Replacing A/C condenser that was opened due to an accident, any reason to also replace the compressor?


$100 Site Donor 2023
Nov 28, 2014
Steilacoom, WA
I am replacing the AC condenser on a 2005 Lexus GX 470. The reason for the replacement is the GX 470 was in a accident, and the condenser was damaged, leaking out the freon. I am also replacing the timing belt on the GX 470. Is there any likely benefit to just replace the AC compressor when replacing the condenser? Rock auto sells a kit to replace the entire AC system, or one can just replace the condenser with an integrated / Receiver Drier/Accumulator.
Just replace the condenser. If your ac pump was working well then it has a reliability history. I’m sure we’ve all heard stories of someone replacing a water pump, alternator, ac compressor etc just to have it fail shortly after. Not saying you can’t still buy quality parts but why chance it.
The compressor should be fine. I would also replace the accumulator since the system has been opened.

As far as the oil goes, the new condenser may already have the needed oil inside.
Any tips on how to know how much oil to add? I have no idea how much, if not all the oil was lost.
Do an internet search and you might find this like replacing a hose add 1oz of oil. replacing condenser add 3oz of oil.
  • Like
Reactions: GON
Any tips on how to know how much oil to add? I have no idea how much, if not all the oil was lost.
The FSM will usually tell you for each component. It's not really about how much oil was lost outside the system, it is about how much is trapped in the specific component that you're replacing.

Some parts will tell you in the instructions like the Denso condensers and receiver/driers that I have replaced. Back in the day they used to give you a small can of oil but not so much lately.
Here is something to get you going in your search.

  • Helpful
Reactions: GON
First, the dryer needs to be replaced. Anytime the AC system is exposed to the atmosphere the dryer needs to be replaced as the amount of moisture in the system exceeds what the dryer can capture. The AC system then needs to undergo an evacuation (to get rid of the compressor oil) and undergo a vacuum test to check for leaks. Then, the correct amount of R134a (Freon was phased out decades ago) and compressor oil are added to the system.
I wouldn't replace the compressor unless there was an issue with it. Definitely the drier as well as the orifice tube/expansion valve, then add the necessary oil to the system and vacuum it down to make sure it has no leaks. I've rebuilt a few A/C systems over the years and the compressors I have only replaced when they stopped working.
  • Like
Reactions: GON

Thanks for all the awesome comments; BITOG really is a master mind group!

From the comments, I have clarity on what to do. RockAuto only had one condenser available from a major name (Nissen), so I wanted to order it with the potential of not having one available if I am late to order. If one ordered the entire kit (condenser, compressor, etc), one can get an OEM condenser (DENSO), but one can't purchase the DENSO condenser stand alone on Rock Auto.

I was unable to test the AC compressor but have no reason to believe it is defective. I do have to pull the compressor to replace the timing belt, but will be keeping the compressor that is in the SUV.

Thanks again!
Having worked in insurance claims in a past life, I wrote hundreds of estimates in which a condenser was replaced and don’t think I ever had a compressor on the estimate. We may have paid for one once at the shop but it was probably already shot and the customer lucked into a freebie.
  • Helpful
Reactions: GON