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v8 A/C Compressor, what is easiest way to remove it??

Discussion in 'Stock 2002 - 2005 Explorers' started by firefly1246, August 18, 2016.

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  1. firefly1246

    firefly1246 Active Member

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    Hey Guys,

    So it is super hot (in the 90s in SC) and I need to replace the air conditioning compressor on my v8 4x4 '04 Explorer. Can anybody offer any advice on the easiest way to remove the compressor? It doesn't appear going through the top is an option, and it looks really tough to go through the bottom. The only thing I can think of is removing the fan and radiator and hoping there is enough room. I have searched and searched and can't find any related post for the v8 explorer. i have mostly found info for the v6 (which appear to be pretty easy) or people that just paid a mechanic.

    Background: Truck has 145k miles on it and a year ago I was having intermediate a/c issues. I traced down that the clutch engagement wiring had been rubbed through near the oil pan which is typical of the v8 explorers. My plug had also been replaced in the past by the PO as they had a poor attempt to repair it in the past and their fix failed again. I also replaced my cycling switch as it was cheap. I also checked the a/c clutch gap and found it was too big, so i ground .015" off the clutch shim. My A/C then worked great for about 6 months. My next issue i found was the wiring inside the A/C clutch was shot and if I touched the plug on the compressor with a screwdriver(or anything else) the A/C would work until the next big bump down the road. I guess the wiring has finally completely failed cause now the compressor clutch will only engage if i hold a screwdriver against the plug and disengage once I release the screwdriver. So instead of paying $100 for just the clutch assembly, I poneyed up the $150 for the whole A/C compressor from Amazon (I know big spender). The compressor looks like a pain to remove and would prefer not have to do it again in the near future.

    Thanks guys!!
     
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  3. plasticseng

    plasticseng Active Member

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    I'm not sure about the V8 so I may be way off, but the easiest way to get to the V6 one is by removing the left front wheel and working through the wheel-well. Is that an option on the V8?
     
  4. boominXplorer

    boominXplorer Elite Ranger Elite Explorer

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    It's on the passenger side on the v8 and all the work will be done from the bottom. Make sure you have plenty of extensions, swivels and gearwreches for this job.
     
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  5. Joe in NY

    Joe in NY Active Member

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    Don't forget the proper PAG oil for the new compressor! And to have it properly vac'd out and refilled.
     
  6. rocco123

    rocco123 Active Member

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    When I did my timing chain, I disconnected it (&would easily drop out) from the bottom. Didn't seem like any big deal at all
     
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  7. lincolnshibuya

    lincolnshibuya Active Member

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    As I recall, there's only 1 way that the compressor on a v8 can be pulled out and replaced in and it's only via the wheel well. I have to remove the passenger tire and a portion of the inner fender lining/cover to expose the compressor. Remove the wires and manifold hoses, then use a bungee cord to secure the manifold hoses out of the way. Find some plugs to cover the ports of the ac compressor so that oil will not spill or pour out. Take out the bolts that secure the compressor and from it's position rotate it in such a way that the manifold ports are facing you (or at 9 o'clock when facing the front of the engine) then rotate it such that the clutch will face you and pull it out. I don't think it can be pulled down, too much stuff in the way (maybe because I have an AWD) If you don't cover those ports while rotating it will be a big mess with PAG oil spilling out the compressor.

    Great job to the Ford Engineer in designing this location ideal for servicing...
     
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  8. firefly1246

    firefly1246 Active Member

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    Thanks a bunch!!! Just in time for knocking it out tomorrow morning :)
     
  9. CustomCoffinWork

    CustomCoffinWork New Member

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    Just finished mine 03 V8. What I didn't know is the studs they are attached to need to be removed. One or two has to stay in the compressor as you rotate it to remove them completely. Make sure you put them back in the compressor as you reinstall the new one. But I did not have to remove anything else. No wheel well or tire.
     
  10. firefly1246

    firefly1246 Active Member

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    To remove the studs you need a high quality 5mm wrench, I broke my cheap harbour freight one. Purchased a set of small metric wrenches at Sears = much better. My 13mm flex ratchet wrench made getting to the nuts super easy. It's a tight fit pulling it out of the wheel well. I ended up moving all the wires that run down it to get them out of the way. The wire clips were a pain to remove off the studs but I found if you grip the base of the clip with a wrench they come off much easier.
     
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  11. firefly1246

    firefly1246 Active Member

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    How to remove and replace compressor on 4.6 v8 3rd gens :

    This is assuming you know how to do standard ac recharging. Ie pulling a vaccum letting it sit and then putting in new refrigerant. If you have not done basic ac work it is not extremely difficult just do a little research on ac repair on the Internet.

    You will need an A/C manifold, vaccum pump, 5mm wrench, 5mm socket, and a 13 mm flex ratchet wrench (this makes it much easier). Plus a few more standard tools.

    1) jack up front of explorer
    2) remove pass side front wheel
    3) remove front inner wheel trim directly behind the front bumper
    4) remove serpentine belt from ac compressor pulley wheel. This is a great time to check it for cracks and replace it.
    5) depressurize the ac system. I recommend hooking up your ac manifold and releasing it vs disconnecting from the compressor first
    6) unplug the ac compressor clutch plug and loosen the other connection around the compressor to provide more room to wiggle it out.
    7) disconnect the ac hoses to the compressor. It uses one bolt to hold both hoses. Move the hoses out of the way.
    8) there are 3 studs holding the compressor to the block. 1 on the top accessible through the wheel well and 2 below accessible underneath the vehicle. The top one and the back bottom one are two pieces. A long stud with a 5mm hex and a 13mm nut and the bottom front is a one piece that just uses a 13mm. You will need to loosen both the nut (don't remove it) and then loosen up the stud. I recommend getting a good quality 5mm wrench (this is smaller than your standard wrench set). I purchased a Craftsman set of small wrench. I had a cheap one and it ended up breaking. On the bottom rear one I could use a ratchet and socket.
    9) snake the compressor out through the hole just above the frame near the suspension in the wheel well. This is quite tedious and difficult, but it will fit through.
    10) swap over the compressor heat shield and verify you have the correct quatity of PAG oil. My new compressor had the perfect amount.
    11) put the upper and lower front studs into the holes of the compressor and make sure they don't fall out. You can't put these 2 back in once it is inside the frame rail.
    12) snake the compressor back in there. Again this is a little frustrating. Make sure to align up the locating rings into the block. These protrude from the compressor stud holes.
    13) tighten up the studs and put the lower rear one in.
    14) hook up clutch wire and put the other wires you moved to the side back.
    15) hook up the ac lines.
    16) reinstall the serpentine belt
    17) reinstall the plastic wheel well panel
    18) reinstall wheel
    19) lower vehicle
    20) pull a vaccum for at least a hour
    21) check vaccum psi and let sit at least another hour ensuring you have no leaks
    22) refill with R134a. I have a 32oz system which is just short of 3 small cans (12oz each, 36oz total). Make sure to only put in 32oz. Check the label above the fan for the size of your system. If you have rear air it is a larger system and will require more cans.

    Follow standard ac recharge techniques found many places online.

    Enjoy your nice cold air.

    -Scott
     
    Last edited: August 29, 2016
  12. Joe in NY

    Joe in NY Active Member

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    also, the explorer will gladly suck 3 12oz cans dry. Do not do this! This will overcharge the A/C and ruin the compressor.
     
  13. firefly1246

    firefly1246 Active Member

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    Agree: 3 -12oz cans is 36oz and is too much. Make sure you are going based on the low side pressure based on the ambient temperature.
     
  14. Joe in NY

    Joe in NY Active Member

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    sorry but you are wrong there.

    Best way to fill is by weighing in exact to spec. If you do fill it with 36 oz it will be perfectly with in Ford Service Manual diagnostic specs. Ford has a whole procedure to diagnose and ensure operation, but an overcharged system will stay within the boundaries perfectly. Yet it will ice up due to riding the pressure right above the cut out as the cycle switch is on the suction line entering the receiver, not on the receiver itself. This causes excess liquid to boil and cause a higher pressure in the line fooling the cycle switch. Then it will ice up solid back to the compressor which will slug it, rinse all the oil out, ruin the bearings, and freeze the evaporator causing you to lose airflow and cooling performance.

    All of this happened to me 2 summers ago. I corrected the charge and it cools better and now actually dehumidifies due to no icing up and then having to thaw.
     
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  15. firefly1246

    firefly1246 Active Member

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    100% correct. You never want to overfill the system. I updated the how to, to ensure it is more clear.

    -Scott
     
  16. SyberTiger

    SyberTiger Active Member

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    I'm probably going to tackle this job in a few weeks. Yes, it's still 90 degree in Florida in October/November!

    It looks like you only changed out the compressor. Usually, it seems like you want to change out your accumulator/drier, orifice tube, condenser and the lines to/from the evaporator. I'm not trying to spend extra money but figure it's probably a good idea to change out the components at the same time and be done with it. My system has a small leak and based on seeing where there's PAG oil around the condenser high pressure output it's either the condenser leaking or the high pressure hose, specifically the metal crimp around the rubber hose. Usually, the evaporator is left alone since is such a pain in the ass and you can simply flush it out. Modern condensers have very small pathways in them and they are not practical for flushing which is why they are usually replaced. You didn't address flushing anything in the system but this may be more appropriate when your compressor locks up because there'll be fine pieces of ground metal in the system which can damage the new compressor not to mention clog things up.

    Anyhow, thanks for the writeup as I have a 2002 V8 4x4 and like you looked at it from the top and thought it must be a real pain in the ass to get out.
     

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