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Hello, I have a subaru 2001 outback 4cyc and I am currently the 3rd owner of this lovely car.

The problem seem to started about a year ago and now its becoming more an issue. My middle cabin air vent have barely any air flow coming through even if I blast it at max. My windsheild is still working beautifully and my side is going strong (tho seems like its dying too). I thought initially that my cabin air filter is super cloged (didnt occur to me that if it was blocked..then everything shouldn't really be working that well...).

So I decided to do a DIY on cabin air filter and surprise surprise the cabin air filter were NO WHERE to be seen. Looking at the damage Its rather...disgusting at least in my opinion. There is quite a bit of dead leaves, hair and dust everywhere, the "grill" on the side seems to be 1/4 covered in dust also.

My car knowledge is quite limited, I can do basic service on my car (change light, engine oil, trans fluid, air filter) so my question is..is there a DIY to fix this? Or way to diagnose and pin point the problem? Please help! This is the first car I ever own and I LOVE it to death, I want to take care of this baby till it runs its last trip.
 

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2005 OBW 2.5L, 1989 Subaru Justy, RIP Blu
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7,355 Posts
Do you have an owners manual? In there they usually show the air flow through the ducts on a given setting. It is possible that the blend door for that setting isnt working.
 

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'99 Outback 2.5 GT auto & '97 LegOB w/ grossly insulted 2.5
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141 Posts
See the above post regarding the moonroof malady. Your HVAC air management servo motor SHOULD function in the same fashion (GM's do). Cleaning the accumulated filth (resulting from the missing cabin air filter?), SHOULD allow the motor & its linkage to advance to their full range of travel (perhaps with a little manual assist, I repaired balky new GM units at the assembly plant in this fashion). I'd recommend a shop vac. & compressed air for the cleaning. Some silicon spray lube (Dino oil draws dust) would aid the cause as well (GM would club us for using ANY silicon product due to an edict from the paint dept.).
 

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2002 Subaru Outback Limited Wagon
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34 Posts
I have this same problem with my '02. I posted something a while back to see what responses I got. One member stated he had the same problem, took it to the deal several times, they never found the cause. I also thought about the cabin air filter, went to change it, only to discover an empty slot. Cleaned the "screen" real well, put everything back together, still the same problem. I have yet to have mine checked out, but I will be taking it in on Wed for the dealer to check it out. I'll post what they say when I hear from them.
 

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2002 Outback 4cyl/AT, 2003 Outback limited 4 cyl/AT, 2015 Outback Limited 4 cyl
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9 Posts
I know that I read recently in my owners manual that say on "floor" setting, the two outside dash vents will pump air but the two middle ones (above the radio) will not. I'm thinking that something could be holding up the blend door when you switch to "vent"? Don't know.
 

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2001 VDC/SC One of a Kind
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14,318 Posts
Round and round.

Does the car have automatic temperature controls?
Auto or not, what does the air flow do when you select vent?
Have you had a stereo replacement? Anyone digging around in the dashboard for anything?
 

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2002 Subaru Outback Limited Wagon
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34 Posts
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.
 
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