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Lower grille reinforcement for A/C condenser protection

Discussion in 'Gen II Prius Accessories & Modifications' started by galaxee, Sep 20, 2007.

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  1. galaxee

    galaxee mostly benevolent

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    we've been meaning to do this for over a year- today we got some screening put in the lower grill to protect the a/c condenser from flying rocks and such. because we make a number of long road trips and with our luck, we're best off doing all we can to protect ourselves against loss...

    carefully dropped the front bumper...
    [​IMG]

    lower grille removed. see how anything that makes it through that grille whacks the a/c condenser? ick! (recall the bumper is dropped, there's far more exposed normally.)
    [​IMG]

    we used some coated window-screen stuff and zip ties that have been waiting all year. DH melted holes for the zip ties with a very hot screwdriver. (the tricks you learn!)
    [​IMG]

    back side of grille:
    [​IMG]

    front side of grille:
    [​IMG]

    i'll have to post pics of the grille installed when it gets light out. we kinda got rained on (go figure, it's happened about twice this summer) and then it got dark out.


    eta:
    final result
    [​IMG]
    1 person likes this.
  2. ACORNBLUES

    ACORNBLUES New Member

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    galaxee - i thought you have a car bra? Or maybe the one you have does not have a screen ... I have a lebra one and it has a screen over both the top and bottom grill. good tip though.
  3. patsparks

    patsparks An Aussie perspective

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    It is a good tip and will stop bugs in those bug prone places.
  4. galaxee

    galaxee mostly benevolent

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    the bra on our car doesn't have a screen on it, no. seems like a logical idea, eh? :)

    we weren't quite so concerned about bugs, i mean yeah there were far more bug impacts in the lower condenser than in the upper area, but our main concern is rocks that could punch a hole in it.
  5. apriusfan

    apriusfan New Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(galaxee @ Sep 21 2007, 12:51 PM) [snapback]515911[/snapback]</div>

    Bugs (if there are enough of them) can cut the efficiency of the heat exchange in the condenser. Lowered condenser efficiency will ultimately result in reduced mileage on hot days, so if you can protect the condenser, it is a good thing.

    In addition to rocks, in the S.F. Bay Area, we get all manner of road debris (things like pieces of tire tread carcasses come to mind), so rock/debris protection is a very god idea (kind of like an ounce of prevention vs. a pound of cure)....

    Where is the screen zip-tied to the lower grill? I was thinking about doing a screen mod to the lower grill myself. Where did you get the coated wire mesh? I tried Orchard Supply, but didn't like what they had (more like screening for windows). What you used looks a bit more substantial (presumably for the protection from rocks).

    Great idea.
  6. galaxee

    galaxee mostly benevolent

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    DH punched holes in that lower grille in 3 places on the top and bottom (left, center, right) with a torched screwdriver. see the 3rd pic from the top, you can tell it's shaped like a screwdriver :lol:

    i actually got the mesh from some leftover supplies from a non-science project from our lab last halloween. nobody needed it after we were done, so i took it home. i'm not quite sure what it is, but it reminds me of cat-claw proof window screening except stronger. it's pretty flexible stuff though. i guess that's all i can think of to describe it.

    the idea definitely wasn't ours, a few others have done such but i think we're the first to take a few pics of the process.
  7. bruceha_2000

    bruceha_2000 Senior Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(patsparks @ Sep 21 2007, 04:00 AM) [snapback]515658[/snapback]</div>

    But then the bugs all get stuck in the screen and block the airflow anyway :) In the winter I get lots of salt spray on the windshield. In the summer I get lots of bug splats on the windshield and dead bugs in the radiator. I noticed this when I put my engine block heater in 2 weeks ago. I am hoping they dry up and disappear.
  8. apriusfan

    apriusfan New Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(bruceha_2000 @ Sep 26 2007, 12:37 PM) [snapback]518078[/snapback]</div>

    Dead bugs don't just dry up and disappear. If you can catch them before they get to the a/c condenser (like at the grill) a quick spray (for that matter, a blast of compressed air will work) from behind the grill keeps the a/c condenser protected and delivering maximum condensing efficiency.
  9. jayman

    jayman Senior Member

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    I noticed the road debris issue soon after buying my 04 Prius. Frank Hudon had a great suggestion, the gutter guard stuff at Home Depot. The black plastic mesh blends in very well. I was able to attach mine from the front without having to remove the bumper.

    As far as protecting the condenser from dirt and bugs, I used a commercial HVAC product from NuCalgon called Cal-Shield

    http://ftp.nucalgon.com/ftp/prodlit/3-36.pdf

    Attached Files:

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  10. cairo94507

    cairo94507 Member

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    Jayman- well you solved the problem, but geeze it looks kind of bad.
    I did this mod about 18 months ago after a rock took out my AC condensor. Popped the grill out and installed the black netting with the real small cable ties and then cut the tails off. The only thing you have to do is clean the leaves, etc. out from time to time. But have not experienced any other problems and you really can't see the screen until you bend over and look for it. Simple fix and good preventative fix.
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  11. jayman

    jayman Senior Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(cairo94507 @ Oct 2 2007, 08:00 AM) [snapback]520226[/snapback]</div>

    I took the photo before I trimmed the zipties. You really do have to get right up to the grille to even notice it
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