Subaru Outback Forums banner
  • Hey everyone! Enter your ride HERE to be a part of this month's Ride of the Month Challenge!

1 - 20 of 20 Posts

·
Registered
2002 Subaru Outback Limited Wagon
Joined
·
34 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I have a 2002 Outback Limited. The air doesn't seem to be blowing as cool now as it did when I first bought the car. Also, it seems that it blows air harder out the two drivers side vents than the two on the passenger side. I had it recharged a couple months ago but that didn't seem to fix the problem.
 

·
Premium Member
01 VDC, 05 R Sedan, 06 BAJA EJ257
Joined
·
15,483 Posts
Check your cabin air filter if you have one. It will be behind the glove box.

Do you have dual zone AC? Auto or manual?

Is the fan speed changing through all speeds?

Was the leak located and repaired when the system was recharged? Most AC repairs I do consist of replacing the Schroeder valves on the Hi and Lo sides or replacing seals at the connection joints if they are leaking. Most times the seals at the compressor will leak.

Possibles are you are low of refrigerant again because it leaked out, door motor failure, clogged cabin filter restricting air flow, cooling fan issue or, and its unlikely really, part of the air flow tube is disconnected. I have replaced 1 AC compressor on a Subaru. They are tough.
 

·
Registered
2002 Subaru Outback Limited Wagon
Joined
·
34 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Thanks cardoc

I do not have dual zone ac. Its manual.

The speed changes through all speeds, but the two left vents blow significantly less (almost nothing at all). It does it with the heat on also.

When I had it recharged, it was barely low. They checked for leaks, but didn't discover any.

To me, it appears there is a problem with the doors on that side. Considering its manual temperature, would there be a door motor? Or just something blocking the door?

Where about would the cabin air filter be located? How is it accessed?
 

·
Premium Member
01 VDC, 05 R Sedan, 06 BAJA EJ257
Joined
·
15,483 Posts
If it has a cabin filter its behind the glove box. You will see a removable door once the box is out of the way.

Has anyone had the dashboard apart or changed out the stereo?

Without dual zone control, the system use a motor for vent control, temp control and another for recirculating air. It's either a restriction of the air flow or something is disconnected in the air tunes behind the dashboard.
 

·
Registered
2002 Subaru Outback Limited Wagon
Joined
·
34 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
I had the cd player changed out a couple months after I bought the car. If I remember correctly, it worked fine after that for a couple months. Could be wrong about that though. Never really crossed my mind to check there first considering the cd player sits below the vents, but now that I think about it, it makes sense.

As far as the cabin filter goes, you have to remove the glove box first?
 

·
Premium Member
03 H6 OBW & 06 WRX Sportwagon
Joined
·
18,109 Posts
cardoc's suggestion about checking for a clogged cabin filter is good. dig around at cars101.com . there might be a youtube video also. 2000-2004 should all be the same for Outback and legacy.
 

·
Registered
2002 Subaru Outback Limited Wagon
Joined
·
34 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
I actually took his advice and pulled the glove box out this morning. There actually wasn't a cabin filter installed. It has the compartment for one but there wasn't one in there. It appears to have came to the factory that way, it didn't look like anyone ha been in there. After closer examination, I've noticed that the far passenger vent is blowing the same as the two driver vents. So the problem is the right vent above the CD player/ac controls. I believe it to be a tube obstructed or something similar to that. Anyone have a simple solution to get back there and check?
 

·
Premium Member
03 H6 OBW & 06 WRX Sportwagon
Joined
·
18,109 Posts
I actually took his advice and pulled the glove box out this morning. There actually wasn't a cabin filter installed. It has the compartment for one but there wasn't one in there. It appears to have came to the factory that way, it didn't look like anyone ha been in there. After closer examination, I've noticed that the far passenger vent is blowing the same as the two driver vents. So the problem is the right vent above the CD player/ac controls. I believe it to be a tube obstructed or something similar to that. Anyone have a simple solution to get back there and check?
quite possible. IIRC, it was listed as an option on our 03 so, they all have the capability to use one, but it isn't 'required'.

too bad you didn't spot a problem as I think all the blend doors may be tricky to get too.

dig around at http://opposedforces.com/parts/legacy/us_b12/type_25/ and maybe you can find a general layout.

or perhaps someone has a link to the FSM for that ducting and venting stuff.
 

·
Premium Member
01 VDC, 05 R Sedan, 06 BAJA EJ257
Joined
·
15,483 Posts
Pull the stereo out. Something got dislodged in the installation is what I would put a high percentage of probability on. You will most likely find the joint in the ductwork behind the stereo has a gap.

This is the best pic I can come up with at the moment.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
2020 Touring XT, 2013 Outback Lim SAP 270K, 2003 Outback Lim MT 2.5L, 241K..
Joined
·
2,223 Posts
Wow. Up till last week, I had a 2003 OB. Mine DID have the cabin filters btw.

But I had this EXACT problem. And the dealer nor the independent Subaru mechanic could fix it - and I spent a lot of money over the years on trying - its hot down here in LA.

SAME problem - and get this - it seemed like it happened after I had an after market radio installed. I noticed shortly after it didnt seem as cold. I even thought it was the cable adjusting the heat/cold , like it was obstructed and so full "cold" maybe wasnt really that anymore. but they said that seemed fine.
So it happened shortly after a radio install, AND, the middle right vent above the CD player (just like yours) seemed to be weaker/warmer than all the other vents. I had it recharged a few times over the years, and hoses replaced and other things. Problem NEVER got fixed.

Sigh - I wish I had an answer - it REALLY drove me crazy. My final solution was trading it in last Monday - 241,000 miles. The AC would fluctuate a bit while driving - sometimes it would suddenly feel colder - then not again.

Good luck.
 

·
Registered
2002 Subaru Outback Limited Wagon
Joined
·
34 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
Its never good to hear that subaru couldnt fix the problem. Im going to try to get around to pulling the cd player out and see exactly whats going on today. If that doesnt happen, off to dealer it goes tomorrow. Ill let them see what they can come up with. Its not hot here, but it comes too quickly. Im not really looking to trade mine in, Im sitting at a low 90,000 miles. I had planned to drive this one till it quit.
 

·
Registered
2020 Touring XT, 2013 Outback Lim SAP 270K, 2003 Outback Lim MT 2.5L, 241K..
Joined
·
2,223 Posts
Its never good to hear that subaru couldnt fix the problem. Im going to try to get around to pulling the cd player out and see exactly whats going on today. If that doesnt happen, off to dealer it goes tomorrow. Ill let them see what they can come up with. Its not hot here, but it comes too quickly. Im not really looking to trade mine in, Im sitting at a low 90,000 miles. I had planned to drive this one till it quit.
Its one of those things, you know - never could match bringing it to Subaru while it was at the hottest time of the hot days - when it was really apparent the AC wasnt working right.
And the problem was intermittent. SOMETIMES the AC felt good - but usually it was not as cold as it should be. And when its cooler outside - its harder to detect the problem. But yes - I brought it to Subaru a couple times about this and then started having the Subaru independent mechanic I go to try. I spent a lot of money but problem never went away. The AC was always just barely a help on a really hot day. Crazy how similar your issue is to mine though.
I just looked at my service history - and my problem started at 99,000. I drove the car till 241,000 and had it worked on 4 times with this issue. Recharge, dye test, hoses replaced. Never fixed.
But dont give up - its SOMETHING and you will perhaps better luck than I did finding the issue!


BTW, a word of advice. I had the "drive it till it quit" attitude. Well, now Im adjusting that a little.
Last summer - I took a road trip and the car died. I made it to Mammoth Lakes, CA, and there happened to be a mechanic there that really knew Subarus cause they are like the most popular car in Mammoth.
However - the engine was shot. I was stuck in a small mountain town with no bus ride home, no rental cars (all were taken cause flight out of town was cancelled.). I thought towing it home would be too expensive. And worst of all - I was not in a good position to buy a new car. Well, the engine they put in, broke down after 5 weeks, so to get the warranty on the work - the car had to go back to Mammoth - second engine put in - then THAT engine gave me a lot of trouble about 5 weeks later.
Of course, its hard to know when to let go of a car like that - but it had broken down once before this on the way to work (fuel pump gave). Thats when I should have prepared myself for more problems better.
Last few months driving the car was very nerve racking cause it really had a lot of problems and I didnt want to put more money into it - was trying to save for down payment on another.

My point is, if you are going to "drive it till it quits", be ready to buy another BEFORE it quits, and know that when your car really starts to quit - its ANYTHING but convenient, and can be very costly.
Oh - and if it DOES break down far away - towing it back home is STILL a better option - even if pricey - cause if the far away repair job goes bad - its a pain and costly to go back to the mechanic that did the work.

My attitude now is after a couple big repairs - work on getting ready to buy another (save for down payment, etc). Maybe even just decide to sell while Im still ahead.
Hard to get much for a car that has quit. ;)


I dont mean to be preachy - but I really made some mistakes in hindsight with the quitting of this last OB.
That said - it was a great car and did go to 241,000 and still drives better than some early used cars I bought when I was young that had half the mileage.
 

·
Premium Member
01 VDC, 05 R Sedan, 06 BAJA EJ257
Joined
·
15,483 Posts
Wow. The car was trying to tell you something, eh? You think it was saying, "I quit", turning in for early retirement?

I have always been a believer of planning ahead on some things and being prepared for the short end of the stick when it comes to the unexpected. I have an account just for the "what ifs". I keep adding to it by habit and seldom withdraw, but I know its there if I need it.

Maybe I need a vacation to Jamaica. :cool:

Nah.
 

·
Registered
2020 Touring XT, 2013 Outback Lim SAP 270K, 2003 Outback Lim MT 2.5L, 241K..
Joined
·
2,223 Posts
Wow. The car was trying to tell you something, eh? You think it was saying, "I quit", turning in for early retirement?

I have always been a believer of planning ahead on some things and being prepared for the short end of the stick when it comes to the unexpected. I have an account just for the "what ifs". I keep adding to it by habit and seldom withdraw, but I know its there if I need it.

Maybe I need a vacation to Jamaica. :cool:

Nah.
you are a smart, smart man!
 

·
Registered
OBW H6 VDC, Tribeca, XT6
Joined
·
12,385 Posts
Good points - "drive it til it dies" isn't necessarily the best financial approach, good start though. When it finally dies then you're at the whims of the local markets and have to buy.

I have a fleet of Subaru's. If one broke down I'd rotate to another. I generally am on look out for those one or two smoking deals I see in a given year and rotate as needed. I never buy rushed, it's always on my terms, and I never "need" a car.
 

·
Registered
2002 Subaru Outback Limited Wagon
Joined
·
34 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
I highly agree about weighing the financial costs of repairs versus the cost of buying something new. Its been a good car for me (knock on wood), except replacing the head gaskets but Im not sure anyone buys this generation outback and not expect that. Hopefully this repair will sort itself out. The dealer mechanics said its one of the most solids ones they've ever seen.

On a side note, Im all for not having a car payment looming every month.
 

·
Registered
2002 Subaru Outback Limited Wagon
Joined
·
34 Posts
Discussion Starter #20
Alright, just heard from the dealer. They said that the vent furthest from the motor will always have less airflow. They have said that they wouldn't recommend for me to pay for them to take everything apart, because its likely they wont find anything wrong. They said the right middle vent is the one that is furthest away, which is most likely the reasoning. They wont give an estimate on taking the dash apart, because they don't know how long and what will be required to fix it. I think I will pass on that scenario.

On a side note, they said it was a very common problem on these cars.
 
1 - 20 of 20 Posts
Top