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Smashed Air Con Condenser - Advice Needed!

Discussion in 'A3/S3/Sportback (8P Chassis)' started by JS3, Oct 15, 2013.

  1. JS3
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    JS3 Member

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    Hi Guys,

    Drove into a falling branch from a tree during the windy conditions the past few days, ended up with the branch stuck into the front of the grill. Broken the grill and put a hole into the air conditioning condenser, plus bending some of the fins. Havent had chance to look at the damage yet but there looks to be some leaking fluid from the radiator.

    Anybody replaced this part? Audi are quoting £520 incl. vat, labour and regas. £290 is for the condenser alone.

    Assume the procedure would be to remove the condenser, replace and then recharge the air con system? If so, does anybody have any experience on recharging air con systems? Do I need to use an Audi approved gas/lubricant? Could another garage do this for me etc etc etc? Thanks in advance.
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  2. NHN
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    NHN Modmetractor Site Sponsor

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    Seems a fair price considering the work involved with 2 years warranty.
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  3. LEE69
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    LEE69 07 170 DSG

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    Halfords can do the re-charge
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  4. c_w
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    c_w Active Member

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    There's a HELLA condensor on eurocarparts right now at £117 assuming it's the same one fitted to all 2.0 petrol engines. Probably be half the AUDI price at a garage for this job.

    Though you say you also smashed your grill as well, was that included in the quote from AUDI?
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  5. JS3
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    JS3 Member

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    Thanks c_w - and no the grill was an extra £350 inc vat.
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  6. NHN
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    NHN Modmetractor Site Sponsor

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    Problem is, specifically on jobs like this, you buy it yourself, get fitted by local garage, if it goes faulty or wrong, you have to pay for it to be removed/replaced again, however at least with audi it has the warranty on the work & part, food for thought.
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  7. JS3
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    JS3 Member

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    Appreciate the input guys - I will see what damage has been done when i remove the bumper. And have a good think about it!
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  8. shady-ninja
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    shady-ninja Member

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    I have a condenser I can give you for beer money.
    all you have to do is look for a good back street boy
    to fit it for chicken feed change.
    Halfords can re-gass it for £50.
    job done.
    there is nothing like Audi approved gas/lubricant.
    all you need is the automotive refrigerant.
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  9. Staz
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    Staz is a retronaut Staff Member Moderator

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    Not quite. If the system has been exposed to the atmosphere the system will need to be vacuumed down before it can be recharged, otherwise you risk having water/moisture in the system. I doubt Halford would cover this and not for £50 anyway as it takes a while to do.

    You could get one garage to fit the part and get the system recharged elsewhere but personally I would get all the work done in one place so if there are any issues I only have to go back to one place to get it sorted. Personal preference that's all.

    My car has had air con issues for a while now, it has been into Audi FOC for each visit and they've always offered a courtesy car. That level of service and peace of mind is what you pay for.
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  10. c_w
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    c_w Active Member

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    A lot of small garages have aircon machines these days. Part of the refill is to vacuum it as they need to know what gas/oil is already in there - it's usually a fully automated process. There really is no mystery to it and beyond the fancy AUDI waiting room walls it does not necessarily mean better workmanship. I kind of understand the pride of seeing the AUDI invoice but not so much the price, and on items like this [that aren't strictly dealer only parts] I don't see a reason to pay 2/3x just for the privilege.

    On my BMW the condensor had a hole in it for around 18months before I got round to changing it. Changed the condensor and a £25 regas and it was perfect.



    That's a very positive view :p The level of service which requires many repeat visits as they can't fix it? :jester:
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  11. Staz
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    Staz is a retronaut Staff Member Moderator

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    I did my course about 6 years ago and have used a Robin machine a few times but this is certainly not case in my experience.
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  12. c_w
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    c_w Active Member

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    Perhaps if the whole system has been opened up, but a hole in the condenser happens all the time and is a straight forward fix.
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  13. Staz
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    Staz is a retronaut Staff Member Moderator

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    I meant about how the machine works.

    I was taught that if any part of the system is exposed it needs a vac rather than a normal recovery. If that's not standard procedure then so be it.
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  14. chinnyhill10
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    chinnyhill10 Member

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    Indeed. I actually had mine regassed at Kwik Fit. I wouldn't have usually touched them with a barge pole but it was a special offer and I knew the system didn't have any problems, it just needed a top up.

    Fully automated process using a machine with a computer in it. Guy plugged it into a connector in the engine bay, entered the car details and off it went. It was vacuumed out and fully regassed. Took about 50 minutes. Went and had lunch at a nearby pub while it was being done.

    Straightforward, cheap and no problems.
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  15. Chillout
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    Chillout Member

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    What is your location as could do it ?
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  16. Chillout
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    Chillout Member

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    however the the discharge and liquid lines are bolted on if I remember correctly so it child's play
    and if it still has a few psi in it moisture won't be an issue just a simple vac and charge.
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  17. JS3
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    JS3 Member

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    Thanks guys - plenty to go at. In taking the car apart this evening to investigate further I have got further than I planned and it is now simply easier to replace the parts myself and have it re-gassed somewhere.

    have been searching for a pictured guide for either radiator, inter cooler or condenser removal but can't find one just to finish removing the condenser (bumper off, lights out crash bar removed etc etc already). Does anybody know where there is a good step-by-step guide?
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  18. JS3
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    JS3 Member

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    Hi guys - by way of an update, this is where I am at with the repair. Had to stumble through the final parts of removing the condenser and intercooler myself. Little bit tricky in places to get your tools in but I wanted to remove as little as possible from the car. Turns out both condenser and intercooler are damaged and require replacement.

    So on with the sourcing of parts and now just awaiting delivery. Anticipate it should be a straight forward replacement (as long as I can remember where all the fixings go!).

    Spoke to a chap whilst having the intercooler tested and he showed me his air con re-gassing machine. Pretty simple machine by the looks of things, a 4 step process as follows:

    1. Remove all air from the system
    2. Vacuum the system to remove any moisture
    3. Cannot remember this step
    4. Re-gas with a specified grams of refrigerant

    As above, it is essentially an automated process by attaching two hoses to the two connectors in the engine bay and pressing a series of buttons and the machine does the rest. And again, cost for this is £50 +vat.
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  19. Chillout
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    Chillout Member

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    In your situation it should go like this: pressure test,evacuate and re charge providing you have taped up the lines to avoid moisture ingress as the oil is hydroscopic .
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  20. JS3
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    JS3 Member

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    Thanks Chillout - do you mean taped up the lines on the car?

    Havent done that, its undercover in a garage. But is it worth covering up?
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  21. Chillout
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    Chillout Member

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    Yes tape them up as air contains moisture the process of evacuation removes the moisture .
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  22. JS3
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    JS3 Member

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    OK guys - finally sorted this out and put the car back together.

    Costs (not including my time) inc vat:
    Condenser - £180
    Intercooler - £239
    Air con recharge - £30
    Total - £449

    If I had gone to Audi, the parts would have been £600 inc vat, plus labour (quoted 4hrs) of £300. So hopefully halved the cost and saved £450 by replacing the items myself.

    All items that I used were brand new OEM parts too, off the shelf (no special deals or anything). When the chap recharged the air con system, the automated system that he plugged in checked for leaks by drawing down (vacuum) the system - apparently if there are any leaks then the automation stops and will not go any further. He also put leak detector in the system which is a bright green dye that should show up in an engine bay if there are any obvious leaks. So all should be good there.

    Scanned for faults and none were recorded either which is a bonus.

    Understand that a 2yr guarantee is offered by Audi on repairs, so I guess time will tell wether I should of spent the extra - the system is fairly simple so there should be no issues.
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  23. Kempysue
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    Kempysue Member

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    My brand new S3 has a hole in the condenser. Audi say it isn't covered by warranty and have quoted me £783 to repair it!!!!
    not impressed :-(
    #23
  24. JS3
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    JS3 Member

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    Kempysue - is this an 8P or 8V S3?

    Brand new I would expect a little more from Audi - I guess you have already had 'strong' words with them?
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  25. Kempysue
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    Kempysue Member

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    It's the 8v. Only picked it up last month.
    Very disappointed with Coventry Audi. Totally zero care for their customers. That's the last time I spend £40k with them :-(
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  26. Devonshire
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    Devonshire New Member

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    Thanks for your help Kempysue, I spoke to Audi customer services before your thread (they were no help), however if you can provide me with any help in getting 70% discount please let me know. Are you fitting a secondary inner guard to the car or just hoping for better luck. Indeed a local Audi specialist has already quoted me less than £500 for the repair. All in.
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  27. Kempysue
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    Kempysue Member

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    I wrote to Audi rejecting the car as "not fit for purpose" on the basis of it needing an £800 repair within one month of ownership. They agreed to pay 70% and my dealer paid the other 30%. I told them I had stopped using the vehicle, which I did for two weeks and that they can either refund me for the car or replace the condenser free of charge and give me a guarantee. They did replace it but gave no guarantee (obviously not that confident in their product!)

    They said I was unlucky and had very few reports of this happening therefore would not install a guard.

    Interestingly the dealer who replaced the condenser did 9 miles in the car when I picked it up and it was already peppered in little dings. He actually could not believe it!

    Good luck!!!
    #27

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