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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I have been following all the reported issues with the Forester’s AC and I am baffled as to why. I have cars that are 5, 10, and 15 years old. I have never had an AC issue with any of them. Never touched it. No recharge, no condenser issue, no operational hunting, no AC system stoppage/throttling (cheating) during idle, no poor AC performance in summer or winter. I set the temp and no matter the outside conditions, the AC system just works….My Forester on the other hand has always struggled. I still can’t fathom why a 3yr old Subaru Forester SJ with 40K miles has a blown AC system. All that venting aside, it’s obvious (to me based on this Forums’ posts on this topic) that SoA will not take ownership and be held accountable for all the AC issues (as reported in this and other forums). I can only surmise this is a poorly designed AC system. The AC system is either undersized to keep people comfortable, or the AC system is improperly matched to the H4 engine. We see that SoA has created all these operational scenario algorithms to throttle the AC for the sake of MPG. I would rather have reliable AC when I need it for the sake of a few MPGs

So the question I have for the Forum is regarding a complete system resizing and overhaul. I am not interested in replacing defective/undersized parts with like to revisit the issue in a couple of years (as many posters here have experienced). I want to fix the AC issue and never have to touch it again (like in my other cars :)).

I am willing to give up a few MPGs for a reliable performance AC system. We need a workaround to SOA’s inability to meet customer needs.

Any recommendations for Performance Aftermarket AC components for Forester’s:
  • Compressor
  • Condenser
  • Expansion valve
  • Evaporator
  • Firmware/ECU
  • …you name it.

I will take any input to just make the AC work in this Forester, reliably, repeatedly, and without issue, year ‘round, for the next 5 years.
I will do work myself, and yes, in 5, I might get something else ;)

Thanks for your feedback.

The Last US AWD 6MT (A 2017 - Forester)
 

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2019 Crosstrek 2018 XT
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What do you mean its "blown"? You wll need to get pressures and temps checked at an A/C shop. You are out of warranty.
Not gonna happen (modification) You will have to go to a custom A/C shop and even then its hairy.

My '18 Forester is fine. So its obviously not a design problem.
 

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......yeah, curious to know what "blown" means. I had a compressor go in my wife's old '08 around 100k miles. They replaced it with a factory unit and it still going strong with over 250k on the odo.

Why are looking to replace the entire system? That's a huge undertaking as you have to find components that will bolt on or be customized to work on your application.

I know there are aftermarket AC manufacturers that build kits but most I've seen are for older / classic applications. Even if you find other components from other applications they likely need to be customized to fit (if it's even possible).

Either way, you're talking about a huge and likely expensive undertaking. Another option might be another manufacturer that makes these componemts for your application but if you've got issues with the design, I don't know if that would even be an option for you.

.....but again, it really depends on what you mean by "blown". If it's a specific part giving you a problem, I'd focus on that.…personally.
 

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SeasonedStalker
2017 XT Touring in CBS HT CVT
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So I have been following all the reported issues with the Forester’s AC and I am baffled as to why. I have cars that are 5, 10, and 15 years old. I have never had an AC issue with any of them. Never touched it. No recharge, no condenser issue, no operational hunting, no AC system stoppage/throttling (cheating) during idle, no poor AC performance in summer or winter. I set the temp and no matter the outside conditions, the AC system just works….My Forester on the other hand has always struggled. I still can’t fathom why a 3yr old Subaru Forester SJ with 40K miles has a blown AC system. All that venting aside, it’s obvious (to me based on this Forums’ posts on this topic) that SoA will not take ownership and be held accountable for all the AC issues (as reported in this and other forums). I can only surmise this is a poorly designed AC system. The AC system is either undersized to keep people comfortable, or the AC system is improperly matched to the H4 engine. We see that SoA has created all these operational scenario algorithms to throttle the AC for the sake of MPG. I would rather have reliable AC when I need it for the sake of a few MPGs

So the question I have for the Forum is regarding a complete system resizing and overhaul. I am not interested in replacing defective/undersized parts with like to revisit the issue in a couple of years (as many posters here have experienced). I want to fix the AC issue and never have to touch it again (like in my other cars :)).

I am willing to give up a few MPGs for a reliable performance AC system. We need a workaround to SOA’s inability to meet customer needs.

Any recommendations for Performance Aftermarket AC components for Forester’s:
  • Compressor
  • Condenser
  • Expansion valve
  • Evaporator
  • Firmware/ECU
  • …you name it.
I will take any input to just make the AC work in this Forester, reliably, repeatedly, and without issue, year ‘round, for the next 5 years.
I will do work myself, and yes, in 5, I might get something else ;)

Thanks for your feedback.

The Last US AWD 6MT (A 2017 - Forester)
Thank you for this thread! Very nice and clearly laid out question that has been on my mind as well. So many of the other aspects of the engine have upgraded options in the aftermarket I want to believe the same is true for the people air conditioning system onboard from the factory!
 

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SeasonedStalker
2017 XT Touring in CBS HT CVT
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What about components from the ascent? Wouldn't they be beefed up to handle extra space demands of the 3 row. Could have similar architecture as well
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
......yeah, curious to know what "blown" means. I had a compressor go in my wife's old '08 around 100k miles. They replaced it with a factory unit and it still going strong with over 250k on the odo.

Why are looking to replace the entire system? That's a huge undertaking as you have to find components that will bolt on or be customized to work on your application.

I know there are aftermarket AC manufacturers that build kits but most I've seen are for older / classic applications. Even if you find other components from other applications they likely need to be customized to fit (if it's even possible).

Either way, you're talking about a huge and likely expensive undertaking. Another option might be another manufacturer that makes these componemts for your application but if you've got issues with the design, I don't know if that would even be an option for you.

.....but again, it really depends on what you mean by "blown". If it's a specific part giving you a problem, I'd focus on that.…personally.
What do you mean its "blown"? You wll need to get pressures and temps checked at an A/C shop. You are out of warranty.
Not gonna happen (modification) You will have to go to a custom A/C shop and even then its hairy.

My '18 Forester is fine. So its obviously not a design problem.
ADC, Kean, thanks for the feedback.

I think if you look up on this Forum 'AC issues', you'll find a slew of issues related to the forester's AC system main parts (condenser, compressor-clutch, evaporator), at least up to the '17. Hopefully they fixed the issues on your '18 onward and yours has a trouble free existence. Many of the folks on this forum haven’t been so lucky, but some have gotten failed AC components replaced free of charge under warranty, multiple times, supported by "good" dealers. Not so lucky - just shy of 40K miles - I would be happy to hit 100K miles/12Years without this issue like Kean's '08.

Yep, just a bit outside of my warranty period. I will have to pay for all this work out of pocket. If I am paying for it, I want to try and do this only once. I am trying to avoid a custom AC shop.

All AC systems function under the same principles and are pretty basic, at the core. Ignoring the technology layer for this discussion, all AC's have a compressor, two heat exchangers (an evaporator and a condenser) and an expansion valve. These four components designed and sized together with the refrigerant define the system and the system's cooling capacity measured in BTU's/hr.(17,059 BTU/Hr for the Forester).

All I am saying, and a few folks caught on, is that Subaru has plenty of "performance enhancing" 3rd party aftermarket suppliers. I get it, everyone trying to get a few more HP, improved handling, etc.. I need a few more BTUs; any aftermarket folks in the AC business? Maybe some of the performance radiator folks make high(er) end performance condensers? Anyone have a compressor sized to do a bit more than 105 cc (6.41 cu in)/rev (with matching pulley/clutch configuration)?

Most aftermarket AC shops I've come across focus on making out of production items for older vehicles.

BTW, 'Blown' = diagnosis is a leak that was presumed to have started in the defective OEM Condenser (OEM new part replacement - $300) caused R134 refrigerant and oil to leak and the subsequent compressor clutch failed trying to drive the oil less (not oilless) compressor (which requires a new compressor (OEM - $700) - note no clutch replacement on the '17, so no need to even diagnose the compressor as seized or not - just swap). No matter what, still have costs to evac the system (and leak test) and recharge refrigerant + oil

Mind you, I could do the repair for about half using non OEM parts and focus on the failed items ( and may go that route as it does not sound like SoA has a handle on the quality of the replacements to the defective parts), but since we are where we are, i am doing a little research and, if I could get some improvements like no leaks in a condenser, improved cooling in the cabin ( mind you there aren't even vents to the rear passengers - poor kids), and possibly boost my AC to say....20-24K BTU/hr and come in "near" dealer cost...

thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
What about components from the ascent? Wouldn't they be beefed up to handle extra space demands of the 3 row. Could have similar architecture as well
Its a good idea. I will have to research to see if any are the same parts.
Ascent may work for compressor. You are right Cabin is a bit larger, same H4 Engine. Condenser/Evaporator may be a different story and not fit into tiny Forester.
Thanks for the suggestion.
 

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Didn't need a lesson on how AC works but thanks. :) I was just asking what you meant when you said your system was "blown".

So, you're essentially saying it's inadequate in your opinion for your application ......not to mention the components that apparently need to be replaced regardless of what you do.

My advice is to start looking these parts up and check out some of the diagrams typically referenced on various vendors sites to see if even swapping out for other Subaru models is even feasible. I took a really quick look and it appears your compressor (for instance) was used on 2014 - 2018 Subarus of various models (e.g. Crosstrek, Forester, Impreza). 2019 - 2020 Forester compressors are apparently unique only to that model and the Ascent appears to have its own as well.

What should be obvious though is that they will likely have different mounting hardware / points which is why I brought up the part about this kind of project could pose quite a challenge possibly requiring custom brackets, mounting solutions, plumbing, etc. just to make it work.

Either way, I wish you luck on your conversion. Maybe you'll find a relaitively easy solution that is essentially bolt-in that gives you the results you're looking for..
 

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yeah....I would have taken it to any AC shop. Cause that's all they do. Always. AC systems are pretty much universal, just like brakes.
Unless you in warranty unlike you, there is kinda zero reason to use stealer-ship prices for repairs.

I would at lest talk to some AC shop, kick around your ideas or just simply ask how much a normal repair would cost. I'll be pretty sure they would be far less than the dealership.

Hope all goes well.
 

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Have you looked at 2011-2013 Foresters for a potential swap? They went from EJ to FB engines in that generation, and those years have an FB25 and mine is always freezing cold, even in humid weather over 100.
 

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So I have been following all the reported issues with the Forester’s AC and I am baffled as to why. I have cars that are 5, 10, and 15 years old. I have never had an AC issue with any of them. Never touched it. No recharge, no condenser issue, no operational hunting, no AC system stoppage/throttling (cheating) during idle, no poor AC performance in summer or winter. I set the temp and no matter the outside conditions, the AC system just works….My Forester on the other hand has always struggled. I still can’t fathom why a 3yr old Subaru Forester SJ with 40K miles has a blown AC system. All that venting aside, it’s obvious (to me based on this Forums’ posts on this topic) that SoA will not take ownership and be held accountable for all the AC issues (as reported in this and other forums). I can only surmise this is a poorly designed AC system. The AC system is either undersized to keep people comfortable, or the AC system is improperly matched to the H4 engine. We see that SoA has created all these operational scenario algorithms to throttle the AC for the sake of MPG. I would rather have reliable AC when I need it for the sake of a few MPGs
You have a well written argument. But I have some questions. And commentary.

So you have cars that are 5, 10 and 15 years old. What types/brands of cars are these...? There is a reason for this question, I promise.

SOA has taken many steps to help owners that have had issues. There have been many posts about the dealership replacing the failed component(s) in the threads. Some have been under warranty (basic or extended) or as a "goodwill gesture" after having gotten to a correct person as SOA or the local dealer that has OK'd the repair.

It may be that there was a change in the supplier of the AC parts at that mid-cycle refresh and it may have been done for any number of reasons. Given that the MPG did not change between the "1st gen" SJ (2014 - 2015) and the "2nd Gen" SJ (2016 - 2018), the change of the components would not be "for the sake of a few MPGs". And given that the 2016 and 2018 models do not seem to have the same issues, it then could be limited down to a change in supplier - either for a cost savings issue or for any number of other issues. Given that the 2018 model year SJ doesn't seem to have the same issues as the 2017, this is probably the most likely cause.

If it was for cost savings, we can now see that - huh - maybe that didn't work, because SOA has been paying for a lot of compressor and condenser repairs - basically paying for the same items twice. It happens. There are many times when a product manufacturer relies upon a parts supplier and gets burned. Look at Takata and airbags.

As for updating or changing your AC system to make it "better" or more effective... Just how do you propose for this to happen. Remember that AC systems are under pressure and use possibly dangerous chemicals and a failure can be catastrophic. Changing the compressor for one that is more powerful could lead to issues with the pressure-side lines and cause leaking and blowing a seal. Think about your own AC system for your home (if you have one). When you change something like the compressor, you also have to usually change a lot of other parts, as you can't increase the power of one without increasing the capacity of the other parts.

Now for the "why" I asked about what other types of cars you have in the fleet. I've had cars from many parts of the world - (not sequential order)
  • 2 Subarus (current 2014 SJ and 87 DL 4WD wagon)
  • Peugeot (a 505 STi)
  • Mazda 3 Sport (wagon)
  • 2 Chrysler minivans (both 94 Town & Country)
  • Dodge Grand Caravan (89 model)
  • 2 Dodge 600 ES turbo convertibles (1985 and 1986)
  • Chrysler PT Cruiser
  • Ford Ranger
  • Dodge Ramcharger
  • Dodge Rampage (Mistu Montero clone)
  • Chevy Chevelle Malibu Classic
  • Plymouth Reliant K-Car (1984)
  • Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme
  • Nissan Maxima
  • Fiat 131 "Sport Sedan" (ugh)
I think that's it. But there may have been more.. There were also many cars I've driven as rentals, company cars and extended term loaners (a week or two).

Anyway... The reason for this digression is that I've noticed that the Japanese produced vehicles had less than impressive AC performance. I can't say that it's due to engine size, as my PT Cruiser has excellent AC and is just a 2.4 liter 4 cylinder, same for the 2 Dodge convertibles and the Reliant K car. The Ranger had good AC. The Ramcharger and the 3 minivans were all able to just about freeze you out and all 3 had the rear AC systems.

The point of this is that some manufacturers just have better AC systems. And these have tended to be the American produced cars in my past have had the best AC systems, the Japanese had the less effective. It may also be that many of the cars in my past were using the "old" style freon (R10?) which was better for cooling but worse for the environment. The newer systems with R134 (or whatever it is) just don't seem to cool as well.

Long post short (too late), talk to SOA and see what they may be able to do to help you. Do not come to them in an agressive "my blank is broken, what are you going to do to fix it" manner - look to work with thiem and not demand from them. That's my 2 bits. Take it for what it is.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Didn't need a lesson on how AC works but thanks. :) I was just asking what you meant when you said your system was "blown".

So, you're essentially saying it's inadequate in your opinion for your application ......not to mention the components that apparently need to be replaced regardless of what you do.

My advice is to start looking these parts up and check out some of the diagrams typically referenced on various vendors sites to see if even swapping out for other Subaru models is even feasible. I took a really quick look and it appears your compressor (for instance) was used on 2014 - 2018 Subarus of various models (e.g. Crosstrek, Forester, Impreza). 2019 - 2020 Forester compressors are apparently unique only to that model and the Ascent appears to have its own as well.

What should be obvious though is that they will likely have different mounting hardware / points which is why I brought up the part about this kind of project could pose quite a challenge possibly requiring custom brackets, mounting solutions, plumbing, etc. just to make it work.

Either way, I wish you luck on your conversion. Maybe you'll find a relaitively easy solution that is essentially bolt-in that gives you the results you're looking for..
Sorry, I was not trying to be condescending towards folks’ knowledge of AC systems, just attempting to point out that these failed parts were diagnosed and more importantly are core basic system components found in all AC systems and shouldn’t have failed at 40K.

I am not saying its trivial, by any means, but as you stated these are “ components that apparently need to be replaced regardless” – agreed, unless I want to be a bit selfish and have the Subaru all to myself this summer ;). And while looking into replacements, I would like to have a system that doesn’t fail every 40K (a bit dramatic here, but my experience is limited to the current issue I am having with this Subaru and to other posters similar experiences with post first repair updates with repeat component failures).

I was hoping to leverage an aftermarket performance AC network of manufacturer’s, or other folks’ experiences upgrading to performance components on failed OEM parts. I was hoping to save me some leg work in researching what would work well, what any other folks’ have upgraded and didn’t work, what replacements to avoid, and what pain points folks have experienced – call them lessons learned for me on my journey J.

I totally agree with you, and counted on the mounting limitations/roadblocks and was expecting different bracketing requirements, for sure. Further I would expect that any replacement compressor (non spec – aka larger displacement) would require a different pulley diameter to be properly matched to the current drive belt in order to achieve the correct (compressor) motor ratio for demand cooling; a clutch matched to engage/disengage the compressor, etc., etc.… as stated above – not trivial. Maybe sticking to other Subbies that use this compressor would need to be the limitation.

Condenser is also a bit tricky. It’s all about efficiency at removing heat – typically surface area, and typically limited by the existing condenser's mounting and footprint. Some condensers are made to higher manufacturing standards/welding/pressurization, etc. Maybe better materials/manufacturing processes to achieve a higher heat transfer coefficient? (that’s harder than one might think and gets pretty costly quickly at any custom shop.) Only aftermarket brands that come close is Koyorad and Mishimoto (no direct replacements for the ’17, though)

Plumbing /fittings and other pressure components should be fine. Not too worried about that. The overall AC system Hi/Lo sides should end up operating in the same pressure ranges. I am not envisioning increasing the pressure of the system. The changes would just allow for moving refrigerant through the piping at a higher rate ( and increase my cooling btu/hr rate)

Maybe I just need to view this as a Sisyphean effort and replace the darn condenser and compressor with some none OEM parts, save me some $, aggravation, and move on to get ready to do it again in another 40K miles. :)

Thanks for the feedback and well wishes. Great suggestions and dialog. Appreciate your input
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Have you looked at 2011-2013 Foresters for a potential swap? They went from EJ to FB engines in that generation, and those years have an FB25 and mine is always freezing cold, even in humid weather over 100.
Thanks - I'll look into that model generation.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
You have a well written argument. But I have some questions. And commentary.

So you have cars that are 5, 10 and 15 years old. What types/brands of cars are these...? There is a reason for this question, I promise.

SOA has taken many steps to help owners that have had issues. There have been many posts about the dealership replacing the failed component(s) in the threads. Some have been under warranty (basic or extended) or as a "goodwill gesture" after having gotten to a correct person as SOA or the local dealer that has OK'd the repair.

It may be that there was a change in the supplier of the AC parts at that mid-cycle refresh and it may have been done for any number of reasons. Given that the MPG did not change between the "1st gen" SJ (2014 - 2015) and the "2nd Gen" SJ (2016 - 2018), the change of the components would not be "for the sake of a few MPGs". And given that the 2016 and 2018 models do not seem to have the same issues, it then could be limited down to a change in supplier - either for a cost savings issue or for any number of other issues. Given that the 2018 model year SJ doesn't seem to have the same issues as the 2017, this is probably the most likely cause.

If it was for cost savings, we can now see that - huh - maybe that didn't work, because SOA has been paying for a lot of compressor and condenser repairs - basically paying for the same items twice. It happens. There are many times when a product manufacturer relies upon a parts supplier and gets burned. Look at Takata and airbags.

As for updating or changing your AC system to make it "better" or more effective... Just how do you propose for this to happen. Remember that AC systems are under pressure and use possibly dangerous chemicals and a failure can be catastrophic. Changing the compressor for one that is more powerful could lead to issues with the pressure-side lines and cause leaking and blowing a seal. Think about your own AC system for your home (if you have one). When you change something like the compressor, you also have to usually change a lot of other parts, as you can't increase the power of one without increasing the capacity of the other parts.

Now for the "why" I asked about what other types of cars you have in the fleet. I've had cars from many parts of the world - (not sequential order)
  • 2 Subarus (current 2014 SJ and 87 DL 4WD wagon)
  • Peugeot (a 505 STi)
  • Mazda 3 Sport (wagon)
  • 2 Chrysler minivans (both 94 Town & Country)
  • Dodge Grand Caravan (89 model)
  • 2 Dodge 600 ES turbo convertibles (1985 and 1986)
  • Chrysler PT Cruiser
  • Ford Ranger
  • Dodge Ramcharger
  • Dodge Rampage (Mistu Montero clone)
  • Chevy Chevelle Malibu Classic
  • Plymouth Reliant K-Car (1984)
  • Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme
  • Nissan Maxima
  • Fiat 131 "Sport Sedan" (ugh)
I think that's it. But there may have been more.. There were also many cars I've driven as rentals, company cars and extended term loaners (a week or two).

Anyway... The reason for this digression is that I've noticed that the Japanese produced vehicles had less than impressive AC performance. I can't say that it's due to engine size, as my PT Cruiser has excellent AC and is just a 2.4 liter 4 cylinder, same for the 2 Dodge convertibles and the Reliant K car. The Ranger had good AC. The Ramcharger and the 3 minivans were all able to just about freeze you out and all 3 had the rear AC systems.

The point of this is that some manufacturers just have better AC systems. And these have tended to be the American produced cars in my past have had the best AC systems, the Japanese had the less effective. It may also be that many of the cars in my past were using the "old" style freon (R10?) which was better for cooling but worse for the environment. The newer systems with R134 (or whatever it is) just don't seem to cool as well.

Long post short (too late), talk to SOA and see what they may be able to do to help you. Do not come to them in an agressive "my blank is broken, what are you going to do to fix it" manner - look to work with thiem and not demand from them. That's my 2 bits. Take it for what it is.
Thank you FozzieBalou for the questions and commentary. All well taken in the spirit of this dialogue. I am going to address the issue at hand first, and then deep dive into the historical side track of car ownership, AC performance by market, and overall car performance by brand. BTW, I love your list of historical automobilia…surprised I didn’t see an Alfa or Volvo in that list. J. I , on the other hand have gone to the Japanese autos for the most reliability out there.

Yes, I do get the product management and supply chain challenges of a corporation the size of SoA, coupled with their global reach and potential impact. Mind you they are one of the smallest of the Japanese automotive brands. I think I have a problem with their status-quo corporate messaging and their response to this particular issue. If it is a supply chain issue, then SoA know exactly the affected production runs and should be able to make it right for the impacted folks. Proactively, by reaching out to each and avoiding the embarrassment, and correcting the situation. That is the ethical and right thing to do.

Another approach is to let the issue fester and bubble to the top and only mitigate those louder voices. The latter is a more financially viable approach, at the cost of long term brand value & recognition of a few – immeasurable damage, IMO. As you said – look at Takata and how they handled their quality mess. Or better – look at Nissan (Nissan/Renault) and the brand dilution they incurred over the last decade or so, due to cost cutting, or as I like to call it: “Quality compromises at the expense of executive bonus driven decisions. (more fun tidbits later-promise)”

I am willing to try and seek a better performing earlier generation ( or later) Subaru set of AC parts to perform a bit better than the original. I was just hoping I wasn’t the first one down this path….

A quick note on the upgrading and changing AC system components
All Refrigerant systems use inherently dangerous chemicals and due to pressurization, inherently catastrophic in a failure.. There is nothing additionally dangerous in the approach I am taking here. Getting a bit more BTU/HR simply requires the AC system extract heat from the cabbin at a higher rate than current. The pressures should stay relatively equal on both sides of the expansion valve (the HI/LO stay stable), the flow rate through the compressor/condenser and evaporator just go up. It really is all about component sizing for heat exchanging. Remove a certain amount of heat from the cabin at a given rate to keep occupants happy (note- not me J with current design). The requirement then is to move more refrigerant through the system to extract the heat and put out to the atmosphere. Hoses should be fine.

Onto the Why: I too have rented many a vehicle, in many a country. Some really great cars out there not made for the US market – shame. Cars that should never have been made are plenty too. I do agree with you when it comes to AC, US brands rule – AC is an American invention. I, fortunately, have never owned an American branded car (rented many but never owned….almost had my hands on a GTO, but it was Australian J). I grew up in Europe during the Audi Quattro intro’s to the world by Michele Mouton at the WRC (let’s see how many WRX fans are REAL WRX fans and know their sport)
So my current vehicle inventory is as follows:
  • 2005 G35 Coupe.
  • 2008 G35 XS Sedan
  • 2012 VW TDI Sportswagon (Dumb donkey Diesel gate!! – bought this car with high anxiety about going back to anything other than Japanese reliability – turned out to be true)
  • 2017 Forester 6MT

Except for the Forester, none have ever had any AC work. Not even a charge. All still run colder than a Siberian artic blast.

Before this:
  • 2000 Nissan Pathfinder- Poor MPG, other than that – awesome truck. No AC issues
  • 1998 Toyota Corolla. - It was alright…tight
  • 1993 Nissan 240SX - 400K miles + with only replacement of wear & tear items (shocks, tires, battery, etc) – not one single issue with this car – AC never had a charge. Car never had any issues – super reliability - turned me Japanese. Gas it and go.
  • Mazda 5…. meh
  • BMW 2002 TI….couldn’t ….got rid of it soon after
  • Fiat X1/9 – OMG what a fun car. Completely unreliable super fly by the seat of your pants car! Adjust the timing for max power WHILE DRIVING….just reach behind passenger seat, turn and tweak distributor to max out power, and ….holy crap. Take a 76 vette off the line in a slalom – not a straightaway. Had to jump start it in reverse – interesting. So many stories. AC was a targa top
  • Fiat 131 Mirafiori - got you beat - one of the first DOHC cars out there. Rust bucket completely unreliable fly by the seat of your pants blast. Mechanically engineered with a factor of safety of 1. ( no room for error, constantly needing repair and attention J) – I don’t think AC was even an option J

Happy Motoring.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
yeah....I would have taken it to any AC shop. Cause that's all they do. Always. AC systems are pretty much universal, just like brakes.
Unless you in warranty unlike you, there is kinda zero reason to use stealer-ship prices for repairs.

I would at lest talk to some AC shop, kick around your ideas or just simply ask how much a normal repair would cost. I'll be pretty sure they would be far less than the dealership.

Hope all goes well.
Agreed
 

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When it came to the Fiat - yep, rust bucket.... and burned oil like a deep fryer.... as for the brakes - bah! I think mine was a 71 or 73...? That I drove for about a week before it sucked the rings and disappeared in a cloud of smoke ... Literally - a friend was following me home to study (i was a high-school student) and it just started smoking and my friend couldn't see the car at the light through all the smoke... ooh, fun. Then came the 75 Malibu... it was ordered by the grandparents of a friend of the family to retire with and tow an airstream around the country. So it was the 350 V8 with 4 barrel carb, oil & trans coolers, positraction and the most boring vinyl interior, moon-wheel caps and wide white wall tires... I could beat out most any other car in the stop-light drag race in that granny-mobile... all while looking so innocent... "No officer, it wasn't me that did that burn-out. It was Bob in that Camaro."
 

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2019 Forester Touring
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13 Posts
My wife had a '17 that the AC failed on during warranty. Our dealer said that some part (don't remember for sure which) had been redesigned (but not recalled) due to a flaw that put stress on a hose connection, causing it to break.
 

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2011 Forester 2.5X Automatic
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205 Posts
AC systems, no matter where they are installed, are a matched set. The evaporator and condenser have to be compatible with each other and the compressor has to be right-sized as well. You need to figure what cooling capacity is required of the system. Making one up from a potpourri of various components can result in a poorly functioning system ...after spending a bunch of money for nothing. Having a good understanding of AC systems and the proper sizing would be a great help. But if there are no "performance" parts for AC systems you're pretty much stuck with the factory components.

I believe most car makers are always looking for ways to improve mileage so there may be some quirky things the AC system does on newer cars ...but they can only do so much before they effect the efficiency of the AC system; if the system is turned off too often then the compressor will need to run that much longer to cool things down. Either that or the AC system just doesn't cool all that well because of the fuel saving functions. In which case you are stuck since putting in any other system isn't going to change the built in fuel saving measures.

I'm kind of curious as to how your compressor "blew" when the refrigerant leaked out; who told you it "blew"? Every automotive AC system has a safety pressure switch to prevent the compressor from running if the system pressure is too low...which would be caused by a leak ...to prevent the compressor from self-destructing. The pressure switch kills power to the compressor clutch. So if your system ran completely out of refrigerant the compressor should not have been able to run. In fact a sure sign your AC system is running low on refrigerant is the cycling of the compressor. If the compressor in your Foz did continue to run, then you have a faulty pressure switch allowing it to happen.

Was the system in your Foz serviced properly? Did you ever have it looked at? If it wasn't cooling properly did you bring it in and have a system check done on it. I don't know if the Factory Service manual has an AC performance test or not ...haven't looked at my copy ...but the FSM for my '98 GMC pickup does ...and it made a big difference in the performance of the system by fine tuning the refigerant load. Adding too much refrigerant can be worse than not enough ...and that includes adding too much leak dye. I hate that stuff and always tell the shop never to add it ..as some will just add it as part of a service. Could it be your system wasn't working to it's design best because it wasn't serviced correctly? Obviously this would be before the leaking evap coil and that's just one of those "bad luck" things (had it happen on a 2000 Jeep Cherokee ...a cool grand to get it up and working again).

I have a 2011 Foz and the AC system works well. A lot of how well it works is dependent on how hot it is outside ...and this is pretty much the story for any auto AC system. I have a '98 GMC pickup, a 2012 Honda Accord and my 2011 Foz and all these systems struggle when the temps are in the upper 80's to low 90's ...and especially when the humidity is up there.
 

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2016 Forester XT
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Thank you for this thread! Very nice and clearly laid out question that has been on my mind as well. So many of the other aspects of the engine have upgraded options in the aftermarket I want to believe the same is true for the people air conditioning system onboard from the factory!
It will be 116 in Phoenix today. My 2016 XT's air will blow ice cold all day as I drive around town. I have never had to service the A/C in the four and a half years that I have had the car. If I were you, I wouldn't mess with it!!!
 

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....yeah, I can't speak for the previous gen Foresters but my wife's '08 blew cold all the Summers even during 100+ temps and so does her 2020. ......even my '03 WRX did and so does my Challenger and most of my vehicles before these (with the exception of my '86 4Runner but that's struggled since new when at a stand still).

I never thought any one of them were necessarily inadequate to effect comfort although some would require higher settings to maintain that comfort. ....and then there's the window area of each to consider, etc. but they all blew cold.

It gets pretty frickin' hot here in So CA where I am which is essentially a desert. When the breezes stop from the coast, it gets hot. In fact, it's expected to reach 105 tomorrow where I live and its been in the 90s for several days already.
 
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