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2002 Outback, heater not working


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17 replies to this topic

#1 Red0ktober

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 09:24 PM

A friend is going to bring her 2002 Outback over for me to look at tomorrow. The heater isn't working. She's had the car for over a year and it's never worked. She toughed it out last winter, but this winter she'd like to have heat.

Unfortunately, I've never been in the car. So I don't know what the engine, trim, etc is. Just that it's a 2002 Outback.

I'm trying to research a bit before I get the car, but I'm not finding much help in the PDF service manual I sourced on the web.

I assume the heater blend flap is electronically controlled. Can you point me to the location of the servo? I'd like to at least be able to rig it to medium heat for her.

Any suggestions? Thanks!

#2 CNY_Dave

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 10:01 PM

Don't know, but you can also check the heater hoses are getting hot.

#3 the_bard

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 10:02 PM

My '06 Baja (which is supposed to be based off the '00-'04 OBWs, so I assume it's the same) has a mechanical linkage; a stiff piece of wire leading from the climate control mechanism down to the passenger side's footwell. The "vent" is accessible from the footwell, too.

I can snap pics tomorrow if you need 'em.

#4 3Pin

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 10:23 PM

The heater core could be clogged. There are some youtube videos on how to unclog a heater core in the car. I just had to do one. I had really poor heat only on one side. Once we blew out the heater core, good heat on both sides.

Is the temp gauge normal at the mid point range? If not, have you replaced the thermostat with a factory thermostat?

#5 nipper

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 10:42 PM

Lets start with some basics.

What does the temo gauge read?
When she turns on the blower does air move?
Is the heater core bypassed?

#6 Red0ktober

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 11:53 PM

She's been driving it for a year and hasn't commented on anything else not working aside from the heat, so I'd assume the rest of the HVAC system is working mostly normally.

As I said, I have not had hands on the car yet. Was hoping to get some ideas. I've been googling and I haven't gotten the impression that this an exceptionally common problem.

I'm a reasonably competent hobby mechanic, I'm just completely unfamiliar with the car. I'd appreciate pics it you've got them, get me some idea what I'm looking for/at.

So if I look under the dash I should be able to verify the linkage is connected and operating the flap without any dash disassembly. And the heater lines are accessible enough to grab hold of and feel temp. That's a start.

Are heater core failures common? I'd assume that's the only reason it would be bypassed. If the thermostat was stuck open, I'd still think she'd get some heat, but I'll check. I have an OBD2 scan tool that reads realtime data, should be able to watch the actual temp with that.

#7 nipper

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 12:01 AM

Yes the heater flap is right there. Sometimes the little clip fails that holds the cable to the mixing door bracket. It may be that simple.

Cores really rarely leak, but it does happen. Sometimes a miss guided fool will blame a heater core for causing a HG failure (dont ask) and choose to bypass the heater core.

This may be as simple as the control cable not working.

Another possability is a bad radiator cap.

Has she complained about mpg being poor?

#8 Red0ktober

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 01:40 AM

She hasn't mentioned the MPG, but not everyone even checks.

I'm hoping for just a missing clip of course. I'm glad the linkage is exposed enough so that I can at least rule that out quickly.

I just took the dash out of my Range Rover to troubleshoot it's vents. I thought I'd have to replace the expensive blend servos, but turns out it was just a gear not engaging the defroster flap shaft correctly. A $0 fix for me, but pulling the dash fascia is still a hassle.

#9 987687

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 09:10 AM

Unless it has auto climate control, the heat selector moves a cable.

#10 Red0ktober

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 07:21 PM

You guys rock, it was just a cable thing. She was pleased that I got her heat on in mere moments. :)

There is one other fault on her car, her running lights won't turn off! She has to pull the fuse to keep the battery from going dead. I'd figure that's the switch on the control stalk not going all the way to the off position. Might have to start up a new post to see if that can be disassembled at all.

#11 CNY_Dave

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 08:39 PM

3 screws on the bottom half-shell and the top shell pulls up to access the switch.

#12 Guest_jclay_*

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 08:52 PM

For the running lights staying on, check the switch that is on the top of the steering column. Very common issue for subaru newbies!

Cheers!

#13 Cougar

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 09:34 PM

Yep! It's another 'virgin switch' problem. Turn the switch off that's mounted on top of the steering column.

#14 Red0ktober

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 09:57 PM

Hahaha, you're kidding!

#15 forester2002s

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 10:18 PM

There's a switch especially for the parking lights. It is on the top of the dashboard just ahead of the steering column.
I bet that it has been accidently switched on.
Just switch it off, and put some tape over the switch.

#16 Red0ktober

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 10:41 PM

Well I have no reason to do my clever little fix now, guess I'll put away the soldering iron... :(

#17 Cougar

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 10:51 AM

You're not a virgin anymore. Now you know about the switch.

#18 mikaleda

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 02:44 PM

Lol the guy that sold me my legacy didn't know what was wrong with the parking lights. It was the switch after I bought it I got in and turned the switch off :D




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