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Subaru Legacy/Outback Wagons Maintenance & Repair

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  • cptpltcptplt Posts: 1,075
    sounds like a light metallic object being rattled around, like a heat shield, except the 2 fixes they did have had minimal effect so far. will have them check the struts next time, thanks for the pointer!
  • dbell1dbell1 Posts: 40
    This forum was a huge help to me when I was car shopping in 2005. Read up on all the models and bought the 01 Outback. Over the years, it hauled my handicapped dad, his wheelchair, my arthritic German Shepherd, countless tents & Scouts and years of memories. On Monday I was in a 4 car pileup at rush hour. Front and back damage. Would be too much to fix, so at 101,097 miles, it's now an 'organ donor' car and going to the scrapyard. It served me well and saved me many times from accidents and injury. :sick: I used to love going for servicing - it was normally just 'oil change' fee and the occasional tie rod/brake pad replacement. I'm hard on my cars and that little car stood up to every challenge I tossed at it.

    Test drove 2 Subies tonight - the '04 Legacy National Limited and the '09 Forester X. I'm torn between them. Legacy was like sitting in my old car, but the family liked the Forester better (roomier finally). Still using Nitti's Subaru in Hamilton, NJ. As usual, they're awesome. :shades:
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    RIP indeed, the car gave up its life to save yours.

    We have an 09 Forester and love it so far. Our previous car was a 2002 Legacy, so yours would be a similar upgrade.

    I will say this - my wife prefers the Forester by a *wide* margin.

    To be fair it was a Legacy L, and this is a Forester Limited, but still, she likes sitting up high, visibility is fantastic, and on a highway trip on Wednesday she got 30.0mpg (I got 27.0mpg coming back, driving faster).

    See if you can get that huge moonroof, though, it's my personal favorite feature.
  • blackbeanblackbean Posts: 100
    Hi All,

    Just wondering if anyone has had to do caliper rebuilds on the outback? If so, how many miles? I just replaced my front pads and noticed that the caliper slide pin "boots" were leaking grease. I will replace these next time I was in there, but wondered how long the piston seals were good for.

    Thanks!
    matt
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    My Forester's calipers lasted the 9 years I owned them.

    I did have to replace calipers on my Miata last year, but it's a 1993.

    No idea how long Subaru's calipers last, but I guess it's good that I don't know!
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Still using Nitti's Subaru in Hamilton, NJ. As usual, they're awesome.

    I just picked up a set of strut tops from them. Took them forever to get them but they finally came in.

    That is THE SMALLEST Subaru dealer I've ever seen!

    -mike
    Motorsports and Modifications Host
  • Hi all, finally getting settled in on W Coast and just wanted to say thanks again for all your help in finding our Subaru. The 2003 Subaru Outback H6 VDC we bought in N California before moving our here from the E Coast a) drove very smoothly b) has been a huge help in picking up all the light office furniture and supplies we had to buy for our office and home (I found the extra interior length of a wagon/crossover more helpful than the extra interior height of a small-mid SUV) . We were able to pick up every single thing we needed locally except for a couch set. It’s unbelievable what we were able to move with this car.

    The car only needed the Serpentine belt replaced and wheel alignment and I also picked up a new set of tires. At 85K miles, we’ll probably also do the 90K servicing soon.

    Though the car was driving very smoothly for weeks, the pre-purchase inspection garage said that the serpentine belt needed replacement - so after a few weeks, as soon as I could give up the car for a day, I had a local garage with good reviews replace the belt, and I noticed the following afterwards:

    1) I recall the engine used to be at about 1000 RPMs after start and very quiet with low vibration. Now, upon starting the car, the car seems to be revving at a higher RPM than it did before the belt replacement – about 1500 RPM – and stays there for a bit before coming down to 750 RPMs, and it’s noisier and vibrates more than before. It’s not VERY noisy and shaky, just noticeably more so than before, when it was super quiet with low vibration.

    2) Twice right after coming off the highway to local streets, the car stalled at a red light. It started right back up, but I have no idea what caused the stall. It only happened 2 times, and only happened when the gas tank was lower - both times below 1/4 tank, one time when very low. One of those times the car was also on a hill. It never happened any other time.

    A) Any idea what could be causing the higher revving, higher noise and vibration upon start? What could the mechanic have done to cause this? Is the timing off ? What RPM should the car be at upon start, and what should it be at after warmed up when still?

    B) Any idea what caused the 2 stalls? It only happened those two times, under the same conditions – coming off highway to streets, upon the first or second red light, with the gas tank below 1/4 tank.
  • Hi guys, finally getting settled in on W Coast and just wanted to say thanks again for all your help in finding our Subaru. The 2003 Subaru Outback H6 VDC we bought in N California before moving our here from the E Coast a) drove very smoothly b) has been a huge help in picking up all the light office furniture and supplies we had to buy for our office and home (I found the extra interior length of a wagon/crossover more helpful than the extra interior height of a small-mid SUV) . We were able to pick up every single thing we needed locally except for a couch set. It’s unbelievable what we were able to move with this car.

    The car only needed the Serpentine belt replaced and wheel alignment and I also picked up a new set of tires. At 85K miles, we’ll probably also do the 90K servicing soon.

    Twice while driving at faster highway speeds +75mph (the car is smooth enough on smooth highway that you really don’t feel the speed and everyone drives +70 here to begin with), I saw the VDC and ABS indicator lights switch on on the dash. Both times there were some cracks/bumps in the highway which jarred the car and may have triggered the lights. The lights stayed on after coming off the highway, but next time car was started, the indicator lights stayed off after start.

    Why did the lights come on? Did the systems switch off because of the higher speed or because of a bump/crack in the road jarring the car? Does this mean that the VDC and ABS systems were temporarily disabled? If so, did they need to be switched back on? I’m going to check out the owner’s manual as well, just haven’t had time working crazy hours and getting settled.
  • We just picked up our 2003 Subaru Outback H6 VDC and while we're at 85K, we might as well do the 90K servicing. Mechanic says we're good for now but that a few fluids are showing the dirt from all the mileage and could use replacement.

    What should we make sure is done in the 90K servicing?

    Should we use synthetic or regular oil?
  • wibyerwibyer Posts: 3
    Looking for a car for my teenage daughter as we live in snow country WI (100" last yr), I'd like AWD Outback and probably can afford around $6000.
    Can I get a good reliable Subaru for that amount?
    Any recommendations on model year?
    How much life does a 100,000 mile car have left?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,525
    Yes you can but you must watch out for head gasket failure on the Outback 2.5 engine. This might occur around 100K or 125K miles. So if the car has not ever had head gaskets done, that's probably going to be your baby. I'd definitely look for a car that has had this repair done already. Otherwise, $5,000 should buy you a very decent 1997-1998 Outback indeed. These are very good cars.

    PS: If they did the head gaskets, they should have replaced the radiator.

    Visiting Host, Subaru owner, Subaru Head Gasket replacer

    MODERATOR

  • wibyerwibyer Posts: 3
    So in this case, older is better correct?
    Any mileage concerns on those ?
    (and what about the '99's? I had looked at a 99 LTD with 166K, but that seemed just too high for me! Someone else bought it though)
    Thanks for any help you can give, we are nervous about buying.
  • Hi, I have a '96 Subaru Legacy Outback wagon with 267K miles on it. I live in a very dry climate (NM) and so this weeked the parking brake button popped off. It looks like the plastic got dried out. I'm wondering if I can just glue it back on with epoxy?
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    What should we make sure is done in the 90K servicing?

    90k on subies:

    Coolant drain/fill
    Check Brake Pads
    Flush the brake fuild
    Check the belts (you just replaced it so you don't have to)
    Oil Change
    ATF + Diffy Fluid Change

    That's about it.

    For the ATF, I suggest the Redline High Temp Synthetic ATF.
    Diffy, Redline or Amsoil Gear Lube
    Engine Oil, Amsoil or Mobil 1
    Brake Fluid, ATE Superblue

    That's about it.

    -mike
    Motorsports and Modifications Host
  • sjm13sjm13 Posts: 1
    I damaged (cracked) the backup light and the surrounding upper body panel on the liftgate of my 2007 legacy.

    I attempted to remove the inside trim of the liftgate in order to replace the light and repair the body panel. Made good progress but reached a point where it seems bolted somewhere that I can't determine.

    It seems like this should be easier.

    Any suggestions????

    Thanks in advance.
  • dbell1dbell1 Posts: 40
    I posted last week that my wonderful 2001 Outback was totalled in an accident. :( RIP Little Subie. After looking at everything on the market and test driving a lot of vehicles, including the new Forester, I bought an 05 Legacy tonight. Leather, moonroof, 41K miles, loaded and just off lease. Family approved during the test drive. Hoping this will last until my son is ready to drive it (if I give it up that easily). I'll be back to ask lots of questions, but as usual, Nitti's Subaru in Hamilton, NJ the honest dealer with the smallest office, ;) took care of me so much better than all the other companies combined. :shades:
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Congrats!

    If you ever need local help, I'm in NJ, so feel free to ask.

    -mike
    Motorsports and Modifications Host
  • dbell1dbell1 Posts: 40
    Thanks Mike :shades: Financing through dealer came back better than I could get on my own, so I'll be getting it tomorrow. I'm so excited to get out of the rental car and into a Subie again!
  • I just changed the spark plugs in my 98 legacy outback and installed a new battery. I did the little reset thing for the new battery and went to start my car. The engine starts, revs to about 1600 and stalls out in 5-10 seconds. I changed the plugs one at a time, so I know I didn't cross the wires.

    Any thoughts? What am I missing?
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    I'll bet money you knocked off a vaccum line somewhere. Same thing happened when I did my dad's plugs. If it's not that, perhaps one isn't fully tightened or a wire isn't fully on?

    I'd start with the vaccum lines, have someone start it and listen for a sucking sound.

    -mike
    Motorsports and Modifications Host
  • My '08 Outback LTD has a rattle coming from somewhere in the back. It started one week after I bought the car. My wife drives a '95 Subaru Legacy LS which is still solid - no rattles. Kind of frustrating. I'm living with it since I don't think I want the dealer fiddling with it. They wanted to remove the entire headliner and start looking - don't think so.
  • Are you sure it's coming from under the car? My rattle is coming from somewhere in the back but at times it can be difficult to tell exactly where it is coming from, i.e. back interior vs back underneath somewhere?
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Have them start with the rear lift gate struts. Some Tribeccas had rattlings that were a result of weak liftgate struts.

    -mike
  • The timing belt broke on my 1996 Outback. The mechanic said that this likely also resulted in a bent valve, but he wouldn't know for sure without replacing the timing belt. If I knew that there wasn't any engine damage, I would replace the timing belt ($385). It wouldn't be worth fixing, however, if the valve is bent (engine repair/replacement options would be $3000-$3300). Is there any way to know if there is engine damage without replacing the timing belt. Like I said, I don't want to spend $385 if the engine also needs fixing. I'll simply get rid of the car if there is that type of damage. Thank you.
  • The majority of the cost of replacing a timing belt is labor, since it's usually buried behind a lot of stuff. This is why it's usually recommended that you replace the water pump at the same time, since most of the labor's already out of the way.

    I assume you have a LEGACY OUTBACK, because the Outback line wasn't solo until around the 2000 mark.

    You have two engines available in this build:

    One's a 2.2L, one's an upgraded 2.5L. From here, I've noticed that the 2.5 and 2.2 engines with DUAL OVERHEAD CAMS (DOHC) are both interference-based engines, meaning the probability of a bent valve/damage piston from the timing belt failure is high. If either are SINGLE OVERHEAD CAMS (SOHC), then it appears that this is NOT an interference-based engine.

    If you don't know, you'll have to reference your owners manual. If you don't have an owner's manual, you'll have to call the guys at AutoZone or Advance Auto Parts to figure out what you've got.

    That being said, there have been a number of major safety features implemented in new-generation Subarus, so you may want to just consider looking at something new. Traction Control, Stability Control, 4-Wheel Disc Anti-lock Brakes, Daytime Running Lamps, LATCH system, Trunk Escape Cord, just to name a few.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,525
    if you have the 2.2 engine, you're fine, the valves can't be bent. If you have the 2.5 engine, chances are very good that the valves are indeed bent.

    Your year, 1996, can have either engine.

    MODERATOR

  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    I'm pretty sure none of the outback trims ever came in a 2.2L engine. All the legacy based outbacks were 2.5L DOHC engines.

    -mike
    Motorsports and Modifications Host
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,525
    The spec tables do show a 1996 Outback base and LS with the 2.2, and the LSi and GT with the 2.5. Also that's what the Subaru shop I called said. But you know, I don't KNOW for sure either. The owner should check his data plate.

    If it's a 2.5 he's toast, if it's a 2.2, he's okay, that's about all we know for sure I guess.

    MODERATOR

  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Did some research. Looks like in 1996 the Outback trim only came in 2.2L engine.

    The mixup is that the Outback WAS A TRIM in pre-2000 models. So if you lookup Legacy for 1996 you will get a choice of trims:
    Outback
    LS
    LSi
    GT

    The LS and Outback trims had the 2.2 in '96 and the LSi and GT had the 2.5. Starting in 1997 the Outback trim only had the 2.5 in it.

    Hope this helps.

    -mike
    Motorsports and Modifications Host
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,525
    So he could have either engine, right?

    MODERATOR

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