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  #1  
Old 10th June 2010
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Default Replacing the AC Condenser

Anybody ever replaced their AC Condenser? And How hard is it to replace?

With removing the radiator, I wanted opinions on do most of you all like to use only Saab antifreeze fluid. Seems like the owners manual only recommends Saab brand or is that just so they can make money?
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Old 10th June 2010
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Also, How hard is it to replace the Expansion Valve?
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Old 11th June 2010
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both parts are not at all difficult to change (in my humble opnion) every seal involved should be relaced. Then you will have to pull a vacuum on the system until all of the moisture is evacuated and then recharge the system with the correct refrigerant. Still up for the job?
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Old 11th June 2010
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Cool. Where's the expansion valve located at?
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Old 11th June 2010
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Is it possible to take the Condenser out by removing the front Grille and Plate above the Condenser or do you have to remove the fans and radiator to do the job?
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Old 11th June 2010
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You get the condenser out by taking off the lower grille, under the bumper. Then you unbolt the condenser from the top of the radiator support (should be two bolts here) and slide it downward as if it's on tracks. Depending on how tired your front springs are, you might want to drive your car up on some ramps or jack up the front end for more clearance, although I got mine in and out with no trouble on the stock non-spg springs. With an SPG it's probably necessary to raise the front of the car a bit.

The expansion valve is located on the side of the evaporator, near its inlet and outlet pipes.

I've done extensive research into the antifreeze. My findings are that the fabled Mercedes Coolant that Tom Townsend recommends is just G-05 spec coolant, as MOPAR vehicles now all use (also marketed with the name HOAT or "Glysantin"). It used to only be available for Mercedes, but since Daimler-Benz bought Chrysler it is now widely available, and even Valvoline-Zerex makes some, so you can get it at your local NAPA. SAAB coolant is likely just Glysantin G-05 now as well.

Do not, under any circumstances, use GM Dex-Cool. Upon contact with standard green or G-05 coolant it will form sludge.
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Old 11th June 2010
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Default Phew!

Euromobile, Thanks for the Help. Man you saved me a lot of time just looking at it I thought you had to remove the fans and radiator! hee hee

Your steps should cut down a lot of time!

Also would you or anybody else think this condenser is OK :

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/ws/eB...=STRK:MEWAX:IT

This Condenser is $26.99, a 1/4 of what most are selling for but has had Great reviews from many customers. So wondering is it as good as the $100.00 ones????

Last edited by princeben; 11th June 2010 at 03:55 PM.
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Old 11th June 2010
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Euromobile and Anybody else, I also found this info on a good site

AC Hose To Condenser Problems!

On all the condensers you must be extremely careful when removing the hoses. When you remove the Upper and Lower AC hoses to the condenser you will destroy the condenser threads because the nut on the AC hoses are steel and the condenser threads are Aluminum or alloy. In just about every case the upper hose must be replaced with the condenser replacement. This is quite common and this will cause you to have to replace the hoses (upper and lower). In some cases you may be able to clean out the lower hose threads to remove any aluminum that is in the threads PRIOR to installing the OLD hose on the new condenser. MAKE SURE YOU DO THIS PRIOR TO INSTALLING THE HOSE. WE cannot replace a condenser under warranty if you make this mistake!!!

http://www.thesaabsite.com/shop/sear...1=Start+Search

Those that have done this job, have you ran into this problem and go ahead and replaced the hoses also or have you been able to remove any aluminum and reuse them???
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Old 11th June 2010
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I've only taken the thing apart to get a bad A/C system off. I put new A/C in my car directly from a wreck, without undoing any fittings (to do this you have to take the hood off and jack up the rad support to slip the hoses in--I heard a rumor it could be done and had a bit too much time on my hands). So I really don't have experience with reusing that particular fitting. But if you have a dremel with a wire wheel, a small file, and a bit of time on your hands, I'd think cleaning the aluminum from the threads would not be an issue. Besides, the worst thing that's going to happen is you have to replace another hose. Just make sure the other connections are well sealed (rubber cork, plastic bag, tape) and you shouldn't have to worry driving the car for a while before the hose arrives.

Jim M. has mentioned flushing the A/C system components with mineral spirits. I think he was saying to do the individual components individually, but I'd think since you are replacing the expansion valve and condenser that pouring a bit down through the evap core toward the receiver-dryer and condenser wouldn't be an issue. Follow with a blast of compressed air, assemble, and then pull a long vacuum when you've got it back together.
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Old 11th June 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by euromobile900 View Post
You get the condenser out by taking off the lower grille, under the bumper. Then you unbolt the condenser from the top of the radiator support (should be two bolts here) and slide it downward as if it's on tracks. Depending on how tired your front springs are, you might want to drive your car up on some ramps or jack up the front end for more clearance, although I got mine in and out with no trouble on the stock non-spg springs. With an SPG it's probably necessary to raise the front of the car a bit.

The expansion valve is located on the side of the evaporator, near its inlet and outlet pipes.
Unfortunately for me the SPG part of the lower bumper covering blocks the condenser from coming out and also is blocked even more because that bumper is constricted by the Metal Plate that protects the engine. So all of that has to come off to get the condenser out but I suppose is still better than removing the fans and radiator. Whereas seem like on a Saab without the SPG bumper it is easier to get out as mention by Ludichris.
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Old 11th June 2010
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Jim M. has mentioned flushing the A/C system components with mineral spirits. I think he was saying to do the individual components individually, but I'd think since you are replacing the expansion valve and condenser that pouring a bit down through the evap core toward the receiver-dryer and condenser wouldn't be an issue. Follow with a blast of compressed air, assemble, and then pull a long vacuum when you've got it back together.
Do you think it would be better to have the shop that will replace the refrigerant do a "Flush A/C System" or do you think the Mineral Spirits will work as well?

And if using the Mineral Spirits, do I leave both of the lower ac hoses off or one that connect to the condenser when pouring a bit of the mineral spirits (MS) down through the evap core toward the receiver-dryer, followed with a blast of compressed air? Seems like it would be hard to get enough MS to go through the core since it has that drainage in that compartment? If thats the case would it better to just Pour it down that AC hose up thats up around the evaporator that continures on to the receiver-drier which then continues on to toward the condenser?
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Old 11th June 2010
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I don't recall the evap core having a collection tank. Could you please explain? If you're talking about the receiver-dryer, this needs to be replaced when you redo the A/C, so I'd just flush in the end of the evap core where the compressor hose normally plugs, and out the hose that goes down to the receiver-dryer. While flushing, I'd leave the expansion valve off.
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Old 11th June 2010
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Yea, didn't see that the expansion valve was covered by its on little compartment next to the evaportator.

What about this...Do you think it would be better to have the shop that will replace the refrigerant do a "Flush A/C System" or do you think the Mineral Spirits will work as well?
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Old 12th June 2010
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The shop will likely use something that's not mineral spirits. I think they use HFCF-14b, which is designed to flush A/C systems, but is expensive. I think they'd do a less thorough job, and some shops are liable to cut corners by flushing through components likely to trap the flush-solvent, like the compressor and expansion valve, especially if you drive it there after it's all built to get the flush and charge. The way I see it, you've already got it all taken apart, so you might as well do that part yourself.

Some also say not to flush through R12 hoses before going to R134, as the contaminants on the inside of the hose provide a better barrier for the small R134 molecules.

I also recommend that if you're doing mineral spirits you let the components sit for a while to dry completely before reassembly. Here's one technique to more effectively use compressed air for drying:
http://www.e38.org/pparish/flushing.htm#pop
Site has a bunch of tips about A/C service, and seems pretty knowledgeable.
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Old 12th June 2010
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Thanks Again, Your info and link is some excellent help!
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Old 12th June 2010
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I got the expansion valve off and notice a Black gooy substance, kinda like roof tire, around the expansion valve and some of the evaporator coils. Looks like its some kind of insulator or something. Is it necessary to try to replace this stuff or try to reuse what I took off???

Also, that hose of the compressor, the top hose goes from the compressor to the expansion valve, the bottom hose is very long and goes from the compressor to the condensor. This part is so long and both ends are metal/aluminum and the part closest to the compressor curves so much, I wonder can you really clean that hose with it being so long and the curves???
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Old 12th June 2010
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Well, as that site mentioned, the hoses benefit from crud on their walls, as an added sealant for the smaller R134 molecules. Also, the hoses don't need to be clean for performance. The advantage to flushing is that there is less stuff on the inside walls of the evap and condensor, so the outside can get cool faster. Lower thermal mass=better, for A/C parts. Hoses don't need to get cold, so I bet there's no need to flush them, right? I mean, sure, dirt that's inside them could move into the compressor, evap, and/or condensor, but I think if you blew it out with compressed air you'd be fine.

As far as that black stuff goes, I don't know. I bet it is a thermal insulator, but I'd just clean it off and maybe fold some foam around it after. If your performance suffers you can always take off the plastic box, slide it back on the hoses, and squirt some of that expanding foam in after the fact.
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Old 13th June 2010
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Cool then.

One last thing when you say,

"The advantage to flushing is that there is less stuff on the inside walls of the evap and condensor, so the outside can get cool faster."

The link was saying "Do not flush Mineral Spirits or HFCF-141b through compressors, driers/accumulators, any type of refrigerant control valves or other items that would trap the solvent!" So that would include the evaporator wouldn't it, because couldn't the mineral spirits get trap in the evaporator??

Last edited by princeben; 13th June 2010 at 12:35 PM.
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  #19  
Old 13th June 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by princeben View Post
I got the expansion valve off and notice a Black gooy substance, kinda like roof tire, around the expansion valve and some of the evaporator coils. Looks like its some kind of insulator or something. Is it necessary to try to replace this stuff or try to reuse what I took off???


The specialized A/C insulating tape needs to be wrapped around the coiled portion of the Capillary Tube on the Expansion Valve where it contacts the Evaporator inlet....Yes, it's important.
Flushing is likely to cause more problems than it solves.
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Old 13th June 2010
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Good then, I will get some AC insuating tape if not able to reuse what came off.
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