How to Repair the Air Conditioning in a 2001 Ford Focus

Updated February 21, 2017

There are four main parts to the Ford Focus air conditioning system--the condenser, evaporator, compressor and accumulator/drier. Any one of these components can be removed and replaced to repair the system. This can be a difficult and dangerous process due to the pressure and refrigerant used, so check with your mechanic first.

Take the car to a licensed technician and have the air conditioning system discharged.

Disconnect the car's negative battery cable.

Raise the car's front end and support it on axle stands. Make sure the parking brake is on.

Return the car to the technician once the repair work is done to have the system evacuated, recharged and leak tested.

Unclip and remove the radiator's undershield.

Unbolt and disconnect the refrigerant lines from the condenser, then cap the lines.

Disconnect the bolts on the sides of the radiator bracket, supporting the radiator's weight with a jack or axle stands underneath it.

Remove the condenser's upper mounting bolts, which are near those upper radiator bolts, and then unclip the condenser and remove it from underneath.

Install the new or restored condenser from underneath the car and apply the mounting bolts, starting with the condenser bolts and then the radiator bolts. Use new O-rings and lubricate them with refrigerant oil.

Connect the refrigerant lines to the condenser, then reinstall the radiator undershield.

Fill the condenser with 30 millilitres of fresh refrigerant oil.

Drain the engine coolant by removing the drain fitting at the radiator and then the engine block with pliers, letting the coolant drain into a container.

Disconnect the coolant hoses connected to the heater core pipes at the engine firewall.

Disconnect the entire instrument panel from inside the car.

Unclip and disconnect the five vent hoses connecting the heater housing to the crash pad crossmember.

Disconnect the crash pad crossmember from the firewall by unclipping the wiring harnesses and removing all the securing bolts, including the ones for the ground connections.

Unbolt and remove the heater unit from the firewall and remove the evaporator from the heater assembly.

Add 90 millilitres of refrigerant oil to the new or restored evaporator, install it in the heater unit assembly and bolt the assembly back in place on the firewall.

Install and connect all other parts/components in reverse order of removal, including the entire instrument panel. Fill the radiator with fresh engine coolant.

Remove the undershield. Loosen the drivebelt by unbolting and removing the drivebelt cover and turning the tensioner clockwise with the wrench.

Disconnect the refrigerant lines from the compressor by unscrewing the clamping bolt and plug the lines.

Withdraw the compressor by unbolting it from the cylinder block/crankcase and unplugging the electrical connector.

Bolt the replacement compressor in place on the cylinder block/crankcase, connect the electrical connector and connect all the refrigerant lines.

Re-install and tighten the auxiliary drive belt, then connect the undershield.

Pour the oil from the old compressor into a graduated container to find out the amount. Add that much fresh oil to the replacement compressor.

Remove the right front wheel and unscrew/remove the inner fenderwell liner after raising the car.

Disconnect the refrigerant line from the compressor and the accumulator/drier--this requires a plastic clamp-type tool from an auto parts store. Remove the refrigerant line screw-on cap, cap all the open fittings and unplug the pressure cycling switch electrical connector.

Unbolt and withdraw the accumulator drier from the front suspension subframe.

Bolt the replacement accumulator/drier to the subframe and connect all hoses/electrical connectors. Replace any seals that were disturbed.

Re-install the fenderwell liner and wheel.

Measure the amount of refrigerant oil from the old accumulator by pouring it into a graduated container. Pour this amount plus 90 millilitres of fresh oil into the new accumulator.

Things You'll Need

  • Jack
  • Axle stands
  • Lug wrench
  • Pliers
  • Wrench
  • Clamp tool
  • O-rings
  • Refrigerant oil
  • Graduated container
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About the Author

Chris Moore has been contributing to eHow since 2007 and is a member of the DFW Writers' Workshop. He received a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of Texas-Arlington.