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Aftermarket A/C condensor replacement
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connorsvw2
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 23, 2010 4:53 pm    Post subject: Aftermarket A/C condensor replacement Reply with quote

Preface:
My van has a Subie 2.5 with a converted A/C system installed back in 2005: all new barrier hoses, drier, expansion valve and R-134. It has never cooled very well with R-134 as detailed by others on this site, but never really cooled well with R-12 either. I'm not interested in alternative refrigerants.

Current problem:
After 1 week at my local mechanic for a loss of R-134 over the winter months, I am left with the following:

There appears to be an excessive pressure differential between the low and high side which they have finally traced to the condensor, and are recommending it be replaced. They cannot locate the NOS part.

I have read threads discussing aftermarket condensors, especially newer parallel-flow types. Does anyone have a manufacturer or part number of such a condensor I can provide to my mechanic? He is looking into this independently as well, but I thought I might save him some trouble.

TIA.
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wcdennis
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 23, 2010 5:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The excessive pressure differential is caused by a partially clogged expansion valve. This would also explain the lack of cooling. I can't understand why your shop would point to the condenser (although taking the broad view, any update to the 20+ year old system would be an improvement). The expansion valve is not expensive and is the logical place to start.
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connorsvw2
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 23, 2010 6:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Expansion valve is OK. That is the first thing they checked.
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wcdennis
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 23, 2010 6:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Checked or replaced?
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GeeZ12
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 23, 2010 7:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is the one I use

http://www.nostalgicairparts.com/air-conditioning/...googlebase

Just my 2

Gary
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connorsvw2
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 23, 2010 8:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Both-has a new expansion valve as of today. They had a tough time tracking down the source of pressure drop after replacing the expansion valve and drier, and ended up installing a valve fitting ?between the drier and the condenser in order to better isolate the source of the drop.

Thanks-I'll check out the link.
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connorsvw2
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 23, 2010 8:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This part is a confirmed fit in the front of the water-cooled Vanagon ?
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GeeZ12
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 23, 2010 9:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Confirmed fit? - It is an higher performance after market condenser that will require some mounting tabs bent to attach to the vanagon - I have 2 vans that I have fitted with this condenser with very little effort. Late model vanagons will require short adapter hoses since the fittings on this condenser are on the sides.

'nuf said
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purplepeopleeater
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 23, 2010 9:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have nothing helpful to add, but my vent temps hoover around 48-54deg (depending on outside temps and my speed)

And thanks for the link Gary, some good parts on there.
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vanis13
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 15, 2010 8:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This condenser does work as GeeZ12 and purplepeopleeater state.

I installed a 16x20. Here are some pics of the install.

BTW, I have 4 extras of these. I went direct to the manuf and had to buy 5 so if anyone needs one Ill get them to you $75 shipped.

BTW 2, the 16x20 is harder to find but it is 15% bigger

h w sq in
13 20 260
15 20 300
difference 40
16x20 bigger than 13x20 15%


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vanis13
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 15, 2010 9:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

forgot to add...I'm runing straight R-134 and the cooling is very good
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pinealservo
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 16, 2010 1:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've got pretty much the same condenser, except I got the 16x22 model. Fits like it was made to go there. From what I've read, r134a requires something like an extra 50% condenser area compared to R12. Parallel flow is supposed to be an extra 30% more efficient than tube & fin, so increasing core dimensions as well as switching to a more efficient style should make the system more balanced. That's my hope, anyway. I've read through a bunch of refrigeration theory, but I haven't been able to find the numbers necessary to run definitive calculations for my system.

I also switched my expansion valve to a new one that's designed for r134a. I'm not sure how much difference this makes vs. an old R12 expansion valve that's in good working condition, but it was relatively cheap compared to everything else.
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vanis13
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 16, 2010 11:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The 16x22 may be even a better fit than the 16x20 however last week nostalgic was out of them for like 1 mos and no ETA for stock. I got my 5 from the manuf that nostalgic buys from. The manuf has been out of stock of the 16x22 for like 3 mos and they also did not have an eta.

Nostalgic is $90 shipped for either size. I still have 2 16x20s left at $75 shipped

I am very happy with the 16x20 performance.
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vanis13
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 03, 2011 8:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

update - I'm out of the 16x20's I had. I can source the 16x20s or the 16x22s if someone wants to buy the min 5 order. You'd be into a couple hundred $ up front but could end up with a free condenser or maybe even a little $ when you sell the other 4.

I'd also consider taking pre-orders until I get 5 but for the extra $15 you may find it easier to order from Nostalgic Air - http://www.nostalgicairparts.com They seem to run a nice shop.

But no mater where you get a parallel flow condenser, its is definitely worth doing whenever you open up you AC system.
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Alaric.H
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 07, 2011 4:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I put in a 16x22 today but I did not mount it to the radiator. I seem to have large gap between the two so it should keep the condenser a little cooler being away from the hot rad. These condensers are very light so they should dump heat real quick.

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westyventures
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 07, 2011 8:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wouldn't it be wise to mount the condenser in rubber? I'd worry the solid mounting would crack before too long.
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Alaric.H
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 08, 2011 2:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

westyventures wrote:
Wouldn't it be wise to mount the condenser in rubber? I'd worry the solid mounting would crack before too long.
It should be fine the mounts have some give and the condenser is not touching the body of the van at all
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insyncro
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 08, 2011 6:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

westyventures wrote:
Wouldn't it be wise to mount the condenser in rubber? I'd worry the solid mounting would crack before too long.


Stock it is mounted directly to the rad.
I have used this condenson.
I agree that the gap between the two is benficial.
I mounted an extra Zergo fan between the two.
With it and the stock fan running you can drop the temp of the cooling system and AC very quickly.
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fabparts
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 01, 2011 2:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Which Zirgo fan? Thickness and diameter? Always on with a/c or hooked to a temp or pressure switch?
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Alaric.H
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 22, 2011 7:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

One thing I was told to do was mount it with the high side at the top and the low side at the bottom so I had to flip my install around.
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