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Joined: Dec 29 2016
Posts: 208

Guys,

A pal of mine owns a garage in Thornton and we were talking about air conditioning recently. Apparently a 13k bottle of gas used to cost him around £90, due to some changes somewhere it's now £350. When I told him how much gas a P38 took, he reckoned that most placed will be charging £150 to recharge something that size before long... So I've decided to do it quickly.

My Alveston VSE needs a new condenser as it's rough as hell looking through the bumper, I've decided I might as well fit a drier too.

Condenser - £66

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/BRAND-NEW-CONDENSER-AIR-CON-RADIATOR-RANGE-ROVER-2-LP-P38-1994-TO-2002/292266029046?ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT&_trksid=p2060353.m2749.l2649

Drier - £24

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Nissens-Receiver-dryers-95223-Fit-with-Land-Rover-Range-Rover/331329652952?ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT&_trksid=p2060353.m2749.l2649

Recharge - £30

https://www.groupon.co.uk/deals/ats-euromaster-ltd-8

All in, that'll only be about £120 to get the air conditioning working again, with the current weather, I think that's pretty good value :)

Just check that there's an ATS Euromaster near you as not all centres are included in the offer. There's a link on the Groupon page. My wife had her Peugeot recharged using the same voucher last year and we've had no problems since.

On my last P38 I found the tri-switch to be faulty, I'm hoping on this one it isn't though, there's no fault code suggesting that it is, so fingers crossed!

David.

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Joined: Sep 02 2016
Posts: 320

Thanks for the 'heads up' and your detailed breakdown DH !

Have to say though the cost (price ?) of Refrigerant increasing almost 4-fold is "a little suspicous"... although it seems part of the problem here is due to the changing the EU Rules on HFCs for A/C (plus tariffs on Chinese R134a)

https://www.coolcaraircon.co.uk/car-air-con-recharge-prices-increasing-across-the-europe/

No doubt many re-chargers will (try to) blame "Brexit/Trump/etc" in the interests of exploitation ....sorry I meant profits...
(Not going to get over-political but any excuse will do these days; It's not supply vs. demand at all, it's market manipulation !)

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Joined: May 14 2018
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Just out of interest, how cold should the air-con on full blast get? I recently had mine recharged and, although it's noticeably cooler than the ambient air, it's not exactly 'cold' even on the lowest setting.

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Joined: Jan 05 2016
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Check the large pipe to the compressor is cold when the clutch is pulled in and spinning - even with a hot engine bay it should feel very cold, but not covered in ice. If its warm or just a bit cool, or actually icing up, you've lost refrigerant. Equally if the clutch isn't pulling in and spinning, it isn't working at all.

If the pipe is cold, but the air from the vents is warm, the blend motors might be stuck mixing hot air from the heater core in permanently.

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Joined: Dec 30 2015
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On Lo with the fans on full, you should be able to get frostbite on your fingers if you stick them over the vents. The last time mine was done I checked it with a digital thermometer and saw -3 degrees from the vents. The large pipe on mine is covered in condensation within a couple of minutes of starting the engine at the moment. I'd suspect they've not put enough in, they do hold a lot of refrigerant compared with most cars.

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Joined: Nov 16 2016
Posts: 742

R.e. dryers, I'm no expert on AC but understand the principles except for the importance of the dryer. I believe dryers can in theory become kind of saturated (maybe for want of a better term), which I expect would effect flow, but I've never known an AC system not work due to a problematic dryer... anyone else?

I've moaned about my AC not working (not a P38) and my attempts to fix it on another thread. I may have time to give fixing it another go tomorrow after I've been to the dentist, more brazing but this time with a bit more prep and just trying to get the front AC working rather than front and rear evaps both working.

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Joined: Jan 16 2017
Posts: 480

Lpgc wrote:

R.e. dryers, I'm no expert on AC but understand the principles except for the importance of the dryer. I believe dryers can in theory become kind of saturated (maybe for want of a better term), which I expect would effect flow, but I've never known an AC system not work due to a problematic dryer... anyone else?

I've moaned about my AC not working (not a P38) and my attempts to fix it on another thread. I may have time to give fixing it another go tomorrow after I've been to the dentist, more brazing but this time with a bit more prep and just trying to get the front AC working rather than front and rear evaps both working.

I believe the problem/need for a dryer is to avoid sending water through the compressor (where it would freeze and become solid) or blocking up anywhere else in the system. Of course you shouldn't actually have any moisture in the system in the first place though, so its only there as a precaution as far as i know.

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Joined: Jan 05 2016
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The dryer removes moisture that can get in through the permeable flexible hoses - and prevents corrosion on the inner surfaces etc. If the system has been open to atmosphere for any length of time, it should be replaced. On a P38 they also get rusty as hell... and given they're on the high pressure side, I'm surprised they don't go pop more often.

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Joined: Dec 30 2015
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If you're getting -3 at the vent, then you have a problem, possibly with the evaporator temp sensor. The system is designed to click off the AC when the evaporator gets to around 3/4 degrees C to prevent it from freezing up.

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That was a couple of years ago just after I'd had it gassed. Since then it's had to have a new condenser and be re-gassed again and I haven't checked it since. I would do again except I've no idea where the thermometer went or how accurate it is (as it was only a couple of quid from a man in China, I suspect not very).

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Joined: Nov 16 2016
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So how does the dryer remove water? Can think of a few ways they might work but never cut one open. Can they get saturated and restrict flow of refrigerant?

Are the flexible hoses on AC systems designed to be permeable or is it just the nature? First car I had with AC was a mk2 Granada way back when I was 19, an AC guy told me flexible pipes were designed not only to be permeable (which he said is why you lose some AC gas over time) but also to leak if system pressure gets too high to prevent the system going bang. He also refused to recharge the AC system unless I paid him big money to fit a new dryer at the same time, I went somewhere else where they didn't insist I had a new dryer fitted had it re-gassed and it worked. I didn't believe all the first guy's points, though I suppose if there's an under bonnet fire the flexi hoses will burn through and leak. R12 system so if I knew then what I know now I'd probably have tried re-charging it with propane myself.

Apparently some old yank car AC system have a desert setting, with this setting (for use only in very dry air conditions) the AC vents could reach -8c even parked in a blisteringly hot desert.

Some Merc AC systems continue to work (on low) for 20 mins with the engine off. These models have a second battery and lots of electronics in a compartment between the back seat and boot, I think AC pipes also run to this area. I've wondered if the AC continues to work for 20 mins because the battery drives a mini compressor or because the engine compressor has already charged some type of storage setup?

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The dryer has dessicant material in it like the EAS dryer, which can only absorb so much. If its open to the atmosphere, it can then obviously absorb moisture much quicker.

I don't think the hoses are designed to be permeable, they just are by nature. A fixed installation doesn't, or shouldn't, lose any gas over time - though most still have a dryer to absorb traces of moisture that haven't been fully boiled off during the vacuum down process, and some incorporate a filter of some kind.

I'd imagine the Merc's could be starting to use an electric compressor, if its actually still cooling without the engine running.

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Joined: Dec 29 2016
Posts: 208

I went to fit my new condenser and drier this afternoon.

Stripped everything down, removed the old condenser which was definitely toast and had visible holes in several places. I took the fan assembly off the old condenser, laid it on top of the new one, put the two bottom bolts in it and when I went to put the top two in the holes aren't in the right place. They're half a holes width out. I can get one of them in by deforming the fan module slightly but there's no way the 4th one will go in.

As I removed the tri-switch from the drier unit the aluminium split so it won't tighten on the new one so I've ordered both pressure switches tonight too.

One thing I'd forgotten to order was the o-rings so I'm going to order them and hopefully I can get the rest of it back together at the weekend.

David.

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Joined: Dec 30 2015
Posts: 1062

I found the same when I did the condenser on mine.. I put 2 bolts in and then cable tied the other side.

I also had a split on Tri pressure switch, so replaced that. New drier came with O-ring on the pressure switch port.

I bought a selection of AC o-rings from eBay as it was about the same for a pack of various sizes than it was for probably 2 individual ones in a land rover bag

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Joined: Dec 29 2016
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I keep looking at these as they're one of the few that are in the UK:

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/205-Piece-HNBR-Green-O-Ring-Set-Box-Air-Conditioning-Garage-Car-Automotive-New/321709880968?hash=item4ae7673688:g:haQAAOSw241Yg6bJ

Land Rover quote their o-rings as being metric, those one's don't appear to be though.

David.

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Joined: Dec 30 2015
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That's pretty much what I got - I'd have the check and see if they were metric ones or not... but I found ones in there that were suitable for pretty much every required fitting, and it's still got some gas in it and keeping me cool a year or so after getting it filled last :)

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Joined: Jul 12 2016
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I did mine a couple of years ago (rusted through on the top, under the slam panel).

Got mine from here: https://www.autoairconparts.co.uk/shopby?find=car-land-rover-range-rover-hse-vogue-classic-2001-4-6-petrol-manual-automatic-3294642

I know I had a bag of washers with it but can't remember if I ordered them separately or if they came with the condenser. I also got the drier at the same time.

I had trouble getting all 4 bolts in too. I can't remember if I managed to get all 4 in or stopped at just 3.

Seems really weird that everyone is having that problem.

Reckon the cars are wonky or all the manufacturers of aftermarket condensers are all making them badly in the same way?

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I fitted a new condenser recently and all my bolt holes lined up perfectly. Odd as I bought a Britpart one....... I only got it as it was a bit cheaper than an OEM but from stock and came with a 2 year warranty. I figured that it isn't that difficult to change every 18 months or so to swap it for another new one.

It didn't come with O rings though but I ordered a selection at the same time as I couldn't find anywhere that told me what size I needed. Microcat just lists part numbers for different sized rings but not what size is needed where.

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Joined: Dec 29 2016
Posts: 208

Well, the eBay seller measured 3 others he had in stock and they all had the same issue so he's told me to return it for a refund.

I checked the Euro Car Parts website earlier and noticed that the branch I pass on the way home from work had one in stock, £150 full price or £93 with a 35% discount code that I had so I ordered it online and went to fetch it on the way home.

When you put the fans on this one, the holes are even further out of place then they are on the cheap eBay one!!

I don't suppose anyone has access to the parts catalogue and can see if the fans changed on the 02MY and all these condensers are right for earlier fans?

Gilbert, any idea where you ordered your Britpart one from? If it definitely fits, as much as ordering something in a blue box goes against the grain I'll give it a go.

David.

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Joined: Jan 16 2017
Posts: 480

When i replaced my radiator (the first time) with one from ECP it took no end of messing about to make it fit. That was an EIS one, same as the brand of most of their condensers. I ended up replacing it after managing to put a hole in it, This was with a nissens one, that fitted perfectly with none of the previous messing about. If your radiator isn't an original one the chances of it being identical to original aren't guaranteed, which can exacerbate the problem. I did find the EIS one to be particularly bad though (like worse than eBay sourced ones for other vehicles have been) and would suspect the condenser you have had might be one of theirs?