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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
This is a very basic write-up of the work I did over the last weekend to replace the AC condenser on my 1998 TDI. This should apply to all engines I would suspect.

Two major steps to this operation, removal of the front body of the Beetle, and then removal of the radiator/condenser.

Tools required are basic, socket set, torque wrench, Torx set of screw driver bits (T15, T20, T25, T30 required), allen wrenches, ramps, jack and jack stand.

Before you begin, if you are going to work on your AC system, removing the condenser or working on the compressor, you will need to have the R134 in the system removed by a shop. It is illegal to allow it to vent to the atmosphere. If you are like me and had your AC system have a broken hose then it's been taken care of (hooray?).

Removal of the front body
1. Parking brake set, and transmission set to Park or in 1st.
2. Loosen the lugs on your driver side front tire and then jack up the front driver side and put a jack stand under the frame. Leave the jack on as well to have both the jack stand and jack holding up as it is safer. Complete the removal of the driver side front tire.
3. Remove the wheel well liner by removing all of the torx screws holding it in place. There are approximately 10 in total, there is one non-visible screw up in the perch for your strut. I use a stubby screw driver to get that one out as there is little room up there. Pull out the liner being careful around the strut as it needs a bit of twisting to fit around.
4. Remove the bolts, nuts, and screws holding the front body to the frame within the wheel well. There are two bolts up above that require a 10mm socket, four nuts on the side that require a 10mm socket, there are two screws under the car by the driver door that use a T30 torx, and then one screw to the front top that also uses a T30.
5. Put the wheel back on the car and tighten the lugs. Remove the jack stand and lower the driver side of the car. Optionally you can leave the wheel off and leave the car on jack stands. I prefer to lower the car to the ground for the next part as it is easier to work on the screws that need to be removed from above that way.
6. Repeat steps 2-5 for the passenger side of the car.
7. Reach in under the car and disconnect the electrical connection for your fog lights if you have them.
8. Remove the driver and passenger side front signal lights by prying off the cover and using a philips head undoing the screw.
9. Remove the front headlights from the Beetle.
10. With a T30 torx screw driver remove the approximately twenty screws holding the front on to the frame from above.
11. With an assistant, DO NOT TRY THIS ALONE YOU WILL WRECK YOUR CAR, pull the driver/passenger fenders away from the bolts holding it in place, transfer your hands so that one is on the fender part, and one is on the bumper part for proper support, and then tilt/pull the front away from the car. Do not hold the front part up by only the fender or bumper as that will cause the other part to flex and potentially bend out of shape ruining your day. Make sure you and your assistant understand how you want to move the part before you begin to move.

Removal of the radiator/condenser

Now this part gave me some problems at first. The bentley manual was vague and/or wrong in regards to removal or working on the radiator and condenser. I had to take what was there, and what I found online in regards to the Beetle and other VWs like the Jetta to piece together what needed to be done to get the condenser, radiator and fan assembly apart and off the car. Now for my work to repair the AC system I did not need to touch the radiator and fans, just needed to remove the condenser. I'll try to cover how to get all of it apart. The first thing to know is that the radiator, condenser, and fans are not mounted to the frame of the vehicle directly or to the engine, they actually mount from the front with the bumper and what is known as the lock carrier. Now once you realize this, and then look at the vehicle you will see that if you were to simply unbolt the lock carrier and bumper the radiator, condenser, and components will all be held up by only the radiator and condenser hoses, which are not meant to carry the load.

1. Drive your car up onto a set of ramps. Leave the car in gear (or park), parking brake on, and then put a set of blocks on the back tires to ensure it goes nowhere while you work. Safety.
2. Crawl under the car and remove the belly pan, then remove the passenger side skirt and driver side skirts.
3. If you are going to remove the radiator you'll need to drain the coolant. The drain is located to the bottom left of the radiator. I should point out that you have to do this with the car cold, not hot. Hot would be very very bad and maybe kill you with scalding hot coolant. I didn't do this because I was just after the AC system.
4. Disconnect the cable for the hood lock and the electrical connection for the hood open/close sensor. Remove any clips that would hold either to the lock carrier.
5. Remove the bumper, there are four large bolts that use a 13mm socket on the large plates that hold the bumper in place. Additionally these hold the lock carrier in place along with two bolts on top. Once the bolts are undone just pull it forward. It's weighty but not really heavy, it only looks heavy.
6. Grab your jack and a 3 foot length of 2x4, we're going to use this to hold up the weight of the radiator once we remove the lock carrier. Jack up until the wood is touching the bottom of the radiator and able to take the weight. Use a piece of wood like that so you support the radiator across the length and not in one place where the weight might cause damage to the light metal of the radiator as it sits on the jack.
7. Remove the two bolts on the top of the lock carrier. You'll note now that the entire assembly is floating free and held up by the jack.
8. The lock carrier is attached to the radiator/condenser with four torx screws on the front, remove those and pull the lock carrier off.
9. Disconnect the AC lines going to the condenser and to the receiver/dryer which is a cylinder attached to the condenser using a 5mm allen (might be 4mm or 6mm on some bolts). One thing to know and remember is that the dryer is full of desiccant, intended to remove moisture from the AC system. Once you expose it to the environment it will pull moisture from the air and quite rapidly become useless. Oh yah if you didn't remember to get the R134 removed you're gonna get a blast of it on that first bolt you remove.
10. Unscrew the four torx screws holding the condenser to the radiator and pull it off. Be gentle as the radiator is just floating there on your jack.

This is as far as I went with my work, so the next few steps are guesses based on what I saw.

11. Disconnect the radiator hoses and unplug the electrical connections to the fans. The radiator and fans should now be free to remove from the car.
12. Remove the fan carrier from the radiator.
 
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