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2003 Outback LL Bean model
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Discussion Starter #1
So, I've read a bunch of threads and especially liked the one started by GrossGary ($2 and $15minutes), and followed much advise, but still, no cold air coming out of my system.

I have a 2003 OB, 3.0L, with about 140+K miles on it. Just bought it from original owner. No records to indicate any a/c work. It was sold with disclaimer of hot air from a/c so all up front.

I've replaced the two O-rings next to the compressor. they were indeed stiff and brittle so in need of replacing. No obvious gunk or dirt around those areas that would have indicated leak.
I first tested the Schrader valve and got zero pressure feedback when i pushed down on it - so i figured essentially bone dry. No wetness under the cap was observed.
Bought a 25ounce can of R134 complete with hose and gauge.
Started car; ran a/c on highest fanspeed for a few minutes; and then attached the hose to the lower port. Ran the car for another 5-7 minutes. The compressor kicked in early and worked just fine.
During this time i'd test (..hand in front of..) the cold air coming from the vents inside the car and it was nice and artic(ish) cold.
It suched up just about all of the content of the can so likely bone dry.
The gauge that shows the pressure indicated fully charged. Tested the schrader valve and got nice spray to show at least some in there. The fan blows lots of air thru the system/vents when you change the speeds.
Mission accomplished?
Shut down the car, had lunch and went out for drive. Outside air about 70F so good time to use a/c. But, back to normal - not cold air coming out of vents. Somewhat less hot than before, but not the artic(ish) cold that i felt when as i was charging the system.
I have not yet black lighted to see if any other leaks. Two days have passed and i have been checking the pressure (with the gauge and the schrader valve) - it seems fine; no obvious loss of pressure or leaks.

Does not matter if i put it on AUTO, AUTO Economy, or just plain A/C. Heat works just great and fans are strong and put thru large volume of air, just not cold air.

I'm looking for recommendations for next steps for troubleshooting.
 

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Premium Member
2001 VDC/SC One of a Kind
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14,456 Posts
Seems you have a leak somewhere. If you have a dye in the system, it will show up under black light.

System holds just shy of 22.9 oz full.

If its not because its low refrigerant, its a blend door issue. Doubtful really though.

Most likely it is low because of a leak. Doesn't take much to effect the temperature output. Since it blew cold at first start up then warmed, my money is on it being low, regardless of what the gauge says.

On another note: Oil is necessary to keep the system lubricated, especially the compressor. I hope you used an oil charge. Also, it is best to evacuate the system before recharge. Pulls all the moisture out. And yes, you would have moisture in it because where ever the leak allowed the refrigerant to get out, it allowed moisture in. Water in the system will also effect the cooling effect and damage the compressor. Moisture will also saturate the accumulator causing poor flow.

To answer the other inquiry, put it on Auto and set it to 65. That's full on AC cold.
 

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Registered
2003 Outback LL Bean model
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6 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Sounds like a leak is the likely culprit then. Did not evacuate the system prior to but did use oil charge.
So speaking of the dye then...do i need to add that or is it already dyed? The color of the splashes i got when i tested the valves after filling the system were lime green colored so is that sufficient then to show up under the black light?
 

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2003 Outback LL Bean model
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6 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Holy smokes by the way...I see you/CarDoc joined this forum in August of 2012. That is about 6 months ago. SInce then, you've had close to 1,800 posts! that is roughly 10 per day!!!!!!!!
 

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Premium Member
2001 VDC/SC One of a Kind
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14,456 Posts
My build thread for my car is massive. And I try to help people as much as I am able. I know **** I thought I forgot. You ever try to keep up with all the manufacturers changes and updates on an annual basis. I do. Walking encyclopedia.
 

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2003 Outback LL Bean model
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6 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
So bought Black Light and checked for leaks. I spotted two on the main hoses in the area where they are crimped. I then ran engine and turned on the a/c to see if i could see some active leaks from that area but did not. I guess i expected to see some sort of spouting but did not. Still, next step to replace those hoses and see how that goes. Also checked pressure with gauge and it has dropped quite a bit in the last 24 hours - all consistent with a leak.
 
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