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A/C Refrigerant Leak Help

mbrando1994

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Year, Model & Trim Level
2003 Ford Ex XLT
4.0 V6
Hi all,

This is on a 2003 Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

Turned my air on on the first really hot day (85F+) left it run and was warm. So I charged it up, worked great, then on the second day after that it was running warm again. It runs somewhat cool when the temperature outside is cool, but I'm assuming that's just the straight air from outside coming through.

I used a UV Dye kit to try and find a leak. It appears someone has tape wrapped around one of the rubber hoses in the system. I pulled some back and low and behold, it lit up like a Christmas tree! There were no other signs of the dye anywhere else in the system, nothing around the compressor.

This is the piece of pipe that runs from the accumulator (receiver dryer) to the compressor (I'm 95% sure on this), It has a flat part that runs underneath the center of the vehicle from one side to the other and appears to be both metal and rubber connected by small metal ribbed like connectors.

Obviously the system will need to be evacuated before work is done, but what am I even looking at here? What is the part? Do I need to replace the whole line or just the rubber hose portion? I'm good with cars, just never did a lot of HVAC. This explorer has vents in the front and rear but only controls in the front, no separate controls for the rear. Is this something I can do my own (less evac) or should I just have the evac place work on it?

Thanks!
 


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Number4

"I'm counting to 3, then I'm getting your dad."
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You need the discharge and suction hose.

You say you have vents in the ceiling for the back of the Explorer?

If so, you need the with rear AC line and there are two options that I see.

https://www.napaonline.com/napa/en/p/TEM282505/TEM282505_0416264427

https://www.napaonline.com/napa/en/p/TEM201326/TEM201326_0461604672

I found when replacing this hose, that it was easier to mount it to the compressor first, with the compressor out of the car. Maybe you'll have better luck doing it in the car.
 




Harpua216

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When i had this problem i took one from a donor car but the AC had mostly discharged itself. As Number4 said I remember it being very tight in there and i dont remember how I got it together but i remember we HAD to do something to get it in.

I waited until mine was together and went and got a free AC test at a chain garage. I let them evacuate the system completely and refill it with their minimal guarantee. I went by once a week to have it tested for about a month (dont worry i brought them coffee), and all was well until i sold the Ex.
 




mbrando1994

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Year, Model & Trim Level
2003 Ford Ex XLT
4.0 V6
You need the discharge and suction hose.

You say you have vents in the ceiling for the back of the Explorer?

If so, you need the with rear AC line and there are two options that I see.

https://www.napaonline.com/napa/en/p/TEM282505/TEM282505_0416264427

https://www.napaonline.com/napa/en/p/TEM201326/TEM201326_0461604672

I found when replacing this hose, that it was easier to mount it to the compressor first, with the compressor out of the car. Maybe you'll have better luck doing it in the car.

I have vents on the center console in the rear, not the ceiling, no a/c controls on the ceiling. I figured it was that hose but the parts all look similar on rock auto and other sites. The system still has charge, it feel cooler on the passenger side, and warmer on the drivers side. It isn't near as cold as it should be though. It's amazing how this just surfaced now after all these years of being taped.
 




mbrando1994

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Year, Model & Trim Level
2003 Ford Ex XLT
4.0 V6
When i had this problem i took one from a donor car but the AC had mostly discharged itself. As Number4 said I remember it being very tight in there and i dont remember how I got it together but i remember we HAD to do something to get it in.

I waited until mine was together and went and got a free AC test at a chain garage. I let them evacuate the system completely and refill it with their minimal guarantee. I went by once a week to have it tested for about a month (dont worry i brought them coffee), and all was well until i sold the Ex.

How hard is it to fish around in the engine bay? Is the compressor hard to remove? Should I just have the shop do it because they're going to charge me for evac anyway (I'm going to do this the proper environmentally friendly way) It seems like it's a slow leak and it may be possible that the refrigerant I put in with leak stopper could have slowed it, not sure whats all the way beneath the tape though.
 




Number4

"I'm counting to 3, then I'm getting your dad."
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Then you don't have what's considered "rear AC." Good news, is the hoses are cheaper.

https://www.napaonline.com/napa/en/p/TEM201093/TEM201093_0416264426

More Information for FOUR SEASONS 55913

You can't just add refridgerant at this point because there is undoubtably air in the system. This brings with it moisture and will turn to acid.

Getting the compressor off and back on was a bit of a challenge. But I hate paying others to do something I can do.

I bought the HF vacuum pump and gauge set, a longer charge hose (yellow) and watched a bunch of videos.

I've charged 4 vehicles so far, so I've saved quite a bit of money. A charge with system check (here) runs around $139. So 1.5 uses paid for the equipment.

It's super easy, as long as you have tools and are mechanically inclined. I also have three drivable vehicles. So in not panicked to complete the jobs come Monday.

Evac is a funny thing. When R12 was still in heavy use, R134a was touted as safe for the environment. Notice, you still don't need an AC license to buy it. After R12 was pretty much phased out (converted) R134a suddenly wasn't safe to vent into the air. Even though that's what happens when a hose goes bad. For me, the purpose of reclamation is to save and reuse refridgerant.

Evac, is pulling a vacuum, once done, you need to charge at the same time.
 




Joe in NY

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the most important thing about ensuring cold AC is pulling a vacuum for at least an hour. The better the vacuum the better the AC will perform. And do not allow any air to get back in the system between finishing the vacuum and beginning of charging. Be sure to purge you charging line.
 




mbrando1994

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2003 Ford Ex XLT
4.0 V6
the most important thing about ensuring cold AC is pulling a vacuum for at least an hour. The better the vacuum the better the AC will perform. And do not allow any air to get back in the system between finishing the vacuum and beginning of charging. Be sure to purge you charging line.

How do I purge the charging line? I understand what you're saying and completely missed thinking about air leaking in rather than refrigerant leaking out. I'm assuming there's a hole or split in the rubber hose that's causing this under the tape. I know the answer to this one but more tape won't help correct? Is there any way to rig this to at least last the summer? I usually do not davul into cheap fixes but my back porch is falling down and we just upgraded our electrical service so I'm kind of low on funds and its about 100 degrees out there :s

I guess I will have to save up for the tools.
 




mbrando1994

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Messages
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Year, Model & Trim Level
2003 Ford Ex XLT
4.0 V6
the most important thing about ensuring cold AC is pulling a vacuum for at least an hour. The better the vacuum the better the AC will perform. And do not allow any air to get back in the system between finishing the vacuum and beginning of charging. Be sure to purge you charging line.
Then you don't have what's considered "rear AC." Good news, is the hoses are cheaper.

https://www.napaonline.com/napa/en/p/TEM201093/TEM201093_0416264426

More Information for FOUR SEASONS 55913

You can't just add refridgerant at this point because there is undoubtably air in the system. This brings with it moisture and will turn to acid.

Getting the compressor off and back on was a bit of a challenge. But I hate paying others to do something I can do.

I bought the HF vacuum pump and gauge set, a longer charge hose (yellow) and watched a bunch of videos.

I've charged 4 vehicles so far, so I've saved quite a bit of money. A charge with system check (here) runs around $139. So 1.5 uses paid for the equipment.

It's super easy, as long as you have tools and are mechanically inclined. I also have three drivable vehicles. So in not panicked to complete the jobs come Monday.

Evac is a funny thing. When R12 was still in heavy use, R134a was touted as safe for the environment. Notice, you still don't need an AC license to buy it. After R12 was pretty much phased out (converted) R134a suddenly wasn't safe to vent into the air. Even though that's what happens when a hose goes bad. For me, the purpose of reclamation is to save and reuse refridgerant.

Evac, is pulling a vacuum, once done, you need to charge at the same time.

That looks like the right hose but at the same time it doesn't..how can I be sure? I've been meaning to buy those gauges and pump for a while but never could save up the money this year yet. I'm assuming the acid can eat away at the rubber hoses?
Then you don't have what's considered "rear AC." Good news, is the hoses are cheaper.

https://www.napaonline.com/napa/en/p/TEM201093/TEM201093_0416264426

More Information for FOUR SEASONS 55913

You can't just add refridgerant at this point because there is undoubtably air in the system. This brings with it moisture and will turn to acid.

Getting the compressor off and back on was a bit of a challenge. But I hate paying others to do something I can do.

I bought the HF vacuum pump and gauge set, a longer charge hose (yellow) and watched a bunch of videos.

I've charged 4 vehicles so far, so I've saved quite a bit of money. A charge with system check (here) runs around $139. So 1.5 uses paid for the equipment.

It's super easy, as long as you have tools and are mechanically inclined. I also have three drivable vehicles. So in not panicked to complete the jobs come Monday.

Evac is a funny thing. When R12 was still in heavy use, R134a was touted as safe for the environment. Notice, you still don't need an AC license to buy it. After R12 was pretty much phased out (converted) R134a suddenly wasn't safe to vent into the air. Even though that's what happens when a hose goes bad. For me, the purpose of reclamation is to save and reuse refridgerant.

Evac, is pulling a vacuum, once done, you need to charge at the same time.


Can the acid that's formed damage other hoses in the system? Should I avoid running it until it's fixed? It felt cold today while stopped but when accelerating it varies between cool and warm. Usually the opposite of what people normally encounter. My problem is that the current refrigerant contains dye, which I'm afraid will stain the surrounding area and show evidence that it was released the wrong way. I just don't want to open up a can of worms for myself later on.
 




Joe in NY

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Most hvac technicians tap the can, tighten it up to the hose, the purge the hose by either just opening the can tap and then loosening the hose at the gauge set, or depressing the shrader core on the extra hose connection at the gauge set if so equipped.
 




mbrando1994

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Alright guys, so today it seems like it's running cold again even in 85 degrees. It seems like it's blowing warm for the first 5-10 minutes of use and then gets cold and stays cold, just gets slightly warmer when at a stop. It doesn't feel super cold but cold enough to not be sweating inside the car due to heat. Is it dangerous to use this in its current state? Is it possible the leak stopper in the can fixed this somewhat?
 




Number Twelve

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"Purge the hose" means to let some refrigerant out until the hose is full of refrigerant, not air. You can use the refrigerant in the can or the refrigerant in the car. Just think about which way it's going to flow in the hose and crack the other end open for a few seconds.
I have never used a leak stopper in 40 years of air conditioning service. I just fix it right in the first place, but that's because I have everything I need and I know how to do it. Leak Dye never hurt anybody.
I don't know if a leak stopper will gum up the metering orifice, but I'll bet it won't fix a rubber hose.
Running it a little low on refrigerant...the low pressure switch will protect the compressor...up to the point where the oil is not returning to the compressor in the refrigerant flow. Then BANG. The compressor seizes.
Meanwhile, you're losing oil through the leak.
You pays your money and you takes your chances...or you leave it turned off until you can fix it right.

The acid formed by atmospheric moisture sludges the oil. You really don't want scummy oil!
 




Number Twelve

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Evac is a funny thing. When R12 was still in heavy use, R134a was touted as safe for the environment. Notice, you still don't need an AC license to buy it. After R12 was pretty much phased out (converted) R134a suddenly wasn't safe to vent into the air.
Wanna hear something funnier? There's a $500 fine for not having an automatic shut-off valve on the end of each hose, but Oak Ridge National Laboratory leaks 300,000 pounds of R12 per year. They deliver Freon to Oak Ridge in railroad cars and pass laws about the tenth of an ounce in my hoses.:D
 




mbrando1994

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2003 Ford Ex XLT
4.0 V6
"Purge the hose" means to let some refrigerant out until the hose is full of refrigerant, not air. You can use the refrigerant in the can or the refrigerant in the car. Just think about which way it's going to flow in the hose and crack the other end open for a few seconds.
I have never used a leak stopper in 40 years of air conditioning service. I just fix it right in the first place, but that's because I have everything I need and I know how to do it. Leak Dye never hurt anybody.
I don't know if a leak stopper will gum up the metering orifice, but I'll bet it won't fix a rubber hose.
Running it a little low on refrigerant...the low pressure switch will protect the compressor...up to the point where the oil is not returning to the compressor in the refrigerant flow. Then BANG. The compressor seizes.
Meanwhile, you're losing oil through the leak.
You pays your money and you takes your chances...or you leave it turned off until you can fix it right.

The acid formed by atmospheric moisture sludges the oil. You really don't want scummy oil!


The leak stopper was my only choice as it came with the can with the dye in it. I didn't necessarily want it. I know you're right, it's just the money is an issue right now, it bothers me knowing it's broken I'm just worried about the total of getting this fixed as I don't have the tools or knowledge enough right now to work on the a/c system
 




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