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Making AC Colder Than It Came From The Factory

jacob_coulter on Fri August 22, 2014 7:21 PM User is offline

Year: 2007
Make: Ford
Model: Expedition
Engine Size: 5.4
Refrigerant Type: R-134

A little background, my issue is I have a 2007 Ford Expedition, and I just never have felt it was cold ac, even when it was new from the factory.

I've brought it several times to the dealership while it was within warranty and every time they say it's within spec. I've put a thermometer on it, and it's like 60 degrees out of the vent, that's about as cold as I can get it. It's a white car with a light taupe upholestery and tint. Just recently I was taking a road trip, and even after about 3 hours on the highway on the max setting, I was sweating in the car. My wife's Lexus SUV blows ice cold, between 40 to 50 degrees and the cars I've owned before have also had ice cold ac that wasn't an issue.

Even the dealer service advisor basically said it's a common complaint with that model, it's just not a great AC system for really hot climates (AZ) I've done simple things like clean the condenser with coil cleaner, etc.

So for the sake of argument, let's assume nothing is wrong with the system. What modifications can I make to get the vent temperature down?
On a modern car like this, can I get the AC colder than what the factory designed it? Or am I fighting against factory settings/sensors that's just not going to let it get really cold?

My first thought was something like an auxiilary electric fan, but even when I'm traveling down the freeway with plenty of airflow, it's not that cold. Can I adjust a sensor to let the compressor cycle longer?

Any ideas on what mods I can make?


MrBillPro on Fri August 22, 2014 7:42 PM User is offlineView users profile

Originally posted by: jacob_coulter
Can I adjust a sensor to let the compressor cycle longer? Thanks

My guess is if your sweating going down the road after 3 hrs, the compressor should not be cycling, if it is, it would probably be cycling on low pressure, if so you need to have a shop check it out for proper charge.

Don't take life seriously... Its not permanent.

Edited: Fri August 22, 2014 at 7:43 PM by MrBillPro

GM Tech on Fri August 22, 2014 11:09 PM User is offline

buy another model-simple as that -that design is bad

The number one A/C diagnostic tool there is- is to know how much refrigerant is in the system- this can only be done by recovering and weighing the refrigerant!!
Just a thought.... 65% of A/C failures in my 3200 car diagnostic database (GM vehicles) are due to loss of refrigerant due to a leak......

webbch on Sat August 23, 2014 11:20 AM User is offlineView users profile

I'm not familiar with that model, but normally, I'd want to verify that you're not get re-heating due to a faulty heater control valve not fully shutting off the hot water flow, and that the charge level is correct. Otherwise, assuming it's operating "within spec", there's _sometimes_ a few minor tweaks you can do. But like GM Tech said, if the design is flawed, you may never be totally happy with it.

Does the compressor cycle on pressure or use an evap temp sensor? If the latter, I've known some folks to adjust the position of the evap temp sensor as a way of "tweaking" the set point. Basically, moving the sensor slightly away from the evap's ideal location means the sensor measures a slightly higher temperature, meaning the evaporator has to get a bit colder before triggering the compressor to shut off, which drops vent temps a bit. Basically, you're reducing any margin that exists to protect against evaporator freeze-up, so it has to be done with caution. I'd recommend measuring the actual temp of the evap with a thermocouple to ensure you don't go too far (again, we're assuming the evap temp sensor is operating "within spec"). You can probably get away some adjustment in the AZ climate though (If you're system uses an evap temp sensor). I rather see this buying you perhaps a 5-10 deg reduction though, certainly not 20, and only really a last resort after verifying the rest of the system is operating correctly.

All of this assumes the compressor is cycling off due to evap temperature.

Edited: Sat August 23, 2014 at 11:27 AM by webbch

Cussboy on Sun August 24, 2014 12:32 PM User is offline

Change to a different vehicle, mine have good AC here, 1988 Mazda truck (R12), 2004 and 1998 Frontiers, 2005 Yukon. Likely condenser or evaporator size or design bad on yours, not much you can do. Daughter's 2008 Mazda CX-7 doesn't work as good as those, living in Phoenix good AC has to be #1 priority. System may work great in Louisville and suck here, a good system ends up being over-engineered for Louisville, that's the way it is.

Did your Expedition also have the spark plugs blow out engineering mistake of Ford?

jacob_coulter on Sun August 24, 2014 11:55 PM User is offline

As far as buying a new different car, that's honestly the direction I'm likely going with, but it sure as hell won't be a GM. I've had bad experiences with GM products, and my FIL just got rid of his Escalade he bought brand new (same year as my Ford) the amount of issues he had on that car was INSANE. He was a VERY loyal GM buyer and he swears he's done with the brand. Not only was the SUV itself a pile, the dealer service was awful, even among different dealerships.

I'm not a big Ford guy either, but the Expedition has been fairly reliable, better than the GMs I have owned in the past. For 99% of the country, the AC would be adequate in the Expedition, but for AZ it's just not cutting it. I will say though GM by in large does a great job with AC.

My hope was getting some advice from AC techs on ways to get better than factory performance out of it.

One feature I've heard that some Ford's have problems with is the heater hose is always circulating hot coolant near the evaporator. Would a shut off valve help?
What about a Ford factory "snow plow" clutch fan that draws in more air through the system?

Any advice besides just dumping it?

wptski on Mon August 25, 2014 7:44 AM User is offline

Originally posted by: Cussboy
Did your Expedition also have the spark plugs blow out engineering mistake of Ford?
That happens on the earlier Ford Escape as well.

tvlunn on Mon August 25, 2014 3:46 PM User is offline

First let me say that I'm not an expert, but I do keep up my own automobiles.

I have a 1998 Ford Expedition and a 2008 Ford Expedition - both were purchased new. The 98 Expy has ALWAYS had a very cold AC and has never been touched in the 16 years I have had it. It is simply the best auto AC unit I have ever owned!!!

The 2008 Expy did not get quite as cold as I thought it should right after purchasing. It wasn't quite as warm as you have described, but probably had a vent temp of around 55 degrees on a hot day. After about two months of ownership, I removed all refrigerant, vacuumed the system down to about 200 microns and then weighed in the exact amount of recommended refrigerant. That is all I have done since 2008 and the Expy does get down to around 49 degrees on a hot day. Not as good as the 98, but not bad in my opinion.

webbch on Mon August 25, 2014 5:11 PM User is offlineView users profile

No disrespect intended, but could you mention what ambient temperatures you define as "hot" where you're getting those 49 degree vent temps? Hot in Oregon is anything above about 80 deg, which is a somewhat marginal (but defined as "within spec" by many) reduction in temperature of 31 deg, while hot in Arizona is 105+. If you're getting 49 deg vents in 100+ deg weather, you're doing quite well indeed.

tvlunn on Mon August 25, 2014 6:10 PM User is offline

The summers here in South Carolina can get very hot ............... 100 degrees somewhat typical. However, when I checked the AC in the 2008 and got about 49 degrees at the center duct, it was somewhere in the low to mid 90's.

Believe it or not, the 98 can get down to about 44 degrees even on the hottest days. You simply can not run the AC "wide open" all of the time. I've never had an auto AC work so well!

By the way, this is after a few miles of driving with the AC on recirculate ................ not around town or city driving.

Edited: Mon August 25, 2014 at 6:20 PM by tvlunn

hooper454 on Tue August 26, 2014 10:04 AM User is offline

hooper454 on Tue August 26, 2014 10:23 AM User is offline

Here in Texas, those fords blow good and cold. even at 100 degrees. IF you have the correct Freon charge, make sure you have vacuum to the heater control valve and that it blocks coolant flow. Also, the blend door motor may not be shutting all the way. It is an electric motor controlled by the A/C control head. If you can get to the motor, turn temp knob each way and make sure the motor shaft rotates all the way. Also a good idea while your there to make sure your recirculation door operates. Also electric motor.

jacob_coulter on Tue August 26, 2014 1:28 PM User is offline

On my Lexus, even on a 100 plus degree day I can get around 40 degrees out of the vents, no problem. With the Expedition, it's around the high 50s. It makes a big difference, other passengers notice as well. The vehicle just never really gets cool.

The only thing I can think of is Ford just slapped the same AC system they do for their F-150s into the Expedition. It probably cools a smaller truck cabin fine, but the Expedition has around double the space. Also, most parts of the country aren't as hot as Arizona.

Otherwise, the Expedition has been really reliable in the 7 years of ownership. It just seems Ford didn't go above and beyond with the AC with this year model. Previous models were not an issue.

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