How to Add Freon to Ford Carsby Contributing WriterUpdated June 12, 2017
In the heat of summer, being without air conditioning in your vehicle may be tolerable, but it's certainly not enjoyable nor should it be acceptable. Local automotive shops overcharge Ford car the service of recharging your air conditioning, especially because a little bit of knowledge can make you just as capable with your Ford car. Gather a few basic tools and make a trip to the automotive store; you're about to recharge your own air-conditioning system.
Under The Hood:
- How to Add Freon to a 2003 Ford Taurus
- How to Add Freon to a Ford F-350
- How to Add Freon to a 1998 Ford Escort
- How to Add Freon to a 2000 Ford Focus
- How to Add Freon to a 1997 Ford Contour
Locate the high- and low-pressure service ports on the Taurus. The low-pressure port is on the accumulator, near the passenger side of the firewall. The high-pressure port is on a 6-inch extension from the high-pressure line near the passenger side of the radiator. The valves used on this system are quick-disconnect valves specifically used for R-134a refrigerant and require a gauge set that has the necessary quick-disconnect adapters installed. Attach the blue hose and adapter to the low-pressure side fitting, and the red hose and adapter to the high-pressure side. Turn the knob on the hose ends clockwise until they stop to open the service ports.
Attach the can tap to the yellow hose om the gauge set, and insert a can of refrigerant into the tap. Turn the thumb screw on the tap all the way in, then all the way out, to open the can. Start the engine, and set the A/C controls to maximum air and medium blower speed. Open the blue low-side valve on the gauge body to allow refrigerant to flow into the system. When the gauge readings reach 35-40 psi on the low side and 200-300 psi on the high side, the system is full.
Turn off the engine, and allow the pressure readings on the gauge set to stabilize. Turn the knobs on the hose adapters counter-clockwise, until they stop, to close the vehicle's service ports. Release the quick-disconnect adapters by pulling up on the outer ring on the hose adapter. Replace the dust covers on the service ports, and start the engine. Check for leaks, then test-drive to verify the system that is functioning properly.
Items you will need
A/C gauge set
Locate your F-350's air conditioning pipes within the engine. They are aluminum, and will feature two pressurized connection ports. The high side port is irrelevant to this task; it will not even fit your recharging kit's port. Uncap the low side pressurized connection port and connect your recharging kit's service hose.
Place the recharging kit in a safe resting spot. It needs to stay away from belts, fans, or anything that will move once you crank the F-350's engine. Leave the engine and take a seat behind the truck's steering wheel.
Start the Ford's engine. Wait for the engine to fully warm. Then, switch the Ford's air conditioner on. Set the blowing force on high, and use the coldest air setting. This will permit you to take accurate temperature readings within the air conditioner itself.
Exit the F-350's passenger compartment. Open all the doors as a way to ensure the air conditioner does not accidentally shut itself off.
Twist the nozzle atop the Freon recharging kit and open the canister. The freon will flow through the hose and into the Ford F-350's air conditioning pipes. This will make a loud and gassy "rush" sound.
Allow a minute to pass and then shut off the flow of Freon. This will help stabilize the air conditioning system, and the Freon will circulate and evenly distribute throughout the system. Let this happen by waiting at least a minute before adding more Freon. Monitor the kit's pressure readings while you wait.
Place a thermometer into the air conditioner's central duct. Take readings from this thermometer as you add further spurts of Freon into the system. Once the conditioner's internal air temperature reads 40 degrees, the system has been recharged.
Remove the thermometer from the duct. Remove the kit's service hose from the low side pressure port and replace the port's cover. Let the engine and the air conditioner run for ten minutes before shutting everything down. This will ensure an even distribution of Freon.
Items you will need
Freon recharging kit
Attach the quick-disconnect fittings on the red (high-pressure) and blue (low-pressure) hoses from your gauge set to the high-pressure and low-pressure service valves on the air-conditioning lines. In the 1998 Ford Escort, both the low-pressure valve and the high-pressure valve are located on the air-conditioning lines near the passenger side of the firewall.
Set the air-conditioning dash controls to "Max A/C" and "High" blower speed. Start the engine and allow the pressures displayed on the gauges to stabilize.
Attach a can of refrigerant to the can tap on the yellow hose of the gauge set. Open the can by turning the thumb screw on the can tap all the way into the can and then all the way out of the can. Open the blue valve on the gauge set to allow the refrigerant to flow into the system. When the can is empty, close the blue valve on the gauge set, and read the pressure displayed on the gauges. The low-side pressure should be around 35 psi and the high-side pressure should be around 300 psi. Add additional cans of refrigerant until these pressures are reached, but do not over-fill the system.
Items you will need
Air-conditioning gauge set
Refer to your Ford Focus manual for tips on jacking up the front end of the Focus. The preferred jack spot is around 6 inches behind the front wheel well, but the owner's manual will detail the process with illustrations.
Jack up the front of the car on the passenger's side until the tire is off of the ground and the suspension is fully extended. The full extension will maximize the room you have to work.
Using the Torx screwdriver, unscrew the front screw of the wheel-well liner from the body of the Focus. The wheel-well liner is black; the color of your car will help differentiate where these pieces will separate.
Looking up into the wheel well, there are two Phillips screws holding the wheel well into place. Loosen and remove these two screws and allow the liner to rest on the tire. With the wheel well out of the way, the air-conditioning parts that you will work with are exposed.
Locate the recharge port, which is found on a small metal canister. Connect the hose from the R134a kit to this open port.
Start the Focus and turn the air conditioning on high with recirculation. If someone is available to do this for you, it will make the process easier.
Follow the instructions on the R134a kit for proper filling instructions.
Items you will need
Torx screwdriver (type T30)
Purchase a can of R-134a refrigerant and a charging hose with a gauge from your local auto parts store.
Start the vehicles engine. Turn the air conditioner to maximum A/C.
Attach the hose to the can of R-134a if the hose did not come attached. Open your Contour's hood. Locate the air conditioner line in the front of the car above the radiator. The line has a low-pressure and a high-pressure service fitting. Locate the low-pressure service fitting, which is the smaller one and is to right of the center of the car.
Unscrew the cap from the low-pressure service fitting. Screw the charging hose onto the fitting. Press the release button on top of the can of R-134a to allow the refrigerant to pass into the vehicle's air conditioning system.
Listen for the air conditioning pump to engage, if it has not already done so. If it does not engage, stop filling the car with refrigerant and take the vehicle to a mechanic. If it engages or has previously engaged, fill the system with the R-134a. Watch the gauge to ensure the air conditioner system is not overfilled.
Items you will need
Charging hose with a gauge