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'97 explorer evaporator


New Member
July 17, 2008
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City, State
New York
Year, Model & Trim Level
'97 xlt
There's a leak in my evaporator and i need to replace it. Can anyone sart me in the right direction to locating, removing, and replacing it? It would be much appreciated

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It's inside the vehicle in the heater box. I believe you have to tear the dash out to access it.

I edited the post because I was thinking of the dryer.
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From what I can see you can replace the evaporator without having to remove the dash. You do have to remove the coolant/washer reservoir and get the speed control servo out of the way, tho.

Once you do that, and disconnect and remove the accumulator (which should be replaced anyway since the system is open) you can unbolt the entire evaporator case and blower and remove it from the firewall.

The heater core is a different story, however.

Here's a pic so you can see what I'm talking about:

The foil-covered enclosure (with both the round part and the square part) is bolted to the firewall and is removed as once piece. The evaporator is inside.

There's a leak in my evaporator and i need to replace it. Can anyone sart me in the right direction to locating, removing, and replacing it? It would be much appreciated

Did it recently. Seems like its somewhat of a common issue. Like the other posters said, but you have to take off 4 nuts, one is by the passengers right foot above the carpet, the other 3 are in under the hood. Two you can see in his picture. (one over the blower the other by the heater hoses). The third is a major pain in the a#$. it is about a foot or so below the one by the heater hoses. Get a step stool and be prepared for some shoulder spraining.

Remove the coolant bottle/cruise/move all the wiring aside, be careful about the vac lines. Carefully remove the heater hoses, use a curved tool to break the seal on the heater core line. Please don't pull on them or you will have a heater core job.

You can seperate the AC fittings with the seal from an oil bottle, cut it to the circumference of the A/C line and push it into the garter spring. You have to play with it a bit to displace the spring. There are also tools for this.

See www.ackits.com

Replace your Accumulator, NEW Orifice tube, and evaporator, and o rings disturbed.


He has great prices on the components, and they have great service (satisfied customer)

Also look at this thread, make sure you add plenty of oil. NYLOG is a great idea too.


This is optional:
If you can, replace your blend door. It is a 10 dollar part from napa, its possible (but a bit awkward) to get it into the plenum. Take off the actuator from inside the truck, you can do it with a screwdriver and prying it off the clips.

Go under the hood, and Take the old door out with a pry bar from the bottom or top, cut off a bit (1/4" or so diagonal) of the new door, the lower corner facing the front of the truck and try to get it back in. Its no fun but the blend door will break eventually and you will have more headaches.

:cool: Dont forget splash safety glasses if you charge the system!:cool:
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It's inside the vehicle in the heater box. I believe you have to tear the dash out to access it.

I edited the post because I was thinking of the dryer.

Nope, you do not!

I have mine out right this moment as I have the plenum out too. It's like 96eb96 says. But I didn't find it that difficult to remove the nuts. I have a 99 5.0. There is one nut inside. You also need to disconnect the vacuum harness under the dash, on the firewall, in the right corner next to the inertia switch. It has two vacuum lines. Disconnect the vacuum lines under the hood from the reservoir and the heater shut off valve. Disconnect the harness to the heater motor and the resister/controller. Disconnect the harness at the low side cut out switch on the accumulator. With the proper disconnect tools, disconnect the a/c lines...one from the accumulator and one from the bottom of the evaporator. You may need to loosen the a/c line at the alternator brace to have enough slack to pull the line from the accumulator. Plug all lines and fittings when disconnected to keep the moisture and crud out of your system. You need to remove the speed control servo, but you do not need to remove the degas and windshield washer bottles. Even with the accumulator in place, there is room to leave those bottles. But if they are empty anyway, it would be nice to get them out of the way. I didn't.

Make sure you "seal" the new evaporator in the case. You'll see what I mean when you take out the old one. I use weatherstripping from Ace if the new evap doesn't come with it. As was said, for God's sake, don't forget the new orifice tube. Don't use the old one. A new one is about $3 at most. Just make sure you get the correct application. A Variable Orifice Tube will run you about $50. Not sure if they are worth it or not. I'll let you know as I'm trying one out.

Take whatever components you are replacing and allow them to drain into some sort of pan, cup, etc. The amount of oil that drains from these is the amount you need to put back into your system. There are charts that will give you an amount to use per component, but I don't like those. This way you will know if you're overcharged with oil if a ton comes out of it.

All in all, this is about a 3 hour job. But I've done it a few times. But you should definitely get it in a day no problem.

Yup, everything cobraguy said is correct, but he must be a bit taller than me and had an easier time with the lower nut!!

Also, I would put between 6-7 oz of oil after this repair. If you had an oil leak under your truck you can be assured most of your oil is now gone, especially if you replace the dryer (you would be making a mistake not too). Also, there is a service bulletin that allows a few extra oz of PAG 46 oil for this application, so more is better than less. These compressors fail because of leaks which lead to oil starvation. A bit of extra oil is a safety net.

Nah 96eb...I didn't go over the top for that nut. I have a 1/4 inch extension about 18" long. I use that and an 11mm socket and my 1/4" air ratchet and get to it from the front of the case. Takes about 30 seconds! :)

Good point on the oil being missing. But I'm not sure I agree with overcharging the oil. I just fixed a poor cooling performance on a Nissan Frontier by dumping all the oil out of the system. We pulled the evaporator (man...you will not believe how easy it was on that truck) to clean it and there was what I thought was too much oil in it. So I drained the entire system and started over with the proper amount. That fixed it. But if Ford says to put more oil in it, I guess they have done the engineering.

Perhaps the extra oil is Ford's response to the infamous "Black Death" issue? :dunno:

Well cobraguy said the magic word..air ratchet. I used a regular gearwrench open/deep socket set. I'm thinking now a universal would have been a good idea too.

I used just under 7 oz of oil for this repair, but I also drained the compressor(it was dry anyway and it isn't a bad idea to remove and refill it). A/C works great, and there is a bit extra protection for the compressor too! I figure an extra oz or 2 in the lines and condensor.

Here is the oil TSB: (obviously a bit more oil will do more good than harm)

1993-97 F-150-350 SERIES, F-47
1994-96 VILLAGER
1995-96 WINDSTAR

This TSB article is being republished in its entirety to include 1997 F-Series.

Some vehicles may exhibit air conditioner compressor failure due to an insufficient amount of refrigerant oil in the system.

Whenever service is required on the A/C system, add the appropriate refrigerant oil to the system. Refer to the following Service Procedure for details.


Remove all refrigerant from the A/C system using the appropriate R-12 or R-134a refrigerant recovery equipment following the manufacturer's operating instructions.
Service the A/C system as required.
Check for Modification Label indicating additional refrigerant oil is already in place.
If no label was found, add additional clean refrigerant oil (over and above the amount of oil required for the system being serviced). The oil may be poured directly into the accumulator assembly or it may be injected by the refrigerant charging station, if so equipped.
Recharge the A/C system using the appropriate refrigerant.

Vehicle Additional Oil
1994-97 3.8L Mustang/Thunderbird/Cougar 59 ml (2 oz.)
1993-96 F-Series 118 ml (4 oz.)
1997 F-Series 59 ml (2 oz.)
Bronco/Mountaineer 118 ml (4 oz.)
Aerostar 59 ml (2 oz.)
Ranger/Explorer 59 ml (2 oz.)
Econoline 59 ml (2 oz.) with front only and 88.5 ml (3 oz.) with dual
Windstar 59 ml (2 oz.)
Villager 59 ml (2 oz.) on dual unit only

Obtain an Authorized Modifications Decal (FPS 8262 - orderable through DOES II, 25/pkg) and list the date, dealer number, and summary of alterations performed. Select a prominent place adjacent to the Vehicle Emission Control Information Decal suitable for installing the Authorized Modifications Decal. Clean the area, install the decal, and cover it with a clear plastic decal shield.

Just finished this job on my daughter's 2000 Mountaineer, 191,500 miles. The old evaporator core was very dirty, I would say about 1/4 of the area of the fins were fouled. While some of it was dirt and oil from the leak, there were quite a few bugs and debris as well. It made a lot of difference in the cooling with the new, clean core. Also, the Four Seasons 54177 from Rock Auto had a new orifice tube with the core so that was a nice surprise. I replaced the accumulator as well.

Great thead guys. This was a good reminder that I was needing especially with pulling my dash today. I will go ahead and replace a lot of these parts if not all during my rebuild.