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2006 Outback
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Discussion Starter #1
First posting...

Approximately 2 weeks ago, I had the dashboard replaced on my 2006 Outback (2.5i, base model) as part of a previous Subaru recall. In addition, the dealership performed a basic service (air & cabin filer, oil change, tire rotation, fluids), driver air bag replacement (recall) and an AC service at my request. No leaks found but the AC required a bit of topping off. When I picked up the car, I ran the AC on the way home - nice and cold. Once the car cooled down, I turned the fan down to 1 and raised the temperature a bit. After a while, I felt the AC was still too cold for my comfort so I raised the temperature again. Within a few miles, I realized no matter where I set the temperature, the AC produced the same cold air. The next morning, I turned on the heat to defrost the windshield. After several miles, the air never got hot. For clarification, (1) the vehicle does not produce heat no matter the setting (temperature and direction) and (2) when the AC is on it blows the same cold temperature no matter the temperature or setting. The other thing I noticed is that if I turn the temperature down all the way and set the direction to the windshield (I get cold AC air). Note, the AC is off. I called the dealership 1-2 days later and over a 2 week period we worked out a day they could inspect the vehicle.

Today, the dealership inspected the car. This is what they said. The mechanic inspected the car and says the cable is still attached to the temperature control know. He knows this because he can sense the tension when he turns the knob. If the cable broke, there would be no tension. The mechanic suspects the air mix door(s) are not functioning. This problem could not have been caused by the mechanic because they do not touch this box assembly when they remove and replace the dashboard. We suspect it is just coincidence something broke which lead the heater to stop working. The mechanic said he tested the heater after installing the new dashboard. It is possible one of the parts inside of the air box assembly broke. Unfortunately, the only way to determine this is to remove the dashboard.

The only other small thing I noticed when I received the car following the replacement of the dashboard was that the stereo was pushed into the console just a bit more than usual. All I did was grab the main nob (of the stereo) and pulled it out a bit.

This was the first time this dealership saw or worked on my vehicle.

The labor to remove and replace the dashboard is close to $1,000. As the conversation wrapped up, it was clear to me that if I wanted to pursue this, I would have to pay. I am looking for suggestions and recommendations on how to proceed. I'm hopeful there's some troubleshooting I can perform to determine how I should proceed. I did see the post on the 2008 Legacy with the same problem by 'itsnorml'.

A bit about the vehicle. I've worked on cars since high school. I am super proactive when it comes to maintenance on my Subaru. When I take it to the dealership or mechanic shop, I tell them that if they find anything that needs to be fixed that is less than $500, go ahead and do it. The car has 150k miles, no rust, minimal interior wear except the floor board at the gas pedal.

I look forward to providing feedback and assistance to other members.
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2005 OBXT Limited, VF37, STI intake, 5MT
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I'd go ahead and call SOA and repeat that load of BS diagnostic procedure. "I can feel the tension" is not a proper diag. In fact, you can watch the air blend door cable work from the LH side of the center stack if you just look.

Money is on the cable retainer is not reinstalled correctly when they pulled the panel. It's a tiny c-clip that embeds in the plastic sleeve and is held by both ends (one at the linkage arm, the other into the plastic of the control panel). You can reconnect the cable, and it will slightly move the door (and provide resistance), but without the retainer all the movement is used in moving the cable jacket rather than the blend door.

I can feel the resistance.... Oy.
 

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09 OBXT LTD MT
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468 Posts
hold on....

The labor to remove and replace the dashboard is close to $1,000
Thought you said it was replaced as part of the recall? Anyways, might be a separate topic but you can also mention to SOA to as what financial assistance they can provide. Mines a 2009 and they wont repair the dash as part of that recall as the service warranty expires 10 years from purchase so SOA is seeing what they can do when i go to my appointment tomorrow. If you got your 2006 replaced for free then you were lucky. If not, then SOA might be able to help. Not sure if they can help me, will find out tomorrow.

As for the heat issue, like what RoughDiamond said i would also check the back of that panel and the connections myself too since its not that much work to pull out (remove side trim pieces and then a few screws then the middle section is out). The last airbag recall they did (and you also mentioned they checked did your airbags), they had to remove that middle panel as they needed to probably (just a guess) disconnect the airbag controller which is right under the hvac panel (silver box with some yellow markings). I went home also without ANY hvac controls and took it back to them to have it fixed. Apparently they disconnected it and forgot to put it back. Could have done it myself but wanted them to do it to avoid any work-warranty issues. I also have a JDM hvac with double din and have some extra wires in the back from my headunit so maybe they had to unplug more stuff to get to the airbag controller

member PlainOM also alludes to this in the other thread about the 2008 outback that you posted in 2008 Legacy Outback HAS NO HEAT
 

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2006 Outback
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Discussion Starter #4
I received a call from the dealership. They asked me to drop off the car where they will perform a thorough inspection to determine what is wrong with the heater/AC. They will not be removing the dashboard at this time, but it appears they're going dig in and see what they can identify. They also offered a loaner car, which is a really nice gesture. More to come.
 
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