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AC Condenser Removed, (How do I recharge?)


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Hi Folks,

This is my first post to the forums, and I am glad to be here. I purchased a beautiful 2000 Boxster S back in early September. It was immaculate, and everything worked perfectly. About 15 days after purchasing it. Some Yahoo ran into it in a parking lot. As a result, the air conditioning condenser has been disconnected by the body shop. I won't get into why I am fixing it now, rather than the body shop that took it apart, but, rest assured, lawyers are involved, and it has become a big giant mess.........

That aside, I now have my car back, and want to put the condenser back together and recharge the AC system.

The condenser on the left, driver's side was removed, and has been detached for a few months. I have gotten new parts and plan to put it back together. I have all the AC equipment, guages, etc. to recharge and pressurize the system, I have just never done it.

Since the condenser was completely removed, do I need to add the oil and refrigerant, or can I just add the refrigerant that has oil in it. According to the Pelican Parts website, the complete system takes 8oz of ND8 oil, and 30 oz of 134a refrigerant. When I come to the ordering part of the same website, they show 3 different viscosities of PAG oil, 46, 100, 150. I don't know what happens when that condenser is removed. I assume that the body shop practiced proper techniques for CA, and that they evacuated the system and captured the 134a. Now, does that mean that all the oil is gone too, or just the refrigerant, or both?

Like I said, I am a newbie to AC systems, but, it doesn't seem overly complicated to me, I just would like a little bit of advice on where I should start. I have taken apart engines and transmissions and rebuilt them, I have just never gotten into AC Systems, so, I just need a shove in the proper direction. I don't want to add too much oil, obviously, as that's most likely the worst thing I could do.

So, experts, what say you? If I was to go ahead and reinstall the radiator and the condenser, and get everything buttoned up nicely, how would I go about recharging the system?

Thanks,

Brian, from Orange County, CA

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Hi Folks,

This is my first post to the forums, and I am glad to be here. I purchased a beautiful 2000 Boxster S back in early September. It was immaculate, and everything worked perfectly. About 15 days after purchasing it. Some Yahoo ran into it in a parking lot. As a result, the air conditioning condenser has been disconnected by the body shop. I won't get into why I am fixing it now, rather than the body shop that took it apart, but, rest assured, lawyers are involved, and it has become a big giant mess.........

That aside, I now have my car back, and want to put the condenser back together and recharge the AC system.

The condenser on the left, driver's side was removed, and has been detached for a few months. I have gotten new parts and plan to put it back together. I have all the AC equipment, guages, etc. to recharge and pressurize the system, I have just never done it.

Since the condenser was completely removed, do I need to add the oil and refrigerant, or can I just add the refrigerant that has oil in it. According to the Pelican Parts website, the complete system takes 8oz of ND8 oil, and 30 oz of 134a refrigerant. When I come to the ordering part of the same website, they show 3 different viscosities of PAG oil, 46, 100, 150. I don't know what happens when that condenser is removed. I assume that the body shop practiced proper techniques for CA, and that they evacuated the system and captured the 134a. Now, does that mean that all the oil is gone too, or just the refrigerant, or both?

Like I said, I am a newbie to AC systems, but, it doesn't seem overly complicated to me, I just would like a little bit of advice on where I should start. I have taken apart engines and transmissions and rebuilt them, I have just never gotten into AC Systems, so, I just need a shove in the proper direction. I don't want to add too much oil, obviously, as that's most likely the worst thing I could do.

So, experts, what say you? If I was to go ahead and reinstall the radiator and the condenser, and get everything buttoned up nicely, how would I go about recharging the system?

Thanks,

Brian, from Orange County, CA

I hate to answer your question by asking more, but in this case it is required. I also think once you consider what is involved, you may want to leave this to a pro.

When the shop removed the condenser, did they somehow cap off or seal the system, or just leave it open to the environment? Did they remove any other AC components at the same time? Reason I ask is two fold: If the system has been left open for a prolonged period, you need to be flushing the remaining oil out of the system and starting fresh, which is going to require additional flushing tools and special solvents to do that step correctly, as well as access to a supply of dry inert gas (nitrogen is fine) to blow through the system after the oil and solvent are out, and both the solvent and oil are classified as hazardous waste, so they must be disposed of properly. If you can get access to the original 13 volume Porsche service manual set for the car, there is an entire volume dedicated to the AC system.

When the system has been run, the oil is distributed through the various components. A full system oil charge of oil is 195+/-15 cc's, but once run the oil is kind of everywhere in the system hardware. You can also loose as much as 15-40 cc of the oil just by evacuating the system prior to recharge. Porsche has a chart of what amount of oil to expect to find in various items; in the case of the condensers, each would hold about 20 cc of oil (now you know why I asked if they touched anything else). You also do not know how much total oil was lost if the system vented in the accident itself. And the total oil volume is critical, so it must be correctly adjusted, or preferably totally replaced.

You should also replace the system drier; these are single use devices and need to be replaced anytime the system is opened up by component removal.

Once the system is back together, you need to pull and hold a high vacuum on it, both to remove any residual moisture and to leak test it before recharging. The system should take approximately 850gm of R134A to recharge. The Porsche manuals I mentioned earlier have charts relating ambient air temperatures to the temp of the AC coming out of the center dash vents that will confirm the system is operating normally, as wells as charts for the high and low side pressures at the same ambient temperature.

None of this is particularly difficult to do, but it does require access to required tooling and technical resources that are often not easily found.

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The AC Condenser was not damaged in the accident. It was removed to get to the radiator apparently, I would have just disconnected it, and moved it aside, but, they aren't me. They evacuated the system, but no other components were removed, just what you see in the picture.

I assume that they evacuated it through the access points that are under the front hood, next to the cabin air filter, and the panels have been removed. I CAN tell you that I am 99% sure that they didn't just disconnect the condenser and let the gas escape.

The portion on the estimate for the AC says "AC Evac & Recharge Recover $190.00"

The system is basically open to the elements. If you look at the attached picture, the only thing covering the two hoses leading to the condenser are two pieces of masking tape.

I have always wanted to learn how to do AC, that's mostly the reason that I am asking these questions, I've just never done it before.

Let me ask this then....... Lets say that we can't figure this out here, and I have to take it to an AC shop to be fixed, Can I put the whole thing back together and drive it to the shop? Is any damage going to occur to the AC parts if I button everything up and drive it to get repaired? If I left the AC off, and didn't turn it on, it should be OK, right?

Thanks again, like I said, I'd really like to learn how to do all of this, as its basically †he only thing that I've never tackled on a car, and mostly because I have a slew of classic cars that never had AC.

B

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The AC Condenser was not damaged in the accident. It was removed to get to the radiator apparently, I would have just disconnected it, and moved it aside, but, they aren't me. They evacuated the system, but no other components were removed, just what you see in the picture.

I assume that they evacuated it through the access points that are under the front hood, next to the cabin air filter, and the panels have been removed. I CAN tell you that I am 99% sure that they didn't just disconnect the condenser and let the gas escape.

The portion on the estimate for the AC says "AC Evac & Recharge Recover $190.00"

The system is basically open to the elements. If you look at the attached picture, the only thing covering the two hoses leading to the condenser are two pieces of masking tape.

I have always wanted to learn how to do AC, that's mostly the reason that I am asking these questions, I've just never done it before.

Let me ask this then....... Lets say that we can't figure this out here, and I have to take it to an AC shop to be fixed, Can I put the whole thing back together and drive it to the shop? Is any damage going to occur to the AC parts if I button everything up and drive it to get repaired? If I left the AC off, and didn't turn it on, it should be OK, right?

Thanks again, like I said, I'd really like to learn how to do all of this, as its basically †he only thing that I've never tackled on a car, and mostly because I have a slew of classic cars that never had AC.

B

Left in that condition, the system needs to be flushed out and start over from scratch. Too risky to do otherwise.

You can drive the car with the system assembled and uncharged, as long as the system is switched off so that the compressor does not try to run at any time.

I don't mean to sound discouraging, but with these systems there is one correct way, and an unlimited litany of wrong ways to do it. Done right, the system will run trouble free, done wrong it will be an unending heart ache.

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What does it normally cost to get it done? Lets say I put it all back together and take it to an AC place to get recharged?

Thanks!

I would have to speculate on that as prices vary around the country, but I would think somewhere in the $150-200 (without PAG oil) would be about right.

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