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1968-2013 Full Size Vans Econolines. E150, E250, E350, E450 and E550

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  #1  
Old 11-26-2010, 06:22 PM
natureboy natureboy is offline
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rear a/c lines totally rusted out/ replace? any way to disconnect from front system?

I have a 95 e150 club wagon with about 100,000 miles on it. I got it last winter, the guy I bought it from told me "it blew cold." Yeah it does in December, but not in July.

So I took it to the local reputable ac shop to have it checked out... the lines to the rear ac are totally rusted out (completely gone in some places) and it looks like somebody, at some point, capped off where they would have hooked up to the pressure lines in the front, in the engine compartment.

The shop charged up the system with refrigerant and the front ac worked great for a couple of days, but quit, and when they checked with their UV light for leaks, there is a lot of leakage from the spot where the rear lines were capped off.

The shop said they couldn't do anything more, they said they'd never seen a system capped off like this, and didn't like to work on something that wasn't stock, and they would never try to cap off an a/c pressure line, and told me I didn't want to try and replace the rear lines. So I am kind of frustrated. At least I would like to have the front ac working.

Anybody have any experience replacing the rear a/c lines and how much it cost? Anybody have advice about disconnecting the rear a/c system completely? Or can anybody recommend a shop in the northeast with experience on this?

Thanks.
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  #2  
Old 11-26-2010, 06:49 PM
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You don't list an actual location but asking for a shop in the vauge area of the northeast could get you answers from NY state all the way to Maine right? Tough commute!

I've seen the lines replaced with hydraulic hoses and crimped ends which would last darn near forever. I'm guessing your vans A/C lines were connected to the system via threaded and o-ring sealed fittings? If so measure your distances, take the old lines with you to a reputable hose assembly store (I use The Parker Store here locally) and have new lines made. Ask your A/C service shop in advance if this would be something they could work with---get their recommendations and proceed from there.

I can't imagine how the auxiliary lines could not be capped off properly so the front system operates so maybe I'm off base here. I recall helping a friend do this on an older E250 conversion van, perhaps a mid 80's or so, after market rear A/C.

It can't be impossible to accomplish---might have to shop a few different A/C service outfits until you find someone willing and experienced enough to tackle this job.

Best of luck-----let us know how you do!
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Old 11-26-2010, 06:56 PM
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Hi, thanks for your reply, I'm out on Cape Cod in Massachusetts, but I drive around New England a lot, so I wouldn't mind going out of my way for someone who knew how to fix the problem without a lot of experimentation.
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Old 11-26-2010, 07:07 PM
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Ahh well I'm in Columbus, Ohio--technically the midwest----so can't really recommend anyone your way. I'm still fairly certain a good independent A/C dedicated shop or over all great mechanic has some experience in this and wouldn't require a lot of experimentation at your expense. Maybe see if there are shops dedicated to servicing campers/RV's or conversion vans in general---not the stealerships though.

When I helped my friend he co-owned a van conversion and service shop-----he had a lot of experience in this very thing.

Hoping the best for you!
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  #5  
Old 11-29-2010, 07:22 PM
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I replaced both coolant and A/C lines in my rear Heater and AC. Used rubber for all lines with steel fittings for AC. If you can DIY yourself, you can save a lot of money, because this is a labor intensive and big job. I bought tools and parts off of internet.

But first things first: inspect that your evap and heater are not rusted. I replaced these. Hose bibs were rusted, electrical connections too.

After everything was tested and leak-free, I created an insulated weatherproof trough (sheet-metal) for these lines front-to-back. It ended up better than OEM which are open to the elements underneath.
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  #6  
Old 11-29-2010, 10:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JWA View Post
Ahh well I'm in Columbus, Ohio--technically the midwest----so can't really recommend anyone your way. I'm still fairly certain a good independent A/C dedicated shop or over all great mechanic has some experience in this and wouldn't require a lot of experimentation at your expense. Maybe see if there are shops dedicated to servicing campers/RV's or conversion vans in general---not the stealerships though.

When I helped my friend he co-owned a van conversion and service shop-----he had a lot of experience in this very thing.

Hoping the best for you!
I ran through Columbus yesterday morning on my way back to NY from Iowa. Had breakfast at Waffle House on Roberts Street. I was surprised how nice and clean the city was. What also surprised me driving from Columbus to Akron is that Chevy passenger vans outnumbered Ford Econolines 10 to 1. Here on the tri-state area (NY-CT-NJ) that ratio is about 2 to 1 for Ford. I just count them as a way to spend my time while driving.
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  #7  
Old 11-30-2010, 07:24 AM
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I ran through Columbus yesterday morning on my way back to NY from Iowa. Had breakfast at Waffle House on Roberts Street. I was surprised how nice and clean the city was. What also surprised me driving from Columbus to Akron is that Chevy passenger vans outnumbered Ford Econolines 10 to 1. Here on the tri-state area (NY-CT-NJ) that ratio is about 2 to 1 for Ford. I just count them as a way to spend my time while driving.
Well I hope you didn't have a notion we'd be a dirty city Henry? Can't say a lot of good things about your breakfast choices though---we've got a lot better here than Waffle House---next time try a Bob Evans!

For some odd reason I see almost nothing but Ford E-Vans here---could be I only look for them? Don't see much of the Chevy, Dodge is almost non-existent except for the occasional conversion vans.

That's a good past time driving---just don't confuse them for counting sheep and fall asleep at the wheel!
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  #8  
Old 11-30-2010, 08:23 AM
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Well I hope you didn't have a notion we'd be a dirty city Henry? Can't say a lot of good things about your breakfast choices though---we've got a lot better here than Waffle House---next time try a Bob Evans!

For some odd reason I see almost nothing but Ford E-Vans here---could be I only look for them? Don't see much of the Chevy, Dodge is almost non-existent except for the occasional conversion vans.

That's a good past time driving---just don't confuse them for counting sheep and fall asleep at the wheel!
I will take your advice on Bob Evans, never been in one, just like I had never been in a Waffle House or IHOP before. We try to spend at independent restaurants, although our traveling habits are changing.

Being on the rust belt, lost jobs, etc. etc I wasn't expecting Columbus to be Detroit, but it was no comparison either. I guess big bad Govt jobs is why.

In NY, Econolines are the Contractor's van of choice, but my observation was for passenger vans. There were plenty of Chevys southbound on I-71 Sunday. I actually saw only one extended Ford E-350 high-top.
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Old 11-30-2010, 09:31 AM
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In NY, Econolines are the Contractor's van of choice, but my observation was for passenger vans. There were plenty of Chevys southbound on I-71 Sunday. I actually saw only one extended Ford E-350 high-top.
Ahh yes you did mention passenger vans---the E's are pretty much tops here too for most working types. Being a life-long GM performance fan it was somewhat difficult to admit the Ford was a better van. I can't fault mine even at 10 years old and 245K miles. One day I'll have to replace this one and it'll be tough---its a raised roof with tall doors in the back, perfect for my windshield biz!

Glad you were pleasantly surprised by C-bus---we're mostly stable employment wise believe it or not even now. Plenty of warehousing and corportate offices with many many smaller businesses that seem to be holding their own during these trying times.

Come back anytime--maybe next trip we'll meet at Bob's and my treat?
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  #10  
Old 11-30-2010, 09:44 AM
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Come back anytime--maybe next trip we'll meet at Bob's and my treat?
I would love to, thank you for the invite. Likewise, PM me when you come to NY.
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Old 11-30-2010, 10:49 PM
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The rear A/C & heat lines, that rust out, are NOT "connected to the system via threaded and o-ring sealed fittings".

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I'm guessing your vans A/C lines were connected to the system via threaded and o-ring sealed fittings?
The long steel lines from motor, SNEEK over the top of frame & run down the outside of the frame rail. Apparently FORD attached the 4 steel lines to the body, then fit the body on chassis, entrapping the lines & making attempts to R&R the notoriously rusty lines Turn the Air Blue.

The steel lines are connected via FORD's Quick Connections, that require a plastic tool set (smaller sizes fit gas lines) to release spring retainers. All line ends join to flexible hoses w/mating Quick connectors.

Was told shops that make A/C lines (& possibly hydraulic lines) can get these FORD Quick connectors to make lines. If you can't find any, you face cutting the stock connections & going w/something else.

Some Conversions use aftermarket rear A/C installed using flexible hoses to run the full length. Usually looks hung/routed a bit clumsy.

Last edited by Club Wagon; 11-30-2010 at 10:53 PM. Reason: syntax
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  #12  
Old 12-01-2010, 07:15 AM
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Yes, my 4 steel lines came on the driver's side of the doghouse down, ran in parallel, about 1" from each other in brackets attached to the frame. Although I cut them in several placed it was not easy to remove them.

If I recall correctly, A/C lines were steel all the way to the evaporator, while steel lines connected to rubber-crimped lines at the heater core. These crimps were also rusted. The electrical connections to the blower were also corroded.

I had to remove the seat to remove the access panel, and remove things from the bottom. I ended up replacing the evaporator and heater core for another $ 150.

For coolant lines, I used regular radiator hose, sold by the foot at Auto parts store. For A/C lines I purchased steel-braided rubber A/C lines on the internet with flare / spring loaded connectors and I also crimped some fittings to connect them to the engine-bay lines. I learned the hard way (leak) -- the key to running A/C lines was to keep them fixed and not move around at the joints. I made several brackets (hand-bent sheet-metal strips) to keep the lines fixed. You could use steel refrigerant lines and use a pipe-bender to route them. I decided against since I felt that rubber was easier to install.

If you go to autopartswarehouse.com you will see the specs for the connectors to both evaporator and heater core.

I bought 2-3 crimpers as well. Plus leak detectors, goggles, etc.

After I ran the lines, I stuffed / covered them with fiberglass and installed a hat-shaped sheetmetal trough, about 5-6" wide and about 1.5-2" high, screwed to the underside, caulked around it, and sprayed undercoating. I drilled miniscule holes every 2 or 3 feet for weeping out any condensation. Although lines were mostly rubber, they are long and I felt that heat loss was too much for my liking, plus protection from road debris.
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Old 12-01-2010, 11:33 AM
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Club Wagon you're 100% correct on the Ford QC connectors and that most of my experience was with 80's models as well as the aftermarket converters who did use hydraulic type lines and fittings. I couldn't imagine trying to deal with the steel lines as you describe---probably why so many opt for the flexible hoses as Henry10 did. Since the newer vans have the QC fittings already in place it would be much simpler to use the mating types if they can be found easily---I don't doubt they're available from outfits like Parker etc etc.

Henry10 you did this repair exactly as I would----overkill so it won't be necessary again! Its a lot of work but if the rear A/C is important its worth it. IF you want a good A/C line insulation look into the Aramflex stuff. Its not "cheap" but its one of the best products for this sort of insulation. I think I bought 35' for some heater lines and it cost about $20. It also had a split down the center and a peel away protector for sticking the split together after installation. This makes installation and testing of lines easy since you're not wrestling with the insulated lines---simply put in in place after all is done and you're in the final stages.
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Old 12-01-2010, 12:43 PM
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Imcolock or any pipe insulation would work. I just wanted to enclose the entire thing (brackets included). I probably did not spend more than $ 20 - $ 30 for sheetmetal and fiberglass.

OEM design was so bad I couldn't believe FORD did it that way . Not only there is no corrosion protection, but heat loss as well from all these exposed steel lines of coolant. Radiator would not be necessary..
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Old 12-01-2010, 12:43 PM
 
 
 
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