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Subaru Legacy/Outback Wagons Maintenance & Repair



  • goosegoggoosegog Posts: 206
    I have a manual 00 OB 2.5L. I have towed a tent trailer weighing about 1200 lbs for 5 years. No brakes and no problems provided one is sensible as Mr Crowell advises. The tow limit for the manual is 1000 lbs but for the auto it is 2000 lbs. I presume the clutch is considered a weak point by Subaru (with reason!).

    But regarding trailer brakes, my new 07 tent trailer has electric brakes although it is scarcely heavier than the old one. Local state/provincial regulations vary and mandate trailer brakes at various weights, but it is usually between 1000 lbs and 2000 lbs. In a panic stop you really want trailer brakes! And if you have them go for an inertia controller such as Prodigy, not the cheaper ramping ones. Search the internet for more details.
  • The Check Engine Light on my wagon just came on last night, 3 days before a major vacation drive. My mechanic, whom I trust, got the code today but couldn't determine the problem definitively. Something to do with the idling speed, which I noticed was higher than normal right after the light came on. The part needed to fix that isn't available in town right now, and the mechanic says it's nothing to worry about on my trip.

    Anyone have experience with this? Should I worry about it?
    Thanks very much.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,504
    Hmm, could be a number of things. Likely vacuum-related. Maybe the EGR? How high was it idling? If it was above 1200, then you might toss the tranny in N when you get close to stopping as to reduce wear on the vehicle and stopping resistance, but you will probably be okay for the trip. Drive it quite a bit locally these next couple of days and just see how it responds. If you feel comfortable with that, make the trip and fix it on the flip side.
  • At the first stop sign after starting it (1.5 blocks, about), it idled for a bit at above 1 on the dial. If that's x1000 RPM, then I'd say I didn't look closely enough to see which subdivision between 1 & 2. Just a little above 1.
    So you're saying not only should I avoid downshifting approaching stops, as is always my habit (I thought a good habit, when done well, to save the brakes...), but actually shift to Neutral? Are you concerned about wear on the transmission or wear on the engine?
    Frankly I normally commute by bicycle or scooter, but I'll be a reluctant cage pilot for the next 2 days as you've advised and see how it behaves. (I do love this car, as cars go.)
    Thank you very much. Anything else you think of, please don't hesitate.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,504
    Oh, sorry.... I was thinking an A/T rather than M/T. I downshift with MT as well and would not recommend you do anything different. The only likely change would be how much each downshift will assist in slowing the vehicle, so you might need to notch up your shift points if you use the engine to help brake at all.

    With the A/T, idling above 1200 or so makes the car really want to bolt off when the brake is released. My car's idle responsiveness is a little iffy on occasion, so sometimes it will be at 1400-1500 RPM approaching a stop. I toss in in neutral to wait out the light and the engine usually drops back down to normal idle (650 IIRC)once the shifter is in neutral.

    If it would save you from a cage, then perhaps do the car testing for an idle hour or two in the late evening.... ?
  • LOL.. Thanks for that last bit of advice.
    What it comes down to is, if I leave this car at a trailhead in the middle of nowhere for 5 days and emerge exhausted to find that it doesn't start because this repair didn't happen, I'm going to be screwed. As will my traveling companions. Because AAA means nothing where we're going to be. So I really just need to understand how serious this is, could it wreck a trip that we've looked forward to since April... see where I'm at?
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,504
    Oy. I see. Peace of mind means a lot, for sure. I know because I deal with it daily with my car! Hahaha.

    I would ask your mechanic about his suspicion of the problem and the parts he things would resolve it. That may help one of us here be able to better say whether the problem could lead to something more serious, like a no-start.
  • A solenoid sensor or something related to how it's idling.
    I do trust this shop, have for years, and he said if it were his car, he'd take it. He said that there are some designs of this part that actually would affect start-up, but this is not that type. (The difference is in-line vs. not in-line, but I don't remember which he said mine was -- but perhaps that's a clue to know what part he's talking about.)
  • gof4gof4 Broomall, PAPosts: 22
    My '01 LL Bean wagon vibrates badly between 65-70 mph. I just had them road force balanced by a shop that just does alignments & frame work. Said they were not out too much, however even after the balancing the tech took it for a road test & still detected a wheel vibration(but not as bad as before.) He said that the rotors could be the culprit. The front rotors are the originals & have been turned twice. My car has a little over 60,000 miles. The tires were replaced with Bridgestone Turanzas & still have plenty of tread.
    I do notice a slight pulsation in the brake pedal when they are applied. Has anyone had a similar problem & if so how was it corrected?

    Thanks, Bob :confuse:
  • richz3richz3 Posts: 3
    I've had a persistent hesitation since about 1000 mi (now 14K) on an 05 3.0VDC automatic especially between 2nd and 3rd gears shift and on turning corners and it sends my head toward the windshield but nobody "can replicate" even though the service technician is sitting right next to me when it happens.(He says this is normal behavior!) Still working on this one. However, it was fixed for a while when I had the transmission module reprogrammed at the recall for the 05.
  • rangnerrangner Posts: 336
    I would bet that it is the rotors. Either have them turned again, or replace them with new, or if it's not that bad live with it.

    I have a 2000 outback and mine vibrates a little at highway speeds but I just ignore it. From what I understand the OEM rotors warp easily. You may consider going aftermarket with powerslot or brembo rotors.

    FWIW, changing my braking style reduced the frequency of warping rotors. It's better to brake hard sooner than a slow building braking effort that reaches greatest force when you stop.
  • I looked on and all I could find was the owner's manuals. How about a link to the manuals page.
  • You have to pay to get access to the service manuals, at For $35 you get 72 hours of download from their library. Unfortunately, they restrict you to about 20 files per hour, so it takes many hours to download the entire manual. Other time durations are available but are quite expensive for us individuals.
  • I disconnected battery in my '98 to scrub off corrosion. Recharged the battery and tried to connect it back. Unfortunately, the alarm will not stop and the car won't start. I don't have a working key fob anymore, so that won't work to disarm the alarm. I held down on the alarm reset button underneath the dash for about 15 seconds, but that did not work (the door locks didn't cycle either). I was told by the dealer to disconnect the alarm fuse, but I have no idea where it is - it's not listed in the manual.
    Anyone have ANY idea? The dealer is drawing a blank and can't help me.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Glad to hear it! :)

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I don't have an alarm on my '98 L model, but I had to use the keyless to lock/unlock to get that to stop. Do you still have a keyless entry fob? Maybe change the battery on it if it's dead?

  • ssteveksstevek Posts: 45
    I suspect I have a loose heat shield as well, there's a vibration noise around 1800 rpm. Today I thought I found it, I slightly bent the shield over the muffler but it really didn't help much. I wonder how it's actually fixed. I did see screws to attach the shield, I'll check those. I did the same thing to try to make it happen, I used a mallet. Unfortunately just revving the engine to 1800 rpm in park won't produce the sound.
  • zman3zman3 Posts: 857
    My dealer had to weld my heat shield to fix the rattle.
  • goosegoggoosegog Posts: 206
    First we lose the flags, now the layout is greatly inferior. Or has my browser gone wonky? Revka?
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 5,890
    Judging by the fact that you're asking for a host who has moved on quite some time ago, you might want to visit the Forums Software! Your Questions Answered... discussion to catch up on the changes in the forums. ;)

    Need help navigating? - or send a private message by clicking on my name.
    Share your vehicle reviews

  • ozman62ozman62 Posts: 229
    Yeah, I really miss the flags too. And these colours... :sick:
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 5,890
    Visit the forums software discussion. That's the place for feeback on the changes.

    Need help navigating? - or send a private message by clicking on my name.
    Share your vehicle reviews

  • goosegoggoosegog Posts: 206
    My apologies, Mr Host. I misread the bit at the top Created by revka in the Subaru Legacy & Outback Message Board. Your Host is pf_flyer .
  • I was thinking of changing the spark plugs on my 2003 LL Bean Wagon 3.0L (60K)....I have not closely looked under the hood yet.

    Is this task easily done?

    Any tricks to it?


  • goosegoggoosegog Posts: 206
    Final update: Got the replacement motor fitted (although they didn't put the window glass back correctly and it needs adjusting). Took apart the old motor and found a small sealed component marked 9007099 about 1/2 x 3/4 x 1/8 inch, in series with the motor brushes. I think it is a thermal cutout which perhaps should reset after operating, but it is open circuit, which means the motor will never operate. I doubt if a replacement could be found easily, certainly not from Subaru.

    So a failed 25c part results in a $500 repair (or $250 for those of you in the US).
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Haven't done the 3.0l, but the 2.5l isn't hard on the Legacy because it's a lot wider than the Forester/Impreza. The Forester is a bear.

    I don't think the 3.0l has a longer stroke, in fact I think it's a tad shorter, so you should have room to work.

  • Hello, just wondering if you ever found the trailer wiring plug? I have an '06 Outback Wagon and have been unable to locate mine either in the left rear access panel near the power outlet or anywhere else. Thanks.
  • I found my '06 Outback Wagon's cable and plug that mates to the 6-pole connector of my Curt trailer wire adapter in the gap between the cargo area floor and the plastic panel that holds the power plug receptacle (driver's side). You have to remove both the carpeted left "wing" panel and the fitted foam panel underneath to get to the gap where the cable resides. Need to be careful prying up the plastic push stud and clips that hold the foam panel to the floor.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    That's a '98 Forester. Spare tire well, basically. You have to remove the cover and the tire to see that, but the harness plug was against the back wall of the tire well.

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