Please see myturbodiesel's bulletin board and VW TDI forum to ask a question or post a comment about this procedure. When you remove or swing the lock carrier to the side, it's suggested to not disconnect the condenser. This avoids the need to evacuate and charge the AC system. It also keeps moisture out of the AC system.
The second half shows how to remove the AC compressor without disconnecting it's lines (for engine or starter removal)
Remove the front chrome grille from the bumper. You don't have to remove it off the car completely, just swing it out of the way.
First remove the 2x T30 torx bolts at the sides of the chrome front grille,
one is pictured below.
Then release the hood latch trim (yellow arrow). I suggest flipping it
upside down and snipping a slot in the lower half to remove it. You never see the
underside and the flexible plastic will let you easily remove/replace it.
You can use a dot of glue to secure it during replacement. If you don't
want to snip it, try heating it with a heat gun. If you still can't get it
off, just turn the grille 90o and just leave it there to get access
to the bolts underneath.
Use a plastic pry or non marring auto body clip tool to push the clips at the
bottom/top center of the grille towards the rear of the car so that you can pull
the grille up and out. There's also one at the top. If the hook gets
caught under the bumper skin, try to catch the lip to push it in. You can
cut a notch in the bumper skin to help get a pry in there easier in the future.
The notch will not be seen since it's covered by the grille.
Remove the T-30 torx screw bolding the center support and the 2x phillips screws
holding the air guides. Remove the air guides (1 phillips screw
each) and note which one is left vs. right.
Press on the release in the center of the pin while prying the pin out.
Then you can remove the clip holding the condenser. Note that left vs.
right clips are reversed so that each clip's long side is on the outside
edge. This prevents the condenser from moving left or right.
Remove the electrical sensor (high pressure sensor) (bumper removed for illustration) or wait until
it's halfway out for easier removal.
You can now lift the condenser up to clear the lower support and then swing the condenser down and out. As it comes out, remove the electrical plug on the line, the high pressure switch.
Remove the AC belt by loosening the tensioner (2x 6mm allen bolts).
Note the 17 nub above the pulley for tightening the tensioner.
Then remove the 3x 13mm long bolts holding the compressor to it's
bracket. Ignore the 13mm bracket nut.
You can now remove the compressor but make sure to rest it on something so
that it's not stressing the lines.
Have any more tips on replacing the AC compressor? Please post in the VW Passat forum linked at the top