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Poke`mon Master
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My AC stopped blowing cold air about two months ago on my 2004 Auto RS Eclipse 2.4L. I took the car into a shop today to see if they could find the leak and refill my AC up. Well, it turned out the A/C condenser had a crack in it. The mechanic told me that when another shop installed my transmission cooler about 4 years ago they zip tied it to the condenser, that could of been the cause of the crack or a rock hitting the same spot. Either way the whole part needed to be replaced and that was going to cost me $350 for the part and another 300ish for a three hour job plus the cost of refilling it. I live in Texas and this it's hell right now I can't spend 800 bucks to fix this damn issue just for an AC not blowing cold air, I would buy a new car before doing that..

My question to you all is how hard is this part to replace? I would really like to do it myself and then have the shop refill the AC.

Plus I found the part online for WAY cheaper than 350: Mitsubishi Eclipse Silla A/C Condenser - 2000-2005 Mitsubishi Eclipse - Silla SILLAC0224

Any feedback would be amazing, thank you all! Any tips are welcomed! I have worked on my car many times, installed Full headers CMF, Exhaust Tsudo, Intake with out any issues just never touched the front of the radiator area. I'm pretty sure I'm going to have to take off the front bumper cover.
 

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Sorry this is long but I wanted to give you all the details. Replacement should be simple, you searched & found the Tearstone link for the factory service manual right? It's in section 55. First make absolutely sure there's no pressure in the system (use a gauge set). When you disconnect the condenser, plug up the lines on the car to prevent dirt and excess moisture from getting in. Wear goggles b/c there may be some chemicals left in the lines that you don't want in your eyes.

Check the condenser fan to make sure it spins (give it 12 volts) and the relay works and the blades aren't damaged/blocked/etc. Condensers can also blow out if the pressure gets too high- which usually happens when airflow over the condenser is too low. If the crack was behind the transmission cooler, it could've been caused by excess heat, not the mounting ties. Definitely move that cooler off the condenser. At least stand it off a few inches (make new metal brackets to go to the frame). Your a/c will work better too :)

You'll have to add new a/c oil (PAG46) to the new condensor. A/c systems are a mix of oil and freon, the oil gets "sprayed" throughout the whole system. So taking out an old part (which was coated inside with a thin film of oil) = you have to put that oil back into the new part. I'm not sure of exact spec for these cars, but a good rule of thumb is 1-2 OZ of oil (factory manual says use PAG46) for each part replaced. Measure it out with an old shot glass (and never use that shot glass again!) and pour it right into the condenser with a funnel. When you hook it up, use new o-rings (might come with the condenser), lube them with "Blue Nylog" or just regular PAG46 a/c oil. You might also want to replace all the o-rings you can find while you have the system apart.

Check with the shop first on all this to be sure they'll even charge your a/c after you work on it! (Some might not want to touch the system afterwards, or won't give you a warranty.) Ask them about how much oil you'd put in the condenser. The shop will probably also want to replace your accumulator/dryer, because that should always be done when the a/c lines are opened, makes the a/c work better. So you might also replace the accumulator yourself (and add 1-2oz of PAG46 oil), or let them do it.

If the shop doesn't like any of this, you could always propose "just" changing the condenser- without hooking the lines back up (cap them off!!) or adding oil. I don't see how they'd disagree with that.
 

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I replaced mine a few years ago with a made in china replacement from autopartswarehouse.com I think it was. I thought it was around 130ish? Seemed to cheap to pass up. Especially when you catch as many rocks as I do.

The dryer is inside the drivers side of the condensor. The one I got came with a new dryer but it was separate and I have to install it in the condensor.

I think the manual says to remove the bumper to do this but I removed the radiator with fans still attached and that is it. If it is leaking at the condensor I doubt there will be anything in the system. Condensor leaks are usually pretty fast because of the pressure the condensor gets to compared to the rest of the system. I would still check though before you just bust off a hose.

I would not worry about adding oil. When they do an evac and recharge tell them to add the oil then. Just just swapping out a condensor I would only add 2oz of oil or so. See if they will add dye also so you can find future leaks easier.

You are not supposed to let the dryer sit out for to long exposed to moisture but it will be fine for a day or two once it is installed in the system. Part of the reason you perform a vacuum on the system is to get rid of the moisture. Extending the vacuum time helps if the system has been open a while. In general people usually make more of a big deal about moisture in the system then I think it really is an issue. I have never found any a/c problem ever that I could trace back to moisture in the refer.
 

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IIf it is leaking at the condensor I doubt there will be anything in the system. Condensor leaks are usually pretty fast because of the pressure the condensor gets to compared to the rest of the system. I would still check though before you just bust off a hose.
I agree, just had to tell him to check anyway, just so everyone knows to be safe ;)

Got my cars mixed up! Yes there'd be no way to add oil to the dryer, it's not a separate canister.
 
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