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Mercedes Benz A/C Condenser Replacement
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Mercedes Benz A/C Condenser Replacement

Steve Vernon

Time:

4 hours4 hrs

Tab:

$790

Talent:

***

Tools:

8mm, 10mm and 14mm socket, 19mm, 22mm wrench, large adjustable wrench, Phillips-head screwdriver

Applicable Models:

Mercedes-Benz 190E (1984-93)

Parts Required:

A/C condenser, refrigerant

Hot Tip:

Have a friend help

Performance Gain:

Keeps you cool

Complementary Modification:

Check your radiator

The air conditioning condenser is mounted in front of the radiator and is susceptible to damage from road debris - our project car's condenser had a small hole in it and needed to be replaced. The unit itself is expensive to replace, so before you buy a new one, pressure test the system first and verify the location of any leaks.

A word of note before you start: The A/C system is charged with a refrigerant that is both dangerous and illegal to discharge into the atmosphere. If you are going to be working on the system make sure you have the refrigerant properly evacuated and disposed of.

To replace the A/C condenser, a few things need to come off the car, starting with the front bumper, which is very simple to remove. Be carefully though, if you are doing this job by yourself, make sure the bumper does not fall on you while loosing it from underneath. While the bumper can easily be lifted by one person, it is always a good idea to have someone help hold the bumper while you are undoing the bolts.

Because of clearance issues with the A/C lines, you will need to remove the condenser and radiator as a unit. Safety tip! Make sure the car is cool before you begin working on it. You do not need to lift the car or remove the wheels to take perform this job, but it will give you more room to work if you do.

Begin by removing the Phillips-head screw that holds the ambient air temperature sensor located on the bottom of the license plate frame. Pass this sensor through the opening behind the frame and into the bumper.

Next, remove the front fender liner. There are two 8mm bolts and a Phillips-head screw holding it on. With the liner removed, you will be able to see the two 14mm nuts holding the bumper to the front of the car, along with a 10mm bolt attaching it to the side support.

Remove the 10mm side bolt and then the two 14mm nuts and washers. Take care not to loose the two large washers behind the nuts as they are important and need to be reinstalled when putting everything back together. With everything unscrewed the bumper just pulls straight away from the front of the car.

Next, you will need to remove the lower plastic belly pan. It is held in place by six 8mm bolts. Unscrew them, then lower and remove the belly pan.

There are two ways to drain the coolant from the radiator. The first is to use the red plastic drain knob with a drain hole below it located on the lower front passenger side of the radiator. Place your drain bucket under the hole and turn the knob clockwise. Coolant will begin to come out but will not drain rapidly because of the vacuum caused by the sealed system. To get all the fluid out, undo the cap on the coolant reservoir tank, this will break the vacuum and allow the coolant to flow freely. A word of caution though, this knob can get corroded and stick. If the knob will not turn or you are planning on reusing your radiator and are worried about breaking this part, you can just unscrew or cut off the lower hose. If you are planning on buying new hoses, it is much easier to just cut the lower hose off.

While the radiator is draining, remove the three 10mm bolts on each side of the cross brace and the three bolts at the latch and center support. With the brace free, flip it over and remove the latch cable. The hood latch cable just slips out of its mount and can be removed from the latching mechanism.

From the passenger side of the radiator, disconnect the automatic transmission fluid lines. Use two wrenches, one to hold the mount to the radiator and the other to turn the line. This will help you avoid stripping the line out of the radiator. With the line detached, undo the 10mm nut securing the line to a bracket on the bottom of the radiator.

If you used the drain knob and your lower passenger side radiator hose is still attach, you need to unscrew the hose clamp and remove it from the reservoir tank.

Next remove the two hoses from the water pump on the upper driver side of the radiator, take extreme care working around the plastic joiners as they are the weakest part of the system and can easily break.

On the front lower driver side you will see a hard line coming out of the condenser. Separate these and plug the line that attaches to the condenser. Directly under this line on the inside engine compartment is another line coming from the compressor to the condenser. Separate these lines and plug the line going to the compressor. There is a 10mm bolt holding the condenser line to the frame, remove this. When opening your A/C system, cleanliness is very important, do not get dirt or debris into the lines.

Follow the electrical lines from both fans into the engine bay area and separate them. The radiator and condenser are now free and can be lifted from the car together. The radiator has two rubber mounts that sit on grommets in the lower cross frame. Sometimes you need to wiggle the radiator around to free it from the lower mounts, just take care that you do not damage it against the fan.

Installation is the reverse of removal. Remember to refill your coolant, top up any lost transmission fluid and recharge your A/C system.

Remove the Phillips-head screw that holds the ambient air sensor to the lower part of the license plate frame.
Figure 1

Remove the Phillips-head screw that holds the ambient air sensor to the lower part of the license plate frame. Once loose, pass the sensor through the opening and into the bumper.

To remove the fender liner you will need to unscrew the two 8mm nuts (green arrow) and the one Phillips-head screw (yellow arrow, not shown).
Figure 2

To remove the fender liner you will need to unscrew the two 8mm nuts (green arrow) and the one Phillips-head screw (yellow arrow, not shown). The liner then just lifts out.

Remove the 10mm bolt that holds bumper to the outside support.
Figure 3

Remove the 10mm bolt that holds bumper to the outside support.

Remove the two 14mm nuts and large washers (red arrows) holding the bumper to the front of the car.
Figure 4

Remove the two 14mm nuts and large washers (red arrows) holding the bumper to the front of the car. With these removed the bumper just pulls straight away from the front of the car.

The plastic belly tray is held on by six 8mm bolts.
Figure 5

The plastic belly tray is held on by six 8mm bolts. Remove these, lower and remove the tray.

There are two ways to drain the coolant from the radiator.
Figure 6

There are two ways to drain the coolant from the radiator. The first is to use the plastic drain knob with a drain hole below it located on the lower front passenger side of the radiator. Place your drain bucket under the hole and turn the knob clockwise. Coolant will begin to come out but will not drain rapidly because of the vacuum caused by the sealed system. To get all the fluid out, go up to the coolant reservoir and undo the cap, this will break the vacuum and allow the coolant to flow freely. A word of caution though, this knob can get corroded and stick. If the knob will not turn or you are planning on reusing your radiator and worried about breaking this part, you can just unscrew or cut off the lower hose. If you are planning on buying new hoses it is much easier to just cut the lower hose off.

Remove the coolant tank cap to break the vacuum seal in the system.
Figure 7

Remove the coolant tank cap to break the vacuum seal in the system.

Next, remove the nine 10mm bolts on the cross brace (red arrows).
Figure 8

Next, remove the nine 10mm bolts on the cross brace (red arrows).

On the underside of the cross mount you need to disconnect the hood latch cable (red arrow).
Figure 9

On the underside of the cross mount you need to disconnect the hood latch cable (red arrow). The wire slips out of its mount and then can be removed from the latch. The yellow arrows show where the mounting bolts go.

Remove the automatic transmission lines from the passenger side of the radiator (yellow arrows).
Figure 10

Remove the automatic transmission lines from the passenger side of the radiator (yellow arrows). Use two wrenches so you don't strip the mount out of the radiator. There is a 10mm mount that connects the transmission line to the radiator (green arrow). Unscrew this from underneath.

If you drained your radiator from the plug and did not cut the lower passenger side hose, you can disconnect it from the reservoir (yellow arrow).
Figure 11

If you drained your radiator from the plug and did not cut the lower passenger side hose, you can disconnect it from the reservoir (yellow arrow).

Remove the clamps from the two hoses on the upper driver's side and remove (yellow arrows).
Figure 12

Remove the clamps from the two hoses on the upper driver's side and remove (yellow arrows).Take care working around the plastic joiners as they become brittle over time.

Separate the hard line coming from the lower front driver side of the condenser (yellow arrow), and plug the line going to the A/C unit.
Figure 13

Separate the hard line coming from the lower front driver side of the condenser (yellow arrow), and plug the line going to the A/C unit.

In the lower driver side engine bay is another A/C line from the condenser to the compressor (yellow arrow).
Figure 14

In the lower driver side engine bay is another A/C line from the condenser to the compressor (yellow arrow). Separate this line and plug the line going to the compressor. There is a 10mm bolt the holds the line to the frame (red arrow), remove this.

Follow the electrical lines coming from both fans into the engine compartment.
Figure 15

Follow the electrical lines coming from both fans into the engine compartment. Trace the wires until you find the joiners underneath the headlight assemblies (yellow arrow driver side, green arrow passenger side). Separate the connectors and free up the wires so the can easily pass out of the car when remove the radiator/condenser.

Wiggle the radiator from its lower mounts and pull straight up and out of the car.
Figure 16

Wiggle the radiator from its lower mounts and pull straight up and out of the car.

The green arrows show the grommets the radiator sits in on the lower cross frame.
Figure 17

The green arrows show the grommets the radiator sits in on the lower cross frame.

This is what the car will look like with the radiator and condenser removed.
Figure 18

This is what the car will look like with the radiator and condenser removed. You will have plenty of room to work on the front of the engine, so if you are planning any other projects at the front of the engine, now would be a really good time to do them. Installation is reversal of removal. Don't forget to replace your coolant, top up your automatic transmission fluid and recharge your A/C system

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Comments and Suggestions:
Matt Comments: In figure 14 how do you get that bolt off? With a wrench? also it says something about a bolt holding the line in place I don't see any bolt on my car. Also when i remove that line is anything gonna flow out of it?
May 7, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Yes, a wrench. You have to evacuate the A/C system (when the line is removed refrigerant will leak out if not), as mentioned in the article:
The air conditioning condenser is mounted in front of the radiator and is susceptible to damage from road debris - our project car’s condenser had a small hole in it and needed to be replaced. The unit itself is expensive to replace, so before you buy a new one, pressure test the system first and verify the location of any leaks.

A word of note before you start: The A/C system is charged with a refrigerant that is both dangerous and illegal to discharge into the atmosphere. If you are going to be working on the system make sure you have the refrigerant properly evacuated and disposed of.


- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
marco Comments: my ac don't works .changed drier receiver ,pressure switch
refill the system,and still get hot hair
September 8, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Since I don't know your year make and model it is hard to help you. With the AC on check if the AC lines under the hood are getting cold. Crimp off your heater lines to block the heater core. You may have a temperature blend door problem in the dash board. Have someone with a Mercedes Benz capable scan tool check for codes in the climate control system. - Kerry at Pelican Parts  
shells Comments: i have a 93 benz 190E 2.6. i would like to know what the capacity of r 134 refrigerant my car is supposed to hold, it has been retrofitted from r 12. o
May 23, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Sorry, I can't answer this question.

FYI: A correct retrofit requires:
* At least draining the compressor of oil, and may require replacing the compressor for compatibility.
* Replacing the system O-rings/seals.
* Replacing the receiver dryer.
* Flushing all trace of the old oil from the evaporator, condenser, and lines.

Any variation of oil fill directly impacts refrigerant volume and cooling capacity.

- whunter
 

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