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View Full Version : Anyone bought an aftermarket AC condenser?


spagthorpe
08-19-2009, 01:36 AM
After I finally got my AC condenser fixed, I was driving today and had a huge truck retread hit the front of my van. In addition to bashing in part of my hood, breaking my grill, my condenser is busted. Again. Unreal.

Anyway, Europarts quoted me $300 for one. Which is about what I paid the last AC shop for one. Ebay has several in the $105-$110 range. Stay away from them?

My thinking was getting one of those, putting it in myself, and then just taking it someplace to be recharged. Doesn't seem like the actual unit should be that bad to replace, I just can't charge it myself. $430 (total of last repair) is more than I can spend right now.

Aqua Puttana
08-19-2009, 02:23 AM
Spagthorpe,
Bummer story. To the best of my knowledge as long as the condenser is sized properly, rated for the pressures, and the system is properly evacuated before charging I don't see why you can't adapt a similar unit as a DIY project.

Professionals don't do it because it can affect warranties, takes too much screwing around to mount non-OEM parts, and is not cost effective if you're paying by the hour (even if the OEM part seems expensive you can burn any savings pretty easily on labor).

The next comment gets me a bit deeper than my shallow knowledge. You may need to take the repaired unit to a real A/C shop to get re-charged, not a dealer. The volume of your non-OEM system may change enough to be no longer in range for the computer controlled automated charging systems that most dealers use. The system can be charged by knowledgeable use of pressures and charts. If you go this route you should ask if they can document how much refrigerant it took to charge the system and record that somewhere. (With a grease pencil?)

That's as much as I know. Hope I didn't muddy the waters. AP/vic

spagthorpe
08-19-2009, 02:36 AM
The condensers I'm looking at on Ebay say they are OEM replacements. I shouldn't have to do anything radical to get them in there I would hope. Would hope the volume of refridgerant would stay correct as well.

Thing I did notice about the replacement unit I had from this AC shop, was that the van seemed to run a little hotter than normal. I don't have any quantitative proof of this, seeing how the weather has been all over the place, hottest part of the summer and all that, but it did seem like i would have the fan kick on much more often than I used to when going up hills. My theory is that while this is an aftermarket replacement, it could still be blocking more air to the radiator than the original one. Seeing how the condenser takes up most of the frontal area of the radiator, even just a slightly thicker metal in the fins, or higher fin density could account for some loss of airflow.

stp57
08-19-2009, 02:46 AM
http://www.clearlakeautomotive.com/usparts/index.php?man1=2&man2=211&year=2006&_a=viewCat&searchStr=&Submit2=Go

I purchased an evaporator core from this place for a very good price. Their site doesn't show that they sell condensers, but give them a call. You never know.
Steve

Aqua Puttana
08-19-2009, 03:05 AM
Spagthorpe,
I think you're right that it wouldn't take much in metal thickness or fin density to block the flow a bit more than OEM. Maybe a good reason to stick with OEM? I'm not advocating that, just pointing it out.

Sorry for my earlier misinterpretation. I thought you had a line on a random condenser for free or something like that. I'd agree that anything listed as OEM style should be enough the same to not change things. Hope this does some good. Good luck. AP/vic

The condensers I'm looking at on Ebay say they are OEM replacements. I shouldn't have to do anything radical to get them in there I would hope. Would hope the volume of refridgerant would stay correct as well.

Thing I did notice about the replacement unit I had from this AC shop, was that the van seemed to run a little hotter than normal. I don't have any quantitative proof of this, seeing how the weather has been all over the place, hottest part of the summer and all that, but it did seem like i would have the fan kick on much more often than I used to when going up hills. My theory is that while this is an aftermarket replacement, it could still be blocking more air to the radiator than the original one. Seeing how the condenser takes up most of the frontal area of the radiator, even just a slightly thicker metal in the fins, or higher fin density could account for some loss of airflow.

Tribunius
08-19-2009, 11:02 PM
You should be careful about used condensors. You never know what has happened to them.

There are tiny orifices in them that get blocked if there is even a small amount of debris in the lines. We have had this come up when installing new ones and also when a compressor went to pieces out in the field.