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Discussion Starter #1
2002 Outback- Eddie Bauer Edition-
Recently my A/C will stop producing cold air for 20-45 seconds and then the cold air returns.

Any thoughts about what is up?

Also what is the normal life expectancy of a catalytic converter. I think mine might be going bad. Where generally is the best place to get this replaced? I would think that the dealer would be the most expensive.
 

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03 H6 OBW & 06 WRX Sportwagon
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maybe the speed sensor in the compressor - can't recall which years had that issue though.

if it only gets warm when you stop at lights, but is consistently working on the highway - that is often an electric fan problem.

Subaru cats are tough - why do you feel yours is bad?
 

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Definitely expound upon what 1 Lucky Texan mentioned. When does it get warm, or is it all of the time no matter the car's speed?

If it's all of the time, it could be a slow leak that is starting to progressively get worse, causing the compressor to cycle on and off. The less refrigerant, the longer the cycle interval, until it stops working altogether.
 

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Onyx, 2008 LL Bean 3.0R and 2017 Honda Civic Hatchback Sport Touring
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Along with any other mechanical issues you might find, note that that model year has a compressor override which turns off the compressor for extra engine power when needed. So, if you are merging onto the highway or doing "jack rabbit" starts from lights, the compressor goes off - usually when jumping past 3,500 RPM.
 

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03 H6 OBW & 06 WRX Sportwagon
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Definitely expound upon what 1 Lucky Texan mentioned. When does it get warm, or is it all of the time no matter the car's speed?

If it's all of the time, it could be a slow leak that is starting to progressively get worse, causing the compressor to cycle on and off. The less refrigerant, the longer the cycle interval, until it stops working altogether.
yeah, forgot to mention low refrigerant. Our 03 had to have a coupla hoses swapped out early in our ownership (warranty work) Dealer said the suction and discharge hoses both measured slow leakage with their 'sniffer'. Dunno if the hose themselves were bad or their o-rings w'ever. I've also read of other folks having the hoses replaced.

Is there a sight glass in the system somewhere? maybe see if it's full of bubbles.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Subaru cats are tough - why do you feel yours is bad?
The check engine light has appeared. My son-in-law read the error codes and said it could be an O2 sensor or the converter. Car has 160,000 miles.
He reset the light but it came back on in a couple of days.

The cooling problem has only occured when cruising at highway speeds 55-65 mph. Engine rpm is not high.

Thanks for all your help- Ron
 

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03 H6 OBW & 06 WRX Sportwagon
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The check engine light has appeared. My son-in-law read the error codes and said it could be an O2 sensor or the converter. Car has 160,000 miles.
He reset the light but it came back on in a couple of days.
got it - likely a P0420 though, we really like to know the actual code number instead of guessing.

generally, codes only point to systems/areas where the ECU is receiving signals that are outside the programmed/expected range. They often DO NOT point precisely to a device that has failed.

unfortunately, there are many causes of the 420 code (again, guessing that was the code) and many people are able to fix their cars with one of the following;

pcv valve replacement

exhaust leak repair

vacuum hose repair

rear O2 sensor replacement (or a 'cheat' using a spacer/anti-fouler)

addressing 'tune-up' issues like throttlebody cleaning, new plugs, plugwires

probably others I can't recall


At your mileage, ANY original part could easily be getting tired . And certainly cat convs DO go bad. But many have been replaced that didn't need to be.


It's a frustrating code but - in a car that has been reasonably maintained and is driving well - it would be RARE for the cat conv. to be bad.


A GOOD technician can test signals from the O2 sensors, inspect for exhaust leaks etc.

post your city and maybe someone can recommend a shop for you. If you want to replace some parts yourself, PLEASE do not replace the cat conv until every other possible failure has been thoroughly investigated.
 

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2001 VDC/SC One of a Kind
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2002 Outback- Eddie Bauer Edition-
Recently my A/C will stop producing cold air for 20-45 seconds and then the cold air returns.

Any thoughts about what is up?

Also what is the normal life expectancy of a catalytic converter. I think mine might be going bad. Where generally is the best place to get this replaced? I would think that the dealer would be the most expensive.
AC: remove the caps from the service valves and look for evidence of oil or dye. Most AC repairs I perform are repairing leaks and the weakest point on the system is the valves and #1 on my list. Then look for leaks at all the joints including where the lines connect to the compressor. The O-rings will leak also. You can pick them up at Oreilly's or any parts store that has AC service parts. I have only once had a Subaru compressor fail. ONCE! The internals were still good, the clutch assembly broke. I put 300k miles on one without a glitch other than seal leaks.

Catalytic converters will last the life of the vehicle as long as the engine is maintained properly to include proper tuning, temperature and sensor operation. If you CAT is going out, its not that much to replace with an aftermarket.
 

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01 Outback LL Bean
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If your AC is coming is going you either have low refrigerant, a sticky expansion valve or enough moisture inthe system that water is freezing at the expansion valve and temporarily blocking it. Either way I would hook some gauges up to diagnose further.

It is not the speed sensor issue. If it was the speed sensor issue you would loose AC until the car was turned off then turned back on again.
 

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06 OBW 2.5, 05 Forester, had 03 H6 OBW
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Eddie Bauer or LL bean?

If you have the H6 engine that changes a few things slightly.
 

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'05 2.5i H4 4-Speed Auto w/Sportshift
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Our 2005 OB with H4 engine and 4 speed automatic had both catalytic converters go about three years ago at around 99,599 miles.

We were EXTREMELY fortunate to arrive at some dealership who took the Check-Engine Light on and the low idle and rough engine seriously enough to know to test and then REPLACE both in the course of less than three hours and have my wife on her way.
 
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