Subaru's Air Conditioner sounds like an elephant!

I recently (~2 weeks ago) had the air conditioner’s compressor replaced in my 2003 Subaru Outback. Now, when I turn it on, it makes several loud noises like what an elephant would sound like. As well as noises that sound like a bubble popping in the “bubble blast/bubble popper” smart phone games. Every time it makes one of these noises, it also chugs the vehicle a little bit. If I turn it off, then back on again and set it to the lowest fan setting, it eventually stops. Of course when I called the place where I had the compressor replaced, and brought it back in to them, it did not do it for them. I’m just glad that it FINALLY did it today for my husband to hear. That way I don’t have to hear about it being chalked up to “pregnancy brain imagination”. It originally started happening only if I had the air conditioner already on when I turned the vehicle on. Now it has progressed to every time the air is turned on in general. Any thoughts on what could be happening?

If it’s doing it every time now, take it back to the shop…I’m not sure what an elephant sounds like, but how about the drive belt slipping and squealing?

Maybe it will cost peanuts to run now? Caddy is right. Take it to a specialist.

I’ve seen some of these cars make kind of a “hooting” or “honking” sound when the A/C system is overcharged. The excessive pressure sets off a harmonic vibration or something that I guess could sound like an elephant…

Anyway, have your garage put a set of gauges on the system, perhaps remove a little refrigerant and see what happens.


I have an important questions, and the answers may affect our responses . . .

Why was the AC compressor replaced?

Was it leaking?

Did it seize?

Did it break apart internally?

Did it throw the belt?

Well just an update, “asemaster” is exactly right in what was wrong with it. After taking it to them many many times and it not doing a thing for them, finally today it cooperated and made the noise and the chugging as well as putting out hot air again. “db4690”, we had the compressor replaced because it was only putting out hot air. If there was more to it than that, I do not know the answer. Unfortunately, the nearest specialist to me is around two hours away. I live in a smaller town in Wyoming where commodities are limited. We’ve been going to the Toyota dealership here since we trust their work and have always had good customer service from them. Long story short, they did overcharge the unit when they put in the new compressor and so he recalibrated & recharged it and now it works just fine. So far anyway. Thanks for the adivce!

Glad it’s fixed and you’re running cool again.

My 2002 Outback has been doing the same thing when I turn the A/C on. It makes a continual horn / quite foghorn / elephant - like sound shortly after the A/C is on. The horn-like sound continues even after the car is turned off. I’ve had the car for about 4 years and have not had the A/C recharged so I’m wondering why this is all of the sudden happening? Thoughs?