2009 Subaru Forester - Failed compressor??

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2009 Subaru Forester - Failed compressor??

Postby j.e.f. » Wed Jul 29, 2015 9:53 pm

I have a (new to me) 2009 Subaru Forester with 74K miles and the 2.5L non-turbo engine.

I suspect I have a compressor problem but I was looking for validation from the experts before I head down that path as the pressures I measured didn't make complete sense to me.

History:
The car was acquired about 6 weeks ago and the AC system has been functioning flawlessly.
The car was always serviced at a dealer and I was not told of any prior AC problems when I bought the car.
I don't see any conclusive visual proof that anything in the AC system has been touched or replaced. It all looks to be original and undisturbed.
The compressor was quiet and the the cooling was excellent - I was actually somewhat surprised at how efficiently the system cooled. I found myself reaching down several times to blend heat into the system to keep it comfortable on short trips even on an 85+ deg day because it would get too cold in the car.

On a recent trip, I started the car and turned on the AC and was immediately met with a very distinct new noise coming from the compressor. It was loud enough to immediately get my attention. The best way I can think of to describe the noise would be like taking a credit card and holding it against the spokes of a spinning bicycle wheel except with a metallic sounding pitch. As I raised the RPM, the noise was still there and increased in frequency but was considerably reduced in intensity/volume. When the AC is turned off the noise immediately stops.

I decided to drive the car and see if the cooling was affected and it most definitely was. The car was barely comfortable inside after 10-15 minutes of max cooling. At an idle, the cooling really dropped off.

System specs:
The compressor is a Valeo DKV-10R vane type unit.
The system specs from the online OEM Subaru manual are:
Low side pressure @ 1500 RPM, @ 86-89 deg F ambient = 18-28 psi
High side pressure @ 1500 RPM @ 86-89 deg F ambient = 213-242 psi
Low side switch specs = Off @ 25.7 +/- 3.6 psi, ON @ 29.9 +/- 4.3 psi

System test:
I tested the system at 87 deg F exterior ambient with roughly 70% humidity.
Static pressure with engine cold and interior hot from sun = 112 psi

Initial reading @ 1500 RPM with windows down and max cool.
Reading was taken a few minutes after starting the engine.
Both condenser/radiator fans are running.
Low side = 39 psi
High side = 232 psi
Center vent temp 65.5 deg F
No compressor cycling

Second reading taken at idle.
Both condenser/radiator fans are running.
Low side = 57
High side = 180
Center vent temp immediately climbing past the 65.5 deg F
No compressor cycling

Third reading taken with engine back @ 1500 RPM
Both condenser/radiator fans are running.
Low side = 40
High side = 247
Center vent temp back down to 65.5 deg F
No compressor cycling

I can see that the low side pressures are higher than spec and I suppose that coincides with the low vent temps.

My initial thoughts were a failed compressor due to the sudden onset of noise and the out of spec low side pressures.

I was confused by the normal high side reading in my first test @1500 RPM and the higher than spec high side reading on the subsequent 1500 rpm test, although the high side really dropped off below spec at idle.

Does this sound like a failed compressor? I guess I was expecting to see both hi and low pressures on the low end with a failing compressor. I have no prior experience with these small vane type compressors and I haven't found any evidence that this might be a pattern type failure for this car.

Just looking for a second opinion before I buy something I may not need.

jf
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Re: 2009 Subaru Forester - Failed compressor??

Postby ACProf » Thu Jul 30, 2015 4:22 am

Initial reading @ 1500 RPM with windows down and max cool.
Reading was taken a few minutes after starting the engine.
Both condenser/radiator fans are running.
Low side = 39 psi = 44 degree evaporator core
High side = 232 psi = 207 degree condenser
Center vent temp 65.5 deg F
No compressor cycling

Second reading taken at idle.
Both condenser/radiator fans are running.
Low side = 57=60 degree evap core
High side = 180= 123 degree condenser
Center vent temp immediately climbing past the 65.5 deg F
No compressor cycling

Third reading taken with engine back @ 1500 RPM
Both condenser/radiator fans are running.
Low side = 40=45 degree evap core
High side = 247=145 degree condenser
Center vent temp back down to 65.5 deg F
No compressor cycling

Pressures don't look too bad. If the charge amount is correct.
There is normally 5-10 degree core-to-air transfer loss. I'd be checking for reheating of the vent air by the heater vent work or a faulty water heater valve.
Sometimes you just have to accept things at faith value!
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Re: 2009 Subaru Forester - Failed compressor??

Postby j.e.f. » Fri Jul 31, 2015 3:40 am

Thanks for the reply!

I agree with you that the pressures didn't look too bad. That is what prompted me to go find the Subaru specs and compare and then post this to the forum.

I am actually more confused by what I found today.

I did unhook the compressor before I left for work this morning to verify there was no heat bleeding into the vents. The air out of the vents felt fine to me. I did check with a temp meter after driving for 15 minutes and the air from the vents was about 3 degrees warmer than ambient. With recirc on the temp went up maybe another 2 degrees. With the heat on it obviously shot up past 170 deg quickly.

I haven't been running the air much since the compressor noise first started as I was concerned about doing further damage. I was holding off until I had a handle on what was going on. I decided to run it on the way home today since I had my temp meter with me.

I noticed as soon as I turned it on that it seemed to be working better. The compressor noise was still there and was just as loud but it seemed to be cooling down faster. I measured center vent temps of 45 degrees on the way home. Outside temp was maybe around 80. Vent temps would climb to about 56 degrees at idle but then come back down. It still didn't freeze me out of the car like it did when I first bought the car but was definitely better than it had been since the noise started.

I put the gauges back on at home after 30 minutes of driving and the low side pressures were lower than when I last checked but the high side seems unchanged at higher RPM.

At idle: Low=44 psi High=172 psi and vent temps were around 55 deg.

At 1500 RPM: Low=29-33 psi High=242-247 psi and vent temps were around 52 deg and dropping.

It was about 7 degrees cooler today than when I last checked the system. Does that explain the pressure changes from what I first posted?

I did look around the system again today and the crimped rubber line running from the compressor to the condenser does look like it may have been replaced at some point. The aluminum portion of the hose that connects to the compressor looks slightly newer than everything else. I can't say for sure but maybe... If it has been replaced it certainly wasn't recent.

So, all I know at this point is that I have a compressor that sounds like a blender gone haywire that didn't sound that way several weeks ago and a perceived reduction in cooling with pressures that at least to me look like a possible slight overcharge. I can certainly live with the temps I had today but the noise is very concerning.

Probably a dumb question, but can compressors get this noisy in the early throws of failure and still perform nearly to spec? Any thoughts on a next step? My gut is telling me that something happened to the compressor but my wallet says to rule out everything else first.
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Re: 2009 Subaru Forester - Failed compressor??

Postby Cusser » Sat Aug 01, 2015 2:49 pm

j.e.f. wrote:Probably a dumb question, but can compressors get this noisy in the early throws of failure and still perform nearly to spec? Any thoughts on a next step?


I would say: yes. Today I'm replacing the compressor in Mrs. Cusser's 2005 Yukon, which cools perfectly to this day in the Arizona summer. With 164K, it started breaking its separate AC serpentine belt every few weeks, and compressor or tensioner making a bad sound at 1800 rpm only with AC on, but not all the time. A new Gates tensioner did not cure the problem, and a TSB calls for compressor replacement, and I'm doing this as a pre-emptive strike before the compressor seizes or gets particles throughout the system. So I won't be touching the orifice tube, flushing hoses, or changing accumulator either. I'm installing a brand-new made-in-USA Denso (original equipment manufacturer) compressor and a Deslugger timer which purports to help prevent this in the future, it's from a design flaw where the compressor is located very low, according to the TSB.

j.e.f. wrote:My gut is telling me that something happened to the compressor but my wallet says to rule out everything else first.


Logical, I did same by replacing with new Gates belt, then adding new Gates tensioner. The tensioner had in its box a photo showing a bad tensioner due to compressor slugging, and it looked just like my old one !!!
Here's a new AC tensioner top v. the original one on the bottom. See how the "stop" metal on the bottom one has been worn away? That's positive evidence of compressor sluggage, just like the flyer in the Gates tensioner box shows.
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Re: 2009 Subaru Forester - Failed compressor??

Postby j.e.f. » Mon Aug 03, 2015 10:25 pm

That helps seal my decision. Thank you. I also did some additional information mining over the weekend and it seems that this failure mode maybe isn't so unique for this vehicle after all. I even stumbled across a video that someone posted with the same car and what appears to be the exact same failure mode.

I didn't see this particular model of compressor listed on the ACSource website but I will give them a call. I am not a big fan of doing things twice so I am hesitant to go with a "rebuilt" unless someone can vouch for the expected quality. The OEM pricing for a new unit is obviously high.

I am also very curious to know the current state of the refrigerant charge. I do all of my own work so I don't have a relationship with any local shops let alone someone that does AC work exclusively. I haven't needed to recover refrigerant in the past as all of my failures were typically leaks that developed over the winter and left me with an empty system. I did stop by a local shop near my home this morning that has developed a very strong reputation over the last few years and they will recover the refrigerant and will tell me exactly how much refrigerant and oil came out. They want $129.00 for this service but they offered to refill when I was done as part of the $129.00. I didn't get a clear answer on whether the refill would be virgin material. I assume it has to be? Or do some places get away with putting the old stuff back in?
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Re: 2009 Subaru Forester - Failed compressor??

Postby Tom Greenleaf » Tue Aug 04, 2015 7:21 am

Apologize up front if I missed something already.
I take it that this A/C works fine but makes noise - is that the issue? Look at the tensioner Cusser posted above. See how most are indexed for the extreme of it's travel and would be when off vehicle or belt off of it.

New belt and tensioner or not if it's riding right at the end of travel with compressor on/engaged that's an opportunity for noise right there with nothing else wrong!

If same belt as other accessories it would probably squeal easily when turning or at start up with alternator as well if shared belt. Some belts just don't squeal so no conclusive but would make sure belt is right, tight and has room to be tighter at the tensioner as well,

T
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Re: 2009 Subaru Forester - Failed compressor??

Postby j.e.f. » Tue Aug 04, 2015 7:10 pm

AC is working but very noisy. It is cooling but not like it originally did esp. at idle.

No tensioner on this system. The compressor is driven by a "stretch-fit" belt.

I initially suspected a clutch problem as that is a known failure on this model and the measured gap is at the high end of the spec.

I don't see any problems with the clutch and the noise is coming from the back end of the compressor.

I can rotate the compressor by hand and it is quiet when rotated slowly and spins easily but if I start to spin it quickly by hand it will start to make a clanging type noise in the same area I hear the noise at engine speeds.

I assume that the noise I hear when turning the compressor by hand is the vanes moving but it seems too loud/metallic to me. It's almost like they are hitting something instead of just moving up and down as they go around.
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Re: 2009 Subaru Forester - Failed compressor??

Postby Tom Greenleaf » Tue Aug 04, 2015 8:05 pm

OK - so no mistakes here you are turning compressor not just the pulley?
Pic........
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The center of this will turn with that belt on, engine off. That makes noise by hand?
Can't be a good sign at all if that.

Not real thrilled with this "stretch belt" idea yet. If you haven't take that off I'd do so and spin again everything you can on that belt.

OK - if really making noise like you describe and definitely is the compressor alone and even by hand I blame the compressor. To find the pic also found not cheap but not much is.

? There's got to be a way to know that belt is properly tight? If that's AFUed (sorry) it's going to raise heck with whatever it drives. Too hard on bearings/bushings on anything if that isn't right and might be a flaw? Not familiar nor hear of this being a problem yet and would think so by now. You seemed to hear of this being common somewhere so perhaps it is.

Hey -anything caught early is better than after a disaster and hope so,

T
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Re: 2009 Subaru Forester - Failed compressor??

Postby j.e.f. » Sat Aug 08, 2015 2:06 pm

Tom,
Yes, that is a picture of my noisy friend...

Here is a link to a video that someone posted of a similar year/model car with same compressor and exact same noise:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BNevZoRdwXU

Yes, the center turns with belt on engine off and yes I don't like the stretch fit belt concept either. The installation tool was more than the belt.

The noise I hear when turning by hand was the final straw for me too so I went on the hunt for another unit.

I called ACsource as I trust their parts but they were out this week and weren't familiar with this particular unit and would need to dig in further next week.

I stumbled on a salvage unit that was pulled from a much newer vehicle with less than 100 miles. I received the compressor and it does not make the same noise as mine when turning by hand.

I am going to have someone recover the charge this week so I can see what was in the system before I swap the compressor. The charge spec on the underhood sticker for this car seems broad to me (16-19 ozs).

jef
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Re: 2009 Subaru Forester - Failed compressor??

Postby Tom Greenleaf » Sat Aug 08, 2015 5:24 pm

OK - I'd blame a compressor if like that.

Now to know how much oil out of old and would dump out of near new that you found and use new just because. Do you know WHY a 100 mile compressor is available? I have to trust salvage yards to cross over parts for exact fit. Still risk in used or much of anything I guess.

Site's parts store IMO is selling out what it has in stock. IDK if that will close out or not at this point?

The charge sticker under hood! That much of a range? Percent wise that's a lot. If an OE sticker it is what other charts will say to go by but would look for a couple sources to agree on that as of course it matters.

Your car your money your choices on how far to go with this being now just noise what more or not to replace. At least any "O" rings involved and oil IMO new as said.

Who knows why a 100 mile car was totaled. If it was upside down or whatever where did oil settle? If smashed from front make sure no signs of it being involved,

T
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Re: 2009 Subaru Forester - Failed compressor??

Postby j.e.f. » Mon Aug 17, 2015 3:16 am

Making progress but this thing is taking me to school...

I found a place that would recover the existing refrigerant and they only found 6 oz in the system (and 1 oz of oil came with it).

I honestly wasn't expecting that result. The AC was still blowing cold air on the way over to the shop.

The system was still reading a vacuum 48 hrs later when I connected the gauges (22.5 inHg). I pulled a 29 inHg vacuum and let it sit for 30 minutes after shutting down the pump. The gauge needle didn't budge.

Assuming there must be a leak somewhere, I put in 12 oz of refrigerant and borrowed a sniffer. I went over every inch of the system including the entire condenser with the sniffer on low sensitivity. Nothing....

I went inside the car put the sniffer in front of the vent and turned the fan on low and heard a slight hit on the sniffer. I turned the fan off, set the sniffer on high sensitivity and then turned the fan back on. The sniffer squealed for about 10 seconds and then stopped. I was able to repeat this several times.

So...is this a small leak in the evaporator??
Did the leak result in a low charge that damaged the compressor over time???
Is it unusual to see a system like this perform adequately with such a low charge? Initially the pressures seemed OK and the vent temps were acceptable above idle.

The only thing I noticed differently with the performance after the 12 oz test charge is that the high side would get even higher than before (e.g. 265 psi) and then the condenser fan would kick into high speed and the pressure would immediately drop down to about 215 psi. I was also seeing the low side drift between 32 and 40 psi vs hanging around at 40+. Compressor is buzzing just as loud as before.
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Re: 2009 Subaru Forester - Failed compressor??

Postby Tom Greenleaf » Mon Aug 17, 2015 8:26 am

Gotta start over on my part to understand some things you've said that don't add up yet.

First what is the system capacity as listed on a sticker under hood?

What the heck is a 12oz charge test? Sounds like a super fast way to ruin any compressor if that's below 80% of a full charge. You would never normally see those pressures with that charge - there's trouble still with this.

This vacuum observation and evap suspect: I don't believe this yet - sniffer is fooling you IMO. If you left gauge on it shouldn't move from a full vacuum. Just re-hooking up to a full vacuum you lose vacuum almost exactly like checking tire pressure on a very small tire too many times you lose air each check so conversely you lose vacuum with each time you hook up.

Sniffers vary so can't say how your works. Mine (Matco some model) would screech in entire interior of the car if a real evap leak was true not just at vents.

If this ever made condensate/water a leaking evap would put oil in the drip tube or area - always but must have worked well enough to make condensate also means the dew point where you are has to be high enough.

More: I don't know how you were told ONE ounce of oil came out with a vacuum pulled! Why? Oil should have settled to the bottom of parts throughout the system and unless the port was at the bottom shouldn't do that.

More II: Noise in a compressor: Oil is moved when the system can condense refrigerant not before so compressor would be oil starved and no cool air possible if that low.

IDK - A lot doesn't add up here. Do you trust your equipment and observations? So far I don't? Could be gauges leak and or a sealer got into them somehow? If you know that was ever used know it doesn't work but makes products sell well with boldfaced disregard that it doesn't work or make a system blow cooler air and have never seen a disclaimer to warn buyer that it has the ability (some did or does still) ruin everything, system and your equipment,

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Re: 2009 Subaru Forester - Failed compressor??

Postby j.e.f. » Mon Aug 17, 2015 1:06 pm

I agree with your sentiment and that is the reason I had posted as I was confused also.

1. System capacity listed under hood = 16-19 ozs

2. 12 ozs was what I put in to look for a suspect leak (11.6 actual weight). If what I was told is correct it was running on 6 to begin with...

3. Gauge did not move after I ran a vacuum. The residual vacuum I mentioned was the state of the system after the evacuation. I was surprised to see it still had vacuum after connecting the gauges.

4. It did make condensate - quite a bit for the 5 mins I ran it. I will look at the floor this morning when I move the car to see if any evidence of oil. The sniffer did not go off when I waved it around the drain under the car. I did not pull the hose off under the dash and check it there. Probably should.

5. The shop told me one ounce of oil came out with what was left of the charge. I questioned him on that as it seemed high. I had ran the system for about 10 minutes on the way over so not sure if that made a difference.

6. I didn't trust my 20+ year old Snap-On set so borrowed a new set along with the sniffer. The sniffer is fairly new but not a high end professional model. The sniffer did detect that my old gauges were leaky at the valves.

7. In light of who I bought the car from I would have initially said no to sealer use but...
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Re: 2009 Subaru Forester - Failed compressor??

Postby Tom Greenleaf » Mon Aug 17, 2015 8:02 pm

Sounds better already - thanks. Longer threads are easy to get lost in.
* Trusting and knowing your own specific tools and equipment is up to you. Some will do the same things differently or better or worse not always the price or name brands just different. I keep two sets still and quit this stuff a while ago except for myself which is nothing.

*The low charge to check things is possibly fine. I would consider use of the real stuff without running a system to check for leaks - a few ounces would do that or less maybe on this VERY low capacity system. Old phart here knew of the old cars it was POUNDS at a whack and worked fine a pound low or too high! Just forget that now.

* Vacuum before charging time: OK - Said earlier that just checking you lose vacuum like you do tire pressure constantly checking. Perhaps only me but I leave gauges on showing full vacuum for the wait time and if OK add thru even a second purged set enough thru high side (some vehicles don't have high side ports) till it read positive pressure on low side then know there's no chance of air getting in. Jury still out on how much air can contain enough volume or moisture to cause a issue. We just know NONE then it isn't a question.

Notes: Excessive air or oil things are erratic when known or when totally unknown make some knowns.

* Now a while ago sealers really were a problem. Said earlier I see it in tons of gauge on can kits, smaller cans a lot and no real telling what they did? Old stuff was reactive or a silver mud so fine it could work, once but still rare. The reactive stuff was two step which instantly made like dry polyurethane when in contact with any moisture which is in all air such that leaks touched air it turned to dry paint. Tried as a test. Ruined a can tap and hose plugged up solid! Yikes! Stuff of that sort I haven't seen but was discussed here and a few test cars that didn't matter just to observe properties and if anything worked. Conclusion was fine for a last try when you are done fixing it if it didn't work - all failed, my own guinea pig car worked for a while but failed too - total wreck of a rusted out but working car so no loss.

If you know where the car came from and the owner(s) weren't all DIY to anything wrecklessly than you should be good. Professionals shouldn't touch the junk if playing fair.

One last thing I wonder on and probably already said is I'm not used to a range you mentioned as much as 16-19 ounces for a charge weight. TXV system do handle off spec sometimes a bit better that "O" tube set ups. Let it be, I didn't engineer it.

One more last thing - LOL! I'm not convinced you have an evaporator leak at all! That's a horrible diagnosis to make and be wrong as most are both invasive and a royal PITA to deal with. Hope not and test any which way to prove it possible or not before blaming one.

So, right now where does the system stand for today and performance or noises noted?

Tom
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Re: 2009 Subaru Forester - Failed compressor??

Postby j.e.f. » Mon Aug 17, 2015 10:18 pm

Tom,

As of today - 12 oz in system (or what is left of it) and I am only running the AC in short intervals to test as the compressor sounds bad and I realize it is not a full charge.

I tested for leaks again inside the car before I left today and could not detect any.

I turned the air on while driving and as soon as it got cold I started to get a hit on the sniffer while holding it up to the vent.

After maybe 2 minutes with the AC on the sniffer was squealing more than it wasn't with it set on high sensitivity.

I forgot to check the garage floor for oil stains from the condensate when I left.

I am now fearing that it is/was a small evaporator leak and the charge got low and damaged the compressor??? Is that a possible scenario? Talk about buyers remorse.......

At least the orifice tube systems start cycling more frequently when the charge is very low. I always know where I stand with my GM trucks. Vent temps get warmer and then faster cycling = find and fix leak. This crazy thing seems to cool fairly well with hardly anything in the system. With only 12 oz and a squawking compressor it was getting very cool in the car after 2 minutes and it's 90+ here today.

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Re: 2009 Subaru Forester - Failed compressor??

Postby Tom Greenleaf » Tue Aug 18, 2015 11:45 am

OK - we're/I'm trying. I'd get the charge up closer to the 16 at least as it could be an noise from low charge? Guess we won't know without trying that now. Strange to me that you get cool air at all if leaking knowing it can't have more than 12oz or a 16oz min for normal but let that be.

Sniffers again: MIne won't work in air out of a vent at all and the wind/moving air alone sets mine off. Shut car off the gas would be inside the car still and probably out the heater ducts while off for quite a while. My own (they will differ) sensitivity settings can be set so sensitive it would go off from a port cap alone quite some time later.

IDK - also they get fooled if you so much as sprayed an air freshener in the car or used a cleaner of some sort in the general area.

Since it makes condensate try a white paper or paper towel to put in the condensate. Oil evidence will not disappear, the water alone would.

12oz cans of dye are also 12oz of 134a as the dye takes up no space or can adjust for it if you don't have dye that's one way and you do NOT need the whole can just weight it and leave another cap tap closed on that can for later use. Some will leak the rest out totally some wont? IDK - a good can tap also should come with an Acme threaded cap or some do.

I'm almost totally convinced you do not have an evaporator leak at all! Would be nice if not but if still leaking need to know where still.

Note that sniffer get fooled as said. Used to do leak finding for assorted shops and OMG other cars, sprays being used all over the shops, filthy floors I think my sniffer was going off a mile before I got there! Remember it's only ONE way to find leaks and I greatly prefer 2 reasons to blame the spot when at all possible short of the ones that are wide open holes heard and seen instantly - not this issue clearly,

T
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2009 Subaru Forester Failed compressor

Postby Rolandkecy » Mon Mar 28, 2016 1:27 pm

Trying to add a profile pic isnt going to well. I get the message "upload of file failed". I resized the image to over compensate the actualy requirements but still it doesnt work?
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2009 Subaru Forester Failed compressor

Postby JoshuaPr » Tue May 17, 2016 8:38 am

This is a brand new setup, and I am new to this.

I searched the forums, but could not find this specific error message.

I am using the cPanel module.

Module Create Failed - Service ID: 2 - Error: “emailprotected/ /” is not a valid username on this system.

I have also tried several other email addresses as well, but I get the same exact error message.

What does the error message mean?


Thanks,
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