Wow, most people with 02-03s have the same A/C problems, but here's a thing I saved from someone elses thread:
first, let me thank everyone who replied. the timely manner of your responses cut my time by 1/1
Anyway, removing the intake is unnecessary for removing the A/C compressor on an 02 WRX. However, the both belts and alternator must be removed. The compressor cannot be removed from the aluminum mounting bracket while still attached to the car because of the two horizontal bolts on top. The whole mounting bracket must be removed. I believe there are four bolts holding it to the block. Two on the left (facing engine), one on the right, and one in the back. Removing the one in the back is somewhat tricky. You will need a 3/8" knuckle joint on a 14mm socket to get this loose. Don't plan on using low-quality sockets made in Haiti either. The awkward angle combined with the factory torque will, more than likely, snap a cheap socket into 3 pieces. My Craftsman socket held up, but there have been times when I've broke a Craftsman and had to borrow a Snap-On to get the job done. Snake the socket in from the top, not from and angle where the alternator is mounted-this will put too much stress on the socket. Twist as hard as you can and when you hear a snap, hopefully shards of your socket haven't just been turned into projectiles. After you get this bolt out, all about another hour for reinstallation.
FYI: If your A/C goes out, don't take it to the suby dealer! They wanted $1800 in parts and labor. Get a helper and do the major repairs yourself!
Compressor-$425, free shipping - discountacparts.com
Condenser~172 - rockauto.com
Expansion Valve~120 - suby dealership is only ppl that sells this one
labor +refill - will update within the next week
my total savings - will update within the next week