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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Wanted to throw this out there to see if anyone else has had the same problem with a 2008 model. I am now looking at having the blower motor replaced on my A/C for the 5th time. That doesn't include a number of resistors that have been replaced and the control unit once.

I've had it to 2 different dealerships and neither has actually determined the cause of the problem. When I had it fixed last year, the dealer claims to have found the problem. Apparently, the drain from the compressor was getting clogged, leading to an overflow shorting out the resistor and killing the blower motor. I have had them check the drain at every oil change (3,750mi) and all has been clear. However, this is not an instant problem where the A/C just quits. The blower acts up for a while before hand, making a noise similar to a baseball card in your bike spokes, sputtering and only adjusting force when on hi.

I love this car and just paid it off. So far, everything has been under warranty but, my warranty is up in Dec and I can't see keeping the car if this keeps being an ongoing problem. But, I'm looking for a solution. If anyone has had any similar experience, any advice would be welcome. Thanks a bunch.

Tim
 

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(formerly) 03 H6 OBW , (presently) 06 WRX Sportwagon & 2021 Honda CR-V
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hmmm...wondering exactly what type of meterial is clogging the drain. Is it some fungus/slime building up or is there an insect building a nest in there or what?

Is the car parked outdoors regularly? Over grass or dirt?

Has the dealership seen this before with other owners?
 

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they are not repairing the warranty claim, they are addressing the symptoms. seems like there should be something in place that requires them to repair the problem and *not* just the symptoms. folks more knowledgable about warranty will hopefully chime in but i think there are ways they can repair things after the warranty expires if it's documented that it was an issue under warranty...

here is what is going on:

1. an issue - electrical or water or something else?
2. #1 is causing your blower fan to fail

they should completely resolve the FIRST problem, not the second symptom.

make sure there's no debris in the blower motor housing area/vents that is rubbing or gradually wearing the blower fan cage/wheel when it's installed?
make sure the vents/passageways/filter isn't blocked restricting air and overloading the fan? these are all unlikely though....

you'll have to dump a perfectly good car capable of another 100,000 miles over a 20 minute cheap fix. what a mess.

i've repaired one leaking 09 and the water would coagulate up under/behind the glove box and get the carpeting all wet. but in the summer (mind you it can get very humid here) it would be a lake on the passengers side foot well. i pulled the drain hose out (easy - it took 15 minutes maybe), cleaned it all out, and reinstalled it and there have been no issues since. i never found "a problem" but pulling, cleaning out, and reinstalling it did the trick.

if you had enough water to damage the blower though i would expect to see other signs - smells, dampness, etc. so that's doubtful.

but - it might be worth pulling the hose all out and doing what i did, clean and reinstall.
 

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I tend to agree with the others. If the drain hose is clear, there should be no water collecting in the duct where it could flow toward the right side of the car where the fan "resistor" and motor are. Furthermore, even if water was collecting to that extent (perhaps because the outlet on the HVAC case itself is blocked inside, as has been noted), the collected water would tend to drain out onto the front passenger side floor/carpet before it reached the resistor, leaving the carpet at least wet if not in a pool of water at the bottom. This isn't mentioned, and if the carpet was always dry, it leaves the water cause problematic in my view.

I would also note that according to cars101.com, the 2009 XT has the automatic HVAC controls, which uses a power transistor to control the fan speed rather than a resistor, although it is mounted in the same place in the duct to the left of the fan.

In this regard, if the transistor control unit is shorted out by the water, presumably causing the full 12 V to go to the fan motor, the fan would tend to run at high speed, even when it would be unusual for that. (Being an automatic control, this is harder to discern than with a manually controlled fan, but might also have been apparent).

While I have some doubts about the water cause, I also would ask: Who is checking the drain hose, and how are they doing that? Just looking at the bottom end isn't going to do it. If it was just left to a junior person in the oil change pit, I have to wonder. That would be grouped with all the other "inspect" items that are supposed to be done by someone with an understanding of what to look for, but are rarely given the attention needed, if at all.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
When the A/C unit is working properly, the fan speed does vary but, I can also see the fan speeds being adjusted. It still blows constant based on it's setting. When it begins to malfunction, the fan setting remains constant but the blower fluctuates at each setting. Even reduced output when manual put on high.

Also, regarding the drain issue, I've never had, to my recollection, any water leaking/pooling on the passenger side.
 

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Thanks for the more detailed description of the symptoms, particularly how the fan seems to be functioning compared the HVAC control's settings (visible on the display).

So the fan will work properly for a while, and then start to malfunction. Once the symptoms appear, does the ever go back to operating normally, even for a short while, for example, on a subsequent drive, or does it continue to malfunction at all times?

The blower acts up for a while before hand, making a noise similar to a baseball card in your bike spokes, sputtering and only adjusting force when on hi.
This certainly would describe something caught in the squirrel-cage blower, but the 2008 should have a cabin filter that would prevent anything that large from reaching the fan area. If there was something preventing the motor from spinning properly, it could well cause the control transistor or the motor itself to eventually fail. In any case, it would probably be identified when the motor was removed, if not the first time then subsequently, but 5 times?

This is not a problem that I recall reading about before -- there have been a few reports of fan motors failing but this is rare. Sometimes it's just one of those statistical failures; in other cases it is due to water and the primary cause is also identified. But I've never read about repeat failures of this type.

regarding the drain issue, I've never had, to my recollection, any water leaking/pooling on the passenger side.
Invariably, when the drain is blocked, water will come out of the heater/AC duct inside the car, most often on the passenger side, although I believe there was a case of water finding it's way to the driver side. In any event, the problem is a blocked drain, which is easy enough to diagnose. I don't think that was, or is the problem here.

Nevertheless, just to be sure, when the AC is working, have you checked to see that there is water dripping down out of the evaporator drain hose onto the ground underneath the car? The hose comes out of the front part of the floor, sort of behind the right front wheel and a bit toward the center of the car. On a hot, humid day, there should be a noticeable, steady dripping.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Plain,

Once the blower starts acting up, it does function properly on occasion but, as time progress, those instances happen less frequently.

And yes, I have noticed the typical water draining on the ground under my vehicle.

I went back through my service records and it appears to always happen in the latter stages of summer, after I have been using the A/C for a while.

It has quit completely on me again. Am taking it to the dealer again tomorrow. Will give an update once they take a look at it.

Thanks
 

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You've opened another thread (http://www.subaruoutback.org/forums/109-gen-3-2005-2009/46814-2008-2-5-xt-recurring-c-problems.html) but I'll stay here for now . . .

As grossgary noted earlier, the dealer has replaced parts but doesn't seem to have looked beyond that. I've never read here about recurring failures of the fan motors and controls along with the symptoms you described, so it sounds to me as if it's something unique.

It's unfortunate that once a part is replaced and a symptom corrected, the dealer doesn't take time to do a "post mortem" on the old part to see what went wrong (unless they gave the old parts back to you). This might provide a lead.

As I re-read the symptoms, it almost as if something mechanical is intermittently catching on the fan blower (squirrel cage blower). This would cause the fan to turn at incorrect speeds depending on the degree of catching ("playing card in the spokes"). I believe it's a DC motor, so drag of this sort causes excess current to flow through the motor, and that in turn can cause brushes and wiring to wear and overheat and that leads to further slowing etc.

I wonder if part of the fan housing (duct) might be deformed, improperly installed, or broken. The effect might show up more noticeably only under certain temperature/operating conditions. This could cause a motor or resistor to fail only after some time. You did mention that in the past the failures seem to appear toward the end of the summer AC season. Does this mean you don't usually use the fan after summer? (No winter with regular heater use?)

You had asked about escalating the issue given the number of times the car has been in for the same, repeated, problem (http://www.subaruoutback.org/forums/66-problems-maintenance/46663-escalating-service-issue.html). Did you follow-up on subiesailor's suggestion to contact Subaru and get this on record? Might be a good idea. In this regard, I'm not faulting the dealer -- especially with warranty work they're paid to get the car back on the road and not to spend time "playing engineer" , but if Subaru corporate becomes involved, they will bring in other resources that might suggest (and pay for) a different approach (including their database that extends worldwide) or take on the issue themselves (e.g. a regional rep gets into the shop to see what's what).
 
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