DIY -2nd Gen Front Bumper Removal + AC Condenser Coil Guard Install
Time: 2 - 4 Hours
Half way through the return leg of a long road trip early last December, my AC began to blow warm air. I pulled over at a rest stop and looked under the car and discovered that my AC Condenser was leaking refrigerant all over the lower inner bumper. I drove the car to the dealer the very next morning and they confirmed that road debris had punctured my condenser coils. Unfortunately this was not covered under warranty and they wanted $950 + tax to complete the repair.
After much research I found that this was a common occurrence across all car manufacturers. I found a few threads on pending class action lawsuits against Honda and Toyota for inadequate protection of the fragile AC condenser given the close proximity to the road. I also came across complaints about previous generations of Infiniti's having similar issues as well. It seems the exposed coils are a design oversight.
After some "creative bargaining" and a "friendly" discussion with the Infiniti Master Mechanic and SA about lower grill designs, they decided to do a Goodwill service and I agreed to pay for half the labor totaling $130.
I do a ton of road trips in my FX and did not want to go through this headache again, so I decided to be a little proactive and build my own condenser guard. I came across a number of posts where people have devised their own AC coolant guards, and in one case Toyota addresses the problem with a TSB (see reference links section)
. Infiniti has also wised up as the more recent models have a Honeycomb grills in the lower bumper. Hopefully they will apply this to future FX's.
As an alternative, you could replace the condenser coil yourself if it ruptures and take your car to an AC specialist to have them recharge the system for a nominal fee, but I would rather just have it protected in the first place. It sucks not having AC on a long road trip...especially when driving through Florida.
1) Reduced airflow leading to overheating - ( I've confirmed that this is a none issue. It has been two months since installation, and the temp is at the same level it was before the mod)
2) Rattle/Noise - so far so good no noise from that area. Install is solid and holding.
3) Aesthetically pleasing - Judge for yourself, I like how it turned out.
- Review and print attached service manual pages -EXT 12 - 15, 31 - 33 (attached below)
- Moving Blanket ( to lay the bumper down on.)
- An extra set of hands ( to help hold the bumper when removing/installing. (I managed to do it alone because I am strong like that
- GROMMET - 76881-JG00A -$2.99 ( I broke one of these holding the trim because the plastic clip had pretty much crystallized and fell apart when I removed it)
- Commercial Electric Mounting Ties - Military rated for outdoor/high temperature use and UV Resistant. (Home Depot)
- Commercial Electric Mounting Base - Military rated for outdoor/high temperature use and UV Resistant with Adhesive-backing. (Home Depot)
- Metal Grill - Description "2.5 REG METAL LATH - B 722-000", should be enough to do two cars. (Homedepot $6.9
- Black Plastic dip or paint spray - (to blend with the car and give it a factory appearance.) (Lowes, HomeDepot - $4)
- Mechanics Gloves ( because you WILL cut your fingers on the grill without these, trust me).
-Automotive Trim Pry Bars (Harbor Freight - $6)
-Sheet Metal Cutters
-Screwdrivers - (you will need a Shorty Phillips and regular Phillips)
-10mm Socket wrench
Lots of patience and a beverage.