Hardlymoving writes about do-it-yourself automobile maintenance on various makes and models.
Replacing the Condenser as Part of an AC Service
This is Part 1 of a three-part article on servicing the air conditioning (AC) on a 2004-2010 Toyota Sienna.
- This article, Part 1, involves the replacement of the condenser.
- Part II covers replacing the compressor.
- Part III covers evacuating the air conditioning system and recharging it with freon.
Which of these procedures do you need to do? If you are installing a new condenser because the old condenser leaks, a simple AC evacuation and recharge will complete the repair. But if a compressor has failed, you will usually have to replace the condenser along with the compressor. The condenser's mini-tubes may be clogged with corrosion, debris, or metal shards that may have worked their way into the condenser. These mini-tubes are too small to pressure-clean, and if the flow of freon in the condenser is restricted by these clogs, heat transfer will be reduced. Moreover, automotive retailers may not give you a warranty on a replacement compressor unless you can prove that you replaced both the condenser and compressor and also did a system evacuation service before recharging the system with Freon.
Which Condenser to Buy?
The OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) condenser for this vehicle is the Denso company. Other reputable manufacturers include OSC, TYC, Valeo, CSF, and Vista-Pro. My preference is Denso, since it is OEM and about the same price as the others. Also, Denso parts are made for the most part in the USA or Japan.
This Denso condenser can be used on 2004-2010 Sienna vehicles.
On these vehicles, the accumulator/dryer is integrated with the condenser.
Video: Toyota Sienna A/C Condenser Replacement
This 10-minute video will provide you with visual step-by-step help for completing this replacement. The steps are also described lower down in the article.
Step-by-Step Instructions for Toyota Sienna A/C Condenser Replacement
Step 1: Remove the Plastic Bumper Cover
The front bumper cover must be removed to gain access to the condenser.
- Remove the push pins that hold the upper portion of the bumper cover.
- Remove the 10-mm bolts that hold the bottom portion of the bumper cover.
- Remove the two (2) push pins that hold the lip of the bumper cover with the fender splash guard.
- Separate the push pin black plastic clip away from the bumper cover lip.
- Behind each upper corner of the bumper cover is a 10-mm screw that holds the bumper corners in place. Remove these two screws. Each corner of the bumper cover can now be pushed down from the fender.
- The bumper cover can now be pulled away from the car.
- Remove the electrical fittings attached to each corner of the bumper cover.
Step 2: Removing the Radiator Upper Cross Member
The upper cross member supports the top portion of the radiator and AC condenser.
- Remove the two (2) bolts that secure the air intake. Position the air intake away from the cross member.
- Remove the four (4) 10-mm bolts that hold the cross member to the chassis of the car.
- Remove the plastic cover over the hood latch, and then remove the bolts that secure the hood latch to the cross member.
- Disconnect the electric connectors to the horns.
- Remove the top bolt that holds the vertical support bracket to the cross member.
- Detach the hood latch cable clip from the cross member.
- Remove the cross member and place it away from the work area.
- Remove the lower bolt that holds the vertical support bracket and move the bracket away from the work area.
- Detach the hood latch cable clip on the radiator and condenser. Place the hood latch assembly in the engine compartment away from the work area.
Step 3: Removing the AC Condenser
Ensure there is no residual freon gas pressure in the AC lines before you disconnect the supply and return ac lines to the condenser. The pressure can be discharged through either the high- or low-pressure AC line connection ports using the quick connect couplers, as shown below:
- Unbolt the upper radiator and condenser support brackets. There are two brackets: one on the left and the other on the right. Each bracket has a Phillips screw that must also be removed. Recommend using a mechanic impact tool to relieve the screw tension to avoid stripping the heads.
- Remove the supply and return condenser connection bolts and wiggle off the connectors.
- Remove the two (2) Phillips screws on the bottom of the condenser.
- Remove the condenser.
Step 4: Installing the New Condenser
- Position and install the new condenser. Align the bottom bracket holes with the condenser holes and re-install the mounting screws.
- Transfer the black clips on the old condenser to the new condenser. These clips serve as a brace for the radiator/condenser brackets.
- Install and align the radiator/condenser brackets with the condenser clips. Screw in the mounting screws.
- Install the radiator/condenser bracket bolts.
- Remove the old O-rings from the condenser supply and return hose connections. Install new O-rings and lubricate with either compressor oil or di-electric grease.
- Wiggle on the hose connectors and bolt them in place.
Step 5: Installing the Cross Member
- Install the vertical support bracket and screw on the lower bolt.
- Re-attach the hood latch cable clip to the cross member and install the cross member.
- Attach the vertical support bracket with the upper bolt.
- Torque down the both the upper and lower vertical support bracket bolts.
- Install and torque down the four (4) 10-mm bolts that hold the cross member to the chassis of the car.
- Install and torque down the bolts that secure the hood latch to the cross member.
- Install the hood latch plastic cover.
- Re-connect the electric connectors to the horns.
- Install the two (2) bolts that secure the air intake.
Step 6: Installing the Plastic Bumper Cover
- Position the bumper cover as close to the front end of the car as possible.
- Re-connect the electrical fittings to each corner's electrical receptacle.
- With an extra pair of hands from a helper, position each corner of the bumper cover over the contact points on the fender.
- Push the contact points on the bumper cover into the fender holes.
- Behind each upper corner of the bumper cover, re-install the 10-mm screw that holds the bumper corners in place.
- Connect the push pin black plastic clip with the bumper cover lip.
- Install the two (2) push pins that hold the lip of the Bumper Cover against the fender splash guard.
- Install the 10-mm bolts that hold the bottom portion of the bumper cover.
- Install the push pins that hold the upper portion of the bumper cover.
Proceed to A/C Evacuation and Recharge or A/C Compressor Replacement
Toyota Sienna AC service continued: Continue to Part 2, if you are replacing the compressor, and then to Part 3 which discusses recharging the air conditioning system.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
Questions & Answers
Question: If replacing compressor and condenser due to a failed compressor, at what point do you flush the system? And how do you replace the drier and expansion valves?
Answer: With every compressor failure, I replace the condenser and accumulator (drier). No need to mess with the expansion valve. If those parts are replaced, a flush is generally not needed. The accumulator is integrated with the condenser.
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