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Old 05-11-2021, 07:48 PM #1
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Post A/C Condenser Replacement Writeup (40+ Pictures)

Introduction
Hello All, its been a hot minute since I last made a writeup. I bonked my A/C condenser pretty good when a 2" thick piece of ice plowed its way through my radiator this winter. I wasn't sure if the condenser was actually damaged because I already had no refrigerant from my leaky evaporator, but thats a problem for a different day lol. For now, I wanted to replace the condenser in case it was damaged, so it didn't instantly leak down. Its getting hawt and no A/C sucks

Before Carnage and After
Right after the ice plow on the left. And it no longer being flat on right


Front and back on the booboo


Step Directory (Jumps in Current Tab)
Parts | Return to Steps
  • A/C Condenser and Dryer- I ordered a Denso Unit from RockAuto that came with both. The dryer is in the tube on the left side. Denso is the supplier for Toyota OEM parts, so I went this route
  • A/C O-Ring Kit- I ordered the GPD Kit from RockAuto. Nothing particularly fancy about an O-ring, so brand didn't really matter to me
  • R134a Refrigerant- SuperTech from Walmart is a great value (see what I did there lol). I used almost 2 cans. Spec is 600g 50g, which translates to 550g-650g or 19.4-22.9oz
  • PAG 46 Compressor Oil- I picked up some from PepBoys when I rented the manifold gauges. 4.5oz is needed
  • x6 m6x1.00x12mm Bolts- These bolts are for the consensor mounting brackets. I used stainless because rust is scarier than galling lol
  • x2 m6x1.00x25mm Bolts- These bolts replace the ones that secure the refrigerant lines

Tools | Return to Steps
  • 10mm and 12mm Sockets + Ratchet
  • Torch
  • O-Ring Pick
  • 5/16" drill bit - just need to twist by hand to clear any corrosion, don't use a drill
  • A/C Manifold Gauges - Rented these babies for Free.99 from PepBoys
  • Refrigerant Can Tap - My manifold gauges didn't come with one, but I used this one: R134A Can Tap, which can be purchased from any auto parts store
  • Vacuum Pump - Rented this one too
  • Small Postage Scale or Similar - For measuring out the correct amount of refrigerant

Consumables | Return to Steps
  • Paint
  • Anti-seize
  • Mineral oil, Petroleum Jelly, or Vaseline
  • Plastic Wrap - just a small amount


Step 1: Ensure System is Depressurized | Return to Steps
Before beginning, its important to make sure everything is depressurized. Your system will have either leaked down on its own, like mine, or you will need to take it to a shop to have the refrigerant professionally reclaimed from the system.

To check the pressure, close both the knobs on the lines and the knobs on the manifold. Then connect the chuck ends to the Schrader valves. Red goes to the High pressure side in front, and Blue goes to the Low pressure side behind the fan. To attach, pull up on the collar and push on while supporting the line. I only have two hands, so support hand not pictured, but use it to prevent unnecessarily mauling the line


Then open the knobs on the lines/chucks (not the ones on the manifold) and verify there is no pressure.


Step 2: Remove Refrigerant Lines | Return to Steps
Now that there is no pressure in the system, we can remove the refrigerant lines. The bolts are m6 with a 10mm head. Removing the driver side horn with a 12mm socket can also provide better working room.

Be forewarned, these bolts broke off on me due to galvanic corrosion/some white buildup. My thoughts are the steel bolt into the aluminum radiator, combined with cold/heat cycling, and having a long grip length for the bolt just exposed a lot of area to corrosion. However, because they are two different metals that react to heat differently, the bolts come out very easily with a propane torch. I would recommend preheating them before attempting removal


Repeat the same for the bottom connection


Once the connections have been removed, I covered the lines ends with plastic wrap and used the old O-ring to hold it in place. Just to keep crap from getting in there while we remove everything


Then the remaining corrosion can be removed from the bolt holes. A 5/16" drill bit should fit in the bolt hole, but not remove any of the surrounding metal. Just twist it in there by hand to break everything up, no need to use a drill. Don't mind the slightly chewed up hole here, I didn't remember to use a torch and went right to chimpanzee mode with a screw extractor. Fortunately this isn't a critically dimensioned hole, just used to hold everything together

Last edited by y=mx+b; 07-21-2021 at 09:21 PM.
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Old 05-11-2021, 07:49 PM #2
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A/C Condenser Replacement Writeup (40+ Pictures) Continued

Step 3: Remove Mounting Brackets and Condenser | Return to Steps
Now that our lines are disconnected and covered, we can remove the condenser. There are 6 bolts holding the condenser in: 1 in each of the top corners, and 2 on each side. I'd recommend leaving one of the side brackets for last, as once the bolts are removed, there is nothing else supporting it.




Now that all the brackets are removed, the condenser can be dropped out. I'm currently at stock height and I didn't need to jack the 4runner up to get this out. Once it was on the ground, I angled it, and it came right out from under the bumper cover


While the condenser was out, I removed the bottom brackets, cleaned them up with a wire wheel, primed, and painted them. They're just sitting on some rubber isolators and can be carefully pulled right out.


Step 4: Install New Condenser and Mounting Brackets | Return to Steps
I installed the condenser first without the side mounting brackets. Just as it came out, I pushed it up from the bottom and installed the top mounting bolts. I put antiseize on each bolt to prevent any future corrosion issues.


Then the side mounting brackets could be installed with their new fancy hardware

Last edited by y=mx+b; 05-11-2021 at 09:08 PM.
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Old 05-11-2021, 07:49 PM #3
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A/C Condenser Replacement Writeup (40+ Pictures) Continued

Step 5: Replace O-Rings and Connect Refrigerant Lines | Return to Steps
Once the condenser is installed, we can reconnect the refrigerant lines. I started by picking out the proper sized O-rings from the kit. I didn't measure, just selected a visual match


The O-ring kit called for a covering in mineral oil before installation. I didn't have any, so I used some Vaseline. Come to think of it, the A/C compressor oil would also do the trick. This lubrication helps the O-ring slide into its home without catching and tearing. Remove the rubber covering and press the connection in. Mine went right in without any issue


Then the retention bolts can be installed. I used stainless bolts and anti-seize to prevent any future corrosion issues if this has to come apart again for some reason. Make sure everything sits up nicely and flush with the bolts tightened down


Then the same can be done for the bottom refrigerant line


Note on Adding the Compressor Oil
I was under the impression that I could add the oil in through the yellow line of the manifold gauges, so I didn't put any in now. When I got to that step, I found that the oil couldn't be put into the system through that line because it needs the fitting on the top of the can to open the line. If you want to add the oil, I would put it in through the top line hole. I ended up not adding any oil since I discovered this after already pulling the vacuum.

Step 6: Recharge Refrigerant | Return to Steps
Finally, I recharged the A/C system following the ChrisFix video on Tacoma A/C recharge. Watch the video below for the whole process, and I'll embed some pics from my recharge, but all details are in the video. Everything beyond this is essentially a regurgitation of the video content, just with 4runner specific pics.



Ensure the manifold dials are in the closed position and attach the hose chucks to the A/C Schrader Valves.


Start with a leakdown test. Attach vacuum pump, open chuck valves, and open manifold valves. Pull Vacuum down to -30 inHg and then close the manifold valves. Turn off the vacuum pump once valves are closed.


I left mine while my family went on a hike, so it sat for 3hrs and sucessfully held the vacuum without dropping. This tells me that both our condenser job today is holding well, and my leaky evaporator must still still be pretty slow. First pic is at 8:50am, and second is 12:15pm.


Then I reopened the manifold valves and turned on the vacuum pump for 1hr. This time, the pump was constantly pulling vacuum for the duration of time, whereas before we were holding a static vacuum without the pump on.

Then to add the refrigerant, close the manifold valves, turn off the vacuum pump, connect the can tap and can, start the engine, and turn on the A/C, and open the low pressure manifold valve. The 4runner takes 550g-650g or 19.4-22.9oz of r134a. I put in one whole 12oz can, and 9.75 oz from the second can, for a total of 21.75oz. I used a digital postage scale to measure the weight in the can, it started at 20.15oz, and I emptied it until 10.40oz. I was initially worried about this part, but the refrigerant exits the can slowly enough that it wasn't a problem to hit the target.


Congratulations!
Ta da, and just like that, we've got a brand new A/C condenser and some fresh icy air for the coming summer. And yes, there will be an evaporator core writeup eventually too. Probably when this charge leaks down around next year, I'll get the dash torn down. Feel free to ask any questions about condenser replacement, A/C recharge, etc.

Last edited by y=mx+b; 07-21-2021 at 09:12 PM.
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Old 05-13-2021, 04:08 PM #4
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Great writeup! Especially pertinent since it's just about to heat up!
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Old 05-13-2021, 07:29 PM #5
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Agreed, great write up.

And selfishly, I was hoping you were gonna knock out the evap this summer so I could follow your un-doubtedly amazing how-to but I can't bear to hold out for another year.

That said, I was gonna take it to Toyota for an evac/recharge once the evap is swapped but may DIY it thanks to your detailed instructions.
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Old 05-14-2021, 05:28 PM #6
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Quote:
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Great writeup! Especially pertinent since it's just about to heat up!
Thanks dude! I am enjoying my A/C now


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Agreed, great write up.

And selfishly, I was hoping you were gonna knock out the evap this summer so I could follow your un-doubtedly amazing how-to but I can't bear to hold out for another year.

That said, I was gonna take it to Toyota for an evac/recharge once the evap is swapped but may DIY it thanks to your detailed instructions.
Thanks! I do want to replace the evaporator core eventually, so I'm not having to recharge it every year and some change. If this charge doesn't last through the summer, I'll get on the evaporator then haha. I'm hoping it lasts a decent while based on the past few recharges, but who knows.

As far as the recharge, it was pretty straight forward once I wrapped my head around how the manifold gauges and can tap worked. For some reason I got way too tied up on thinking the knobs on the shrader valve chucks reverse threaded for some reason, but once I figured that out, it was smooth sailing
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Old 05-21-2021, 08:52 AM #7
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I had my evaporator replaced in my 2005 4runner. AC repairs and diagnosis requires too much equipment to purchase and is not a smart thing to get into for the ordinary owner IMO. AC specialists/mechanics have a lot of experience, whereas most owners do not.

I've had freezing cold for 2 months now - as we come into summer - after going almost a year without good AC.

I'm in the Bahamas where it's hot all year long.

The evaporator core replacement is a big job requiring the whole dash to come down. I paid $880 and the job was done right at a professional AC shop.
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Old 05-21-2021, 11:19 PM #8
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I had my evaporator replaced in my 2005 4runner. AC repairs and diagnosis requires too much equipment to purchase and is not a smart thing to get into for the ordinary owner IMO. AC specialists/mechanics have a lot of experience, whereas most owners do not.

I've had freezing cold for 2 months now - as we come into summer - after going almost a year without good AC.

I'm in the Bahamas where it's hot all year long.

The evaporator core replacement is a big job requiring the whole dash to come down. I paid $880 and the job was done right at a professional AC shop.
Hey there Captn,

Diagnosis for this was pretty simple: Ice chunk mashed up condenser, so I replaced it. Evaporator failure is also fairly simple diagnoses: leaking refrigerant into the condensation drain = evap core bad

For the tools, I rented those for free from Pepboys, so thats not really a concern for me. Not really a whole lot too it, just the Manifold Gauges and the Vacuum Pump

All Mechanics started with 0 experience.
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Old 05-22-2021, 06:40 AM #9
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Just stopping by to substantiate others claims regarding the awesomeness of this post! I’ll be in the look out for more DIY projects as I just purchased an 08 2UZ (and the work begins)

Cheers!
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Old 05-22-2021, 02:22 PM #10
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Just stopping by to substantiate others claims regarding the awesomeness of this post! I’ll be in the look out for more DIY projects as I just purchased an 08 2UZ (and the work begins)

Cheers!
Thanks dude! I've also got a compilation of a lot of good DIY writeups made by our fellow forum members that may be beneficial for you and your new 4runner here: 4th Gen Maintenance Tutorials, Writeups, and Picture Threads. I hope they're helpful, don't be afraid to ask questions!
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Old 05-28-2021, 02:40 PM #11
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Hey there Captn,

Diagnosis for this was pretty simple: Ice chunk mashed up the condenser, so I replaced it. Evaporator failure is also fairly simple diagnoses: leaking refrigerant into the condensation drain = evap core bad

For the tools, I rented those for free from Pepboys, so thats not really a concern for me. Not really a whole lot too it, just the Manifold Gauges and the Vacuum Pump

All Mechanics started with 0 experience.
y=mx+b

I understand what you say but tools have to be brought into the Bahamas and they duty everything auto up to 90%, so if you have a one-time AC job like I had it isn't worth it.

Import stuff has to go through "customs" where they duty it and it can take weeks if the paperwork isn't right.

Also there is no Pep Boys for renting here.

I don't mind paying like I did on this evaporator replacement AC job. $880 (just the labor) and I'm cool as ice. There are good mechanic shops here in Nassau, and that's a real plus.

Google the internet. An evaporator job is no one-hour fix. The whole dash has to come down. What a mess!

You can buy the parts at Amazon and fly them to your home, and that is what I do. Then I find a pro that knows the job.

The evaporator was $90. Amazon.com: Denso 476-0040 A/C Evaporator Core: Automotive

Amazon.com: Denso 471-1413 New Compressor with Clutch: Automotive

I replaced the AC compressor a few years ago.

Stuff breaks.

BTW I've had several starter failures in my 2005 runner. The starter in there now came with a lifetime warranty. Called the company which had their part on Amazon and they assured me they would replace it if it ever fails. Kept the box and receipt anyway. Never heard of a lifetime warranty on a car part. You?

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Old 05-28-2021, 10:16 PM #12
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y=mx+b

I understand what you say but tools have to be brought into the Bahamas and they duty everything auto up to 90%, so if you have a one-time AC job like I had it isn't worth it.

Import stuff has to go through "customs" where they duty it and it can take weeks if the paperwork isn't right.

Also there is no Pep Boys for renting here.

I don't mind paying like I did on this evaporator replacement AC job. $880 (just the labor) and I'm cool as ice. There are good mechanic shops here in Nassau, and that's a real plus.

Google the internet. An evaporator job is no one-hour fix. The whole dash has to come down. What a mess!

You can buy the parts at Amazon and fly them to your home, and that is what I do. Then I find a pro that knows the job.

The evaporator was $90. Amazon.com: Denso 476-0040 A/C Evaporator Core: Automotive

Amazon.com: Denso 471-1413 New Compressor with Clutch: Automotive

I replaced the AC compressor a few years ago.

Stuff breaks.

BTW I've had several starter failures in my 2005 runner. The starter in there now came with a lifetime warranty. Called the company which had their part on Amazon and they assured me they would replace it if it ever fails. Kept the box and receipt anyway. Never heard of a lifetime warranty on a car part. You?
Gotcha, not being in the US does have its challenges

I'm aware of the evaporator job, I still plan to do that myself when the time comes. Its time consuming, but from my research, doesn't look overly difficult.

For lifetime warranties, lots of the part store offer lifetime warranty on stuff like CV axles, ball joints etc. The ball joints I have come with a lifetime warranty, so whenever I feel they need replacing, I will just bring the in and exchange for a new set. I keep all my part reciepts
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Old 05-29-2021, 04:40 PM #13
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Nice write up bud! I did mine last summer.

Mine was leaking at the bottom of the dryer.. but for whatever reason I couldn't find a replacement for the one mine had in it. I probably could have sourced an O-Ring but just went ahead and did it anyways. With my luck disturbing the High and Low pressure valves to fill the system caused them to fail and leak within 2 months so I got to replace them too. Those are SUPER easy though. I am fortunate in that I have a a nice Robinair R134a machine at my disposal. Keep up the great posts. Cheers
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Old 05-30-2021, 02:50 PM #14
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Quote:
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I bonked my A/C condenser pretty good when a 2" thick piece of ice plowed its way through my radiator this winter.
Haha, just came across this and it reminded me to post about my ice incident on my build page

Toto's Build Page: Radiator vs. Ice

Amazing write-up by the way - super detailed and informational! I'm definitely gonna keep this bookmarked for when I replace mine after my compressor gives out

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so I ended up sending a 2" sheet of ice straight into my radiator




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Old 05-30-2021, 11:51 PM #15
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Location: Blacksburg, VA
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Originally Posted by P_nlsn View Post
Haha, just came across this and it reminded me to post about my ice incident on my build page

Toto's Build Page: Radiator vs. Ice

Amazing write-up by the way - super detailed and informational! I'm definitely gonna keep this bookmarked for when I replace mine after my compressor gives out







Dang dude, that sucks. Looks like the body lift saved the condenser, so thats on the bright side

Thanks man, I enjoy making them!
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