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AC Compressor and Condenser Replacement
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

AC Compressor and Condenser Replacement

Steve Vernon

Time:

5 hours5 hrs

Tab:

$180 to $500

Talent:

***

Tools:

2 large adjustable wrenches, 13mm, 10mm socket, 19mm, 17mm wrench, Philips head screwdriver

Applicable Models:

Mercedes-Benz 260E (1987-89)
Mercedes-Benz 300CE (1988-93)
Mercedes-Benz 300E (1986-93)
Mercedes-Benz 300TE (1988-92)
Mercedes-Benz E320 (1994-95)

Parts Required:

Compressor, condenser, hoses and clamps as needed, refrigerant

Hot Tip:

Properly evacuate your refrigerant

Performance Gain:

Cool cabin

Complementary Modification:

Check your radiator hoses

The air conditioning condenser is mounted in front of the radiator and is susceptible to damage from road debris. The unit itself is not cheap to replace, so before you buy a new one, pressure test the system first and verify the location of any leaks.

If there is a hole in the system that allows it to run dry, even though the compressor has its own internal oiling system there will be a chance you will need to replace the compressor as well.

In this article we will show you how to replace both the compressor as well as the condenser.

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 reused or disposed of.

You will need to remove the drive belt, shroud and radiator before beginning this job. Please see our article on drive belt, shroud and radiator removal for further assistance.

There are two Schrader valves on the A/C lines.
Figure 1

There are two Schrader valves on the A/C lines. One is located in the lower front left side of the engine bay (red arrow). Always make sure you have the refrigerant properly and professionally evacuated. Most places will give you a credit or store your refrigerant until you can place it back in the system later.

The other Schrader valve is located just to the left of the intake manifold (red arrow).
Figure 2

The other Schrader valve is located just to the left of the intake manifold (red arrow). Always make sure you have the refrigerant properly and professionally evacuated.

Condenser- There are two 10mm bolts that secure the condenser to the lower front section of the vehicle (red arrows).
Figure 3

Condenser: There are two 10mm bolts that secure the condenser to the lower front section of the vehicle (red arrows).

Condenser- Use a 10mm socket and remove the two bolts from the bracket (red arrow, one shown).
Figure 4

Condenser: Use a 10mm socket and remove the two bolts from the bracket (red arrow, one shown).

Condenser- On the left side of the condenser there is a small bracket that attaches the hard lines to the frame.
Figure 5

Condenser: On the left side of the condenser there is a small bracket that attaches the hard lines to the frame. Use a 10mm wrench and remove the nut (red arrow). Next, use two large adjustable wrenches, one to support the hard line (green arrow) and one to turn the nut close to the Schrader valve (yellow arrow). Note: Do NOT open these lines unless you have properly evacuated the refrigerant from the system.

Condenser- There are two plastic trim pieces, one on each side of the condenser (red arrows, already removed) that are held in place by two Philips head screws on each piece.
Figure 6

Condenser: There are two plastic trim pieces, one on each side of the condenser (red arrows, already removed) that are held in place by two Philips head screws on each piece. Remove the screws and the pieces.

Condenser- Gently pry up and remove the two clips on the top of the cross member that hold the condenser in place (red arrow, one clip shown).
Figure 7

Condenser: Gently pry up and remove the two clips on the top of the cross member that hold the condenser in place (red arrow, one clip shown).

Condenser- Lift the condenser up and tilt it back (red arrow) to give you access to the other A/C line.
Figure 8

Condenser: Lift the condenser up and tilt it back (red arrow) to give you access to the other A/C line.

Condenser- Use a 19mm wrench (red arrow) and a 17mm wrench (yellow arrow) to undo the second A/C line.
Figure 9

Condenser: Use a 19mm wrench (red arrow) and a 17mm wrench (yellow arrow) to undo the second A/C line. Disconnect the two electrical connections for the fans. You can now remove the condenser from the vehicle. If your fans are good transfer them over to the new condenser. Please see our article on auxiliary fan replacement for further assistance.

Compressor- The compressor is held in place to a bracket by four 13mm bolts (red arrows).
Figure 10

Compressor: The compressor is held in place to a bracket by four 13mm bolts (red arrows). The bolts hold the compressor to the bracket at an angle.

Compressor- Use a 13mm socket and remove all four bolts (red arrow, one shown).
Figure 11

Compressor: Use a 13mm socket and remove all four bolts (red arrow, one shown). The hoses and connections are attached to the compressor (green arrow) and it is heavy. Use care when removing the final bolt. Installation is the reverse of removal.

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Comments and Suggestions:
Friz Comments: 95 E300D. Granted it is not one of the vehicles listed but I may be missing something here. I am replacing the compressor. There is a heck of a lot more to this job than removing 4 13 mm bolts. Where is the rest?
August 13, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I would grab a repair manual. It will have the procedure, special tools and torque specs.

Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. - Nick at Pelican Parts
 

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