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Air con condenser radiators


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17 hours ago, Andyww said:

This is one reason I went with the single-condenser solution. There are no pipes needed, I crimped the correct fittings onto the hoses to fit the condenser.

BTW if anyone wants any fittings crimped onto hoses I have the correct tool and happy to do it.

I think on all cars the rad housing would have to be dropped out necessitating draining.

The condenser I used is 20% bigger than one of the dual-condenser ones.

Where did you find this condensor?

was it the best fit-or do they have longer ones? Ideal size is probably a total length of 770mm, which seems to be a standard length, and 240-247 height.  

Even if we need to have different fittings crimped on the ends of the supply/return pipes, wouldn't this be a solution? 

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  • Gold FFM

I imagine there's no proprietary off the shelf unit that is big enough to fit the sized hole we need, which may well have been why Lotus went with two standard units. It might have to be a bespoke item, and then what's the cost going to be? Using one condenser is a good idea, it's just a matter of how you support it, and the pipe end fittings.

I wonder if there's a limit to the size of condenser that can use that method of construction and core type? 

Margate Exotics.

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I've found many that are 770mm long (Renault mainly), but need a better method than looking through hundreds of pictures to find one that is ~250mm high (and how deep)!

Yes-supporting it is very important    

In the last 15 years many more sizes have become available to fit specific cars, so there may be something available now that wasnt when Lotus decided to use two off the shelf condensora and the worlds most complicated one-off pipe work!

 

 

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/\ That's getting pretty close to the original dimensions, especially when you consider there's no interruption in the condenser core. I wonder how it would, fare, because I do feel that the Esprit rads are not that well insulated from vibration and movement where they are at the front of the car. It would need to be braced in the middle like the original, and maybe a bit more thought gone into the brackets at the sides, but aside from that, why not?

Margate Exotics.

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The one I used was 575 X 247. Part number SSP022299. Google finds it. The Germany supplier might stock it as it appears to be the same make.

I found that 247 tall fits nicely. It cant be much taller, probably another 10 mm would still fit. It was the longest generic one available with the height limit but thats not to say that there are not longer car-specific ones out there.

The 770mm Renault one above doesnt state overall height. It would likely be possible to calculate this from the dimension which is given though. One problem with the Renault and others is they use non-standard fittings. I have replaced the condensor on a Renault and the fittings are terrible, they are a block with a hole drilled in, and the pipe (yes pipe not hose) plugs into it with an O-ring. Most A/C systems on modern cars use custom-made solid tubing for most of the system, with short pieces of rubber hose in the middle of the tube section only where some flex is needed. They are designed for plug-in quick assembly on the production line.

Mounting it was easy, the bottom bolts to the rad undertray and the top I made 2 brackets from ally strip to go diagonally down to the undertray. I mounted it so that it lines up with two fans and fitted an extra fan relay so that 2 fans are powered when A/C is on, and 3 when the water temp turns on the fans.

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  • Gold FFM

I hear what you say about the Renault kit, and I seem to remember something similar with their odd fittings. And yes, I reckon when Lotus went looking originally, there probably wasn't anything else around off the shelf that came close.

Unfortunately, I don't have my old condensers here at the moment, or I could have measured the cores to give us some idea of the original surface area, at least. Maybe Alex could do that?

Margate Exotics.

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The more I think about this the more im convinced the solution is to find a single condensor that has the same volume (or 90+%)as the two Lotus ones. 

The v8 can take up to about a total length of about 820mm, height 250 (BUT!!! With the Aircon pipework removed from the bottom, would it take 300mm?) and depth as much as you are Happy with (given it will block the cooling system radiator). 

Sonits kuat a matter of finding one that fits those dimensions  

when I get some free time I'll div further-but has anyone got access to a v8 front area to chec the maximum height? Andy fitted a 247  there are more options if 300mm will fit, and that would give flexibility in the length...

 

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http://www.autoairglos.net/cons2008.pdf

which is better? Parallel flow or serpentine?

There are two condensors here, both 23x10x7/8 inch

584x254x22.23 mm

which have volumes of 90% of the two lotus originals combined. I'd say that would be within tolerances. (Bearing in mind they are thicker, so will reduce coolant air flow, but shorter so allow more coolant airflow). Also shouldn't make a dangerous difference to the system, particularly if Alan's running his at 70% original condensor volume without ill effects so far. 

So. IF 250mm will fit (likely), 22mm not too thick (hopefully) and only 584mm long, it's just a matter of using correct fittings, and using best type (parallel/serpentine). 

I wonder how much they are? (16-23x10M (parallel) and 16-23x10 (serpentine) )

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  • Gold FFM

I assume that as the P/N's appear to me to be the same, that the GT3 and the S4s share the same bracketry for the condensers, but the V8 doesn't have the added restriction of the charge-cooler radiator in front of everything, so the brackets at the side could be slightly different, not that it would have any effect on this project.

This is what came out of my S4s for reference:-

2016-02-21%2011.58.36_zpslpfkljgw.jpg

You can see there's a gap at the top, but most cars these days have the condenser in front of the coolant radiator, with apparently no ill effects. For V8's, with no charge-cooler radiator, I'd imagine they could stomach a larger condenser, but that's to be proved.

Margate Exotics.

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As Andy has already said numerous times, one parallel flow condenser is a much better setup than the OEM 2 unit setup plumbed in parallel. I did this several years ago on my previous S4s with great results even though the off the shelf condenser I used was somewhat smaller, but much more efficient. Eliminating all the extra piping and just using standard ac hoses is a big plus. 

Ian, I think you asked in a previous thread about how to access the connection with it hidden behind the chargecooler, I installed the hose on the condenser first before the chargecooler was installed and the pack went back in the car. 

Here's a link with some good info from an auto ac site that I used to frequent at the time. http://www.autoacforum.com/messageview.cfm?catid=2&threadid=22389

 

radcon.thumb.jpg.4e4b2d71d4439785e3abe50

 

 

IMG_1845.thumb.JPG.fa090ff4f80a2218d74bf

1995 S4s

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That looks similar to mine with the exception that I dont have the chargecooler rad in the way. I also offset it to one side so it lines up exactly with two fans.

But on my G-Car the front opening above the spoiler extends pretty much the width of the car other than two vertical ribs. The later cars seem to have a narrower opening so maybe its better centered on these cars.

I had a peer through the grill with a torch and there is only 10mm gap at the top of the condenser (which I should have filled up with a foam strip in hindsight) so a taller unit would not have fitted. 

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This is all excellent information. 

The 23x10x7/8 inch condensors seem ideal. The only remaining questions I see are:

Amount of oil/gas- Reduce amounts by 5%. (Estimate based on condensor being 10% less volume but rest of system being about same volume  )

Fittings-have them made up On existing supply/return pipes. (If they are different)

Fitment. Fit lower on coolant rad to be more likely to fit without fouling top of the space they are fitted in. Andyww used 247mm. 10 inch is 254mm. They can be fitted lower down on the coolant rad because the unique pipework will not be needed in this new set up  

Location. Directly in front of at least one a/c cooling fan. 

Which type of condensor to fit-parallel or serpentine---anyone? 

Cost. Doubtful that it's more expensive than replacing those unique pipes. Off the shelf component. 

 

 

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The big old copper/brass unit (which must have been a custom-made part) on the early cars was a serpentine but thats probably because parallel-flow were not available at the time. I think parallel-flow is generally used these days.

The evaporator, which is also a big heavy thing, is also a copper/brass unit which appears to be hand-made. AFAIK this unit stayed exactly the same throughout the Esprit run. There was probably some guy in a little workshop somewhere making them who retired when the Esprit went out of production. At least they last, I cant see a modern unit lasting 34 years without any leaks. Also the original fittings were nice solid flare joints, none of your puny O-ring leaky fittings.

When I compare the system on my Esprit to my Ferrari 328 , the Ferrari system is quite pathetic. The Lotus system was a great design. On my first Esprit, running R12 the air was so cold you could have done cryogenic experiments in the car :) If left on full it would ice up the evaporator.

 

 

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2 hours ago, lotus4s said:

As Andy has already said numerous times, one parallel flow condenser is a much better setup than the OEM 2 unit setup plumbed in parallel. I did this several years ago on my previous S4s with great results even though the off the shelf condenser I used was somewhat smaller, but much more efficient. Eliminating all the extra piping and just using standard ac hoses is a big plus. 

Ian, I think you asked in a previous thread about how to access the connection with it hidden behind the chargecooler, I installed the hose on the condenser first before the chargecooler was installed and the pack went back in the car. 

Here's a link with some good info from an auto ac site that I used to frequent at the time. http://www.autoacforum.com/messageview.cfm?catid=2&threadid=22389

 

radcon.thumb.jpg.4e4b2d71d4439785e3abe50

 

 

IMG_1845.thumb.JPG.fa090ff4f80a2218d74bf

 

 

Jim - Not really relevant to this thread, but having read your post, I was surprised to see that you felt the original system was 'notoriously poor'. I haven't read anyone complaining about lack of efficiency before, as long as the system is in good order. From my earlier research, the SD7H 15 compressor is complete overkill, will cool the interior of a small coach, or minibus, and the Esprit cabin is tiny, so perhaps your car was suffering from choked condensers or something? Mine were totally bunged-up with rubbish as the photos show.

 

Back on track, I should have a pair of new original condensers arriving on Monday, but the associated pipework is with the firm that is making the new charge-cooler rad. So I won't know if my pipework is going to shear off the same way as Alex's for about three weeks. If it does, then I'm tempted to put the new condensers up for sale, and go for a single unit, but I have to wait and see. As far as I know, the standard air-con works well, so either way I won't lose, except I might have a spare pair of condensers kicking around.

Margate Exotics.

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Ian,  

Your point about choked condensers is certainly valid and every Esprit will suffer with that problem at some point if the rad pack isn't dropped and cleaned regularly (royal PITA as you know) due to the ground level intake position, small opening size and very close spacing of the radiator fins which doesn't allow much debris to flow through. 

I think the difference in our opinions of the performance is relative to the climates we are used to. I've owned 5 Esprits and even when working properly, here in Florida where 95-100 degree temps are the norm during a good part of the year, none of them performed any better than what the local guys here would consider below average for a typical vehicle. The angle and large glass area of the windscreen generate so much radiant heat that you have to have a system designed with "overkill" in this car for these conditions, particularly after it's been sitting in a car park in the mid day sun and the cabin temps are 120 degrees. 

I guess it's all relative...

1995 S4s

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  • Gold FFM
1 hour ago, lotus4s said:

Ian,  

Your point about choked condensers is certainly valid and every Esprit will suffer with that problem at some point if the rad pack isn't dropped and cleaned regularly (royal PITA as you know) due to the ground level intake position, small opening size and very close spacing of the radiator fins which doesn't allow much debris to flow through. 

I think the difference in our opinions of the performance is relative to the climates we are used to. I've owned 5 Esprits and even when working properly, here in Florida where 95-100 degree temps are the norm during a good part of the year, none of them performed any better than what the local guys here would consider below average for a typical vehicle. The angle and large glass area of the windscreen generate so much radiant heat that you have to have a system designed with "overkill" in this car for these conditions, particularly after it's been sitting in a car park in the mid day sun and the cabin temps are 120 degrees. 

I guess it's all relative...

 

Ah, yes, I'm sure you're right. I'm all too aware what it's like there in the summer. I've been going there every year for about 8 years now, and it can be vicious. I'm back there again later this year. Mad dogs and Englishmen, eh?

I know what you mean about the horizontal windscreen, you just cannot avoid the radiant heat from it no matter what you do. Even when it's cold outside, I've never actually used the heater in my car since I bought the thing, and getting the air-con working is a must for me. 

So if your A/C was borderline to start with, has the single, larger unit improved matters by much? And has that idea been adopted by other Esprit owners in FLA?

Margate Exotics.

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Ian, 

It was definitely an improvement but it still struggled somewhat in the extreme heat. My thoughts were always that it was not because of the vent temps (they were good) but more due to needing more volume of air. I have contemplated trying to figure out how to get more out of the blower motor itself but alas, never made it that far as I sold that car a few months after completing it... to a guy in Canada. :lol: We speak occasionally and as far as I know it's still working fine. 

Ironically, the ac in my current S4s was not working when I got it and although I was able to get it working briefly, it has a massive refrigerant leak which I've traced to the evaporator and just haven't been able to talk myself into diving into that project yet. Fortunately, it's been cool enough here to drive without it the last couple of months but I'll have to do something soon. :cry:

If you ever get anywhere near Orlando, please give me a shout as it would be great to meet you in person!

Cheers,

Jim

1995 S4s

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Alex, not sure if your question was directed at me but this was the one I used. I would have gone with a longer one if I could have found one at the time and I'm sure you can find something comparable over there.

http://www.ackits.com/12-0440c-fshe-pf-condenser-12-x-27-31663?keyword=12-044

1995 S4s

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So that's a 12 inch tall condenser?  

That means (assuming it would fit a v8) over here in the UK we could source a

23x12x7/8 inch condensor (from the same place as the 10 inch tall one)

and the cline would be 107% of the original two. 

Petsonally, I'd pick the 90% volume 23x10x7/8 inch, parallel flow=16-23x10M, and am just awaiting a response to my email re cost-or I'll call on Monday to find out. 

That gives me new condensor, and I di t have to worry about if the leak is coming from the pipes, and although it's only 90% of OEM volume, it should be more efficient....

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Alex, not sure if your question was directed at me but this was the one I used. I would have gone with a longer one if I could have found one at the time.

http://www.ackits.com/12-0440c-fshe-pf-condenser-12-x-27-31663?keyword=12-044

 

Edit for possible correction: I'm not 100% sure that I used a 12" tall unit. In my notes I referenced a 27" x 10.5" but the part # that I noted was for the 12" unit. It was 6 years ago now so my memory is a little foggy. If you are at a point where you can measure the radiator frame, you should be able to determine for sure by looking at the pic I posted above. 

Sorry for the confusion. 

1995 S4s

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