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2003 Forester 2.5XS (AT) 4-speed Automatic
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18 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi everyone!

I have a bit of a problem with my AC I'd like to ask about :icon_biggrin: .

My AC on my 2003 Forester XS Automatic seems to be working intermittently. Basically, what's happening is that the AC is ice cold for about 30 seconds to a minute, and then suddenly the AC stops and hot air gets blown into the cabin for 15 to 30 seconds. It's always present, but is much more noticeable at high speeds. I had a local (non-Subaru-specialist, but trusted) mechanic take a look at the AC, and he told me there was a slow leak in the coolant system.

However, following the advice of this other thread at <www subaruforester org/vbulletin/f88/intermittent-c-56793> about intermittent AC, I also took a look under my hood to see what the heck was going on, and sure enough, the symptoms seem very similar. The routine goes something like this:

(0 seconds) AC and radiator fan are chugging along merrily.
(+15 seconds) A very quiet hiss starts (only audible when the hood is open and I'm leaning over the engine)
(+30-40 seconds) I hear a relay "click", and the hissing noise stops.
(+40 seconds) The radiator fans come to a stop, and I heard the engine RPMs go up a little (possibly the AC compressor stopping?)
(+45 seconds) The cabin air goes from ice cold to hot very quickly, although the HVAC fan speed stays constant.
(+55-60 seconds) The radiator fans come back on (I hear the relay click again), and the AC comes back 10-15 seconds later.

This cycle repeats after 1 to 2 minutes.

So now I ask you...any idea what the problem could actually be? If it's a bad relay, how can I check it? If it's something else, what could it be? And should I worry about that hissing noise?

(Updated 5/24 for accuracy)
 

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Registered
2003 Forester 2.5XS (AT) 4-speed Automatic
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18 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Here's another thread to check out:
Thanks!

Also if you have a feeler gauge, look at post #5, about the compressor clutch gap.
Hmm...don't have one, maybe I should go pick one up. I do know I'm not hearing any weird squeaks or anything of that nature, though.
 

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2011 Forester XT Premium AT
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7 Posts
Did you ever find out what happened? I'm going through the same thing with my 03 X @ 108K mileage. I have yet to take mine in yet, and it's getting in the upper 80's - low 90's now. I'll need to get it fixed soon.

Thanks..



Thanks!



Hmm...don't have one, maybe I should go pick one up. I do know I'm not hearing any weird squeaks or anything of that nature, though.
 

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Registered
2003 Forester 2.5XS (AT) 4-speed Automatic
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18 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I haven't quite figured it out yet...my trusted mechanic couldn't drive around for long enough to duplicate the issue.

Fortunately my sister also has a similarly equipped '03 XS and she'll be stopping by on Monday, so I think I'll steal her relays for a day and see if that fixes anything. :icon_razz:
 

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Premium Member
2019 Crosstrek 2018 XT
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14,635 Posts
Hard to troubleshoot AC without a set of gauges.
 

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Registered
2003 Forester 2.5XS (AT) 4-speed Automatic
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18 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Okay, I tried swapping out every single one of the relays...and that proved inconclusive. I'm going to see if I can get a set of feeler gauges tomorrow.
 
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