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2010 legacy A/C cooling problem

buffy12590buffy12590 Member Posts: 3
edited June 2010 in Subaru
New 2010 Legacy that the A/C fails to cool the car. The A/C is set to max cool, fan fast. After setting in the sun for a few hours, the inside temp is 120 degrees, the output from the vent at best is about 60 degrees. After running for 40 minutes it brought the cabin temp down to about 90 degrees. The cabin filter is new, the freon/coolant is correct with no leaks per dealer. We even went to another vehicle on the lot and tested it with same thermometer and it did do a little better but not much. Dealer tells me that they changed the A/C this year to an on demand compressor with a sensor that determines cabin temp unlike old compressors with a clutch. Has anyone else noticed the lack of cooling in their Legacy or have any suggestions. I opened a complaint with Subaru but they don’t seem to be too concerned. It is a black car with tan leather interior. Subaru did update that the car is working as designed. I plan to go to another dealer for a second opinion but feel their answer will follow the company line.


  • watermargiwatermargi Member Posts: 1
    Yes, I have a 2010 Outback , 4 cyl. , with the very same problem, unbale to get the car cool. The only way to actually cool the car down is to use the recirc. button and set the knob for highest cooling. The normal setting and any other setting simply does not work at all. Otherwise it simply does not get cool at all inside the car even when outside temp is at 80 degrees F and no sun...very bad sign indeed. Today it will be 90degrees + and very humid her, and I am conerned. My Audi, Lexus and Toyota Highlander have never had this problem at all. Wierd system. I have the CVT transmission too. I am thinking about returning the car back to Subaru as a basic lemon.
  • frenchguy007frenchguy007 Member Posts: 28
    My 2010 Legacy is very slow to cool but does get there. I typically will go 120 mile runs so it has time to cool down. I hate the idea of the car automatically going to the recirculation mode, the windows get really dirty and is a pain to keep up. In the past four years I have had an 06 and 08 Altima, great A/C. My wife has had an 02 A4 and an 08 C300, again the AC works like a charm.

    This is a great car but the AC, hazards that I keep knocking and activating when I park, satellite antenna glued to the inside windshield (looks aftermarket) and small storage under the HVAC controls make this car less appealing. The Bluetooth system is also not on par with the industry standard in this segment.

    I change my car every two years and would by a Legacy again for the drive and handling. However before doing so I will need to see some advancement in all the little irritating things.
  • nornetnornet Member Posts: 24
    In the years I've been monitoring Subaru boards I've never heard anyone stand up for their AC. How they consistently put out such an inferior product is beyond me. It took them far too long to correct the head gasket issue and now they have been playing with this. My 93 Nissan Quest had much stronger AC, cooled a much larger volume and never broke in 14 years.
  • buffy12590buffy12590 Member Posts: 3
    edited August 2010
    After much discussion with Subaru and resolve that the A/C will never be better as far as Subaru is concerned I went about my own fix. I found that the cooling lines are not insulated at all and in fact run close to the engine which makes them prone to loose their efficiency. I wrapped the line with pipe insulation, I used the stiff foam type as to the soft foam type. I went from the compressor to the fire wall, with 3/4"
    pipe insulation. In one area I needed to use 1" since the pipe was larger. I then covered the exterior of the insulation with aluminum tape, the type used in duct work. The entire surface was covered to reflect any heat from the engine compartment. This seems to have helped with the cooling as the temperature will now get down to 47 degrees as opposed to 55 degrees at the vent with a thermometer which was never possible in the past. I have since done this to my 2007 Honda since it too has no insulation on the line, however I never had a problem with the A/C in that car. But I figured it can't hurt.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    I guess I'll be the first, then.

    I won't call it great, but average, at least.

    We have 3 cars, and the smallest (Miata) cools the quickest.

    The Forester falls in the middle.

    The Sienna is slow to cool likely due to the big interior. If I crank the dual A/C (there is actually just one compressor, but two evaporators), then it improves to average as well.

    The Forester has more windows than a Legacy, too, but they rear ones are tinted, so that probably helps. The A/C is more than adequate, though.
  • eventsevents Member Posts: 2
    The proper operation for the AC to cool down the car is first to operate in the recirculate mode to rid the car of heat. If you opt for fresh air mode when the cabin temperature is 120 and outside temperature of 85- 100 the outlet discharge temperature will be 55 to 60 degrees. The evaparator fan should start out in maxium position.
  • buffy12590buffy12590 Member Posts: 3
    I always had the A/C on recirculate when we were testing the temps, however most would recommend that the window be open for the first few moments and A/C on fresh air to purge the compartment of hot air and to remove the gases given off by the heated plastic. But in any case the temp did drop since the insulation was added.
  • gjksngjksn Member Posts: 35
    I was actually talking about this with my brother yesterday, and it amazes us how quickly my 2003 Legacy wagon cools down. Last week, here in Minneapolis, it got so hot one day that my rear view mirror came off the inside of the windshield. It was about 95 or so, and the dew point was about 75 -- tropical. Even then, within 30 seconds, I'm getting cool air, and within another minute or two, it's pouring out really cold air. By contrast, my brother's Fusion Hybrid never really gets cold.
  • gjksngjksn Member Posts: 35
    They probably sound frivolous, but does anybody out there think that Subaru may soon be offering these ventilated seats as other manufacturers are? Sounds like heaven for long road trips.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    I've sampled them on a Lincoln and it's cooler than it sounds. Cooler literally. :D
  • gjksngjksn Member Posts: 35
    They sound like heaven for sweaty old farts like me. Do you think Subaru will ever go there? After all, they brought back folding mirrors for Legacy & Outback... ;)
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    It would help justify the pricey Limited packages.
  • will94will94 Member Posts: 1
    We purchased our 2012 Legacy 2.5i premium with moonroof and all weather package in January 2012. After much research we determined it would be a great fit for our family. As soon as it began to get warm outside however, we quickly realized there seemed to be a problem with A/C. Upon startup the vent air registers 40 degrees on max cool recirculate. After about 5 minutes of running the air temperature begins to rise gradually until the the vent temperature is 60 degrees. The air is not only uncomfortably warm but also begins to feel humid. The kicker is that the vent air 60 degrees even though the ambient air temerature outside is between 70 and 75 degrees. You will get hot in this car running the air if the temp outside is anywhere from 65-85 degrees. I suspected there was a faulty sensor somewhere which would cause the system to shut off. (This is a clutchless compressor, so the "wobble" plate on the compressor was going into bypass mode, not cooling)

    I had it in the dealership three times for this problem. The first time they said there was no problem and it was working fine. They failed to actually drive it down the road to diagnose, so I requested a more extensive look at the ac system.

    The second time they stated the system was overcharged and put a correct charge in it. Now for the first five minutes of operation the vent air is 42 degrees and not 40. Obviously that didnt help.

    The third time was at a different dealer as there was no resolution from the first and we seemed to be going backwards. Finally a skilled technician took the time to research and get to the bottom of the matter. I received a phone call and they wanted me to go on a test drive with the tech and his laptop plugged in to the car. I did so. On the laptop he showed me a value called the evaporator temperature target. The is a number controlled directly by the computer that tells the car how cold to make the air coming out of the vents. We went for a drive. At around five minutes, that value slowly begins to rise until the target temperature set by the computer is almost 20 degrees higher. That explained why the air temperature consistently rises from 40 to 60 degrees under the conditions I already mentioned. The only way to reset the value and get the air cold again is to turn the A/C off then back on. It cools back down for five minutes and starts to go back up again.

    Interestingly enough the tech said he never encountered this problem before and kicked it up the ladder to the Subie engineers. Turns out it wasn't a faulty control head or sensor, but it was doing exactly what they designed it to do. To kick the compressor off as much as possible to improve fuel economy.

    Problem is, if I want to get better fuel economy by not running the air, I'll turn it off. If I'm hot, I want the air to be cold. We drove an identical Legacy on the lot and it performed exactly the same. If you spend the extra money and uprade to a limited model with auto climate control, it blows 40 degree air non-stop. Evidently it operates differently than the manual controls because it has in cabin temperature sensor that regulates when the compressor shuts of or enters by-pass mode.

    Oddly enough, when it gets really hot (90 plus degrees) the system seems to work well. If you want cold air March-May you are out of luck.

    Hope this helps anybody else with the same problem. It's so frustrating that I'll be trading it off and not buy another Subaru again.
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