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Unread 06-04-2013, 09:48 AM   #1
ChaseB
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2005 Jeep TJ AC Condenser Replacement Help

I recently found a leak in my TJ's AC system. The condenser is leaking along the edges pretty badly. The AC system won't hold a charge for more than a week or two. Shops are quoting me $600 to $700 to replace the condenser and that's more than I am willing to spend on my TJ's AC. As nice as it is to have I can do without AC, but was considering replacing it myself. I was going to order the condenser from Jeepair.com

http://www.jeepair.com/air-condition...denser-482.php

I plan on pulling the radiator, but I'm not sure the procedure or tools required for evacuating the AC. I'm assuming I'll need a vacuum pump and hoses to do this. Is it just a matter of pulling vacuum down to 0 then beginning the process of removing and replacing the condenser? Has anyone attempted this? Any advice is appreciated.

With what shops are charging for labor these days, I don't know how anyone can afford to have repairs done.

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Unread 06-04-2013, 10:55 AM   #2
Jeepster83
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It really depends on where you go to get your work done. shop around for a while to find your best price. My dad and I run a shop here in Idaho and I just put a quote together just to see how badly you're being hosed.

Even without any discounts the condenser comes to $284 and the labor to remove and replace the condenser, including pulling the system down and recharging it is $104. That's $388 out the door.

However, you're system is low on refirgerant. How much of our freon we have to use to bring your system up to full pressure will determine the cost of that. That can get a little pricey. So again, shop around.

This info was given purely as an example. I did use AllData and my parts ditributor to create the info, but it is not an official quote.
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Unread 06-04-2013, 10:56 AM   #3
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P.S. Proper equipment must be used to recover and recharge the AC system. Don't just vent what's in the system. It's an expensive gas and is also harmful to the environment.

And yes. Simple hand tools can be used to remove the condenser.
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Unread 06-04-2013, 11:36 AM   #4
JBTJ
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Actually, our systems use R134a, which is Tetrafluoroethane type refrigerant. Freon, R12 which they quit using back in 1996 is a Dichlorodifluoromethane refrigerant that is harmful to the environment. Just so we use the correct terminology here.
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Unread 06-04-2013, 11:37 AM   #5
ChaseB
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeepster83 View Post
It really depends on where you go to get your work done. shop around for a while to find your best price. My dad and I run a shop here in Idaho and I just put a quote together just to see how badly you're being hosed.

Even without any discounts the condenser comes to $284 and the labor to remove and replace the condenser, including pulling the system down and recharging it is $104. That's $388 out the door.

However, you're system is low on refirgerant. How much of our freon we have to use to bring your system up to full pressure will determine the cost of that. That can get a little pricey. So again, shop around.

This info was given purely as an example. I did use AllData and my parts ditributor to create the info, but it is not an official quote.
$388 I could live with, I'll definitely do some shopping around.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeepster83 View Post
P.S. Proper equipment must be used to recover and recharge the AC system. Don't just vent what's in the system. It's an expensive gas and is also harmful to the environment.

And yes. Simple hand tools can be used to remove the condenser.
This is why I'm hesitant, I'm not sure the proper tools or procedure for doing this, if I end up having to buy tools and vacuum pumps, gauges, etc. It may be worthwhile just having a shop do it.
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Unread 06-04-2013, 11:48 AM   #6
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the only tools you will need is a manifold gauge set and a vac pump. both can be had pretty cheap. to pull the condenser is not much more then a few flared threaded connections and orings. you wont have to worry about a pressurized system if you have a leak. you only hookup the vaccum pump when you get the new unit in and everything ready to charge, pulling to vaccum is <0, this boils off any moisture and removes non condensibles. then leave it in a vaccum and wait awhile and check your gauge again to see if t holds in vac, if it does you have no leaks and can recharge.

the only special tools you need are these. and the cost of a few cans of r134a.
http://www.harborfreight.com/a-c-man...set-92649.html
http://www.harborfreight.com/25-cfm-...ump-98076.html

you can do it yourself for <200 plus whatever the condensing unit cost.
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Unread 06-04-2013, 12:28 PM   #7
ChaseB
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rubicon17 View Post
the only tools you will need is a manifold gauge set and a vac pump. both can be had pretty cheap. to pull the condenser is not much more then a few flared threaded connections and orings. you wont have to worry about a pressurized system if you have a leak. you only hookup the vaccum pump when you get the new unit in and everything ready to charge, pulling to vaccum is <0, this boils off any moisture and removes non condensibles. then leave it in a vaccum and wait awhile and check your gauge again to see if t holds in vac, if it does you have no leaks and can recharge.

the only special tools you need are these. and the cost of a few cans of r134a.
http://www.harborfreight.com/a-c-man...set-92649.html
http://www.harborfreight.com/25-cfm-...ump-98076.html

you can do it yourself for <200 plus whatever the condensing unit cost.
Nice, thanks for the links. Little less than $400. If I can't find a shop to beat that, then I'll tackle it myself.
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Unread 06-04-2013, 01:22 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JBTJ View Post
Actually, our systems use R134a, which is Tetrafluoroethane type refrigerant. Freon, R12 which they quit using back in 1996 is a Dichlorodifluoromethane refrigerant that is harmful to the environment. Just so we use the correct terminology here.
I appreciate the lesson. Wrong terminology can cause confusion.

I said freon because its just a general term we at our shop. We also say refrigerant and a couple other words not allowed on the forum lol. Just to keep it less monotonous.
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Unread 06-04-2013, 02:27 PM   #9
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Its been found that R134A is also harmful to the enviroment so now HFO-1234yfis going to be used.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JBTJ View Post
Actually, our systems use R134a, which is Tetrafluoroethane type refrigerant. Freon, R12 which they quit using back in 1996 is a Dichlorodifluoromethane refrigerant that is harmful to the environment. Just so we use the correct terminology here.
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Unread 06-04-2013, 02:42 PM   #10
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Well got a quote from a local shop, he said around $179 to install. I can live with that, the condenser is $169 through Jeepair. Rockauto has some even cheaper but I'm skeptical of the quality.
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Unread 06-04-2013, 03:46 PM   #11
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If I recall there are some little expandable rubber nuts that mount the radiator and maybe the condenser. I fought with those for a while as a couple of them were seized together with the screws. I ended up tearing them out I think, luckily Ace hardware had some that worked fine as replacements. Just a heads up that you may need to source some rubber expansion nuts (I think that is what they are called?)
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Unread 06-04-2013, 03:56 PM   #12
Jeepster83
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Here's the procedures straight from AllData. Some of the steps might be confusing or unnecessary. Just use the steps that apply to you.

CAUTION: Before removing the condenser, note the location of each of the radiator and condenser air seals. These seals are used to direct air through the condenser and radiator. The air seals must be reinstalled in their proper locations in order for the air conditioning and engine cooling systems to perform as designed.

1. Disconnect and isolate the battery negative cable.
2. Recover the refrigerant from the refrigerant system.
3. Remove the three retainers that secure the upper condenser air seal to the grille panel and remove the upper air seal.
4. Remove the two screws that secure the upper condenser mounting brackets to the top of the grille panel.
5. Reach through the right side of the grille panel opening from the front of the vehicle to remove the nuts that secure the discharge and liquid line fittings to the condenser tapping block.
6. Remove the seal from the discharge and liquid line fittings and discard.
7. Install plugs in, or tape over all of the opened refrigerant line fittings and condenser ports.
8. Remove the three retainers that secure the lower condenser air seal to the passenger side frame rail and the bottom of the grille panel and remove the lower air seal.
9. Remove the two screws that secure the lower condenser mounting bracket to the bottom of the grille panel.
10. Remove the three screws on each side of the radiator that secure the radiator mounting brackets to the sides of the grille panel.
11. Tilt the radiator and shroud unit back towards the engine. Use care to prevent the cooling fan blades from damaging the radiator fins.
12. Carefully remove the condenser from the vehicle.

INSTALLATION

NOTE: If the condenser is replaced, add 22 milliliters (0.75 fluid ounce) of refrigerant oil to the refrigerant system. Use only refrigerant oil of the type recommended for the compressor in the vehicle.

1. Carefully position the condenser in the vehicle.
2. Install and tighten the two screws that secure the upper condenser mounting brackets to the top of the grille panel. Tighten the screws to 2.2 Nm (20 in. lbs.).
3. Align the radiator mounting brackets to the sides of the grille panel. Install the six screws that secure the radiator and shroud unit to the grille panel. Tighten the screws to 8 Nm (72 in. lbs.).
4. Install the upper condenser air seal to the top of the grille panel with three retainers.
5. Remove the tape or plugs from the discharge and liquid line fittings and condenser ports.
6. Lubricate new rubber O-ring seals with clean refrigerant oil and install them on the discharge and liquid line fittings. Use only the specified O-rings as they are made of a special material for the R-134a system. Use only refrigerant oil of the type recommended for the A/C compressor in the vehicle.
7. Reach through the grille opening from the front of the vehicle and install the discharge and liquid line fittings to the condenser tapping block.
8. Install and tighten the nut that secures the discharge and liquid line fittings to the condenser tapping block. Tighten the nuts to 12 Nm (105 in. lbs.).
9. Install the two screws that secure the lower condenser bracket to the bottom of the grille panel. Tighten the screws to 2.2 Nm (20 in. lbs.).
10. Install the lower condenser air seal to the bottom of the grille panel and the passenger side frame rail with three retainers.
11. Reconnect the battery negative cable.
12. Evacuate the refrigerant system.
13. Charge the refrigerant system.

Good luck and post up the results.
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Unread 06-04-2013, 03:58 PM   #13
ChaseB
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J03_TJ View Post
If I recall there are some little expandable rubber nuts that mount the radiator and maybe the condenser. I fought with those for a while as a couple of them were seized together with the screws. I ended up tearing them out I think, luckily Ace hardware had some that worked fine as replacements. Just a heads up that you may need to source some rubber expansion nuts (I think that is what they are called?)
Yeah I noticed those holding the top bolts on, I'm guessing they're used for the bottom as well? May spray them down with liquid wrench ahead of time.
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