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Sanden Condenser Compatibility

Discussion in 'Tech Discussion' started by skysurfer, Sep 28, 2020.

  1. skysurfer

    skysurfer Full Access Member

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    For those that have swapped to a Sanden compressor and r134, what are you using for a condenser? I've started ordering ac parts since my R4, which has been growling for a long time, finally threw in the towel this weekend. In reading about the conversion, it's recommended to upgrade the condenser to a parallel flow design unit but I can't find one that's a direct fit.

    The most common one I see being used is the Spectra 7-3642/ NAPA NC3642A part number, but if you dig deep enough you'll find that one is listed as a 6mm dual pass condenser, which is not a true parallel flow unit. It's also sized slightly smaller overall than the oem tube & fin condenser and I would like to go with the maximum size that will fit. Still, it's preferable to the oem condenser, along with the piccolo units, because of the smaller tube diameters used in their construction.

    At this point, the closest thing I've found size-wise is ackits SF12-0407, but the fittings don't extend out like the Spectra condenser and would require some fabrication of lines and brackets to work. Any other input or suggestions would be appreciated.
     
  2. Craig 85

    Craig 85 Full Access Member

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    I used the Napa NC3642A. It's at least 2" narrower the the OEM unit. I don't have any issues with the A/C climbing in temp unless I'm in a lot of stop and go traffic. Since you're planning on using a Sanden, won't you have to have hoses made up? Here's my custom hose set up.

    IMG_2700.JPG
     
  3. Scott91370

    Scott91370 Full Access Member

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    Good to see this. I didn't know a different condenser was needed when switching compressor styles. Is the Sanden the larger size like shown in Craig 85's picture vs. the pancake Harrison style?
     
  4. Craig 85

    Craig 85 Full Access Member

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    Sandens all pretty much look like mine. There are some small variations on how they mount and exit ports. They are similar in design to the old A6 compressors, but smaller and weigh about 1/2 of the A6.

    Vintage Air makes a bracket kit for a serpentine belt A4 to Sanden. They also make numerous for V-grove systems too.
    https://www.vintageair.com/instructions_pdf/141805.pdf

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  5. skysurfer

    skysurfer Full Access Member

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    I should be able to use the stock hoses, or I should say the stock style hoses as I'm replacing the oem ones due to their age. I'm going to follow the directions @yevgenievich posted in his thread since he has what is essentially the same vehicle.

    https://www.gmsquarebody.com/threads/r4-to-sanden-whith-stock-ac-lines-for-serpantine.22437/

    Only thing I'm doing different is using the Ferd blue orifice tube after reading many posts on the K5 forum. I sent a pm to yevgenievich with a couple of questions but he's been mia for over a month.

    The NAPA condenser you used is my fallback if I strike out sourcing anything better. My unknown at this point is how contaminated the system is. I still need to pull the orifice tube to see if there's metal debris in it. My plan is to flush the evaporator core and everything going to the rear ac unit (suburban) while the components in the engine compartment will be new. The advantage to the NAPA condenser is the larger tubes in it won't get clogged if the flush doesn't get every bit of contamination. From what I've read, the tiny tubes used in the parallel flow condensers are better for cooling, but choke on contaminates and they can't be flushed out at all.

    This is all new to me. Up until now my experience with air conditioning has been limited to sliding the switch on the dash to turn it on.
     
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  6. gmbellew

    gmbellew Full Access Member

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    i have a shop doing a sanden swap for me now on my 1990 suburban. i used the thread linked a few posts up to source the belt, compressor, adapter fitting, bracket, and an orange orifice tube. i also got a new accumulator. i asked the shop to adjust the low side pressure cutoff switch if needed to maximize cooling. i didn't swap out the original condenser...hopefully that wasn't a mistake. i should have it back tomorrow and i will quiz them on things a little bit.
     
  7. Joshua Keith

    Joshua Keith Full Access Member

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    I used the 3642C and it only requires notching out a pc of the radiator support. It wasn’t too difficult at all. I was able to do it with a 4” cutoff wheel. Had hoses made from coldhose.com But I’m sure you can get some made from a local shop. In order to use the OEM hoses you have to purchase a new back plate for the compressor. No special tools required.
     
  8. skysurfer

    skysurfer Full Access Member

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    I
    In reading the linked thread above, it looks like Viktor was able to use the stock hoses by adding the ATC6302 adapter.

    Were you satisfied with the quality of the hoses you got from coldhose? I have a feeling I’ll need their services for something. The odds of ordering a bunch of parts and having it all work together aren’t very good.
     
  9. Poppy 87

    Poppy 87 Supporting Member Supporting Member

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    John, if you plan to flush the rear portion of the system, make sure to remove the rear expansion valve (if equipped, I know later trucks have one) or any debris will be collected there. Good luck
     
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  10. skysurfer

    skysurfer Full Access Member

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    Yes, I’m aware of it. The kit I’m ordering from Rock Auto includes a new expansion valve.

    I still haven’t ordered the actual compressor though. I can save quite a bit of money on fleabay but have concerns about either getting a fake one, or dealing with someone that’s not an authorized vendor and having warranty issues down the road. The smart move is to buy one directly from Sanden, I just need to stop thinking about the total cost of this repair and move forward.
     
  11. Craig 85

    Craig 85 Full Access Member

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    Real Sanden's will have this label and a paper flyer in the box explaining the label.

    IMG_2699 - Copy.JPG
     
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  12. Joshua Keith

    Joshua Keith Full Access Member

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    Oh definitely. Be sure you know what fittings you need. You can basically build them yourself but there are a ton of fittings to pick through. For example a #6, 8, or 10 size, clocked at a certain “time” and bent at a specific angle...If you want I can send you the build I did. So you can have a reference point.
     
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  13. Joshua Keith

    Joshua Keith Full Access Member

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    Here’s pics of the build.

    https://www.gmsquarebody.com/threads/a-c-rebuild-list-may-help-someone.29798/page-3#post-598560
     
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  14. skysurfer

    skysurfer Full Access Member

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    An update, I ended up getting a condenser from a company called Restomod Air located in Texas. They had the closest dimensional size options compared to the oem unit and are true parallel flow condensers. The concession is that it's not drop-in ready, I'll need to fab up some brackets and get some hoses made. On the upside, it comes with a mounting flange on all four edges to ease installation. The one I got measures 27.75"x16"x1" and is just a tad smaller than the original, but should work better since this type is supposedly 40% more efficient. I did a test fit and there's a couple inches of clearance on either side of the core support's inner uprights. Restomod has one other unit that would also probably work, it's 1.5" wider and .5" shorter, but I wanted to be sure I had room for the plumbing.

    I was kinda, maybe, hoping this was a USA product but at the price point it retails for I didn't expect it to be. Quality appears to be very good but it is manufactured in China. I would imagine if (IF) you could find something similar with U.S. origins it would cost three times as much. I had my doubts about the imported radiator I installed a dozen years ago, but it cools well and doesn't leak so I'm hoping for similar results with this.


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