Condenser Inlet Tube Leak

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528i-1981
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Condenser Inlet Tube Leak

Post by 528i-1981 »

A very slow leak in my AC system was still there following an evaporator refresh. I found a pinhole on the condenser inlet pipe just where the lug is for the flare fitting. I want to delay replacing the condenser (I'm still running the original serpentine) with all that entails. Has anyone successfully soldered pinholes on the condenser pipes? It seems the location is ideal for this approach, not much different from household plumbing.
(oo=00=oo) Eric
1981 528i Manual
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Mike W.
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Re: Condenser Inlet Tube Leak

Post by Mike W. »

Condensers can be repaired, but due to the pressures and temperatures involved silver solder is used not plumbing solder.
Mike W.



1980 528i, 3.5 euro, 5 speed conversion
1981 528i, 3.6, Recaros and more. Project
1998 328is, quick and efficient, but not satisfying
2000 528iit, Vacation mobile/wife's grocery getter
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528i-1981
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Re: Condenser Inlet Tube Leak

Post by 528i-1981 »

I tried a couple of things, including solder and aluminum brazing rods, but ultimately failed with the condenser still in the car. So the condenser will need to come off, and if I'm doing that then I'll replace the serpentine condenser with a parallel-flow and replace the original fuse-melting fan.

As any new condenser will have o-ring fittings and my hoses have flares, this gives me an excuse to buy a beadlock tool so I can make new custom hoses with o-ring fittings rather than attempt to use the o-ring-crushing male-flare-to-o-ring adaptors.
(oo=00=oo) Eric
1981 528i Manual
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528i-1981
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Re: Condenser Replacement

Post by 528i-1981 »

The 14x20 Vintage Air condenser (03261-VUC) fit for me using short-drop 90-degree fittings for the hoses. As tlake has mentioned, you can use the Behr condenser’s mounting tabs on the top. I used a SPAL 30102030 12" swept blade fan with the SPAL 30130011 mounting brackets. These are great because they extend beyond the edge of the condenser and can be used with a 1-1/4" spacer on the bottom to mount the assembly to the sheet metal.

This stuff is packed in there pretty snug, I'm not convinced you could go any bigger with anything.

Image
To get the fan motor centered in the nose, attach the bracket to the first hole along the top of the condenser. The bolt to the right of the fan mounting bracket passes through the original Behr mounting tab, which has been turned 180 degrees. M6x30 bolts.

Image
On the right side of the condenser, the fan mount bracket is mounted at the fifth hole from the right, coinciding with the Behr bracket. An M6x35 or 40 bolt was used here.

Image
On the bottom of the condenser, the fan mounting brackets are longer than needed. I’ll add a stainless steel spacer here and use PEEK washers for sound insulation and use a #10 self-tapping 2" stainless steel sheet metal screw. The bracket will ride above the wire clip. The points on the screws can be Dremeled off if needed.

Image
This is the #8 short-drop 90-degree fitting at the top (inlet) of the condenser. This is a test fit with no hose so it isn’t tightened yet, but you can see it’s a close fit. The old #8 flare on the line coming from the compressor is on the bottom left - that hose will be removed entirely.

Image
This is the #6 short-drop 90-degree fitting at the bottom (outlet) of the condenser. There’s a bit more room down here, but probably not enough for a standard 90-degree bend.

The #6 line runs straight to the dryer, but you'll need to use a step-up fitting there if you replace the hard line as I have, as the dryer has a #8 flare fitting.
(oo=00=oo) Eric
1981 528i Manual
tlake
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Re: Condenser Replacement

Post by tlake »

528i-1981 wrote: Thu Dec 30, 2021 9:12 pm The 14x20 Vintage Air condenser (03261-VUC) fit for me using short-drop 90-degree fittings for the hoses. As tlake has mentioned, you can use the Behr condenser’s mounting tabs on the top. I used a SPAL 30102030 12" swept blade fan with the SPAL 30130011 mounting brackets. These are great because they extend beyond the edge of the condenser and can be used with a 1-1/4" spacer on the bottom to mount the assembly to the sheet metal.

This stuff is packed in there pretty snug, I'm not convinced you could go any bigger with anything.

Image
To get the fan motor centered in the nose, attach the bracket to the first hole along the top of the condenser. The bolt to the right of the fan mounting bracket passes through the original Behr mounting tab, which has been turned 180 degrees. M6x30 bolts.

Image
On the right side of the condenser, the fan mount bracket is mounted at the fifth hole from the right, coinciding with the Behr bracket. An M6x35 or 40 bolt was used here.

Image
On the bottom of the condenser, the fan mounting brackets are longer than needed. I’ll add a stainless steel spacer here and use PEEK washers for sound insulation and use a #10 self-tapping 2" stainless steel sheet metal screw. The bracket will ride above the wire clip. The points on the screws can be Dremeled off if needed.

Image
This is the #8 short-drop 90-degree fitting at the top (inlet) of the condenser. This is a test fit with no hose so it isn’t tightened yet, but you can see it’s a close fit. The old #8 flare on the line coming from the compressor is on the bottom left - that hose will be removed entirely.

Image
This is the #6 short-drop 90-degree fitting at the bottom (outlet) of the condenser. There’s a bit more room down here, but probably not enough for a standard 90-degree bend.

The #6 line runs straight to the dryer, but you'll need to use a step-up fitting there if you replace the hard line as I have, as the dryer has a #8 flare fitting.
Great job 528i-1981, it looks very neat, and like all modern cars there is no room to spare :!: :D

Yes, I do believe that is the biggest unit you can fit, and I think Robert Bondi posted that he fitted the very same unit on his 1977 530i. Originally the e12 came with a 12x19.5in Behr condeser back in the R12 days, but that wasn't as slimline as today's parallel flow jobs, and the original fan wasn't very slimline either. 8)
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maybeillbuyit
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Re: Condenser Inlet Tube Leak

Post by maybeillbuyit »

Great post here Eric. I'd really like to tackle this some day. Nice pics etc. My LA e12 buddy who's not on here is just talking about AC systems and parts etc. He showed me the crimper hes considering.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Mastercool-715 ... 632-2357-0

Can you post a link to where you purchased this stuff?
1977 530i another project
1979 635csi Euro "project"
1987 635csi
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528i-1981
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Re: Condenser Inlet Tube Leak

Post by 528i-1981 »

Howdy Dave:

I bought a Chinese knock-off crimp tool (Ibosad, sold on amazon for about $140) of the Mastercool 71500, which came with dies for standard and reduced-barrier hoses. Looks like the unit on eBay only has the standard dies. The 71550 doesn't come with the hydraulic handtool, so you need to mount it in a vice. It evidently works well, but you can't crimp the fitting onto the hose while the hose is in the car, which is a major convenience.

The SPAL fan I bought on amazon. The hoses and fittings I got from Nostalgic AC, except for the short-drops which I got from AC Parts Warehouse (acparts.com).
(oo=00=oo) Eric
1981 528i Manual
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maybeillbuyit
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Re: Condenser Inlet Tube Leak

Post by maybeillbuyit »

OK thx very much Eric. All this AC stuff is on my list. Which is getting really long
1977 530i another project
1979 635csi Euro "project"
1987 635csi
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Robert Bondi
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Re: Condenser Inlet Tube Leak

Post by Robert Bondi »

Awesome work. Good to see some of these parts I used for my R134a conversion in 2006 (condenser, SPAL fan) are still available.
I think I'm going to need to do the same from scratch on my Euro restoration car. The no A/C setup is pretty brutal in Texas.
Robert
77 530i
77 Euro 528
tlake
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Re: Condenser Inlet Tube Leak

Post by tlake »

Robert Bondi wrote: Sun Feb 06, 2022 3:35 am Awesome work. Good to see some of these parts I used for my R134a conversion in 2006 (condenser, SPAL fan) are still available.
I think I'm going to need to do the same from scratch on my Euro restoration car. The no A/C setup is pretty brutal in Texas.
It's so neat you have US/Euro 1977 examples of the same car :!: 8) Are they both the same color by any chance :?: BMW's aim was that the 530i and Euro 528 had identical acceleration and top speed. Maybe they did, but perhaps they didn't deliver the performance in the same way :?:
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Mike W.
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Re: Condenser Inlet Tube Leak

Post by Mike W. »

Just wondering if you just ran a single speed on the replacement Aux fan, or a two speed like OE?
Mike W.



1980 528i, 3.5 euro, 5 speed conversion
1981 528i, 3.6, Recaros and more. Project
1998 328is, quick and efficient, but not satisfying
2000 528iit, Vacation mobile/wife's grocery getter
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528i-1981
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Re: Condenser Inlet Tube Leak

Post by 528i-1981 »

I wired it into the OEM harness with the intent of keeping it as a two-speed. I assumed it would work the same as the original blower, but I haven't fully tested its function yet other than to verify it comes on with the AC (stage I). Today is supposed to be warm here so maybe I'll check it out by jumpering the 99 degree temp sensor or the stage II relay.

Maybe you know the answer to this - there are two small plates bolted to the right motor mount bracket just behind where the AC compressor lives and behind the anti-sway bar. They don't appear to be doing anything but are loose. Before replacing the compressor I'm either going to tidy/tighten them up or remove them.

Image
(oo=00=oo) Eric
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Re: Condenser Inlet Tube Leak

Post by Mike W. »

Those things do serve a purpose. They're supposed to be tight, I have no idea whey they're two and not one thick one, but they limit engine movement on hard braking. Now you may be rolling your eyes, but on my long gone Bavaria with the same motor mounts but no bracket, it had gotten to the point where on hard braking I could hear the fan hitting the radiator. Hit the brakes hard and BZZZZzzzzzzz. It had been hit in the front long before my ownership and had slightly reduced clearance, but even with everything good there's not much clearance. That was hard braking not a panic stop. I had an E12 by then too and was eyeing doing a retrofit when the car was rear ended while parked and totaled.

So yes, I would clean them up and bolt them up nice and tight.
Mike W.



1980 528i, 3.5 euro, 5 speed conversion
1981 528i, 3.6, Recaros and more. Project
1998 328is, quick and efficient, but not satisfying
2000 528iit, Vacation mobile/wife's grocery getter
tlake
Posts: 417
Joined: Wed Feb 03, 2010 6:33 pm
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Re: Condenser Inlet Tube Leak

Post by tlake »

Mike W. wrote: Tue Feb 15, 2022 1:09 pm Those things do serve a purpose. They're supposed to be tight, I have no idea whey they're two and not one thick one, but they limit engine movement on hard braking. Now you may be rolling your eyes, but on my long gone Bavaria with the same motor mounts but no bracket, it had gotten to the point where on hard braking I could hear the fan hitting the radiator. Hit the brakes hard and BZZZZzzzzzzz. It had been hit in the front long before my ownership and had slightly reduced clearance, but even with everything good there's not much clearance. That was hard braking not a panic stop. I had an E12 by then too and was eyeing doing a retrofit when the car was rear ended while parked and totaled.

So yes, I would clean them up and bolt them up nice and tight.
I think there's even less fan to radiator clearance on e12s than e3s. :shock:
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Re: Condenser Inlet Tube Leak

Post by 528i-1981 »

Mike W. wrote: Tue Feb 15, 2022 1:09 pm So yes, I would clean them up and bolt them up nice and tight.
Excellent and thanks - I thought you might know. That actually makes sense, but I never would have figured that out. They don't appear on realoem.
(oo=00=oo) Eric
1981 528i Manual
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