Diesel Place banner
1 - 5 of 5 Posts

· Registered
Joined
·
138 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Long story short: Many new condensers are undersized--thinner and too short for OEM mounts. Many condensers get damaged in shipping due to poor package design. If you can find a proper sized condenser, don't worry about a bent fitting tube--just bend it back straight.

After 4 years, it was time to do my AC again due to a leak in the compressor body that I identified using UV dye. I ordered a new Four Seasons compressor, accumulator, orifice tube, and a Sunbelt condenser.

When the Sunbelt condenser arrived, it was immediately clear that it was not the same as the Sunbelt condenser I bought 4 years ago (see pic). It was ~1/4" thinner and ~1/2" shorter. It also had the worst welding I've ever seen on any product ever.

I ended up looking at 8 condensers!

1. Sunbelt $66: undersized/poor quality
2. Napa $149: undersized/taco'd as if someone sat on it
3. Autozone $177: not parallel flow/not as pictured
4. O'Reilly's $187: correct size/bent diagonal tube
5. O'Reilly's $187: correct size/bent diagonal tube
6. O'Reilly's $187: undersized/bent diagonal tube
7. O'Reilly's $187: undersized/bent diagonal tube
8. O'Reilly's $187: undersized/poor quality/undamaged

I returned the Sunbelt and kept #4, as it was the least bent. Murray, the O'Reilly's manufacturer clearly has a packaging problem, as 4/5 condensers had the same bent diagonal tube with corresponding damage inside the cardboard box. The only Murray/O'Reilly's one without damage had different packaging that included 6 pieces of foam to protect from edge drops.

The most disturbing thing was that out of 5 condensers from O'Reilly's, there were 3 different designs, all with the same part number from the same manufacturer!

I only noticed the bent tube problem when I installed #4 and couldn't connect the fitting. I was afraid to bend back the aluminum tube for fear of cracking it. When I went to O'Reilly's to inspect #6-8, I realized it was going to be my only option. So, when the employee turned his back to deal with another customer, I did a test bend on #5 ;)

It bent very easily at room temperature, but to be safe, I went home and used a hair dryer to heat up #4 before bending. I then did a vacuum test to ensure I didn't crack it. All good!

Despite the ordeal, I am glad I chose to do it myself. I'm sure some mechanics would have installed any of these without a second thought.

TIP: before throwing away your old condenser, cut off the fittings, leaving an inch of tubing. You can use these to independently test the evaporator/hose assembly and the compressor/hose assembly.
 

Attachments

  • Like
Reactions: 56pan and OkDually

· Administrator
Joined
·
22,525 Posts
Long story short: Many new condensers are undersized--thinner and too short for OEM mounts. Many condensers get damaged in shipping due to poor package design. If you can find a proper sized condenser, don't worry about a bent fitting tube--just bend it back straight.

After 4 years, it was time to do my AC again due to a leak in the compressor body that I identified using UV dye. I ordered a new Four Seasons compressor, accumulator, orifice tube, and a Sunbelt condenser.

When the Sunbelt condenser arrived, it was immediately clear that it was not the same as the Sunbelt condenser I bought 4 years ago (see pic). It was ~1/4" thinner and ~1/2" shorter. It also had the worst welding I've ever seen on any product ever.

I ended up looking at 8 condensers!

1. Sunbelt $66: undersized/poor quality
2. Napa $149: undersized/taco'd as if someone sat on it
3. Autozone $177: not parallel flow/not as pictured
4. O'Reilly's $187: correct size/bent diagonal tube
5. O'Reilly's $187: correct size/bent diagonal tube
6. O'Reilly's $187: undersized/bent diagonal tube
7. O'Reilly's $187: undersized/bent diagonal tube
8. O'Reilly's $187: undersized/poor quality/undamaged

I returned the Sunbelt and kept #4, as it was the least bent. Murray, the O'Reilly's manufacturer clearly has a packaging problem, as 4/5 condensers had the same bent diagonal tube with corresponding damage inside the cardboard box. The only Murray/O'Reilly's one without damage had different packaging that included 6 pieces of foam to protect from edge drops.

The most disturbing thing was that out of 5 condensers from O'Reilly's, there were 3 different designs, all with the same part number from the same manufacturer!

I only noticed the bent tube problem when I installed #4 and couldn't connect the fitting. I was afraid to bend back the aluminum tube for fear of cracking it. When I went to O'Reilly's to inspect #6-8, I realized it was going to be my only option. So, when the employee turned his back to deal with another customer, I did a test bend on #5 ;)

It bent very easily at room temperature, but to be safe, I went home and used a hair dryer to heat up #4 before bending. I then did a vacuum test to ensure I didn't crack it. All good!

Despite the ordeal, I am glad I chose to do it myself. I'm sure some mechanics would have installed any of these without a second thought.

TIP: before throwing away your old condenser, cut off the fittings, leaving an inch of tubing. You can use these to independently test the evaporator/hose assembly and the compressor/hose assembly.
Nice work around to get it done (y)
 

· Premium Member
Joined
·
131 Posts
Long story short: Many new condensers are undersized--thinner and too short for OEM mounts. Many condensers get damaged in shipping due to poor package design. If you can find a proper sized condenser, don't worry about a bent fitting tube--just bend it back straight.

After 4 years, it was time to do my AC again due to a leak in the compressor body that I identified using UV dye. I ordered a new Four Seasons compressor, accumulator, orifice tube, and a Sunbelt condenser.

When the Sunbelt condenser arrived, it was immediately clear that it was not the same as the Sunbelt condenser I bought 4 years ago (see pic). It was ~1/4" thinner and ~1/2" shorter. It also had the worst welding I've ever seen on any product ever.

I ended up looking at 8 condensers!

1. Sunbelt $66: undersized/poor quality
2. Napa $149: undersized/taco'd as if someone sat on it
3. Autozone $177: not parallel flow/not as pictured
4. O'Reilly's $187: correct size/bent diagonal tube
5. O'Reilly's $187: correct size/bent diagonal tube
6. O'Reilly's $187: undersized/bent diagonal tube
7. O'Reilly's $187: undersized/bent diagonal tube
8. O'Reilly's $187: undersized/poor quality/undamaged

I returned the Sunbelt and kept #4, as it was the least bent. Murray, the O'Reilly's manufacturer clearly has a packaging problem, as 4/5 condensers had the same bent diagonal tube with corresponding damage inside the cardboard box. The only Murray/O'Reilly's one without damage had different packaging that included 6 pieces of foam to protect from edge drops.

The most disturbing thing was that out of 5 condensers from O'Reilly's, there were 3 different designs, all with the same part number from the same manufacturer!

I only noticed the bent tube problem when I installed #4 and couldn't connect the fitting. I was afraid to bend back the aluminum tube for fear of cracking it. When I went to O'Reilly's to inspect #6-8, I realized it was going to be my only option. So, when the employee turned his back to deal with another customer, I did a test bend on #5 ;)

It bent very easily at room temperature, but to be safe, I went home and used a hair dryer to heat up #4 before bending. I then did a vacuum test to ensure I didn't crack it. All good!

Despite the ordeal, I am glad I chose to do it myself. I'm sure some mechanics would have installed any of these without a second thought.

TIP: before throwing away your old condenser, cut off the fittings, leaving an inch of tubing. You can use these to independently test the evaporator/hose assembly and the compressor/hose assembly.
Thanks for this tale of woe. I need to "re-do" my "Burban's" AC system this coming season. It's all OEM now. I'm hopeful, I can retain my condenser and only replace the lines, drier, compressor, accumulator etc..
 

· Registered
Joined
·
138 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for this tale of woe. I need to "re-do" my "Burban's" AC system this coming season. It's all OEM now. I'm hopeful, I can retain my condenser and only replace the lines, drier, compressor, accumulator etc..
Everyone insists that parallel flow condensers cannot be effectively flushed, and therefore must be replaced if there was a compressor failure. I thought I might have to use it, so I did flush my old one. The orifice tube had metal fragments in it, and so did the oil that I forced out during the condenser flush. To really evaluate the effectiveness of flushing my condenser, I would have needed to do a pressure drop flow test, and compare to a new one. I didn't have the time or tools for that, and I don't know what the pass/fail criteria would be...90%? This seems like something radiator shops would be equipped to handle, but I've never heard of it. Given the price of labor versus part cost, parallel flow condensers are simply replaced.

Good luck. Don't forget to put the new orifice tube in! I put mine in condenser #4, then took it out when I thought I was going to return it. Then, I forgot to put it back in after bending. Fortunately, I caught my mistake before putting the grill back on and recharging the system.
 
  • Like
Reactions: OkDually and KenAsh

· Registered
Joined
·
915 Posts
I'd always heard you couldn't flush a parallel flow condensor. It made sense to me why. Anyhow, I had a compressor go bad a couple years ago and the black crud went into the condensor. I replaced it, compressor, etc. and all was well. I decided to just experiment and see if I could flush the old parallel flow condensor so filled it up as much as I could with acetone and fed it 180 psi air from my compressor and blew it into a washtub. It seemed to flow pretty well after doing this a few times. I took a portaband hacksaw and cut one end off and there were only 3 open channels. The rest completely plugged with the black crud. I don't see how they could ever be flushed clean. Just my .02.
 
1 - 5 of 5 Posts
Top