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2020 Touring XT, 2013 Outback Lim SAP 270K, 2003 Outback Lim MT 2.5L, 241K..
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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.
 

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2020 Touring XT, 2013 Outback Lim SAP 270K, 2003 Outback Lim MT 2.5L, 241K..
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2,260 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.
 

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2020 Touring XT, 2013 Outback Lim SAP 270K, 2003 Outback Lim MT 2.5L, 241K..
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2,260 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!
 
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