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A/C Work

mekelly

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1994 Ford Explorer XLT
I have a leak (or several) somewhere in the A/C system. It looks like the seals on the compressor are leaking as well as at least one o-ring at a hose connection (after using dye and a sniffer).

I am probably going to take the opportunity and replace most of the system once it's opened up.

I am looking at replacing the compressor, condenser, hoses, orifice tube, and accumulator. The only piece I don't think I'll mess with is the evaporator (although I'll flush it out with a flush gun and A/C solvent).

My question is, how hard is it to replace the condenser? Does the radiator need to come out? Does the coolant need to be drained?
 



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OneofMany

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I dont know off hand if the condenser has to come out thru the grill or the engine bay. If engine bay, then yes, the rad needs to come out. The alternative would be removing the cooling fan and pushing the rad toward the engine. I am having to replace my evap soon. Have you done that job before or found a procedure?
 






natenkiki2004

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It would make work a LOT easier by removing the radiator and front plastic grill.
 






mekelly

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I have not removed the evaporator in the Explorer before. Definitely looks easier than some cars. In my case, unless it's leaking, I am going to just flush it real well.

I would also rather not replace the condenser if I don't have to! I am sure it's original though so given it has 21 years of use and abuse, I figured I would do it.

Natenkiki2004 are you saying it's possible to remove it without draining coolant and removing the radiator, it's just harder? In your opinion does time and effort to drain coolant and remove the radiator outweigh just trying to replace the condenser with the radiator in place?
 






natenkiki2004

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If you're serious about using it, I'm sure some kind of AC shop can pressure test it for you. Heck, even a radiator shop should be able to pressure test it. If it's fine, I'd leave it.

I don't think you can remove the condenser without removing the radiator but that was the situation on mine, with an aftermarket AC system.

The hardest part about removing the radiator would be having the proper tools. You need to remove the fan clutch which requires a special tool (or some creativity). Then removing the transmission cooler lines, you NEED a flare nut wrench, preferably 2 sizes, 1 to hold the larger nut on the tank and the smaller to turn the line out.
 






2stroke

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Are you implying you need to remove the fan to remove the radiator? Sure its kind of a pain getting coolant everywhere, but its not a hard job to do. Nothing more than removing the hoses, a few bolts and pulling it out. I've never taken an AC condenser out, but it sure looks just as easy. That said, I see no reason to take it out if it doesn't leak. Its not like they brake down over time. The only way it could leak is if something, say a rock, hit it.
 












natenkiki2004

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I agree with 2Stroke. Chances are, unless it's physically damaged, it's ok. The AC system has lubricant in it to help, it shouldn't corrode internally like a radiator might.

Although, if a compressor gave out and started spitting particles into the lines, you might be better off buying EVERYTHING new and going that route but that can be pretty expensive. Mine only needed a new compressor but the system had been open for quite a while and the compressor grenaded. Not worth trying to piece it back together nor spend the big bucks on replacing the whole system. Everything came out!
 






Bobmbx

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Yes, you have to remove the fan to get the rad out.

You can get the tool at your local parts store or from Amazon etc.

http://www.amazon.com/Powerbuilt-647074-Ford-Clutch-Wrench/dp/B004KEJXGE

I just did a rad on a 5.0 without removing the fan. Unbolt the shroud, push back over the fan. The hard part is separating the condenser from the radiator.

Stupid clips. NOTE: The condenser slides to the passenger side.

Edit: The radiator will have to come out to get to the condenser.
 






mekelly

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Based on the feedback and since the compressor didn't grenade, I don't think I am going to replace the condenser or manifold hose. I will still replace the compressor, accumulator and orifice tube and keep my fingers crossed that there's no leaks.
 






2stroke

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Yes, you have to remove the fan to get the rad out.

You can get the tool at your local parts store or from Amazon etc.

http://www.amazon.com/Powerbuilt-647074-Ford-Clutch-Wrench/dp/B004KEJXGE

What? I've never taken the fan off mine. I just put in a new radiator last year. The fan shroud is just held on by clips, and I think the radiator is just held in by a couple of bolts. It just has studs on the bottom sitting in holes. Its nothing more than taking the hoses off, taking the bolts out and pulling it straight up. That was my 94 X with a 4.0. The 00 X with 4.0 and 94 B4000 with 4.0 are both the same too.
 






FR-425

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Yep,

I take the fan off because it's so much faster than wrestling with it over a 3 minute procedure.
 






2stroke

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Ok, thats fair if you have the fan tool.
 






Arne13

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I pulled the bolts on the pully, got a pipe wrench on the water pump where the pully bolts on and used a 22mm open end wrench. Sure was tight, but came right off. Left hand threads, tho. This was on my 99 Ranger with 3.0 but bet they are all the same. Arne.
 






mekelly

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I took the truck to a local A/C shop (very good, been in business 35+ years). They didn't see an obvious dye leak but wanted to charge me to do a sniffer test. Since I have one I can borrow, I elected not to have them do it.

An interesting note though. He said the condensers on these 1st generation trucks don't tend to leak but the evaporator core is well known for leaking. May need to try to take the evap core housing off and see if I can see any dye and will test it with a sniffer.

How difficult is it to remove the housing around the evap core?
 






natenkiki2004

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How difficult is it to remove the housing around the evap core?

Difficult enough to make you want to give up several times. If you go to the hassle of removing it, you may as well replace it. You gotta pull the airbox and have various extensions & socket u-joints plus a deep 10mm. It would make things easier if you removed the passenger side inner fender and coil pack and maybe the valve cover.

I wasn't so gentle getting mine out, I gutted it to put the non-ac air box in. Even so, I was prying and hammering and cussing just to bust it into enough pieces to get it out because it wasn't coming out whole.
 






2stroke

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Difficult enough to make you want to give up several times. If you go to the hassle of removing it, you may as well replace it. You gotta pull the airbox and have various extensions & socket u-joints plus a deep 10mm. It would make things easier if you removed the passenger side inner fender and coil pack and maybe the valve cover.

I wasn't so gentle getting mine out, I gutted it to put the non-ac air box in. Even so, I was prying and hammering and cussing just to bust it into enough pieces to get it out because it wasn't coming out whole.


It all depends on whats in the way. Taking the fender splash guard is about the only way to get to the bottom bolts. I actually think you might be able to take it out without taking the blower box off. Don't quote me, but the whole side of the box does come off easy. You might be able to pull it right out the side. It does get to be a pain in the butt to take the whole blower box off.
 






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