Back in the Apr. 2000 issue of Mustang Monthly, we discussed details of how to determine what is ailing your late-model air conditioning system. The particular Mustang we diagnosed was an '89 LX 5.0 sedan, but the repair procedures will be nearly identical for any year 5.0 and useful for both V-6 and four-cylinder owners as well.
To refresh your memory, the '89 needed a new evaporator, hoses, and a dryer assembly. In the interim, the Paxton NOVI supercharger it is wearing has been updated with a new race bracket and tensioner, requiring "tweaking" of the A/C condenser lines. During this operation, the condenser developed a crack and had to be added to our list of replacement items. Many of the lines and fittings are easy to access, so we will simply point out a few tips in that area while we concentrate on disassembly of the dash area and removal of the HVAC (Heating, Ventilating, and Air Conditioning) case from within.
Obtaining replacement parts can be either from your Ford dealer or favorite auto parts store. We opted for the Ford original look and quality by purchasing our service parts through our local Ford dealer. The typical evaporator and hose repair at an A/C shop can set you back more than $1,000, but doing the work yourself can easily save you $400-$600, depending upon the parts you need. If we hadn't cracked the condenser, we could have easily saved more than $200 right there with one part.
The only service required after buttoning up the car is having your system recharged, which will run you anywhere from $75-$150, depending upon labor rates and refrigerant costs.