94 V6 a/c refrigerant line connections loose? | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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94 V6 a/c refrigerant line connections loose?


New Member
March 20, 2012
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City, State
Washington DC
Year, Model & Trim Level
1994 Ford Explorer
My 94 V6 EB has a/c problems. Compressor clutch is not engaging at all. I didnt use it at all last summer because the heater blower wasnt working. Eventually found and fixed the problem (blown relay in the pwr distr box under the hood). So now I have a fan that works, the heat works, the different vent settings on the console all work, but no cold air because the compressor is not coming on. Yesterday, I tried charging the low side with refrigerant, knowing that it probably has had a slow leak due to age, and also know that there is a safety that cuts out the compressor clutch when refrigerant/oil pressure falls below threshold. I went through two cans on the low side and then put a gauge to check pressure-- registered very low pressure, as if all the gas escaped. I started looking for signs of leaks, and noticed that the line going from the accumulator(? tin can connected to the line coming from the Low end quick-connect)-- to the evaporator(? part mounted to the firewall on the passenger side) has a lot of play in it... like the line where it goes into the evaporator housing slides back and forth like a couple of inches... THIS DOESNT SEEM RIGHT, DOES IT? When I pushed it all the way in, if felt like it hit a wall or obstruction inside, when I pulled it back out, it can as far as there was room to move the accumulator in the area to the right of the engine. I tried looking for pictures/diagrams in the DIY manual that was in the parts store, but could not tell if this is the normal connection or if something is wrong... IThere was one photo depicting a wand that gets inserted somewhere, but this one had a O ring in the middle with screens and such on the end that gets inserted. How bad is my situation???

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Man, sorry, but doesn't sound good. :(
Your dryer/accumulator should be firmly attached - shouldn't be any play.

There's a "strap" that holds it in place down at the bottom, plus there's no way it should the hose/tube going into the evaporator core should move. And the evaporator core is designed to fit tightly in that case.

Now, if for some reason the strap on the bottom is loose, and the nut between the dryer/accumulator and the evaporator core is loose, it will move.
And if it's like that, sure won't hold any freon.

When everything is like it's supposed to be, not much of the AC system will move - just a little flex in the rubber hoses.

The "wand" I think you're describing is the orifice tube.
Goes in the line between your evaporator core and the condenser. The line comes out of the core on the bottom, just under the dryer/accumulator (but it's not attached there).
There's a connection around the bottom of the air intake box, near where the inlet tube comes into it. (It's easy to work on if you take battery, intake box, and the other stuff around there out of your way. Pain to work on if you don't.)
You undo that connection in the line, and the orifice tube goes in there. (Make sure you have it turned the right way.)

Been a couple months since I redid the AC systems in two of mine - pulling most of this from memory. If you need more specifics, I'll have to study and strain and pull them back up.

Hope that helps a little. Let me know if I can help more.

Wish you lived closer!!

I am in a hurt locker--I have no idea how my system came apart like that... oh, by the way, all you said about the oriface tube went right over my head. I have to figure out what parts I need to get the dryer remounted (and where to find them!)

Many thanks for your reply!

I looked carefully throughout the area of the dryer... What I see is a nice tight set of nuts connecting the line out of the dryer to the tube that goes into the plastic hole in the front of the evaporator core. But the evap core hole is just a plastic opening, and it is not airtight at all... the tube loosely fits in there and it has play. There is no retainer nut there. Is it correct to assume that the tube broke off or disconnected from the inside of the evap core? Do I take apart the evap core, or do I just replace it?

Also, looked around the dryer, couldnt find anything resembling a retaining strap, and have no idea where one would go.

Does this site have a list of Explorer enthusiasts who do repairs on legacy model years? I could use help with this.


Sounds like the top tube is indeed broke out of your evaporator core.

I had trouble getting that nut loose on one of mine and ended up twisting the tube.
I was afraid it would leak, (plus I still needed to change the dryer/accumulator) so I ended up installing a new core.

The core comes as a single unit. I think around $70 or so.
(I think I got mine at Advance - they have some discounts you can use ordering online, then run over and pick it up.)
It's not a hard or complex job, it's just that you'll need to take a lot of things apart to get it out the easiest.
The case is actually only held in by four nuts, but of course, the intake box is front of it, and the heater hoses run right over the top.
I thought I could take the cover (on the engine side of it) loose and slip it out, but forget that.
Just take the case out, take the cover off, change it, then put it all back together and reinstall. A lot easier.

The strap would be right down at the bottom of the dryer/accumulator.
Mine was mounted to one of the bolts/nuts holding the core case together.
If it (or some of the other dozen-odd bolts/nuts for the case) are missing, that's why it doesn't look airtight.
I don't think it has to be airtight right there at the top tube, but if it's not closed properly, your core could move around and the air from your blower could escape from any cracks instead of blowing inside and keeping you cool.

If you're going to try to repair it yourself, you'll need to do some more studying and learn about all the different parts (like the orifice tube) and pieces and basically know what's what and somewhat how it works.
Or you're going to have to find some help. (Sorry I'm not closer. We could knock it out and have you back chilling in about half a day.)
If you start messing around with it without having a decent understanding, you'll end up wasting your money and time, and could get hurt (That freon's so cold it will burn and there's a lot of pressure on the high side - could blow and lose an eye or finger), plus that stuff's not good for us all to breath (if you let it all leak out).

But you're in the right place to get that knowledge and help though.
Maybe someone local there will pop up and help you out.

If not, just holler back - I'll be on and off all weekend.
Good luck!

Thanks for the tips. I would like to get some help for this, not sure the auto hobby shop mech will be able/willing to help. I have a member card for AutoZone and they give me 10% discount for retired military on every purchase. The member card gives you a periodic $20 discount for every 5 purchases of $20 or greater. (Oh my gosh-- I just made an unpaid commercial! Actually it's good gouge for retirees--not every place discounts for military anymore...:salute:) Anyway, I will do some comparison shopping.

****IF ANYBODY IN THE WASHINGTON DC/SOUTHERN MARYLAND AREA is familiar with changing out the a/c evaporator core on a 1st generation Explorer (V6) and is willing to help, please give me a reply. Also spend half my weekends in PHILADELPHIA/SOUTH NEW JERSEY as an alternative... Many thanks!****