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Today during a 100 mile drive some small rocks were thrown up by a car passing in the opposite lane.
I try like most to avoid rocks but sometimes they seem to be laser guided toward our cars.
When I got home I noticed 2 small rocks trapped below the AC condenser coil ( rocks were small no larger than 1/4 inch or slightly larger ).
One had bent a few fins and also one of the condenser tubes.

There has been some discussion on Planet 9 about this, how expensive the condenser is to replace and Porsche will not cover under warranty.
At least one company makes mesh shields to provide some protection. Its a trade off with air flow and protection.

Has anyone with a 981 on this board damaged their front AC condensers recently?

The are made by Zunsport in the UK and cost about $415. The other supplier of mesh grills in California called Porschemesh.com
still does not yet appear to have a 981 product?

I saw there was a prior thread here about this - I would prefer to buy them premade rather than go the HD gutter mesh route.
Updates appreciated.
a rock do any damage (other than perhaps cosmetic but I really never bother to look very hard) to the condensers. And I can assure you rocks have hit the car, one can see the numerous scars on the bumper cover and the hood and even the windshield. (The 2nd one, the original finally developed a full width crack from a rock hit and had to be replaced.)

I suspect more often what happens is the thing develops a leak due to corrosion. Keep those radiator ducts free of trash/litter. Or the driver pulls too far in and runs the nose over a high curb and this damages the condenser or radiator. (Lost both on the driver's side to an encounter late at night with a Detroit Alligator (tire carcass).

IIRC Porsche forbids any screens at the radiator intakes though what Porsche forbids often is ignored more often than not.

You have to worry about how much surface area a screen/mesh takes up. There are charts (and formulas even) that give some numbers for area reduction based on the area of the mesh screen and its wire side and wire spacing. The reduction can be upwards of 30% to 40% or more.

Also, there is the issue about a piece of paper blowing up and covering the opening. I've seen a number of other make/model cars on the road with a newspaper or plastic bag blocking the radiator. In the case of the Boxster the opening is not that large so a full blockage of one side is possible. While I have driven both cars with one non-operating radiator fan with no overheating issues I'm not anxious to drive either car with one radiator duct fully blocked off to the point no air would flow through.

Last there is a false sense of security. The mesh may stop the rocks but it won't stop the dirt/sand and smaller particles of dirt. These will accumulate, pack and retain moisture and corrosion of the condenser and radiator will still occur, maybe at an accelerated rate as the larger fluffy stuff (blocked by the mesh) tends to keep the smaller denser stuff from becoming as compacted. Because the build up is not visible you will let the cleaning of these ducts go thinking all is ok until a leak develops.
Must be my unlucky day. I avoid rocks, dump drucks etc. as much as possible.
In this case just before I reached the area where the rocks hit a car passed a dump druck and I can
only assume that is where the rocks came from.

The picture shows the damage from the very small rocks - condenser is still intact but who knows down the
road in time?

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/19/2014 11:14AM by JoeU ontheriver in VA. (view changes)
What is the big deal? It is only a big deal if it is leaking. Otherwise, drive on. Guys who put tons of miles on cars, like Marc and Me, tend to not get upset by this stuff at all (at least I don't blink).

If it is leaking, then replace it.... I would use Pelican Parts where you can get an OEM part, no Porsche label for around $200. I do this all the time, they are the same parts in my experience. If it were me and it was leaking, I would replace it myself, then bring the car to a shop to recharge the system.

I have removed the bumper on my 2000 S to clean the radiator/condenser and was darn easy to do. While I didn't remove the AC Lines, the condenser itself was just snapped in IIRC

Bruce in Philly

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 06/19/2014 04:06PM by Bruce In Philly (2000 S Boxster, now '09 C2S). (view changes)
I have noticed that the 981 rads seem more exposed than the 986 which are tucked back further in the nose. I bought a set of screens but I am on the fence whether to install them or not. Regardless I think I will make pulling the bumper and giving the rads a good clean part of my yearly routine.

Chris - '01 Boxster - Seal Grey / Black / Black ; '87 944 Turbo (track beast) ; '86 944 - needs a new home!
Its not a big deal but it is a poor design. Once you put a condenser or rad this close to the road surface wide open it
will take more hits. Good news is I have all the equipment to service AC including vacuum pump if it finally blows down
the road.
Of course, it is up to you if you want to proactively replace the unit.

I haven't looked at the condensers of either car very closely for a long time. I looked yesterday at the Boxster's and there are some signs of some rock hits but nothing looks serious, to the point I would have to doubt the integrity of the condenser.

Did spot the passenger side rubber ducting hanging down behind the bumper cover. I guess this rubber is getting so old it can't stay in position anymore but drops/droops down and partially blocks the opening into the radiator.

This weekend I'll have to let the car sit in the sun to get that rubber nice and warm and force it back up where it belongs. If it won't stay up I will have to think about having that replaced at some point.
Here are my condensers at around 175K (??) miles. They look darn mashed up to me but were still very functional and this was their first cleaning.

Bruce in Philly


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/20/2014 01:44PM by Bruce In Philly (2000 S Boxster, now '09 C2S). (view changes)
Thank for sharing those pics Bruce.

I am sure your air filter doesn't look that that???...does it .. eye popping smiley .need pics

Beer Fridgesmileys with beer


When replacing the one in my Boxster I've found considerable trash on top of the filter element. One has to be very careful then when changing the filter to ensure none of that stuff falls into the air box.
One has to be very careful then when changing the filter to ensure none of that stuff falls into the air box.

That's what the dust buster is for… vacuum first, with the wand extended then move filter.
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