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Old 04-30-2009, 10:17 PM   #1
seanr2
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Question Air Conditioner Not Working

It shot up into the 90's for a few days this week in the Philly area. I naturally turned on my AC and got no cold air! It blows just fine but nothing cold. I'm not sure if it needs a charge but I haven't done anything to the AC since I bought it in 03 and I have 165000 miles. One other thing and I'm not sure if its related, I hear a hissing sound coming from under the drivers side dashboard whenever the defroster or AC is on. Any thoughts?
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Old 05-02-2009, 12:22 PM   #2
SOFBaja
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I had the same thing happen... topped off the freon works fine now
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Old 05-03-2009, 10:14 PM   #3
moonzie
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Yup. low on charge. Especially if it's making a hissing or whistling sound from the inside when you turn it on. Charge the system up with freon and it should go away and your air should be cold again.

It seems as though Subaru has some pretty piss-poor A/C designs. Most Subaru owners I've encountered have had their freon leak out at some point or another too.

NOTE: the 134A is fairly environmentally friendly. Not as bad as some of the older freon that they used to put in cars.
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Old 05-04-2009, 01:03 AM   #4
Hawk296
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the big question is, where is the refrigerant going? Add some dye into the system when you refill it and use a UV light to find the leak. Then fix the leak before you refill it again.
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Old 05-04-2009, 11:25 AM   #5
moonzie
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I just hope that if you do that you can find your leak. My dad has a hot heavy UV spotlight that we looked through my car ~everywhere~ and could not find a single point that looked like it was leaking. He works on refrigeration systems by profession; he said sometimes if the leak is small enough (usually around gaskets) you won't see any dye. My best bet is to wait until the system runs dry again someday, open up and replace the line gaskets connecting to the compressor, do a system evacuate and re-charge.

It's on my list...
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Old 05-05-2009, 12:02 AM   #6
Guzzler
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Actually, go find an A/C tech that uses a "sniffer".

A sniffer is literally and electronic nose, which can have the sensitivity changed.

On my older vehicles I found an AMAZING mobile A/C repair guy. The guy worked on automotive A/C for years and used every method known to find refrigerant leaks. He said his life improved 1000% when the sniffer was made available. No more dye's, no more lights, no more missing leaks. He was able to find the smallest leaks that other shops couldn't.

Example: I had an old Mazda pickup that would constantly loose it's refrigerant, with no sign what-so-ever. Every year, I would go to a different shop, they would put the dye in and they couldn't find the leak. This went on for 4 years I finally gave this guy a chance (I was reluctant because he was literally half the cost of the "Pro" shops) and he shows up at my house, tops off the refrigerant, and goes to work sniffing the A/C lines.

In less than 10 minutes, he finds TWO leaks. One at the compressor, and one at the inside exchange. Unfortunately, the compressor was to far worn out and had to be replaced. So we upgraded my truck to R134A.
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Old 05-05-2009, 02:23 PM   #7
moonzie
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Guzzler View Post
Actually, go find an A/C tech that uses a "sniffer".
Yup, we tried using one of those too - with mixed results. After going over every possible point in the refrigerant system at least 3 times we came to the conclusion that the most likely place it would be leaking would be at the compressor return line (low side - same line you would put your charge into) We also tried a device that "listens" for any kind of air leak with no luck.

A friend of mine's `02 WRX leaked it's freon out. I believe it's on his low-side maintenance port cuz directly behind it on the firewall there was a thin film of oil with a layer of dust/dirt collected.

I've got a thin layer of oil/dirt directly behind my compressor return line, problem is that's also very close to where you fill the engine oil with, so it's possible that that could be blow-back but I'd say it's refrigeration oil.
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Old 05-15-2009, 02:46 PM   #8
xxthecapnxx
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I had the exact same problem. fan works but whenever i hit ac i just got a hissing sound and no cold. I took it in to midas for a recharge and they told me that the compresssor is bad. ever since the recharge, when i hit the ac button it now makes an awful screeching sound and noticeably drains horsepower. Also there was kinda a burning smell, could it be that the compressor's clutch seized and the belt's slipping? Does getting the system charged put added stress on the compressor?
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Old 05-15-2009, 03:09 PM   #9
moonzie
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xxthecapnxx View Post
I had the exact same problem. fan works but whenever i hit ac i just got a hissing sound and no cold. I took it in to midas for a recharge and they told me that the compresssor is bad. ever since the recharge, when i hit the ac button it now makes an awful screeching sound and noticeably drains horsepower. Also there was kinda a burning smell, could it be that the compressor's clutch seized and the belt's slipping? Does getting the system charged put added stress on the compressor?
Wow. And I'm assuming you've asked Midas about this? Did they say this was normal?

I've had hit and miss experiences with Midas. West side Bloomington Midas - the manager there is an absolute dick. South side Bloomington, they're fantastic. *sigh*

It sounds very much like Midas over-charged your system with too much refrigerant. Too little freon and it won't work. Too much freon and it won't work AND could eventually ruin your compressor AND/OR your belts! That squealing you hear - that's your belt slipping cuz the compressor is being slugged with too much liquid freon! Turn your AC on, pop the hood and see if your compressor pulley is turning or digging in it's heels while the belt just smokes.

Take it back and have them look at it. And watch them. If you find they put too much charge in, I'd make `em replace your belts for free.

Of course, you could have a problem with your belts not being tight enough/worn or your compressor going out. If your system has the proper amount of charge in it and it's not overcharged - then yes your compressor is bad and it may very well cause your belts to slip and smoke.
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