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Old 05-04-2010, 05:19 PM   #1
GatoEnFuego
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Default How bad is your A/C?

I've had my 05 Saabaru since last October, loving the hell out of it. I've gone stage 2 with some group-n motor mounts and will have springs/struts on my doorstep by next week. I don't plan to go too hardcore with it... this is my daily so a bit more tweaks and I'll call it good.

With that said...my a/c is mediocre at best. With 90+ degrees it'll blow coldish for 10 seconds, then goes warmish for about 3 seconds then back to cold for 10 seconds. I understand the concept of automotive a/c systems but the compressor cycling shouldn't cause such dramatic changes in vent temperature.

Is this just a Subie "quirk" and learn to live with it or could my a/c system use some service?

Thanks guys!

P.S. - I would search but a/c isn't a valid search term on Nasioc...
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Old 05-04-2010, 05:22 PM   #2
Z0rr0
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you need service. i should stay cold. not cycle.
PM me, i can help..

Quote:
Originally Posted by GatoEnFuego View Post
I've had my 05 Saabaru since last October, loving the hell out of it. I've gone stage 2 with some group-n motor mounts and will have springs/struts on my doorstep by next week. I don't plan to go too hardcore with it... this is my daily so a bit more tweaks and I'll call it good.

With that said...my a/c is mediocre at best. With 90+ degrees it'll blow coldish for 10 seconds, then goes warmish for about 3 seconds then back to cold for 10 seconds. I understand the concept of automotive a/c systems but the compressor cycling shouldn't cause such dramatic changes in vent temperature.

Is this just a Subie "quirk" and learn to live with it or could my a/c system use some service?

Thanks guys!

P.S. - I would search but a/c isn't a valid search term on Nasioc...
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Old 05-04-2010, 06:29 PM   #3
FastS2k
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Do you have an A/C gauge? Could be over/under filled.
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Old 05-04-2010, 06:55 PM   #4
GatoEnFuego
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I do have a set of a/c gauges, been a while since I used them...

Any idea what the high/low numbers should be? As I said before, normally I'd just search for this stuff but not much info on this topic that is searchable...

Thanks.
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Old 05-04-2010, 07:33 PM   #5
kpluiten
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Buy a factory service manual on eBay or get creative with google and file sharing. It will come in handy and have the info you need.
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Old 05-04-2010, 08:24 PM   #6
GatoEnFuego
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Will do, thank you.
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Old 05-04-2010, 09:08 PM   #7
racingfish
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the way the dealerships do it is by putting a thermometer in the vent and taking the temp.

i forgot what its suppose to read at but there is a + or - 3 degrees... hmmm rich would know what the temp is suppose to read at the vent.

also, your car will cycle on and off. if your sitting in your car at idle it will do this.
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Old 05-04-2010, 09:36 PM   #8
dan az
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it cycles on and off because of the low pressure switch or high pressure switch if it has it as well, (its suppose to do that) the frequency and duration it cycles on and off for is varied by the outside ambient temperature. i'll check mitchell on demand for the charge weight tomorrow but if i remember corectly it 1.6 pound refrigerant and 4 ounces oil. And what fish is refering to with checking duct temp in relation to ambient temperature is known as superheat, its used more in home hvac application but on a car you should see at least a 30 temp difference out of the center duct on high in relation to the outside ambient temp in front of the condensor when it is 90 or hotter outside, so 90 ambient needs to have 30 degree drop or better out the center duct.

Last edited by dan az; 05-04-2010 at 11:41 PM.
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Old 05-04-2010, 09:37 PM   #9
GatoEnFuego
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Ok, just checked the pressures and following the service manual instructions...

1) Place the vehicle in the shade and windless condition.
2) Connect the manifold gauge set.
3) Open the front windows and close all doors.
4) Open the front hood.
5) Increase the engine to 1,500 rpm.
6) Turn ON the A/C switch.
7) Turn the temperature control switch to MAX COOL.
8) Put in RECIRC position.
9) Turn the blower control switch to HI.
10) Read the gauge.
Standard:
Low pressure: 127 196 kPa (1.3 2.0 kg/cm2, 18 28 psi)
High pressure: 1,471 1,667 kPa (15 17 kg/cm2, 213 242 psi)
Ambient temperature: 30 35C (86 95F)

I'm seeing 23 low side and 230 high side when raised to 1500 rpm and the compressor running. For the ambient temperature (90ish) that is perfectly within spec.

The car had been sitting in the garage for a good 45 minutes after I got home from work, so as soon as I fired it up with the gauges on it the a/c compressor stayed on for at least 4-5 minutes and showed perfect pressures. I gave the throttle a few good punches and that started it cycling as it normally does. With the compressor off I was looking at 50-60 psi and as soon as it clicked on dropped right into spec. It would stay on for about 10-15 seconds and click off for 5 seconds and then back on.

I know all of this is normal however the temperature drop in the cabin is significantly higher than what one would expect. Now let me be clear, it goes from COLD to very much not as cold. Estimating here, lets say 40 degrees up to 55 degrees... annoying and never fully cools the car off. Happens when idling, happens when on the freeway, doesn't matter the driving condition.
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Old 05-04-2010, 09:44 PM   #10
dan az
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20g-xt, super slow

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when you say compressor off exactly what do you mean, low side pressure when cycled off or both high side and low side pressures when static after they have equalized?, and forget setting the rpm to 1500, what are the pressures at idle, the FSM is a little retarded.
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Old 05-04-2010, 09:46 PM   #11
dan az
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oh and if the compressor stayed on for 4-5 minutes (depending on ambient temp) without cycling it may be a bit low on refrigerant
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Old 05-04-2010, 09:50 PM   #12
Magic Marker
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When i drove Civics I knew when I had my A/C on. It sucked the life out of the car. Now with my Impreza I can barely tell a difference.
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Old 05-04-2010, 09:55 PM   #13
GatoEnFuego
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When the compressor cycled off, the pressures began to equalize (normal). 5 seconds later when the compressor cycled back on the pressures dropped back down to spec.

At idle I was seeing 29-30 on the low side and about 240-250 on the high side.

Now here the odd thing based on the FSM, for what it's worth.

On the refill instructions they say to bring it to a max of 40psi.

"24) Adjust the refrigerant flow to maintain the pressure
on the low-pressure side at 276 kPa (2.81 kg/
cm2, 40 psi) max."

That's not 18-28 like they say in the checking procedure. I'm beginning to agree with you about being retarded.

So, the facts... During all driving conditions, the compressor cycles often and the temps raise to a borderline uncomfortable level for a 3-5 seconds. With the car sitting after cooling down for 45 minutes the compressor stayed on full time and blowed consistent cold air until I blipped the throttle and got it cycling again. I'm seeing 30psi/240psi at idle with compressor engaged and pressures attempting to equalize with compressor off.


Thanks again for your help by the way. I have to say this community is way nicer than the VW crowd I migrated from. (I'll save that long boring story for another day)
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Old 05-04-2010, 10:12 PM   #14
dan az
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the FSM wasnt really clear on the 40psi thing, what they are trying to convey is that dont flow more than 40psi while filling, it's to avoid freeze ups, (r134a boils at -16, r-12 at -26 if you can find it!) unless there were talking about refilling on the low side only without gauges and only going by pressure than yes dont exceed 40psi ever on the low side when the pump is on. it sounds as though it is running a tad high on pressures, i would evac it and find out exactly how much was in there, i'll dig my paperwork out from when i did mine a few weeks ago, thankfully i always document everything, I'll see what pressures im running. You dont have a front mount or anything that is obstructing the condenser do you, what kind of shape is it in? flattened to hell or ok? ever change the cabin air filter?
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Old 05-04-2010, 10:21 PM   #15
GatoEnFuego
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The condenser is in good condition, no FMIC...

The cabin air filter is on my list of maintenance to do before summer fully kicks in. 77k miles and the previous owner said he never got around to it so I'm sure it needs it.

Full evac sounds like the best thing to do. Hell, maybe I'll try some of that Enviro-Save refrigerant (remembered the name). Had a buddy that SWORE by that stuff.

The last time I did A/C work I had a hell of a time finding an Autozone that even knew what a vacuum pump was much less could tell me if they had one in stock to rent. Good times, maybe I'll bite the bullet and just buy one. Doubt this will be the last time I need to mess around with A/C in my lifetime.

Thanks again Dan, I appreciate your help.
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Old 05-04-2010, 10:56 PM   #16
dan az
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just so know enviro safe is purified propane, not ideal but it will work very well because it boils at about -43f however it is a bit corrosive to aluminum, theres a ton of really awesome refrigerants out there, but unfortunately its not as easy as just throwing them in. you get into having to look at the critical temps and molecular mass, how compressable is it etc etc. ive had a bit of experience with refrigerants. do some studying on r410a. I believe it boils at -55f ish, it could work out to be very efficient if the critical temps and everything work out correctly.
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Old 05-05-2010, 01:30 AM   #17
Iron Giant
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My 05 STi does the exact same thing. I've went through the whole system (I'm a technician) and it still does it, even with the perfect amount of refrigerant in the system. All that and my car has less than 25K miles on it, and it was doing it when I got the car at 11K miles.
I'm convinced that's just the way it is.
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Old 05-05-2010, 03:21 AM   #18
racingfish
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oh remember this aint a ford... subaru uses more "efficient" a/c systems, so that means they dont seem to ever be as cold as some other units.
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Old 05-05-2010, 03:40 AM   #19
ASU
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Efficient and Subaru going together LOL, I thought it was all about excessive everything with these cars.
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Old 05-05-2010, 08:07 AM   #20
TixArmy
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This might sound dumb or maybe someone already covered it - but did you check your belts?
I had an issue last summer w/ my 07STi & had Greg look it over. In general it checked out fine.

It was not until Jay helped me change my belts a month/2 back that we found the stocks had fallen apart.
(Outside seemed to look OK, but as you took it off, it fell apart in your hand!)

W/ the new belts, shes blowing as cold as can be.
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Old 05-05-2010, 10:32 AM   #21
GatoEnFuego
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I've read quite a few posts about people having similar issues as myself and Iron Giant. Many of them where in 05-06 when these cars were brand new. Dealerships were never able to find a solution. I think I'm just expecting too much from it... However I'll probably try one of the hydrocarbon refrigerants in the next few months, maybe Dura-Cool or Enviro-Safe. Something with a - in the name I'm sure.

Thanks again everyone, look forward to coming to some meets once the car is a bit more dialed in appearance wise.
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Old 05-05-2010, 11:07 AM   #22
racingfish
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duracool is suppose to be good. i think u can get those at target.
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Old 05-05-2010, 11:47 PM   #23
bobturismo
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I think alot of you are having issues do to the condenser not being cooled enough.

I would imagine that if you were to spray your condenser with cold water it wouldn't cut out.

There are a few things that can cause this, probably the most common I've seen is a failing A/C fan or relay. BOTH electric fans should come on when the A/C is on, when the car is warmed up.

Spin the fan by hand (when off and car is off so you don't cut your fingers), see if the bearings spin freely. Subaru fans have been known to fail from getting water on them.

Check the fins on the condensor, if they are all bent closed = no airflow.

Electrical issue = battery going bad can cause all kinds of problems, one night of leaving the lights on or discharging the batter can cause one of the cells in the battery to die or just one day of driving around in the az heat while the scoop pressurizes the engine compartment with all the hot air.

Probably another thing that could relate to the 05-06 cars is the tune.

It was until 05 did subaru tune the cars for our lower octane and desert heat, hence the pinging issues the early cars had. Remember SOA is in New Jersey, where it snows and they have have higher octane, Japan is even colder.
Sitting in traffic with my window open, I hear cars all the time that are pinging, non performance cars, not modded everyday non-turbo cars.

When your radiator gets hot, hot, your a/c condensor will be hotter too and will cause the a/c to cutout. If you ever been in a car that was overheating on a hot day when and the a/c was cutting out , then you know what I'm talking about. Your radiator shouldn't be hot all the time, sounds stupid I know. The thermostat closes to allow the coolant in the radiator to cool down, once it opens it lets the cooler temp coolant into the motor to cool it down.

If you are running hot in general the thermostat will stay open as the radiator tries to cool the antifreeze down faster than the motor can heat it up. Your temp guage on your dash will be normal or a little high, but the engine compartment will be like an oven. Add on the fact that we have hairdryers attached to the top of the motor, you start running more under load, car runs leaner, exhaust gets hotter, turbo gets hotter, intercooler gets hotter and you're blowing that hot air all over the engine.

Another culprit could be the uppipe cat, the US subaru is the only one that has one in the entire world. Car runs lean under load, ecu dumps extra fuel, the extra fuel will start breaking apart the cat and clogging it and you really start heating things up.

My bugeye had a catless up-pipe and full exhaust and my a/c blew ice cold. So who knows, that could be the problem.
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Old 05-06-2010, 12:58 AM   #24
thegreg
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^^^^
I agree. I ran an a/c shop for 4 years, only cars I saw issues like yours, including Subies, were flow issues, I.E. front mount intercoolers. TixArmy's car is also a likely issue, search on here and you'll find many people complaining of squeaking belts and lack of a/c cooling.

Start with a air want (narrow tipped air gun) and try to blow out the fins of your condenser. There is no reason why a vehicle with a properly charged, and with proper air flow and engine cooling. I'd have the system recharged first, make sure you have good engine temps, and good air flow across the condenser.

I've seen plenty of newer cars that just didn't seem as cold as they could be, had a slightly undercharged system.

During predelivery inspection they should have pressures checked, and often times recharged.

Don't forget during testing, especially during these cooler temps, that the rpms of the engine need to be up at alteast 1500-1800 to simulate driving conditions.
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Old 05-06-2010, 02:00 PM   #25
GatoEnFuego
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I went stage 2 right after getting the car so it's got a catless up-pipe and catless downpipe with an XPT tune that I've been tweaking for a few months now, pretty dialed in.
Car never gets hot, drive it in 45 minutes of traffic everyday.
Both A/C fans are running at full speed, no odd noises.

Good call on checking the condensor for garbage, when I recharge it I'll be sure to blow it out.

I'll also wrap the low pressure a/c hose with some insulation and reflective wrap. Had good luck with that in my old cummins, brought the temps down about 2-3 degrees alone.
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