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I posted this on Forum Subaru but I thought I'd try it here too...

Late last year I had some serious body damage to the front end of my 1998 Legacy Outback 2.5L and decided to have my A/C compressor rebuilt at the same time since it had been defective for about a year. When I got the car back everything seemed OK for about 3 weeks then suddenly the compressor started squealing like a banshee and at one point the whole assembly started to smoke. I cut the belt and returned to the shop, where they pulled the compressor and sent it out again.

When I got it back it lasted about a week before starting to wail again. This time they balked at sending it out, and the shop claimed that Outback A/C compressors are crap. I cut the belt again and have driven it for several months without A/C. I have been thinking about the problem for a while and am convinced it is not the compressor but the clutch that is at fault. Last week I put a new belt on and it is not squealing but the clutch is not engaging. Today I checked the solenoid and it appears to be open. There is a thickish coat of reddish dust over the new belt and pullies. I suspect the clutch overheated and burned out the last time.

Any ideas on this? I wonder if the solenoid might have been failing to cause it to squeal, or maybe the voltage at the coil was low causing it to slip and overheat. I'm guessing maybe a dirty or defective A/C relay might have caused this.

Am I way out in left field here or does this seem feasable? And finally, I don't want to pay $1000 CDN for a new compressor clutch, or $600 CDN for a another rebuild, but the dealer tells me the clutches on the newer Outbacks can't be replaced separately. Any ideas? Can I get just the clutch rebuilt? Rewind it myself? (I have years of electrical and electronic experience)

Comments please? Thanks.
 
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