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happy new subaru owner (87 GL)/ no AC


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17 replies to this topic

#1 CITRUSHARK

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Posted 16 July 2005 - 06:45 PM

I am very excited about my new 1987 subaru gl. It has 86k on it. New Starter, injectors, altenator, fuel pump, ignition system, distributer, and some other new stuff. The person that I am buying it from bought it for $100 and put another $900 in it for his wife to drive 10 miles to and from work for a year. It runs real good, but the AC does not work. I checked for freon pressure, and there is some. There is no sign (oily resiue) of any leakage. The seller said that he had his mechanic check out the AC. The mechanic said that everything is fine except for the pushbuttons in the dash that turn on the AC, heater, etc. is defective.
The owner swears that if I replace the switch button unit, it should work fine.

My first question is if You guys agree or dissagree if the push buttons could cause this?

My second question is, how do I find out if that is the problem. And can I run a bypass switch inside to fix this temporarily.

The seller says that this vehicle has the volkswagon boxer motor. My last question for now is... Is this true? If so what is the Boxer engine, and what do you think about this motor. Also is there any cool upgrades that I could do to this engine affordably?

I am thrilled to have found this site, and I thank each one of you for any help, comments, opinions that you could post

Thanks a bunch
Citrushark 8>)

#2 Subaru_dude

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Posted 16 July 2005 - 07:59 PM

I don't know why the A/C wouldn't work... but that does make sense that the switch would be at fault if the A/C compressor itself isn't. And I dunno why he said Volkswagon Boxer.... I believe the only Volkswagons to use boxers are the really old ones. But anyway..... every Subaru has a boxer engine. instead of the pistons going straight up and down or in a V shape like traditional motors... the pistons go straight out to the sides, 2 on each side, cutting the length of the camshaft in half, lowering the center of gravity, increasing heat displacement, and making for easier mantainance. I take it it's fuel injected because you mentioned your injectors were new. I have an '87 and it's carbed. Wish it was fuel injected though... better gas mileage and more power. Is yours a 5 speed with D/R 4WD? The 4WD really comes in handy. Having 4WD low in a small car like that really kicks some major @$$, lol. Sounds like you got a great deal, having all that new stuff. And the cheapest performance mod I can think of would be a K&N air filter or maybe some headers with a high flow cat and bigger exhaust.
Jordan

#3 CITRUSHARK

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Posted 16 July 2005 - 09:15 PM

THANK YOU for such a quick and informative responce!!

I wish it was a 4WD, However, for my first subaru, and for living in Florida, I can wait till another one with 4WD comes available, becuase when it does, I intend to GRAB IT!!!. But for now I'm thrilled with this one.

It kinda sounds like a VW,

My main concern for now is to get the AC running. Do you know how to bypass the switch and run a temporary one inside the cab? I really dont know how to test the AC, Where do I start?

Thanks,
Citrushark





I don't know why the A/C wouldn't work... but that does make sense that the switch would be at fault if the A/C compressor itself isn't. And I dunno why he said Volkswagon Boxer.... I believe the only Volkswagons to use boxers are the really old ones. But anyway..... every Subaru has a boxer engine. instead of the pistons going straight up and down or in a V shape like traditional motors... the pistons go straight out to the sides, 2 on each side, cutting the length of the camshaft in half, lowering the center of gravity, increasing heat displacement, and making for easier mantainance. I take it it's fuel injected because you mentioned your injectors were new. I have an '87 and it's carbed. Wish it was fuel injected though... better gas mileage and more power. Is yours a 5 speed with D/R 4WD? The 4WD really comes in handy. Having 4WD low in a small car like that really kicks some major @$$, lol. Sounds like you got a great deal, having all that new stuff. And the cheapest performance mod I can think of would be a K&N air filter or maybe some headers with a high flow cat and bigger exhaust.
Jordan



#4 dave valiant

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Posted 16 July 2005 - 09:42 PM

When you say bypass the switch do you mean to hard wire it together so that it is always on? If that is the case just pull the switch out and connect the two wires together.Sorry if that isn't what you were talkin about but I have done this to alot of electrical devices from leaf blowers to angle grinders and drills( don't ever hard wire an angle grinder or drill and try to use it with out someone to plug and unplug.It's very dangerous) Hope I helped and sorry if I didn't.Dave.

#5 CITRUSHARK

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Posted 16 July 2005 - 11:14 PM

Well I'm not sure if the bypass switch is active or not. Because the seller said it was the buttons in the dash. I'm thinking that if the button is not turning the AC on, then the bypass(pressure) switch is not going to turn the AC on even if I bypass it.

Thank you for your post
Citrushark





When you say bypass the switch do you mean to hard wire it together so that it is always on? If that is the case just pull the switch out and connect the two wires together.Sorry if that isn't what you were talkin about but I have done this to alot of electrical devices from leaf blowers to angle grinders and drills( don't ever hard wire an angle grinder or drill and try to use it with out someone to plug and unplug.It's very dangerous) Hope I helped and sorry if I didn't.Dave.



#6 Cougar

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Posted 17 July 2005 - 12:22 AM

You should be able to bypass the switch easily enough. I kind of doubt that it really is the problem though, but I may be wrong. Hopefully the mechanic verified that it was really the switch at fault and not just guess. If the switch ends up being ok then you should check the fuse and AC relay that are on the right strut tower under the hood.

#7 dragonwingsubaru

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Posted 17 July 2005 - 12:53 AM

if you want to see if that is the problem or see if the ac clutch is even engageing just run a wire from the battery to the posative connection at the top of the ac and ground out the other connection and watch and see if the ac clutch engages, if it does have someone get in the car while your holding the wires and see if it will blow out cold. if it does you can just run a toggle switch into the car and flick it on whenever you want t use the ac. i have done this with a cpl cars in the past with no problems

#8 JLDT

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Posted 17 July 2005 - 02:25 AM

My Subaru is an 86, w/o air, but when I got it the defrost, vent, ect. switches wern't working. You might want to verify that none of them are working. If none of them are working, Check the vacuum - that was the problem with mine. It is just a thought because I took my dash apart twice trying to find the problem and it was under the hood the whole time. If you cannot switch between defrost and vent, check the vacuum - if you can, then the problem is probably closer to what everyone else is mentioning.

#9 CITRUSHARK

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Posted 17 July 2005 - 02:53 AM

If I understand you correctly, you are basically saying to apply power to the positive wire that is on the compressor. Right?

If that is what you are saying, should I not be concerned about it being the wrong voltage? Because the battery is going to supply around 12 volts, but the compressor might only handle half that, etc.

Also, for the other side(negative right?) you mention to ground it out. But shouldn't it allready be grounded. Or are you saying to do that just to insure that it is grounded. And if so, you do mean to just ground the negative wire that is on the compressor right?

Thank you for your help,
Citrushark


if you want to see if that is the problem or see if the ac clutch is even engageing just run a wire from the battery to the posative connection at the top of the ac and ground out the other connection and watch and see if the ac clutch engages, if it does have someone get in the car while your holding the wires and see if it will blow out cold. if it does you can just run a toggle switch into the car and flick it on whenever you want t use the ac. i have done this with a cpl cars in the past with no problems



#10 555Ron

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Posted 17 July 2005 - 03:20 AM

Also, for the other side(negative right?) you mention to ground it out. But shouldn't it allready be grounded. Or are you saying to do that just to insure that it is grounded. And if so, you do mean to just ground the negative wire that is on the compressor right?

It should, but older cars tend to lose their grounds. Run a wire to somewhere with a good ground, like the water inlet pipe one the engine. I don't know what voltage the compressor clutch would like though... but try a ground first.

#11 CITRUSHARK

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Posted 17 July 2005 - 03:25 AM

All the buttons for the AirFlow are stuck, (except for the AC Button, I can depress the AC Button). They feel like someone superglued them.But from what I have read, The AC is designed to stay on as long as the (main)little AC button is depressed(seperate button From the Airflow buttons), even when I change the temprature slider from cool to hot; and when any of the frozen(glued) buttons are pushed. The AC should be on.
When I slide the tempreture slider, the air does go from cool to hot; but of course the AC compressor does not click on when I push either of the AC buttons. SO I dont think it is a vacuum problem.

But by me mentioning that The AC should stay on no matter what buttons I push in the Airflow Panel( Vent, AC, Heat, Max, Norm, ETC), I am convinced that the AirFlow Panel IS NOT the problem like the seller stated. Because as long as the seperate little AC button is pushed on, the AC should be on right?

So I need to try supplying seperate power to the compressor like
dragonwingsubaru mentioned. But I would really appreciate it if I could confirm that power straight from the battery is safe to use.

If it is safe to use, and I try that, and the AC blows cold, Then it could be the fuse or the relay that Cougar (Glen)mentioned, Right?



Thank you all for your posts, I'm sure you can imagine how useful AC is in Florida.






My Subaru is an 86, w/o air, but when I got it the defrost, vent, ect. switches wern't working. You might want to verify that none of them are working. If none of them are working, Check the vacuum - that was the problem with mine. It is just a thought because I took my dash apart twice trying to find the problem and it was under the hood the whole time. If you cannot switch between defrost and vent, check the vacuum - if you can, then the problem is probably closer to what everyone else is mentioning.



#12 Cougar

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Posted 17 July 2005 - 09:28 AM

If all your switches are stuck then I would try getting a replacement switch panel. You may be able to get one from someone here in the Marketplace forum or at a salvage yard near you.

You are going to have to bypass the switch at the back of the switch since it ties to other things besides the compressor circuit. Just running power to the compressor clutch is not going to make it work correctly. I would first verify that the switch is really bad using a ohmmeter.

#13 dragonwingsubaru

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Posted 17 July 2005 - 11:26 AM

it will make it work running that power wire to it and what i mean about grounding it out is to take off the plugin from the harness and hook the wires directly to the comp itself, i dont know what the voltage requirement is for it but have never ran into a problem with it run that way before. basically putting in a toggle switch makes that toggle switch your ac button. howevev it is basically like having your ac set on max ac though. this setup will work for a backup setup for you for now but as the other guys said later on i would get another switch just so you have everything working back to normal. i have had 3 or 4 different cars wired up this way since i was too cheap to buy another relay or try to track down the real root of the problem

#14 CITRUSHARK

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Posted 18 July 2005 - 01:50 PM

Well I bypassed the current by supplying voltage from the battery. The compressor kicked on BUT the system is not blowing cold air. The air is blowing, but just not cold. That tells me that its not the buttons on the dash. The system has plenty of pressure as well. And the compressor is turning just fine with no squeeks or anything.


Could someone tell me what malfunction is causing this?


it will make it work running that power wire to it and what i mean about grounding it out is to take off the plugin from the harness and hook the wires directly to the comp itself, i dont know what the voltage requirement is for it but have never ran into a problem with it run that way before. basically putting in a toggle switch makes that toggle switch your ac button. howevev it is basically like having your ac set on max ac though. this setup will work for a backup setup for you for now but as the other guys said later on i would get another switch just so you have everything working back to normal. i have had 3 or 4 different cars wired up this way since i was too cheap to buy another relay or try to track down the real root of the problem



#15 Cougar

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Posted 18 July 2005 - 02:16 PM

I don't see how bypassing the power to the compressor eliminates the switch as a possible problem, all you did was tie power to the compressor and it worked so you know that the compressor works at least. I would check the relay and fuse on the right strut tower to see if there is voltage getting to the relay from the switch.

#16 MilesFox

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Posted 18 July 2005 - 02:41 PM

how about the system needs charged? there are 2 pressure switches that need to see pressure before the compressor will kick on, yoiu can unplug the pressure switches and jump the terminals see if this works. if it comes on, then have the system recharged

#17 CITRUSHARK

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Posted 18 July 2005 - 05:45 PM

well there's still hope then:) . I was bummed because I thought that because the compressor was on and there was no cold air, a major component would HAVE to be replaced. I know it's still possible, but I'm excited again to hear that Iit might be a simple problem.


Anyway, I am very greatful for all of your help. And I will let you know when I check the fuse and the relay. But I should add that I bought some freon and hooked it up to the system. I let a little pressure out previously to make it accept some more.
When I first started to charge the system, the compressor came on for about 20 sec, and then cut off. It did not come back on again. So I let a little more pressure out(just a little) and when I put the freon back, the compressor came on again once some new freon started to go into the system. But it turned off again after about 20 seconds. Does this tell you anything?

Well I'm off to look into the relays, and the fuses. Please let me know what you think is causing it to come on for 20 seconds and then turn off. Does that help eliminate anything?

Thank you,
Citrushark

I don't see how bypassing the power to the compressor eliminates the switch as a possible problem, all you did was tie power to the compressor and it worked so you know that the compressor works at least. I would check the relay and fuse on the right strut tower to see if there is voltage getting to the relay from the switch.



#18 CITRUSHARK

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Posted 19 July 2005 - 02:35 PM

I posted my first thread three days before I actually had my 87 Subaru in my posession. I had to wait over the weekend till the banks opened. So today was the first time I actually got to go through the vehicle.

Getting help from this site has been so fun and helpful. Back before the internet when I worked on autos, It could take days even weeks to figure out repairs that I had never done before. The ability to have many gearheads with their vast amount of knowledge right in my living room is uplifting and inpiring. It's a great example of the power of the internet.


There's alot to be said about this power when A professional mechanic has replaced 3/4 of the major components on this auto, over the course of 2 weeks but was not able to fix the AC as well. And missed the mark on diagnosing it by a mile. With the help form great people utilising the awsome power of this site, I was able to fix it for the price of a few cans of freon.:) :brow: :lol: :cool: :grin: :drunk: :banana: IN 1 DAY.


It turned out to be the compressor speed pulsar. The discussions, and suggestions from everyone that posted here, helped me to use the process of elimination to confirm what was good and what was bad.

I would like to thank Subaru_dude vbmenu_register("postmenu_314020", true);
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dave valiant, vbmenu_register("postmenu_314048", true);
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And all of you that followed my progress

Now that the AC is running , it is causing the car to stall, idle rough sometimes at a stop, and a couple other things.
I will be posting a new thread for that , (this evening or tommorrow) and I look forward to spending some more time
getting to know more posts and people here at Ultimate Subaru.

I hope to see you at my new post
Citrushark






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