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Old 04-07-2019, 09:21 AM   #1
tmcquinn
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Default 2003 WRX - A/C Parts Sourcing

I hope this is the correct forum. I did probably spend an hour using 'search' last night.

I get that people say to use a pro for A/C. I have a pro. He works with me, seems to enjoy teaching, and the less of his time I require the less he charges me. But he's no Suraru expert. I come here for that. I'm going to start on this and take my lumps later if I screw it up.

All the coolant leaked out over the winter. There is not a single PSI. I want to find the leak(s), fix it, and replace the dryer for good measure. My buddy has loaned me a vacuum pump that looks like it could suck a softball through a garden hose. But when I find something (like the dryer) that I want to replace, I don't recognize any of the brand names on rockauto - UAC, Spectra Premium, GPD, Four Seasons, Nissens. So, does anyone have any experience with what parts are commodities vs. the ones where you just suck it up and pay the dealer for OEM? Please, let me not need a compressor from the dealer. Or maybe some opinions about brands to avoid? My hope is to get my son through college in this car. It's not something where I want to pay a lot more for a little better, at least regarding A/C.
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Old 04-07-2019, 03:19 PM   #2
Elbert Bass
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One option is 1-800-radiator. For less than the price of a Suby compressor they can usually sell you a kit with a good warranty that includes: compressor, condenser, receiver/dryer (if not part of condenser), expansion valve, o-rings, oil, and flush. At least they used too...
We have given that option to several customers and they have not been a problem.
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Old 04-07-2019, 05:02 PM   #3
tmcquinn
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Thanks. I'm hoping to not have to go that far but there's always next time.

They have a branch here in town. I've bought 2 radiators from them. They were made in Taiwan but so far they've given me years of trouble free cooling.
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Old 04-07-2019, 07:20 PM   #4
Blktrax
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Besides replacing every O-ring in the system, Iíve run a generic condenser/dryer combo, on the OE compressor with 230k.

My leak was from trash around the evaporator causing corrosion. I replaced the expansion valve with an OE part , but used a cheaper aftermarket evaporator. It works fine however the evaporator had differently designed end tubes . It makes a hissing noise as refrigerant passes through it. But works as it should. Really with AC parts it either works or it doesnít, but proper charge level is critical to compressor life.

Last edited by Blktrax; 04-07-2019 at 08:58 PM.
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Old 04-07-2019, 07:45 PM   #5
tmcquinn
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I like the sound of that.

I have a set of o-rings, an expansion valve, and a new dryer on the way.
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Old 04-09-2019, 02:30 PM   #6
StarkWRX
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blktrax View Post
Besides replacing every O-ring in the system, Iíve run a generic condenser/dryer combo, on the OE compressor with 230k.

My leak was from trash around the evaporator causing corrosion. I replaced the expansion valve with an OE part , but used a cheaper aftermarket evaporator. It works fine however the evaporator had differently designed end tubes . It makes a hissing noise as refrigerant passes through it. But works as it should. Really with AC parts it either works or it doesnít, but proper charge level is critical to compressor life.

I have a 150K mile 2006 WRX with all original parts. I also lost all my refrigerant over the winter. 0 psi last week. Seems to have been the high pressure hose o ring but I changed it and it still leaks. Also the high pressure schraeder valve bubbles.


Question: is your compressor clutch all dirty? Like rusty? Mine is covered in a brown dust that Iím guessing is a worn clutch.


OP is asking about these brands on rock auto. Iím considering buying a new compressor and have the same concern.

Does anyone have any experience with these aftermarket compressors?

The OEM is $600+.


Thanks!
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Old 04-09-2019, 03:34 PM   #7
tmcquinn
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I'm the OP. So far, no joy. I see a lot of people who weren't happy with Four Seasons but I also see guys who put one in a beater and are thrilled. I've seen a few positive comments on Delphi. Advance Auto has a Delphi compressor for mine for $367. I talked to 1800radiators as recommended and they have a kit with a compressor, expansion valve, dryer, condensor, and compressor for $724. Rock Auto has a full kit for less than half that but it's a company I never heard of - GPD. I think ya place yer bet and take yer chances, but if you get any expert advice offline, please post.

The thing is, at the rate things are moving to Mexico and China I don't even know if a review from 2 years ago for company X even matters...
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Old 04-09-2019, 06:43 PM   #8
Charlie-III
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tmcquinn View Post
I like the sound of that.

I have a set of o-rings, an expansion valve, and a new dryer on the way.
Hopefully you are getting correct O-rings for A/C use (usually a light green) not some generic use rings.
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Old 04-09-2019, 06:51 PM   #9
tmcquinn
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Yes, sir. I got the light green ones that the 'zon says are for my car's a/c. I'd get myself a big box of 'em if they were cheaper.

The two I replaced were black and had some kind of crap on them that I fear is leak sealant.
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Old 04-09-2019, 06:52 PM   #10
Imeld21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tmcquinn View Post
I'm the OP. So far, no joy. I see a lot of people who weren't happy with Four Seasons but I also see guys who put one in a beater and are thrilled. I've seen a few positive comments on Delphi. Advance Auto has a Delphi compressor for mine for $367. I talked to 1800radiators as recommended and they have a kit with a compressor, expansion valve, dryer, condensor, and compressor for $724. Rock Auto has a full kit for less than half that but it's a company I never heard of - GPD. I think ya place yer bet and take yer chances, but if you get any expert advice offline, please post.

The thing is, at the rate things are moving to Mexico and China I don't even know if a review from 2 years ago for company X even matters...
+1
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Old 04-19-2019, 01:24 PM   #11
tmcquinn
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Just to wrap this up, I bought a 4 Seasons expansion valve (very ugly to replace) and a UAC dryer. The o-rings from Amazon held. The car now has A/C for the first time since we towed it home. Only time will tell if I should have bought my parts from Subaru.


Last edited by tmcquinn; 04-19-2019 at 01:46 PM.
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Old 04-28-2019, 05:10 PM   #12
TXwrxWagon
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Im currently (like today right now) using a UAC complete kit from rockauto.

We have a local Light/Medium/HD truck and RV company that does nothing but A/C and they rave about UAC as a value-minded parts line.

Im curious why/how you bought JUST the drier portion (the cylinder the side of the condensor)? EWverything I have read and found says that the 2-pass style condensors cannot be completely or properly flushed. The condensor/drier is only $60 complete.

I purchased Exp. Valve, condenseor+drier , compressor & clutch. I have all the lines off, everything under the hood installed. Cleaning and prep'ing the lines for all new green o-rings.

I'm about the start pulling the evaporator to install the exp. valve. and I've decided to just live without A/C 3 more days and ordered the Evaporator core also from rockauto. so essentially excecpt for the hard and hard/soft lines, the system is 100% new.

I even went a step further and ordered the vacuum pump and guage kit for R134a from Amazon. Those will be here yet today and tomorrow.

Every shop I called around the dallas/rockwall side of DFW said they would charge me between $125-$200 to pull the system down and recharge it with ZERO guarranties since they didn't install the parts. AND if I could not provide receipts to prove ALL new parts were installed, they would not do the work. AKA they want the labor $$ for installing the parts. Many said they would only touch A/c if they provided parts and labor from start to finish.

Shawn @ Kracken Motorsports over in Fort Worth was willing to charge it for me once his machine arrived, but that is almost 2 hours one way, 2 hours waiting and 2 hours home.

So I'm diving in and going to DIY from top to bottom.

Other than a couple lame youtube videos, has any one found a good step-by-step on how to do the evap without comepletely removing the HVAC box and dash?

~Rob
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Old 04-28-2019, 05:38 PM   #13
tmcquinn
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Yeah, I probably should have replaced the condenser too, this was my first ever attempt at A/C. I replaced the drier because the refrigerant was lost and everyone seemed to agree that the drier should be replaced.

You don't pull the evaporator to replace the expansion valve, at least on our 03. But hey, you're going 100% new, so good luck. My bet is you'll be very happy with the end result. I'll tell you this, that plastic piece around the expansion valve just about put me in the ground. I came very close to a cuttoff wheel/duct tape solution.

I am VERY lucky. I know a small shop with all the equipment to do the job legally and they don't mind that I did the work. In fact, he told me that if it didn't work he would evacuate it again, let me fix what I missed, and recharge it. But it held vacuum all night and I was hoping not to burden him with that. Mine worked fine.

Not for nothing but where I really got burned was trying to charge from a can without a scale. I had an 18 oz. can and held it in my hands until it reached room temp (a long time). I'm pretty sure it was empty. But the A/C did NOT work. When my pro evacuated the system he pulled 12 oz. out. All he did was put the correct amount back in and the bloody thing worked.

I would love to hear how the Rock Auto/UAC kit works for ya.
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