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On my 03 Subaru Outback VDC I tried to turn the AC on today and I heard a hissing sound inside the cabin and it blew outside temp air. I opened the hood and the compressor had a different sound when the AC was turned on compared to normal operating noise. It sounded more labored. What are my next steps? Will recharging it work? Worst case I need a new compressor . Compressor is original AFAIK. Car has 143k miles on it.
 

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03 H6 OBW & 06 WRX Sportwagon
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17,711 Posts
hard to say but, there are known issues with old, hard o-rings in the A/C system. You might look around the A/C comp and lines and fittings for an oily stain.

you have several ways to proceed, but, taking the car to an A/C tech is probably the best overall. If you wanna DIY it, you might still need to borrow/buy/rent a set of gauges.

Even if you decide to change just the o-rings at the compressor and install the correct volume of refrigerant for the system, you should probably use at least one can with the dye in it in case the leak is somewhere else.

good chance the compressor is OK. but leaks can be anywhere and some of those spots are gonna be expensive.
 

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Lawn ornament XT
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14,366 Posts
I know someone who managed to kill his compressor by using a cheap recharge can the wrong way. Use gauges if you DIY.

From your description it sounds like the evaporator or one of the seals on the connectors leading to it have failed. You'll need to get that fixed before a recharge works.
 

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2005 OBW 2.5L, 1989 Subaru Justy, RIP Blu
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SOunds like you have a leak and all the gas is gone or going. Let a shop find the leak and fix it (usually simple O ring) though evapoartors do leak on rare occasions.
 

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2001 VDC/SC One of a Kind
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14,475 Posts
Agreed. Very rare for a Subaru compressor to fail. It's more likely that it leaked out.

Refrigerant can leak out whether the AC is on or not. When there is a sizeable leak and the compressor kicks on, it is able to suck in or push out air. There may have been something that hit the condensor.

Quick fill cans with a sealer do a lot if damage. It sludges the AC system making the compressor work harder leading to failure, so avoid them.

Another DIY tip, be sure to use a can with an oil charge after the leak is found and repaired during the charge.
 
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