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Subaru Legacy/Outback Wagons Maintenance & Repair



  • The burden of proof is on me, which is the dilemma. It was almost 2 weeks ago, and I noticed it this past Saturday. Would I expect these people to own up, or would I need to throw energy towards this and get nothing in return but more frustration? I feel like Jim Carrey in Liar, Liar. After a few realizations that all his fit is going to cost him more in time and money, he finishes his rant with ".....going to just go ahead and take it up the taaaailll piiiipe....."

    Will, however, make the phone call, and write it up to Better Business Bureau and take my oil changes, and warning to all my friends and fam's, elsewhere.
  • I posted awhile back about a blown head gasket on a 1999 Outback that was diagnosed by the dealer (based on hydrocarbons in coolant - car has never overheated). Rather than pay the estimated $2500+ repair, I took it to a highly rated independent shop for the work. That shop did not detect anything (HC in coolant, overheat, etc) that suggested a blown HG and passed up a $1,400+ (their estimate) repair job.

    Two months later (1K miles) and the car runs fine. However, after a long trip discovered a full coolant reservoir that had small, clear air bubbles coming up through the coolant. Concerned about the bubbles I re-checked with the independent shop who says that it's still fine.

    I don't want to have unnecessary work done, but at the same time don't want to be left high and dry on the side of the road. I guess the question is, are the bubbles in the coolant reservoir always a sign of a blown head gasket? Don't know who to trust...
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    What I would suggest is to have the indy shop flush the radiator and refill with coolant and the conditioner that Subaru sells.

  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 9,933
    That is a good suggestion to start. If the bubbles are small and persistent, though, it would likely suggest that air is being injected into the system somewhere... possibly a head gasket. If you do not see any black gunk or discoloration of the coolant then it must be a very small leak (if, indeed, it is a HG).
    2013 Volkwagen Passat TDI, 2008 and 2010 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • fibber2fibber2 Mid Hudson Valley, NYPosts: 3,770

    Just catching up after being absent for a while. Wow! You guys were really lucky based on what your wagon looks like. Too bad, as I know how much you were attached to the OB, and how much care and effort you invested in keeping her running well.

  • fibber2fibber2 Mid Hudson Valley, NYPosts: 3,770
    I went thru the dealer a couple of times on brake problems on my '02 OBW ("warped" rotors, sticking pads, uneven wear), then finally took on the issue myself.

    I spent $450 on PowerSlot 'frozen' rotors and Hawk HPS pads, removed and cleaned the stainless steel springs and the slots they fit into, cleaned and lubed the sliders, etc. Amazing difference in performance, and no re-occurance in any of the above mentioned issues.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I ended up removing the plastic under mine. It got in the way of oil changes.

    You can probably rig a screw to hold it together, if you want.

  • The car: 2005 Outback 2.5i
    The issue: The air coming out of the passenger-side vents, with the temperature knob set on maximum, the blower on maximum speed, and all dashboard-vents open, is not warm, while the air coming out of the driver's side vents is warm.
    The question: What could be the origin?
    Thanks, Marc
  • With the fan on maximum speed and the temperature knob turned to maximum, the air coming from the driver's side vents is hot, but the air coming from the passenger's side vents is not warm at all. The flows are comparable, just the temperature differs.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Saw your post in several thread - stick to the Problems & Solutions threads, which get the most traffic.

    Not sure about the problem, but it may just be that the system can't supply enough heat for all vents on full blast.

    Is it warm with the vent on 1 or 2?

  • The problem exists in any vent setting. A few weeks ago, I had the 30K service done at the dealership. This includes replacement of the cooling fluid. Could air in the system be the cause? Does the 2.5i, even though it does not have the dual climate option, have two separate heating units?
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 9,933
    Ah, that is a good point! While it probably only has a single heating core, it might, indeed, have two separate "flaps" that control the amount of air flow over the heating coils. Perhaps the one for that side of the car has come off its cable? The cable (only one) on my '96 was problematic in this way, and I had to be very cautious about moving the heat settings between "cold" and "hot" or I would end up with "cold" when I really wanted "hot." :blush:
    2013 Volkwagen Passat TDI, 2008 and 2010 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • Hi. Please help. I have a '97 Subaru Outback and a few months ago the A/T Oil Temp light would flash a few times and then turn off. It would especially do it when the car was warm. And when the light would turn on it would cause my car to rumble from the rear end when I turned the wheel sharp, especially in reverse, and if i was travelling slowly it would cause my car to stop moving. It would also cause it to set back after i turned the engine off. In other words, it was like even though the car was in park the engine was still pushing the car forward until i turned the engine off. So I took it in and my mechanic checked all the fluid levels and pressures and said everything was fine. Then it started acting up again but now the light ALWAYS turns on and the steering conditions are worse. Any ideas on what's wrong? It seems nobody else on here has had the same problem. thanks
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 9,933
    Hmm, that is strange. I almost wonder if there is something wrong with the torque converter or center differential, but unfortunately I can offer no concrete feedback on your problem.
    2013 Volkwagen Passat TDI, 2008 and 2010 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • Cool. Thanks. With the way it's been driving lately and with it being kinda slippy over the ice, snow, and slush this seems like it could be the problem. I'll suggest it to my mechanic.
  • dtedte Posts: 1
    So i'm looking into buying a 2000 Legacy. It has 95,000 Km's on it(59,000 Miles aprox.). According to the service history it was brought in for piston slap and they replaced the pistons at 54,000 kms, and then the head gasket was just changed now because it had a small leak. The rotors were also just turned. Other than that it doesn't seem to have any problems right now, but what are the chances of the piston slap coming back, and when do you think the brakes will have to be redone? I am buying this car to drive to BC, which is all the way across canada for me, so i need something that will be able to handle the distance, and not find out half way there that i'm getting wikid piston slap because the replaced pistons didn't solve it. I realize it was done a long time ago, and i couldn't hear anything when i test drove it for two days, but i am just worried about it coming back and costing me a lot of money to fix right after i buy it.

    It's listed at 12,000$CDN, is that a decent price? should all the bugs be worked out by now since it is already 7 years old? they just did a major tune up, but should i be worried about something else popping up in the near future (next year or so)?

    thanks for any help

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    The new gasket material is better, I just hope the heads didn't warp from overheating.

    The rotors aren't that expensive. We looked for my dad's 01 Outback and they were $150 for the pair at Advance Auto Parts. Not a big concern, IMO.

  • 1998 Legacy wagon postal, where is the fuse for the all wheel drive switch, this seems to be a secret as we cannot get it answered from service. thanks :confuse:
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    It's not a switch, it's actually just an empty fuse slot. You insert a fuse and it switches to FWD only. Default (no fuse) is AWD.

    I think it's under the hood, not sure where on your specific model. On the Foresters, it's on the driver's side.

  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 9,933
    My guess is that it is in the same location as on the '96, and that was under the hood, passenger side, mounted to the firewall, iirc. It was a small black box with "FWD" stamped in white on the top.
    2013 Volkwagen Passat TDI, 2008 and 2010 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • Well - this is a shot in the dark - but...

    I'm having the same issue you described with my 95 AWD Legacy. Only the front wheels are spinning on ice. Tested it in 1 and 2 (not just Drive) and checked for the 2WD fuse. I even put a fuse in to make sure that the 2WD switch was functioning. It lights up 2WD with a fuse in place. But when I take it out - still no AWD.

    Did you ever come to a conclusion regarding your problem?

    Thanks in advance!
  • dougb10dougb10 Burlington, Ontario, CanadaPosts: 185

    I am no expert on piston slap...hard to give an idea on brake replacement either as this depends on the kind of driving you do. Some people drive "hard" and wear out brakes very quickly.
    I would ask if the timing belt has been this is due around the 100,000 km. mark (I think).
    The price seems to be OK if the car is clean and well serviced...can you get the history from the dealer?

  • Hi. We purchased an 07 Outback too. I noticed same thing as you with drips on driveway after car sat overnight and was started up next day. Fluid was pink when I caught it on a tin tray, though would turn yellowish after a few hours in the open air. Smelled and looked like ATF to me. Dealer diagnosed as leaking transmission cooler line, at a hose clamp near the steering column. So yes the drip was near the steering area, but NO it wasn't power steering fluid in our case and I suspect in your case too. This all happened a month ago. Now just yesterday I noticed more drips, this time from under radiator area at left front of car. I looked under there to see pink fluid leaking from the forward end of a transmission cooler line, at the clamp where the rubber hose attaches to the cooler unit. So this is the second OEM clamp that is not tight enough. These clamps are the spring loaded non adjustable type so the solution is to remove the clamp and replace with an aftermarket adjustable hose clamp and tighten moderately (not too tight). I refused to do another dealer drop off for this, as the last time they had the car they scratched it slightly and over filled ALL the fluids ("for good measure" hah!)

    I have to wonder what is going on at the factory with these clamps/hoses. Perhaps the supplier of one or the other was changed and either the hose got skinnier or the clamp tension got looser. I hope all the clamps on this car don't start leaking! :sick:

    As far as getting the correct ATF level to keep this brand new transmission happy ...I need to start a new thread for that.
  • Hi all. I've noticed extreme variability of the ATF level on the dipstick depending on how much the car is driven/warmed up. Given that it's winter in New England and cold (say 25 or 30 degrees) I don't think the standard advice of "drive the car a few miles to warm it up, then shift through all gears and leave it in park, let idle a bit and check level while idling" is sufficient. Short of measuring actual ATF temperature (via an OBD II CAN BUS tester that works with the 2007 Outback--which I don't possess) is there a better rule of thumb on how warm the car should be? I'm just afraid that I might be way off the mark. What I see is: If I drive the car 3 miles "around the block" ONCE I get a level reading of half way between Cold Full and Hot Low. Drive around block SECOND time and level reads half way between Hot Low and Hot Full. Drive around the block a THIRD time and level reads slightly above Hot Full. How can us mere mortals decide? :confuse: And if I end up putting too much in there
    will it harm the transmission or just overflow out the dipstick tube harmlessly?

    And does anyone know how to obtain the OEM fluid? I asked at my dealer and was told that they use it out of 50 gallon drums and it's not for sale to customers. He said to just use Dextron II, but I don't want to use second best, nor do I want to mix non OEM with OEM fluid.

  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    I would make sure it's good and hot, like 5-10 miles. As for what fluid, check the manual, it will tell you which type to use. My Nissan Armada requires Nissan Type J, which you can only get at the dealer. I heard the 06 Forester takes OEM Subaru Type J which is obtainable at the dealer.

    If your dealer doesn't stock it try a different dealer.

  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 9,933
    I agree - if you are checking it based on the "hot full" mark, then make sure it is hot, and 10 miles or more will get it there - especially in those "warm" temperatures down in New England! Heck, 10 miles would warm it up even at -30F.

    Oh, and this is from the owner's manual:

    Use one of the following types of automatic transmission fluid:

    Genuine Subaru Automatic Transmission Fluid Type-HP
    Castrol Transmax J
    Pennzoil ATF-J*

    * Available only in the USA (except Alaska and Hawaii)

    5-speed Auto - only use fluids specified above.
    For 4-speed Auto Trans:

    "If the recommended automatic transmission fluid is unavailable, Dexron III may be temporarily used. If the Dexron III is used continuously there will be a noticeable increase in the vibration and noise from the automatic transmission."
    2013 Volkwagen Passat TDI, 2008 and 2010 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Interesting, it looks like most of the newer generation Japanese transmissions are requiring TypeJ. I wonder what's in this stuff???

  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 9,933
    *edit* should have mentioned that the above information is on page 11-23 of the 2007 Legacy/Outback owner's manual.

    Mike, I wonder that as well. The older transmissions called for Dexron III. I have a feeling, though, that the Subaru OEM type HP is actually "IDEMITSU ATF HP."
    2013 Volkwagen Passat TDI, 2008 and 2010 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Probably correct. I guess with all the extra gears and tighter tollerances in the ATs they are requiring different fluids. I really wanted to put synthetic in mine but I don't want to risk the warranty on it. I forget now who makes the Nissan and Subaru trannies but they are made by the same Japanese company.

  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 9,933
    I am fairly sure it is Jatco, but do not hold me to it! :blush:
    2013 Volkwagen Passat TDI, 2008 and 2010 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
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