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whenever I run my 05 through the car wash I end up with a soaked cabin air filter. This, in turn, means little to no air flow through the HVAC system. Not my favorite thing. Have you had similar issues? What's the fix?
Thanks!
 

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2008 OB Limited 2.5i, Portland OR USA
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Don't use that car wash? :)

Seriously, I've not experienced this with my 08, nor have I seen it reported here on any Gen 3 model. The cabin air intake is pretty convoluted to get fresh air fro above the hood and avoid rainwater intake, and I suspect that the water is not taking the path you might expect - this air intake system - but some other path. Is the carpet wet under the passenger side footwell, or anything else around the back of the glove box?
 

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Thanks Johnre!
I hadn't seen it either, so I thought I would ask. I'll have to check the area behind the glovebox. I haven't noticed anything on the floor since the last time the a/c condenser drain was clogged. Not that it makes any difference? But it does have 160k on the odometer.
 

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whenever I run my 05 through the car wash I end up with a soaked cabin air filter. This, in turn, means little to no air flow through the HVAC system.
Is it only when going through a car wash, i.e., not during/after a heavy rain?

What type of car wash; brush, high pressure (touchless) spray?

Is the engine running, or has the HVAC fan been running while going through the car wash?

There's YouTube videos about water coming in through the HVAC intake under the cowl (below the windshield). The intake leads straight down to the filter area. If there's enough water, it will go through/around the filter and end up dripping on the floor. Here's two:


 

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thanks, Plain OM, for the videos.
Tunnel style friction car wash, engine running. There is quite a bit of "sheeting" down the windshield like in the vids. I was thinking that the dryer is also part of the problem, but I think I'm going to have to rig up a cover for the HVAC inlet.
 

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thanks, Plain OM, for the videos.
Tunnel style friction car wash, engine running. There is quite a bit of "sheeting" down the windshield like in the vids. I was thinking that the dryer is also part of the problem, but I think I'm going to have to rig up a cover for the HVAC inlet.
I haven't looked more closely at the area of the guide pin and hole that's at the center of the problem, but it seems to me that if the pin fits loosely in the hole, there would be far more posts here and elsewhere about water coming into the HVAC and cabin, not only in car washes but in any steady heavy rain.

I suspect that there could be a seal of some sort that normally prevents the water from getting through. Perhaps something like a rubber grommet in the hole that the pin fits in snugly, or a rubber seal at the top of the pin that presses down around the hole when the cowl cover is properly installed. The seal might deteriorate over time, or fall out, especially if the windshield is changed because that requires the whole cowl cover to be removed. And once the seal is gone, the water can drip into the intake.
cowl cover pin.jpg
The plastic covers that are used in the videos work to alleviate the problem, but there might be another Iway to restore the car's original water control in that area.
 

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whenever I run my 05 through the car wash I end up with a soaked cabin air filter. This, in turn, means little to no air flow through the HVAC system. Not my favorite thing. Have you had similar issues? What's the fix?
Thanks!

I do not have an outback. I have a Impreza and unfortunately I had the same problem. I've had to have my AC blower motor replaced three times now in about a year-and-a-half. I think it is a manufacturers defect in the HVAC system. I have had many other new cars throughout my life and I've never had this problem. I have been using the exact same car wash for about the past 15 years with no issues or no problems with any other vehicle I have. Both new and seasoned vehicles.

It is actually gotten so bad that Subaru has opened up a engineering trouble case trying to figure out why this problem is occurring. They claim that this problem has never happened before that it is a brand new issue. But I see from these post and threads that it is not. Obviously it is not model-specific either.

If anyone else is experiencing the same issue how highly recommend calling Subaru customer service and having a case opened for yourself as well.
 
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