First post here, kind of a noob to Subaru-- all my previous automotive experience has been in restoring a 1968 Camaro.
I have an 2008 STi, but it's stock and I've never had time nor funds to do much work on it. Currently 48k miles, never had any problems. Regular maintenance.
So here's the issue: I'm a busy medical student here in Albany NY, and I don't have any local friends with knowledge of reliable Subaru repair shops. I don't have much time or work space to do maintenance myself, so when my power steering belt and alternator belt started wearing thin I had to succumb to a dealer maintenance for the job at Goldstein Subaru on Wolf Rd. I was in and out pretty quickly, and the squealing belt was taken care of (for $130...), BUT when I got a few miles away from the lot, I turned on my A/C and was surprised to hear a loud *clunk*, *rattle,* *rattle,* and of course... no cool air on a nice 95F day.
I immediately called Goldstein, concerned that they had busted my A/C during the repair, which had been performed not 15 minutes before this incident. They agreed to look at it, but couldn't get me in for 2 WEEKS. I left my A/C off and untouched the entire time. I go in to Goldstein... They say the bearing blew in the clutch that controls the A/C compressor. They say it was a COMPLETE coincidence. They deny it having anything at all to do with the replacement of nearby belts not 15 minutes before it happened. They would like to charge me close to $1000 to replace the entire clutch and compressor assembly. I calmly walk out and drive away.
1.) Is this dealer maintenance shop reliable?
2.) Does their story hold water?
3.) Does anyone recommend a better local Subaru repair shop in Albany, NY?
4.) The compressor is right up front, is this a fairly simple job for someone experienced in advanced labor on a classic car? (Seems easy enough on inspection, but I don't have a manual or schematics.)
5.) Does anyone recommend a place for cheap parts to fix this? (...as I'm already about $200k in debt from school.)
Thanks in advance for any help you can provide!!!