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Subaru Legacy/Outback Wagons Maintenance & Repair

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Comments

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Not much she can do retroactively, so just change her habits from here on out.

    She should change the oil every 6 months or so regardless of her mileage. And ASAP, of course.

    -juice
  • I noticed a couple recent posts about this issue but none seemed to relate to my issue.

    I have a flashing AT Oil Temp light on my 99 Legacy GT. I had a major voltage spike in my alternator and this is one of the after effects. I have driven it very little since I replaced the alternator (around the block) but it seems to shift fine. Tranny fluid is ok.
    My question is: What is the likelyhood that it would be safe to drive my car about 13-15 miles to the shop to get this (and all my other issues due to my voltage spike) fixed? I don't want to ruin my transmission too!
  • ssteveksstevek Posts: 45
    I changed the oil for the first time in my 2002 Outback that I bought in July. I was pleased to see it's as easy as the '98 after removing the plastic cover under the engine. I did put it back, but wonder how necessary it is. It was already missing 2 of the 3 plastic screws, and I lost the sleeve that the 1 remaining screw fit into. It seems to stay ok without it after sliding it back in. I also had to replace a low beam headlight bulb this evening, also very easy with no tools required. I was surprised to see a lamp burn out on a 3 year old car, but maybe that's to be expected since it has daytime running lights. I'm very happy with this car, many improvements over the '98. According to the manual oil changes are every 7.5k miles. I usually wouldn't let it go that long, but maybe engine technology has changed enough over the years so the 3 to 5k interval is no longer necessary.
  • fibber2fibber2 Mid Hudson Valley, NYPosts: 3,732
    Given your car's history, I am not so sure that I would drive it. It is unknown what might have been cooked by the (was it overvoltage, or wired backwards ????) alternator problem you had back during the summer. I am leaning towards flat bedding it until you know why the light is flashing. The system seems to think it is in major distress, and there is really no way of knowing if this is true.

    Steve
  • Thanks Steve. You're right. I should just flatbed it, but it's kind of a pain in the rear...
    Still don't know what caused the original issue for sure, the alternator was a big part of it but I'm not sure if anything else was in play.
    After taking it home and attempting to troubleshoot it, I've made more progress than the first shop I took it too. (they missed a short in the sub fan) There's still more than I can handle going on with this. I'm trying a reputable shop before breaking down and spending the big bucks at the dealer.
  • fibber2fibber2 Mid Hudson Valley, NYPosts: 3,732
    Steve,

    I would recommend that you keep the underbody shroud intact. You certainly get enough snow and salt up where you are in Hartford to be able to appreciate what a difference it will make in terms of cleanliness and protection. Salt kills, and any shielding that keeps it away from mechanical and electrical parts is a good thing, in my book. Replace the fasteners, or fashion something to hold it in place. I would still stick with 5k or so on the oil changes, no longer if you can help it.

    Bulbs are picky things. The ones on my OBW are fine, but I have gone thru two in the past three months on my Honda. The glass is intact, and the high beam filament is fine, but in both cases the low beam filament fractured in just about the same place. Could be a manufacturing issue, or maybe some kind of coupled harmonic that the fine windings resonate to and it beats them to death? Who knows....

    Steve
  • fibber2fibber2 Mid Hudson Valley, NYPosts: 3,732
    It might be too long ago for you to get help now from SoA, but I seem to remember a recall, or service advisory about alternators running amuck on late '90's cars. Might be worth a call to 1-800-SUBARU3 and see if they offer to look into your troubles.

    Steve
  • I am afraid there may be more to this story. I am a careful person and we bought a 2005 Subaru Outback (H4) in late summer for my wife to drive. I checked the oil when we got it, and perhaps one other time in between, but because of the changing car situation, I had to wait a while to conclude that our BRAND NEW CAR was probably the one leaving drops of oil on the driveway. When I checked it at 2,700 miles, it needed 2.0 quarts!

    It is total [non-permissible content removed] in today's manufacturing to say that one quart per 1,000 miles is acceptable, for CONSUMPTION of oil. If that is your standard, you should make lawn mowers, not cars. But this car is LEAKING oil.

    We took it in to the dealer. They went, baddabing, baddaboom, we don't see any leak. Besides, it's normal for a little bit of high oil consumption when a car is new, bring it back in 1,000 miles, blah-blah, blah-blah.

    It isn't CONSUMING. It is LEAKING.

    Now, it is up to me to wait for the perfect day and go out and find the leak, and then point to it. I will do that, but I think everyone should start checking their oil and looking for spots at your parking area.
  • fibber2fibber2 Mid Hudson Valley, NYPosts: 3,732
    You know that you have a leak, and are proactively doing something about it. You've checked the oil, reported it to the dealer, etc. You are doing the right thing. The person I was responding to did not. Could they have a leak as well? Maybe.... But given the scenario I outlined, they could just as easily be oil starved via normal consumption.

    Steve
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I removed mine, but I do wash my undercarriage with a pressure washer once in a while to compensate. The engine bay isn't too dirty, either.

    -juice
  • fibber2fibber2 Mid Hudson Valley, NYPosts: 3,732
    But remember, Juice, that you do not live in a very harsh environment. If you had to contend with what we subject our cars to each winter, you probably wouldn't remove it.

    Steve
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    They salt our roads, too, just not as often because the winters aren't as harsh.

    It's nice to use the pressure washer - I never have to touch the cars. Especially when the water is cold. Brrrr.

    -juice
  • ssteveksstevek Posts: 45
    Steve,

    I knew there had to be an official name for that thing (underbody shroud). I was thinking about the weather just around the corner as well, the shroud certainly would offer considerable protection. I will also replace the fasteners, or was also considering some replacement hardware to hold it in place which wouldn't be too hard to do. 5k is the mileage I had in mind as well for oil changes.

    My bulb looked just plain burnt out. At least it's in easy an relatively inexpensive repair when it does happen. I remember buying the entire head lamp on Hondas I've had in the past. I also remember fixing the wiring harness a few times on my wife's '86 Accord that had the concealed headlights, over time the open/close movement caused the wiring to deteriorate.

    Steve
  • subssubs Posts: 2
    I have a '98 OB (w/99,000 miles) that needs to have the head gaskets replaced, as well as some other work (like front break pads + rotors, power steering pump, etc.) The gasket was estimated at $2400, and all the work would total to about $3600. These quotes were from the dealer, but since I just moved to a new city I don't know any shops. Do you think I can find a lower price of equal quality? In the meantime, I am deciding if I should invest the money in this car, or look to get a new one. Any suggestions?
  • fibber2fibber2 Mid Hudson Valley, NYPosts: 3,732
    A foreign car shop in my area did my friend's '99 OBW. They stripped, cleaned and planed the warped heads, replaced gaskets, timing belt & water pump, towed him in, etc. for a little under $2k. Front brake pads & rotors should be maybe $300, although on a '98 you will probably require caliper work if they are original. PS pump retails for about $150 plus labor (?). I would think the whole affair would set you back around $2800 - $2900 or so at an independent shop ??? Just a guess on my part...

    Steve
  • subssubs Posts: 2
    Thanks, I'll have to look into independent shops. Yet is it worth it to put $3000 into a car with almost 100,000 miles? When does it make more sense to buy a new one?
  • cptpltcptplt Posts: 1,075
    I have a 98 and I'm coming up to 120K and I will need at least timing belt,water pump, new cam seals for oil leaks etc and brakes etc. 3K to make the car last at least another 50K or more miles is dirt cheap compared to getting a new car. Though getting a new car with all the newer safety features is something else to consider. I will put money into mine as I have a kid coming up to driving age in the next year and this will be a good car to learn to drive in and get some initial experience. Plus if it gets beat up, I won't go crazy like I would with a newer one!!
  • lastarlastar Posts: 30
    I have a 2003 OB 2.5i Wagon Limited and am considering towing my Pop Up Camper with it and want to hear from owners on their experience.I know the specs say it can tow up to around 2400 LB, but wanted to know if they have any engine or tranny problems over time.
    Thanks
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I've towed a bit with my Forester. Not very long distances, maybe 30 miles or so a time, about 6 or 8 trips total. Basically I borrow a trailer from a buddy (RSHolland on Edmunds.com) and fill it with 3 yards of wood chips for my kid's play area. One or two loads per year.

    We estimate the load at about 1500 lbs. No problems here.

    Your Outback is heavier and has a longer weelbase and bigger brakes, so it should do as well or better. But you're also carrying more weight.

    Leave plenty of room for braking, that's the one thing I noticed - longer stopping distances. Acceleration was OK, just not quick like it usually is.

    -juice
  • tkanictkanic Posts: 78
    I am having an issue w/ my 2005 Outback and hoping someone out there can shed some light on what it could be. It seems hard to describe. It normally happens when I am at highway speeds and on a left turn. When the car's right tires hit a bump, sometimes, it seems like the right rear 'dips' much more then it should. On rare occasion when I am going straight or turning right it will happen also - and always the right side that 'dips'. This is very annoying but I can't find a section of road near the dealer which will cause it.
  • ob98coob98co Posts: 4
    I have a 98 Outback with a broken antenna and I need to replace it. The antenna is by the left back window.

    1) How do I reach the broken antenna to remove it?
    2) There are many websites selling different types of antenna. Any suggestions??
    3) The current broken antenna is motorized. Can I replace it with something simpler and economical?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I replaced the motorized one on my Miata with a rubber "whip" antennae, they're pretty generic I believe.

    The hard part was taking the old one out. Luckily for me the trunk isn't lined so it was exposed. But it still wasn't easy.

    Installing the new one is a piece of cake. I found mine at WalMart, of all places. Cheap too, something like $10.

    So focus on the removal. The rest is easy to find and install.

    -juice
  • garandmangarandman Posts: 524
    I have a '98 OB (w/99,000 miles) that needs to have the head gaskets replaced, as well as some other work (like front break pads + rotors, power steering pump, etc.) The gasket was estimated at $2400, and all the work would total to about $3600. These quotes were from the dealer, but since I just moved to a new city I don't know any shops. Do you think I can find a lower price of equal quality? In the meantime, I am deciding if I should invest the money in this car, or look to get a new one. Any suggestions?

    Where do you live? In MA, NH, VT, ME CO, WA OR etc Subarus and repair shops are common.

    I had head gaskets changed at 140K miles - it was about $1,200 at a garage. Most garages that work on Subarus have plenty of experience doing this as many, many 95-99 OB's blow their head gaskets. SOA is stonewalling, so don't expect to hear from them: but some parts departments indicate they are now on their seventh part number for head gaskets. The whole deal should be around $2,000 or so, I'd guesstimate.

    I found the best place to find mechanics (unless you get a lucky driveby here) is the "MechanX files" the guys from Car Talk run. Just look for a foreign repair garage: many of them work on Subarus but don't say so specifically. But the flat 4 is dofferent from most so you don't want to be their first.

    Cars like yours sell for about $2,000 at most. Repaired, it's worth more like $5,000 so although frustrating the repair is probably worthwhile unless you burnt up the engine, and might be worthwhile even then. My sister in law had to replace at 142K and now has 243K on another '97.
  • You just need to remove the interior trim in the area of the antennea - a bunch of plastic fasteners and a couple of screws. You just have to be gentle or you'll snap something!
  • ob98coob98co Posts: 4
    Thanks, juice. So will this effeciently replace a motorized antenna? The motorized one would require some power. Do I just insulate the end of the power wire and leave it hanging out there?

    Also, can you tell me what make/model the rubber whip antenna is?
  • ob98coob98co Posts: 4
    thank you, lylitalo
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Lemme see if I took any pics...nope, sorry.

    My only concern would be to make sure the surface is flush enough. My whip antennae adjust by spinning and then the mounting angle so you could pretty much get it to point upward from any angle.

    -juice
  • joeb24joeb24 Posts: 111
    I have a 2006 Outback LL bean H6 and had my first experience with the low-tire-pressure warning light. The light came on, and staid on. I checked the tire pressure, and all 4 tires were low in pressure by about 3 pounds per tire. I recently had an oil change, and, for some reason, the technician must have lowered the pressure from the prescribed 32 front and 30 back to 29 front and 27 back. I filled the tires to the proper pressure and drove over 20 mph for a few minutes. The warning light went out as the manual said it would. So, the light worked as it was supposed to!
  • leo2633leo2633 Posts: 589
    I've had mechanics adjust my tire pressure as well, inevitably lowering the pressure which they found to be above spec. They don't take into account the fact that the tires are warmed up when they check them, and are now above the proper setting they were adjusted to when cold. I guess it is commendable that there are mechanics who would even bother to check the tires, but I always make sure to advise any mechanic that works on my car NOT to change my tire pressures.

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

    Yep, happens every single time I get the oil changed on both cars. Go home & refill them!

    Steve
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