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Discussion Starter #1
In replacing the receiver drier on my 03 2.3 I managed to snap the metal hose off the condenser. So that was nice.

Two questions - I'm seeing condensers on Amazon and Rockauto for $60-$500. Anyone have any experience with the low end? This is my daily driver, it's not worth putting any more into it than I have to.

Second, the WIS says the first steps are remove the upper engine cover and the headlights. Is the upper engine cover the metal that spans across the front of the car that has the hood latch etc in it? Is there a simpler way to do this?

Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter #2
I ordered a Kool Vue for $65 and will post back how it works etc.

I'd still appreciate any input on what the WIS means by "upper engine cover".

Thanks!
 

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Looking at the picture, it looks like they're just talking about the huge plastic engine cover on top of a V-6. The 4-cylinder's engine cover is just the small black plastic thing behind the engine that covers up the fuel rail and intake manifold. There's no need to take that off on a 4-cylinder. I replaced the condenser on my 2000 9-5 a year or two ago, and it was a pretty straightforward job. I don't remember off the top of my head if it came out the top or the bottom, but I didn't have to remove anything major, like steel parts of the body. It was mostly the grille, headlights, and splash shields. I replaced mine with a Nissens condenser, which ended up being made in China like I'm sure all of the others are. Mine also needed to be replaced because a metal pipe on the side had broken off. It was just age and corrosion in my case. I had never messed with anything over there that would have broken it.
 

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Don't feel bad about breaking the condenser. The shop had to replace an A/C hose on my car, and I said to do the receiver/dryer while they were in there. When I picked up the car, they said that they couldn't get the old receiver/dryer separated from the condenser successfully, so they put in a used condenser they had around. If they charged me something for that, it wasn't very much.
 

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In replacing the receiver drier on my 03 2.3 I managed to snap the metal hose off the condenser. So that was nice.

Two questions - I'm seeing condensers on Amazon and Rockauto for $60-$500. Anyone have any experience with the low end? This is my daily driver, it's not worth putting any more into it than I have to.

Second, the WIS says the first steps are remove the upper engine cover and the headlights. Is the upper engine cover the metal that spans across the front of the car that has the hood latch etc in it? Is there a simpler way to do this?

Thanks!
Not sure what the WIS means by the upper engine cover. I don’t have the WIS but I had an extract from it at one point and I don’t remember that reference. I do recall it says to remove the “front cover”, which is the plastic cover (splash shield) under the radiator. Maybe that is what is meant? Nevertheless, there is no need to remove the metal piece that spans across the front of the car. You will have to remove the headlight assemblies and the horn assembly though. The condenser is removed from underneath the car. It is pretty straight forward.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks everyone for the replies. WIS definitely says upper engine cover - maybe they mean open the hood hehe.

Glad to hear I'm not the only one who has dealt with this. The receiver drier screws just snapped off, leading to the Dremel which probably caused metal fatigue.
 

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Thanks everyone for the replies. WIS definitely says upper engine cover - maybe they mean open the hood hehe.

Glad to hear I'm not the only one who has dealt with this. The receiver drier screws just snapped off, leading to the Dremel which probably caused metal fatigue.
In WIS procedures, the numbers in the diagrams correspond to the step number to give you further guidance. So 4 is pointing to what appears to be a plastic cover on the front bank of V6--it sure isn't a 2.3 in that picture!


ETA: the metal plate you are asking about is usually referred to as the "radiator header panel" in my experience.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I saw that it looked odd in the next one but for # 4 it didn't actually seem to have a picture. I'm probably over-thinking this as usual.
 

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Yeah, the arrows/diagrams don't quite line up with the steps. As you can see, that diagram illustrates step 5.

Go to the previous arrow/diagram, which illustrates steps 3 and 4. (I can't quite be bothered to do a screen shot and upload.)


The general rule I follow is that if I don't understand a step, I'll try to find it illustrated by number. Might involve chasing through the diagrams. And it may not help that much anyway.
 

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Tho in the UK I bought a nissens one which I thought would be good.
It left a fair bit to be desired.


The paint was seriously thin and came off too easily.
The pipe connectors are the drier block were not threaded properly - I only found this out after a week of use and the pipe came loose, bye bye R134

The supplied bolts were 50% right. I had to use one and use one saab one, the other saab one wouldnt fit.
The alignment was out so I had to bend my pipes a bit.


It was the equivalent of $150, but a lot of hassle and 2x gassing sessions at cost.
I hate working on AC only because it's very difficult to get the gear and the gas here in the UK for legal reasons, but I am working on that.
I hate having to get other people to do things on my cars and want to be self sufficient on all of it.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
So Dave you can't just walk into a store (Tesco etc) and buy cans of R134? We can't buy R12 anymore, although people sell it on 2nd hand sites, but R134 is available everywhere for about $5 per 340g can. If it's hard to get then yes I would imagine it's annoying when something fails, especially a reputable brand. My condenser arrives tomorrow, I'll report on its apparent quality.
 

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You can, but it's more like $50 - $60 for the same size. Plus you need the fill hose kit on top of that and some people are charging bottle deposits now.


I can get my AC guy to do a vac and charge for the saab which is thirsty! for about $60 so same same.


I've bought a chinese manifold and gauge set so I can experiment on filling an older R12 honda with propane mix.

Vac pump next on the list to replace a DIY vac tandem fridge pump setup.
 
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