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2006 Forester - A/C problem? - Updated!

2105 Views 13 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  2.5x_sleeper
Hi everyone, quick question, I've done a search but couldn't find an answer. I'm stumped with this one.

I've just bought this car, 2006 Subaru Forester with climate control. I've taken off the trim surrounding the car stereo head unit (double-DIN cd-changer model) to get a look at what I will need to buy in order to change out the unit for a new stereo. On putting everything back together the air-con suddenly does not work. Fan is going, air is coming out, all the controls seem to be working...just no cold air. I've only had the car a day but the air con was working fine yesterday, so it's probably something dislodged in taking out the old stereo :(

Things tested/tried:

1. Fuses appear to be ok. I've not swapped out the relay under the hood though. Is it worth getting a new relay/swapping out? Can one of the fan relays be safely swapped?
2. All wires back where they should be (replaced the old unit just to be sure). Connections tested and firm.
3. The trim was removed without excessive force or pressure on the wires. Correct procedure followed in removing.

The one odd thing I've noticed: the outside temperature sensor now appears to be stuck on 22 degrees (celcius - this is an Australian car). Related? Or just a co-incidence? Should I disconnect the sensor to test?

Any ideas what it could be?
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@foresteroz I see this is your first forum post, so welcome to the forum from Oregon! :biggrin:

Does your '06 have manual or automatic climate control? :confused:


['07 FSXT MODding Journal] ['03 X MODding Journal]
Thanks for the welcome :)

It's got automatic climate control, but the problem is there on any setting. It's *possible* that the air-con is only kicking in at higher speeds since the first trip I took in the car was a long one, and I've only done short trips at low speed to test since then. Having said that I'm not at all familiar with this car yet. Really like it though, it's a joy to work on compared to some other cars I've owned. I found the outside temperature sensor and lo and behold you don't have to hoist the engine out to get to it!

The reason I don't think it's an existing problem is this: the previous owner was utterly meticulous in their care of this car, services done precisely to schedule and the tiniest little detail fixed if it developed a problem. It's practically showroom condition. A problem with the air-con would have been mentioned, so I'm pretty sure I've done something wrong. I had to shift gears at one point, and I've just realised I left the battery connected - one of the wires was already unplugged (cig lighter). Really hope I've not blown something vital and that this is just a co-incidence :(
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Assuming you plugged the control panel back together... both connectors fully seated, the A/C should kick on at any speed, if you're using the manual setting. On the auto setting, the system decided when the A/C is needed. :icon_eek:

Most members feel the automatic controls are pretty bad! I prefer the manual controls on my '03 X, now my son's Forester. I run the automatic climate controls on my '07 FSXT on manual & it's still deficient... not as good as the "plain old" manual controls! :frown:


['07 FSXT MODding Journal] ['03 X MODding Journal]
This is what I can't understand. The air-con was working the day before on a long drive. Take out the old stereo, put it all back together, and it's suddenly not working. I can hear the compressor ticking over so it makes absolutely no sense, there's no way it could have suddenly de-compressed the air con just because I took off the panel?

Outside temperature gauge was a red-herring. Seems to be working ok now, read up on it and apparently it only updates every 10 minutes or so if the car is stationary. So in other words, it's working fine.

Really hoping someone else has had the same issue and knows what the fix is, this is very annoying :( Also very necessary to have working air con in the current Australian summer. Thinking of taking it to local Subaru dealer to have a look at on Tuesday if I can't solve it by then, would an ODBII reader chuck up any useful codes do you think?
When you removed the front panel to get to the head unit... the stereo, did you disconnect the climate control panel connectors? :confused:


['07 FSXT MODding Journal] ['03 X MODding Journal]
I did, shouldn't normally be a problem though right? They're plugged back in, have checked everything over a dozen times just to be sure.
I've removed the one in my '07 FSXT many times with no issues, as you can see on my Member Journal write up below:

Audio Upgrade - Part 4

Perhaps the A/C issue isn't related to the panel being removed. Have you had the Freon charge checked? :confused:

There's also this thread:

How to: Adjust A/C Compressor Clutch


['07 FSXT MODding Journal] ['03 X MODding Journal]
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Another thought.... a long shot. If the electronics glitched, you could try a system reset. Follow the procedure on this link:

How to Idle Re-Learn after Battery Disconnect


['07 FSXT MODding Journal] ['03 X MODding Journal]
I'm leaning towards thinking that it might be an electronics glitch, was going to disconnect the battery for a while tomorrow but it could well just be co-incidence. If that fails will probably take it into the dealer to check the freon level, should probably do that anyhow. Fingers crossed there's a fix! Thanks very much Bobby for all your help, will let you know how it goes :)
The plot thickens...

Didn't have much time the past few days to work on this, but got around to popping the hood and checking if the clutch was even engaging. Looks like not! I've measured the gap and it comes in at 0.70mm, which I think is out of spec? So there's another possible culprit.

Still thinking that it's electrical due to the possibility that I disconnected the battery too late in the process of taking out the old head unit, but that might be a red herring. Next steps:

1. Buy a replacement relay for the air con circuit, they don't cost much, it's handy to have a spare around anyhow, and might as well rule that out.
2. Thinking of testing the solenoid (coil? the thing on top that engages the clutch when powered). It should be around 12-14v with the air con button switched on, is this right?
3. (last resort): tighten the clutch gap by removing a shim. Have the air con re-gassed.
Making progress. I've determined by applying power directly from the battery to the coil that there's nothing wrong with the clutch, it opens and shuts with no problem. However it's not engaging when the car is running and the air con is switched on. I've replaced the relay so it's not that. Fuses are all ok.

All I can figure is that there's some connection that was dislodged in the process of removing the old unit. Both connectors are firm in the back of the control unit (HVAC?) Earth is reconnected to the stereo frame. I've been left (after installing the new head unit today) with one floating clip with four wires that went into the back of the old head unit, but 99% sure that's something to do with the speakers, nothing to do with the air-con. They were connected to the back of the old head unit prior to replacement today in any case, and still no air-con.

Is it possible the internal temperature sensor is not working, or that the control unit is fried somehow? All the other controls on the air con appear to be operating normally.

Anyone have any ideas what to test/rule out next? Pretty sure it's something preventing the clutch from engaging normally, and also pretty sure it's going to be something in wiring. Will keep updating in case someone else has this problem, it's very frustrating, got to be something simple :(
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Foresteroz - please tell me you have figured out the problem?!?!?

I'm having exactly the same issue as you and so glad I found this thread. Did you get it working?

@hooky770 welcome to the forum!

Note that @foresteroz last signed onto the forum 4 years ago, so not likely a reply will be forthcoming...

ALso... please complete your "Public Profile" ► add your vehicle details! ◄

['07 FSXT Member Journal] ['03 X Member Journal]
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