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Old 05-03-2017   #91
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Quote Originally Posted by jrkitching View Post

If the condenser does give up the ghost, then all that will happen is that the refrigerant will evaporate away and the control system will disengage the compressor. At that point you can make a decision about whether to fix the condenser, or just live without A/C.
If this did happen and the control system disengages the compressor, would it then be a case of needing a new compressor and condenser? Ideally I'd like to wait until summer to replace the condenser so I can save for it, but if waiting a few months is going to mean knackering the compressor &a adding extra cost, I'd rather do it sooner.
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Old 05-03-2017   #92
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Re: Air Conditioning Condenser Fault

Quote Originally Posted by JNAnderson View Post
If this did happen and the control system disengages the compressor, would it then be a case of needing a new compressor and condenser? Ideally I'd like to wait until summer to replace the condenser so I can save for it, but if waiting a few months is going to mean knackering the compressor &a adding extra cost, I'd rather do it sooner.
Once its lost the gas the whole system switches off protecting the components, no damage will happen to the compressor even if left "switched on" you can then wait until funds allow a repair, if you're handy with a spanner once its been professionally discharged(even if empty) you can replace it yourself, not hard at all, only new 'O' rings required for the end of the pipes to seal them then get someone to recharge the system.
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Old 05-03-2017   #93
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Re: Air Conditioning Condenser Fault

Quote Originally Posted by JNAnderson View Post
If this did happen and the control system disengages the compressor, would it then be a case of needing a new compressor and condenser?
Obviously you'll need a new condenser, but you are unlikely to need a new compressor unless you leave it unrepaired for long enough for the compressor seals to dry out, just as they would if you didn't periodically run the A/C from time to time. You'd likely be fine once it stopped working for a few weeks at least, but I wouldn't leave it in a discharged state for months if you want to use it again. Whatever you do, if it's been left discharged for more than 48 hrs you'll need to replace the dryer, but they're cheap and it probably should be replaced as a matter of course anytime you are discharging the A/C for some other reason.
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Old 05-03-2017   #94
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Re: Air Conditioning Condenser Fault

I've changed 3 of these. Two didn't have any gas in them as they were badly damaged. One did. It cost 10 to empty it. Swapping them over is just 4 small bolts. Once the bumper is off it's a 10 minute job. I buy good second hand ones on eBay for about 30.
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Old 05-03-2017   #95
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Re: Air Conditioning Condenser Fault

Any garage would know if the compressor needed changes wouldn't they? If I took it in, they'd check what all needed replaced?

Thank you, was yours as bad as mine on any that you replaced?
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Old 05-03-2017   #96
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Re: Air Conditioning Condenser Fault

Quote Originally Posted by JNAnderson View Post
Any garage would know if the compressor needed changes wouldn't they? If I took it in, they'd check what all needed replaced?

Thank you, was yours as bad as mine on any that you replaced?
If your A/C is still working, it's extremely unlikely you'll need to replace the compressor.

If you do decide to replace the condenser, I'd suggest you take it to an A/C specialist, rather than a general purpose garage or main dealer. I also wouldn't risk fitting a secondhand condenser; given the speed at which the fins corrode away in the UK climate, this is one part that's best bought new. The dryer would appear to be integral with the condenser, so one that's been sitting in some breaker's yard for weeks or months is likely to be scrap.

I'd expect you'd pay an independent specialist somewhere in the region of 175-200 to supply & fit a replacement condenser/dryer & regas. A Fiat main dealer would likely charge 500-600.

You can buy the part here.
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Last edited by jrkitching; 05-03-2017 at 16:58.
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Old 05-03-2017   #97
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Air Conditioning Condenser Fault

I don't get them from breakers. I buy them from people who buy scrap cars and break the them up. They've all been as good as new so far. Your radiator cost looks like a 100% mark up too.

If it was my car I was going to keep I guess I would buy a new one, but the second hand ones all come off newer cars than the ones I'm fixing so I'm generally putting on a newer one. Mine have been bent more than anything else in a frontal accident. So bent that I can't get the bolts done up when i replace the radiator.
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Old 05-03-2017   #98
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Re: Air Conditioning Condenser Fault

Yeah when it first became noticeable I did ask a Fiat garage and they'd quoted 600 for a non Fiat part condenser. Definitely a bit out of my budget. 200-300 seems reasonable in a few months.

With my air con being off, but having the heating on to Mix or Demist, I read on the Fiat website this uses your compressor even when the air con is off. Again, this wont cause any more damage to the condenser or compressor? I've always used my heating at least on no1 when driving to keep windows clear. Feel I'm going in circles but my mean issue is, I want to prevent as much further damage as possible and I'll do what's best to make sure I don't do more. Thank you all
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Old 05-03-2017   #99
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Re: Air Conditioning Condenser Fault

Quote Originally Posted by JNAnderson View Post
With my air con being off, but having the heating on to Mix or Demist, I read on the Fiat website this uses your compressor even when the air con is off. Again, this wont cause any more damage to the condenser or compressor? I've always used my heating at least on no1 when driving to keep windows clear. Feel I'm going in circles but my mean issue is, I want to prevent as much further damage as possible and I'll do what's best to make sure I don't do more. Thank you all
On models with manual climate control, if A/C is selected off, the compressor won't run, irrespective of the position of the other controls.

That said, all you need to do is to use the car as normal. If the condenser gives up the ghost, the refrigerant will quickly be lost and then the compressor won't run regardless of what you've selected. The low pressure sensor will activate and prevent it from operating.

Quote Originally Posted by JNAnderson View Post
I did ask a Fiat garage and they'd quoted 600 for a non Fiat part condenser.
600 for a 90 part that'll take an hour at most to fix - they're having a laugh.
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Last edited by jrkitching; 05-03-2017 at 20:31.
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Old 05-03-2017   #100
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Re: Air Conditioning Condenser Fault

JN, you're beginning to fret needlessly.

The advice jrkitching has given is absolutely sound. There's no need to make more of this than there is.

Bottom line is, the condenser should be replaced as soon as you have the cash to do so if you wish to have A/C working properly and to also prevent environmental damage if the system is leaking, though if it has already, then there's nothing you can do about that.

I really don't understand Fiat's logic regarding pricing to suppy and fit a new A/C condenser, though if someone is taken in enough to pay what they want, then so be it, but I certainly wouldn't.

Buy new, don't bother with second hand. The one is this link is cheap and really you shouldn't be paying any more than the price listed for supply only. Always check with the supplier first though before buying to make sure it is the right one:

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/BRAND-NEW-...IAAOSwqu9U2jHF

An independent garage really shouldn't charge any more than 100 to fit it, it's hardly a big job, though you'd be better of finding a good local mobile mechanic to do the job, but make sure the system has been degassed first.
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Old 05-03-2017   #101
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Re: Air Conditioning Condenser Fault

Quote Originally Posted by frupi View Post
The one is this link is cheap and really you shouldn't be paying any more than the price listed for supply only. Always check with the supplier first though before buying to make sure it is the right one:

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/BRAND-NEW-CONDENSER-AIR-CON-RADIATOR-FORD-KA-2008-TO-2016-FIAT-500-500C-PANDA-/271167453420?hash=item3f22d6f8ec:g:XJIAAOSwqu9U2jH F
That's cheap, but in the OP's position I'd be sorely tempted to find an A/C specialist who'll supply & fit. These ultracheap eBay parts can be good value, but there is also some absolute rubbish out there and if it does fail, and you've sourced it yourself, then even if you manage to get a refund on the part, you'll still have to pay two sets of labour charges, and that's the expensive bit. If you go the supply & fit route and it goes wrong later, then the supplier will have to sort it at their expense. A/C specialists are well of the difference between good value and rubbish, and won't fit anything that's likely to cause them warranty issues later.

If you're doing it yourself, then it can often be worth paying a bit more for a better quality part - you're already saving on the labour and I don't like having to do stuff twice. Sometimes I like to go in person to a factor with a choice of parts, so I can see & feel the quality of what I'm buying.

Forget about OEM for this part - the Fiat one lists at 385 or some such silly figure and we already know how good they are from the condition of the one that's on the OP's car now. The apparent ready availability of aftermarket condensers is somewhat indicative of the likely lifespan of the OEM ones, though in fairness this is one of the parts most likely to be damaged in even a quite minor front end collision, so there'll always be something of a demand for them.
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Last edited by jrkitching; 05-03-2017 at 20:52.
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Old 05-03-2017   #102
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Quote Originally Posted by jrkitching View Post
On models with manual climate control, if A/C is selected off, the compressor won't run, irrespective of the position of the other controls.

That said, all you need to do is to use the car as normal. If the condenser gives up the ghost, the refrigerant will quickly be lost and then the compressor won't run regardless of what you've selected. The low pressure sensor will activate and prevent it from operating.

600 for a 90 part that'll take an hour at most to fix - they're having a laugh.
Thank you. That's fab. The only reason I wondered was because I read this last night..
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Old 06-03-2017   #103
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Air Conditioning Condenser Fault

Wow this thread is a mishmash of confusing information!
@JNAnderson

Your condenser is badly damaged and in all my years of having worked on aircon systems, I've not seen one like that that's not been damaged by somebody doing something to it. It really shouldn't sag like that even with all the fins knocked out of it. The aluminium is very light so no weight to pull it down, the structure of the fins creates a ridged shape and the high pressure gas inside also ads structure to it, like a balloon you can deform it with out it bouncing back. You'll be lucky however to be able to prove who or what has caused it.

If it works, don't fret about replacing it, it might be bent and buckled but if the air con still works then it's a waste of money to replace it.

If all the gas leaked out because of the damaged condenser, you'll need to change it to get it working again.
scare mongering corrections:-your compressor is not going to stop working or become damaged if the gas leaks out and you don't use the aircon for a few months.
As indicated the compressor won't work without gas in the system, there is a fair amount of oil in the system and it pools in the compressor. Only after a very prolonged period where the oil has been able to leak or dry out would you see any compressor problems. I'd say get it fixed in the next 12 months after the leak developing and you'll be ok.

Receiver/dryers, well we never ever used to replace these, it's a great new was to part people from their money.

When you vacuum an air conditioner the removal of the air inside the system done prior to refilling, will cause any moisture to boil, this can then be sucked out with the rest of the vacuum, any decent specialist will do a vacuum hold to check for leaks, after 30 minutes with no atmosphere any moisture will have been removed from the system.

You can quite happily get away with using the old condenser, as long as pipes haven't been disconnected and left open to the elements, even then I've used an old condenser, dryer and compressor from 3 different scrap yard cars,to recommission a knackered aircnditioning system and it ran fine for years woot fault and without needing any additional work.
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Last edited by AndyRKett; 06-03-2017 at 01:52.
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Old 06-03-2017   #104
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Quote Originally Posted by AndyRKett View Post
Wow this thread is a mishmash of confusing information!
@JNAnderson

Your condenser is badly damaged and in all my years of having worked on aircon systems, I've not seen one like that that's not been damaged by somebody doing something to it. It really shouldn't sag like that even with all the fins knocked out of it. The aluminium is very light so no weight to pull it down, the structure of the fins creates a ridged shape and the high pressure gas inside also ads structure to it, like a balloon you can deform it with out it bouncing back. You'll be lucky however to be able to prove who or what has caused it.

If it works, don't fret about replacing it, it might be bent and buckled but if the air con still works then it's a waste of money to replace it.

If all the gas leaked out because of the damaged condenser, you'll need to change it to get it working again.
scare mongering corrections:-your compressor is not going to stop working or become damaged if the gas leaks out and you don't use the aircon for a few months.
As indicated the compressor won't work without gas in the system, there is a fair amount of oil in the system and it pools in the compressor. Only after a very prolonged period where the oil has been able to leak or dry out would you see any compressor problems. I'd say get it fixed in the next 12 months after the leak developing and you'll be ok.

Receiver/dryers, well we never ever used to replace these, it's a great new was to part people from their money.

When you vacuum an air conditioner the removal of the air inside the system done prior to refilling, will cause any moisture to boil, this can then be sucked out with the rest of the vacuum, any decent specialist will do a vacuum hold to check for leaks, after 30 minutes with no atmosphere any moisture will have been removed from the system.

You can quite happily get away with using the old condenser, as long as pipes haven't been disconnected and left open to the elements, even then I've used an old condenser, dryer and compressor from 3 different scrap yard cars,to recommission a knackered aircnditioning system and it ran fine for years woot fault and without needing any additional work.
Thank you. I know it happened in the summer when I noticed the condenser so no point finding out if it was caused by the garage or not (I should've stuck to my gut and asked them at the time if they'd caused it. However I doubt they'd have admitted it), but out of curiosity, how could it be damaged like that, could putting in my new radiator have done it? They wouldn't have done anything to the condenser when I asked them to check for the coolant leak?

Cars are a nightmare! I try to keep on top and get things sorted, but it's one thing after another. I don't want to get a new one though as the only reason I got mine was because I loved the matt black finish, otherwise I'd never have got a new car when I did
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