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Mercedes A/C Condensor and Air Baffle Replacement
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Mercedes A/C Condensor and Air Baffle Replacement

Steve Vernon

Time:

3 hours3 hrs

Tab:

$175

Talent:

**

Tools:

10mm socket and wrench, pliers, diagonals

Applicable Models:

Mercedes-Benz W203 (2001-07)

Parts Required:

A/C Condenser and Air Baffle

Hot Tip:

Work on a cool car

Performance Gain:

Proper engine temperature

Complementary Modification:

New 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 the A/C condenser, a few things need to come off the car. Begin by disconnecting the ground from the battery and making sure it can not accidentally make contact again while you are working.

You will need to remove the two air inlet ducts as well as the front engine cover.

Remove each duct by compressing them towards the engine and slipping them off the air inlet.

With the ducts off remove the front engine cover. It pulls up and away from the engine. The cover is held on by five clips and will easily come off with hand pressure.

In front of the radiator you will find the horns. Remove the four electrical contacts for the two horns and using a 10mm socket remove the horns from the center bracket.

Cut the zip tie that holds the horn wiring harness to the center bracket on the cross member.

Remove the 10mm bolt that holds the power steering line to the center bracket.

There are two 10mm bolts holding the center bracket to the front of the car from the back of the bracket. Use a small wrench and working from behind the bracket remove these two bolts.

Unscrew the two hood stops (one on each side), they simply unscrew and then pull out. This will allow you to compress the plastic clip from the radiator shroud when removing the cross member.

Use a 10mm wrench and remove the two bolts holding down the hood releases on both sides of the cross member.

Pull the hood releases up through the cross member and detach the release cables from the release mechanism.

Remove the upper two 10mm bolts on each side of the cross member.

Compress the two plastic clips holding the wiring harness to the cross member and push them down through the holes in the cross member.

Lift the cross member out and flip it over. Next you need to remove the hood release cable on the right side. It just slips out of its plastic retaining clip.

Remove the two air inlet ducts. They have a small clip on the top, push it down and slide the duct off.

Undo the electrical connection from the wiring harness to the fan assembly.

Carefully remove the fan assembly from the car. Take care that you do not damage the four clips (two on each side) that help secure the assembly to the radiator.

Next safely jack up and support your car. Please see our article on safely jacking up and supporting your Mercedes-Benz W203. With the car safely off the ground you will need to remove the engine tray. There are six 8mm bolts holding the tray on, the rear two also help hold the transmission tray. If you are going to leave the transmission tray on, remove the rear two bolts first, lower the engine tray, reattach the transmission tray bolts, then remove the remaining four bolts on the engine tray.

With the tray removed you will see radiator drain plug on the lower left front of the car. Place a catch bucket or tray under the plug and use a large flat head screw driver to open the drain plug. The fluid will come out slowly at first so open the tank cap to break the vacuum and help speed things up. The fluid drains out a small spigot facing rearward and not through the red plug.

Remove the upper radiator to coolant pump hose. Mercedes-Benz uses quick disconnect attaching points, but sometimes the wire clip you need to pull out is facing something that does not allow it to be pulled straight out. If this is the case, just unclip it from the radiator and then pull the hose out. You can always reinstall it before reattaching the hose.

Move to the right upper part of the radiator and remove the quick disconnect for the upper automatic transmission fluid line. Remove the bracket securing the line to the mount on the other line using your 10mm wrench. Slip the line out of the radiator, there will be some fluid that runs out so be prepared to catch it and dispose of it and the manner regulated by the area of the country you live in.

On the lower right part of the radiator remove the quick disconnect coolant hose, again this hose is lower than the radiator drain plug so be prepared to catch and dispose of the fluid. Next disconnect the lower automatic transmission line.

Move to the front of the radiator and squeeze together and release the two plastic clips (one on each side) holding the radiator to the A/C condenser.

The radiator is now free and can be lifted out of the engine compartment. Take care of the four mounting points in the ends of the radiator when removing and reinstalling.

With the radiator out you need to remove the lower A/C lines connection and switch. The switch unplugs and there is a 10mm nut holding the lower A/C lines to the condenser that needs to be removed. If there is any charge or refrigerant in the system you will need to have it properly and safely evacuated. There are companies now that will come to you and remove the refrigerant while you work on the system and then restore the saved refrigerant back into the car. This is very environmentally friendly and saves you buying new refrigerant.

Slide it back out of the plastic air baffle and lift if from the engine compartment.

If the air baffle has been damaged or needs to be replaced you can remove it by gently prying out the two (one on each side) plastic plugs that hold the baffle to the main front frame or cross member.

With the plugs removed you can lift it out of the car.

Installation is the reverse of removal.

Begin by disconnecting the ground from the battery and making sure it can not accidentally make contact again while you are working.
Figure 1

Begin by disconnecting the ground from the battery and making sure it can not accidentally make contact again while you are working.

You will need to remove the two air inlet ducts (red arrows) as well as the front engine cover (yellow arrow) to get access to the air filter housing on top of the engine.
Figure 2

You will need to remove the two air inlet ducts (red arrows) as well as the front engine cover (yellow arrow) to get access to the air filter housing on top of the engine.

Remove each duct by compressing them towards the engine (red arrow) and slipping them off the air inlet.
Figure 3

Remove each duct by compressing them towards the engine (red arrow) and slipping them off the air inlet.

With the ducts off remove the front engine cover.
Figure 4

With the ducts off remove the front engine cover. It pulls up and away from the engine (yellow arrow).

The cover is held on by five clips (red arrows) and will easily come off with hand pressure.
Figure 5

The cover is held on by five clips (red arrows) and will easily come off with hand pressure.

In front of the radiator you will find the horns.
Figure 6

In front of the radiator you will find the horns. Remove the four electrical contacts (yellow arrows) for the two horns and using a 10mm socket remove the horns from the center bracket (red arrow).

Cut the zip tie (red arrow) that holds the horn wiring harness to the center bracket on the cross member.
Figure 7

Cut the zip tie (red arrow) that holds the horn wiring harness to the center bracket on the cross member.

Remove the 10mm bolt (red arrow) that holds the power steering line to the center bracket.
Figure 8

Remove the 10mm bolt (red arrow) that holds the power steering line to the center bracket.

There are two 10mm bolts holding the center bracket to the front of the car from the back of the bracket (red arrows, not shown).
Figure 9

There are two 10mm bolts holding the center bracket to the front of the car from the back of the bracket (red arrows, not shown). Use a small wrench and working from behind the bracket remove these two bolts.

Unscrew the two hood stops (one on each side), they simply unscrew and then pull out (red arrow).
Figure 10

Unscrew the two hood stops (one on each side), they simply unscrew and then pull out (red arrow). This will allow you to compress the plastic clips (yellow arrows) from the radiator shroud when removing the cross member.

Use a 10mm wrench and remove the two bolts (red arrows) holding down the hood releases on both sides of the cross member.
Figure 11

Use a 10mm wrench and remove the two bolts (red arrows) holding down the hood releases on both sides of the cross member.

Pull the hood releases up through the cross member and detach the release cables (red arrow) from the release mechanism.
Figure 12

Pull the hood releases up through the cross member and detach the release cables (red arrow) from the release mechanism.

Remove the upper two 10mm bolts (red arrows) on each side of the cross member.
Figure 13

Remove the upper two 10mm bolts (red arrows) on each side of the cross member.

Compress the two plastic clips (red arrows) holding the wiring harness to the cross member and push them down through the holes in the cross member.
Figure 14

Compress the two plastic clips (red arrows) holding the wiring harness to the cross member and push them down through the holes in the cross member.

Lift the cross member out and flip it over.
Figure 15

Lift the cross member out and flip it over. You need to remove the hood release cable on the right side. It just slips out of its plastic retaining clip (red arrow).

Remove the two air inlet ducts.
Figure 16

Remove the two air inlet ducts. They have a small clip on the top, push it down and slide the duct off (red arrow).

Undo the electrical connection from the wiring harness (red arrow) to the fan assembly.
Figure 17

Undo the electrical connection from the wiring harness (red arrow) to the fan assembly.

Carefully remove the fan assembly from the car.
Figure 18

Carefully remove the fan assembly from the car. Take care that you do not damage the four clips (red arrows, two on each side) that help secure the assembly to the radiator.

With the car safely off the ground you will need to remove the engine tray.
Figure 19

With the car safely off the ground you will need to remove the engine tray. There are six 8mm bolts (red arrows) holding the tray on, the rear two also help hold the transmission tray. If you are going to leave the trans mission tray on, remove the rear two bolts first, lower the engine tray, reattach the transmission tray bolts, then remove the remaining four bolts on the engine tray.

With the tray removed you will see radiator drain plug on the lower left front of the car.
Figure 20

With the tray removed you will see radiator drain plug on the lower left front of the car. Place a catch bucket or tray under the plug and use a large flat head screw driver to open the drain plug (yellow arrow).

The fluid will come out slowly at first so open the tank cap to break the vacuum and help speed things up.
Figure 21

The fluid will come out slowly at first so open the tank cap to break the vacuum and help speed things up. The fluid drains out a small spigot (yellow arrow) facing rearward and not through the red plug.

Remove the upper radiator to coolant pump hose.
Figure 22

Remove the upper radiator to coolant pump hose. Mercedes-Benz uses quick disconnect attaching points, but sometimes the wire clip (red arrow) you need to pull out is facing something that does not allow it to be pulled straight out. If this is the case just unclip it from the radiator and then pull the hose out. You can always reinstall it before reattaching the hose.

Move to the right upper part of the radiator and remove the quick disconnect for the upper automatic transmission fluid line (red arrow).
Figure 23

Move to the right upper part of the radiator and remove the quick disconnect for the upper automatic transmission fluid line (red arrow). Remove the bracket securing the line to the mount on the other line using your 10mm wrench (yellow arrow). Slip the line out of the radiator, there will be some fluid that runs out so be prepared to catch it and dispose of it and the manner regulated by the area of the country you live in.

On the lower right part of the radiator remove the quick disconnect coolant hose (red arrow), again this hose is lower than the radiator drain plug so be prepared to catch and dispose of the fluid.
Figure 24

On the lower right part of the radiator remove the quick disconnect coolant hose (red arrow), again this hose is lower than the radiator drain plug so be prepared to catch and dispose of the fluid. Next disconnect the lower automatic transmission line (yellow arrow).

Move to the front of the radiator and squeeze together and release the two plastic clips (red arrows, one mount on each side) holding the radiator to the A/C condenser.
Figure 25

Move to the front of the radiator and squeeze together and release the two plastic clips (red arrows, one mount on each side) holding the radiator to the A/C condenser.

The radiator is now free and can be lifted out of the engine compartment.
Figure 26

The radiator is now free and can be lifted out of the engine compartment. Take care of the four mounting points (red arrows) on the ends of the radiator when removing and reinstalling.

With the radiator out you need to remove the lower A/C lines connection and switch.
Figure 27

With the radiator out you need to remove the lower A/C lines connection and switch. The switch (yellow arrow) unplugs and there is a 10mm nut holding the lower A/C lines to the condenser (red arrow) that needs to be removed. If there is any charge or refrigerant in the system you will need to have it properly and safely evacuated. There are companies now that will come to you and remove the refrigerant while you work on the system and then restore the saved refrigerant back into the car. This is very environmentally friendly and saves you buying new refrigerant.

Slide it back out of the plastic air baffle and lift if from the engine compartment.
Figure 28

Slide it back out of the plastic air baffle and lift if from the engine compartment.

If the air baffle (red arrow) has been damaged or needs to be replaced you can remove it.
Figure 29

If the air baffle (red arrow) has been damaged or needs to be replaced you can remove it.

Gently prying out the two (red arrow, one on each side) plastic plugs that hold the baffle to the main front frame or cross member.
Figure 30

Gently prying out the two (red arrow, one on each side) plastic plugs that hold the baffle to the main front frame or cross member.

With the plugs removed you can lift it out of the car.
Figure 31

With the plugs removed you can lift it out of the car.

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Comments and Suggestions:
krsholl Comments: In reference to fig 27. I have removed the 10mm nut but have had no luck removing the 2 ac lines and block. I've tried prying a little but don't want to destroy anything. Any advice?
June 6, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The lines come out of the block. If stuck, you can pry them out. But if you damage anything it will have to be replaced. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
edu Comments: Hi please want to know how to access w203 flapper motor
November 29, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: For what function? - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Sam Comments: What's the black cage looking box that runs across from the front of the radiator called in figure 26 I have to get a new one but I don't know what it's called it looks like an evaporator can you help me?
November 28, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Pic 26 is the radiator. Is that what you are referring to?

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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