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06-17-2011, 10:01 PM
Just turned the key to start the engine in a shopping mall parking lot and poof! all of a sudden the van was engulfed in a white cloud. Turned out all refrigerant burst out just like that. Wife and bystanders just stood there startled. What could cause this? Now I don't dare add a new load until I have some idea what happened.

06-17-2011, 11:19 PM
Did you inspect anything?

Maybe blown radiator hose, broken reservoir or bad reservoir cap?.


06-19-2011, 04:43 PM
Well there seems to be a plastic fitting that came loose, I'll post a pic asap in case someone could tell if it might be the source of the problem.

06-20-2011, 08:47 PM
Would the plastic fitting be at the end of a heater hose, where it connects to the lower intake manifold?
That is a "Quick connect".....and mine came apart when I removed it during my lower intake manifold gasket job (pictures of this connector are posted in that series of pictures in the pictures that the link in my signature takes you to).
I decided that I was not confident in that connector, so I ended up cutting the connector off of the close to the connector as possible.....and then using a common hose clamp to hold the hose onto the pipe on the lower intake manifold........just slid the hose onto the pipe and secured it with the hose clamp.
I did have to bend the hose support bracket just a little bit to have the hose reach correctly without any stress on it....

06-21-2011, 04:10 PM
Guys, he said refrigerant as in whats in the A/C unit. While we all know windstars have coolant cross over and quick connect problems unless the engine was extreamly hot I do not think a cloud would "Burst Out" from the cooling system.

As far as the problem goes it could have burst an A/C hose or broken one of the A/C system quick connects, A pic of where the cloud came from would help.

06-21-2011, 05:38 PM
The A/C has several quick connect fittings too, closer in construction to those used on the fuel lines, and generally more reliable than the one on heater bypass hose. (BTW, the heater bypass hose popped off once too while driving. Thankfully I saw the gauge reading high right away).

If one failed on the A/C (probably in the high pressure lines), I could see the result that you described.

In my '96 those fittings are all located on the passenger side of the vehicle, next to the sepentine belt.

06-21-2011, 11:19 PM
It was definitely a high-pressure discharge, at first glance I thought it was water vapor but the substance was cold as in frigid cold and disappeared within about 2 seconds. As the hood was closed it whooshed out from underneath the engine compartment and the right wheel well and was pushed forward (no wind to speak of) of the vehicle. It vanished as it was rising. A/C stopped working at that moment, I mean it just blew ambient air from the vents. Engine was cold, all gauge readings normal and vehicle is still mechanically sound. Without even checking it's obvious that there is no refrigerant left in the system, at least none under pressure.

To answer wiswind's comment the fitting I am referring to is located above and behind the condenser near the cabin air filter, it looks somewhat like a vacuum tube and looks almost too flimsy to be part of the A/C system but we know that looks can be deceiving lol. This tube popped out of the fitting and i ut it back in but I'm not sure it has something to do with the problem. Is there a way to check for a pressure loss or leak in the refrigerant lines without attempting to reload the system?

06-23-2011, 08:19 PM
Had it diagnosed and the tech said the refrigerant had been blown out where the A/C clutch connects because the valve there had come loose. I find that a little odd, I thought this sort of situation would have caused a slow leak instead of a quick flush.

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