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Old 05-14-2005, 02:00 AM   #1
multiplexer
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Unhappy Replacing A/C expansion valve?

Has anyone attempted to do this on their on?
Should I try to do it, or leave it up to professionals?
I would like to consider myself mechanically inclined; but no prior A/C repair experience.
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Old 05-14-2005, 07:26 AM   #2
Mulder
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Have an AC shop do it. The system has to be properly discharged, it's both illegal and dangerous to attempt this yourself. Shops have special equipment to recover the refrigerant so it isn't vented into the atmosphere, there's also the possibility of frostbite or eye damage if it contacts your skin or eyes.
After the repair the system has to be recharged with gauges so the pressures are correct.
You could have a shop empty the system for you, do the valve replacement yourself, then have them do the recharge. However I doubt this would save you much money.
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Old 05-14-2005, 07:50 PM   #3
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Since my valve went, the system has self discharged, so that's not going to be a problem. I was going to have a shop evacuate and recharge after replacing the valve. My question mainly pertained to the difficulty of getting to the valve and replacing it. Anyone knows how hard is it to replace the valve?
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Old 05-14-2005, 07:55 PM   #4
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It's located inside the evaporator housing, you'll have to remove the evaporator to get to it. Not a quickie job by any means.
If the system has been empty for a while, the receiver/dryer unit may need to be replaced. Check with the shop and see what they think.
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Old 05-14-2005, 10:46 PM   #5
armand1
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mulder
...the receiver/dryer unit may need to be replaced....
yep, most likely.
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Old 05-15-2005, 02:30 AM   #6
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Thanks for you help guys,
I've checked the diagram on subaruparts.com and it looks to be a major PITA. The damn thing went out at 39K, and I didn't get the extended warranty. The reason I wanted to do this on my own is to avoid paying $1200 to have it done professionally (http://forums.nasioc.com/forums/show...ferrerid=39518 ). That couldíve been a nice turbo upgrade. And the thing that makes me mad, is that I in no way responsible for it breaking (at least I think that). I've owned many cars with much higher mileage and never had anything like that happen before. Kinda disappointed in my Suby. It's starting to get real hot here is SoCal.
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Old 05-16-2005, 03:39 PM   #7
quikenuff
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Is your system empty?

If so or not, what makes you think the expansion valve is bad?
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Old 05-20-2005, 06:59 PM   #8
multiplexer
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RECAP: The system was completely empty. I was told by an a/c shop tech that my symptoms were of the ruptured expansion valve (had strange fluttering noise coming from the vents for a couple of minutes before completely stopped working). However I didn't have them work on my car as they would have charged an undermined amount to check it, depending on what they found; wanted to keep car for days; whole deal seemed shady; so I left thinking it is my valve. Found a post with similar problem, where a guy was also told that itís the valve after having it inspected. Started this thread trying to get some more info on how to replace it, but decided to leave up to professionals.
UPDATE: Took car to Sears as they donít charge unless they fix the problem, thinking they going to tell me I have ruptured valve, or evaporator problem. Their tech told me they evacuated 0.3 something (very low Ė almost completely empty), and recharged the system, which took car of the problem. No leaks were found. A/C has been working for 3 days now with no problems.
I have regained confidence in my Suby.
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Old 06-01-2005, 11:37 AM   #9
riwaki
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Default just had mine replaced

I have 85k on my wrx and I just had to have my expansion valve replaced to resolve the problem with my A/C. It cost about $600 to fix at the suby dealer. A/C works good now.
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Old 07-08-2005, 11:10 PM   #10
awu72
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Regarding cost of replacing the expansion valve, I brought my '04 WRX Wagon (6500 miles) to Royal Subaru of Decatur this week for 3 issues:

1) A/C not working (that was a rough ride back to ATL from Savannah last weekend)
2) loose front left wheel skirt
3) keyless chirp malfunction

For each problem they:

1) replaced the expansion valve
2) replaced missing push nut
3) replaced keyless entry alarm box

It was all under warranty, so it didn't cost me anything, but I did see the quote (claim) they would make to SOA and it cost $422.62 = $273.00 Labor + $149.62 parts.

Unfortunately they missed fixing the A/C fan. It looks like a fan motor resistor failure. There is no air movement on settings 1, 2 and 3, but there is max air on setting 4.
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Old 07-08-2005, 11:27 PM   #11
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I'd be surprised to see a blower resistor failure on an 04, although it certainly is possible. Was this problem present before the AC repair, or only after you got it back? If the latter, there's a good chance they forgot to plug the connector for the resistor back in after reinstalling the fan housing. Take a look under there and see if it's hanging.
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Old 07-08-2005, 11:38 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mulder
I'd be surprised to see a blower resistor failure on an 04, although it certainly is possible. Was this problem present before the AC repair, or only after you got it back? If the latter, there's a good chance they forgot to plug the connector for the resistor back in after reinstalling the fan housing. Take a look under there and see if it's hanging.
The problem was not quite exactly the same as it is now. Prior to the repair, I was getting very little airflow on all four settings (1,2,3 and 4). It was also sporadic, meaning airflow for each setting would return to normal briefly. Now after the repair, it's quite clearly almost no airflow on settings 1, 2 and 3, but max airflow on 4 consistantly all the time. Luckily, we caught this before driving out and it was the mechanic's opinion that the resistor failed. I'll check if the plug is hanging tomorrow during the day. The resistor is just to the left of the glove compartment, right?

FYI, the original symptoms of the a/c prior to the repair including the fan issues I've already described were sporadic cooling of the air. The a/c would be on, but it felt like only vent on-and-off. In addition, condensation would literally pour onto the driver's accelerator foot periodically. The mechanic diagnosed it as a faulty A/C expansion valve that allowed the evaporator core to freeze. When it thawed, the freon would start flowing again and voila -- cold air + some water dripping on my foot. It seems to be the correct diagnosis.

Last edited by awu72; 07-08-2005 at 11:50 PM.
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Old 07-08-2005, 11:50 PM   #13
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The plug is all the way on the bottom of the fan housing which is behind/below the glovebox. There are two plugs down there, one for the fan motor and the other for the resistor. You might need to pull back the carpet to see it.
It sounds like your original problem may have been icing of the evaporator while the AC was running, which would reduce the airflow from the vents at all fan speeds. The flow would return to normal once the AC was shut off and the ice melted.
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Old 07-09-2005, 03:37 PM   #14
awu72
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mulder
I'd be surprised to see a blower resistor failure on an 04, although it certainly is possible. Was this problem present before the AC repair, or only after you got it back? If the latter, there's a good chance they forgot to plug the connector for the resistor back in after reinstalling the fan housing. Take a look under there and see if it's hanging.
yep. you're right. the mechanic forgot to plug the connector for the resistor. I plugged it in this morning and the fan is working fine.

thanks. that saved me a trip back to the dealer.
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Old 07-28-2005, 05:40 PM   #15
awu72
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update: a/c has been working fine for the last 3 weeks.
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