: How to: Replace an Astra-H Air Conditioning Condenser



LADmachining
04-07-2011, 17:06
** Reposted due to it being lost during the recent site crash **

The air conditioning in my Astra recently stopped working, just in time for the hot weather - and only two months after the warranty run out too. :@

The usual cause of A/C failure is due to the refrigerant being lost from a holed condenser. The hole appears due to either impact damage from a stone, or corrosion making it fall apart.

Changing the condenser is quite an easy job - only the front bumper cover needs to be removed.

THE SYSTEM NORMALLY CONTAINS REFRIGERANT AT HIGH PRESSURE. BE ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN THAT THE SYSTEM IS EMPTY BEFORE DISTURBING ANY PIPE CONNECTIONS! IF IN DOUBT, TAKE THE VEHICLE TO AN A/C SPECIALIST TO HAVE THE SYSTEM EVACUATED.

http://i488.photobucket.com/albums/rr242/LADmachining/Astra-H%20AC%20Condenser%20Replacement/21042011095Large.jpg

These are the tools required to remove the front bumper panel:-

* Ratchet screwdriver
* T20 torx bit
* Side cutters or long nose pliers
* 1/4" ratchet and hex bit adaptor
* Small flat-blade screwdriver


http://i488.photobucket.com/albums/rr242/LADmachining/Astra-H%20AC%20Condenser%20Replacement/21042011096Large.jpg

First, lift the bonnet, then remove the three T20 screws that secure the front grille to the slam panel.

http://i488.photobucket.com/albums/rr242/LADmachining/Astra-H%20AC%20Condenser%20Replacement/21042011097Large.jpg

The grille can then be removed with a firm upwards pull. The picture shows the clips that hold the grille into the front bumper.

http://i488.photobucket.com/albums/rr242/LADmachining/Astra-H%20AC%20Condenser%20Replacement/21042011098Large.jpg

Once the grille is removed, the damage to the condenser is obvious at the bottom of the picture. The bottom rail supports the cooling fan, which is now unsupported and can flap around against the condenser.

http://i488.photobucket.com/albums/rr242/LADmachining/Astra-H%20AC%20Condenser%20Replacement/21042011100Large.jpg

There are two plastic rivets under the front grille to be removed. A small screwdriver is inserted into the gap in the rivet, then the head is levered upwards. The whole rivet can then be removed.

http://i488.photobucket.com/albums/rr242/LADmachining/Astra-H%20AC%20Condenser%20Replacement/21042011103Large.jpg

Next, there are two T20 screws to remove at the back of the front bumper, in front of the front wheels. Depending on access, it may be necessary to turn the front wheels to the left or right

http://i488.photobucket.com/albums/rr242/LADmachining/Astra-H%20AC%20Condenser%20Replacement/21042011102Large.jpg

Removing the top screw.

http://i488.photobucket.com/albums/rr242/LADmachining/Astra-H%20AC%20Condenser%20Replacement/21042011108Large.jpg

Once upper and lower screws are removed, the bumper cover has to be unclipped from its retainer. To do this, pull back the wheel arch liner, then use your fingers to lift the tab that the T20 retaining screw fits into.

http://i488.photobucket.com/albums/rr242/LADmachining/Astra-H%20AC%20Condenser%20Replacement/21042011109Large.jpg

Unclipping the top mount of the bumper.

http://i488.photobucket.com/albums/rr242/LADmachining/Astra-H%20AC%20Condenser%20Replacement/21042011110Large.jpg

The bumper can now be unclipped from the mounting rail below the headlight.

http://i488.photobucket.com/albums/rr242/LADmachining/Astra-H%20AC%20Condenser%20Replacement/21042011107Large.jpg

Lay out a dust sheet or old blanket on the floor to protect the bumper when it is removed.

http://i488.photobucket.com/albums/rr242/LADmachining/Astra-H%20AC%20Condenser%20Replacement/21042011106Large.jpg

There are now three more plastic rivets to remove from the underside of the bumper

http://i488.photobucket.com/albums/rr242/LADmachining/Astra-H%20AC%20Condenser%20Replacement/21042011104Large.jpg

Here is a close-up of the rivet. The centre pin of the rivet has to be removed before the body can be pulled out.

http://i488.photobucket.com/albums/rr242/LADmachining/Astra-H%20AC%20Condenser%20Replacement/21042011105Large.jpg

Easiest way I find of removing the centre pin is to gently grip the centre pin with a pair of side cutters, then lever the pin out. Be careful not to cut the pin off!

http://i488.photobucket.com/albums/rr242/LADmachining/Astra-H%20AC%20Condenser%20Replacement/21042011111Large.jpg

Last thing to do is to press down on these clips at the top of the bumper - it can now be removed.

http://i488.photobucket.com/albums/rr242/LADmachining/Astra-H%20AC%20Condenser%20Replacement/21042011112Large.jpg

Bumper removed - the full extent of the rotten condenser can now be seen.

http://i488.photobucket.com/albums/rr242/LADmachining/Astra-H%20AC%20Condenser%20Replacement/21042011114Large.jpg

Remove the connector from the pressure sensor fitted to the drivers' side of the condenser.

http://i488.photobucket.com/albums/rr242/LADmachining/Astra-H%20AC%20Condenser%20Replacement/21042011113Large.jpg

Using an E12 female Torx socket, remove the securing bolt from the pressure hoses. ONCE AGAIN, ENSURE THE A/C SYSTEM IS FULLY EVACUATED BEFORE RELEASING THE HOSE CONNECTIONS!

Detach the radiator fan wiring clips, the fan connector, and the fan relays. Undo the two 10mm nuts at the top of the condenser that hold the fan onto the radiator.

There are four bolts that hold the condenser to the radiator/intercooler - remove these using a E8 torx socket.

http://i488.photobucket.com/albums/rr242/LADmachining/Astra-H%20AC%20Condenser%20Replacement/21042011117Large.jpg

The condenser can now be lowered from position.

http://i488.photobucket.com/albums/rr242/LADmachining/Astra-H%20AC%20Condenser%20Replacement/21042011118Large-1.jpg

A close of the damaged condenser. The hole which allowed the refrigerant to escape, caused by contact with the fan housing, is highlighted.

http://i488.photobucket.com/albums/rr242/LADmachining/Astra-H%20AC%20Condenser%20Replacement/21042011119Large.jpg

One shiny new condenser ready to fit.

http://i488.photobucket.com/albums/rr242/LADmachining/Astra-H%20AC%20Condenser%20Replacement/21042011120Large.jpg

Genuine Vauxhall condensers are supplied with a new pressure switch already fitted. If necessary, remove the pressure switch from the old condenser using a 14mm spanner, and transfer to the new one. Ensure the 'o'-ring seal is swapped as well, and isn't damaged during the removal or fitting process.

http://i488.photobucket.com/albums/rr242/LADmachining/Astra-H%20AC%20Condenser%20Replacement/21042011121Large.jpg

Slide the new condenser into place from below. Be very careful not to damage the new part, or any of the wiring or hoses. This can be an awkward process for one person, so this may be time to enlist an extra pair of hands to help.

In true Haynes manual style, refitting is the reversal of removal! New seals should be fitted to the hose connections that have been disturbed. The new condenser has sealing plugs fitted to the refrigerant ports to stop dirt and moisture entering the system. The receiver-drier, which consists of a moisture absorbing (dessicant) material, is part of the condenser. Keep the sealing plugs in place until the last possible moment, to prevent moisture from the air from contaminating the dessicant.

Once all the parts are refitted, get the system re-gassed, and you will have working AC again! (Y)