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About a week and a half ago, I was cruising to work and a truck started dropping debris in front of me. I heard a couple ticks impact the front before I could back off and move over, and I continued on my way to work. That afternoon on my way home I fired up the A/C (its been in the 80's around here), and noticed it didn't cool very much. When I got home and inspected the system I saw the culprit. I little rock or something had dinged the condenser just enough to allow the refrigerant charge to leak out. With no charge the compressor will not run, so no cooling. P1060705.jpg
I ordered a new one from Autozone and had it shipped to my house. I received it today, and wanted to let the first generation soul owners know it was a breeze to replace! I took a few pictures along the way, but basically all you have to do is open the hood and remove that black cover piece between the headlights. Here it is on the ground.
P1060706.jpg
Under that cover is the hood latch (3 bolts), the horn (1 bolt), and another plastic cover that directs air into the air filter assembly. It is held on by those plastic body screws, that you unscrew and pull out... same as the first cover. Once that is off there are 2 more plastic pieces on either side of the condenser that hang on clips. You can reach down from top and bend them enough to start lifting them off the condenser. You have to reach UNDER to reach the left side lower clip, but everything else you can get from the top. P1060708.jpg
I laid out the pieces and took a picture showing what was removed.
P1060710.jpg
Once that stuff is out of the way you simply need to unbolt the 2 hoses from the right side of the condenser. They are 6 mm studs mounted in condenser and 2 nuts hold the pressure fittings on. 10mm socket will take them off and you can gently pull them off to the side. Note: my refrigerant charge was obviously already blown (nick in tube with oil residue sprayed all around it were the telltale indicators). Don't remove these nuts if you have refrigerant still in the system!
P1060707.jpg
The condenser itself is simply held in place by plastic clips that are part of radiator assembly, The condenser lifts up and out of these clips once you have pried them open enough to let it move.
The new one goes back in reverse order.
Once everything is reattached, you'll need to evacuate the system. I work in HVAC so I have the vacuum pump and gauges and associated fittings. I simply purchased a 22 ounce bottle of R134A and a can of oil (to replace the ounce or so lost when the charge blew). The can is 3 or 4 ounces but I only replaced about 1 ounce since that is about all I think it lost. I realize most folks don't have the A/C tools or experience required to finish this job at home, but you could at least replace the condenser yourself ($191 + tax), and have an A/C shop recharge the system for you. This ought to save some labor costs. It cost me $30 for the R134A bottle (w/gage and hose at Walmart), and $4 for the oil. The system is supposed to hold 18-20 ounces of R134A according to the sticker.
Anyway....thought I'd share my joy at how fast and relatively easy it is to change out a condenser. Takes about an hour from start to finish, and then an hour to evacuate the system and a few more minutes to add the oil and refrigerant. She's back running cool again!
 

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Wow ! You just dove in head first !

Good Job, Good Info....

:biggrin:
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I ran out of time when posting this , but I think I even found the little rock that did the damage! As unbelievable as it sounds, I found this little chip of granite down below the point of impact wedged in the plastic shroud. No, I can't be absolutely certain this is the actual "meteorite", but I couldn't believe I even found a rock chip like that! It was the only debris in that whole area. Here are a couple more pics that I couldn't post with the previous encyclopedia. P1060709.jpg P1060712.jpg
P1060713.jpg P1060714.jpg
 

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If it was & does look like a dangerous shape
Probably was a Jedi stone & used the "force" to pin-point the condensers weakness :victorious:
 

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I've had dents but they never hit hard enough to cause a hole. Good job on repairs and thanks for the pics/how-to. :)
 

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the lower part of my '08 Rondo EX was more exposed than the Soul and I had read some reports of this problem and was concerned, so I made up a metal screen grille for it and fastened it in that lower exposed area - felt better after that.

It was good for catching bugs too :sneakiness:
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Conwelpic, I have been considering this very thing. Just want it to be as simple as possible and functional, but not restrict any airflow. I like yours, but I have to work around a couple plastic bits in the way. I'll post what I finally come up with.
 

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used to own a 2016 Soul SX 2.0L - Caribbean Blue
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it was just a piece of gutter screen cut to shape and then wired to the plastic supports.
 

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Here is a picture of what I did. Kinda cheesy but should do the trick. I simpply wedged the screen into the area and put silicone along the edges to keep it there. If I ever want to remove it, I simply rip it out and clean off the silicone. No holes were drilled, and it has been there over a year. Also, my A/C is still working perfectly!! P1060757.jpg
 

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Here is a picture of what I did. Kinda cheesy but should do the trick. I simpply wedged the screen into the area and put silicone along the edges to keep it there. If I ever want to remove it, I simply rip it out and clean off the silicone. No holes were drilled, and it has been there over a year. Also, my A/C is still working perfectly!! View attachment 92377
If you did that, I think an entire piece covering the whole space would look much better and finished. Agreed?
 

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Nice job, kevster. Thanks for posting. :pride:

If it was & does look like a dangerous shape
Probably was a Jedi stone & used the "force" to pin-point the condensers weakness :victorious:
I believe you are correct. JEDI stone.

the lower part of my '08 Rondo EX was more exposed than the Soul and I had read some reports of this problem and was concerned, so I made up a metal screen grille for it and fastened it in that lower exposed area - felt better after that.

It was good for catching bugs too :sneakiness:
I've done screen covers for a number of cars. The Soul is a little more cluttered and complicated up topside where parts must come off so I haven't done it there yet. I did do my wife's PT a few years back.

I use a roll of aluminum screening, I put silver tape on the edges to cover any sharps, slide it in, and voila. Bug and stone screen.

With the added, if remote, possibility that the uneven aluminum surface will deflect radar to some degree.

it was just a piece of gutter screen cut to shape and then wired to the plastic supports.
Yeah.

If you did that, I think an entire piece covering the whole space would look much better and finished. Agreed?
Yeah.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
If you did that, I think an entire piece covering the whole space would look much better and finished. Agreed?
I agree completely! But.....The stainless steel wire I had on hand was too small to cut a longer piece, and I didn't want to buy more :), Also... I was concerned with closing all that space up and having the airflow restricted(say, with bugs or debris). It is pretty hot out here all summer (100 deg F + temps), and I couldn't stop worrying about it, so I decided the gaps on the sides would always allow airflow, and the "wire I had" coverage takes care of the area of the actual condenser tubes(there is nothing to get hit on either side of my screen), so it has stayed that way. Now that I have seen it work and do not see it clog with bugs, I feel comfortable knowing I can get a bigger piece and go all the way across. Just haven't done it yet.
 
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