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2010 Volvo S40 T5 AWD R-design
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi guys,

I recently replaced my A/C condenser and I couldn’t find much information about it. So, I thought I’d document what I did, this is by no means the “correct” way but it worked for me.
To begin you’ll want the front of the car elevated, I used ramps but jacks and stands work just as well. You need this space to maneuver the old condenser out and the new one in. Also remove the splash guard, I have the IPD skid-plate and it was in the way, so I assume the factory one would too.
BEFORE YOU START this the A/C HAS TO BE EMPTY! There can’t be any freon left in the system, if there is it will literally explode in your face! And the refrigerant is a harmful greenhouse gas that needs to be disposed of properly. I had my local Pep-Boys do the A/C recovery, it cost about $60.

For this write up I’ll begin with the bumper already off, there is lots of info on removing this and its not that hard.
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At this point you’ll want to unbolt the pipes from the condenser.
Gently wiggle out these two pipes, it’s probably best to replace all the o rings you come across. I didn’t replace them all, just the ones that either looked bad or were easy to do.
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Next undo the 2 bolts per side that hold the whole radiator/ condenser/ intercooler assembly.
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With those out all the weight will be hanging on the coolant hoses, its not ideal but I couldn’t find a better way without having to drain the radiator.
Once that drops down you should be able to access and remove the two torx screws that hold the top of the plastic shroud in front of the intercooler. The bottom is held in place with plastic clips, carefully push up on each one and while pulling out on the shroud.
Next the intercooler has to come out, loosen the hose clamps and remove the two mounting screws.
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You can see how much dirt and debris gets collected in here.
Next you need to open the plastic case that houses both the radiator and condenser.
Remove the 4 (2 on each side) torx screws from the top flat part, and the mounting bolt on the condenser pipe mounting plate.
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At this point things got difficult for me, I spent a couple hours gently fighting with this plastic enclosure. But there are clips on engine side the fan shroud that you can gently undo and allow for much more movement. That will allow you to gently rotate the upper section you unscrewed earlier and rotate it out from under a pair of plastic hooks. Sorry I don’t have pictures of these, it was too tight to stick my phone in there.
From there is a matter of gently sliding, spinning and finessing the old condenser out of the plastic case.
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This pic is the beginning of me trying to wiggle it out. I don’t have a picture of what worked. But what I had to do was slide the whole thing up until the passenger side cleared the plastic enclosure (the passenger side housing is lower than the driver’s). Then I popped the other side out of its case, being careful not to damage the radiator which will stay in the car.
From there I rotated the driver’s side down and then had to wiggle and finesse the pipe mounting plate down and out. I also had to remove the hood latch and the plastic thing that guides the hood latch cable, for the extra clearance.
Install is the opposite of this frustrating drudge, but with the added concern of not damaging either your new condenser or the old radiator.

The most important thing to know going into this is that the radiator, condenser and intercooler all hang from the same plastic frame/ enclosure. This may be an awesome design, but its super hard to work on. When trying to separate these plastic panels remember to be patient! They are very frustrating and uncooperative, if you break one it might not go back together correctly. And they seem quite specific and are to find.
When reassembling be careful not to damage any of the new O-rings, and try to get the pipes entirely or mostly seated in their connections before tightening down the nuts that hold them in.
I hope this is a useful starting point, If I had known what the plastic enclosure looked like beforehand, I would have had a much easier time with this.
 

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Why did you replace it ? Greg
Just like the radiator, if it gets too much damage from rocks and road debris over the years, it can affect performance. My guess is OP was having cooling issues or that it was actually leaking refrigerant all together.


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2010 Volvo S40 T5 AWD R-design
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
My ac wasn't working, a couple months ago I took it to local dealership for a diagnostic. They told me I had a slow leak in the condenser and recharged the system. It just recently lost charge again and I had been accumulating the parts for when it did.
 

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Thanks for this write up. It was very helpful and honestly a lot easier than I thought it would be. I made it harder by doing it twice because I thought I had gotten the incorrect condenser since it looked so different from the one I pulled out. Alas, they actually changed the distance between the bolt holes based on chassis number, and the original one I bought was correct even though it looked different than the one I took out.

Some other useful things I think...
Look at all that leaking dye!
Automotive exterior Gas Carbon Auto part Rim


It was my first time taking the bumper off and I didn't remove the fog light clips before undoing the screws. Ended up breaking one of the lights. Annoying but not the end of the world.

I used some heavy duty clippers to cut some of the plastic off the left side and make it much easier to remove the condenser.
Tire Wheel Automotive tire Tread Synthetic rubber


These square pieces were not on the condenser I removed so I thought this was the wrong one. Turns out it was correct and fits just fine. Oh well...
Grille Automotive tire Motor vehicle Bumper Automotive exterior


Remove this plastic piece to make raising the unit much easier.
Motor vehicle Hood Automotive lighting Automotive tire Bumper


Replaced the drier also and loaned a vacuum pump from AutoZone to refill the system with refrigerant. The website said no store had a vacuum. Now blowing cold air just in time for fall. A good learning experience and I'm no longer intimidated by the A/C system. Thanks!
 
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