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Old 06-05-2008, 12:04 PM
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Default Ford Expedition AC NOT cooling - How do you add freon

Got a 1999 Ford Expedition and the AC is not cooling like it should. Can I go to an autoparts store and add freon? Has anyone ever done this?

I think you need a permit to inject the R13.
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Old 06-05-2008, 12:19 PM
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Default Re: Ford Expedition AC NOT cooling - How do you add freon

Most car AC systems have a nipple that looks like a tire stem. That's where you would vent and top-off the system.

If you need to add more coolant there's a god chance air has gotten in the system, there should be a sight glass you can look at for bubbles. A shop would have the appropriate vacuum gear to to clear that up. I've know a couple people who serviced their own system without worrying about air and had no problems.

What stopped me from doing the job myself is, the sticker saying what kind of coolant product was in there, was missing. They are not all compatible. Mixing the wrong types can result in something like jello in the pipes and your whole AC system needs to be replaced. I suppose there might be test kits available but a shop has access to "labs" where they can send a sample for verification. Some places might be willing to handle that for you if you still want to do the job on your own.

Good luck!
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Old 06-05-2008, 01:41 PM
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Default Re: Ford Expedition AC NOT cooling - How do you add freon

Auto AC hasn't had a sightglass for quite some time. Even though its not legal, every Pep Boys and Auto Zone has refrigerant recharge kits on their shelves and they won't ask for your cert. Pretty easy and cheap to dump in some charge, it may or maynot be your problem. MartyD
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Old 06-05-2008, 01:46 PM
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Default Re: Ford Expedition AC NOT cooling - How do you add freon

Yeah mine doesnt have the sight glass to look for bubbles.
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Old 06-05-2008, 02:24 PM
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Default Re: Ford Expedition AC NOT cooling - How do you add freon

The sight glass was present only on continous run, dryer equipped A/C units. I don't think anybody still uses that system. Ford used to use it exclusively, but has switched (along with everyone else) to a CCOT (Cycling-Clutch-Orifice-Tube) system. This systems use an accumulator (big aluminum capsule looking thingy usually located close to the firewall) and not a dryer... the dryer was the part with the sight glass.

But in answer to your question, take the dang thing to a mechanic. Adding freon can be dangerous to the "unlearned novice". Used to do A/C work years ago when I was a grease monkey. Had a guy come in one day who had tried to charge his own A/C. He put too much in, the high-side pressure obviously got TOO high and he blew a huge hole in his condensor. He couldn't have been standing a foot away from it when it blew! (Flying aluminum fragments and I'm sure a VERY LOUD noise that probably messed up his underwear). When I questioned him about it, he told me quite emphatically that "he would NEVER charge an A/C system again".

Besides, it is quite possible that you have too much freon in your system now. If your compressor has some wear and tear on it, it may not be able to handle the correct charge for the system and quite possibly could do better if you let a little freon out. Without a set of guages, there is no way to tell exactly what is wrong. Still, low freon is probably a very good bet.

Also as far as refrigerant, R-12 (old auto A/C systems) requires a permit as well as R-22 (most home A/C's). I think most auto A/C's in today's cars use R-135 which I'm pretty sure Joe Blow can legally purchase at any auto parts store. R-135 doesn't contain any CFC's... or at least very little.
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Old 06-05-2008, 03:17 PM
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Default Re: Ford Expedition AC NOT cooling - How do you add freon

no cfc in 135a, B-N-B is right. And the only way to have the correct charge in there is to weight in the amount. The charge is small 4 to 5 oz so it's easy to over shoot, and if it did leak out and you add with out fixing the leak it would be gone in hours if not faster. May not even be the charge could be electrical too, or mechanical like a bad clutch or compressor? Good luck.
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Old 06-05-2008, 04:52 PM
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Default Re: Ford Expedition AC NOT cooling - How do you add freon

This sounds wierd but it takes a while for my AC to "warm up" in that after a 45 minute drive home from work the air is cold coming out. Does that sound like low freon or something else?
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Old 06-05-2008, 05:02 PM
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Default Re: Ford Expedition AC NOT cooling - How do you add freon

Most systems switched to 134 in 1994. This is available at parts store. If your refridgerant is low it has a leak somewhere,An a/c shop will charge it and add a dye to find the leak. If it hasn't had a charge for a while it should be hooked to a vacumm pump to clean the moisture from the system before recharging. I fix cars for a living but leave a/c service to the specialists.
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Old 06-05-2008, 05:37 PM
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Default Re: Ford Expedition AC NOT cooling - How do you add freon

Its pretty simple to add, get a can of R134 from the parts store. Get one with a gauge on it or also buy a gauge. Follow directions, especially the safety stuff.

Ideally though it would be better to take it to a pro. Figure 125-175 for a diagnosis. evac and recharge.
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Old 06-05-2008, 07:36 PM
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Default RE: Ford Expedition AC NOT cooling - How do you add freon

My 1997 Ford expedition a/c was not cooling an I bought some R-134a at local auto store. Put it in per instruction and it is cooling fine. I put this in about 2 years ago and it still cooling great. See this site for what I used. http://www.id-usa.com/how_to.asp The Low pressure port on my expedition is on the passenger side next to the fire wall.
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Old 06-05-2008, 08:10 PM
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Default Re: Ford Expedition AC NOT cooling - How do you add freon

How many pounds of pressure do I need to install? Should I totally bleed the old freon out?
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Old 06-05-2008, 08:22 PM
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Default Re: Ford Expedition AC NOT cooling - How do you add freon

Quote:
littletunny - 6/5/2008 11:10 AM

How many pounds of pressure do I need to install? Should I totally bleed the old freon out?
Ahaaa what the hell, bleed her out like sticking an old pig.......the environment is all shot to hell anyways!
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Old 06-05-2008, 08:33 PM
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Default Re: Ford Expedition AC NOT cooling - How do you add freon

Quote:
littletunny - 6/5/2008 11:10 PM

How many pounds of pressure do I need to install? Should I totally bleed the old freon out?

I did not bleed it out, I just hooked it to the low pressure port and watched the guage and it will tell when you have a safe amount in. I did not have to put much in mine, still have half a can left. It is marked on the guage in different colors. Just make sure you put it in your low port not the high pressure port. On mine it would only fit on the low side, the high side was a different size.
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Old 06-05-2008, 08:58 PM
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Default Re: Ford Expedition AC NOT cooling - How do you add freon

With a set of guages, on a good hot day (85F+ temps), with the car idling and the A/C on its max setting, you should be able to get about 240 psi on the hi side and the low side should pull down to about 27 psi before the compressor clutch cycles off. With a worn out compressor, the compressor may not be able to pull the suction necessary to get down to 27 psi and the clutch may never cycle. Also, a malfunctioning fan clutch could cause the hi side prssures to climb too high. Most debris from compressor wear usually ends up caught in the orifice tube, which is the transition from high to low pressure. As hi pressure, compressed freon transistions from high to low pressure it produces the cooling effect. You can liken this to letting all the pressure out of an aerosol can real fast. The can gets cold in your hand. Same thing an A/C does, only in an A/C the released gas is recaptured and re-compressed and then re-expanded in an endless loop. If your orifice tube is clogged with debris from compressor wear, it will restrict the flow of freon from hi to low pressure and hinder the ability of your A/C to cool. This will also result in hi side pressures that are too high. If you don't have enough freon, your high side pressures will never get high enough to create the cooling effect at the point of expansion (the orifice tube) and your compressor clutch will cycle between on and off real fast.

All of this is why you really need a set of guages to corectly charge an A/C system. Also, the comment about lbs of freon is correct to an extent. That is the correct amount of freon the system is designed to use and is based on the total interior volume of the A/C systems pipe, hoses and other componets, but as the system ages, the compressor experiences wear, the fan clutch wears, the condensor becomes clogged with dead bugs, the orifice tube becomes blocked with aluminum shavings from the compressor, the ideal amount of freon require will change slightly. If you are going to attempt to charge an A/C system without guages, your best bet is probably to bleed the system dry and re-install the correct weight of freon from scratch. Only problem is... freon comes in what, 14 oz cans? Or is the new stuff in 16 oz cans, I forget. What if your system takes 2-1/2 lbs? Well a lb is 16 oz right? That's 40 oz for a correct charge. How do you get exactly 40 oz out of 14 or 16 oz cans?

While charging, you should also monitor the temp of the air coming from the A/C vents. With the A/C running in the recirculate mode, you should be able to get the air temp down to the low 40's upper 30's.

Good luck
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Old 06-05-2008, 09:00 PM
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Default Re: Ford Expedition AC NOT cooling - How do you add freon

Quote:
LuckyLaRue - 6/5/2008 10:33 PM

Quote:
littletunny - 6/5/2008 11:10 PM

How many pounds of pressure do I need to install? Should I totally bleed the old freon out?

I did not bleed it out, I just hooked it to the low pressure port and watched the guage and it will tell when you have a safe amount in. I did not have to put much in mine, still have half a can left. It is marked on the guage in different colors. Just make sure you put it in your low port not the high pressure port. On mine it would only fit on the low side, the high side was a different size.
Yes, if you were to hook up to the hi side, that can of freon could very well explode in your hand.
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Old 06-05-2008, 09:12 PM
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Default Re: Ford Expedition AC NOT cooling - How do you add freon

I work on home a/c's so take what you will. If there is any pressure in the system at all, there should be no air or moisture. Leaks go from high pressure to lower pressure, not the other way around. Lots of vehicles develope small leaks over time. You say it's not cooling like it should, so it does cool a little, correct? This indicates there is still pressure in the system and you should be able to add a little refrigerant yourself. One of the vans I used to own needed some R-134, I had a 30# bottle but no way to get it in there (residential and auto use differant charging hoses). I bought a can of R-134 from Auto Zone that had a built in gauge and instructions. Gave it a shot and it worked great for 2 years til I got rid of it. It's not rocket science, it's electromechanical thermodynamic engineering.
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Old 06-05-2008, 09:19 PM
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Default Re: Ford Expedition AC NOT cooling - How do you add freon

Oh yeah, if you buy the can from an auto parts store that has the hose built in, you can't go wrong. The high side fitting is a differant size than the low side.
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Old 06-05-2008, 11:23 PM
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Default Re: Ford Expedition AC NOT cooling - How do you add freon

Had a 1992 Ford Expedition some years ago. Every spring, I would have to shoot a can of freon in and it would pull about 44 degrees all summer. All depends on how bib and where the leak is. It is always better to get it repaired....but, if it's in a hard to reach place, like the evaporator in the dash, then, it may not pay to repair it if it will hold a charge for the season...could always do like John Boy Walton...roll down them winders...whadaya think they is for boy...besides climbing in & out of the vehicle!
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Old 06-06-2008, 02:12 PM
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Default Re: Ford Expedition AC NOT cooling - How do you add freon

UPDATE........................

I purchased one of those measure and charge kits at the local auto parts store for $20.

After finally finding the low pressure port, I plugged the pressure gauge and took readings.

The pressure with the AC and car off was 100 PSI.

When I cut the AC on full blast, the pressure dropped to 55 PSI.

I didn't fill any freon in there because the gauge was reading in the yellow "alert call your mechanic"

So what would cause my low pressure side to read such of a high pressure?
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Old 06-06-2008, 03:20 PM
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Default Re: Ford Expedition AC NOT cooling - How do you add freon

A toasted compressor would do it. A bad fan clutch could probably even do it. Even being over-charged could do that... although I doubt that's it if you never added freon before. It's really hard to diagnose with readings from only the low side, but my first guess would be a worn out compressor. You need to see if high side pressures are getting up where they should be to properly diagnose it.
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