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AC ONLY WORKS WHEN CAR IS WARM, AND HAS BEEN RESTARTED AFTER SEVERAL MIN REST

It's a 2001 Outback VDC

I started with issues months ago. The first thing I did was check pressure, and sure enough it was low. Refilled R134, and it worked....until lost pressure through leaky valve stems....replaced, refilled, even added oil.....

NOW-The AC will only come on when the car is warm, and not a little, ALL the way to op temp.....and not even just that; It has to be turned off for at least several min after it warms up too, and I think it needs to have the AC turned on before turning off as well. I've tried just turning it off then back on and that does nothing, BUT if I stop for gas, by the time I'm done filling up, it comes on when I restart. As long as the engine hasn't cooled below op temp, it comes on after restarting a few hours later, but not several after, when it's only a little warm still.

I don't know what to do now.
 

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2001 VDC Wagon - White pearl - 302,000 km
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466 Posts
It sounds like your rev sensor might be causing this. Basically, if the AC clutch slips, the ECM will disable any further clutch operations for the current drive cycle. Turn the engine off, then back on, and you are good for another engagement. Here's my theory...When you start your car, having a cold engine, your air gap is so large, that the compressor clutch can barely engage and spin the compressor at all. If the compressor did engage, the ECM would have recognized the slipping clutch and disabled the AC anyway. When the engine warms up, and then you stop the engine, then restart it, the AC works because the pulley and clutch have expanded, due to heat, and you now have a closer air gap. Voila! air conditioning works again. Sounds perfectly logical to me. Grab a feeler gauge and report back with the cold gap reading between the clutch and the pulley. You'll probably notice a rust streak around the compressor that is thrown up onto the hood liner. FYI, this is not an uncommon problem on the H6.
 

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2006 Outback 2.5i 4EAT
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Check A/C Clutch relay? I've seen these go bad on many cars and it acts similarly to what you are describing. Powering the coil should give a confident click every time, even in rapid succession.
 
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