(not including refrigerant costs - another $30).
I thought I would post a thread since I did another one last night and snapped a couple pictures of how easy and cheap it *can* be. I've done this countless times on 80's, 90's, 2000's Subaru's. I realize folks will complain, I would like to avoid those commentaries - the internet is already full of those comments and not what I'm about to show. I'm trying to get information out there that is helpful to DIY folks that want to fix A/C cheap - it is possible on Subaru a/c systems which are robust and easy to work on.
This was on a 2002 OBW H6 but the procedure is nearly identical to Subaru's even going back to the old R12 systems in the 80's.
I repaired this one in 13 minutes, including time for taking pictures. I have a lot of words and some pictures since A/C work is foreign to many people, but it's a simple process that nearly anyone can do. I hardly come across a non-working Subaru a/c system that this doesn't work on. One of my other 2003 OB Sedan H6's doesn't have working A/C and I am going to bet a lot of money that I'll simply do this same process and it'll work fine for the remainder of the life of the vehicle - it's happened like that many times. I've never really seen any failures besides compromised lines/condensors due to past wrecks and compressors - which are also easy and cheap to replace.
I have found that Subaru A/C systems rarely have failures except at leaking orings which are REALLY insanely cheap. So replacing those orings often fixes a high percentage of vehicles. It is uncanny to me how many A/C systems I have fixed for the cost of 2 orings and yet I've never heard of someone having their A/C repaired for anything less than hundreds of dollars at a typical shop.
The two orings most likely to fail are the ones on the compressor. I suppose (speculation) they are subjected to higher temp gradients, pressures, and engine vibration since they're on top the engine. What I know for certain is that when they are removed they are often hard, like plastic instead of pliable rubber oring compound and are often leakage points.
So - you can usually fix most leaks with those two orings on the compressor. They are usually common sizes you fit by matching up with one of those large A/C oring kits at any auto parts stores for a few dollars. I haven't had a problem matching up 80's, 90's, 2000's compressor side orings.
The smaller ones located in other areas are sometimes harder to match - but also less likely to fail.
Edited by grossgary, 24 April 2012 - 04:36 PM.