[DML] Simplified replacement of high-pressure AC hose
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[DML] Simplified replacement of high-pressure AC hose

As I reported a little time back, I had my high-pressure AC hose 
finally fail as a result of it rubbing against the emergency brake 
cable. The high-pressure hose is the one that runs along the 
driver's side of the frame.

I replaced the hose last night and thought I'd share a simplified 
method for doing this. The workshop manual calls for separating the 
body from the rolling chassis for this procedure, which is not that 
big of a deal, but I found it to be unnecessary in my case.

The hardest part of the procedure was removing the shroud around the 
radiator which I found to be necessary in order to get a wrench on 
the condenser neck fitting to hold back on it while loosening the 
hose fitting. I suspect that when they were new the shrouds were a 
lot more flexible and easier to deform as necessary to slip into 
place. It does come out fine with a little coaxing and flexing.

Instead of separating the body from the rolling chassis, in my case 
I only needed about another 3/16" of clearance to slip the hose 
through by taking advantage of the fitting geometry. To gain this 
additional clearance, I loosened the driver's side body bolt in the 
luggage compartment (leaving it still threaded but loosened about 
1/8"), removed the two driver's side body mounting bolts on the 
center tunnel plus the seatbelt ancor bolt (which also attaches the 
body to frame), and loosened the driver's side rear body mounting 
bolt that's approximately under the engine cover lightswitch. I left 
the driver's side body mounting bolt in the rear pontoon untouched.

I then raised the car using the normal body lift points and was 
pleased to see that I got a little bit of deflection to increase the 
clearance slightly where the AC hose runs between the frame and body.

The hose sits between the frame and the body along the length of the 
center section. To slip the hose out, I pulled the hose back and 
through by rotating the hose until the metal bend portion of the 
fitting (which is the narrowest part of the front fitting) slipped 
out through the gap between the body and frame. It's a little 
awkward to explain using words, but the 90 degree bend on the metal 
fitting is oriented such that the fat hose is pulled through the 
inner recess it sits in but the bend on the fitting pulls along the 
length of the gap between the frame and body. The fitting on the end 
of the bend is actually outside the channel.

In this fashion, the hose assembly can be withdrawn. In a couple 
places along the route, I had to increase the deflection slightly by 
gently using a prybar, but since the body bolts on the driver's side 
are removed in this section I didn't have any trouble getting enough 
deflection to slip the house out. The spot requiring the most 
mucking was at the inner corner, where on my car the metal had 
puckered in the forming process, making the clearance a little 

Aside from removing the radiator shroud (which I did the other day 
and forgot to time how long it took), removing and reinstalling the 
high-pressure hose took me about 45 minutes. A good lift is oviously 
a grest help in this process and I suspect if you attempt to do this 
on jackstands and a creeper your mileage will vary substantially.


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