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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've searched for info on replacing the expansion valve and came up with nothing. Every service manual and shop I called said you have to pull the dash to replace the valve. About a 7 hour job, $800 and the parts are only about $30, besides the AC evac and charge...

Well I wasn't about to pull the dash to do it myself and I wasn't 100% positive it was the expansion valve failing. So I took it to an AC shop that I've dealt with before to diagnose it 100%. Sure thing, expansion valve stuck closed, he says he can be done with it the same day, but I'm hesitant, I ask why it can't be replaced at the firewall??? He tells me to hold on and he'll call me back. Ten minutes go by and he calls, tells me he's ordering a valve and o-rings, I ask, so you can get it out throught the firewall?? He says, it's in my hand right now!!!!

So, bottom line, the expansion valve can be replaced without pulling the dash as all the repair manuals recommend. It cost me just over $200 for diagnosis, repair and charge. I'll happily pay that rather than $800 to have the dash pulled when it doesn't need to be!!!!

If your expansion valve fails, insist on the shop replacing it through the firewall, don't listen to the repair manual. I assume since my AC shop did it, any of them can. I have no idea why the manuals say to pull the dash, sounds like a great way to make money, tell the customer it's a 7 hour job and it's done in an hour!!!!

Anyway, my truck is a 2004 crew cab LE if it makes a difference, I doubt it matters, I would think all years are the same.

Hope this helps someone save some money!!!
 

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Your AC shop is a buck smarter than the other guys.
Maybe 600 bucks smarter.
 

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I've searched for info on replacing the expansion valve and came up with nothing. Every service manual and shop I called said you have to pull the dash to replace the valve. About a 7 hour job, $800 and the parts are only about $30, besides the AC evac and charge...

Well I wasn't about to pull the dash to do it myself and I wasn't 100% positive it was the expansion valve failing. So I took it to an AC shop that I've dealt with before to diagnose it 100%. Sure thing, expansion valve stuck closed, he says he can be done with it the same day, but I'm hesitant, I ask why it can't be replaced at the firewall??? He tells me to hold on and he'll call me back. Ten minutes go by and he calls, tells me he's ordering a valve and o-rings, I ask, so you can get it out throught the firewall?? He says, it's in my hand right now!!!!

So, bottom line, the expansion valve can be replaced without pulling the dash as all the repair manuals recommend. It cost me just over $200 for diagnosis, repair and charge. I'll happily pay that rather than $800 to have the dash pulled when it doesn't need to be!!!!

If your expansion valve fails, insist on the shop replacing it through the firewall, don't listen to the repair manual. I assume since my AC shop did it, any of them can. I have no idea why the manuals say to pull the dash, sounds like a great way to make money, tell the customer it's a 7 hour job and it's done in an hour!!!!

Anyway, my truck is a 2004 crew cab LE if it makes a difference, I doubt it matters, I would think all years are the same.

Hope this helps someone save some money!!!
i have no idea what an expansion valve is. but after searching the internet as to why my A/C, which was recharged (even though it still had some) and the ipdm replaced, it still doesn't work consistently. it'll take at least 15 minutes or more just to start working and when it works its ice cold... then it'll get less and less cool as time goes on then it'll blow ambient air. then a few minutes goes by then it'll go frigid again... then it'll go right back to blowing ambient air and when its hot outside it just blows hot air. so... after the tech ran his machine for quite some time testing the system out he diagnosed it as a short circuit in the ipdm. 500 bucks later i have a brand spanking new kick azz ipdm... however the AC still isn't working consistently. i'm slightly pissed right now. then i search just now and found "expansion valve"... are you telling me that a freeeeaakin' expansion valve failing is what is causing my ac to not work consistently? please... any input! i'll drive to the tustin area and go to the same a/c shop just to have my AC work!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Sorry, I can't be of much help, I'm not an AC expert and you're problem isn't something I've experienced. First off though, the expansion valve is located on the firewall where the high and low lines go into the manifold. There is a test to fail it and yours doesn't sound like it's failing. Mine would not blow cold at all, the valve was stuck closed. Any good tech should be able to diagnose the problem for you. I'd take it back to the shop that worked on it and demand your money back since they didn't fix it or at least demand it be fixed and you don't pay for the ipdm (whatever that is) since it wasn't faulty. I would never have anyone throw parts at my truck at my expense!!!!

Your problem sounds kind of similar to one I had in another truck, but very different at the same time. The AC would blow ice cold pretty quick, but after a long drive, usually over an hour, it would freeze up and blow warmer until it unfroze, then I'd just adjust the setting a little warmer and it would be ok. Again, completely different so it's probably no help to you!!!

By the way, what is your compressor doing? How long does it stay on? Does it cycle quickly? Funny thing is I've never had my AC blow ice cold, maybe only on very long drives where the cab has time to really get cold and tons of air is constantly flowing through the condensor, but that's about it.

Just get your money back from that shop since they didn't fix anything and find a good shop that will fix it right!!
 

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So yes this helped me. Now let me pay some help forward:
  1. First of all you can diagnose a bad expansion valve with AC gauges. My particular situation had my high side really high with no pressure build on the low side. Now I'll help people learn from my mistake.
  2. You need a 10mm socket and 27 torx to pull valve. The (engine side bracket) holding the pipes in the expansion valve has a circular top so you can't drop it when removing it. (smart right?). Well the inner bracket on the other side has a curved "Y" top, so if you pull both torx screws it likely WILL fall down in the dash evaporator compartment (which happened to me and it was hard to get back).
  3. So how to avoid this? First pull the glove box, and the blower fan under the dash. This will make a small access hole to the evaporator compartment open that you can fit your hand into, unless its gigantic.
  4. Pull the passenger side torx screw ONLY, and Take a piece of string or wire and feed it from the engine compartment to through the screw hole and firewall to the evaporator compartment.
  5. Bend the wire, or knot the string so that it cannot be pulled back through. Then pull it tight to the engine compartment to hold the bracket tight and keep it from falling.
  6. Remove the other torx screw and old expansion valve by pulling backwards over the untied end of the string or unbent piece of wire.
  7. Replace your o-rings and put the new expansion valve in place, feeding the string/wire through its screw hole and ensuring that both upper and lower ac pipes go into their proper channels in the new valve.
  8. Place the non-string/wire side torx screw into the expansion valve and start it into the inner bracket. This will now prevent the bracket from falling and you can cut the knot, or unbend the wire and pull it out on the other screw side
  9. Replace the second torx screw and then the engine compartment pipes, orings, and bracket. Tadah! you've replaced the expansion valve.

If you do happen to drop something in the evaporator compartment, or want to look in there for any reason like to check the evaporator itself, you can pull the blower motor control module out, its right next to the blower motor and provides a small window you can put one of those cheap usb endoscope cameras in if you want. I did it and it was very helpful, especially helping me find and get the bracket I dropped out of there.

Final word of warning: be careful not to damage the evaporator when prodding around in that small compartment. If you damage that, you'll have to pull the dash to fix it.
 
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