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Condenser Replacement


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Evening all,

So it’s looking like I need to replace my a/c condenser on my IS300h (65 plate). It loses the refrigerant after about a week of having it recharged. The UV dye test has confirmed a leak. Apparently the hoses and seals all look ok, but when pressurised, a slight hiss appears to be coming from the condenser. The Tech couldn’t be 100% sure without stripping the front of the car down to get to it, but was fairly certain this was going to be the cause.

Assuming this is the case, what do we think a reasonable amount of time to swap the condenser out? Looking at the repair manual, the front bumper needs to come off, along with various other parts. I’m thinking around 2 hours labour? I know the Denso part is about £280 inc vat. Just trying to get an approx cost in my head ready for when I get a couple of quotes for the work. Will speak to local main dealer and a local indie specialist who have been very good in the past. Also, any good cheaper alternatives to the denso part that anyone knows of? Or is it best to stick with the manufacturers choice of part?

 

thanks in advance

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If it was me, I would have no problem using aftermarket parts as long as they come from a reputable source.

The most important part of the whole job is to make sure the correct oil (ND11) goes in the system when it's recharged and not PAG oil.

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  • 3 weeks later...

In order to get at the condenser you need to remove the radiator fan assembly and radiator, or at the very least be able to move it out of the way.

not a difficult job, I would budget on being charged 2-3 hours worth of labour plus parts and regas 

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On 7/23/2021 at 11:32 PM, CypressPhil said:

Evening all,

So it’s looking like I need to replace my a/c condenser on my IS300h (65 plate). It loses the refrigerant after about a week of having it recharged. The UV dye test has confirmed a leak. Apparently the hoses and seals all look ok, but when pressurised, a slight hiss appears to be coming from the condenser. The Tech couldn’t be 100% sure without stripping the front of the car down to get to it, but was fairly certain this was going to be the cause.

Assuming this is the case, what do we think a reasonable amount of time to swap the condenser out? Looking at the repair manual, the front bumper needs to come off, along with various other parts. I’m thinking around 2 hours labour? I know the Denso part is about £280 inc vat. Just trying to get an approx cost in my head ready for when I get a couple of quotes for the work. Will speak to local main dealer and a local indie specialist who have been very good in the past. Also, any good cheaper alternatives to the denso part that anyone knows of? Or is it best to stick with the manufacturers choice of part?

 

thanks in advance

Hi just noticed your post, apologies if it seems I'm intruding. Did they not pressure test it initially, as it is actually illegal to add certain refrigerants to a leaking system. Always makes me wonder about those places that offer a re-gas. Getting to the condensers can be a bit of a faff, ideally they want to be replacing the drier, usually built into the condensers these days and giving the system what's known as a triple-vac just to make sure there's no moisture in the system. Might be worth trying a local refrigeration or a/c engineer if there's one about your way?

Cheers

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks for the reply Chappy. They claimed to have pressure tested it when they recharged it, but said it doesn’t always show a slow leak so isn’t infallible 🧐. It was their “Master Tech” who identified the leak on my third trip back.

I ended up taking it to the main dealer (wish I’d gone there in the first place, as they actually charge the same for an aircon recharge (£60). I’d just assumed they would be expensive 🙈.  They stripped the car down and confirmed the condenser was leaking. Initial quote to replace was about £630. 

I emailed Lexus UK looking for a gesture of goodwill. As had this happened 2 months further down the line after the car was next serviced, it would have been covered under the Relax Warranty. I pointed out that the car had been meticulously cared for and had received a glowing report on the rather thorough safety inspection they’d done while the car was up on the ramps. They couldn’t have cared less. Didn’t even do me the courtesy of replying to me directly. Just told the dealer to call me and say it’s out of warranty. 

The dealership called me and explained that Lexus UK had declined any gesture of goodwill, but they were able to discount the work a bit which they hoped would help. They took about £100 off, which they really didn’t have to do, as I’d already authorised them to do the work. They also replaced the o rings and the high and low pressure dust caps for the recharge ports which the other place had failed to put back when they were faffing about with it. So top marks for service from the dealership. Nil points for Lexus UK and the original AC recharge place. Lesson learned there.  

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Sounds like you had a bit of a run around to say the least. I had a similar experience years ago with Seat, never again. I'll stick to old cars. 

Sometimes they can put dye in to trace a leak, I'd say they didn't pressure it up enough, most of the components are aluminum on cars so you can't braze them up unlike older copper components. Mine still has a sightglass but it's so old you can't see anything.

I'm still not sure why the government haven't changed the regs on those re-charge places it's even more worrying anyone can go into a Halfords and bung gas into a leaking A/C system, especially when Greta et al are trying to blame everyone's cars. 🤔. I'd definitely recommend taking it to an A/C or Fridge engineer if you have issues again. 

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I have just had my condenser replaced on my RX300.

Thankfully the seller took  care of it for me but still waiting for my car back.

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