Replacing AC condenser on a 2016 Leaf S

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GerryAZ said:
I don't think you will have enough oil left in the compressor after pulling vacuum for extended time to worry about. Just use the correct amount for filling an empty system. A little extra oil may slightly reduce the cooling capacity, but probably not noticeable on the LEAF. The main thing is to get the leak repaired and the system fully clean and dry. Are you planning to replace the accumulator? It might be a good idea since the system was open so long. Good luck with your repairs.

I was most concerned about debris being left inside the compressor. But it doesn't sound like one should actively flush the compressor so I guess you remove, drain, try to get as much oil out as possible and hope for the best.

After I have it all back together I'll want to pull a vacuum (I'll do it for a long time to boil off any condensation) and then verify it can hold vacuum before recharging.

As for the accumulator, I thought that was only on the model with the Heat Pump.

But to your larger point, the dryer on the Leaf is part of the condenser assembly so I've decided to replace the condenser even if the issue turns out to only be the high pressure pipe. a) I've already bought the replacement condenser b) I suspect after being open so long it needs a new dryer.

Thanks for the help.
I apologize, I did not read the non-heat pump part of the service manual carefully. It looks like the dryer is in the liquid tank which is a separate piece, but mounted to the condenser. Since the first part of the manual shows an accumulator, I assumed both systems would use one. In any case, the dryer (liquid tank in your case) should be replaced since the system was open for extended time. Good luck with the repairs, I will be following this thread.
GerryAZ said:
It looks like the dryer is in the liquid tank which is a separate piece, but mounted to the condenser.

It's all one piece. A/C Condenser and Receiver Drier Assembly

Interesting--there are two different exploded views in the service manual for 2016 S. The view I looked at before shows the tank as a separate item, but another view shows the condenser with liquid tank as one part. The view with the tank separate shows O-rings (and tightening torque) for the connections at the bottom of the tank.
GerryAZ said:
Interesting--there are two different exploded views in the service manual for 2016 S. The view I looked at before shows the tank as a separate item, but another view shows the condenser with liquid tank as one part. The view with the tank separate shows O-rings (and tightening torque) for the connections at the bottom of the tank.

There was a change over in April 2016. Mine is the pre April.

I also bought an aftermarket model not OEM. It is pre April fitment.

The OEM fiche shows 4 diff condensers, pre/post April 2016 S and pre/post Jan 2016 SL/SV.
Plan is to try and tackle this next weekend May 7th/8th. Have plans this weekend.

I have the replacement high pressure pipe, replacement condenser, ND11 oil, R134a, R134a can adapter, 1 gallon flush solution, flushing system, compressor, manifold gauge set and vacuum pump.

The only minor concern I have is o-rings. Service manual says to replace whenever you remove/reinstall any hose and I believe you need to use HNBR for a/c.

I'm not paying $2+ per o-ring that Nissan charges.

I picked up this pack of HNBR o-rings. They're an in-stock item so I can get more if I run out but my concern is that it won't contain a size I need.

If anyone knows of a chart that specifies Nissan o-ring part# -> size I'd appreciate a pointer so I can be sure I have all the sizes I need before starting.
Well !#$%.

The condenser I purchased which was for Leaf S manufactured prior to April 2016 does not fit. The upper left mounting bracket is different which I immediately noticed but the bigger issue is that the bend of the left side exit tube is different so it doesn't mate to the high pressure tube :-( It is not a one off defect as looking closer I can see the same issues on the website image.

According to my dealer:

   Leaf S  From 04/2016.

    Leaf S To 04/2016.

They reconfirmed my car was manufactured 10/2015,

Looking at the 2015 fiche, the condenser was 92100-3NF0A and that shows as superseded by 92100-5SA2A which matches the above for pre April 2016.


You need to remove the right front wheel to access the lower high voltage shield bolt and also the lower compressor mounting bolt. The compressor needs to be removed/installed from below through the wheel cavity - so adding new oil is best done after it's re-installed (using a fill tube).

Getting the front bumper off was fun, the manual is useless, fortunately this video helped to figure out the tabs and the hidden screw:

Before this you need to remove the charging port and bracket. Again the manual isn't really helpful as it has you bouncing back and forward. I removed based on intuition.

You need to remove the "safety plug" which is located in the passenger compartment:

You can replace the condenser without having to remove and drain the radiator, it takes some wiggling but it can be done.

I'm off now to flush out the evaporator which is under the dash. Access is basically right behind the electric motor. PITA location. A 1970 pickup like in the Autozone video this is not ;-)

Here are some pics in case it helps others:

dorkshoei said:
I'm off now to flush out the evaporator which is under the dash. The hoses connect to it at the headwall, basically right behind the electric motor. PITA location. I reinstalled the old broken high pressure hose and also still have the flexible high pressure hose. I'm hoping I can just flush through these as trying to get in behind the motor (as you can see them doing in the autozone video above) is going to be really hard and messy. A 1970s pickup truck this is not :)

I used AC Pro Flush solution. Part# CQS-11GAL. $40 for a gallon. I barely needed 1/2 gallon.

According to the schematic, the high pressure tube (metal) from the condenser is the input to the evaporator and the rubber tube (to the compressor) is the output.

I installed both tubes (metal and rubber) to the headwall connector. The compressor is still removed so I put a plastic container in it's place and routed the rubber tube into it. I connected short length of plastic tubing to the metal tube and forced the cleaning solution in through it.

Pushed it through until it was coming into the output container. Then left for 10 minutes. Then used compressed air through the metal tube to clean it out.

Repeated the process with new flush until it came out clear.

I'll hang around for the circus, watching you screw up because people that could have helped decide to ignore your sorry ass
Go ahead --- keep ordering parts. :lol:
So the TRQ 80188 didn't fit as I mentioned above. I wasn't prepared to bend my new high pressure pipe the amount that would have been needed to achieve fitment. Doubly so since the previous pipe had cracked. The TRQ claimed fitment for 2013 to 04/2016 Leaf S.

Since there seemed so much aftermarket fitment confusion I decided I'd better get one in-person locally. 1-800-Radiators had a Pacific Best brand in Seattle that they could get to their Portland store the following day.

The only other brand I could find that (from web pictures didn't have the TRQ issue) was a UAC CN 4368PFC. The UAC claims Xref to 921003NF0A/921005SA2A and 921003NF0B which is both sides of the Nissan 04/2016 changeover and 2013-2019 by model year ~shrug~ but the shop "was no longer allowed to buy UAC" whatever that means.

So the Pacific Best arrives and it's damaged. They did let me take a picture to show the TRQ output pipe difference.

Left to Right, Pacific Best, TRQ and Nissan/OEM:

So they ordered a new Pacific Best. They also said they could get a Cryomax. I had the last minute idea to ask them to please order both to avoid another screw up.

So Friday comes, the Pacific Best is lost in transit but the Cryomax arrived. Both the Cryomax and the Pacific Best have a one piece connection rather than the two piece of the OEM/TRQ/UAC which makes installing without removing the radiator slightly harder.

The Cryomax stated Leaf 2013-2016 on the box, on the web it only mentions crossing to the pre April 2016 Nissan part not the post April 2016 but also claims 13-19 model year fitment ;-)

Turns out it's fitment wasn't great either but on the opposite side. There is a plastic channel where the dryer sits and you can see that the dryer is too close to the condenser on the Cryomax compared to the OEM which means the entire assembly no longer aligned with the bolt holes. I had to make a new standoff out of some strip aluminum.

channel in radiator assembly

Cryomax at front, Nissan OEM at rear

New mounting bracket to space the dryer further out

If I had the time to do mail order again I think I'd try the UAC CN 4368PFC. From the pictures I don't think it has any of the deficiencies of the TRQ or Cryomax but you never know. Buying local avoids this surprise. The Nissan part is $691 list $580 discount but it's visibly better quality. Oddly the TRQ appeared the best made of the 3 aftermarket units I tried except for the really poor connection fitment issue.

Getting over a cold, hopefully finish putting it back together tomorrow.
Ok. All back together.

I pulled vacuum for an hour. Then left for an hour. It was holding at 30 inHg. I then pulled vacuum again for 3 more hours last night and it dropped to above 30inHG (off the gauge scale). This morning it was still holding at this. I pulled vacuum for one more hour this morning then added the R134a.

I just went for a drive and I was able to pull the vent temp down to 45 degrees but it's only 70 degrees outside right now. I'll retest when it's 85+ and see what the vent temp and hi/low gauge pressures are.

As @DaveinOlyWA mentioned there was a TSB for the earlier 13-15 MY which addressed high pressure pipes cracking. NTB16-050 I was curious as the hp pipe I ordered 92440-3NK0A (which supersedes the earlier version on my car) had an additional mounting clamp with bolt hole near the high pressure port. On my original pipe the foam circle is there but not the clamp. I guess the factory when they made the car (10/2015) removed the clamp from the pipe as it's no longer used. I don't have the frame bracket. I didn't try removing the clamp.

The dealer told me that they'd not had many issues with these pipes since the TSB. I guess I'm unlucky? I sure hope it does not crack again.

I still believe my original OEM condenser is fine so no thanks to the original dealer who diagnosed it as bad. I've kept it in case I need another in the future (assuming it pressure checks) though after this time apart I'd need to install a new dryer assembly.

Four things I'd do differently if I was doing it again:

1) I ended up adding the ND11 to various points in the system (150ml total) on the basis that the freon will blow it around. I'd missed the line in the service manual that a new compressor comes per-installed with 150ml. 20ml will remain after draining compressor (which I did). Since I'd flushed the evaporator and all hoses and replaced the condenser I should have just added 130ml of new oil into the old compressor, reinstalled and not added oil elsewhere.

2) Adding TP9811-P3 dye when recharging is probably a good idea. Easy to do when switching R134a cans (425g ~15oz is needed and the cans I used were 12oz - I used an accurate set of scales to add the final 3oz from the second can). It was suggested to me that it can be hard to detect a minor leak based just on the vacuum gauges. However by this time I was already a week behind schedule due to the condenser fitment issues, my wife wanted the car to be working and I couldn't find anyone local who sold the hybrid dye. So I ordered a TP9812-BX kit which should allow me to inject dye into the lp port without hooking back up the gauges. It will be here next week. I'll just sell it on after I'm done assuming no new leaks.

3) There are a lot of bolts that look the same but are slightly different, especially for the charging port bracket. I did use multiple different zip-lock bags and marked them but I only did a 90% job and this cost me time. Take detailed pictures at each step and look for bolt differences, mark the bolts you remove at each step onto the image (the fiche is ok at showing where bolts go and the part# but not at what the bolt looks like) and add add them to an individually marked zip lock

4) Also, dropping bolts is really easy. I had one drop thru a hole and into a frame member which took for ever to find. Usually they just fall onto the underside particle board guard. If I had access to ramps removing this guard would make finding dropped bolts easier. On the topic of this guard, I did use some fiberglass to fix all the cracks in mine (I guess from driving over things). They were reasonably easy to fix with it still installed.

On the topic of bolts. The bolts that secure the hoses (to the firewall, compressor, condenser) are all the same style (threaded with an unthreaded tip at the end) but one was shorter. Looking at the parts fiche the bolt that mounts the clamp to the headwall (to evaporator) is the only one with a different part#. So I figured that must be the shorter one. Odd as the clamp it goes through is the same thickness as the rest. If I'd paid better attention (above) I would have saved myself time here. Too bad Nissan can't just list the bolt specs (TD and length) on the parts fiche.

My best move was putting the front back on the car when I was finished and forgetting I'd not reinstalled the foam bumper. Had to take the front off again ;-(

Hope this helps someone else! Thanks to all those who offered constructive help!
Oh and here is the parts/cost

Condenser Cryomax		$125.00
OEM H/P Pipe 92440-3NK0A	$ 89.71
R134a 2x12oz		 	$ 21.98
ND11 oil 200ml		 	$ 18.99
A/C O-Ring kit			$  5.29
A/C Flush			$ 39.99 (1/2 used)
R134 can tap			$  6.99
H/Freight Manifold Gauge	$ 37.46

Total:  			$345.41

Dye injector TP9812-BX 		$124.39
UV Flashlight			$  6.00
UV Glasses			$  2.00
First post here - I've owned my leaf for about 4 years now. It's a 2014 S.

This post hits really close to home! Huge thanks to OP for posting his experiences with this - its incredibly helpful! I'll start by saying I am somewhat handy with wrenches, but I'm not a specialist and I'm definitely lack much knowledge in the AC spaces.

I noticed my AC stopped working sometime late last year, after the warm weather had left. I didn't think much of it. I took it to a shop and they tested it and said there's a leak on the high pressure line side. The shop quoted me over a thousand dollars to repair this. That included a new hardline and a refill. I told them no thank you. I saw a lot of evidence of leaking where the high pressure line meets the condenser(?) up at the front. I pulled the line and in doing so noticed I broke the line clear off of the fitting / connector:


I plugged the holes as best I could for now. I have ordered the hard line. I intend to replace the line and then put a vacuum on the system overnight. And then take back to the shop where they'll do the refill etc.

A few questions / observations:

1. When the shop did the assessment, they blew some sort of trace dye through the system. In reading through this thread, it looks like a particular type of dye can be problematic / toxic to the electric compressor - I'm thinking when I go back I should ask them what kind of dye they used? I'm not sure if they'll even know, but perhaps then I should request they do a cleanse of the system itself perhaps, should they have used a dye that is not compatible. Is there a way I can determine by looking at the dye - it looks like a fluorescent yellow to me - whether it is toxic to the cars' AC system or not? The tech had said also that he would include dye in the system when they re-fill it - which might make some sense - but again, I'd need to confirm they're using the correct dye. I'm also hopeful, if I do the vacuum procedure myself, and let it sit for an hour after the process, I should have a good idea if there's a leak - although I'd have NO idea where the leak was. :-/ Fact is, with the AC working correctly 99% of the time before this failure, I suspect everything WAS in good working order a few months back.

2. Based on Nissan USA's record, the recall for this hardline was completed back in 2016 before I owned the car. When I found this failure, I looked and noticed the hardline is clearly missing a bracket (or so I thought!) that would secure the hardline to a mounting point nearby. I'm wondering if there was just negligence by the tech that did the recall in not installing the bracket or what may have occurred here (?!).
I'm curious to see if the new line from Nissan includes the bracket or if one can be ordered separately - I would think this would have easily prevented the line failure - but at the same time, sounds like OP's car did not even have this mounting point available.(?)

3. I looked at replacing the drier, but quickly found out it's part of the condenser and therefore is a very involved process. I'm electing to not replace it at this time. The best deal from Nissan is $600+ shipping, and based on the OPs misadventures in finding a good OEM fit, I am scared to go aftermarket. How much of a gamble am I taking here?

4. Any other specific expectations I need to set with the shop doing the work on my car?
1. Re-read my earlier posts. I listed the correct dye that I purchased. TP9811-P3
2. Re-read my earlier post. It addresses the bracket issue.
3. My Cryomax has been fine but again, as I said previously, if I was doing it again I'd probably get the UAC CN 4368PFC but only if I could source locally. I wouldn't do mail order again.
4. Yes, read the thread again :)
Also it sounds like your AC has been exposed to atmosphere for about the same time as mine, maybe a month less.

I bought my replacement condenser as the original shop that diagnosed the failed AC told me the OEM condenser had failed. As I said earlier I suspect they were confused and the actual issue was the cracked line. I got the impression (maybe reading, maybe a local shop told me) that the dryer on the OEM had probably gone bad anyways due to being exposed to the atmosphere for that amount of time.

I would definitely ask the shop who you're using to do the refill for their advice on this. I have no idea if the dryer slowly degrades when exposed to atmosphere or if it's more binary.

Good luck. Keep us posted on how you progress.
Pull vacuum as long as you can--the longer you pull vacuum, the cleaner and drier the system will be. If it holds a deep vacuum for some time after you turn off the vacuum pump, then you probably have moisture and debris removed. Moisture remaining (such as in the receiver/dryer) will boil off under vacuum so you will lose vacuum quickly if the system is not clean and dry.