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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
rock hit the AC condenser

So my buddy is now $2,000 dollars in on his 2010 used xc90 he bought with 8,000 miles a month ago. First $1000 was a new set of tires because the prior own had the alignment out so bad that it chewed em up. About the time he got that fixed, he went on a road trip for work. When he got back his AC was not working. Turns out "a rock had hit his compressor"...assumably from the highway. Volvo dealer basically said sorry, this can happen, it sucks and its not under warrenty...that'll be $1000. So he is not in love with his new car anymore, although to be fair this all seems like bad luck at this point. Hopefully he doesnt have any more issues...but has anybody ever heard of this "rock hitting the AC compressor thing"? Sounds fishy...Why would volvo put it in a place tha tis vulnerable to road damage?
 

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Are you sure it is the compressor and not the condenser? The condenser on most vehicles is near the radiator and it is pretty frequent that a stone does this. It happened to me on a Mercedes Gwagen at 3700 miles and it was repaired under warranty though they squeaked about it. It was a stone that pierced the condenser.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Correct...it was the condenser not the compresser. my bad.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
yeah I asked him that...apparently his deductible is 1000 and the new condenser cost about 950...not worth messing with insurance. I think its pretty lame that its designed that way, but apparently its a problems across most makes, and not isolated to volvos(apparently hondas are notorious for it).
 

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yeah I asked him that...apparently his deductible is 1000 and the new condenser cost about 950...not worth messing with insurance. I think its pretty lame that its designed that way, but apparently its a problems across most makes, and not isolated to volvos(apparently hondas are notorious for it).
The major difference is that if it happened in a Honda it most likely wouldn't cost $1000!
Speculative, but probably not far off.
 

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The dealership might charge $1000 for the condenser but that's the "OEM MSRP" - the price that Volvo sets.

You can buy a aftermarket equivalent condenser core for between $130-$250, depending on brand. I just looked it up for my 2006 V8:

http://www.buyautoparts.com/buynow/2006/Volvo/XC90/A-C_Condenser/60-60544_ND.html
RockAuto is the place that has it for $130, but their website does not let you make a link

Check with NAPA / AutoZone / Advance Auto and the like. Walk in, go to the parts desk, and give them the year, make, model, and trim (3.2 / T5 / T6 / V8) and tell them you want a A/C Condenser core. They can give you the price and usually they are shipped to that store the next business day.

From here you have two options: Get the new A/C condenser core and give it to the Volvo dealership, or indie mechanic and say "install this, charge me just for labor" - or you can do it yourself.

The DIY isn't difficult, trust me on this. I'm going to guess that the A/C refrigerant has already vented, but you should take it to the dealership and tell them to evacuate / empty the refrigerant from the car just in case. It's illegal to vent it out on purpose and it is a powerful greenhouse gas.

A/C work is not voodoo black magic. A lot of people have bad experiences working on A/C because of the high price that the dealership and A/C shops costs, and because the stuff that autozone sells is usually very bad and most of the time does more harm than good.

It's not hard. Trust me on this.

To fix this DIY style you will need:

A/C manifold gauge
Vacuum pump
Cans of R-134a WITH NO ADDITIVES (no stop-seal, no "A/C booster", no crap like that at all) (3x cans)
Can of PAG compressor oil (one can is enough)
A new or remanu condensor

Many AutoZones will rent you the first two, expect to pay about $300 out of pocket. 100% of that is refundable when you return the equipment.

Each can of refrigerant is about $7, on my V8 it takes 2.1lb of refrigerant, so do the math and buy a little more than you need.

A can of PAG oil is fine, you only need an ounce or so but the important thing to remember is PAG oil goes bad extremely fast. It absorbs moisture from the air, kind of like what brake fluid does. Don't use an old can, get a new can with a seal on it.

Step 1 is to replace the condenser core. This should be the easy part. In the new core, pour in about half an ounce of PAG compressor oil before putting it back in.

Step 2: hook up your manifold gauges (the high and low side ports are specially shaped, you can't mix up the sides)

Step 3: hook up your vacuum pump to the manifold gauges, and open the low pressure and high pressure valve.

Step 4: Turn on your vacuum pump. It should draw -10psi, leave the vacuum pump on for at least 2 hours to draw out the air and moisture. Air and moisture are bad in an A/C system.

Step 5. Turn off the valves on the manifold gauge, and turn off the pump. Go get a sandwich or something. When you come back, it should still be at -10psi. If it is anything less, or back to 0 psi, you have a leak. Find the leak and fix it first.

Step 6: Disconnect the vacuum pump and hook up your can of refrigerant. Make sure the hoses are on tight and press the purge button on the manifold for a few seconds to get all the air out of the lines. You'll also need a bowl of warm or hot water.

Step 7. With the CAN UPRIGHT, and in the bowl of water, slowly open the low pressure valve. You will hear the refrigerant start to fill the system. Keep filling until the pressure stabilizes, usually at about 40psi on the low pressure.

Step 8: make sure the engine bay is clear and clean, start the engine, fresh air, full fan speed, A/C on.

Step 9, go back and continue to fill the A/C system slowly from the low pressure side. Change cans, purge, continue until you use ~2lb of refrigerant (or whatever the yellow sticker on the front radiator support says).

Step 10: NEVER OPEN THE HIGH PRESSURE LINE OR VALVE WHILE FILLING, NEVER, EVER! ONLY PROS HAVE THE TOOLS TO CORRECTLY FILL FROM THE HIGH PRESSURE SIDE!

Step 11: DID YOU READ STEP 10? READ IT

Step 12: Disconnect the hoses and enjoy your cold A/C. Return manifold gauges and vacuum pump to AutoZone for a 100% refund.

Any questions PM or ask here. I have done a lot of A/C work myself the correct way.
 
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