Must you flush or not flush a dirty condenser? When an A/C system includes sludge, compressor debris or other solid contaminants, what is the most effective program of action?
flush condenser

Regrettably, there is no easy answer to this repair dilemma since the solution is determined by the situations, the automobile, the contaminants in the system and also the type of the condenser.

Condensers are trash collectors. Any debris that comes out of the compressor goes straight to the condenser. This is a very low spot while in the system so debris and oil naturally gather inside the condenser. But the debris will not stay put. Refrigerant flowing through the condenser can choose up debris and carry it to your orifice tube, expansion valve or back to the compressor. Debris can plug up the orifice tube or expansion valve, resulting in a blockage and reduction of cooling. Such blockages also can stop the circulation of oil from the system, starving the compressor for lubrication.

In the event the condenser is dirty, why not just replace it? That’s what numerous specialists propose. But condensers are costly to substitute, particularly on some newer cars that have a radiator/condenser cooling module. The option would be to clean the condenser having an authorized flushing chemical that hopefully will remove most or all of the contaminants. Flushing can preserve revenue, nevertheless it also raises the chance of a repeat compressor failure or an orifice tube or expansion valve blockage if the flush fails to remove all the gunk from your condenser.

Lots of compressor makers is not going to honor their guarantee if a replacement compressor fails thanks to recontamination or improper flushing. When you flushed the condenser and failed to acquire it clean, or you applied a cleaning item that is not accredited for flushing A/C techniques as well as the new compressor dies as a result, you chance a repeat compressor failure.

Some thing else to keep in mind about flushing is the fact that it follows the path of least resistance. In a serpentine-style condenser, there is only one path the refrigerant can abide by so the flushing chemical will adhere to the same path from your entrance on the exit. In a parallel flow condenser, the flush might not flow by all the tubes if some are partially or thoroughly blocked. Attempting to flush a dirty parallel flow condenser, for that reason, is almost certainly a waste of time.

Some say it is also a waste of time for you to flush newer serpentine condensers that have the really small extruded tubes. The openings only measure .040″ to .060″ – which improves cooling effectiveness but tends to make it really tricky to clean by flushing. Older tube-and-fin-style condensers with large tubes might be far more very easily cleaned with flush.

To cut back the potential risk of residual debris from a flushed condenser passing to the system and leading to issues, an in-line filter need to be installed during the liquid line following the condenser to trap any debris ahead of it might cause difficulties. A filter display also ought to be installed within the suction hose at the compressor inlet to trap any junk prior to it could enter the compressor. Debris can be blown backward to the suction hose and evaporator by a compressor failure, also, so never overlook this element of the system for anyone who is flushing to have rid of contaminants.

If flushing will not remove most of the contaminants, there might be so much residual debris within the condenser that it may plug the in-line filter. If this takes place, the resulting blockage may have the exact same impact as being a plugged orifice tube or expansion valve. Which you do not want.

Condenser Sludge & Black Death
Sludge is what you get when moisture gets inside an A/C system. Moisture reacts with the compressor lubricant and refrigerant and forms corrosive acids. The acids eat away on the metal parts and create sludge that can damage the compressor and plug the orifice tube or expansion valve.

Ford FX-15 compressors have had a high failure rate from “Black Death.” So should you find a Ford A/C system full of black goo, Ford recommends replacing the FX-15 compressor with a new or remanufactured FS-10 compressor and installing a new accumulator, hose assembly, orifice tube and condenser. Ford does not advise flushing the A/C system in this instance.

Corrosive acids also can eat pinholes throughout the evaporator and condenser from the inside out, creating refrigerant leaks. Flushing a leaky evaporator or condenser is usually a waste of time as the parts need to be replaced. There are sealants that could be utilised to temporarily plug a leaky evaporator or condenser, but some refrigerant recovery and recharging equipment suppliers do not encourage using sealants in A/C methods because the sealer could gum up the hoses and valves on service equipment.

Condenser Flushing
Only two car producers currently encourage flushing to clean condensers: Ford and GM. Ford approves flushing with VSL338 terpene-based solvent, while GM says it is actually OK to flush but with liquid R-134a only in a closed-loop recycling or recharging machine to reduce loss from the refrigerant.

Chrysler and Toyota do not encourage flushing. If an A/C system is contaminated and consists of debris, Chrysler says replace the condenser and hoses.

When you do flush parts, flush only the condenser, evaporator and hoses. Do not flush a compressor, accumulator, orifice tube or expansion valve. Substitute the accumulator, orifice tube or expansion valve. Also, do not flush hoses that contain in-line filters or mufflers. Replace these hoses with new ones.

Various types of flushing equipment are available. For open-loop flushing having an approved solvent, the setup includes a tank, hose, gun and adapters and catch pan. The equipment uses shop air to drive a 50 psi pump for the gun. Flushing takes about 15 minutes. Afterward, the condenser and other parts must be allowed to air dry for about 45 minutes in advance of they are returned to service.

Another type of flushing equipment uses shop air to pulse the flushing chemical from the components that are being cleaned. This helps dislodge debris and reduces the overall flushing time for you to 30 minutes or less. This type of power flushing equipment typically sells for $2,000 to $3,000.

Flushing also is usually utilised to remove residual lubricating oil from an A/C system. This really should be done when retrofitting older R-12 methods to R-134a to remove the mineral oil. Flushing is also recommended if an A/C system consists of too a great deal oil, dirty oil or the wrong type of oil.

Flushing Chemicals
Do not use any chemical except one that has been approved for flushing A/C programs. Do not use parts solvent, brake cleaner, degreaser, carburetor cleaner or similar products simply because they can leave behind chemical residues that may possibly result in problems. Also, avoid any chemicals that are hazardous or toxic.

A flushing agent should have good solvent properties, be compatible with all system components (O-rings, seals, etc.), be safe and easy to use, dry quickly and leave no residue that could bring about problems later on. R-11 used to be used as being a flush, but isn???t any longer due to the fact in the restrictions on CFCs. Liquid R-12 or R-134a can be utilized to flush a system, but may possibly not dislodge sound debris. Slow-drying ester oil-based hydrocarbon solvents also are available but typically require long flushing cycles (over an hour!), special flushing equipment and are challenging to remove (which raises the chance of oil overcharge and contamination). Some flushes also are flammable and dangerous to use.

One flushing solution approved by several compressor producers is HCFC-141B. This chemical is marketed under a number of brand names including “Dura Flush 141” and “Acc-U-Flush.” HCFC-141B has excellent cleansing properties, evaporates quickly and leaves almost no residue inside the system (less than 4 ppm). It really is nonflammable, safe to use and is compatible with both R-12 and R-134a systems. This type of product or service is usually made use of by having an open-loop flushing system.

Ford has accredited the use of a product or service called “Clear-Flush” by Bright Solutions Inc. This is actually a terpene-based cleaning solution that does an excellent job of removing contaminants. Additionally, it is compatible will all types of compressor oil and it evaporates conveniently.