They say that loose connections are the things that enable us to discover something very new and leap frog ahead.  
With that in mind, here’s a  little Personal Background to set this up.

I build websites and provide WordPress consulting for a living. I am not a professional mechanic.  My father made sure that I had a lot of experience working on cars growing up, and some of that stuck. (Worked a lot better for my younger brother.)
I can do some things myself, and others I do not have the tools or space to do. I do not always have the time either.
This sometimes conflicts with my funds though!
This summer I have been challenged with an A/C problem with my Suburu Tribeca B9. I have been learning all sorts of new things about this (cranky) car.   🙂
I do like the car, but it has almost 155k on it and things are starting to get problematic.
One of those problems is my air conditioner. It stopped working. I live in the Charlotte area and it is HOT here this summer.
Driving around without A/C drains the energy out of me, which is bad for my productivity.
As I have dug very deep trying to troubleshoot a complex system (A/C and TCU (Temperature Control System) plus a few other contributing factors like the Throttle Body which was causing some unrelated overheating, I have been learning about some areas of the web that I had not recently seen.

YouTube Car Repair Tutorials

Suburu Tribeca B9

There aren’t many for this model, but lots for other Suburu’s.

Help Forums with Live Support!

The cool thing that I saw here was that those chat sessions are SAVED and MADE PUBLIC and made SEARCHABLE.
This makes them a search engine magnet (Earned Marketing). provides live answers and publishes the chat session

JustAnswers turns that chat experience into a sales opportunity to speak with an experienced consultant for $19

Free chat turns into paid consultant advice
Free chat turns into paid consultant advice
Put a $5 deposit down (sounds easy) then immediately it turns to $19
Put a $5 deposit down (sounds easy) then immediately it turns to $19

Google Search fails due to directory spam

When Directory spam foils your search – Google maps for a manual save

More Lessons learned

  • Search results vary based on your device. If you do a search on your computer and on your ipad and on your cell phone, you may not find the same article with the same keywords twice!
  • There are a lot of forums that seems to scrape content from other forums. Try to find the original forum as these will be more likely to include pictures.
  • There are a lot of Mechanics that are very internet and YouTube savvy. I’m not talking a little, I’m talking right up there with social media experts and youtube experts. (This does not surprise me especially given the DIY leaning of this group of people, but I think it is worth pointing out.)
  • For every car repair video on a specific make or model of car, there are 8-9 used car videos from dealers around the country.
  • YouTube Search is pretty terrible about figuring out search results between repairs and shoppers for a car.

Niche Forums For Popular Makes + Models

I also found a whole lot of niche forums.  Example Subaru Forester and Subaru Outback both with a .org (but no Tribeca)
This seemed to be largely a search engine keyword play, but they do seem to bring in traffic and business. I am not saying its pretty, but it is functional.

Red dust behind compressor or poor AC performance; check the AC relay!

I checked the relay, removed it, cleaned it (razor blade – not the best way) and swapped it with the sub fan relay. No luck.

Does my Tribeca B9 even have an A/C relay?
I knew it would. But went through this forum to figure out where to look for it. Also tested relays and other fuses while I was working in there. I have some driver’s side puddle lights that do not work either. Tested the fuse and it was fine. Learned that passenger side and driver’s side are on the same fuse. Next need to either replace the bulbs or swap them with passenger side or look for a crimped wire maybe.
Maybe since I have two working lights on the passenger side, I’ll remove one working bulb there and put it on the driver’s side. Then instead of 2 bulbs on one side, I’ll have 1 bulb on each side! (trying to save money and this is not a huge priority)

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