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Subaru Legacy/Outback



  • zman3zman3 Posts: 857
    I agree it could be piston slap. My '98 had piston slap and your symptoms sound like mine did. I disagree with cptplt however. It may be a widespread issue but to call it normal is wrong. If all engines don't do it, yours shouldn't either.

    I had my shortblock replaced at about 53K because of it. I would recommend popping the hood when it is cold next time and listen to the engine rev while standing next to the engine compartment. I was astounded as to how loud mine was. It was obvious there was something wrong. It sounded like I was beating on the engine with a hammer. It is hard to tell from inside the car how bad the noise is. If yours sounds OK with the hood open I would probably wait to see if it gets worse next year. I would still take it to a dealer to start the documentation process.

    My case was actually kind of funny, after the fact at least. When I brought mine in the service advisor gave me a Subaru document saying that the sound was normal, blah, blah, blah. He was polite and so was I. I mentioned that I knew from discussion groups that Subaru was replacing short blocks. He denied ever replacing one. I informed him that off the record his own techs had said they had replaced them. He then reiterated that they hadn't in the years he had been there. I basically said "fine, but let's at least have a tech listen to it so I can start documenting my concerns." A tech comes out with me, starts the car, pops the hood, rev's the engine, and clank, clank, clank, as the engine slows down. He states something to the effect "that doesn't sound good." Get's another tech. Five minutes later the service advisor is writing up a work order to replace the short block. The truly funny part? They had short blocks in inventory!! I found that rather odd since they had never replaced one previously. Yeah, right.

    Good luck.
  • lucien2lucien2 Posts: 2,984
    the timing clatter in cold weather start-ups with the piston slap problem on Phase I ej25 engines. The 1st issue is indeed normal; the second issue is not, but the Phase I shortblocks went away in 2000 so it is a non-issue for tompaine.
  • zman3zman3 Posts: 857
    If you are correct that is good news. I didn't know if it was in issue on the new design or not. There were certainly enough of us with the issue on the Phase I engine.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    CR lists the length of the biggest box. The Legacy's rear window slopes down a lot, so it loses some length there. But your feet could fit into that space, so for your idea of camping with the moonroof open, the Legacy would have more room.

    Tom: consider a block heater. Pat had one installed and said there were a blessing in frigid temps.

    Valves will clatter until the oil circulates. It takes about 7 seconds to establish oil pressure, but if the oil is cold and thick it'll take even longer to quiet those valves. If it's a problem for you more so than usual, I'd go with a better flowing synthetic oil. My Miata does it, FWIW.

  • CReports claimed gear whine in its Outback review. My 2003 Bean has it; not a problem to my ears.

    They also reported problems with the heated seats. Exactamente. The passenger seat is no-heat.

    The dealer is an hour away. Any simple solution to the no-heat situation? Terminal not connected at the switch? How do the switches come out of the console?

  • My O3 LL Bean Wagon auto tranny also "whines" as the rpms rev up...I would say rather a nice humming sound....does not annoy me either. If it were not for this sound I would have no idea how fast I was accelerating. The 3.0L engine is perfectly quiet.
  • otis123otis123 Posts: 426

    Looks like some substantial snow tonight/tomorrow for NYC and its northern suburbs. I've waited over a year to get your report of the Dunlops in snow. I'm almost ready (33K) to replace my original Firestones - centers are fine but the edges are worn into the indicators.

    So, please tell your boss you'll be in a little late tomorrow morning, find a nice empty parking lot, and let'er rip! :-o

    Thanks! BTW, are they quiet on dry pavement compared to the Firestones?


  • According to MSN Carpoint, the base outback comes with standard side air bags for MY03.

    I thought only the LTD, Bean and VDC models came with the side air bags.

    Parked next to a beautiful gleeming seamist green beaner this evening. Luckily, it was upwind and spared drool marks. :)

    Lou - Champagne Taste, Carling Black Label Budget

  • Yep, I am promised new parts for my clutch ('02 Outback Base)....will see if it helps, thought won't know for another 2 weeks. I guess they are out of the parts needed in my region, and the local dealer has to get them from "some other" region. All it took was some persistence at the dealer, and a call to SOA. Now if only they can get some consistent heat out of my seats, and maybe an extra inch of leg room!

    Learned something today talking to the local service manager. My local dealer pays the techs by the job not the hour! Guess that's why most of my complaints go into the "no problems found" categorgy....hmmmm.

    Will let you know if the new parts help with the shuddering..... any word from Wisconsin on this?
  • barcbarc Posts: 15
    I have an 02 Legacy which is quite noisy in the morning. Once it warms up after a few miles the clatter goes away. I have not run it with the hood open yet, but I'll try that soon and report back. Sounds a bit too loud for valve train noise to me, but hopefully that's all it is. I'm in Calgary, so it's getting cold nowadays. It's had proper oil changes at the dealer. They use 5w30 -the cheap stuff.
  • barcbarc Posts: 15
    Other than the morning clatter the car has been great. I'm happy. Have 19,000 Kms(11700 miles) now. Had trouble with the rear gate latch on 2 really hot days, but that problem has not occured in cooler weather.

  • barcbarc Posts: 15
    Just remembered, when I test drove a Legacy wagon last spring it had pretty awful clatter too when first started. Quiet after a few miles. My wife was not impressed with the sound. But the car was not driven for several weeks and it was about -18C outside. With some snow drifts around the wheels and the fact that it had not snowed for about 2 weeks, I new the car had probably not been run. (everyone tests an Outback here, seems like the L wagon is not flashy enough or something).

  • lucien2lucien2 Posts: 2,984
    these engines do clatter in the cold for a minute until the oil heats up enough to get up in there. -18c, you'll hear it for sure! ;')

    The piston slap issue only applied to 2.5 liter Phase I shortblocks. the problem was remedied with the phase II block, which became standard on all Outbacks as of the 2000 Model year. Additionally, many '99 Outbacks have Phase II shortblocks with Phase I top ends (DOHC, not the later SOHC), so many '99s are in the clear as well. My '99 build date is late March and I have a phase II block, FWIW.
  • zman3zman3 Posts: 857
    What did they do to the Phase II shortblocks? Did they lengthen the piston skirts like they should have been in the first place on the Phase I blocks?
  • bigelmbigelm Posts: 995
    goes a long way... but piston slaps shouldn't be 'loud' like some of you have mentioned. I wouldn't even waste time discussing here without going to the dealer and getting it resolved.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I must be next door to you. I'm in Milford, CT, visiting my brother-in-law, enjoying the half foot of snow a lot!

    First snow for our Legacy. :-)

  • lucien2lucien2 Posts: 2,984
    Exactly the very thing! :) Happy T-Day, everybody!
  • kenskens Posts: 5,869
    I believe the piston skirts rememdied piston slap rather than the shortblock itself. I had piston slap on my Phase I and a set of modified pistons cleared it up. And, oh yes, piston slap can get pretty loud.

  • jonw2jonw2 Posts: 49
    About 3 months ago I took our 2000 Legacy Wagon in for 30K service. (By the way, the car has been flawless.) The total bill for flushing the transmission and lines,changing coolant,balancing wheels came to $554.61. Of this amount, the labor total was $440.50, and parts, including anti-freeze, brake fluid, fuel filter, & 8 wheel weights were $99.15. There was an additional charge of $14.96 for Enviro. disposal and taxes. I had specifically requested that they not perform a tuneup, change the oil or change the air filter. I change my own oil and air filters. I plan to have the tune up done somewhat later. My question is does this charge seem high for the work performed? A labor charge of 6 hours for this work sounds excessive. Had I had the complete tuneup and oil service it seems that the bill would have been well over $600 or $700. I didn't challenge the charges, but I need to make a decision about this before going in again for official Subaru service. Thanks for your input.
  • jay_24jay_24 Posts: 536
    That seems a bit high. My 30k service for a 2001 OB was:
    - Auto tranny flush/fill
    - coolant flush/fill
    - spark plugs
    - brake fluid change
    - fuel and air filter
    - Oil change and filter
    - tire rotate

    Total was like $520 or something with tax. Funny thing is '30k service' seems to vary between dealers.

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