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Has anyone ever replaced their a/c condenser?

 
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m78



Joined: 14 Nov 2001
Posts: 2807
Location: In the great midwest

PostPosted: Wed Jan 05, 2011 8:05 am    Post subject: Has anyone ever replaced their a/c condenser? Reply with quote

If so, did you have to evacuate the system?

Any other pertinent issues to be aware of?


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beejay



Joined: 18 Nov 2002
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 05, 2011 8:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's a job best left to a shop with the proper equipment.

The system needs to be discharged (refrigerant recovery) and evacuated and recharged

Why do you think you need one? That's not a part that normally fails.

Unless you poked a hole in it Shocked
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m78



Joined: 14 Nov 2001
Posts: 2807
Location: In the great midwest

PostPosted: Wed Jan 05, 2011 8:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I believe that was one part that the mechanic mentioned, when he said the a/c was cool but it should still be cooler.

Also, I will probably have to get in there to replace my auxiliary fan, as well as the fan clutch, fan shroud and fasteners.
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85-325e



Joined: 30 Jun 2002
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 05, 2011 11:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I did change mine... it punctured when I overcharged with R134a years ago so I had to change it out. However, I did a complete rework of the a/c system when I did it. In actuality, my A/C didn't work, and Murray BMW in Denver had diagnosed the problem as a stuck or clogged expansion valve back in 1998, In 2003, after I got Shadow, the big Black Shepherd, I figured I had to fix the A/C because heat was really difficult for him. Well, I didn't tackle it until after I had reworked most of the car and had it painted.

I tried loading the system with R134a, but because there was a blockage, it finally popped.

The reality was that BMW was right, and the expansion valve was completely clogged. It was clogged with crap that came from the mesh filter in the compressor, which disintegrated over time, and just collected in the expansion valve.

If you're going to replace the condenser, you should replace those parts that are likely to fail... the expansion valve cannot be cleaned out, so you shouldreplace it. The receiver/dryer should be changed as it probably has that crud from the compressor mesh in there too.

Once you're going to that trouble, it's a good idea to dismantle EVERYTHING and flush all of the parts out, then reassemble with new o-rings, and vacuum test the system. Then you can add the R-12 back. You could also, at that time, decide to go to R-134a and convert.

For what it's worth, I took the test, got the EPA cert, and bought the R-12 and refilled it with that.
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m78



Joined: 14 Nov 2001
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Location: In the great midwest

PostPosted: Wed Jan 05, 2011 2:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for all the detail. This does help immensely.

Actually though, nearly everything on my a/c has been replaced and/or converted except the condenser.

Does it sound logical that it would be cool (though not as cool as it should be) because of an aging condenser? I trust my local wrench (at least this one in particular), but I guess what I'm driving at is, could it be something other than the condenser? The expansion valve? the compressor? something else?
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85-325e



Joined: 30 Jun 2002
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Location: Southampton, NY

PostPosted: Wed Jan 05, 2011 3:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wouldn't be the expansion valve unless it's clogged or clogging. If that plastic mesh thing is still in the compressor and deteriorating, then it could be gumming up the works.

Have you checked the sight glass next to the receiver/dryer? Get the car running, turn on the A/C, and if there are bubbles (you may have to clean that little glass in the small round window), then your charge is low, which woudl indicate either an undercharge, or a slow leak someplace. If there ARE bubbles, you can try a recharge before changing out the condenser. If the system gets opened up, you have to recharge anyway but after sealing it all up, you have to know that it holds a vacuum.

An interesting sidelight to this... When I did mine, one of our members, Jim Nau, was in contact with me a lot (we both have 85 325e's) and he was an engineering professor. After I got everything sealed up, I tried to draw a vacuum to the specified pressure, and could NEVER get it there. I weas freaking out cause I did SUCH a meticulous job putting it all together. I tried for two days and never got it up to the correct specified bar. Then, all of a sudden, he chimed in with some info he dug up in his reference books on engineering, and it turned out that at my altitude (9,000'), what I was getting was ALL I could get! I breathed a big sigh of relief, and filled the system with gas. I think I slightly underfilled it so I may have to add just a tad soon, which is no easy task as the cans aren't resealable!

Anyway, once you know you have a vacuum, then you should be good to go to recharge.

Look at the sight glass first though... it can tell you a lot. If you have the Bentley manual, there's a good explanation of what you should see somewhere in the book towards the end.
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