DIY AC Recharge | Subaru Outback Forums

Here are my questions:
1) How can I reset the meter to zero?
2) How much R134a does the 2004 Subaru Forester AC hold?
2) I see that my compressor turns on and off normally and blows very cold air but it only lasts for 20 minutes then it quits. I’m not sure why?
3) What else should I be looking at to troubleshoot why the cold air doesn’t last more than 20 minutes, such as evaporator core, condenser, compressor clutch, relays/switches or sensors?

We would appreciate a prompt response.

– Irfan

For starters, NEVER use a refill box with a “choke” in it. The choke causes problems by blocking the system. If coolant has leaked, recover, locate and repair the leak, then evacuate and refill.

The problem appears to be a limitation in your AC system. Could be an expansion valve or sludge somewhere in the system. It could also be that your cooling fans are not turning on to cool the condenser, which allows the system to overheat and build up pressure. The increase in pressure activates the high pressure switch and powers the compressor to save it and prevent a blowout, whether due to restriction or otherwise.

My suggestion is to check the fan operation, look for signs of a leak (there will be oil residue at the leak site) and take the car to an AC shop to have it recovered, repaired and recharged. If you repair it yourself, again recover the cooler before disassembling anything. A reputable shop won’t charge you for the recovery because it doesn’t take long and they have your coolant in the bottle. If you talk to them and they ask enough, then just pay the labor time to top it up.

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