Condenser Leaking

Old 08-09-2009, 09:02 AM
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Default Condenser Leaking

So my sister-in-laws car stopped being cold, which is no fun in Florida in August. I checked the system and found it had a hole in the condenser. This was by putting some of a can in and listening for the hiss. Yes I know thats a bad way to do it, but I didn't know it was leaking at the time.
The hole is near the bottom of the condenser on the passengers side. It's on the radiator side of the unit and looks like the radiator is rubbing up against it. The fins are bent there and that's where the wonderful green oil was spoted when I was adding 134a.

I'm fairly sure I can install a new condenser myself. However I know I can't evacuate the system and fill it. I do have a friend who works at a shop who has access to the vacuum/fill system. I need to know the important steps on how to do this thing so I don't get into the problem of the car won't be ready to return the next day.

So far this is what I know has to be done
Remove the fan
disconnect the refrigerant lines
remove the condenser
Lube up new o-rings with compressor oil
Reverse that to install the new one.

My question is about the system oil.
I need to add some to the condenser to replace what was removed with the old one, but how much? And some did leak out while trying to charge it. Maybe only 5-6 drops from what I saw, but I don't know how much came out when it initially got the hole.
Also, is there any specific type/weight I need to buy or is it all the same (like r134)
I don't like to do any job until I feel like I know everything about it, and I don't want to "step in it" proverbially speaking. So any help would be great so I don't have to get overcharged (pun intended) by taking it to a shop for all the work . As she can't afford the price if it all is done by a shop. Also, if I do just replace the condenser, how much should it be to have somebody evacuate, leak test, and charge the system.
Old 08-09-2009, 10:56 AM
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evac and recharge at saturn dealer (mine, anyway): $85

probably want to replace the dryer too
Old 08-09-2009, 10:11 PM
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Originally Posted by derf View Post
evac and recharge at saturn dealer (mine, anyway): $85

probably want to replace the dryer too
Best idea yet.
Old 08-09-2009, 10:16 PM
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Default good or bad info?

yeah, I thought about that after I posted everything. most likley too much moisture in there now as it's exposed to air. Thanks for the info on the cost.

One person recommended lubing the o-rings with mineral oil instead of PAG oil as they said the PAG will eat up the seal. This seams odd to me as they are meant for the 134a system and not r12... ever heard of doing this or is that just a bad idea all around? I thought mixing the two ended up causing the "black death" gunk that kills systems.
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