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|Explorer, Ranger, A/C & Heater systems HVAC Ford Explorer, Ranger, Mountaineer, Bronco II, Air Conditioning and Heating Systems.|
|06-05-2010, 09:00 AM||#1|
Wannabe Elite Explorer
Washington DC area
2002 XLT; 2001 Exp Sport
Join Date: Apr 2005
2002 Condenser & Drier R&R---Lessons Learned
Lessons Learned on this job:
Not too difficult, knocked this out in 3 hrs at local AFB Auto Skills shop with my 16 yr old son. Shop Techs had the hammer on everything evacuation and recharge, they used an automated machine where the Tech hooked up, pressed start (suspect it was a bit more complicated than that but the human element was very removed). He pulled 3.5 lbs of R-134A and oil as indicated on the readout. Once that was done we got to work.
I took off the plastic cowlings the day prior and sprayed Liquid Wrench on everything I could reach or see associated with the job. I bought the condenser and the drier/accumulator from "discountacparts.com" from San Diego the week prior, they promised 4 day shipping to DC area and true to form parts there in 4 days. $145 for the condenser and $55 for the drier, $5 for the orifice tube. The guy who packed the order failed to put the orifice tube in the shipment, they took $5 off the order. Not thrilled but what could I do. Parts were fine and looked good.
THE RADIATOR DOES NOT HAVE TO COME OUT FOR THIS VEHICLE! DISCONNECTED BATTERY.
References to left and right are when I am standing at the front of the vehicle looking into the engine.
Removed 4 large bolts on two brackets on either side of radiator/condenser assembly. 13MM I think. Then 10MM to remove two more bolts holding add'l brackets on top of assembly. Left side bracket came off, the right side is attached to tubing to condenser and chose to leave it attached as I hate when the nylon clips start to break when I mess with them. Now Top of condenser was exposed and ready to come UP and out.
Next we removed the A/C tubing to each side of the condenser. 13MM deep sockets needed here, pretty easy to access and remove; short strokes on the socket handle though. Slight hiss when we cracked the first nut. Got both sides loosened in about ten minutes.
Drier on left side, large nut at the top very easy, bottom was a different story. The nut is 10mm and must be accessed from underneath laying flat in front of the Front Passenger side tire. Blind operation inside of a cranny in the bumper/front assembly. Once it was loosened got it by hand thankfully as difficult to get a tool in there.
Loosened and removed the two tubes to the drier, right tools would make all this easier, seemed my socket set needed longer extension or a U-joint at times.
Now got serious and ensured everything was free and clear, not just loosened.
Got the Drier out, tight squeeze but just push the A/C tubes aside. Drier has a foam neoprene type sleeve, have a couple of zip strips to re-attach it to the new drier; I linked two medium ones together to go around the drier. Careful where you lay this thing as dye and oil will come out if you invert it.
Pulling the condenser out was not too easy though, there are two hard plastic "sleeves" or flanges that fit on each end to ensure the air flow continues towards the radiator and not out the sides. We wrestled with these while pushing the radiator assembly towards the engine with a fair amount of force. I also have a transmission cooler shoved in there from a towing package; not a factor. We slowly worked the condenser up and out; tweaking and twisting gently and pulling it up. If there is an easier way we didn't figure it out. The front of the condenser was quite dirty, had a oily area dead center with green dye coming from it. The oil was a clear give away of the leak dye or no dye.
Cleared the debris out of the bottom of the condenser area; bugs, leaves, dirt etc and prepared to put the new one in. Removed the two "covers" on the condenser access ports, when I loosened the bolts there was a LOUD hiss. This was good news! Evidently the condenser is shipped under vacuum so this told me it was air-tight, no damage in shipping. We slipped the plastic sleeve on the LEFT SIDE ONLY and dropped the condenser back into position, then we "worked" the right side plastic sleeve onto the condenser. We tried lowering it in with both sleeves on and that proved impossible, the final solution for us was drop it in with only one side on then get the other one on. Next my son slipped under the front to ensure the pegs on the bottom of the condenser fell into the rubber grommets at the bottom of the pan to keep it in place, having another set of eyes under there was pretty helpful, he assisted by sliding the grommets left/right and talking me into moving the condenser as well.
Next we dropped the drier back into position, slipped the top portion into place, there is a little "metal tang" that goes into a small hole in order to align it so the bolt will thread properly, the bottom went into place as well as was fastened from the hellish position below.
Tightened the A/C tubes back onto the drier, tightened the two tubes to the condenser, triple checked everything then put all brackets and fasteners back in place.
One trick I use on jobs with multiple steps is to use an egg carton or ice cube tray to put all nuts, bolts and fasteners into the bins in order, working from left to right, top to bottom on the two rows. Then when it is time to go back together I reverse the process, keeps me honest and in order.
When we were all buttoned up, called the Tech, he ran the evac again while we ate our lunch. After about 40 minutes he came back for the re-charge; again all automated. It indicated 3.5 lbs and the oil is automatic (I hope). We fired her up and she cooled well. Drove home in arctic bliss, now let’s hope it holds.
I did not replace the orifice tube as I did not have one with the snafu from the shipping and the Green HBNR O-Rings that I bought at autozone NONE seemed to match the size of what I was pulling from the vehicle. I asked the Mechanic there and he said not to sweat the orifice tube on my vechicle and since the O-Rings all looked good, were not that old I should not take a chance on O-Rings that were “close” in size. Don’t know if these two things will come back and bite me.
Firestone wanted $1100 for the job, I did it for $275.
I spent some time reviewing the "stickies" and have pages of photos and tips printed and ready, I still have some questions.
6 cyl, Front/Rear AC system, hole in the condenser (dye and oil stain in the top center of it)
Most of the stickies were older trucks, can anyone offer help on the '02 regarding pulling the condenser and drier?
Specifically, lessons learned (both the hard way and "oh! that was easy).
Will I have to pull the radiator like some indicate here? Or is that model specific?
I'm doing this at a "auto skills" shop at my military base nearby, the techs there will handle all the evacuate/recharge IAW the laws. Are there little tricks or tips that would improve the vacuum and evac that I could politely steer them to as it is my vehicle and not theirs? In other words my level of interest in performance is higher. Glacier991's A-Z guide was clear on the benefits of a long vacuum, how can I prod them to the same level of detail besides politely asking. Can I get them to throw the vacuum on and then "tinker" with other things to continue to draw? When is enough enough?
I just had the system recharged to pinpoint the leak and is it possible to recapture any R134 or oil (if there is any left next week; am awaiting parts) or do I care?
I have seen many types of oil, do I use an oil with dye in it already for "next time" (perish the thought!)?
It will be hot next week, any other Rule of Thumbs on pressures in those temps? I saw a 2.7/1 on pressures, what should I look for in that heat?
In an "02 do I need the "special tool" to remove the reciever/drier fitting?
I saw the capacities on the plastic cowling of the radiator, do I need extra can of refrigerant of buy the 56 ozs as indicated?
Should I get new o-rings? Yes, and how do I know the sizes needed based on the condenser/drier/orifice that I am replacing?
Can anyone offer what they would buy in advance; sort of a laundry list that you would want in your possession before you crack the first bolt?
Any help would be greatly appreciated, tips, lessons learned, things NOT to do, pitfalls.
I'm taking a day of leave to do this and hope to get it knocked out in one day, suspect my only obstacle will be parts or something I break that sets me back.
Suspect I missed some questions and your answers will raise more.
THanks in advance
Last edited by F15E_WSO; 06-12-2010 at 01:26 PM. Reason: Job complete, update on work
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