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2020 Forester Touring
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50 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hey all!
I have a 2010 Forester 2.5X Premium that I've been having some issues with the AC on. Basically when it is hot out and I turn on the AC, the air coming out of the vents cycles between very cold and outside temp (hot) air in about 45 second intervals. It's not an instantaneous thing and is more like a waxing and waning of the temperature. As far as I can tell, the compressor is not fully kicking off and back on.

I have now taken it to the dealership twice... this second time getting SOA involved and the dealership now keeping it for 3 days. Both times they are saying that it's operating normally; however, none of the models I test drove did this (and I test drove about 10 different ones).

SOA said that this shouldn't happen... noone else I know thinks it should either... but I need to know from other 2009 / 2010 owners what theirs does.
Those of you with the Limited's would be excluded, as you have the automatic / temperature set AC controller where I have the manual.

I'm about to go pick up the vehicle from the dealership (it's Wednesday and they've had it since first thing Monday morning). I don't know what to do! When it's 90 degrees plus here and the AC is cycling between spitting out hot air and regular air... it kind of defeats the purpose!

Thanks guys!
 

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2010 Forester(sold 11/12) Manual
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49 Posts
My 2010 only has a couple thousand miles so I don't think my experience is a great benchmark but I've notice no "cycling" of temperature out of the A/C. I've been in fairly hot temps...high 80's...for extended periods with the A/C on and it seems to blow consistent cold temperature breeze.
 

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2014 2.0XT CVT
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3,069 Posts
I've got just about 40K miles on my '09 and it was 85 yesterday and about to be 90 today and haven't noticed any of the symptoms you describe. Only under full throttle does it seem like the AC kicks off (supposed to do that IIRC) but nothing like what you describe.
 

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2020 Forester Touring
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50 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Mike5355... Mine, too, only has around 3,000 on it, but I've had it since late Novemeber. Thanks for responding because now I have both someone with high milage (thanks jkoppee) and one with low milage that are both saying this isn't right!

jkoppee... mine doesn't even shut down like that at full throttle... it just keep cycling. I know it's messed up... they know it's messed up... they just can't figure out what exactly is wrong with it and would rather just say that it's working properly. But then again, I'm just speculating!
 

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2004 Subaru Forester XT
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93 Posts
Im seeing something like this in my 2004 Fxt manual with 80,000 miles... I have not taken it anywhere yet, i just noticed it today. On the way to the "mall" 15miles it turned "off" on the way there, but worked ok on the way back. The wife saw the same thing earlier today. Temps today were 90deg...
 

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2010 Forester
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2 Posts
did you ever get an answer on this ac fluctuations? i have 1700 miles and i have had that happen to mine a couple of times. that hot /cold is annoying. doesn't do it all the time tho.
 

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2010 2.0 X 5MT on LPG
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96 Posts
2010 forester,but with 2.0 engine.
Consistent cold air but compresor is shutting on and off in cca.30second periods,all the time
 

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2020 Forester Touring
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50 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
First jj582: No, I've not gotten it fixed. The dealership kept it for 3 days only to tell me first that they couldn't reproduce the problem, then that they only noticed it fluctuating around 4 degrees, and finally that it was supposed to work like that.

Now, I know that some AC units will cycle the compressor in order to avoid a freeze-up... but a constant cycle of on and off, on and off, on and off to the point that I can feel a temperature change as well as a humidity change too!

My significant other is a mechanic... has been for years... even went to school to become a "master mechanic." And if he says there's something not right, then it's just not right.

We even sat in a brand new one with the same exact features at the dealership before I picked mine up and it didn't do it. So, I know mine is not acting correctly but I honestly think they don't know how to fix it... and it truly is sad that they won't admit that (because they know they'd just have to start replacing parts until it was fixed).

With that said... let me get to alokin's comment: So, do you notice a change in the air temperature, even if it's still "cool?" Can you describe how you know the compressor is kicking on and off? (and what the cca meant?)

Unfortunately SoA can't really do anything if the mechanics are telling them that they can't find anything wrong with it... despite SoA telling me that the Forester's are NOT meant to do this! They suggested I take it to another dealer but I'm already out a day of work and have to find transportation just to get it to my local dealer... let alone one that's an hour away. So, I'm waiting till I have a few days where I know I'll be free and can have someone drive out there too to bring me home.

If you can't tell, I'm a little frustrated!
 

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2009 Forester XT 4EAT
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2,265 Posts
Wow. Sorry you are having issues like this. My '09 XT (standard AC) does not do that. I used to (however) have an '81 Datsun 280ZX that did something similar which after a lot of head scratching I traced it down to a loose vacuum line on the back of the AC control unit. This was causing the "flapper door" to swap back and forth between heat and AC whenever it wanted to.
Is there not another Subaru dealer around you (maybe even in Clarksville) that could look at it for a second opinion?
You might also suggest that the Service Manager, the General Sales Manager and you go get in a similar Forester and take it out for a 15 minute drive to compare yours and the other new one. Compare "apples to apples" so to speak.
 

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09 Forester 2.5X
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04 Forester X, MT
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Subaru heater core is always hot and a flapper directs the air flow, I believe. So, something could be amiss in the control of the flapper door or the flapper door component itself so the air is picking up heat from the heater core at times. Are you sure it is the compressor actually kicking off and on that is causing the issue?

It should be possible to rig a light up temporarily to see when the clutch on the compressor is actually kicking in and out. I have been thinking about doing this on mine to better determine when "the system" is automatically kicking the compressor out due to higher rpms or whatnot. I hate the way this stuff is "working" more automatically these days. I mean, if I want the AC off I can turn it off myself. :icon_frown:

There is also the recirculation flapper that could have some kind of control issue or malfunction as well so that it is alternating between hot outside air and recirculation of (supposed to be) cooler inside air.
 

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2015 OutBack Ltd
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2,936 Posts
Hmmmm:

How about getting a small thermometer and taping it up to your upper panel vents when the AC is running.

Record the temps. (actually, better to have your passenger do the recording) as they vary and present that to SOA, either thru the dealer or to SOA directly.

My 03X is still pumping out cold air after 7 years of use and no recharge needed yet.

It does sound like the freon charge could be low to cause the actual drop in temps.

In my experience with auto AC in general and the Forester in particular, there should be a drop and rise in temps as the ac compressor cycles BUT the air should NEVER be warm as in ambient outside air temps...........you should feel a slight rise in temps but nothing more than a couple of degrees.........

Good luck, keep us posted!!!

Steve
 

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2010 Forester
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2 Posts
mreding: if i can get mine to consistently do it, i will swing by the dealer and have them look at it. unfortunately it needs to be doing it when i drop in. i also have noticed the humidity change when it does it. it's like it goes full cold, then for a couple seconds full hot, then back to full cold. it's not like it gets a little warm - it goes hot. it's weird! i will let you know if i ever get it fixed.
 

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00 j j
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I just happened to stumble across this thread, but my 09 w/ 22k miles does the exact same thing. I've been putting off a dealership trip, but sounds like it needs it.

Mine doesn't go hot, but it does cycle a lot more than I think it should. And the air gets warm between cycles. It's unlike any other A/C I've ever had in a car.
 

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2020 Forester Touring
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50 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
So, in the last 2 weeks when I start the car from a "cold" start (though it's over 90 degrees here most days) with the AC on... the compressor makes a horrible grinding noise after about 2 seconds. If I do the same thing (again, "cold start" [basically, when the car had not been run for about 5 hours or more]) with the AC in the off position, it doesn't make the noise... but when I do turn on the AC, it makes a slightly less dramatic grinding noise and then a hissing (louder and more threatening than the usual hissing that an AC system would make).

I documented it with my phone's video and have posted it to YouTube so I could share it with you guys....
This first link is with the AC turned on while starting (sorry that it's turned sideways, I thought it would auto-rotate).

The second link shows that the vehicle is already running and then a passanger turns the AC on for me...


Now, I have taken this to my local dealer (the same one who said that the fluctuation in temperature was normal) and I was just told that THIS sound is normal.
I'm sorry... It's not. I've had 2 mechanics (independent) look at it as well as a few friends who drive Foresters. So, I'm hoping one of you might know what's going on.

But, if you guys come back and say that yours does this as well, then I know it truly is normal operation.

I am at my wits end. I don't have time to drive over an hour to another dealer and leave it, finding transportation back... just to have to go get it the same day again.
 

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2020 Forester Touring
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Discussion Starter #18
jj582 (and others)... I dropped the Forester off on Monday night (in their after-hours drop-off) to have them look at it Tuesday after it had been sitting. I had explained this when I made the appointment and even left a note on the dash saying that they really only had 1 chance to duplicate this and to NOT start it until they were ready and had a technician under the hood to listen.

They said they duplicated it... but said that this was normal operation...
I've been running the AC pretty much since I first got it... and it's been this hot and this humid for months now... but it only started doing this a few weeks ago.

I even sent them the above videos (though they said they couldn't view them).


So, I have a request for those that end up reading this thread and do NOT have this issue... could you take a video of your Forester starting with the AC on and NOT making the noise? This way I have video proof that this is not normal operation. I would be forever thankful to those that shared!!!!!!!

And JJ582, when it's this hot out (91 or higher) and I don't have it on recirculate, it is HOT as well for me.
 

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2010 Forester
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I know this thread has been dead for a few months but I just bought a '10 forester and I've noticed that I can't stop air from blowing (albeit slightly), even if I turn it to the off position. I figured I probably just need to take it to the dealer but I was curious if anyone else had this problem. Thanks
 

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10 XT 4EAT
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893 Posts
I know this thread has been dead for a few months but I just bought a '10 forester and I've noticed that I can't stop air from blowing (albeit slightly), even if I turn it to the off position. I figured I probably just need to take it to the dealer but I was curious if anyone else had this problem. Thanks
in the off position the air you feel while driving is air being forced through the system.
 
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