A/C Observations & The Bird Beaks


Well-known member
If you are a Sprinter aficionado you will know the Bird Beak frontal bodywork emerged in mid 2013.
It can be argued it wasn't just for a cosmetic mode revamp to have some of you salivating with the latest & greatest, but also for improved airflow for heat rejection.
Now with enhanced air flow comes increased dirt, road debris and things like grasshopper guts.
So that means service problems and increased service costs.

Cleaning of the condenser & radiator has to be service job number one!
With this derivative it cannot be just serviced with a quick dowsing with water & a garden hose and detergent or a shop air blow gun!

Firstly the two cooling fans are sited so close to the condenser core matrix that a huge amount of contamination builds behind them effectively blocking air flow!
Add that is not all !
Now hanging down in the middle of the arcs formed by the fan is now a transmission cooler!!
Again mounted on its own bracket and close proximity up against the condenser is yet another area of restriction.
This must be de-mounted to clean the matrix PROPERLY,

So a proper A/C service will be about 3 to 4 hours of labor time at a conscientious dealer & that is about $600 for starters .

Now abrupt compressor failures.

From our experiences the service issues are often connected to failures.
The most common issue is of course the safety clutch disintegration which results in no drive.
Essentially the drive clutch cush drive tears or ruptures and then it slips causing rapid destruction.

So again precise service attention is key here, including refrigerant charge, which should be checked every two years
The most prominent leaks apart from obvious damage or compressor deterioration are charge valve assemblies mounted behind the air cleaner box.

The other which is not so obvious is where the receiver drier is clipped mounted onto the condenser end tube arr"
The source of a difficult to locate slow persistent leak, in short, corrosion attack between the alum carcass and the clip eats away at the structure.
Any meaningful disturbance can cause instant detachment of the condenser wall structure and sudden loss of refrigerant!
So as usual the wearing of safety gear like googles are essential

Trust this might be of interest to you all
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Cross Member
This is why fake crafters are best. It's all about the grille.


Well-known member
Yes its not very robust for sure.
The last one tackled like this was yet another "pattern" failure with the added complication of a roof mounted A/C Siamese-d into the main A/C system .
I can see the loads on it when two compressors kick in, thus affecting head pressures and even the low side rises to about 50 psi at times before the fans operate. That's a lot of work for a small compressor safety clutch to withstand over the long term, especially if the cooling pack is plugged with dirt.
All the matrix's are densely packed ,& that includes the radiator. The fins are very delicate & easily bent on these "bird beak" derivatives. We took to using foaming coil cleaner and shop air to clean it all up.
The cleaner you can get from places like Home Depot for around $5,50 a can.

Yes I can see how the effects of corrosion can puncture the A/C condenser creating very small leaks, again the alum material used isn't too robust for durability over the long term.

Yet another observation is with the twin A/C systems, and the propensity of the main wiring harness fed to the upper roof A/C pod to suffer from corrosion . All of the NCV3 --906 vans suffer with this issue . The harness "run" is out from under the driver's seat, under the stepper molding, then diving up through the B pillar , along the cant rail, to the roof pod.
Under that driver's step molding collects road grime and spray/road splash back, and "ideal place" to site a harness break point and two exposed unprotected sockets. Crazy !
In short the elements simply destroy it all, and the first indication is a slowing of the roof evaporator fans or complete no feed shut down due to high resistances or compete detachment by deterioration . That effectively means a compressor pressure feed stall over the roof system and the head pressures are going to be elevated because the roof fans have shut down.
The owner of this I/4 powered unit had run for most of last summer and this with the roof system engaged hoping the system would mysteriously work.--Alas to no avail !!
A sure fire fault indicator of course for some of you with a factory auto step arrangement!
A slowing down or a sudden non operational condition AND with roof A/C will be the prompter to get it fixed .
Simply put, the pop out stepper harness shares the same potential corrosion prone route as the roof A/C fans. If they are corroded to destruction the A/C fan circuitry isn't far behind it.
So in short a bit pro activity will save you from a wallet flush of about $3500 if it all goes down.
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