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A/C condenser removal and replacement (87Camry)

1694 Views 0 Replies 1 Participant Last post by  Doctor J
(It is written as a parody of the academic research writing style :) but it useful

Project title:

A/C condenser removal and replacement 87 Camry 2.0

Note: despite the information from, all a/c condensers are the same on all 4-cylinder second generation Camry’s (I used one from 90 on my car with production date April 87)
General information: this procedure explains the removal and installation of a/c condenser without disconnecting radiator ad draining the coolant.
The repair literature offers highly controversial information about the a/c condenser replacement procedure. According to Haynes repair manual (1991), the cooling system should be drained, the radiator hoses have to be disconnected and radiator must be removed from the vehicle (p.143). The Factory Service manual (1988) provides very sketchy instruction, and does not mention anything regarding the radiator (p. AC-31). Finally, the 1990 version of Factory Service manual (p) specifies removal the battery and igniter bracket with igniter to allow the radiator to be tilted toward the engine, thus providing the room for condenser removal.
All three repair sources are calling for removal of the front grille.

New method:

After analyzing each procedure I went to the wrecking yard to do the following:
a) To check if there were some variations from year to year in among the condenser size, as well as igniter bracket shape and attachment to the body;
b) To perform the condenser removal and installation procedure without disconnecting and removal of the radiator and without removal of the front grille
The step “b” has been done on the cars with radiator assembly (with fans and hoses), front grille and igniter brackets intact in order to obtain highly valid results.
As the result of the above described field study,
1) The conclusion has been made that there were no changes from year to year that caused changes in procedure.
2) The new procedure was successfully performed; it is outlined below.


Tools and material minimum required:
  • 12mm offset box wrench (for a/c lines)
  • Reversible ratchet with 10 and 12 mm socket heads
  • 4 feet copper 12 gage wire to secure radiator
  • 2 neoprene o-rings for fittings

To remove:

1) Squeeze the radiator hoses; if they are making crunching sound during that, they need to be replaced and the procedure cannot be performed, otherwise proceed to the next step
2) Unplug and remove a/c cooling fan (passenger side) by removing 3 10 mm head screws
3) Reach inside the grille and disengage high pressure line tube from plastic clips at condenser it does not have to be removed or disconnected; remove splash shields if equipped
4) Verify that system is fully discharged, then using 12mm offset wrench, separate hose and liquid tube fittings from condenser by removing 2 12mm head bolts
5) Remove 2 radiator brackets then lift the radiator straight up 1 inch (to pull the studs from the lower radiator mounts then move it toward the engine and lower it down on the cross member; make sure the A/T cooler hose is not jammed against the motor mount; the motor housing of the radiator fan should seat against ATF level dipstick and igniter bracket should be against the cooling fan shroud
6) Wrap the wire around the radiator‘s filler neck and tighten another end to the engine lifting hook. The radiator, secured this way, should provide a clearance (it should about 3 inches wide on the passenger side) from the core support to allow removal of the condenser
7) Remove 2 10 mm head condenser bracket attaching screws and 2 brackets
8) Lift condenser up about 1/2 inch and then tilt it toward the radiator
9) Begin to pull it out of the gap starting on the passenger side; once the fitting clears the aperture of the core support pull up passenger side of condenser up and get it out.

To install:

1) Insert the condenser into the radiator support core aperture with driver’s side tilted down
2) Make sure that the condenser supports are fully inserted into the on the lower support frame
3) Reverse steps 7 to 2 to complete the installation; replace o-rings on the fittings

Torque 10 mm head screws to 8 foot pounds
Torque 12 mm head bolts to 18 foot pounds
Time required 35 minutes

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