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Subaru Legacy/Outback Wagons Maintenance & Repair

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  • darbyqdarbyq Posts: 2
    Yes! We've replaced our headlights at ~4 months, ~8 months, and again today (~1yr). The dealer had mentioned that they saw a number of headlights being replaced early, so maybe there is something here....
    I'm glad to see that someone else is wondering the same thing. It may be worth contacting Subaru and finding out what they have to say.
  • fauffantfauffant Posts: 2
    My son purchased a 1997 Legacy GT from his buddy. I noticed that the check engine light is flashing (blinking). My son told me that his buddy said its been like that for quite some time. I want to know if there is a way to clear this 'alarm' or reset it. Is there a problem or just is this a nuisance that we will not be able to correct? :confuse: Thanks!
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    That's the bad one. A solid light is just a warning, but a blinking light means you are supposed to shut it off and call a tow truck.

    You can try to reset the ECU, but I doubt it'll clear a code like that. Instead, I'd get the code scanned to try to find out what triggered it.

    -juice
  • The following are problems/annoyances I have been experiencing with my 2003 Legacy Outback, which is currently around 26,000 miles. I haven't been able to find many posts concerning most of these issues and was wondering if anyone has experienced similar problems:

    1. Gas peddle sticks when car sits for more than 5-6 hours. Problem started in Fall 2004. Seems to only do this during colder months, from say Nov-May, because it hasn't been sticking the past couple of days with temps in the 60s and 70s.

    2. There is a rattling in the dash board near the passenger air bag. The rattling stops when one applies pressure anywhere on the air bag cover/compartment. Especially noisy on long trips and or in warmer weather. Same is true for steering wheel. Seems to be a noise coming from that air bag compartment as well. Read about rattling in older models, having to do with the (fuel?) lines, I think. But haven't seen anything on the 2003. Mentioned at last service and they were unable to verify.

    3. Leaky gussets (rubber gaskets near side view mirrors). Especially noisy when driving on the freeway. Have had the car into the dealership for this problem twice. The first time they adjusted a door and the second time they adjusted the gussets. I found one post that said with proper adjustment, the wind noise should go away. Is the 3rd time a charm or should I resolve to having wind noise for as long as I own the car?

    4. Last but not least, there is static on all major FM and AM radio stations. Not terrible, but noticeable enough that it affects my enjoyment of music. I mentioned this at the last 2 services. According to the dealer, this is probably due to the hills surrounding Seattle and according to their diagnostics the radio functions normally. So naturally, I would like to know what is considered normal for a manufacturer's radio, with an antenna embedded in the rear window. I've driven in friends' cars of other makes and models with embedded antennas and the AM/FM music quality is just fine, so I don't buy the line that it is a result of Seattle's geography. Doesn't seem to be a problem with the speakers because CD music quality is fine. A friend of mine that works in the service dept at Subaru told me off the record that it probably has to do with the poor reception quality of the embedded antennas. Would an auxiliary antenna help? What should I do or ask the dealer to check?

    Any advice, trouble-shooting, or ways to better approach these problems with my Subaru dealer would be appreciated.
  • shadowfoxshadowfox Posts: 2
    Hi

    I was wondering if someone might be able to help me out. I am a real moron when it comes to car repair... but I am trying to learn as I go. Anyway, I own a 1997 Subaru legacy/outback and recently I have been having my battery get drained on me. So I figured it was just an old battery and time for replacement. When I replaced the batteries I noticed what had been draining the old one. Even while the car is off my interior lights on the dashboard, my brake lights, and my blinkers will continuously turn on and off about ten to twenty times. There will be a break in that for about five seconds and then it will start again. While sitting in the car I also noticed a clicking sound coming from under the steering column as the lights would turn on and off. I was forced to unhook the battery so as not to drain the new one.

    Would anyone know how I might remedy this situation... I am hoping that it might be as simple as changing a fuse ... but a part of me thinks it might be a more serious electrical issue. Any insight or experience with this problem and tips on how I can go about fixing the situation would be greatly appreciated.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Sounds like you have a short of some kind. Those aren't easy to find/fix, though.

    -juice
  • fibber2fibber2 Mid Hudson Valley, NYPosts: 3,732
    I suspect that I am heading down the same path. I am getting intermittant build up (presumably a combination of pad transfer, and localized rusting when the car sits), resulting in a lot of brake pulsation (warp...) and a grinding noise. A high speed stop followed by a cooldown period without applying the brakes will clear it, but it returns in a day or so. In addition, both front inside pads are showing considerable wear, with the outsides still thick, so the sliders aren't allowing even pressure as as they should.

    I have been debating whether to go OEM on pads and rotors, or aftermarket, but you have now convinced me to go OEM on at least the pads! Guess I better decide and order soon before I get left in the cold. '02 with only 32k miles, so it is way too early for this....

    Steve
  • fibber2fibber2 Mid Hudson Valley, NYPosts: 3,732
    On an OBDII equipped car, a flashing CEL usually indicates some sort of engine misfire. Fuel mixture not right, too little spark... This has the effect of flooding the cat-con with too much unburned fuel, and can kill it and the O2 sensor. The result gets expensive fast.

    Steve
  • fibber2fibber2 Mid Hudson Valley, NYPosts: 3,732
    1. Gas peddle sticks when car sits for more than 5-6 hours.

    I have had this happen on other cars as well. The throttle cable connects to a bell crank that opens a large butterfly valve. The housing is aluminum, the plate is typically steel. Throw in a little carbon buildup at the spot where the closed plate touches the housing, and it sticks when the car cools.

    It is something that you can usually free up yourself with a rag and some carb cleaner, but it will require a bit of disassembly to get at.

    Steve
  • fibber2fibber2 Mid Hudson Valley, NYPosts: 3,732
    Joseph,

    With a little effort, you can remove the blower motor and check for debris. I suggest that you go to one of the online parts sellers and download the .pdf instructions for changing the HVAC air filters. They will show you the basics of how to remove the glove box and related trim. From there, remove the wiring harness, breather tube and three screws from the bottom of the round fan assembly, and the blower motor and fan looks like it will drop right down into the passengers footwell. I does look, however, like you might have to move/remove some other wiring harness that block easy access to the bottom of the motor, but it does not look to complex.

    Steve
  • burnooseburnoose Posts: 1
    Hello,

    I am in the market for a used OB and found one I liked, but the mechanic discouraged me, saying that in the pre-2000s, the 2.2 engines are better and the 2.5 often need major repair. How true is this?

    Thanks.

    Bernice
  • zman3zman3 Posts: 857
    I would say that is a fairly accurate summary. I have not heard of too many issues with the 2.2L engine. The 2.5L engines, on the other hand, have had more than their fair share of piston slap and head gasket leakage issues. If the performance difference does not make any difference to you, I would avoid the 2.5L engine.

    I speak from experience.
  • wittman1wittman1 Posts: 1
    I drive a 99 Subaru Outback Legacy (wagon). Unfortunately, I cannot open the rear door and I can't figure out why. If anyone has any ideas, I'd appreciate it...Thanks...Collin
  • hypovhypov Posts: 3,068
    No that isn't what that's draining your battery.

    Whenever the battery is disconnected and reconnected, the keyless entry module needs to be reset.

    I do not know the remote method to reset the module, but on my '98 OB there's a button mounted where the hood release lever is. It's very small, so you would have to get down under and look behind the dash. The module will reset when depressed.

    -Dave
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  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,461
    I have mixed feelings about this issue, but I would tend to agree with zman.

    I have a '96 with the 2.5L (in '96, both the 2.2 and the 2.5 were available on the OB model) - in subsequent years, I believe that only the 2.5 was available..... true?

    Anyhow, I have 188K on mine and have not had any problems with the engine (piston slap or head gaskets) other than what was caused by previous owners. That said, I have actually removed the engine from the car once to fix all the foobar'd gaskets due to an oil-overfill issue from a previous owner.

    In general, I would tread lightly when considering the purchase of a '96-'99 2.5L or even a 2.2L (though the engine itself is solid) for that matter. If you do not know the history of the vehicle, try to look for something newer. I purchased mine in '00 (it was 5 years old at that point, mfg'd in 08-1995) and inherited many little quirks and frustrations that were undoubtedly the primary reason one or more previous owners off-loaded it. If I did not do 99% of the work myself, I would have dumped it long ago as well. The '96s are 10 years old now and the '98s are at 8 years....... that's quite a few years for plenty of opportunity for someone else to neglect a car. :surprise:
  • shadowfoxshadowfox Posts: 2
    Hey thanks for the tip... I don't really use my keyless entry anymore so I decided to just disconnect the module. Everything seems to be working fine now. Thanks again.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Without a doubt the EJ22 carries the edge in reliability, it may be their best engine ever.

    Doesn't mean the EJ25 is bad, but we did observe head gasket failures mostly on the DOHC designs, 96-99 on the Legacy/Outback. 98-99 models are covered by an 8/100 warranty if they used the coolant additive precribed by Subaru.

    So I'd have to agree with your mechanic.

    -juice
  • zman3zman3 Posts: 857
    Is that right? I never received any notice for the additive for my 98. I thought that was for 2000+, or something like that. The later engines that have the external leak and not the internal leak.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Might have been 99-02 or something like that, I don't recall exactly. My '98 Forester has been quite reliable in its 8 years of trusty service.

    -juice
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,461
    I do not think that a Subaru's record for "trusty service," or even owner testimontials, is really the issue. I love Subaru; the cars are great. I think that even my car has been extremely reliable despite all of the extra effort I have put in to it to keep it so and all the little bugs I feel are manufacturing deficiencies (haha... there's my testimonial!). However, the overwhelming potential for very expensive problems (not least of all is the head gasket issue) in the cars still remain. If you do not know the cars' history, it is best to approach the potential transaction with caution and a leary eye. This is the case, I think, with any used car; I just do not feel that Subaru engines are very forgiving (compared to others) when it comes to neglect. Repairs to it are a good chunk of change..... Why buy a headache?

    Sometimes it is very difficult to tell how well an engine has been maintained; but take your time and go over it with several fine tooth combs before you commit to it or dismiss it.

    -Wes-
  • tbragg44tbragg44 Posts: 24
    I need some help with my timing belt replacement on a 99 Outback with the 2.5L DOHC. I got all the covers off, brought the crank to TDC ( I think, the arrow was pointing to the mark on the block) and removed the old timing belt. Then I lined all four camshaft marks with the prepainted marks on the new belt and installed the belt and tensioners. When I tried to start the engine, it cranked but wouldn't fire.

    I'm using a Haynes Repair Manual for the procedures, but it only goes up to '98. I followed those procedures, but no luck. Are there significant differences between the 98 and the 99? Am I missing something? Please advise!!!
  • jfljfl Posts: 1,346
    I assume you have confirmed that you are getting a spark?

    With the crank at the TDC mark, did you confirm that it was TDC? (The crank hits the TDC arrow twice - once at TDC and again at the top of the exhaust stroke. In the old days, you could look at the distributor to confirm that the rotor was firing number one plug at TDC.) At TDC all the camshaft marks should also be correctly aligned. If you had to rotate the camshafts more than a few degrees, you might be 180 degrees out of phase.

    You probably know all of this, please forgive me if I've offended you.

    Hope you get it resolved!

    Jim
  • tbragg44tbragg44 Posts: 24
    Thanks for the reply, Jim. I have not reverified spark, as I drove the shop to the garage. I'll recheck it.

    I'm assuming the arrow on the crank pulley gear is at the arrow on the block when it is at TDC. I have not verified it at the actual cylinder. Will be the second thing I check this morning.

    Since the belt was completely off, all of the camshafts turned, so I'm trying to reset everything from non-alignment, using the preprinted marks on the belt and the paint/ markings ( I II ) on the camshaft pulleys.

    Thanks in advance for any more advice...

    TB
  • fibber2fibber2 Mid Hudson Valley, NYPosts: 3,732
    TB,

    If Jim's suggestion did not resolve your problem, everything you ever wanted to know about changing the belt on your year Outback can be found right here at this official Subaru of America site:

    http://endwrench.com/images/pdfs/2.5Timing.pdf

    Best of luck,

    Steve
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,461
    TB, I have had to perform this procedure three times thus far, and will be doing it again in about 2 weeks on my '96. When I do this, I make sure that the crank is in TDC with the marks aligned before I remove the belt.... then, when the belt comes off, usually two of the cams (that are in mid-stroke) will jump out of position and the other two will remain stationary. Then, I just line everything up as I put the belt back in, pop the pin on the tensioner (they were redesigned after '96, so I am not sure how yours operates in comparison, but the '96 was a pain in the [non-permissible content removed]...), and viola - it's ready to go and the engine fires right back up. I also use the same Haynes manual you have and the instructions work when I do it this way.

    The first time I performed this operation, I was not quite so cautious about making sure the cams, etc., moved as little as possible. I ended up getting it out of phase (I thought it looked like it was correct, though) and the engine behaved just as you describe. I had to call in the assistance of a mechanic friend to help me because I was stumped.... it looked right to me. We ended up rotating the cams and crank to re-align it and it started the next time through. It was 5 years ago, though, and I cannot remember the exact details behind the realignment because I was mostly watching and he was doing the work without really pointing out what he was doing. He didn't remove anything additional to get a visual confirmation of the alignment, so I must have just missed a detail. I know this is completely unhelpful, but my memory is just not coming back to rescue me here. :mad:
  • tbragg44tbragg44 Posts: 24
    Thanks for the responses, everyone.

    The timing article is excellent, and would have been an excellent resource before I had started. :confuse: Unfortunately, by the time I read it, I believe the damage was already done.

    This is what I've discovered after re-reading the book, and reading the posts. There is a small, triangular indentation stamped into the crankshaft pulley gear. This, apparently is not the timing mark for TDC. In fact, it's about 90 degrees off from the actual timing mark, which is on the 6-splined washer behind the pulley gear. Once I realized this, I reinstalled the belt. To add to the confusion, I also found several marks on the camshaft pulleys: the cast-in notches, white paint marks, and orange paint marks. I set the belt on the cast-in notches, lining it up on the prepainted lines on the belt.

    So I triple check the alignment, put it all back together and fire it up. It runs, but it has some new problems. It idles rough, hesitates on take-off, then smooths out at higher RPMs.

    I think I may have done some damage the first time with it being misaligned. :cry: I know this is an interference engine. Have I, in fact, proved that point? Anybody have any resources for doing a valve job?

    TB
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,461
    TB, If you were 180 off, I don't think you did any damage to the engine - you were just exhausting in the cylinders that were being fired and intaking in the cylinders that were not. If you did not hear any crunching, everything is okay.

    The roughness you are experiencing is due to the timing being off. I am curious as to whether or not something perhaps slipped slightly without you noticing it. Even if you are off by only a tooth or two on one cam, it could cause this hesitation/roughness. I will smooth out as RPMs increase. I did this one, too! I was one tooth of on one cam. It wasn't really noticable to me, but the next time I tore it apart I noticed the mistake, corrected it, and I could tell then that it did run smoother at idle/low RPM.

    I know it is a pain in the [non-permissible content removed], but it may be worth pulling the covers off again and double checking the alignment. The quickest way to do it is to reposition the crank at TDC with the belt still on it and look at how everything sits.

    Good luck and I am glad to hear that you got it running!

    -Wes-
  • jfljfl Posts: 1,346
    Glad to hear you got it running. Wes has some great points in his post. I'm sure you'll get it done!

    It's a great feeling when it all comes together.

    Best of luck,

    Jim
  • tbragg44tbragg44 Posts: 24
    Thanks again, Jim & Wes.

    I am pretty sure the belt is aligned on the factory marks on the camshaft gears. This does raise more questions, though.

    1. Which is more accurate, the slots in the aft timing covers (nearest the engine block) or the marks on the belt?

    2. Have you seen more than one color paint on the timing marks on the cam gears? I have orange and white in 3 out of 4 places, only 1 tooth off from the white that is painted into the factory marks. A result of previous mis-timing? A good use for surplus paint?

    Any thoughts? It's a lot of disassembly and reassembly work for trial-and-error troubleshooting. When I get back into it, I'd like to be pretty sure I'm doing things correctly.

    TIA,

    TB
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