1. Autos

Your suggestion is on its way!

An email with a link to:


was emailed to:

Thanks for sharing About.com with others!

Questions and Answers

Ford Econoline A/C Loaded With Oil

Q. I just bought a 1987 Ford Econoline Van with factory air and a rear auxiliary unit. It had R-134a in it when I got it and when I went to change it over, the system would only take three cans of R-12 and no more. A friend of mine that works for Ford said, there are two possibilities, it's clogged up or full of oil. Well it is not clogged but it's full of yellow oil.

Ford Econoline A/C Loaded With Oil

It looks like before I got it someone kept adding refrigerant containing oil and now it is so full it won't take anymore of anything. I loosened the nuts on the one inch line and released the pressure all at once to blow out most of the oil. I guess two to three ounces came out. I disconnected the condenser and blew it out with air and more oil came out the top, estimated two ounces more.

Then I pulled a vacuum and was able to load six cans of refrigerant. The unit cools MUCH better now but only goes down to 42° to 44° on the highway. My other van, same year and setup, pulls 36° to 38°. I know there is no way to tell how much oil is in a system, but I have heard that a lot of shops DON'T recommend flushing because there is always two to three ounces of chemical left in the systems.

What would you suggest on how I get the rest of the excess oil out of the system? Like I said earlier, my other identical van will take almost 10 cans so I know I have a lot more oil in there than I need. I checked the compressor and it looks like there is no external drain plug on it either. Compressor is a FS-10.


A. You shouldn't use any chemicals to flush an air conditioning system other than the Ford fluid and only when used with their flushing machine. Otherwise you should only flush it with freon or nitrogen gas.

This is the A/C flushing procedure as outlined by Ford.

Ford Econoline A/C Loaded With Oil
Figure 1

Several refrigerants may be used to flush badly contaminated systems, Fig. 1. For a refrigerant to effectively wash the inside surfaces of components, it must be in liquid state, as vapor will not flush away contaminants. R-12 and F-114 are best suited for flushing without special flushing equipment, as they have greater pressure at ambient temperatures and are the least toxic. However, at higher ambient temperatures, they tend to vaporize and no longer act as proper flushing agents. F-11 and F-113 are better suited for continuous circulation flushing equipment.

After components or system have been cleaned, the excess refrigerant must be cleaned out with R-12 or nitrogen. When nitrogen is used, a pressure regulator must be used on the supply tank, as high pressure can cause damage.

Clean system components as follows:

  1. Discharge refrigerant system.
  2. Remove compressor for service or replacement. If compressor is cleaned or serviced, add specified amount of refrigerant oil to compressor prior to installation. New compressors contain correct amount of refrigerant oil.
  3. Replace orifice tube in evaporator inlet tube using suitable tool.
  4. Back flush condenser and liquid line as follows:
  1. Install Motorcraft adapter tool YT-1123 or equivalent on condenser liquid line tube fitting location.
  2. Remove O-ring from condenser inlet tube (discharge line).
  3. Clamp section of heater hose to condenser inlet tube fitting. Insert other end of hose into shop exhaust.
  4. Using at least 1 lb. of R-12, back flush liquid line and condenser.
  5. Remove adapter tool from liquid line.
  6. Remove heater hose and clamp from condenser inlet tube.
  1. Install condenser and liquid line in vehicle using new O-rings lubricated with clean refrigerant oil Torque connection to 10-15 ft. lbs.
  2. Connect all refrigerant lines. All connections should be clean and new O-rings lubricated with clean refrigerant oil Tighten all connections with back-up wrench to avoid component damage.
  3. Charge system with 1 lb. of R-12. Do not evacuate system until after leak test.
  4. Using either electronic or flame-type leak detector, check all connections and components. Service any leaks located.
  5. Purge system to remove air and moisture vapor.
  6. Evacuate and charge system with R-12.
  7. Performance test system.

It should be noted that releasing any type of refrigerant into the atmosphere is against Federal Law.

Additional Information provided courtesy of AllDATA

Back to Index
© 2003 - 2004 Vincent T. Ciulla

©2017 About.com. All rights reserved.