light s, and rear defrost functions. Since I am disabled I have been waiting for warmer weather to address these.
I plan to have the local autozone check for codes but since this new issue sounds like damage might be occurring I thought I would ask the experts her e ASAP.
Thanks for reading.
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Reversed jumper cables can destroy a lot including exploding the battery!
First thing that almost always gets destroyed is the alternator. Reverse battery will kill the internal diodes turning one or more of the six into shorts. Test this by removing the serpentine belt (take pictures of how it runs first). Start the car and see if your rattle goes away. If it has, examine all the pulleys and that they turn freely. Then get yourself a new alternator. On many cars, the alternator is shut down until a few seconds after start-up. After this delay, the voltage regulator energizes the alternator field to generate voltage. If no output is detected, regulator may go into hiccup mode every few seconds. With shorted output diode(s), alternator will strain and cause belt slip under the load.
In the mean time, also check ALL the fuses for continuity. Not sure if that car also has secondary fuse panels in the driver and passenger side front kick panels. Consult your owner's manual for fuse locations and descriptions.
Word to the wise when using jumper cables. Connect the plus to plus. Instead of using the minus on the battery, use the minus (black) cable between two solid points on the frame. The engine lifting hooks are good for this too. Make the ground connection LAST. If there is a spark, you want it as far away from the battery as possible to prevent igniting any hydrogen gas the battery gives off.
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