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Discussion Starter #1
Went to Firestone and they re-charged my A/C on my Focus. It lasted 2 days. Then they said it would cost about $1100 to replace the:

A/C Compressor & Clutch $400
Accumulator $100
Labor $500
Tax $50


I don't want to pay that, but where can I buy the parts including the new hoses and is this something a a novice (at best) can do?

ty
 

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I AM DA FOCI FANATIC
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I have never changed one on a focus,but I have on other cars and havent found it to hard.

You shouldn't have a problem.

For parts contact b16sir here on FF
 

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I would pressure up the system and use REALLY soapy water and spray it on all of your connections and see if any of them are leaking... theres no need to replace all of that stuff if its just a loose connection.
 

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What Orange said.

There is no reason to replace EVERY component if a 10 dollar hose or a 0.99 clamp will solve the problem.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
well firestone put in some pigment that you can see under the flourescent light and they said it was coming from the a/c compressor

???
 

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Two problems with doing your own A/C repairs:

1. It is illegal, AFAIK, to release the coolant into the atmosphere. If it has no pressure, then this will not be a problem. If it has any pressure, then this will be a concern.

2. If you do open up your system, and let air in, then you MUST have it vacuum purged and recharged BEFORE you try to use it. If you recharge it yourself, you will have water vapor inside the system and possibly trash your compressor. (don't ask me how I know)
 

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1) Wrong it is not illegal. 1a) You are already polluting the atmosphere thanks to the idiots at Firestone who didn't check their equipment readings before they let you go.

2)Absolutely correct, however you can rent an item called a vacuum pump and a set of gauges from your local Autozone, Advance, or Pep Boys and fix it yourself if you have 1/4 of a brain.

Ford AC systems are not that difficult or expensive to fix. First, you should check your hoses for signs of a leak. Most places like Firstone will have UV dye in their oil charges, but you should be able to see either oil or green looking oil on the hose if that is the cause of the leak. The most common place is where the hose converts from rubber to metal. If that passes the test- then great, you've avoided the second most expensive problem. The compressor is most likely ok also since it did work until the refrigerant ran out (coolant btw, runs through the radiator).

What you need to do is replace the O-rings. To do this you'll need a simple tool that costs about $10. I just went to check my lines and make sure that's still what Ford uses, but I can't see the connections. If it's still the same snap ring system as I'm familiar with, then that's the tool you'll need, it looks like some hat rings with the top cut out. You find the right size, then slide it in the back as far as you can, and then pull the hose apart. Once you get the hose disconnected, you'll notice 2 O-rings. Replace both of these rings. You can purchase O-ring kits specific to your vehicle, or purchase a large multi-kit. You will need to purchase special rings specifically for the compressor connection. This one should unbolt from the compressor, and will only fit on in one direction. The O-rings will be built into the compressor, and there will be flanges where the hoses fit into the compressor. Be sure that when you go to bolting it back on, you use your hand pressure to make sure that the hoses are in their appropriate flange before you go tightening down the bolt. Hold it down until you tighten it completely. If you get the hoses off the flanges, you will bend up the ends of the hoses.

You'll need to replace all the O-rings at the hoses, and remove the hoses from the Dryer located under the passenger fender. You might even have to physically remove the dryer itself to get to the O-ring on the other side.

Some where in the AC system, there is an orifice tube. Generally it's located in the high pressure (small line) near the evaporator. I wish I knew exactly where it was, it could be on the other side of the dryer, or in the high pressure line near the dryer. High pressure lines don't go to the dryer. Anyhow, look for a long straight metal section of hose with a connection point. When you disconnect this hose to replace the O-rings, look into the metal part of the hose with a flashlight- if you see some plastic thing in the line, use needle nose pliers or tweezers to remove the orifice tube. These generally cost about $4, but must be replaced if you're opening the system. It would just be dumb not to.

Also, be sure to check around the condenser for any line connections there to be sure you get all the O-rings.

Ok, now you've replaced all your O-rings and the orifice tube, you've gotten everything fixed up. It's time to vacuum the system. First make sure that the red high side hose is connected to a dummy connection at on the hose set and turned off. Connect the center line to the vacuum pump, and connect the low side line to the low side connector which is near the dryer. Now, be sure to read the directions that come with the vacuum pump before turning it on. There is a valve that you'll need to open partially when first starting to vacuum the system, then close to vacuum. Make sure that the low side line is open so it will vacuum your system. Once the vacuum pump is running, let it run for at least 30 mins. Look at the gauge, you should see a (-) or vacuum reading, let it go down as low as possible- which should be about -30 psi, maybe a little less. After 30 mins, cut off the low side hose valve, then the pump, now disconnect the line to the vacuum pump, and connect it to the gauges- there should be a place. Make sure it's tight. Open the valve on the low side, and note the reading on the gauge. Wait for at least 30 mins. Check the gauge again. If it has changed at all, then the system is not sealed. If you can't tell, wait a while longer. If you still don't notice any change, then the system is sealed.

When going to recharge, be sure to charge the oil first. Do not use any stop leak or oil charge with stop leak. Check the oil charge, but it's likely to be 2-3 oz. You'll also want to check your refrigerant charge, which is likely to be around 32 oz as a guess. Now, use the gauges to recharge the system, and watch the gauges while you are charging. It should be around 35 psi max while the compressor is on, and close to 50 when it's off.

Once you're done, you will have AC again.

Hang on a minute, I have to go look at a car, then I'll come back and find an article about recharging AC's which will help you.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
wow, ty for the write up, it looks like I will be learning about AC systems, something i have no clue about, but with this info we will see.
 

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good write up but isnt it a pain in the rear to get to the orifice? i was told that you need a 7/16in. stubie wrench iirc? correct me if im wrong WHYNOTTHINK
 

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good write up but isnt it a pain in the rear to get to the orifice? i was told that you need a 7/16in. stubie wrench iirc? correct me if im wrong WHYNOTTHINK
I'm not sure on the Focus, I haven't needed to fix my AC on this car yet. All the orifice tubes I have replaced have been in the high pressure line just after the evaporator. It will be located in a place where you can access and remove the orifice tube. The orifice tube is about 3.5" long, and is inserted with the long end in. There are tools to remove the orifice tube, however, I've always been able to do it with a small pair of needle nose pliers, or some long tweezers. If you have difficulty pulling straight out, rotate before pulling.

Since some people might not be familiar with the workings of AC systems in vehicles I'll explain the parts and what each does.

Starting at the compressor, there will be 2 lines entering the compressor: one larger than the other. The larger line is the low pressure line, and the smaller line is the high pressure line. During operation, the low pressure line will be cool, and the high pressure line will be hot. Ok, the compressor compresses the refrigerant back to a liquid, and sends it to the dryer. On some systems (Hondas and Chryslers) these are accumulator/filters, and these won't have orifice tubes. From the dryer, the refrigerant goes to the evaporator which is located inside the AC vent system. The refrigerant is evaporated through tiny holes, expands, and sucks the heat out of the air surrounding the evaporator. Refrigerant in gaseous form is pulled out of the evaporator by the compressor through the high pressure lines to the condenser which is in front of the radiator. This cools the refrigerant to aid the compressor in converting it back to liquid, and the cycle starts again.

Search online for all the parts you need, or call Mike at Hilbish Ford. I've seen orifice tubes as cheap as $1 online, but you'll pay $4 at a parts store. You do not want to replace hoses if there are no problems with the hoses. These are very expensive parts, and can easily cost as much or more than compressors. If there is a leak where the hose is crimped (converts from metal to rubber), you can find places in town which can re-crimp the hose if there is enough rubber to allow some to be cut off.

You should replace the dryer if the system has been open for a long time, or if the mileage is over 100k on the vehicle. In most cases, the leak is small, and the amount of moisture in the system is also. Vacuuming will remove all the moisture if done properly. It is VERY important to read the directions with the vacuum pump to insure you're using it correctly.

Best of all, even if you purchase a set of gauges, O-rings, refrigerant, and oil, dryer, and compressor- you can still save a lot of money by DIY. If you want to be crazy like me and purchase a vacuum pump for $300, then you'll spend as much as you would've having the air done at the shop- but have the tools to do it again. If you do purchase hoses, you might end up having to purchase a hose end to attach the refrigerant cans, and a long straight hose with threaded fittings for the vacuum pump.

Just don't go trying to fix Chrysler AC's- those are a pain because they use metal gaskets, the parts stores never pull up the correct gasket on the computer, and if it's not exactly the same- it won't work.
 

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my dads buddy is mechanic for ford and he said something about needina wrench to take the line loose so you can get to the orifice.im not goin against you WYNNOTTHINK i just thought that you might be the one to ask about the wrench thing b/c it looks like you know what you are doin.
 

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The compressor in question is probably leaking in the same place mine was.. around a o-ring between where the two halves are joined together.. go to a salvage yard get a use compressor install it and then take it to a better shop to recheck your system.. I think it has a reverse torx and a nut..
 

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my dads buddy is mechanic for ford and he said something about needina wrench to take the line loose so you can get to the orifice.im not goin against you WYNNOTTHINK i just thought that you might be the one to ask about the wrench thing b/c it looks like you know what you are doin.
Hey, you might be right, I'm not saying you aren't. I have not worked on the AC system in a Focus or any other Ford newer than 97. Back then they used snap rings and quick connect (annoying disconnect) fittings. You might need a wrench on this one. I'll look around on my 05 and provide some pics after I get home this evening. I'll guess it's around the dryer somewhere, but I'll know it when I see it. I don't have my vacuum pump at the house, but I'll post pics of that when I get it back. Maybe I can make a semblance of a How-To out of this.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
So, because there was flourescent pigment on the compressor, we can assume that firestone was correct, and that I need to buy another one.

right??
 

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Have you checked for yourself? The kits are inexpensive. You're coming up on the best season to replace an AC compressor, but I'd verify what the problem was first. The prices should go down during the winter months.

Speaking of which, what exactly was the problem you're experiencing- WITHOUT what Firestone said. Just whatever your problem was- AC not cooling, etc.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
well, I went to random mechanic for smog check and they charged my A/C about 5 days later it stopped blowing cold air.

went to firestone, let them know what happened and they put the flouerscent stuff in, and it lasted 2 days. (Stopped blowing cold air again)


Then they(firestone) saw the flourescent stuff on the A/C compressor clutch and recommened replacing the A/C for $500, the hoses/tubes for $100 and $400 in labor.
 

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Well, if I were you, I'd look for a replacement part online. I especially recommend calling or PMing Mike from Hilbish Ford in our vendor section. His prices are great, and will be cheaper than you getting one from someone in San Diego- even with shipping. Tell him that Alex sent you, and don't order from anyone else if Mike is not there.

Then remove and replace the part yourself. You shouldn't need new hoses, only O-rings which might come with a new compressor, or Mike can definitely get those for you. After you install the new compressor successfully, then come back here and I'll be happy to go over what you'll need to recharge the system on your own. You'll be likely to save a couple of hundred dollars.

Actually, I think that $500 seems a bit low, and I wonder if they are on the level- but at the same time I'm not sure what a new compressor costs. I'd guess around $300, but I have known some compressors to go for as little as $120.

You might also need an accumulator, ask Mike what he thinks. If you do need one, you'll need to get the tools to remove the hoses from the accumulator. If you get that far, I'll get under my fender and check it to see what you need exactly. Mike will probably also know what you'll need.
 
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