How To Put Freon in a Dodge Caravan

Written by richard ristow
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If your Caravan's Freon levels are neglected, the air conditioner will eventually put out nothing but warm air. Adding Freon to a Dodge Caravan is not a complex task, and freon recharging kits are widely sold at general auto parts retailers and stores with a dedicated automotive department. You can recharge the system at home, or any area that features flat, level ground. Since the process calls for a running engine, the Caravan's emergency brake should be engaged. Standard Caravans need be shifted into neutral, and automatics should be in park.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Freon recharging kit
  • Gloves
  • Glasses
  • Thermometer

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  1. 1

    Release the Caravan's bonnet and locate the vehicle's low pressure service port. This outlet can be found on the wide diameter aluminium pipe connecting the Caravan's compressor with the drier, receiver, and evaporator. The port itself can also be spotted by its blue or black valve cap.

  2. 2

    Undo the cap from the low pressure service port. Connect the Freon recharging kit's service hose to the port.

  3. 3

    Leave the Freon kit in the Caravan's engine compartment, and walk around the vehicle. Open all the doors.

  4. 4

    Run the Caravan's engine. Once it warms, turn on the air condition to its coldest temperature. Switch the air conditioner's air-blower to the highest and hardest designation.

  5. 5

    Return to the engine compartment. Pick up the Freon recharging kit and open the kit's valve. Let 60 seconds worth of Freon charge into the air conditioner. Then, close the kit's valve. Let the system rest for 60 seconds. The air-blower will circulate and spread the freon through all of the system's components.

  6. 6

    Keep an eye on the kit's gauge. Monitor the system's pressure as you continue to add Freon in increments of 60 seconds. As soon as the air conditioner's aluminium pipes look universally cold, place a thermometer into the Caravan's central air conditioning duct.

  7. 7

    Keep Continuing to add freon at 60 second intervals. Once the thermometer reads 4.44 degrees C, the system is charged. Hot weather can have influence the internal air temperature. If you are charging the system during very warm summer months, the final temperature will plateau anywhere between 4.44 and 15.5 degrees C. The system is charged once the temperature stops dropping.

  8. 8

    Remove the thermometer. Remove the Freon kit from the low side pressure port. Recap the port and let the engine and air conditioner operate for 10 more minutes, allowing the blower to fully and evenly spread the new Freon.

Tips and warnings

  • R12 is used in vehicles manufactured in 1983 and earlier. Most vehicles after 1984 use R134a Freon. If you are unsure about which Freon your Caravan takes, consult your owner's manual before buying a recharging kit.
  • Never add R12 to a R134a system. The two Freons do not mingle and air conditioner damage will result. Since both Freons are compressed gasses, wear thick gloves and eye glasses while recharging the system.

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