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Adding Freon

10-13-2003, 07:42 PM
Good afternoon,

Could someone please help me figure out how to add freon to my 2000 ford winstar Van. My AC just suddenly stopped blowing cold air and I would like to troubleshoot this by myself instead of paying $90 for diagnostics and $300 for the AC recharge.

Thanks for your help.

HiFlow5 0
10-17-2003, 07:36 AM
Well you can't buy freon unless your licensed, plus it's expensive! There are retro fit kits available that convert R12 to 134A refegerant. You can pick the kit up at any auto parts store or Wallmart for about $35 bucks, and they come with detailed instructions.

10-18-2003, 03:26 PM
Hey bashful,
your van has the 134A refrigerant already, so you can buy it and the hoses/guages as necessary. I would not immediately run out to do that however as it might be freon/might not and too much in the system is not good either. Also, you want to add the freon with the system running/compressor turning.
One thing you can do briefly, is "hotwire" the system to see if it will run. Near the receiver/dryer, which looks like a small thermos, probably near the right fender well is an electrical plug attached to a component on a freon line, or the dryer itself. This device, usually called the A/C compressor cycling switch/low pressure switch is what ultimately turns on the A/c. Unplug the connection, start the van, select the a/c on, hotwire/bridge the connection across the leads of the wire connector (not the switch). Your a/c compressor clutch should engage and run. If it makes cold air, you have freon and the problem is elsewhere, not unlikely the cycling switch itself -it should unscrew if you need a new one. It is on a schrader valve, and will release a small amount of freon in the process.
Other problems could be the compressor clutch itself. It can fail completely or somewhat such that it slips and does not turn the compressor fast/well enough. Watch carefully when you have it selected on/hotwired to see if the compressor is turning quickly. If the clutch is bad you will likely need the job done. It is beyond most of us in the shade tree trade.
Best of luck. Fords are notorious for freon leakage although they have gotten better as they have beefed up the connectors. My '96 has never had a recharge and runs cold fron and rear after 108000 miles.

One other quick note: the a/c system has a fair amount of oil in the freon system. look over all the a/c hoses and the condenser-on the front of the vehicle in front of the radiator- if you see alot of oil leakage is likely.

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