Sorry to resurrect this thread, but wanted to update the symptoms to get a little more advice.
I was all set to just spend the $70 and get the A/C service/recharge done when I figured Id try one more thing. After dealing with the sometimes cold air/sometimes warm air issue again the other day, I happened to be almost home when it was in the middle of a warm air cycle. While the engine was still running, I removed that cover over the compressor pulley so I could get a better look and noticed that it wasn't engaged. I turned off the A/C, shut off the car and started it back up. I turned on the A/C and it still didn't engage. I watched it for a few minutes to make sure, then found a thick stick and gave a little whack to the front of the pulley. It kicked on and sure enough cool air started coming from the vents.
So here's where I need some advice. Should I...
A. Still do the A/C recharge, or would that just be throwing good money away? Would low refrigerant cause the same symptoms as the clutch gap issue?
B. Spend a bit more time and effort screwing around trying to remove the A/C clutch so I can remove that shim? I couldn't budge the thing last time I tried, but it also looked like I wouldn't be able to get a proper tool in there without removing the fans and I didn't feel like dealing with that at the time.
C. Do A and B.
D. Break down and just get a new (or slightly used) compressor and hope I get a little more life out of my A/C? I realize that replacing the whole compressor means more extra work with capturing refrigerant, etc. Which means I'd probably NOT do it myself.
E. Something else I'm not thinking of?
Thanks for your thoughts.
2006 Forester 2.5 X
L.L. Bean Edition
Regal Blue Pearl/SGM