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Mercedes-Benz A/C Condensor Replacement
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Mercedes-Benz A/C Condensor Replacement

Steve Vernon

Time:

3 hours3 hrs

Tab:

$600

Talent:

**

Tools:

17mm, 19mm and 22mm wrench, large adjustable wrench, Phillips-head and Flat-head screwdriver, large bucket

Applicable Models:

Mercedes-Benz W126 (1981-91)

Parts Required:

Condenser, hoses and clamps as needed, coolant

Hot Tip:

Properly evacuate your Freon

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 - 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 your A/C condenser, the radiator must first come out of the car. This article will cover both how to remove the radiator as well as remove and replace your A/C Condenser.

There are a few things that need to be loosened or removed from under the car, if you are comfortable and small enough to fit under the front of your car you do not need to lift it. If you like or need more room to work, then safely lift and support the car.

Make sure the car is cool before you begin working on it. To drain the coolant, locate the plastic drain plug on the bottom of the lower front passenger side of the radiator. Place your drain bucket under the hole and turn the plug with a large screwdriver. 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.

Move to the radiator and undo and separate the overflow hose and upper hose from the radiator.

It can be a tight fit to remove the radiator and shroud so give yourself some more room by simply lifting the charcoal canister on the left side of the radiator mount up and out of the way.

Undo the clips holding the shroud to the radiator and radiator to the frame and the condenser to the frame. There are six clips.

Move under the car and disconnect the transmission oil coolant lines from the lower part of the radiator. There will be some fluid that will spill so be prepared for it.

Lift the shroud from its locating taps on the bottom of the radiator and move the shroud back over the fan.

Undo and remove the two lower water hoses from the radiator. You will need to wiggle the shroud around so the outlet pipes clear the shroud when removing the radiator.

The radiator is now free and can be lifted from the car. It 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 or condenser.

If you have any refrigerant in the lines you will need to have it properly removed by a company that specializes in it. If it is still good they can store it and reuse it. There is a Schrader valve in the one line right by the charcoal filter holder. You will need to use this when recharging your system.

Next, you want to separate the two refrigerant lines going to the condenser. The one line needs a 17mm and 19mm wrench and the other uses a 22mm and a large adjustable wrench.

With the lines separated you can tilt back the condenser towards the engine and pull it up. It sits in two rubber grommets on the cross frame so you may need to wiggle it a little to get it loose.

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

Locate the plastic drain plug on the bottom of the lower front passenger side of the radiator (yellow arrow).
Figure 1

Locate the plastic drain plug on the bottom of the lower front passenger side of the radiator (yellow arrow). Place your drain bucket under the hole and turn the knob.

Remove the cap on the coolant reservoir (red arrow), this will break the vacuum and allow the coolant to flow freely.
Figure 2

Remove the cap on the coolant reservoir (red arrow), this will break the vacuum and allow the coolant to flow freely.

The coolant should now flow freely (red arrow).
Figure 3

The coolant should now flow freely (red arrow).

Undo and separate the overflow hose (red arrow) and upper hose (green arrow) from the radiator.
Figure 4

Undo and separate the overflow hose (red arrow) and upper hose (green arrow) from the radiator.

Give yourself more room by simply lifting the charcoal canister on the left side of the radiator mount up and out of the way (red arrow).
Figure 5

Give yourself more room by simply lifting the charcoal canister on the left side of the radiator mount up and out of the way (red arrow).

Undo the clips holding the shroud to the radiator (green arrows) and radiator to the frame (red arrows) and the condenser to the frame (yellow arrows).
Figure 6

Undo the clips holding the shroud to the radiator (green arrows) and radiator to the frame (red arrows) and the condenser to the frame (yellow arrows).

Disconnect the transmission oil coolant lines (red arrows) from the lower part of the radiator.
Figure 7

Disconnect the transmission oil coolant lines (red arrows) from the lower part of the radiator. There will be some fluid that will spill so be prepared for it. Lift the shroud from its locating taps (green arrows) on the bottom of the radiator and move the shroud back over the fan.

Undo and remove the two lower hoses from the radiator (red arrows).
Figure 8

Undo and remove the two lower hoses from the radiator (red arrows). You will need to wiggle the shroud around so the outlet pipes clear the shroud when removing it.

The radiator is now free and can be lifted from the car.
Figure 9

The radiator is now free and can be lifted from the car. 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 or condenser.

With the radiator gone the shroud can easily be removed from the engine bay.
Figure 10

With the radiator gone the shroud can easily be removed from the engine bay.

There is a Schrader valve (red arrow) on the main line right by the charcoal canister mount; you will refill your system from here.
Figure 11

There is a Schrader valve (red arrow) on the main line right by the charcoal canister mount; you will refill your system from here.

Next you want to separate the two refrigerant lines going to the condenser.
Figure 12

Next you want to separate the two refrigerant lines going to the condenser. The one line (red arrow) needs a 17mm and 19mm wrench and the other (yellow arrow) uses a 22mm and a large adjustable wrench.

With the lines separated you can tilt back the condenser towards the engine and pull it up.
Figure 13

With the lines separated you can tilt back the condenser towards the engine and pull it up. It sits in two rubber grommets (red arrows) on the cross frame so you may need to wiggle it a little to get it loose. Installation is reversal of removal. Don't forget to replace your coolant and top up your automatic transmission fluid.

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Comments and Suggestions:
dwight_talley Comments: I noticed that there was no mention of O rings in this project. Are they required for the Mercedes car? I am going to do this and wanted to make sure that I had all of the needed parts.

Thanks

Dwight
March 17, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The O-rings may come with the condenser. Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can help you find the right part.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 

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