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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Looks like the condenser is leaking where the line goes into the bottom of the condenser. Since both connections are up top I'm assuming something has cracked/broken and that the condenser has to be replaced.
I'm wondering if anyone has attacked this replacement and might have some tips for me.
I'm registered at Kiatechinfo but the site appears to be down right now so I cannot check the R&R procedure.
From looking at the car it looks like it MIGHT be possible to get the condenser out w/o pulling the radiator but I cannot really tell.

Anyway, any help is appreciated and I will check Kia when the site is working again.

Thanks
Dave
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
Well, it's been 3 weeks and had 155+ looks with no responses so I'll assume no one has made this swap. So I will post my experience for anyone looking in the future.
First, AC repair is not for anyone and if you have not done any auto AC repair this may not be for you, Second, if you decide to try it you will need some special tools. At a minimum you need a set of manifold gauges, a vacuum pump and at least 2 "stem" style thermometers. You can get the vacuum pump and gauges from Harbor Freight for about $130 if you watch the sales. I have a good set of gauges and a couple hundred dollar pump that has served me well over the years and many vehicles. They HF ones are, by far, not the best out there but for one or two repairs they are fine. Thermometers can be found at most auto parts stores for about $6 each. I also highly recommend that you do some research online about how car (any) AC works and get an idea of the process and proper way to discharge and recharge the system.

For the condenser itself, I bought the least expensive one I could find as I probably won't have this car more then a couple more years. I found it online at PartsGeek.com for $63 + $7.5 shipping. That beat O'Reillys Auto parts up the street by $130. The R134a I got from WalMart for $8.88/12 oz can - it takes two almost exactly. New O-rings and PAG oil I had on hand. ALWAYS replace O-rings. I also found I needed a low side Schrader valve. KIA does not sell just the Schrader valve, only the entire low side hose. However, the parts lady at Kia Atlanta South was very helpful and told me (over the phone no less) that NAPA sells a multi pack that has one in it that fits. That pack was $14 and came with the needed valve + 3 others and new caps for the port.

The FSM on the KIA site says the radiator has to come out, it does not. I did not want to have to remove it because of the loss of antifreeze, trans fluid and the difficulty in accessing all of the connections on the bottom of the rad. I was able to remove the top radiator mount/brace, disconnect the top radiator hose from the rad (you lose about 1/4 gal of antifreeze), remove the fans and tilt the radiator forward enough to access the other bolts holding the condenser to the radiator and the car. From that point it's just a matter of wiggling everything around to get the condenser out. At this point I took some time to clean and straighten the radiator fins. They were a mass of clogged, oily, dirty mess. The car should run a few degrees cooler after this cleaning which will, in turn, help the AC run cooler as well. Working conditions are tight to say the least but removal and cleaning only took about 2-2 1/2 hours. Install is simply the reverse of the removal process.
I then vacuumed the system for an hour, let it set for another hour checking for leaks, put in 24oz of R134a (the upper limit per the hood decal) and checked operation. With the AC set to "Lo" and on recirculate, I ended up getting 48.7* at the center vents with an ambient temp of 85*. That's a 36.3* drop and my pressures were good and just where they needed to be for the ambient temp. I'm quite happy with the way the repair went and the results I got!

Hope this helps someone save some $$$ in the future. My repair ran about $100 for parts and a good 8 hours of labor (IMHO, not bad for working on the Amanti). So, even if you had to buy tools and all the little odds & ends you should still be able to come out for under $350. For a repair that I'm sure would exceed $1000 at a dealer that's a pretty decent savings!

Good Luck
Dave

Edit; One other note, the condenser on this car has the dryer integrated into it on the drivers side. So not only do you get a new condenser but a new dryer as well. A nice bonus as I've had to replace dryers before and some are as expensive as this condenser dryer combo.
 
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