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Roadster AC Condenser Removal

Mod Details
PremiumNo Difficulty Mod ID1824 Creditevilution For452 Roadster Link Copy to Clipboard

Air conditioning is magic. It relies on a phenomenon where gas cools down as it expands.

The compressor squashes the gas which heats it up.
The hot gas passes through the condenser radiator at the front of the car to help cool it down.
The cool gas passes through a nozzle (imagine a spray can) so it can expand on the other side and become very cold.
The cold air passes through a radiator in the cabin to cool you down.
Then the gas goes back to the compressor to repeat the cycle.

Weak Points

There are weak points in the system. They are most likely in this order.

The pipes crack.
The compressor fails.
The front condenser leaks.

Why Does The Condenser Leak?

The AC radiator (condenser) sits in front of the coolant radiator as it’s far more susceptible to heat than the coolant radiator. The problem there is that it’s at the front of the car so it’s prone to getting hit with rocks, debris on the road, live (and then dead) animals. Considering it’s made of aluminium, it’s fairly fragile. It has to be to have a large surface area required to do its job. If you have a leaking AC radiator, it’ll have to be changed.

AC Condenser Removal

As mentioned before, the AC rad sits in front of the coolant rad. To make life easier for smart, the 2 rads are bolted together. So you need to remove both in order to disconnect the condenser rad. Removing the coolant radiator info can be seen here.

However, to remove the coolant rad, you need to disconnect the pipes to the AC rad. As you have already removed the front panels, you’ll be able to look over to the left and see a single 10mm nut, position arrowed below.

Ideally you should either have the AC gas vacuumed out by a specialist or all of the gas has escaped already because of the damage to the condenser. If the AC system is still pressurised and you removing this nut, prepare to shit yourself and go half deaf when the pipes come apart and the system dumps all the gas out directly at you.

Disconnect all of the other parts shown in the coolant rad removal so you can lift the rad pack out which consists of both rads and the cooling fan.

To free the condenser from the rad pack, just remove the screws in the top corners, arrowed below. You can now lift the top of the condenser towards you and then lower it down to free the lower clips.