If your air conditioner isn’t working properly, it’s probably due to a problem with the orifice tube. The orifice tube is one of the most important parts of your car’s air conditioning system. It allows the compressor’s coolant to enter the evaporator core and then exit through another part of the vehicle. In this guide, we’ll walk you through replacing your car’s A/C orifice tube. This simple orifice tube replacement job can be done in about 20 minutes with just one tool—a screwdriver (or ratchet and socket set).
Step 1: Disconnect The Battery
To begin, disconnect the negative terminal first and then the positive terminal. Make sure you’re in a safe location, wearing gloves (to prevent injury), and are not wearing jewelry (for obvious reasons). You’ll also want to find a safe place to store your battery when it is done. In our case, we used an old milk crate.
Step 2: Locate The A/C Orifice Tube
The orifice tube is a small, cylindrical vent hose that connects the evaporator to your vehicle’s air cleaner. You can find it by looking for a black or gray hose from your car’s air filter housing and heading directly back into your engine compartment. If you can’t see it, use a flashlight to illuminate it inside so you can see where it leads.
Step 3: Remove The Expansion Valve (If Necessary)
You may need to remove the expansion valve (if you have one) before removing the orifice tube. If it is stuck, use a screwdriver to pry it out. If you can remove it by hand, go ahead and do so now.
If your car does not have an expansion valve, then this step can be skipped entirely and proceed straight to Step 4:
Step 4: Remove The Orifice Tube
To get access to it, you’ll need to remove your glove compartment from its housing and pry it out of where it’s attached at the bottom of your dashboard.
Once you’ve done that, carefully disconnect all electrical connections for any devices in there (such as a CD player or radio). Then use a screwdriver or other blunt object (like a hammer) to pry the tube by gently moving it back and forth until it comes out without damaging anything else.
Step 5: Clean Off The Old Debris
Next, you will need to clean out the debris. You can use a vacuum cleaner or a small brush to remove any dirt or dust collected on the orifice tube. If it is difficult to clean out all of the debris using these methods, then compressed air can be used to blow away any remaining particles that are still stuck in the system.
Finally, if all else fails and you cannot remove all of the debris, then solvents such as alcohol should be used in order to dissolve any stubborn pieces left over from previous attempts at cleaning up your vehicle’s air conditioning system.
Step 6: Install The New Orifice Tube
Now, you can install the new orifice tube. First, make sure that it is seated correctly and not twisted. You should also ensure that it is not kinked; if it is, you will need to replace your entire A/C system because this tube is responsible for moving air through the condenser and compressor. Once you confirm that the tube has been installed correctly, check for leaks with soapy water on all connections in case of any leaks.
Step 7: Reattach The Expansion Valve And Evaporator Housing (If Removed)
The next step is to reattach the expansion valve and evaporator housing. Ensure your expansion valve is properly seated, then replace the screws, brackets, and hoses. You can now test your A/C system to ensure it’s functioning properly.