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A/C issue

Air conditioning

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25 replies to this topic

#1 charm

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Posted 06 May 2013 - 08:33 PM

After a thorough search, I can't find 'my' problem so I'm bringing it to you.

2000 obw, 212,000 miles. Will be getting new head gaskets, timing belt, and transmission at some point in the next 6 months or so (timing belt was last done at 120k the last time I had the gaskets done).

Its warm here in Seattle so I turned on the A/C and it blew warm air. If that's all it did, I wouldn't be asking any questions. When I hit the gas, it blew cold. When I'd get to another red light, it blew warm. So, the A/C works awesome on the freeway when it's not rush hour, but otherwise it's kinda broken.

Before I take the car in, I'm curious about what it is and, as a result, what this is going to cost me to fix in addition to the several other thousands that I need to spend to buy myself another couple hundred thousand miles.

I miss my garage.

#2 grossgary

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Posted 06 May 2013 - 09:21 PM

i have a DIY thread about A/C on 2000-2004 OBW's - mine is pertaining to the H6's but it's same principle.  most are fixed for less than $5 in parts and $30 in refrigerant.  i've done a ton of them that way.  just google "DIY outback $5 fix" or something like that and it'll come up.  it's unbelievably easy - two bolts and 11 minutes, i could do it with my eyes closed.

 

Headgaskets:

*** if it's leaking coolant externally then use two bottles of the Subaru Coolant Conditioner (it's required for that engine, was it added the first time)? that works every time if you do it soon enough.  if it's oil or internal leakage then that won't help.

*** If you have to do the HG again this time - install the EJ25 TURBO headgaskets, they don't leak.

and make sure the Subaru coolant conditioner is added.

 

if you're doing the timing belt, install a complete ebay timing belt kit - they're about $150- $200 for all new pulleys and tensioner.  the quarter of a million mile pulleys are devoid of grease.  i generally replace them all even at the 105,000 mark, they have enough pre-200,000 mile failures to warrant it for my purposes anyway.



#3 charm

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Posted 07 May 2013 - 12:44 AM

A/C:  Not sure this makes sense for my situation, but would love to hear more opinions.  The A/C works great when the car is moving but not at all when the car is at idle.  This doesn't seem like a coolant, or lack thereof, issue.  Like I said, if it just didn't work, I'd know what to do, but it does work, and works well, when the car is moving.  The faster the car is moving, the colder the A/C blows!

 

I think the headgaskets were the standard, supposedly better, replacement head gaskets.  The shop I was going to was reluctant to use the turbo headgaskets, but I've changed shops and I think this one is less reluctant.  As a bonus, they're less expensive! 

 

Their timing belt service includes the pulleys and the water pump and the cam and crank seals.  If it didn't, I'd insist on adding those anyway.

 

While the engine is out for the transmission and head gaskets, I'll have them swap out EVERY seal in the engine.  The back plate is the only gasket they won't need to get to anyway so it's less than an hour's worth for work for something that probably needs replacing, again, anyway.

 

The A/C and the timing belt I'd do myself, and have, if I still had a garage.  Without a good place to work and the need to pull the transmission and the time differential between me and the mechanic with the head gaskets, I'm willing to pay for the whole deal so that I have my car back sooner.

 

The head gaskets are dribbling oil, but barely, not coolent.  With everything else that needs to be done, adding the headgaskets to the list and having them done before they're a must fix item just makes sense.

 

 

i have a DIY thread about A/C on 2000-2004 OBW's - mine is pertaining to the H6's but it's same principle.  most are fixed for less than $5 in parts and $30 in refrigerant.  i've done a ton of them that way.  just google "DIY outback $5 fix" or something like that and it'll come up.  it's unbelievably easy - two bolts and 11 minutes, i could do it with my eyes closed.

 

Headgaskets:

*** if it's leaking coolant externally then use two bottles of the Subaru Coolant Conditioner (it's required for that engine, was it added the first time)? that works every time if you do it soon enough.  if it's oil or internal leakage then that won't help.

*** If you have to do the HG again this time - install the EJ25 TURBO headgaskets, they don't leak.

and make sure the Subaru coolant conditioner is added.

 

if you're doing the timing belt, install a complete ebay timing belt kit - they're about $150- $200 for all new pulleys and tensioner.  the quarter of a million mile pulleys are devoid of grease.  i generally replace them all even at the 105,000 mark, they have enough pre-200,000 mile failures to warrant it for my purposes anyway.



#4 1 Lucky Texan

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Posted 07 May 2013 - 08:32 AM

those symptoms seem like typical a/c fan failure. But i think the H6 also has some kind of 'speed' sensor failure and I'm not sure what the symptoms are or even which years had that.

#5 grossgary

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Posted 07 May 2013 - 08:57 AM

did you check refrigerant levels?  like you, i don't think it's your issue but the first step should be to check levels.

 

i have seen them blow cold at high rpm's and not at low...and memory isn't helping me figure out what resolved that. i bet some google or forum searching would dig up something similar. 

 

if it's just starting to leak oil, they take a long time to get worse, years.  a friend had one that was leaking but the car had 200,000 miles on it and had been wrecked twice and in very poor condition....it was a mess, not worth the work but he drives like 200 miles a day. i replaced the timing belt and told him to drive it as is and he got like another 80,000 miles out of it.

 

but, you sound ready to get it all done.  definitely use the turbo gaskets, i can see a shop not knowing what to think, it would be hard for them to know when to listen to customers and when not too so i wouldn't fault them too much.  but that is experienced, non-anecdotal, subaru specific advice that you are wise to ensure.



#6 charm

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 10:11 AM

Not ure how to check refrigerant levels without gauges.

What I can check is, it appears the clutch isn't engaging. Although this raises a differ question. If the clutch isn't engaging, how does the A/C get cold even at highway speeds?

The nice thing is, if it is the clutch, I save the cash from having the system evacuated and refilled. I need to look at what that repair involves. Perhaps it can be done quickly in my parking spot.

As an environmental scientist, professional ethics prevent me from following the Grossgary method, sadly because that sounds pretty darn easy!

#7 charm

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Posted 09 May 2013 - 01:41 PM

In case anybody's interested, I just got back from the mechanic.  The A/C has a slow leak, but not the issue.  The topped of the system for testing with only 3lbs of refridgerant which, considering it's never been topped off sounds like a non-issue to me.

 

They found the relay is shot, easy fix for me, and that the clutch on the compressor is toast. 

 

I think I read someplace that the clutch isn't tough to replace with a used junkyard one so I'll do that.  I'll replace the belt while it's off the car.



#8 Rooster2

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Posted 09 May 2013 - 01:55 PM

In case anybody's interested, I just got back from the mechanic.  The A/C has a slow leak, but not the issue.  The topped of the system for testing with only 3lbs of refridgerant which, considering it's never been topped off sounds like a non-issue to me.

 

They found the relay is shot, easy fix for me, and that the clutch on the compressor is toast. 

 

I think I read someplace that the clutch isn't tough to replace with a used junkyard one so I'll do that.  I'll replace the belt while it's off the car.

Yep, you are on top of things. Very normal to develop a slow leak on an old car. I replaced an A/C clutch years back on a VW. It wasn't a bad job. I can't believe a clutch on a Subie is any different. Every couple of years, I top off refrigerant on my 98 OBW to get it working great again. I just use a small 134a shaving size can for that job.



#9 1 Lucky Texan

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Posted 09 May 2013 - 01:55 PM

3 lbs. ?

#10 charm

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Posted 09 May 2013 - 02:07 PM

3 lbs. ?

psi



#11 charm

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Posted 09 May 2013 - 09:02 PM

If the AC relay is bad, would the compress click on at all? The shop mentioned that the relay is bad as well as the clutch. I suppose they would have tested them independently.

#12 charm

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Posted 30 May 2013 - 12:56 PM

I read somewhere about replacing the A/C clutch on the '06 Outback and it sounded doable.  The '00 compressor is different, as it turns out.

 

Has anybody replaced just the clutch on the '00?

 

I have a used compressor and I'd prefer to not evacuate the A/C system.  I will if I must, but I'd like to avoid it.

 

Thanks again!



#13 grossgary

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Posted 30 May 2013 - 01:52 PM

are you sure the clutch is bad, that's rare?  the diagnosis is suspect - odd for there to be three significant issues at once - clutch, relay, and low pressure.

 

i have replaced a clutch before but not on a Subaru...never seen one fail yet. i feel like i've seen a thread on legacy central or legacy GT forum or something regarding swapping the clutch.  and i've seen a thread i think also about the A/C clutch bearing too - replacing those, which might require removing the clutch?  might want to look for one of those.

 

if you read through my DIY thread you can see how simple it is to recharge the system and no need to pull a vaccuum or worry about recharging. if you swap compressors and put two cans in it, it'll be fine for the life of the vehicle, i do it all the time.



#14 charm

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Posted 30 May 2013 - 03:39 PM

I'm 90% certain it's the clutch.  Between the fact that horrid grinding sound only occurs when the A/C is on and the shop's confirmation that it's the clutch, I'm pretty sure.

 

As an environmental scientist, I can't evacuate the A/C system it goes against my professional ethics, although it does help ensure a bit of job security for me if we keeping doing crap like that.  I won't tell others not to, but my professional life is all about studying the bad things we do to the environment and finding good ways to get what we want and ensure the planet is healthy for our grandchildren.  There are no ideal solutions, but, for me, making a less than ideal mode of transportation more harmful to the environment isn't something I can do.

 

Now, off my high horse, with the replacement of the relay and the recharging of the system by the shop, most of the symptoms remain, except that now the clutch will engage, noisily, and disengage.  That means the A/C still blows cold when moving and warm when not.  If it's capable of blowing cold at all, it doesn't make sense that replacing a few o-rings would make it blow cold while at a stop light.  Clearly, the grinding sound is the issue, not the leaking.

 

The environmentally correct way to address the issue is to simply replace the clutch without replacing the compressor.  There is a write-up on the internet, I don't recall which forum it is, describing how to do this for a 2006 Outback or Legacy.  The clutch on that vehicle is very different from the one on mine.  The big difference being, that one has 3 bolts around the outside of the clutch that appear to hold the pulley on, mine only has the 1 center bolt.  Removing that bolt didn't get me anywhere. 

 

Is there anybody who has taken one of these apart in the past?  Are there bolts under the 3 rubber bushing things?  If so, how do you get the bushings off without destroying them?



#15 grossgary

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Posted 01 June 2013 - 12:44 AM

excellent, never saw the mention of grinding noises. mention that as a symptom next time, very telling for those that can't see, look out, hear, or drive the car.

 

the FSM lists nothing, it says replace compressor if clutch is bad.  weird considering how detailed they are on the transmission rebuild sections.

 

a few hits on google, i'm not on good interweb so i didn't look at them all, here's one from here, i saw a few comments about needing a puller to get the pulley off, so once it's unbolted it might not come off easily.

http://www.ultimates...problem-solved/

 

you could get a used compressor to practice on, www.car-parts.com can sort by lowest price or get one from someone here, who might even be able to remove the clutch first for you.  this is one reason so few people dive into a clutch....it's so easy to simply swap compressors for cheap.

 

another option, last resort if you do have to remove, is to have a shop evacuate the system for you so you can do your own work.

 

totally understand and appreciate your stance, well said. familiar with NASA's AQUA, AURA, and TERRA? lots of environmental data, as their flight software engineer i have a weaker view than yours. maybe the repairs i do prevent cans being used and leaked out again as well as reducing unecessary replacement. though really every one i repair is leaked out already anyway so i don't reall vent as Subaru a/c component failure is so rare. mechanics routinely charge $500 - $1,000 for replacing parts that don't need replaced, i.e. the compressor....increasing energy demands for factory casting, logistics, transportation, fuel costs for parts that aren't needed.  maybe my less noble efforts amount to a break even environmental impact. LOL



#16 1 Lucky Texan

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Posted 01 June 2013 - 10:25 AM

^^^ and saving recycling energy

 

or keeping stuff out of the landfill!



#17 hush777

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Posted 01 June 2013 - 11:11 AM

Just changed out the clutch on a 98 forester.

Wasn't too hard. I used the clutch off of a 97 impreza 2.2.

You need a small allen wrench and a way to block the front from turning. You should be able to see the bolt in the center of the outside disk on the front.

After that you need snapring pliers. then you can take off the pulley section. You will have to remove the tensioner for the a/c to be able to get it all the way out.

After that there is another snapring for the coil section.

Inside the small shaft where you took the bolt out there are some shim washers that you might need to change. They are what sets the clearance for the cluth. After you get it back together the clearance from the front disk to the pulley section should be .012-.024" (.3-.6mm) Adjust the number and thickness of the shims to set that.

 

Hush.



#18 charm

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Posted 01 June 2013 - 04:22 PM

So, I have a used compressor for the clutch.  Knowing that they don't die often, I figured it was safe purchase for very little money.

 

There's no allen bolt and there's no snap rings exposed.  There may be these things further inside, but I just don't know.

 

With that in mind, I have to wonder if its all press fit.  I think a puller may work, I'll go rent one, but I can't see how you would pull off just the clutch plate.  It looks like you'd pull off the pulley with the clutch.  Granted, if that works, I can always just swap the entire kit and kaboodle from the used one to the one on the car.

 

 

On a side note, I wonder if the system is leaking now?  I couldn't get it to get cold on the freeway!  With little refridgerant in the system, I would have no issues with opening it up.  Full, I would struggle.  I'll work on swapping the clutch and then address that issue.



#19 hush777

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Posted 01 June 2013 - 10:37 PM

http://legacygt.com/...ugh-149236.html

is the link I followed.

It has pictures of doing the clutch.

 

Hush



#20 charm

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Posted 02 June 2013 - 05:42 PM

See the attached photo to see what I'm dealing with.  It's very different then what the guy with the '06 Legacy was dealing with.

 

Attached File  IMG_20130602_153033_221(1).jpg   107.48K   25 downloads

 

I don't have any extra bolts to undo or snap rings that I can find. 

 

I bought a gear puller from Harbor Freight but I think it may just be bending the pulley.

 

I am very open to suggestions on how to pull this apart.  The issues are clearly mechanical, and getting worse day by day (today it started to make a whistling sound...that can't be good).

 

With a new job coming up that requires a long drive, I'm getting close to spending the $1200- the shop wants for the repair.  As you can imagine, that's the last thing I want to do.



#21 grossgary

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Posted 03 June 2013 - 12:45 AM

that recessed center part looks like it could be an allen wrench, but it's not?

does it have anything in there that looks like a fastener of some type?

 

worst case you have a shop evacuate the refrigerant, install a used part, and charge it yourself.

if you're super anal have a shop pull a vaccuum, but it's not at all necessary.

annoying but that's worth saving $1,000 to most.

 

or find a shop that will install a used compressor for you and just let them do it.

1 hour labor - $100

charge - $200?

way better than $1,200



#22 1 Lucky Texan

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Posted 03 June 2013 - 08:54 AM

I saw a youtube video where someone had to cut a slot in a weird fastener to use a large screwdriver to remove that center fastener. I guess some are assembled with unusual fasteners for some reason. Looks almost like a plastic piece will come out and maybe some Torx bit would work but????....

#23 charm

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Posted 03 June 2013 - 10:57 AM

It's not an allen key.  It looks like it's been pressed and the black steel has been pinched on the shiny steel.

 

I tried searching for that video, I came up empty.



#24 1 Lucky Texan

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Posted 03 June 2013 - 12:41 PM

I tried searching for that video, I came up empty.

it wasn't great, it was a GM or Nissan I think. I just mentioned it because the guy had to create a way to remove the bolt. Is the inside of that hole threaded? There are videos showing a puller that screws into a hole similar to that one in your pic.

I dunno, hope you find an approach that works.

#25 charm

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Posted 03 June 2013 - 02:26 PM

I was just at the mechanic's and they'll evacuate the system and recharge it for me for $125 total for the 2 visits.  Inbetween, I'll swap the compressors and replace the o-rings. 

 

With the mechanic charging the system, is there anything else I should do whilst I'm in there?







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