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Old 07-03-2003, 10:51 PM   #1
Scooby Newbie
Member#: 32928
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Cumming, GA USA
2003 WRX Wagon
Sedona Red

Default A/C Freezing up?

I did a drive from Atlanta to Knoxville Tuesday, and the return trip today. Each direction is a little more than three hours and I did it straight through.

Car is an 03 WRX Wagon, 2900 miles on it. It has the air filtration system for what its worth.

Weather today was clear, high 80's, and normal southern summer humidity. I used the A/C on the fresh air mode, fan speed 1 or 2.

Right at the three hour mark, the A/C seemed to lose its effectiveness. Even at higher fan speeds, very little cold air came out.

I reached my destination, and stopped the car, and popped the hood. There was a significant amount of condensation on the A/C lines. 10-15 minutes later I got back on the road and was able to use the A/C.

Ideas? I checked the service literature and didn't find anything.
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Old 07-04-2003, 12:01 AM   #2
Scooby Guru
Member#: 10757
Join Date: Oct 2001
Chapter/Region: Tri-State
Location: NJ
2013 BRZ Limited 6MT


Sounds like the lines froze up from all the condensation. The only thing I can think of to do would be to just turn the A/C off for a few minutes to let it melt and then turn it back on again.

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Old 07-07-2003, 03:18 PM   #3
Scooby Specialist
Member#: 7193
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Austin, TX


Sounds like similar thing I had. There is a TSB for this I believe, at least its a known problem. Take it to the dealer and describe the problem and they will replace the Thermister under warranty. On some WRXs the temperature sensor on the condensator will not turn the AC off when the condensator gets too cold, which causes it to freeze over. Thats why so little air comes out of the vents.

I got around it in the beginning by turning up the temperatur a little and setting the vent on recirc. This way you can control the air temperature to be a little above the sensors freezing point.

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Old 07-07-2003, 04:45 PM   #4
Scooby Specialist
Member#: 24463
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Leesburg, VA
2003 Chevy S10
91 Hunduh Civic BASE


It sounds like it has a low charge. I was looking at mine the other day and noticed that I was only getting 47 degrees out of the vents. I'm going to hook my guages up and see. As much problems as everyone is having with A/C I'm wondering if they just didn't fill it properly at the factory. I dunno...
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Old 07-07-2003, 06:36 PM   #5
Jon [in CT]
*** Banned ***
Member#: 2992
Join Date: Nov 2000
Chapter/Region: NESIC
Location: Connecticut, USA
02 WRX Sedan


Originally posted by aov
There is a TSB for this I believe, ...
This is true. It's TSB 10-72-02 and it's description is:
There is a possibility that icing could occur in the evaporator core of air conditioned equipped Impreza vehicles. During operation under warm, high humidity conditions the customer would notice a diminished output of air from the dash vents causing the cabin temperature to rise.
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Old 07-08-2003, 03:56 PM   #6
Scooby Newbie
Member#: 37313
Join Date: May 2003
Default A/C Freezing up

I have my 03WRX at the dealer for this "problem" also. While there, I went for a ride with the mechannic in an '04 WRX. The '04 does not cycle the compressor on/off, I watched it for several minutes. Mine compressor does what everyone elses seems to do, it runs for about 2-3 minutes, then starts cycling every 20-30s. This drops temperature noticeably on a very hot day.

Anyone have a system schematic for the '03 vs '04?
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Old 07-08-2003, 10:57 PM   #7
Scooby Newbie
Member#: 37313
Join Date: May 2003

Update - the dealer says that the problem with my a/c is (his words) an amplifier in the system. He has also said the relay may be faulty. Both are on order and I'll report back in 2 weeks when I can get it in. Seems like I remember reading the relay is the same as another in the car somewhere so maybe I'll try switching it out.
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Old 07-10-2003, 01:23 AM   #8
Scooby Newbie
Member#: 33807
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Philly --> Queens
03 WRX


I'm thinking about doing this to solve my, "I'm sweating " problem.
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Old 07-17-2003, 12:22 AM   #9
Jon [in CT]
*** Banned ***
Member#: 2992
Join Date: Nov 2000
Chapter/Region: NESIC
Location: Connecticut, USA
02 WRX Sedan


Another symptom is seeing "fog" come out of the vents. Here's some additional information (which is likely included within TSB 10-72-02) from the Spring 2003 End Wrench insider info section. This is a non-trivial repair and owners should inspect the final repair order to insure that the part numbers mentioned here have been replaced.
Evaporator Icing Countermeasure

There is a possibility that icing could occur in the evaporator core of A/C-equipped 2002-2003 Impreza vehicles, up to October 2002, VIN 3*511336 (sedan) and 3*801514 (wagon). During operation under warm, high humidity conditions the customer would notice a diminished output of air from the dash vents causing the cabin temperature to rise. The icing condition can be eliminated by replacing the original thermosensor with a new fin sensitive type sensor and placing it in the proper location.

The location of the original thermosensor will depend on the production date of the vehicle. In December 2001, it was moved to the right side of the evaporator. You will replace the surface mounted probe with the internal fin-mounted probe if the condition still exists on vehicles up to the production change listed here.

The part number for the new thermosensor is 72166FE010 and the O-rings needed are 73039FA100 and 73039FA110.

Repair Procedure
1. This procedure is different than what is shown in the service manual.

2. Start by evacuating the A/C system.

3. While the system is evacuating, start removing the (9) screws and 1 clip that hold the glove box assembly in place. Remove the connector for the glove box light. This is a different type of clip. You must lift the end of the connector to get the locking tab out. There is no depression tab to push.

4. Remove the A pillar lower kick panel.

5. Remove the daytime running lights relay and bracket as an assembly.

6. Remove the daytime running light control module and bracket.

7. Remove the heater control cable, intake side.

8. Disconnect the heater recirculation door cable.

9. Remove the two (2) nuts and one (1) bolt that hold the blower assembly in place. The upper nut is hidden behind the white wire tie clip that is mounted to the same stud. At this time, disconnect the electrical connectors from the blower unit. Be careful of the sealing packing material on the unit.

10. Remove the five (5) screws and one (1) hidden black clip that hold the white evaporator cover to the main case. a) Lift the cover guide pin off then, and remove the cover. It is easier if you set the heater control to DEF before removing the cover.

11. Check to insure the system is completely discharged.

12. Remove the high and low pressure lines from the expansion valve block from under the hood on the firewall. There is one (1) 10mm bolt holding these two lines in place. If you are working on a WRX, it may be easier to also remove some of the firewall line clips to gain more clearance. If there is not enough clearance, you may need to remove the air box or intercooler on turbo models.

13. Remove two (2) 4mm Alan screws from the same location, These are found after the lines are removed. Do not remove the aluminum block at this time. It must come out from the inside.

14. From under the dash you can now remove the expansion valve block (gold in color), followed by the aluminum block previously mentioned. Cover openings to prevent contamination and catch any oil that may leak out to prevent customer complaints.

15. You can now slide the evaporator out to the right with the thermosensor probe attached. Work it out slowly because the wiring harness attached above the evaporator on the top of the dash will be in the way.

16. Remove the old surface mounted thermosensor and discard it. Replace it with the new style internal thermosensor P/N 72166FE010 at the new location as shown in the picture in this bulletin.

The metal thermosensor goes in the eighth row from the right and 30 mm up from the bottom fin. Assemble the thermosensor and the plastic holder first, then push them both into position. The plastic tab goes to the right of the metal thermosensor in the seventh row.

17. Replace the O-rings (P/N 73039FA100 and 73039FA110) on the high and low pressure lines and expansion valve.

18. After the evaporator is reinstalled and the lines are secured, test the integrity of the seals by pulling and holding a vacuum on the system. This is done before the final assembly.

19. The white cover must be sealed from the lower corner where the thermosensor wire goes through to the top side as far as you can reach. Failure to do this will cause water to leak out on the carpets.

20. Assembly is in the reverse order of disassembly.

Last edited by Jon [in CT]; 07-17-2003 at 12:30 AM.
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