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2002 Honda CRV evaporator/expansion valve installation

Hi Gang! I’m finally getting around to blogging the evaporator/expansion valve installation on our daughters ’02 Honda CRV which I performed a while back.  This part is difficult to show and tell because it’s located under the passenger side dash, but I’ve included some pages out of the 02 Honda CRV service manual that may help.  There’s just enough room to work, but definitely do-able! I think if I had my choice of the compressor/condensor vs. the evaporator/expansion valve, I think I’d choose the evaporator/expansion valve assembly!




I had the CRV up on jack stands which offered a little more comfort. Take pictures along the way and make notes as you go along. I can’t rely on my memory! lol



Note: All pictures taken from the 2002 Honda CRV service manual. I highly recommend this manual.


This is the Honda CRV AC system less the actual vehicle!instruc2




Honda is pretty smart and takes repair into consideration I feel. The plastic part of the dash will be cut, removed, and the part discarded, I just have it propped up there to show it.  With the plastic piece out of the way, there’s more access and allows room for the blower housing to come out. Even when the blower housing is unbolted, it’s still a little tricky getting it out. Obviously the blower motor housing is already removed in this picture.





As stated in my compressor replacement blog, I bought the entire system from an eBay seller, and it is still working fine (knock on wood!). The only problem is that the wrong evaporator was sent, but the seller made good on that~ they received a 5 star rating from CCT/yours truly;)

Ebay compressor set

Note: be sure to disconnect your battery and be sure you have your radio code. Once the battery is disconnected, then reconnected, the radio is going to ask you for its specific code. No code, no radio! The code for our Honda was hand written in the owner manual~ thank goodness!



I won’t be able to go into detail of how many bolts there are, or how many connectors need to be disconnected, that is pretty straight forward! Luckily all the connectors are unique and matched, so you really can’t plug the wrong wires together. You do have to hunt a little bit for bolts that hold the blower case in place.

There are also 3 relays first encountered early on which I think gave me more hassle! You’ll know what I’m talking about when you get there.





Here the blower motor housing is on the workbench. Nothing to say here other than this is a good time to change out the cabin filters!




This page may give a better idea of the location of most fasteners for the blower case.instruc4



In the pic below,  the ECM, you need a very long 1/4″ drive extension and good light to get to the bolts/nut fasteners. IIRC, it has to come out before the blower case. I think I was just trying to see if I could install it first, but can’t.


Note: pay close attention to the routing of the wiring and the looms!




Access to the evaporator! Finally!;)

Once the blower case and ECU have been removed, this black evaporator cover held by several Phillips screws will come off and expose the evaporator. A frustrating thing is just the wires that are in the way! I used a bungee cord and pulled them back out of the way so I could work.




Keep in mind, the AC line inside the engine compartment need to be unbolted from the expansion valve. You did recover the refrigerant??


The evaporator will slide out fairly easily.




The evaporator and expansion valve come out together. The expansion valve cannot be serviced without removing the evaporator.




On the workbench:

There are 2 long Allen bolts which hold the expansion valve on. These are unique and I don’t believe ACE hardware has these!;)  I cleaned mine up and ran a thread chaser to clean the threads along with anti-seize on the threads.



Refrigerant oil recommended as per service manual;)



After receiving the correct evaporator, the new one was different, but made no difference in fitment. The new expansion valve was identical to the OEM. The only thing, I had to tweak the new evaporator hard lines to match the old one. It’s a precise fit for the expansion valve to reside in its little home in the firewall!;)  At this time with the expansion valve off, is a good time to put a couple of ounces of refrigerant oil directly into the evaporator or see the chart up above.

evap16Re-installing is pretty much just in reverse order. It’s a little taxing to re-install the blower housing, but magically, it will go back in!


I hope this has been somewhat helpful. At least it gives one the notion that a person other than the dealer or independent shop can do this evaporator/expansion valve replacement.

I think I had the evaporator out within 30 minutes, a little longer to re-install. However, hopefully a few of the pictures may be helpful and knowing that another normal human being was able to do this replacement.



14 Responses so far.

  1. Danny says:

    Thank you for your posts. It’s July of 2015 and I just finished a “complete” (everything but hoses) A/C repair/replace on my ’02 Honda CR-V. When I realized where the expansion valve was, first I cussed, then I cried, then I turned to the internet and found your pictures and captions. So I got busy and got it done. You saved me many mistakes. I only have two bolts left over and I know exactly where they go (under the headlights). Someday I may put those back on!

  2. Auirel Iosif says:

    Offff God, I have 2002 Honda CRV and AC doesn’t work. I bought one from Advance Auto Parts and in one month blew up on parts. I returned back and I received a new one. I installed it up and in 8 days was jammed. I want to give to some garage to instal AC but I will try one more time. It is more difficult than God made the world in 7 days.

    • admin says:

      Hi Auirel, I feel your frustration!:( I’m confused~ did you install a compressor/s and each of them failed? I would just need you to clarify what it is you’re doing? You may want to write me at Classiccarsandtools@gmail.com. If your read my blogs on the 2002 AC repair, then you know it’s not one of the easier tasks by far, and since I don’t know you’re mechanical skills, and a variety of tools to accomplish the job~ well, you may want to at least get an estimate of what the repair may cost. Let me know a little more in detail on my email address. 😉

  3. Tom says:

    Thanks a million for this. It has been said that experience is the best teacher, best when it is someone else’s experience.

  4. Daniel Bellucci says:

    Hello: can you please tell me which brand expansion valve do you installed on your CRV and if you didn”t have trouble with the new valve. Thanks

    • admin says:

      Hi Daniel! As for the brand of expansion valve, I bought the entire ac package from BuyAutoparts.com which included the expansion valve. As for any trouble, I have had no problem with the system and the CRv now has 30k miles on the new system; it actually works very well.
      dne’ 😉

  5. Steve T says:

    Your guide was invaluable when I replaced my wife’s entire A/C system on her 2003 CR-V. I found plenty of guides and videos about the compressor and condenser, but yours was the only guide on the evaporator and expansion valve that I could find. You also showed the chart for how much PAG oil to put in everything. You did such a good job with the step by step instructions. 2 months now and the A/C is great. Thanks so much for putting this up. I couldn’t have pulled it off without you!

    • admin says:

      Thank you Steve! I’m so happy to have helped!;) Right now the Honda AC repair is getting 15-20 hits per day! what does that tell you~ there’s a lot of CRV’s without AC probably.
      Dne’ 😉

  6. Andy Wood says:

    Right on!

  7. Matt says:

    Great write-up! Out of curiosity, did you happen to inspect the old expansion valve or evaporator after they were removed? I also wonder if there is any way to determine if the expansion valve and evaporator are clogged or dirty from the failure of the compressor. I just removed my compressor and found the oil was black with evidence of metal in it (expected). However, I also found a lot of the debris in the receiver/dryer and wonder if this may have absorbed a lot of the debris, protecting the rest of the system. When the refrigerant was evacuated, I noticed the oil that was evacuated with it was a clean light yellow color (clean PAG oil). I’m wondering if I might be able to get away with simply flushing the expansion valve and evaporator, and wonder if I could somehow tell the condition the expansion valve without going to the extra effort to remove this part. 🙂 I’ve removed everything else, so I imagine a couple extra hours to remove and replace the evaporator, isn’t terrible, but just curious if I might save myself some effort. Were your expansion valve and evaporator contaminated?


    • admin says:

      Hi Matt! I felt the same way as you regarding Not to replace the expansion valve/evaporator. Mine was relatively clean, but one can’t inspect the insides of the evaporator, as for the expansion valve, I’m not 100% sure if it can be flushed, as it’s just a valve. I don’t remember if it’s open to flush. I had bought the entire AC kit and just went ahead and replaced it all. However, you’re in the predicament to make a call here~ if I had it to do over again, I would have replaced the essentials, meaning, the compressor, the filter/dryer, but since the condensor is easy to access, I may have just gone ahead and replaced it since it stares you in the face after the front bumper cover is removed., let me know how you do as these questions/ideas are at the end of this particular blog. Let me know how you do!!
      Dne’ 😉

      • Matt says:

        Hi Dne! Thanks for the speedy reply! I’m likely to just remove the evaporator as you did. 🙂 Looks like flushing the expansion valve isn’t a good idea or may not even be possible (orifice diameter is so small). 🙂

        I’m more of a car “builder” than I am a mechanic. 🙂 I typically complain about the “condition” of most of these “daily driver” cars when I’m doing “repair” work. 🙂 For example, I did not fully remove the bumper cover to remove the condenser, because the two corner bolts in the bumper cover were heavily rusted and I could not remove them easily without destroying the plastic (I’ll have to cut the metal fasteners and replace them eventually).

        Also, I did some additional research on these compressors, since I’m completely annoyed by any car company that experiences expensive repetitive failures (Nissan Xterra head gasket failures) and don’t take responsibility for them. I thought this might be of value to your readers here. 🙂

        I uncovered something interesting after contacting the manufacturer of the compressor that I pulled from a junk yard nearby (CompressorWorks, based in Dallas, Texas, owned by Standard Motor Products). Turns out, the Four Seasons brand compressors (also owned by SMP) suggest using something called a “de-slugger” with all of these compressors. The de-slugger is a small electronic box that pulses electrical power on and off to the compressor clutch for several cycles before issuing full power to engage the compressor clutch for normal operation. This pushes all the oil out of the compressor before engaging full operation. Kinda like when you turn the compressor by hand several revolutions after adding new oil to a new compressor, after replacing it. 🙂

        The primary failure with these compressors in the CRV is not related to the compressor itself, but to the overall design of the system, and the low elevation location of the compressor (bottom edge of the engine block). As a result, the PAG oil in the system drains back into the low pressure side the compressor after you turn off the AC system. The next time you turn on the AC, the compressor “slugs” on the oil, trying to compress it, and leads to premature failure of the compressor (compressors are designed to compress “gas”, no liquid).

        Apparently Denso built a newer style compressor (10PA15C), that is supposed to last longer than the original Keihin style design (HS110R). The one I ended up with is still the HS110R style, so I’m looking at purchasing a “De-slugger” and adding it to the system.

        This whole issue is a challenge to me, since I typically scour junk yards for parts, since most of the “new” parts you can buy these days is from American companies with poor longevity parts, all made in China. I have better luck with used OEM part, than I do with new American-Chinese parts. 🙂

        The AC system components are tougher though, since you really don’t know what the overall condition is. I’m planning to return to the junk yard and grab the evaporator and expansion valve from the same vehicle I pulled the compressor from (chances are high that these will also be in good shape too, since the compressor was good). I will have to buy a new condenser though, since there is almost never a car in the junk yard that is NOT hit in the rear. 😉

        I’ll keep you in the loop! Thanks for writing such a cool blog! I’ll have to peruse some of your other projects as well sometime.

        • admin says:

          Wow Matt, great write-up and ideas for me and others, especially the De-slugger! If you do that, let me know and I’ll spread the word! I’m probably more like you, a builder;) However, we (you, I and DIY’ers) almost become dependent on the internet on How To’s. When I do a “job”, I’ll post what I did, whether it’s a short cut or not. Genuine Honda mechanics would probably laugh as they for sure must have the ultimate shortcuts in flat rating a job like this. Anyway, stay in touch, got to get working on my garage!
          dne 😉

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