Ford F150: How to Recharge Air Conditioning

You finally found and repaired the leaky HVAC problem in your F-150, but now you need to recharge it. This article will walk you through the process of properly recharging your air conditioning to get cool air blowing through your vents once again.

By Brett Foote - May 20, 2016

This article applies to the Ford F-150.

HVAC leaks are a common issue in most vehicles, especially when they really start to rack up the miles. If you've experienced symptoms like a lack of cooling, rapid cycling of the compressor clutch (compressor is turning on and off rapidly), or the clutch doesn't engage at all, your refrigerant level is likely lower than it needs to be. If there is insufficient refrigerant in the system, the pressure can drop to the point where the system is unable to close the pressure cycling switch. Once you've tracked down and repaired the leak in your system that caused the low refrigerant issue, it's time to recharge, but it's critical that you do it the right way to stay legal and avoid damaging the environment. Keep reading and we'll walk you through the process.

Ford F150: How to Recharge Air Conditioning

Materials Needed

  • One or two cans of R134a (with hose and gauge attached)
  • Assorted common size sockets/wrenches (optional)

Step 1 – Locate and open the low pressure valve

The low pressure valve is located under the hood on the passenger side, in the rear corner, tucked underneath either the dryer cylinder or a fuse box, depending on which model truck you have. There are two bolts that hold the dryer cylinder in place on the side—remove the two bolts and pull it up just enough to access the low pressure valve. While holding the dryer cylinder out of the way with one hand, unscrew and remove the low pressure valve with the other hand. If yours is located under the fuse box, you can simply remove it without having to disconnect anything.

  • FORD F150 AIR CONDITIONING AC RECHARGE HOW TO CHARGE FREON DIY
    Figure 1. Remove the bolts to access the low pressure valve.
  • FORD F150 AIR CONDITIONING AC RECHARGE HOW TO CHARGE FREON DIY
    Figure 2. The low pressure valve is located underneath this box.
  • FORD F150 AIR CONDITIONING AC RECHARGE HOW TO CHARGE FREON DIY
    Figure 3. Gaining access to the low pressure valve.
  • FORD F150 AIR CONDITIONING AC RECHARGE HOW TO CHARGE FREON DIY
    Figure 4. Unscrew and remove the valve cap.

Step 2 – Recharge the system

Connect the hose from a can of the refrigerant to the low pressure valve. Start the truck and turn your air conditioning on high, and make sure the vents are open. Note the pressure reading on the valve, which should be at least 45 psi. If it's below 45 psi, there isn't enough refrigerant in the system and it should be recharged. Pull the handle or press the button on the refrigerant can to start filling the system, keeping an eye on the gauge. Use an additional can if one isn't enough. Fill until you reach around 55 psi, which is a safe level that ensures you aren't overcharging the system (and causing some expensive damage). Once full, turn off the truck and disconnect the hose. Replace the valve cap and any components you had to remove to gain access to the valve.

  • FORD F150 AIR CONDITIONING AC RECHARGE HOW TO CHARGE FREON DIY
    Figure 5. Hook up the hose on the refrigerant can to the low pressure valve.
  • FORD F150 AIR CONDITIONING AC RECHARGE HOW TO CHARGE FREON DIY
    Figure 6. Start the truck, turn on the air conditioning, and take note of the psi shown on the gauge.
  • FORD F150 AIR CONDITIONING AC RECHARGE HOW TO CHARGE FREON DIY
    Figure 7. Fill the system with refrigerant until you reach around 55 psi.

Featured Video: Charging the A/C on '97-'02 F150

Related Discussions