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2003 Forester auto
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7 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey everyone, first post here. This seems like the best forum on these cars, so I figured maybe I'd get an answer here, since no one has chimed in on nasioc.

I just picked up an 03 Forester XT. Love the hell out of this thing so far, but the heat and/or AC seem to ONLY blow out of the defrost vents and the side vents (on the ends of the dash).

Blower works in all speeds, the heat does work (it gets hot as hell), and when I key on and turn the selector knob, I can hear the motor moving but ONLY when I switch it back & forth from floor or defrost. It does nothing when I move it to bi-level or vents.

You can hear it blowing like crazy behind the dash, and the speeds all work correctly on the defrost, but that's it.

The car just had a new radiator, head gaskets, intake gaskets, coolant flush and Subaru thermostat.

A friend told me the actual controls may have went bad, but I'm not too sure, I need to get out there with a multimeter. I've searched online for days and can't really find a solution, although a bunch of other people have the same problem.

Any help or pointing in the right direction is appreciated
 

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2003 Forester auto
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7 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
That's weird, I just typed in 03 Forester and it added the XT and made it into a link. Idk?


I haven't replaced the cabin filter yet, that's on my checklist to do this week. Maybe it's so clogged that the air can't pass through?
 

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Premium Member
2014 Forester 2.5i Prem CVT
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202 Posts
I haven't replaced the cabin filter yet, that's on my checklist to do this week. Maybe it's so clogged that the air can't pass through?
That is my guess. I had a similar issue with my old Honda CRV. AC seemed to be weak and I feared that it was going to need an expensive repair. Then I noticed that the heat was also weak which led me to the air filter. Fortunately for you changing the cabin air filter on your Forester should be very simple compared to the 01 CRV - what a PITA that was.
 

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Premium Member
2014 Forester 2.5i Prem CVT
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202 Posts
You can check it very easily, even if you don't have a new filter handy, by just removing your current filter and turning on your heat/AC. It should be very clear right away.

If you haven't changed your filter in a long time the is a high probability that could be all it is.
 

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2003 Forester auto
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7 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
And...???

Would love to hear if this was the problem or not.
Sorry, had a death in the family and this thing was the absolute last of my worries.


Pulled the dash out today and to my surprise, there was no cabin filter in there at all.

Also turned the key to acc and went through the settings (vent, floor, defrost, bilevel) and didn't hear anything changing at all.

So I'm back to square one. I'm thinking my friend may be right in the possibility of the controls just being burned/shorted out or something. I might see if I can somehow jump it out so it moves it to floor heat.

This thing is unbearable to drive, especially if you wear contacts.
 

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Registered
2003 Forester auto
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7 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Got fed up, pulled the whole center section out of the dash, the damn cabled was kinked and popped off of the selector. Straightened it as best as I could, popped it in and ziptied it and it works fine now. Definitely going to need to order a new cable though, that kink was pretty bad.
 

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Premium Member
2014 Forester 2.5i Prem CVT
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202 Posts
Thanks for the update.
Glad you found the cause and could fix it.

I was really hoping it was the simple filter fix. Sometimes a simple fix is all it needs but not in your case, unfortunately.
 
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