Welcome to Cool Profit$ Magazine Online

About - Contact - Site Index - Sponsors - Subscribe


Refrigerant leak in late model Ford Explorer?
Check under the accumulator blanket!
by Ignacio “Nacho” Corella
CEKSA Autoclimas
Hermosillo, Mexico
Appeared March/April 2001 in Cool Profit$ Magazine
© 2001 All Rights Reserved

Are customers complaining of gradual decreased cooling on late model Explorers? Are you suffering occurrences in Explorers of continuing refrigerant loss? If so, check out the accumulator, it may be that external rust is setting in.

4-year old rusted Ford Explorer accumulator is the source of a mysterious refrigerant leak
Above and below (click thumbnails for a larger image): This is a 4 year old Ford Explorer accumulator! Peel away the thermal insulation and the rusting is rampant. Plus, the vehicle lives in a desert. What must be happening to these vehicles in Minneapolis?
Rust causes refrigerant leak in 1997 Ford Explorer air conditioning accumulator

While it’s normally a very unusual problem, we've had 5 of these in the shop this year already, all in 1997 Ford Explorers with the V8 5.0-liter engine. For now, with a little research, it appears, that this problem is limited to 1996-98 V8 Explorers.

Aside from desiccant bag rupture (and dispersion throughout the system), one would not suspect this problem because accumulator failures are so rare. We’ve never experienced any such failure, especially in such new vehicles.

The accumulator has a thermal wrap-around blanket and evidently excess moisture is trapped between it and the all-steel accumulator. Removing it easily exposes the rust. Actually, on some of them, the rust is so bad you can see it without having to peel back the blanket. It’s incredible!

So what's up? Another major Ford screw up? Hmmm…I see that Ford must have caught it because they have deleted the wrap in 1999-2001 Explorers. Note that GM has the blanket too, but uses all-aluminum accumulators.

Ignacio "Nacho" Corella, lower left, and crew of CEKSA Autoclimas, Hermosillo, Mexico. Nacho is a regular contributor to the A/C Bulletin Board at www.aircondition.com/wwwboard.
Above: Ignacio “Nacho” Corella (lower left) and the crew at CEKSA Autoclimas, Hermosillo, Mexico. Air conditioning is a year-’round business at their shop.

My advice: if the Explorer has a steel accumulator (most or all do), remove all blankets or rust will eat right through them. Remember too, we are 300 miles south of Phoenix, Arizona. Imagine what must be happening to those vehicles driving around in the salt-belt?                                  $$$

Editor: Nacho Corella is the owner of CEKSA Autoclimas, an automotive repair facility in Hermosillo, Mexico. Given their year around warm climate, they specialize in air conditioning service.
Nacho is a daily contributor to the Bulletin Board at www.aircondition.com. He helps a/c technicians and DIYers overcome both the obvious and the most difficult of a/c service problems.
Nacho’s website (still in Spanish for now):
Email: icorella@autoclimas.com.mx
Phone: 526-210-3501 (from the US, don’t forget the 011); Toll-free in Mexico: 800-222-AIRE; Fax: 526-210-1607.

Editor: Soon you will be able to check in with “current” radiator and a/c industry vendors on the web at: www.imcool.com/buyersguide/.
Vendors: If you would like to be listed as a vendor to the automotive (and Heavy Duty) radiator and A/C service industry, please call, fax, email or fill out the form on the imcool.com web site. Look for Buyer’s Guide Data Entry Form.
Your cost to be listed on the web site and in the 2002 Annual Guide is only $12. For that, you also get a subscription to Cool Profit$ Magazine. In addition, your web listing will be maintained for free (name, contact, address, phone, email, URL, etc.). One heck of a deal.

Cool Profit$ Advertisers

Their URLs



Send Email to 1-800-Radiator


Send Email to 1-800-RadTank

A&I Products

Send Email to A & I Products

Accu-Tech Epoxy

Send Email to Accu-Tech Epoxy Systems

Active Radiator Send Email to Active Radiator Supply

Send Email to Acustrip

Aftermarket Rad

Send Email to Accu-Tech Epoxy Systems

All Radiator Suply

Send Email to All Radiator Supply

Amer Honeycomb


Auto Core


D D & E RadCap

Send Email to DD&E RadCap

Gano Filters


Genera Corp

Send Email to Genera Corporation

Heatex Radiator



Send Email to Johnson Manufacturing Company


Send Email to Keep-It-Kool

Maine Auto Rad

Send Email to Modine Manufacturing Company

NE Plastic Tanks

Send Email to North East Plastic Tanks

Old Air Products

Send Email to Old Air Products


Send Email to PlasTank


Send Email to Ranshu

Reco Heat Exch

Send Email to Reco Heat Exchangers

Refrigerants Inc


Taalman Products

Send Email to Taalman Engineered Products

Tanks A Lot

Send Email to Tanks A Lot

Tanks N Tabs

Send Email to Tanks N Tabs

The Radshop Suply

Send Email to The Radiator Shop Supply Company

Therm Processes

Send Email to Therm Processes Inc