2015 Subaru Forester AC Compressor replacement

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nizzle321
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2015 Subaru Forester AC Compressor replacement

Postby nizzle321 » Thu Apr 16, 2020 7:58 pm

Hi everyone. First post.

I signed up because I'm planning on replacing the compressor and condenser on my 2015 subaru forester 2.5i.

The foresters of this generation, 2014-2018, are pretty notorious for their short lived compressors. I've got 140k+ on mine, which isn't terrible I suppose. Last summer, the clutch stopped engaging, so I reduced the shim stack by a little bit in order to get it to engage again. That lasted maybe a month before I had to do it again. At some point over the winter, my compressor started to make a worn out bearing sound. No grinding per say, but the sound of the death of my compressor, for sure. I pretty much stopped using it on defrost mode (my go to HVAC setting when I first get into my cold car) at that point so it wouldn't get any worse. W/summer right around the corner, I need to get this done.

I've never done this before. I've witnessed it before by a uncle of a friend of mine. But he's no longer local. I have a AC vacuum and hopefully all the correct fittings.

I've got a lot of reading to do. If anyone has any suggested reading, please hook me up.

Also, if anyone has any opinions on UAC, GPD, or Four Seasons compressors, please share. I haven't been able to find any useful reviews on any of them. But I haven't looked very hard either.

Thank you!
Al9
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Re: 2015 Subaru Forester AC Compressor replacement

Postby Al9 » Fri Apr 17, 2020 3:57 am

Just speculating here. I've noticed the expansion valve's part number has been changed at some point on this car. Wondering if what affects these compressors is just normal wear or something else.

Can't say anything about compressors from these brands, but curiously enough, 4seasons pretty always shows a positive superheat value for valves employed with vane compressors such as yours. A 2005 Legacy for example has a scroll compressor and its 39048 expansion valve shows a negative superheat. I can say i know some instances where OEM iterations of the 38884 expansion valve, which appears to have a positive superheat value, have been used with variable displacement compressors too. Obviously, the best course of action is to always use the OEM recommended expansion valve and nothing else.

Why does this stuff really matter? Many modern expansion valves have a mixed gas charge that forces the orifice to never close completely even at very low heat loads, and that's 0 superheat: a flooded evaporator basically. Which means that some liquid droplets will be eventually able to reach the compressor as the evaporator gets cold. Oil dissolves easier in liquid refrigerant than in gaseous refrigerant. For fixed displacement compressors, the end result is better lubrication and a cooler compressor (for variable ones, displacement adjustment becomes smoother also). A compressor that will definitely last a long time.

To me, provided that the noise comes from the compressor internals and not from the clutch or its bearing, the noise might be caused by the compressor running with a low refrigerant charge, possible since it's a TXV system, but i could be terribly wrong and i'm letting the more experienced have their word to say.
Last edited by Al9 on Fri Apr 17, 2020 8:22 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Tim
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Re: 2015 Subaru Forester AC Compressor replacement

Postby Tim » Fri Apr 17, 2020 7:59 am

We offer a new OE Compressor for this vehicle.

When the shop was open had a friend with one of these vehicles. Compressors never seemed to last no matter which brand one used. All new I should ad not rebuilt.

https://ackits.net/search-results/?fwp_year=2015&fwp_mme=subaru%2Cforester-2-5i-limited%2Ch4-2-5-gas-fi-forester-2-5i-limited
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nizzle321
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Re: 2015 Subaru Forester AC Compressor replacement

Postby nizzle321 » Sat Apr 18, 2020 8:32 pm

Al9 wrote:Just speculating here. I've noticed the expansion valve's part number has been changed at some point on this car. Wondering if what affects these compressors is just normal wear or something else.

Can't say anything about compressors from these brands, but curiously enough, 4seasons pretty always shows a positive superheat value for valves employed with vane compressors such as yours. A 2005 Legacy for example has a scroll compressor and its 39048 expansion valve shows a negative superheat. I can say i know some instances where OEM iterations of the 38884 expansion valve, which appears to have a positive superheat value, have been used with variable displacement compressors too. Obviously, the best course of action is to always use the OEM recommended expansion valve and nothing else.

Why does this stuff really matter? Many modern expansion valves have a mixed gas charge that forces the orifice to never close completely even at very low heat loads, and that's 0 superheat: a flooded evaporator basically. Which means that some liquid droplets will be eventually able to reach the compressor as the evaporator gets cold. Oil dissolves easier in liquid refrigerant than in gaseous refrigerant. For fixed displacement compressors, the end result is better lubrication and a cooler compressor (for variable ones, displacement adjustment becomes smoother also). A compressor that will definitely last a long time.

To me, provided that the noise comes from the compressor internals and not from the clutch or its bearing, the noise might be caused by the compressor running with a low refrigerant charge, possible since it's a TXV system, but i could be terribly wrong and i'm letting the more experienced have their word to say.


Interesting you bring this up. I do notice the noise only when the AC is on. And I feel as though, last summer, my car just wouldn't get as cold inside. I contemplated recharging it. But then the non-engaging clutch problem came up. Followed by the noise. Now, if I try to run it, I get no cold air at all. When I did some research on SubaruForester.org, there were quite a few folks there complaining about their ac compressor. And there's even a tsb about it (but no recall since it isn't a safety item).

I just have a hard time believing that the tinny swirl metal on metal sound isn't something that has gone kaputz.

I haven't bought anything yet.
nizzle321
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Joined: Thu Apr 16, 2020 7:41 pm

Re: 2015 Subaru Forester AC Compressor replacement

Postby nizzle321 » Sat Apr 18, 2020 8:49 pm

Tim wrote:We offer a new OE Compressor for this vehicle.

When the shop was open had a friend with one of these vehicles. Compressors never seemed to last no matter which brand one used. All new I should ad not rebuilt.

https://ackits.net/search-results/?fwp_year=2015&fwp_mme=subaru%2Cforester-2-5i-limited%2Ch4-2-5-gas-fi-forester-2-5i-limited


That's an excellent price compared to what subaru parts dealers sell. Despite the issues with the MY compressors of my forester's generation, it seems like the issue is no more. I'm wondering if this compressor has a "fix". I shouldn't bet on it.

Is there any kind of warranty?

Looks like I need to replace the A/C Receiver Drier Desiccant Element and Expansion valve too.
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Tim
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Re: 2015 Subaru Forester AC Compressor replacement

Postby Tim » Sat Apr 18, 2020 9:32 pm

Compressors offered have a 12 month warranty. Via our suppliers or oursheleves.
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Al9
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Re: 2015 Subaru Forester AC Compressor replacement

Postby Al9 » Sun Apr 19, 2020 2:32 am

nizzle321 wrote:Interesting you bring this up. I do notice the noise only when the AC is on. And I feel as though, last summer, my car just wouldn't get as cold inside. I contemplated recharging it. But then the non-engaging clutch problem came up. Followed by the noise. Now, if I try to run it, I get no cold air at all.

I just have a hard time believing that the tinny swirl metal on metal sound isn't something that has gone kaputz.

Do you also get a steady hissing noise from under the dash whenever you run AC and the compressor is running? If so, you're definitely running with a low low refrigerant charge and depriving the compressor of any lubrication... hence the metal on metal sound coming from inside the compressor.
nizzle321
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Joined: Thu Apr 16, 2020 7:41 pm

Re: 2015 Subaru Forester AC Compressor replacement

Postby nizzle321 » Mon Apr 20, 2020 7:55 pm

Al9 wrote:
nizzle321 wrote:Interesting you bring this up. I do notice the noise only when the AC is on. And I feel as though, last summer, my car just wouldn't get as cold inside. I contemplated recharging it. But then the non-engaging clutch problem came up. Followed by the noise. Now, if I try to run it, I get no cold air at all.

I just have a hard time believing that the tinny swirl metal on metal sound isn't something that has gone kaputz.

Do you also get a steady hissing noise from under the dash whenever you run AC and the compressor is running? If so, you're definitely running with a low low refrigerant charge and depriving the compressor of any lubrication... hence the metal on metal sound coming from inside the compressor.


I believe I did before the issue started. But right now, I have the clutch wire unplugged so I can run the air across my windshield if I need to.

So, I'm not sure if it will last any longer, but subaru issued a fix: https://www.carcomplaints.com/Subaru/Crosstrek/2016/tsbs/tsb-10-84-16r.shtml

The new compressor Part Number is 7311FJ041 which supersedes 7311FJ040. https://parts.subaru.com/p/Subaru_2017_/AC-Compressor/65157136/73111FJ041.html

My Compressor is a 7311FJ040 or Valeo PN DKV-10Z.

I have no idea if the compressors you would get from Rockauto would have the latest improvements or not. It seems like you either buy the compressor from a subaru parts supplier or take the chance w/RockAuto or the like.
Al9
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Re: 2015 Subaru Forester AC Compressor replacement

Postby Al9 » Tue Apr 21, 2020 5:07 am

By all means an OEM compressor is always the best choice for a relatively new vehicle. Be aware though that the part number is 73111FJ041, not 7311FJ041.

However, i think you have an underlying refrigerant leak issue somewhere and i suggest you to find it and address it before operating the new compressor. Otherwise you might ruin your new compressor. These compressors run on thick double end capped PAG 100 oil (that's what ZXL200PG is) to keep the chamber walls happy. Not enough oil flowing back and the vanes score the chamber walls really good really fast.
Last edited by Al9 on Fri Apr 24, 2020 6:09 am, edited 1 time in total.
nizzle321
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Re: 2015 Subaru Forester AC Compressor replacement

Postby nizzle321 » Wed Apr 22, 2020 7:20 pm

Al9 wrote:By all means an OEM compressor is always the best choice for a relatively new vehicle. Be aware though that the part number 73111FJ041, not 7311FJ041.

However, i think you have an underlying refrigerant leak issue somewhere and i suggest you to find it and address it before operating the new compressor. Otherwise you might ruin your new compressor. These compressors run on thick double end capped PAG 100 oil (that's what ZXL200PG is) to keep the chamber walls happy. Not enough oil flowing back and the vanes score the chamber walls really good really fast.

Right. 73111FJ041.

So I should charge the system with the busted compressor and with dye in it so I can find the leak with a black light? I need to research this. Thanks for the suggestion.

According to the service manual for the forester, the system takes 1 lb of of R134a. A test wouldn't be that expensive if I find the leak and can do the final repair with almost 100% certainty that it will hold up.

However, the rest of the parts are turning this into quite expensive venture. The OEM compressor is about $640. Then, from RockAuto, expansion Valve: $18, condensor: $60, Dryer: $18. Plus whatever that is leaking. Maybe an o-ring or AC line. I'm at a minimum of $750. I'm wondering if it would actually be worth taking it to a subaru dealership or other qualified mechanic... I should probably make some phone calls.

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