: A/C condenser

07-08-11, 11:21 AM
Anyone have this happen to them (my Cadillac Service Technician says it happens fairly often): my '06 STS developed a hole in the condenser, behind the 'pusher' fans creating a leak that totally evacuated the refrigerant (in short order). Apparently what happens is small rocks or gravel can get between the electric fans and the condenser, and after a period of time, the rock will penetrate into the condenser core (creating the leak).

As he was describing the event to me, he had another condenser he had just replaced with the same condition, (but from an SRX; he said SRX's are even worse because they have a bigger gaping whole up front). You could see two distinct circular patterns (on the condenser); it looked like someone had taken sandpaper and made two perfect circles (where the fans covered the condenser area).

I was still covered under CPO warranty, but since it was a road hazzard, the warranty didn't apply (he did work out an amicable solution, e.g., not full price but it still stung).

07-08-11, 12:06 PM
I've had this exact thing happen, on a different vehicle, and while the condenser remained sealed, it was worthless as a heat-exchanger, afterward.

This happened on the '99 Suzuki Grand Vitara we used to pull behind the diesel-pusher motorhome...after traversing about 50 miles of gravel road in Idaho. I hadn't thought to check the condenser before starting the vehicle, and, being it was summer, the A/C was already switched 'on'.

I could not turn it off fast enough to prevent catastrophic damage.

You could zip-tie or bailing wire to tie some metal window screen mesh on to the backside of the grille, or even on the fan housings, themselves. I may have to look into this, actually, because I know the exposed area on my wife's RX300's condenser is fairly beat-up.

The mesh will impede airflow, but likely not enough to cause a problem. I've seen this "fix" used on other machines, without issue.

07-08-11, 07:24 PM
Check with your insurance. Road hazard damage is covered by the best policies.

07-09-11, 05:24 AM
Check with your insurance. Road hazard damage is covered by the best policies.
Thanks, but I did; since I have a 500 dollar deductible (and my dealer was good to me), the difference was a wash.