Bent ac condenser slowly rubbed hole in radiator

2004 Honda CRV, 217,000 miles! Has a radiator leak. Shop asked what I had hit, because the AC condenser was bent and had punctured the radiator. I’ve had this baby since 2009 and never hit anything which I guess means it was the previous owner. Shop says it must have been rubbing against it the past decade and eventually put the hole in. Shop (Honda) wants 777 for condenser and 716 for radiator (540 and 566 after market once I pushed for those prices). Not clear where on radiator and if it is a metal or plastic part with a car this age? No issues with AC fan, temp and car not overheating, just have a slow leak. I know it’s time for a new vehicle, but first some questions 1. Could I just replace the radiator? My reasoning is if it took the condenser years to rub a hole, let it. Car won’t last that long. 2. Is this something I could do myself (maybe with a friend who has actually worked on cars a bit) with a lift and buying the parts ($60 for condenser and $75 for radiator). 3. Does anyone know if this radiator would be metal or plastic? If metal I read I could cold weld the hole? I love my CRV and it runs great, but I also don’t want to pour any more money into it when I’m saving for a new to me FJ Cruiser. Thanks!

If the AC still works, I’d just replace the radiator.

Just make sure the condenser no longer rubs on the radiator.


Thanks Tester! I may just need to find a local shop who will do that, and not Honda, or do you think it should be a fairly straightforward replacement that I could tinker with?

Are there radiator shops still around that will patch or rebuild? It has been soo long since I have had to do try that.

Don’t mess around trying to repair a radiator. they are cheap and easy to change. I would just shim the condenser mount a little so the no longer touch.

I changed to a larger performance radiator in my Mustang 3 years ago. It was not an east tinker. It took a lot of work to remove things to allow me to remove it. Or course all those things had to go back on. Not a hard job but it took quite a few tools to reach everything. I’d say, no, not a tinker job.

If you want to be a complete cheapskate . . .

Go to one of those mom and pop shops that only sell radiators

Odds are they’ll have a cheap chinese radiator for your car in stock, possibly for around $100

If you are at all handy . . . you should be able to figure out a way to mount that new radiator without contacting the condenser

I concur w/the advice to only replace the radiator. The condenser might well be good for the rest of the life of the vehicle, so not much upside to replacing it, and a big downside as it means an AC specialist will be required. Strongly discourage any attempt to repair the radiator, waste of time and money.

No experience on a CRV, but I replaced the radiator in my non-AC-equipped, manual transmission Corolla, and that was a very easy job. 45 minutes max, less than $100 for an aftermarket radiator. No special tools required. It will be more difficult on your car b/c of AC and also if you have an automatic transmission. But should still be doable. If you want to diy, don’t without a written procedure to reference. Don’t guess. Chiltons/Haynes manuals should have procedure. Might be posted on the internet too, so try a Google search. If you are lucky somebody has posted a u-tube vdo for this job, so check there too. Best of luck.

1 Like

Find a YouTube of the radiator replacement, see if you can do it.