This A/C repair includes a new compressor and receiver/dryer for a 2000 Ford Crown Victoria. It’s not too hard, but rather time consuming to do the job right, and doing it wrong could ruin a new compressor. Most of these procedures are the same for any car, the only things that change are mounting location for each component. In older cars, there is an adapter needed to use R-134a in the system designed for R-12. These can be purchased for $10-$12 at any auto part store.
Note that if there’s any freon left in the system, it will have to be properly recaptured before you can do anything.
First thing I did was remove the receiver-dryer and all the hoses:
The other hoses are all held on with a similar quick disconnect to the one pictured above, so I went ahead and removed them all to set aside. Next the orifice tube needs pulled out and replaced. It’s located in the metal tube that goes to the evaporator (one of the hoses removed in the last picture):
There’s a lot of metal stuck to it from the previous compressor’s failure. All this has to be flushed out of the system before any new parts go on, or they will likely fail as a result very quickly.
That’s why you always replace the orifice tube. Even if nothing catastrophically failed like this one did, there can still be bits of metal stuck to it.
Slip the new orifice tube in the same way the old one came out.
Next thing I did was unbolt the compressor and remove it. The pictures from under the car were terrible, but they can give the general idea of where the bolts are:
Here’s the compressor out of the car:
This manifold needs moved to the new compressor before it’s installed. Lubricate all gaskets and O-rings with the appropriate PAG oil for the compressor. If the compressor needs additional oil, pour it in now.
Flush EVERYTHING. Any components that weren’t replaced need flushed with an approved A/C system flush. Follow the directions on the can. I flushed a LOT of metal out of the evaporator, but not nearly as much out of the condenser. The hoses need flushed too, so you’ll probably need at least two cans.
With everything flushed, I went ahead and replaced all of the o-rings for everything I took out, again lubricating them with PAG oil. If the system needs more oil than is in the compressor, pour it into the correct port in the receiver-dryer. Go ahead and install the compressor, receiver/drier and hoses.
Now is the part where you pull a vacuum on everything. If you don’t have a vacuum pump, find a good independent shop and they’ll be happy to “Evacuate and Recharge” the system for a reasonable fee. If you do this yourself, you need a vacuum pump and set of manifold gauges.
Attach the gauges to both the low side and high side, and open all the valves completely. Attach the yellow hose to your vacuum pump and start it running. After the gauge goes as low as it will (I got around 25 in-hg), continue to run the pump until there is no steam coming out of it or for the next 30 minutes, whichever is longer.
Once you’re done pulling a vacuum,close the two valves on the manifold itself. If you have a leak, the system will lose the vacuum and you need to start over again after fixing said leak. If not, close the other remaining valve and remove the high side hose altogether. Coil up the high side hose and put it away.
CHARGING THROUGH THE HIGH SIDE IS EXTREMELY DANGEROUS AND CAN CAUSE A TANK OF FREON TO EXPLODE. ONLY CHARGE THROUGH THE LOW SIDE PORT.
Now is the time where they system can be charged up. You can use cans of freon from any auto part store or Walmart, or you can charge it from a tank. Start the engine and turn the A/C on high while you’re charging the system. Either way the process is the same, except the small cans will come with their own hose and won’t need the manifold gauges. If you use a tank, hook the yellow hose to the tank and just open it up. Again, charge the low side only.
The acceptable pressure range varies based on ambient air temperature, but is typically around 45-50 PSI on the low side. Once you’re close to the range, add freon until the air blows cold but without exceeding the high end of the acceptable pressure range.