Porsche Boxster Condenser Replacement

 

How to change the condensers on Porsche Cayman, Boxster and 911 models.

A STEP BY STEP GUIDE.


This is a short overview to show you exactly what we do when changing the condensers on a rear engined Porsche. This is not meant to be an in depth tutorial showing you how to do the job yourself, there are plenty of write-ups on various Porsche forums that do just that if you want to carry out this repair yourself. (Earlier 911 and Boxster models use another style of condenser and the procedure for removing the bumper is slightly different to the one described below.)

You may have already seen our page about Porsche Condensers where we talk about why there are two of them, how to check if they are leaking and how much specialists and main dealers charge to replace them. This very clean 12 year old Boxster with just 31,000 miles on the clock came to us for this job recently with one condenser visibly leaking and the other one looking quite corroded and tired.

Porsche Boxster

The first step is to remove the plastic trim pieces under the bonnet. This gives access to the air conditioning service ports which are next to the battery and also to the three screws on the top of the bumper and the sliding clips beneath the headlights. At this stage the car is tested to see if there is any gas still in the system. If there isn't we add a small amount - 50 to 100 grams and test that the compressor appears to be operating correctly before proceeding. The good news is that we have yet to see a Porsche that had other issues apart from the leaks so compressor failure or electrical faults are quite rare. Any refrigerant gas in the system is now extracted into a recovery cylinder and the bumper can be prepared for removal.

Porsche Boxster

There are eleven torx screws that need to be removed from the underside of the bumper along with the three on the top edge and the sliding clips next to the headlights which can be carefully removed leaving the lights in situ.

Porsche Boxster

The lower section of the wheel arch liner is loosened off by removing a further four torx screws.

Porsche Boxster

The wheel arch liner can then be dropped down and slid out of the way. Now that there is access to the rear of the coolant radiators, the coolant pipes are inspected for signs of leaks as this is another area that commonly needs attention. If the coolant pipes should be found to be leaking we would take photographs and advise the customer but this is a job that we cannot carry out unfortunately.

Porsche Boxster

There is one further torx screw to be removed which is tucked away behind the indicator light assembly.

Porsche Boxster

In the driver's side wheel arch there is an electrical connector which needs to be undone. Depending on the vehicle specification there may also be an electrical connector in the passenger side wheel arch plus the pipework to the headlight washers which needs disconnecting. Now the bumper can be carefully moved forwards, removed and set aside.

Porsche Boxster

Each condenser is shielded by a plastic shroud. Three more torx screws and two clips to depress and these can be removed to reveal the condensers. The driver's side shroud (pictured) houses the external temperature sensor which will also need unclipping.

Porsche Boxster

This is the part where we hold our breath and cross our fingers. The bolts that secure the pipes to the condensers are made of steel and pass through a hole in an aluminium pipe into an aluminium thread. They usually require some persuasion to come loose but they can corrode badly and seize solid in which case they will need to be carefully drilled out, slowing the whole job down. In this photo you can also see an oily patch on the bottom of the condenser where it has been leaking.

Porsche Boxster

Once the pipes are freed the rubber O-Ring seals are removed and discarded and the pipes capped to prevent dirt or moisture ingress.

Porsche Boxster

The condenser can then be removed and the coolant radiator behind is gently swept then vacuumed. These ones were quite clean compared to many that we see. Here is the radiator before cleaning:

Porsche Boxster

.. and afterwards:

Porsche Boxster

New O-Rings are fitted to the pipes and the new condensers are secured in place before moving on to the last item to be replaced which is the drier. The drier is next to the service ports and looks a little like a beer can. The drier should always be changed after fixing an air conditiong leak on any vehicle as it is designed to remove tiny amounts of moisture and they can become saturated if exposed to damp atmospheric air for a period of time.

Porsche Boxster

The air conditioning system is now filled with Oxygen free Nitrogen (OFN) to test for leaks at all the joints. OFN is used as it is important not to introduce oxygen or moisture into the system. (Compressed air should never be used to test for leaks).

Porsche Boxster

Assuming there are no leaks, a vacuum pump is connected up and left to pull a vacuum for about an hour whilst the vehicle is built back up. Water evaporates at a lower temperature when in a vacuum so any moisture should boil off and be removed during this period. Once everything is back together PAG Oil is added to compensate for any that was lost due to the leak and the correct amount of refrigerant is introduced. Digital scales are used as the refrigerant capacity is measured in grams.

Porsche Boxster

Finally the fans behind the coolant radiators are checked to ensure they operate correctly and quietly when the pressure or temperature in the condensers reaches the correct threshold.

The whole job takes about 2.5 to 3 hours - longer if the bolts mentioned above need drilling out. We use EIS condensers which are a good quality German make and the total cost is £350 with no hidden extras. If you would prefer to have Behr Hella units fiting then the total price would be £400.

If you are considering having this repair done please contact us now for a friendly, no obligation chat.