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Old 04-18-2008, 02:44 PM   #1
fasterthanrayswrx
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Default A/C doesn't work

Okay so I bought my 99 legacy during winter and couldn't really tell if my a/c worked. And now that's it's 80 degrees out I know it doesn't.

I've never worked on an a/c system before. I want to recharge/service it. Would those kits at Autozone do the trick or is there a better way. Also is there any other way to see if there's anything wrong with it? I know when I had my STi that if you turn the a/c on the car shudders a bit and feels like you lost 20 hp, but with my legacy there's not such shudder.

Any help would be appreciated.
Thanks
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Old 04-18-2008, 02:55 PM   #2
jey
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So when you turn the A/C on the compressor doesn't engage? You can tell not only by the rpm/power drop but also looking under the hood.

You can just recharge it but you should probably do a full diagnosis to see why the system lost its pressure to begin with.
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Old 04-18-2008, 04:25 PM   #3
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What's the fix it the compressor doesn't engage/HVAC button doesn't light up? The HVAC panel is working, the buttons just don't light up anymore.
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Old 04-18-2008, 09:20 PM   #4
fasterthanrayswrx
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jey View Post
So when you turn the A/C on the compressor doesn't engage? You can tell not only by the rpm/power drop but also looking under the hood.

You can just recharge it but you should probably do a full diagnosis to see why the system lost its pressure to begin with.
So i went to check my fuses. I pulled some A/C relays and put them back in. I'm not sure if that did anything but it seems like the compressor does engage now as the rpms rise when the a/c is turned on. But still no cool air. I'll try a recharge if that does anything.
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Old 04-18-2008, 11:05 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fasterthanrayswrx View Post
So i went to check my fuses. I pulled some A/C relays and put them back in. I'm not sure if that did anything but it seems like the compressor does engage now as the rpms rise when the a/c is turned on. But still no cool air. I'll try a recharge if that does anything.
Subaru's have a fail safe built in (low pressure switch) and 90% of the time if the compressor isn't coming on it's because you're too low (or completely out of) refrigerant. They build this fail safe in because refrigerant (along with oil) also acts as lubricant for the compressor, and without it the compressor would burn up, sending aluminum shards through the entire ac system, which would require flushing/replacing many parts.

In my experience at the dealer, the schrader valves (where the refrigerant is usually charged) can sometimes have a slow leak, and over a few years time you lose enough pressure to cause the low pressure switch to trigger and disable the compressor from being turned on.

Other things to look at would be the AC switch itself, the wiring on the compressor, the condition of the lines. The best way to diagnose it is have a professional look at it. If you were to bring it into my shop I would first check the refrigerant level, and if it checked out and would then look at the fuses, and then check to see if the compressor was receiving a signal from the switch in the car. If all this checked out I would then start looking more closely at the compressor itself. This is if the compressor was clearly not kicking on. If the compressor is kicking on and the air isn't cold, then that's a whole new set of components to trouble shoot.
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Old 04-18-2008, 11:08 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Huffer View Post
What's the fix it the compressor doesn't engage/HVAC button doesn't light up? The HVAC panel is working, the buttons just don't light up anymore.
Huh?
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Old 04-19-2008, 12:59 AM   #7
fasterthanrayswrx
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rexorama View Post
Subaru's have a fail safe built in (low pressure switch) and 90% of the time if the compressor isn't coming on it's because you're too low (or completely out of) refrigerant. They build this fail safe in because refrigerant (along with oil) also acts as lubricant for the compressor, and without it the compressor would burn up, sending aluminum shards through the entire ac system, which would require flushing/replacing many parts.

In my experience at the dealer, the schrader valves (where the refrigerant is usually charged) can sometimes have a slow leak, and over a few years time you lose enough pressure to cause the low pressure switch to trigger and disable the compressor from being turned on.

Other things to look at would be the AC switch itself, the wiring on the compressor, the condition of the lines. The best way to diagnose it is have a professional look at it. If you were to bring it into my shop I would first check the refrigerant level, and if it checked out and would then look at the fuses, and then check to see if the compressor was receiving a signal from the switch in the car. If all this checked out I would then start looking more closely at the compressor itself. This is if the compressor was clearly not kicking on. If the compressor is kicking on and the air isn't cold, then that's a whole new set of components to trouble shoot.
ok great. That's the exact response I was looking for.
Thanks.
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Old 04-19-2008, 11:43 AM   #8
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if the compressor is kicking on and shutting of very rapidly, the refrigerant is definitely low. just recharging it with the kit at autozone isnt a great idea by any means. the pressure gauge that comes with them doesnt mean the system is full. you have no idea how much refrigerant you are actually putting in, or how much oil you are adding to the system. plus, if it is low, there is a leak in the system. which means you will just be dumping r134 back into the atmosphere. NOT GOOD. a/c systems are one thing you should have professionally worked on. please take this advice seriously. i am a master hybrid toyota technician. i am not bulls**ting you. the high pressure side of a/c systems can run over 350 psi if not worked on correctly. we are talking about serious pressure that can do a lot of damage.
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Old 07-26-2008, 10:32 AM   #9
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I've got a similar problem on my '93 Impreza. The compressor is kicking on, but it stays on. It actually diminishes power to the engine, just as if it were actually working. However, the pressures never get far enough apart to get the cooling I need. It's like the compressor is working, but not compressing...weird! Is this a condenser problem?
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Old 07-28-2008, 03:06 PM   #10
jey
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First thing I'd check is the freon level/pressure in your system.
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Old 07-28-2008, 03:31 PM   #11
Huffer
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Quote:
Originally Posted by suby2low View Post
if the compressor is kicking on and shutting of very rapidly, the refrigerant is definitely low. just recharging it with the kit at autozone isnt a great idea by any means. the pressure gauge that comes with them doesnt mean the system is full. you have no idea how much refrigerant you are actually putting in, or how much oil you are adding to the system. plus, if it is low, there is a leak in the system. which means you will just be dumping r134 back into the atmosphere. NOT GOOD. a/c systems are one thing you should have professionally worked on. please take this advice seriously. i am a master hybrid toyota technician. i am not bulls**ting you. the high pressure side of a/c systems can run over 350 psi if not worked on correctly. we are talking about serious pressure that can do a lot of damage.
So how would you test the refrigerant level? Would you use a pressure gauge on the Low port?
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Old 07-28-2008, 04:39 PM   #12
aldebaraan
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I've had the pressure and freon level in the system checked, and it's fine. The problem is that it's not pressurizing the high side as it should. I've replaced the valve and checked out the core, but it still isn't working. My next guess is to go for the condenser...but I'm flying blind here. Any other ideas?
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Old 07-29-2008, 11:00 PM   #13
greenleg88
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what is the psi that hte low pressure valve should be reading? i have a 97 legacy L Sedan and im trying to do a charge. cept the gauge is saying its in the danger zone. i JUST read that people were saying to ignore the colors.. and just look at hte numbers.. and that youre supposed to take the temperature... and add 23 and thats the psi to fill to... im really not sure..

any ideas?
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Old 08-23-2008, 10:16 AM   #14
aldebaraan
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Default A/C clutch engaging, but no cold air

So if the clutch is engaging and I have a new expansion valve, the correct amount of freon and no leaks, I'm guessing now that it may be a bad compressor.

Is there a way to "test" a compressor? Or am I missing something else obvious?
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Old 10-27-2008, 09:14 AM   #15
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Well, I finally decided that everything looked good but the compressor. So I bought a pulled working unit online, and did the install myself. It was rather easy, and after getting a new o-ring for the high side, it works beautifully. In 85 degree weather, I'm getting 55 degrees out! Whohoo!
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Old 11-28-2013, 05:47 PM   #16
oujerzy
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Good to know about the safety function. I had a leaky schraeder valve but didn't realize it may have been faster than I thought. HVAC light doesn't come on now so it looks like I'll have to actually get around to changing the valve and then recharge.
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