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Forester Air Con. Known weakness?


Peroni
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Travelled 320 miles yesterday to view a "stunning condition", "FSH", "Well looked after" 2011, 2.0l petrol, manual Forester with 50k miles up. £9.5k asked. 

Clutch slipping in 3rd & 4th gear, front tyres at legal limit, cam-belt due, headlamp levelling actuator missing and Air Con completely inoperative. (To be balanced, the dealer offered to fix these faults if asking price was paid. No haggling.)

I've looked at a few now where the air con is dead. Vendor (dealers) always say; "just needs a re-gas" we'll fix that.  ( the obvious come back is; "Why TF didn't you fix it before offering it for sale then, if it's that easy & simple to fix".  The other classic from private vendors is; "Air con? don't know mate, I never use it". Hmmmm.  I'm beginning to think that there's an issue with Forester Air Con. Do they leak? Is the compressor a known fail point? What is it that goes wrong and how expensive is it to fix?

I'm guessing that if a £40 re-gas was all it takes, then it would be done before sale. And that dealers are waiting to give it a quick re-gas before sale in the hope that it works OK as I'm driving away but will probably fail after a few days as the gas leaks out. Annoys me no end. If you describe a car as having "Air Con/Auto Climate Control" and you are charging full book price, then the function should work as intended.

Any one know if this is a known issue? I'm now thinking I'll just assume air-con is broken and factor in a proper repair/replacement whatever that may cost.

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I'd walk away. No expert on Forester aircons, Outback units are thought of as rugged units which seldom give major problems; I'd think Foresters are no different. Compound that with the other issues you list, no brainer - find another.

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There is an issue with Forester aircons leaking since the new style gas was introduced. I had 3 in two years (2016 Forester) and had to get an independent gas specialist to confirm it was not impact damage that caused the leak. A new style aircon radiator was introduced in 2017/18 to resolve this. Since I got the new style no issues (fingers crossed)!

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Mine is still nice and cold after 8 months of ownership - it does warm up a bit after a while if its on all the time ...., I don't know if it should do that or not.

I just keep turning it on for a few minutes for a cold blast now and again, it seems to stay cold that way.   

So I guess it's been constant for 8 months at least. 

 

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main parts of system pretty reliable.

Do get leaks at some of joints, sometimes things been made worse by leaving system empty rather than fixing it quick then more damage can occur .
Dealers don't like spending money, air can get expensive and diagnosis done right costs and they see it as dead money and doubt it something they can do in-house unless bigger concern .

Sounds like usual miss advertised pricey junk and quite a trip 😕

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2 hours ago, Mr B said:

Do get leaks at some of joints, sometimes things been made worse by leaving system empty rather than fixing it quick then more damage can occur .

I've was once  told to use the air con regularly because the gas also has a lubricating effect on the various A/C seals which "dry out" if the refrigerant isn't circulated often enough. So that would make sense, if there was a leak and an owner decided to just leave it be, or a car was sitting for a long of time not being used. 

I do like my air con. I use it to cool off after making deliveries or to de-mist quickly in when jumping into car with wet waterproofs.  

I'm inspecting a 2009 model tomorrow. Another dealership. I wish there were more private sales up here (Glasgow) but there's almost nothing. I feel much more at home talking to an actual owner, asking questions and haggling over known faults.

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yes it best used over left idle for months, also ideal empty and refill oil and refrigerant around 4 or 5yr time span .

Keep digging at it, I had few times when one after the other would be complete let down and time waste .

Used car market has got worse, especially dealers stock .

look on things like gumtree, I had few gems off my local area gumtree listings .

Karma reward you eventually .... 

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How do you wear a clutch out in 50,000 miles? Seems a bit premature. 

Owned by someone who was "riding" the clutch while driving? Or would a lot of low-speed city driving do that?

Beginning to appreciate Mr B's advice about "low mileage" not necessarily being a good thing.  50k miles of short, cold engine, stop-start winter driving on salty roads, over 10 years, by a duff driver probably mechanically more wearing than fast, high mileage, dry motorway work.

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^
either resting foot on clutch at times or doing lot of reverse trailer manoeuvres perhaps, even people who say reverse park a car on an incline and doing it daily for years going take lot of life from clutch over someone with easy private drive
newer subaru clutches don't last as well as older ones in general.

low mileage generally not a good thing, sensible mileage is what you want.
Short journeys and b roads are hard on any car, you imagine how much use a starter motor clutch, transmission and steering gets in 500 miles of town run around miles over couple months vs a day on motorway .

Lot of low mileage cars also have pretty minimal services with several years and no oil change and not lot of money put into them as they don't use it much so don't invest much .

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Yes, We have just bought a 2016 Forester. The special edition Hunter Green job. All appeared great, car was low mileage at 15k and appeared well cared for. We had a 200 mile drive home to Scotland and after around 100 miles north we had confirmed the zircon was goosed. No gas. Only part functioning was the dash or (switch) warning light telling you that according to the theory of pressing buttons, we should be sitting in a nice chilly car, instead of looking at the main display panel saying Lo  Lo when we were starting to dehydrate due to the cabin temperature only increasing.

Supplying dealer to be balanced and fair have been very good and offered to let me return with the car or they would book car into a more local Scottish dealer and if warranty, fine, if not and just needed a re-gas, they would pay. fair enough indeed. Duly booked into local (wish) dealer and on calling later was informed that it only required a re-gas and was now working perfectly.

On arrival I questioned why it needed a recharge if the car was only 2 and a half years old? Anyway it seems that a system can have a leak which doesn't show during the vacuum test, but when re-pressurised, leaks away. In my case I had effectively 24 hrs of cool air.

So, car to go back to supplying dealer this week for a replacement condenser. Dealer seems pretty sure that is the issue.  As its a 2016 car, it seems to reinforce what Paparossco has mentioned above.

I'll see if I can  get the dealer to do the honourable thing and extend the warranty which expires October.

First post on the Forum, looks good. Regards to all.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Wee bit late catching your post, but my 66 plate Forester needed an aircon hose & condenser in under 1 year of my onwership. It was an ex-demo from my nearest dealer near Edinburgh, got a good deal. Now had it's first MOT & passed, but the exhaust has fractured at one of the flanges of the y-piece & the TPMS flagging up spurious alarms when all pressures are good. Soon as it's fixed. I'm trading it in & going back to Skoda, a brand I had for 10 years, but needed more room than a Yeti & the then new Kodiaq was a wee bit over budget.

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