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Discussion Starter #1
Hello Outback Experts:
Just picked up a 2001 with 231k miles and this appears to be the premier site for Outback knowledge, so i joined.
Got the miss out by changing coil, plug wires, and plugs.
The seller said the A/C was working last time he tried it.
Now when A/C switch turned on the dash (it lights up), no clutch engagement.
Checked the A/C relay, engaged when voltage applied as per OEM service manual guidance . A/C fuse, behind the 'coin drawer' to the left of the wheel looks good.
Thinking maybe the pressure switch on the refrig. system may be faulty, or???
Any suggestions as the next step to troubleshoot?

Also, from a little reading it looks like head gaskets on this model can be a problem.
Is there a mileage that failure of the head gasket often occurs, and any signs of pending failure.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

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03 H6 OBW & 06 WRX Sportwagon
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If the system has lost enough refrig., it will inhibit clutch engagement. Many folks have had aged/stiff o-rings, often st the compressor end of the suction and discharge hoses. The discharge hose can also leak, as can the schrader-type valves. many possible points of failure but compressors themselves seem robust.

I have had stiff o-rings in 4 places on my 2 soobs, and 3 bad hoses.
 

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Outback 2011 3.6R Premium
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971 Posts
Sounds like you have purchased one of the good ones and at that mileage it is “just run in” and should give you many more miles of faithful service.

I am also thinking that the most likely problem is low refrigerant gas and as you are in the USA, you can top this up yourself (it is illegal to do that here in Australia and we have to use a licensed repairer).

As far as head gaskets are concerned, at your mileage I am guessing they were done some time ago and hopefully with good quality gaskets so you may never need to worry about having to replace them.

Seagrass
 

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Outbacks, SVXs, XT6, 4Runner, Celica, Brat, E150s
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523 Posts
Yep, first step is to check refrigerant. The correct way to do it is to completely evacuate the system, and then refill by weight, but you can buy recharge cans with a gauge on them and do it by pressure with reasonable success.

If it's low, add a little UV dye to the system so you can see where it's leaking, likely an o-ring.


Head gasket failure on these is overwhelmingly not the stereotypical cloud-of-steam-on-the-side-of-the-road head gasket failure, it's an external oil leak. My '03 was leaking oil at the head gaskets when I bought it, and we drove it for almost 50k miles before doing anything about it. Just check the oil periodically (I am ANAL about checking it every time I get gas), and don't let it run low, and you'll be fine. It will begin to leave drops of oil everywhere you park (don't park on nice concrete), and sometimes it'll leak onto the exhaust and smoke a bit when you stop, but as long as it's not overheating, no worry.
 

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4, Gen 2 H6's: 2001 LLBean, 2002 LLBean, 2002 VDC, 2003 Plain...I love the H6's!
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Note, sometimes the oil leak you observe on the ground is from the valve cover gasket(s) instead of where the head meets the block, so look closely to diagnose where an oil leak is originating.

You may find this vid about Subaru a/c compressors helpful:
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Hey Guys,

thanks again, very much appreciated and very useful info.
Helps a lot!

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