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front cross member + aircon


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I'm looking to change the front cross member on a 2005 Ducato 2.8JTD.


Most of the bolts are straightforward to access - but the cable guards on the drivers side do not look simple to release. There is only a small gap beween the intercooler and the aircon compressor behind it.

The positive cable to the starter runs directly on top of the cross member and is secured with an inverted U section sheet metal channel, secured to the top of the cross rail somewhere under the intercooler.

On top of this is a tall thin plastic channel through which 4 other cables pass. The channel is secured somehow to the sheet metal channel. Although its a closed box form, it looks as though the top is somehow clipped together, so the cables may be released when dropping the cross rail. Removing the sheet metal inverted u section looks more tricky. A You Tube video shows a before image - and an after removal picture but not the means of doing it - probably the sheet metal channel has been prized open?


Anyone tackled this and able to suggest the best method of releasing this? (I'm reluctant to remove the intercooler which looks the only sure way to make the fasteners visible)

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I had my garage change the cross member on my last van as it looked bad. When they got it out, it was only surface rust and a wire brush and coat of paint would have been good enough instead. So make sure that it really needs changing before starting the job.
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An update, having completed the job.


I did not find the task as easy as some have suggested; possibly the limited space where an air-con compressor is fitted has a bearing.


In practice I removed the intercooler, allowing the plastic channel for cables to be accessed. This pops open when the two top tabs are pressed to the rear. The channel can then be released from the sheet metal guard below by turning the two plastic discs under the cables - a quarter turn should release them.

This then exposes one of the two nuts securing the sheet metal channel that guards the starter motor + cable. Sadly, attempting to release simply resulted in the captive bolt in the cross member rotating.

In any event, the second fixing is under the radiator.


To allow the cross member to be lowered, the starter motor + cable had to be released from the battery and starter motor, plus a number of cable clips opened to provide more slack. The cross member was then lowered and both sheet metal channel nuts cut off with an angle grinder.


It may be that on non-aircon vehicles this cable protection is not needed and only plastic cable clips are used, making the job far simpler. If you have aircon fitted some replacement captive nuts for the sheet metal channel will be needed - they fit into two square holes in the top of the cross member.


With hind sight it might be possible to leave the intercooler undisturbed and to pop the plastic channel open from above. Then drop the cross member after removing both ends of the + starter lead. But getting the cables back in place would still be tricky. NB the plastic channel has a purpose - mine showed chafe marks on its rear face where ribs on the compressor unit casing are closest.


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