How to Recharge the A/C on a 2001 Ford Focus

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The Ford Motor Company introduced the Ford Focus as the replacement economy car for the Ford Escort, in 1998. Originally available only in Europe, the Ford Focus made its American debut two years later. The Focus is designed with European styling and offers impressive fuel mileage. As more automakers began introducing economy cars with similar styling and features, Ford realized the Focus needed a makeover. The Ford Motor Company introduced a completely redesigned Focus, including an electric version, for the 2008 model year. As with any automobile, maintaining the Focus at regular service intervals will improve the vehicle's performance and fuel economy. Adding R 134 A refrigerant, or "charging" the air conditioning system, requires basic automotive repair knowledge.

Things You'll Need

  • Refrigerant hose
  • Refrigerant pressure gauge
  • Locate the air conditioning compressor on the top, left side of the engine compartment. There are two hoses that come out of the back side of the air conditioning compressor. One hose is the “high pressure” hose, and the other hose is the “low pressure” hose of the air conditioning system. Freon or “R 134 A” refrigerant will be added to the “low pressure” hose on the air conditioning system.

  • Locate the fittings on each hose that come from the air conditioning compressor. The fittings look like the valve stems used to add air to a tire. The “low pressure” fitting is larger than the “high pressure” fitting.

  • Remove the protective cap from the “low pressure” hose fitting by turning the cap counter-clockwise by hand. Set the cap aside.

  • Attach the connector on the “R 134 A” refrigerant canister's hose to the fitting on the “low pressure” hose of the air conditioning system. Refrigerant canisters can be purchased with a hose and a pressure gauge included.

  • Start the Focus’ engine; turn on the air conditioning system to the “Max” setting and the blower to the “High” setting.

  • Puncture the top of the refrigerant canister by turning the valve on the top of the canister clockwise, until the valve is fully seated. Hold the “R 134 A” refrigerant canister upright and turn the valve counter-clockwise to start the flow of the refrigerant.

  • Watch the pressure gauge on the “R 134 A” refrigerant canister. Continue adding “R 134 A” refrigerant until the needle inside the pressure gauge is in the “green” range. Turn the valve on the top of the “R 134 A” refrigerant canister clockwise, until the valve is fully seated. This will stop the flow of refrigerant.

  • Remove the connector on the hose of the “R 134 A” refrigerant canister from the fitting on the “low pressure” hose of the air conditioning system.

  • Install the protective cap on the “low pressure” hose by turning the cap clockwise, until the cap is fully seated.

Tips & Warnings

  • The air conditioning system is pressurized. Do not overfill the air conditioning system with refrigerant.

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References

  • "Chilton's Ford Focus Repair Manual"; Todd W. Stidham, editor; 2002
  • Photo Credit New Ford Fiesta image by zimous from Fotolia.com
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