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How close should the condenser be to radiator

Vetteman61 on Wed August 13, 2014 10:17 PM User is offline

I'm installing an aftermarket parallel flow condenser into a 1971 Pontiac. Because I will be making my own brackets I'm curious how far the condenser should be from the radiator?

Also, the new condenser, despite being the biggest I could find, is still smaller than I expected because the measurements included the brackets. I know parallel flow condensers are more efficient. Do you believe this will be sufficient?

Here is a picture of the old condenser (tube and fin) under the new condenser (parallel flow)

Here is the new condenser on top of the old. They are the same height. You can see that most of the extra width was covered up with the endcaps of the old condenser, but the old condenser was almost twice as thick as the newer one. The newer one was advertised as "heavy duty" for use with "dual systems" or larger cars.

Thank you,

TRB on Thu August 14, 2014 11:57 AM User is offlineView users profile

Best to have the condenser 3.4 away from the radiator if possible.


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mk378 on Thu August 14, 2014 1:04 PM User is offline

You will want to close off the gaps around the top, bottom, and sides so all of the air that the fan pulls through the radiator also has to come through the condenser instead of going around.

On a parallel flow, the parallel groups of tubes usually aren't evenly divided. The group with more tubes is intended to handle the first pass which is mostly gas-- so mount the condenser with that at the top.

Vetteman61 on Fri August 15, 2014 8:27 AM User is offline

Thanks for the responses. My tubes appeared to all be evenly spaced. Just to make certain, the largest pipe connection goes to the top, correct?

bohica2xo on Fri August 15, 2014 2:23 PM User is offline

Yep, large fitting at the top. Large hole= gas in, small hole, liquid out.

I like your work table.

I believe Tim meant that comma to be a slash, as in 3/4" gap between condenser & radiator. I usually use foam weatherstrip to make sure the air does not go around the condenser on the way to the fan.

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~ Mahatma Gandhi, Gandhi, An Autobiography, M. K. Gandhi, page 446.

Vetteman61 on Sat August 16, 2014 11:15 AM User is offline

OK, thanks. I was thinking that there was no way I was going to be able to get mine 3 to 4 inches away. That's a good idea about the weatherstripping. I was trying to think of a way to make something from aluminum, but weatherstripping would be much easier.

CorvairGeek on Sun August 17, 2014 9:38 AM User is offline

An early Corvair w/102HP engine as a work table?


Vetteman61 on Mon August 18, 2014 1:17 AM User is offline

I just needed a large flat area to sit the condensers and it definitely won't hurt the old Corvair's paint job, or lack thereof. Another project for another day, haha.

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