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Jared D
Jared D, ASE Certified Technician
Category: Subaru
Satisfied Customers: 1346
Experience:  Shop Supervisor at County Fleet
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My 2004 6cyl automatic anniversary edition Subaru outback

Customer Question

My 2004 6cyl automatic anniversary edition Subaru outback airconditioning works great after I recharge with freeon--UNTIL I turn it off without turning the ac off. When I restart the car it does not blow cold air. If I am mindful and turn the ac odd before turning the car off all is well. What is going on?
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Subaru
Expert:  Jared D replied 9 months ago.

This car has common problems with the AC compressor clutch revolution sensor.

So, when you turn the off with the AC on, the next time you start the car, how do you get the AC to work again? Do you have to shut it off with the (now non-working) AC off and then back on again and then turn the AC on and it works?

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Oh,unfortunately-I wait a while and recharge it with freeon. It will cool until I mistakenly turn the car off without turning the ac off first. The last time I attepted to add freeon it would not go in because it was full. SoI decided I should get some information.
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
It does not work if I turn it on without the car running or not running.
Expert:  Jared D replied 9 months ago.

Have you tried changing the AC clutch relay yet?

Expert:  Jared D replied 9 months ago.

Relay A on this diagram. It's in the under hood fuse box.

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Hmm the fan works fine...how would that matter?
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Also, this diagram does not indicate a relay for the 6cyl?
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Would my coolant level cause anything like this? Should I check it although I just had a full service oil change.
Expert:  Jared D replied 9 months ago.

I'm sorry, what do you mean about the fan?

The relay that I circled in blue controls the activation of the AC compressor clutch. It does not control the blower or the cooling fans.

Expert:  Jared D replied 9 months ago.

The level of the coolant should not affect the AC operation---unless it's low enough to make the engine overheat, which would cut the compressor operation off.

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
What will it look like if it is bad and whatshould I ask for at the parts store? I am going togofind it and talk to you soon?
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
ok, I found it. How do I know if it is bad? it appearsI have spares in the engine box/
Expert:  Jared D replied 9 months ago.

You could test it with a multi-meter. You would need to measure resistance across the terminals while powering or grounding the other two pins. Not really very practical.

It's best to just replace it.

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
I switched out relays for working functions and vice versa. Relay if fine. Can you tell me what I shoul;d ask for for a compressor to condenser and condenser to evap hose in my 2004 Subaru outback 6cyl. 3.0 automatic 5 door wagon anniversary edition?
Expert:  Jared D replied 9 months ago.

The next step would be to test the pressure switch. Here is the schematic. If you have a two pin sensor you can jumper the pins with a paperclip and the compressor should kick on. If you have a four pin sensor then jump the pins across. This should make the compressor run as well.

If jumping the connector pins doesn't run the compressor then the problem is somewhere in the compressor or compressor clutch. If it does make the compressor run then your problem is likely in the pressure switch. You'll have to evacuate the system to change the switch.

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Ok,I will try the paper clip thing. it has 4 pin and I assume I connect the pins across from each other and should have the air on??? Will I get a shockor is it safe. Could use a picture. Do I do 1-2 first or the 3-4 pins?
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Also, I think Iam looking at the right thing. I pulled a cap with wires attached to it that set on 4 plug like pins. Do I use the paper clip on the recessed pins in the metal part or the receptors in the cap?
Expert:  Jared D replied 9 months ago.

Yes, make sure the engine is running with the AC switch on. Jump 1-2 and it should run the compressor. No, it won't shock you-DC voltage can't overcome the resistance of your body unless it is up around 10,000 volts or more.

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
ok well I did the paper clip thing but the compressor did not kick in. However, I put the cap back on and the compressor di come on. So the relay clutch and the compressor all seem to be in working order. I guess I will recharge again and put in some coolant as the reservoir is just about empty. Leak maybe but it does not explain why air stops cooling if I forget to turn off the air before I turn off the car. I will do all this tomorrow and you might hear from me again. Let me know what you think soon tho'. Thank you! M
Expert:  Jared D replied 9 months ago.

Once you plugged the connector back in it came on?

I think that pressure switch is defective.

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
What?!! The compressor was working and it was not getting cool however. I had the cap off before I started the car and the air. I was not paying attention to the compressor so cannot say if it kicked in before. I put the capon while the car and air was on and it kicked in. I will do another run through tomorrow but how do I check the pressure switch to make sure? Is it because the paper clip thing did not make it come on? Not sure I did the paper clip thing correctly. Will go at it again tomorrow. Have a good evening. M
Expert:  Jared D replied 9 months ago.

Which cap are you referring to? The radiator cap? The antifreeze coolant and radiator have nothing to do with the air conditioning. Removing or replacing the radiator cap will have no affect on the function of the AC compressor.

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Not the radiator cap. The part in your diagram that has the wires coming out of it and has the 4 pins underneath it. I did not see anything that looks like a switch but the compressor kicks on when the air is on. I guess I should just break down and take it in? Can't afford a big car expense just now but feel like I do not have a choice. Living in warm temps right now.
Expert:  Jared D replied 8 months ago.

Ok, so we're on the same page. I just got lost for a minute there. If you plugged the switch connector (the cap) back in and the compressor came on then I would definitely suspect a bad pressure switch.

You could change the switch on your own, but you would need to evacuate the AC system first and then re-charge it after.

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
ok, tell me how. I also think the hoses need to be replaced as there is a leak up front that I am pretty certain is refrigerant. Can you tell me how to do that? Video would be great but written material is fine.
Expert:  Jared D replied 8 months ago.

You will need an AC evacuation machine to safely remove all of the refrigerant. One like this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N962n4LQnhc

At some point you should inject the system with a luminescent dye to try to pinpoint that leak. You could do it before you evacuate it, but you would need to run the AC system for a little while to see where the dye leaks out. That might be easier with the system working correctly, which requires replacement of the pressure switch.

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Well obviously I am going to have to take it in. When did we talk about a pressure switch and where is that?
Expert:  Jared D replied 8 months ago.

The pressure switch is the part that the connector that we were trying to jump with the paperclip plugs into. That switch tells the Compressor that there is enough refrigerant to turn on- since refrigerant acts as a lubricant for the compressor. Running without lubricant would be a bad idea.