2008 Saab condenser replacement cost

A/C works for a minute or two then nothing. Shop could find nothing wrong, put in freon, dye, did diagnostics etc…took in today when not working and I was told today the condenser was not working (pressure even intake and out…so not working to push thru coolant?..not sure if I got that right). I was quoted $957 out the door…this seems excessive since the reconditioned part is around $250 (and that’s mid range with 1 year warranty) and I was quoted 2 to 2.5 hours to repair. Even with $60-70 an hour labor rates…this still does not compute (even with R&I time). Is this reasonable? HELP!

Don’t let these people touch your vehicle.

The condenser is like a radiator. There are no moving parts. The only difference is with a radiator where the coolant is cooled off, the condenser condenses the high pressure gas into a high pressure liquid. So if a dye was added to the system and the condenser doesn’t display any leaks there’s nothing wrong with the condenser.

If they’re telling you that the low and high side pressures read the same, then the problem isn’t with the condenser. But instead with the expansion valve after the condenser.


@phunter I would not want a reconditioned condenser in my car

That’s assuming the diagnosis was even halfway correct

It is okay to remanufacture many parts, but not a condenser.

Tester…thank you! And you are correct, no leaks found. Any idea of the cost a expansion valve? (just curious)
-db460-. Reconditioned it okay, as most have a warranty. Hard to find OE Saab parts without paying a fortune and no warranty on THOSE currently.

RockAuto has your expansion valve for $33.00 plus shipping. http://www.rockauto.com/catalog/moreinfo.php?pk=2778014&cc=1441698

Now all you need to do is find an honest shop to install it.


I think the original poster has it wrong, the shop probably diagnosed a bad compressor and not a condenser. The two sound similar and people often confuse the two, especially when given the price (suddenly $$$ is all they hear). No remotely competent shop would see equal pressures at suction and discharge with the compressor turning and say it needed a condenser.

At any rate, if the system is at least partially charged and the pressures are constant and equal at all times you have a failed compressor. Replacement, done properly with a new drier, could easily run $900. Then after replacing the compressor, a comprehensive test of the rest of the system should be done to see if some other factor led to compressor failure.

Same pressure in and out? In the residential air conditioning market, a bad expansion valve will most likely cause high pressure differentials. Same on both side sounds like compressor not running.

Regarding this pressure being even, maybe what’s being referred to is the static pressure both high and low sides being stabilized because the compressor is not engaging.

Granted, a shop should realize this but you never know…

I was told the compressor was working fine. All diagnostics came back as fine. How does the compressor affect the pressures? (I’ll have to do some research on this as I don’t know the workings offhand of the A/C system)

(Asemaster: in fact, the shop corrected me when I asked if it was the compressor and told me no…it was the condenser)

Compressor new around $300…shop quoted 2 hours to install. I still can’t get the math to come to $957. Labor rate is $58 per hour.

Then this shop has no business fixing a sandwich, much less a car.

A/C systems are fairly simple. The compressor pumps the “Freon” through the system through various pressures and states to remove heat and create cool. If the pressures on the two sides (high and low, suction and discharge, in and out) are equal whether the compressor is engaged or not then the compressor has failed. There’s no way a condenser failure could cause even pressure throughout the system. Nor could an expansion valve.

Other than the nagging feeling there could be something lost in translation, I certainly don’t see a condenser fault even if one existed as causing equalized pressures.

A leaking damaged condenser will not allow pressure to exist at all and a clogged condenser will usually drive the high side pressure up and the low side down. A clogged condenser usually means the compressor is on the way out or it has gone already.

It would be interesting to know what that pressure is and if it’s for certain that the compressor clutch is engaging and staying engaged.

Symptoms: Air worked for 3 minutes, then nothing. Air works occasionally off and on for a few minutes, then nothing. (over a few weeks time) No leaks seen, all diagnostics showed as fine. Took back in today when not working (as it worked, says the shop, each time it was there) and this was when the condenser diagnosis was given.

Thank you all for your input. This gives me some good ideas of what to look for next and what questions to ask as well as what it could be and what it could NOT be., I’ll have to update everyone once I speak to the shop again on Monday.

new compressor cost? Is $957 out of line? Regardless, I’ll get more than one quote for work. Todays shop was highly recommended however I have lost all faith in them over the last few weeks.

Asemaster…thanks for the laugh (sandwich comment).

You might ask about those pressures. In most normally charged A/C systems there will be about 115-125 PSI static pressure when the A/C is not running or the compressor is not energized. This is on a fully charged system.

There are a lot of variables on the pressure when the system is running due to RPMs, temperature, etc but normally you will see around 30-40 PSI on the low side and 225-275 on the high side.

Hopefully they will provide a bit of this info and truth be known, the pressures should be notated on a repair order.

Offhand, it sounds like the compressor is kicking out too early due to a pressure or pressure switch problem but without car in hand it’s near impossible to say. I certainly don’t understand how a condenser diagnosis was arrived at; much less one that is intermittent. That makes zero sense.

I would expect static pressures to be more in the 60-70psi range.

I will ask for the pressures tomorrow. I was not given a repair order (part of why I’m asking these questions) and will ask for one with specific info on it tomorrow. I am also going to another shop for a second opinion. At this point I believe its the compressor in some way shape or form…but will get a few other shops to weigh in to make sure before spending almost $1000.

Thoughts on using new vs reconditioned compressors? Both show 1 year warranty…

New is always better if someone is having to pay labor and so on. A DIYer may very well use a reconditioned compressor with no problems at all but I’ve gotten several remans that were on shaky ground and usually had to come right back off.

As to static pressures, I’m referring to a non-running, non-operative A/C. It takes a few minutes before the high and low sides equalize in pressure; meaning the same reading on both.
Just my experience, but with a no cooling complaint, simply connecting the gauges can tell a lot. If both high and low sides have stabilized and the pressure is around 100 PSI on both sides that tells me the system may be a bit low on refrigerant.
If it shows 50, 60, or what have you, then that usually means it’s very low.

It’s entirely possible that you do not need a compressor and due to the unknowns this is still a bit fuzzy to me but the condenser thing still doesn’t make sense.

"Thoughts on using new vs reconditioned compressors?"
You already corrected a couple of posters when they assumed that the problem was the compressor, rather than the condenser.

In fact, this is what you told us previously:
“the shop corrected me when I asked if it was the compressor and told me no…it was the condenser.”

While I agree that it is EXTREMELY unlikely that this is a condenser problem and that the compressor is probably the culprit, your contradictory posts have me very confused.

Did another shop state that the compressor is the problem?