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2001 mr2 manual
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9 Posts
I just did this mod on my '12. That gauge trim was the hardest thing to pull off, and that yellow cable was a PITA to get at. You definitely have to disconnect the blue and yellow cables; there isn't enough slack to get at that arm underneath. You probably don't have to disconnect the 3 electrical plugs, but they're so easy that it doesn't matter much. Thanks for the excellent write-up!
 

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2015 Forester 2.5i CVT
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771 Posts
Now I've got a 2015 2.5i base model Forester, anybody mess with their 2015 for this mod yet? :smile2:
 

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2015 Forester 2.5i CVT
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771 Posts
Natedog, you should totally go for it! And then post lots of pics if it works, so I can do it, too! : )
I did it months ago on my 2015 Forester, pretty easy, I'll try to get some pics and instructions up soon. Have to take the center console apart and remove the section with three knobs, like on 2010, but at least you don't have to take half the dash apart to get there. :)

For some reason I didn't get the usual email reminder that you'd replied to this thread, wth?
 

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2016 Foz CVT
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939 Posts
Sweet. Pics would be awesome. In the meantime, I'm sure I can figure out how to get the console apart. Do you remember if it's just a little lever that needs to be removed like on the SH?
 

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2015 Forester 2.5i CVT
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771 Posts
Watch youtube video how to swap out stereo unit and you can see how the dash comes apart (that's what I did), then the cables disconnect from ventilation doors very similar to 2010 models. Under the left (ventilation selector) knob there is a micro switch on the upper right side of the pcb (printed circuit board), when depressed this micro switch turns on AC same as pressing AC button. I used a sharp utility knife to shave the protruding black plastic switch off, then put a drop of CA (super glue) on the remainder so that it could never get pressed. Probably unnecessary, but I like overkill lol. Reassemble in reverse order, it's that easy! :)
 

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2016 Foz CVT
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939 Posts
Nice. I just watched a vid on taking the stereo out. Looks easy to get the assembly off.

I'd like it to be reversible if possible, so I'll pass on using cyanoacrylate, lol. Is the switch you're referring to depressed directly by the knob or is there some removable thing in between that could be replaced should I change my mind? I'd rather not shave plastic off anything that isn't easily replaced.

Thanks for the info, BTW I really appreciate it.
 

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2015 Forester 2.5i CVT
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771 Posts
Dash apart after watching youtube vid how to remove stereo.




Backside of the climate control panel after removal from center console.




Carefully pry the perimeter plastic tabs and pull the front fascia/trim piece off. It pulls off over the knob.




Then there are about six little phillips head screws to be removed, they are down in these holes as shown just above the stamped white number.




I carefully pried the little plastic tabs and removed the left knob to see what neeeded to be removed next and because I like to know how stuff works.




Knob was here lol. The two little white rectangles at lower part of hole on pcb are smt (surface mount) soldered tiny LEDs that backlight the control knobs.




This will leave you with the pcb in the back half of the plastic housing. In the through hole on hte left, you can see the micros switch protruding from the upper right corner.




Close-up of the switch.

 

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2015 Forester 2.5i CVT
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771 Posts
Front side of the knobs and plastic housing. IIRC, it's possible to shave plastic off the knob instead of cutting the micro switch piece off, but the switch is easier to cut and I don't want to go back, I know how to push the AC button and turn heat on with defrost for extreme conditions...it's easy. :wink2:




Backside of same.




Close up with one of the knobs. IIRC, the extra black plastic part of the gear drive know at the base is what presses in on the micro switch as the ventilation control/selector knob is rotated to defrost position. If you cut this piece off carefully, it could be CA'ed (super glued) back on easily thus reversing this modification.

 

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2016 Foz CVT
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939 Posts
Done! That was a massive pain in the backside. I took no new pics as they are now readily available. (special thanks to Natedog!)

I have a 2016, in which the stereo system is different than the 2014-15. The entire radio/Starlink module/HVAC knobs are screwed together in one big assembly. I found a youtube vid to remove the 2016 stereo as the HVAC knobs are attached to it instead of the trim/bezel.

Subaru, in their wisdom, buried a couple screws deep in the side of the center stack making it very hard to get the radio assembly out. I had to remove the knee airbag trim (which was a bit scary) and the narrow trim next to the stack. And the glovebox, of course on the other side. And naturally I dropped the passenger side screw down into the stack. GRRRR! I'm glad I had a fishing magnet.

Anyway, once I unplugged the 14 or 15 things on the back and disconnected the ducting cables, I finally got it out. Pain in the butt!

After getting everything apart...

Natedog's pics of the HVAC PCB is the same as I have in the 2016. The only difference I did is, if you look closely at his pic of the micro switch, you'll see that there is a 'lid' held onto the top of the switch. The switch is a little box which has the black plastic pivoting 'fang', a spring, and a springed metal contact on the lid. The lid is one side of the contact which is closed to turn on the AC. I removed the 'lid' and snipped it off and gutted the switch innards. (innards = the little plastic fang that pivots and a nearly microscopic spring.

Also, watch out for 6 small springs in the sandwich of the HVAC knobs and the PCB. I lost one as I wasn't expecting them. I think I'll be fine with 5. I hope it doesn't find it's way to the PCB and short something!

I looked at the conical gear and the part that flips that microswitch and I decided it would be easier to eviscerate the switch. I can't reverse it without replacing the PCB, which it probably more expensive than the conical gear on the knob. Oh well.

It works perfectly. No automatic AC with defrost. Now AC will only come on when I want it to, which is how it should be. One more small thing is now right with the world, lol.
 

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2015 Forester 2.5i CVT
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771 Posts
Awesome glad you got it done. Not that difficult just have to be careful and take your time.

I forgot to mention the springs behind the knobs, been months since I did the mod and took pictures.

The microswitch is smt surface mount soldered and can probably be sourced at DigiKey Electronics - Electronic Components Distributor www.mouser.com McMaster-Carr or somewhere and not too hard to replace if you're good at soldering. :)
 

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2016 Foz CVT
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939 Posts
Yeah, the HVAC panel wasn't that bad. Getting the whole unit out was more difficult.

Any thoughts on what those springs are really for? I'm guessing to just support the PCB as they just go right through it and don't rest against anything of note.

*edit* Ohh... nevermind. They are there for the button presses on the center of the knobs. Well, I hope I can get by with 5 instead of 6 as I lost one. I tested the function of everything and all seems fine, so I guess I'll see.

I just did some button pressing and see that coincidentally, the A/C button is the one missing the second of two springs. (if you look at the pics, each button has two springs) However, I think it'll be fine. The springs seem to just return the plastic part to 'home' after clicking the button in. The actual switch has a much stronger spring anyway, so function should be unaffected. At worst, if the single spring wears out in who knows how many years, it may develop a slight rattle. If that ever happens, I know what to replace. I'm not pulling it apart again unless it's a problem. .
 

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2015 Forester 2.5i Premiu
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5 Posts
Natedog,
This is an AMAZING post! Thank you so much for these detailed instructions and pics.

One follow-up question: while in there, did you find a way, or do you think there is a way, to modify the system so that I can turn recirculate on while in defrost? It's cold and wet again, and I don't think I can suffer another winter breathing exhaust fumes.

(I know that recirc is turned off to aid in defrosting; however, I want to turn it back on. A/C with recirc keeps the windshield clear in every other vehicle I have ever owned, as well as in the 2017 Outback Limited I have on loan from the dealer while they do some repair work to my Forester. In the 2017 Limited, Subaru engineers have entrusted drivers to determine if they want to recirculate cabin air while defrosting...)
 
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