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2007 Outback wagon, 2.5i
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Discussion Starter #1
I have a 2007 Outback wagon 2.5i with 150k miles. It runs fine.

For the last month, I am hearing a faint but significant sloshing sound from what seems to be in front of the steering wheel. It does not always happen. It happens most frequently at the start of turns to either left or right, or accelerating or decelerating, often when going up or down a hill. It sounds like a good amount of liquid.

It happens with or without the air conditioning on.

It has rained a lot around here lately.

The passenger side carpet is NOT wet and the AC drain has been blown out, to no change.

Where are the drains for the cowling?? Is there a place for water to accumulate?

Anybody have ideas?

Thanks!
 

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2008 OB Limited 2.5i, Portland OR USA
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5,177 Posts
Check your coolant - perhaps there's some issue in that system that has resulted in trapped air in the heater core.

Otherwise, the drains to the cowling are about where you would expect them to be - at the low point - and any issue here is easily checked with a garden hose.
 

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2007 Outback wagon, 2.5i
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Discussion Starter #3
Sorry, I forgot to mention, the heater was checked by my mechanic.

The regular drains were also blown out. Was wondering if there was some other, less noticeable, drain system.
 

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Lawn ornament XT
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Does this car have dual-zone automatic HVAC? Sometimes the servomotors for the automated vents get confused and cycle back and forth, and this soft motor/gear sound is very frequently mistaken for water flowing.

Bubbles going through the heater core can make noise too, check coolant level?

AFAIK if the cowl drain plugs the only place water can gather is right in the open, on top of the cowl and wipers directly.
 

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2007 Outback wagon, 2.5i
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Discussion Starter #5
Regret only one zone on the HVAC so that isn't it.

Heater core coolant level was checked. All fluids were checked.

Turning AC on or off doesn't affect the sound.

I haven't found any action on my part, other than turning or accelerating/decelerating, that induces/prevents the sound.
 

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2007 Outback wagon, 2.5i
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Discussion Starter #7
Hadn't thought of that. Maybe car needs an exorcism?

My mechanic just said he checked the cowling drain first thing, no problem there. Even he is stumped.

He "rained" water on the car, to no affect.

I'll monitor the sound for the next weeks to see if heavier AC usage does anything.

Please let me know if you have further ideas what to check. Thanks!
 

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'03 outback limited, '01 Outback Limited, '01 Legacy L wagon, '96 Legacy Brighton wagon
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Check the door drains as well as the moonroof drains.


As far as i know, the moon roof drains and the cowl drains empty out behind the front wheel flaps.
 

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2007 Outback wagon, 2.5i
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Discussion Starter #10
It's in front of and maybe or maybe not above the steering wheel so I'm pretty sure it's not the door drains.

There is no moon roof.

The sound continued unabated today in stop and go traffic. AC was off.
 

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2007 Outback wagon, 2.5i
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Discussion Starter #11
What will pulling the control mode and blend door actuators tell me? I can do it but what do the results tell me?
 

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03 H6 OBW & 06 WRX Sportwagon
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fuses

if the noise doesn't happen when those are disabled, and comes back when the fuses are replaced, there's a servo motor or wiring failure to those doors. Someone will need to get access to them for a repair.

If the noise still occurs, you have eliminated one possible source and should keep looking.
 

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2008 OB Limited 2.5i, Portland OR USA
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It's in front of and maybe or maybe not above the steering wheel ...... The sound continued unabated today in stop and go traffic. AC was off.
Focus on the HVAC system, and in particular the heater core. Note that the defroster and upper front passenger vents are going to conduct sounds from all over the HVAC air passages into the location you describe.

What about the evaporator drain in the AC system? Do you see any water on the garage floor after the AC system was used and it's parked? You should, and it's normal. If you don't, that might be the issue.
 

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03 H6 OBW & 06 WRX Sportwagon
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sumie - you might consider asking for a shop recommendation in a new thread - someone may be able to point you to a Subaru-friendly shop near you.
 

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2007 Outback wagon, 2.5i
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Discussion Starter #15
Further symptoms:

-The weather has been a lot hotter and a lot more humid, and the sound is considerably louder. It sounds like a lot more water rushing.

-It can slosh when I turn the car on (though not too loudly), with or without the AC running, before the car has moved at all after sitting overnight. Parking spot is horizontal with a slight left lean.

-It makes the sound on turns, when the car starts to go uphill or downhill, or when I accelerate or decelerate.

-Way they looked at the car a few weeks ago, the garage said they blew out the AC drain and only a little water came out. BUT, I'm not seeing water under the car after a drive. I believe I should.

-It sloshes with or without the AC on.

Anybody with additional suggestions?

Thanks.

Any further ideas?
 

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03 H6 OBW & 06 WRX Sportwagon
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drain tube

compressed air or maybe a fexibla plastic rod or some type - if you use wire, be gentle.

it gets clogged with slime or maybe insect debris

look low on the firewall , passenger side.
 

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2007 Outback wagon, 2.5i
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Discussion Starter #17
Garage says they did that, and showed me a small trail of water.
 

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'17 Outback 2.5i Premium
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Note that the AC is operating whenever air is directed to the windshield, whether or not the AC button is turned on - it's another of those nanny features. I'd suggest checking the AC charge level - a high or low charge can produce some odd noises even though the system appears to be operation normally.



When it's humid out, you should expect to see a trail of water drops on the floor when you pull into the garage. If you sit in one spot with the AC running there should be a definite puddle. The water has to go somewhere, so you may be hearing the retained water slosh in the evaporator housing.

 

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2007 Outback wagon, 2.5i
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Discussion Starter #20
I've checked the charge level several times and it seems normal. Also, I have air directed at feet and cabin, not a the windshield, unless it's raining, so I don't think that's it. But thanks.
 
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