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2003 2003
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everyone,

I have a wonderful 2003 Subaru Forester with a bit of an A/C problem. With the system running at full power, I get very litte cooling out of it. Last summer it was ok, over the winter we didn't use it except for defrosting, and now this summer I get very little performance out of it.

Does anyone know how to diagnose the system? Is it covered in an easy manual I can find at the local parts shop? Or does anyone have instructions they can paste here for use?

Thanks for all your help,

DAK
 

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Administrator
2007 Forester Sports XT 4EAT
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40,235 Posts
I see this is your first post, so welcome to the forum! :biggrin:

Do you have the manual or automatic climate control on your '03? :confused: You might need to have the A/C system recharged. :smile:

Bobby...
 

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2003 2003
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I see this is your first post, so welcome to the forum! :biggrin:

Do you have the manual or automatic climate control on your '03? :confused: You might need to have the A/C system recharged. :smile:

Bobby...
It's manual climate control. Would you happen to have a .pdf file on doing the recharge? I'm trained and licensed in refrigeration, I would just need a procedure for it.

DAK
 

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2003 2003
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I see this is your first post, so welcome to the forum! :biggrin:

Do you have the manual or automatic climate control on your '03? :confused: You might need to have the A/C system recharged. :smile:

Bobby...
Oh before I forget. Thank you for welcoming me to the forum. :woohoo:

DAK
 

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2014 Impreza Ltd CVT
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3,319 Posts
Welcome Also ..... before I would charge the system, I might do a static pressure check. Or maybe peruse the threads below.

I had an intermittent problem, turned out to be a relay:
http://www.subaruforester.org/vbulletin/f88/intermittent-c-56793/

In post #6, Texas Forester points to a WORN CLUTCH on these Zexel Compressors used. The gap should be .0010 to .0020. I DO have the clutch tools and have adjusted mine in the past. This is easy to check:
engine stopped, check the gap,
Engine running and A/C on, but clutch NOT engaged, put a screwdriver by the clutch front, do you fell the magnetic pull, but the clutch is NOT engaged? OR tap the front of the clutch plate with a piece of wood, does it NOW engage? If so the clutch is worn and the Gap is too big. Using the proper tools remove the clutch plate and remove a shim from behind the center ( usually only 1 shim is there so this works ONCE ).
http://www.subaruforester.org/vbulletin/f88/ac-fine-till-its-hot-57077/
 

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Registered
2003 2003
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Static Pressure Check?

Welcome Also ..... before I would charge the system, I might do a static pressure check. Or maybe peruse the threads below.

I had an intermittent problem, turned out to be a relay:
http://www.subaruforester.org/vbulletin/f88/intermittent-c-56793/

In post #6, Texas Forester points to a WORN CLUTCH on these Zexel Compressors used. The gap should be .0010 to .0020. I DO have the clutch tools and have adjusted mine in the past. This is easy to check:
engine stopped, check the gap,
Engine running and A/C on, but clutch NOT engaged, put a screwdriver by the clutch front, do you fell the magnetic pull, but the clutch is NOT engaged? OR tap the front of the clutch plate with a piece of wood, does it NOW engage? If so the clutch is worn and the Gap is too big. Using the proper tools remove the clutch plate and remove a shim from behind the center ( usually only 1 shim is there so this works ONCE ).
http://www.subaruforester.org/vbulletin/f88/ac-fine-till-its-hot-57077/
Thanks for the leads. :Banane35: Does anyone know how to do the static pressure check? Any instructions on that procedure?

DAK
 

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Premium Member
2014 Impreza Ltd CVT
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3,319 Posts
Static pressure is just hooking up the gauges WITHOUT the car/compresser running to see if there is at least a minimal freon charge. This ensures there is enough freon to transfer the high pressure switch to engage the compressor clutch circuit.
 

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2003 Forester 2.5XS
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9 Posts
Just to clarify, are you getting lots of airflow, but not cold air? Or are you getting very little airflow from the vents?
 

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2007 Forester Sports XT 4EAT
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40,235 Posts
Oh before I forget. Thank you for welcoming me to the forum.

DAK
Your welcome, always room for another Forester owner. :biggrin:

It looks like you got the information you needed to get you started. :smile: One other thought, if your air flow is also a problem, you might need to change the cabin air filter, :wink:

Bobby...
 

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Premium Member
2014 Impreza Ltd CVT
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3,319 Posts
For the heck of it, turn on the A/C and see if the clutch is engaged. If it is not, try the wood stick push above on the clutch front, just to see if it engages. It would make diagnosing this a little easier.
 

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2003 2003
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I've got cooling!

Everyone,

I made the trip to the auto parts store yesterday and picked up a recharge kit. $70+ later I had a Haynes manual (poorly written) and a recharge kit with 3 bottles.

I charged up the system. Initial pressure was 25 PSI. I charged twice to bring it up to 45 PSI (max limit), and of course I wore gloves and glasses. After the initial charge, the air system was making a burning smell: not good. But after a couple of minutes, it cleared up and now its fine. :Banane35:

Unfortunately, I've come to realize that I have a rapid clicking/grinding noise coming from the A/C compressor. :mob:

Does anyone have experience with this? I suspect I should be checking out the A/C compressor clutch. Do you agree?

Thanks so much!

DAK
 

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02 Forester L (sold) Manual
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1,220 Posts
A bad clutch shouldn't cause you to lose refridgerant. They will usually squawk and chirp when you engage/disengage the a/c. If you lost refridgerant, it's probably the front compressor seal gone bad and the compressor may have been low on oil and is machining itself to death. These compressors are usually pretty reliable. I wouldn't fear buying a used one terribly.
 

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2003 2003
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
A bad clutch shouldn't cause you to lose refridgerant. They will usually squawk and chirp when you engage/disengage the a/c. If you lost refridgerant, it's probably the front compressor seal gone bad and the compressor may have been low on oil and is machining itself to death. These compressors are usually pretty reliable. I wouldn't fear buying a used one terribly.
Would a clutch continue to chirp/squak after you've started up? Or should it just simply be a bad compressor?

DAK
 

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2003 2003
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Blower Shot?

Well, things have popped up a new issue.

The recharge on the AC worked well. Oddly enough, the system was kicking out a funky electrical burning smell every once in a while. I found it didn't occur as often if the air flow was set to 2 instead of 4 on these hot summer days. As luck would have it, at the start of a long 8 hour drive from Upstate NY to MD the air stopped coming out of the vents.

I suspect the blower needs to be replaced. Does everyone agree? Or should I be looking at something else?

Also, where would you recommend buying a new blower?

Thanks again,

DAK
 
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