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Old 06-20-2012, 11:29 PM   #1
Scooby Newbie
Member#: 255944
Join Date: Aug 2010
Default '08 AC Compressor pulley???

Hey everyone,

My '08 seems to have decided I hadn't worked on it lately and the pulley on the AC Compressor appears to have exploded. There is a horrible grinding noise that I first thought was the motor running on almost no oil- but thats not the case. The AC stopped blowing cold air today, so I stopped and picked up some R-134a on my way home from work and went to put it in, and noticed the pulley looks mangled. It still spins under the pull from the belt and motor while running, but appears to be spinning on the outer roller and not actually rotating the shaft into the compressor.

Can this pulley be changed by itself? or am I looking at a whole new compressor assembly? Also, how can I reduce the tension on the belt to remove it until I can fix the compressor? I don't want to leave it on and risk the compressor locking up and doing more damage to the belts or engine!

By the way, I don't see any type of tensioner for this belt. I assume it is somehow built into the bracket that holds the compressor, but I don't see how it works if so... I was expecting to find an idler pulley or something, but the belt runs straight from the crankshaft pulley to the AC compressor pulley...

thanks for the input!

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Last edited by skrach77; 06-20-2012 at 11:49 PM.
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Old 06-21-2012, 08:26 AM   #2
Scooby Newbie
Member#: 200218
Join Date: Jan 2009
2008 Subaru Impreza


I have the same year subie (2008 2.5i Premium) and the same problem happened to mine as well back in 2010. I had mine replaced under warranty. I couldn't tell you if the pulley can be changed by itself but that part on the pully that broke is pretty flimsy and got mangled.

You have to use a special tool to install the belts on the subie that pretty much stretchs the belts over the pull for a tight but exact fit.
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Old 06-24-2012, 04:52 PM   #3
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Member#: 315018
Join Date: Mar 2012
Chapter/Region: RMIC
Location: SLC, Utah
01 2.5RS & 04 FXT


I had a similar problem if I understand correctly. My compressor hadn't blown yet, but I had replaced that belt like 3 times in 18 months and decided to get a second opinion not at a dealer. They determined that the clutch mechanism on the AC compressor was possibly going out and needed to replace the whole compressor. I knew the mechanic pretty well and he actually recommended just doing the belt and having me take it in within a month to see what condition the belt was in because it was like 80 vs. 800. I ended up doing the whole compressor, and now 6 months later, everything is still in perfect condition.
And the belt is a one time use only, with no adjustments. It needs to be cut to be taken off.
And the belt is $80.
After this, I went back into subaru and the guy said he had never seen or heard of anything like this. It has happened to a few other people on nasioc, though.
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Old 06-24-2012, 10:50 PM   #4
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Member#: 255944
Join Date: Aug 2010

Well I figured out that you can remove 3 of the 4 bolts from the compressor, then rotate the compressor forward (towards the front of the car) and that closes the distance between the pulleys enough to remove the belt without cutting it.

I only figured that out by accident because I was frustrated and smacked the pulley with a rubber mallet as I threw the mallet down to reach for something to cut the belt with- then I noticed it all moved and so I tried again and realized it was helping...

But in still stuck with a crapped out pulley, what I believe is a good compressor, and no choice but to change whole thing out which also means having the system vacuumed out and then refilled. All for a car I'm trying to sell!
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Old 06-24-2012, 11:56 PM   #5
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Member#: 265006
Join Date: Nov 2010
Chapter/Region: E. Canada
Location: London, Ontario
2011 2.5i 5MT
World Rally Blue


Glad I still haven't used the A/C in my car since I bought it. This doesn't sound like too much fun.
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