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Leaking Ford Explorer Accumulator?

spit on Sat August 27, 2011 11:19 AM User is offline

Year: 2002
Make: Ford
Model: Explorer
Engine Size: 4.0
Refrigerant Type: R134
Country of Origin: United States

I have a 2002 Explorer that has had some minor leaking issues in the it has leaked out completely in less that 2 weeks
When I looked real closely for leaks, I found that the bottom of the foam sleeve around the Accumulator is soaked with refrigeration oil. Looking around the accumlator at the various hosed and fittings near by, none of them seem wet. The top seems clean and dry so it's not an o-ring where the hoses attach. In fact only the lower half or so of the sleeve seems to oil soaked. I haven't pulled anything apart or out yet...but I am on the right track thinking that the accumulator itself is leaking? There is a bracket that is welded to it and the bottome half of that bracket seems to be covered with oil & dirt the leak might be at or near one of the welds for the bracket. Any thougths on what I am seeing and what I should do next? I can pull the accumulator and remove the sleeve and look for a leak, if it's big enough I may be able to detecti visually. I guess I could put a partial charge in and look for a leak that way too. I'm just wondering if others have seen this. I thought I saw a mention of ford having a problem with rusting accumulators?

All input welcome!



mk378 on Sat August 27, 2011 12:16 PM User is offline

It's a common problem, steel accumulators rust through from the outside. Water trapped under the foam accelerates the process.

Edited: Sat August 27, 2011 at 12:17 PM by mk378

JJM on Sat August 27, 2011 12:18 PM User is offline

Yes, Ford has been known for leaking accumulators, though I thought by the 2002 model year the problem was corrected, but I could be a little off on the cut-off.

Apparently, Ford seem to like the idea that GM accumulators were wrapped with insulation, so they did the same. Only problem is GM accumulators are aluminum and Ford accumulators are steel. Steel + constant water and dampness = rust. I think there are photos on this site of some pretty bad rusted out Ford accumulators.


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spit on Mon August 29, 2011 11:26 AM User is offline

My accumulator on a 2002 does appear to be made of aluminum, however it also appears to be leaking. I won't get a chance to get into it until later this week, Does anyone have any experience with the aluminum accumulators leaking? 2. What's the best way to get to the screws to get the old one out? seems like it might be difficult to get to...hoping not to have to pull the grill/bumper!


HECAT on Mon August 29, 2011 1:27 PM User is offline

Pull the grill and rock the radiator air deflector forward.


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spit on Tue August 30, 2011 12:17 PM User is offline

I'm going to get into it tonight! i'll post how it goes.

Thanks for your help!


spit on Thu September 01, 2011 10:03 PM User is offline

Mission Accomplished:
When I got the Accumator out and the insulating sleeve off, I found a roundish hole roughly 1/4 of an inch on the near the bottom... I seemd like the aluminum case just got eaten up in that spot. I was almost happy to see it there and know for sure that I had found the problem...Pulled of the grill like suggested to get to the lower mounting stud. Everything was going great, got the new one mounted, changed the o-rings on the hose fittings, hooked it up pumped it down held pressure...started to charge it..2 cans into it and it starts to leak..from the o-rings... take it apart, take the new o-rings off (the ones that came with the new accumulator) compare them to the old ones..they look smaller, put the old ones back on, pump it down 2 cans in it starts to leak again. Finally I got out an oring kit and put in fatter o-rings and it charged up fine no leaks.

Anway I got the new accumulator from NAPA I went over with the old part, the o-rings that came with the new part and the old o-rings, my o-ring kit and the 4 empty cans of R134 I wasted, and the reciept for the R134. They gave a full credit for 4 cans @ their retail price which was more that what I had paid (I got them @ a local discount store that was open @ 11:00 pm when all this fun happened) I am very impressed with NAPA's customer service.

I am still amazed that a hole like what I found would/could happen

Thanks to everyine for your input!



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