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Relic222

Radiator and condenser issues

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Hi all, not having the best of starts with my Evora so far. When I bought it the AC didn't work and it turned out it was out of gas, so I had that topped up. The AC compressor then seized shortly after so had to be replaced (along with the AC clutch) and I've since noticed that I'm leaking engine coolant. While in at the garage I asked him to also check the AC for leaks - he put some dye in when topping it up previously. The bad news is that coolant is leaking from the radiator, and the AC condenser is also leaking gas. From what I've been told the radiator has some plastic parts which are the fault. The radiator from Lotus is around £700+VAT, but he said the part is from another car (he couldn't remember exactly what off the top of his head but thinks it was a Vauxhall Frontera, does anyone know if this is correct - it's a 2009 LE). So I have a few options - expensive plastic Lotus branded radiator, potentially cheaper plastic Vauxhall radiator, or I could upgrade to a full alloy radiator. He's going to come back with some prices for the alternatives, but it would be nice to know if others have upgraded to the full alloy unit or know which car the rad comes from. I've found this alloy one on the Elise shop https://www.elise-shop.com/aluminium-high-pressure-extra-capacity-radiator-evora-evora-s-p-502442.html?language=en&zenid=d071825baae0cc981ac057100e7ff1e9

Secondly, it sounds like the AC condenser is a Lotus specific part, and they don't currently have any in stock. I've found one on eBay that looks to be correct, could anyone confirm this is the correct item? https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/LOTUS-EVORA-BRAND-NEW-CONDENSER-AIR-CONDITIONING-RADIATOR/401634439097 Again he'll be getting back with prices, but it's good to know what's available before hand.

Thanks in advance.

Edited by Relic222

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I'm always wary of cars that have zero or empty AC gas levels.  It acts as a conditioner and lubricant and keeps seals and gaskets in good condition.  So when the AC gas is not in the system often may other parts of the system can degrade too.

I believe the radiator has some  plastic end caps or something that is the weakest link in the system and if the coolant temp gets excessively high these are usually first things to go pop.  But under normal condition I though the radiator was relatively reliable even with plastic bits?  Some people claim while this is not great having plastic parts that pop its better as it acts like a safety blow off valve ie if temps and pressures get too high something other than the engine goes pop first?  If planning to track the car a lot then full alloy rad is usually recommended.  From your link looks as if the alloy one is cheaper and higher performance.  The S1 Evora also a has a temp gauge bar graph rather than a hot / cold light so you can keep a eye on the engine temps to see if the coolant pressure may be excessively high.

Regarding the condenser, I believe there was a thread earlier this year around summer time where someone was replacing theirs and had to source a replacement from somewhere else as Lotus was either out of stock or extortionate prices, can't remember the details now.  Have a search back through the posts, I'm sure it was on this forum.

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If you decide to go the OEM radiator route, you don’t have to pay the ‘full’, Lotus price. 

ES Motorsports will sell you a secondhand one for significantly less. 

(They will probably have the AC condenser as well). 

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Unfortunately when the refrigerant leaks out of the A/C system you also loose some of the lubricating oil as it is missable with the refrigerant.

So depending on how meney times its been topped up with fresh refrigerant the oil is depleted from the system unless you have the manufactures information on how maney grams of the correct grade polyester oil ( usually grade 68 ) its a bit of a guess as there is no sump on the compressor to speak of it relies on a mist of oil returning to the compressor via the suction gas for its lubrication.

As a rule I pump a few grams of oil in every other recharge after repairing the leak first of couse 

Golden rule never overcharge a system it will flood back and damage the compressor if I'm doubt leave it slightly undercharged

And always run the A/C ideally once a week or defenatly once a month to stop leaks from the input shaft glandseal on the compressor as it only seals when lubricated with oil which drains away when not used.

 

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The Lotus condenser is actually cheaper than the aftermarket one!

Agreed with oil, and defer to your superior knowledge Phil, but by the service manual you have to refill with oil if you add a new component or there has been a sudden discharge.  If it has been degassed correctly (or slowly), the oil is more likely to stay in as it is not in suspension in the gas escaping?

Having done the job, it's a bit of dismantling, but not too painful.

Dave

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Yes true I usually end up working on systems that have been 're gassed loads of times as its the quickest fix 

Unfotunatly people still just gas them up for the summer 

Lots of people gas them up themself with the bottles from Halfords which do contain a percentage of oil 

But the instructions tell you to charge to a gauge pressure which is in my view poor at best as the pressure will depend on cooled air inlet temp and engine speed and interior fan speed even pollen filter condition.

Fare better to weigh the correct gram charge in 

if the information is not available the pressure method can be used but you need to check the suction super heat over differant revs and  fan speed conditions 

 

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Thanks guys, I ended up buying an AC condenser from elise shop because it was easier getting it together with the radiator. To make myself feel better about spending lots of money I spent some more money and also bought some new rear lights (the GT ones) because some of my LEDs are out on my right rear light. I've got a Lotus specialist near me who currently has the car and will do all of the fitment and regassing etc so should be okay. 

As for watching the engine temp, unfortunately that's another thing that's broken - the right display on my dash doesn't work, however I have a replacement dash unit so will fit that soon too. Fingers crossed for no more issues for a while! I do daily drive it though, so it's getting a fair amount of use. 

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Which compressor did you buy, out of interest?

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@EGTE I had the compressor fitted by Hofmann's - they installed the Toyota part rather than the Lotus version (same part with different stickers and very different price tag!). 

I've had the radiator and condenser changed, as well as changing out the rear lights, car is up and running again 👍

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Thanks, Pat. I'll be doing my car this month (finally), too!

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