Volvo Coupes/Sedans/Wagons 1970-1989 Repair Guide

Air Conditioning Condenser



See Figures 1 and 2

The air conditioning condenser operates under the pressures generated within the air conditioning system. Its removal requires discharging the system and recharging after reinstallation.

The condenser is a frequent source of leaks within AC systems. Because of its position at the very front of the car, it is prone to impact damage from stones and road hazards, as well as cracks and loosened hoses from vibration.

R-12 refrigerant is a chlorofluorocarbon which, when released into the atmosphere, contributes to the depletion of the ozone layer. Ozone filters out harmful radiation from the sun. Consult the laws in your area before servicing the air conditioning system. In some states it is illegal to perform repairs involving refrigerant unless the work is done by a certified technician. It is also likely that you will not be able to purchase R-12 without proof that you are properly trained and certified to work on A/C systems.

  1. Remove the negative battery cable. Carefully remove the grille from the front of the car.
  3. Remove the support brace in front of the condenser. Disconnect the hood release cable.
  5. Loosen and remove the bolts holding the upper radiator support. Remove the air guide panel from the upper radiator support, remove the screws which hold the condenser to the upper support, and remove the upper radiator support itself.
  7. Under the front bumper, remove the three screws holding the plastic air guide and remove the guide. If the car is equipped with an electric fan, unbolt it as a unit and set it aside.
  9. Discharge the refrigerant from the system in accordance with the instructions in General Information & Maintenance .
  11. Using TWO wrenches of the proper size, disconnect the pipes at the joints nearest to the condenser. Use one wrench to hold one line and the other wrench to turn the opposite fitting. Failure to do this may result in kinked or broken lines. Plug the lines immediately to prevent dirt from entering the system.
  13. Remove the nuts at the bottom of the condenser and remove the condenser from the car. Use a small jar to collect the oil which will run out of the condenser. The same amount of oil should be added back into the system when the unit is reinstalled.
  15. When reinstalling, transfer the foam and rubber seals to the new condenser if one is being used. Add compressor oil into condenser to equal amount which drained out.
  17. Position condenser in car and insure that there is a tight fit between the foam seals and the surrounding body work. This directs the airflow through the unit instead of around it.
  19. Using the two wrench method, reconnect the pipes at the joints. Use new O-rings lightly coated with compressor oil. Tighten the joints to a maximum of 13 ft. lbs. (18 Nm). Replace the bolts at the bottom of the condenser.
  21. Reinstall the upper radiator support, the condenser support brace and the upper and lower air guide panels. If the car is equipped with an electric fan, reinstall it.
  23. Connect the hood release cable and replace the grille. Hook up the negative battery cable.
  25. Double check all installation items, paying particular attention to loose hoses or hanging wires, loose nuts, poor routing of hoses and wires (too tight or rubbing) and tools left in the engine area.
  27. Recharge the air conditioning system as described in General Information & Maintenance .

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Fig. Fig. 1: Don't forget to transfer the air seals when installing the A/C condenser

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Fig. Fig. 2: Use two wrenches on A/C line joints. When reassembling, do not overtighten