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Subaru Legacy/Outback Wagons Maintenance & Repair



  • lfdallfdal Posts: 679
    In days gone by that could have been caused by a faulty voltage regulator. On the old mechanical ones they would occasionally stick and the higher you rev'd the engine the more voltage things got - remember blowing ever bulb, including headlights that way.

    Don't hear about that happen very often with a solid state regulator.

    You didn't happen to notice if things got brighter or w/w faster as you gave it more gas?

    I'd check all of the fuses and fusible links first, then recheck the battery connections and the battery voltage with a meter if you have one.

    Then I think I'd get the alternator output checked.......


  • Giving it gas didn't change anything.
    I had it towed to a garage, I wanted some opinions before they got back to me so I would kind of know what to expect. I'm hoping this won't cost a fortune...

    Thanks for taking the time to give me advice. I'll let you know what turns up.
  • lfdallfdal Posts: 679
    You're welcome. Please do let us know what caused it. An alternator shouldn't be that bad to get replaced, the regular fuses are dirt cheap, but if it did blow some of the fusible links they could get a little expensive.

    Should be trivial for a shop to diagnose.

    Good luck

  • My wife drives a '02 OB Wagon AT with a 2.5L engine. From time to time she will use premium grade gas instead of regular. I know the 3.0L engine requires premium gas all the time, however is it OK to drive the 2.5L engine using premium gas all the time? Can the premium gas affect the 2.5L engine negatively?

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Sorry to ask the obvious, but you sure you're not using the valet key? Try a different key to be sure.

    Premium - it won't hurt your engine but it might hurt your wallet! $3.159 in Rockville, MD for premium, ouch!

  • Premium won't hurt the engine, it's just a waste.
    I had a 96 OB 2.5L wagon that recommended premium but I used 10% ethanol (89 octane) with absolutely no problems.
    My 99 OB 2.5L sedan recommended regular and I used the ethanol mix with no problems.
    My current 03 H-6 3.0L VDC wagon recommends premium, but again, I have had no problems with the ethanol 89 octane.
    Strangely, though, when I reset the engine computer on the VDC and filled the car up with premium (92 Octane) it got 19 city and 26 highway as opposed to 17 city and 24 highway before the reset and using 89 octane ethanol blend.
    In Nebraska, the 89 octane 10% ethanol mix costs substantially less than regular, so I tend to use that more often and it's never given me a problem with engine response or repairs.
  • krzysskrzyss Posts: 843
    Why "Strangely"?
    If premium is recommended then it is no wonder that engine is designed to benefit from higher octane.
    Is 89 octane 10% ethanol 10% cheaper than good stuff?

  • doug900doug900 Posts: 7
    Ok, I'm getting tired of troubleshooting this "o2 sensor heater circuit high input" problem. I didn't have this problem originally. Could it be that I just plain and simply have the wrong o2 sensor installed?

    This is on a 1999 subaru Legacy L wagon (just discovered that it is a California car) which explains the 4 wire o2 sensor on front and back, as opposed to 3 wire front and 4 wire back on non california models.

    When looking up sensors on "" (great site)!, they don't list a 4 wire universal for the front sensor (upstream from cat) for this car (year). I purchased one anyway (a 4 wire universal), and installed it. I wonder if this is the problem? the original sensor is a denso "planer" design, and the one I purchased, is a walker "thimble" design. It appears to be a hard fail in the OBDII, since when I disconnect the battery for a while, and then start the car, the "check engine light" comes on about 5 seconds after start, but instantly for each subsequent start thereafter.

    Does anybody know if this year and model subaru is critical to what o2 sensor is used? Is there something unique about the heater circuit in the oem sensor? I did break down and buy an oem sensor (Denso) for $114.00, hoping that when it comes, it will take care of my problem. Feed back from a subaru tech or someone in the know would be great! Seems to me that there is a reason that universal sensors are not listed for this car! Doug :confuse:
  • Premium is about $2.89/gallon compared to $2.51 for the 89 octane (10%) ethanol mix at the BP stations. So it is a little more than 10% less. Regular (87 octane) is somewhere between the two.
    Of course, these change almost hourly now. :surprise:
  • kalorixkalorix Posts: 5
    This may be a silly question but I have four new jack stands that I've bought to get a good look under the car. However, I've no idea of the safest place to put them. They don't have the slit-like groove that the Subaru jack has so I can't place them directly at the jack points. Any pointers anyone? A previous owner of the vehicle has already "flattened" one of the jack points, I assume by placing a jack stand under it. I have the Haynes maintenance manual if that can be used for reference. Thanks.
  • fibber2fibber2 Mid Hudson Valley, NYPosts: 3,729
    In general, the jacking points are also the best place for jack stands. You 'jack' the rear from under the differential, and the front from the center crossmember that is located just behind the oil drain plug area. Your question, and one that has plagued me on every car I have owned, is how to safely put the flat topped stands that have no cutout under that ridge of metal that is really not intended to bear the weight (the flat spot above that is reinforced for this purpose....)! I am sort of surprised that the makers of stands don't get it, and include the notch that most vehicles need.

    In the past, my old stands had a large enough flat top that I put a chuck of oak that I sawed a ridge on the top, and had 'wings' on the bottom so that they did not slip off. I am not yet sure what to do with my new ones.

  • yustryustr Posts: 2
    Well it turned out to be the viscous coupling and it's all fixed....$1050 later.... :cry:
  • The mechanic said I need to replace the entire engine. An import from Japan. Someone made a point to me the other day that he felt that the VW engine is better for the american subaru. What should I tell my mechanic? And are their other things I should be worried about? replacing a blown engine with a used engine in a 110k 1996...It was in great shape before the overheating, but is this wise? Kelley Blue book says its worth between $4000 and $5400 in realitvely good shape. I bought it a year and a half ago for $7400 and in the shape that its in now the mechanic says its not worth anything even to the scrap... My girlfriend has a $4000 used Golf that she was going to sell. Should we use that money to fix the subaru up or should I say goodbye and muster up whatever I can buy for my $5000 budget?

    What a bummer...

  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,276
    What caused the overheating? Engine replacement due to a single overheat event could be a bit shortsighted at this point.

    If the block is cracked or heads are warped, it could be a good move to replace the engine - probably a $2500 fix for the engine; don't know about how much labor would cost, but I could swap out the engine in 5-6 hours from start to finish, so I would hope an experienced shop could do it in less.

    If the car is in good shape other than the engine (110K isn't much for a 10-yr-old car), then I would say that's your cheapest option if you're looking at a 5K cap. I cannot comment on a VW engine swap, though I can imagine that there are some engine management issues that could come up with the computer.

    It's up to you, but if you replace it with a 5K car, it is probably going to land you with maintenance issues of its own.

    Good luck.....

  • i would also keep in mind that most gas engines don't do very well with ethanol, the pump and everything else aren't made for it. it may be cheaper but you will have problems later. im a mechanic and im seeing so many problems with people using cheep fuel, and ethanol than recommended. i was reading through my manual to see if i could use ethanol fuel and the manual recommends not to and especially not more than 15%.
    and on another note if the car recommends premium, you should really stay away from less than that, if you go a lower grade the engine will ping. it is very harmful to the engine. the lower grade burns at a lower temp which is why you get pinging, and that is why you get better mileage with the premium. and also the percentage of ethanol does not change the grade it is just mixed differently.
    so i would just be careful with the grade you use, i have a 00 H4 i only use Chev or Chell, no cheep gas in my car, its only a couple cents more but worth it in the long run

  • fibber2fibber2 Mid Hudson Valley, NYPosts: 3,729

    Unfortunately, ethanol (ethyl alcohol - grain alcohol) is the prefered oxygenator replacement for MTBE in many states. 10% is the industry standard, and in many parts of the country you simply cannot buy anything less. So for many of us, it is not a matter of choice.

    The manufacturers say that the seals in pumps should be OK with ethanol and isopropyl alcohol, but I would avoid methanol (the cheap 'dry gas' additive - wood alcohol). That stuff is more likely to break down rubbber and seal materials.

  • ebony5ebony5 Posts: 142
    Anyone have any experience using Lucas gas additive? I have a '96 OBW which requires Premium gas. Generally I use BP and sometimes Shell, but with the price of gas as it is I would like to increase the mileage if possible, and hopefully benefit the engine.I still plan on using premium. I just do not want to risk harming a ten year old engine with 79,000 miles on it, the seals, gaskets or whatever. Thanks
  • i did know the 10% rule and they are trying to bump it up to 15% in ID. i was in a class a bit ago and we were talking about ethanol and how it effects a car, yes it does take a long time, and it isn't the seals im worried about, its the gumming up like sugar does and that crappy dexcool does. but you are right there is now way around it, which sucks.
    if i remember, i have the book from my class, i will try to find that topic and let you know exactly what is says
    and i totaly agree with you about cheep gas, we have soo many chevy trucks and suvs come in with rough engines, and half the time its cheep gas is their problem

  • zman3zman3 Posts: 857
    Minnesota has had 10% Ethanol year round for a few years now. Prior to that it was added during the winter months. I know of not one single person that has had issues due to the ethanol. I have 98,000 miles on my Outback with no fuel related issues. I wouldn't worry about it. I would think that if it were an issue we would be aware of it here.

    They are talking about a mandated 20% ethanol fuel in a few years. I have no idea what that extra 10% would do, other than reduce mileage further.
  • ritomritom Posts: 1
    I have a '95 Legacy wagon 180,000 miles. I've had this car 8 years. Just had a tune up because it needed one, but I've been having this problem since before the tune-up and it hasn't been resolved. The car starts fine most of the time, but about once a week it will not start until I pump the gas a few times and wait 2 minutes. When I turn the key, all dash lights will come on, sometimes I hear nothing, but somtimes I hear it trying to turn over. This seems to happen when there is moisture in the air, dew, or overnight rain, but it also happenned once on a dry warm evening. Is this because of an old battery or electrical problem? Because it's an intermittent problem, I don't want to take it to the shop only to have them tell me they couldn't get it to not start. Any ideas?
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