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Subaru Legacy/Outback Wagons Maintenance & Repair



  • Didn't someone here bring their Outback to an auto upholsterer to have the bottom cushions redone? Who was that and what was the outcome?
    I don't know how much longer I can drive this car. It's been a year and I sure haven't gotten use to these awful seats. They are comfortable for 10 minutes and then I am in pain. The side bolsters cut into my hips and the rest of the seat bottom is numbing as well.
    After a drive of about an hour, I limp getting out of the car.
    I am starting look at other cars at this point.
  • If you like the car, open the yellow pages and go to any of the automotive upholsterers in there and explain the problem. Usually they can switch the passenger seat to the driver's side so you don't even have to leave the car.

    I drive mine about two hours a day on average and I sure wouldn't live with that!
  • dougb10dougb10 Burlington, Ontario, CanadaPosts: 185
    As a famous politician said, "I feel your pain". We traded a '97 Outback Limited on a 2005..the ride was so rough because of the crappy Bridgestone Potenza's we switched to Bridgestone Turanza LS-H tires One problem solved...a smoother ride.
    We also have concerns about the firm (numb-bum) seats. Can't wait for winter, so we can put on down-filled coats to help pad things up. My only hope is that they will soften over time...certainly can't afford to trade it. The car is great otherwise. (My wife loves the leather seats in our Camry XLE, but the car sucks in snow.)
    The only solution I have is to make the stops more frequent...two hours is about right for me
    The dealer told me the seats were designed to be "more BMW-like"...ah...right!

    What about papaya juice? It sure softens tough meat!

  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,276
    LOL! Might work on the leather, but probably not so good for the foam and support structure (which is where the problem ultimately lies).

    I have not ridden in a limited, but the base cloth felt wonderful on my bum after years in my '96.... I guess there are some perks to a new car, but not enough to warrant buying one yet! I can certainly see how those seats would be terribly uncomfortable for anyone with a large frame. I am 6' with a 33" waist and the seats fit like a glove.... any wider and there would be distinct pressure points.

    One thing I have found to help tremendously with my office chair is a gel (~1/2" thick) pad over the surface of the seat. Even on soft seating surfaces, the gel redistributes weight and helps to remove pressure points from the hip bones and thighs without any modification of the chair. As a temporary fix, this might be worth a shot.

    It's tough to trade out a car early on but it is not worth sacrificing your comfort to keep it.

  • dsaindsain Posts: 17
    Does anyone have any ideas on my hard shift. Would a fluid change make a difference?


    #5202 of 5275 2000 Shift Shock by dsain Aug 28, 2005 (2:10 am)
    I've recently purchased a 2000 OBW with 87K and have noticed some shift shock when the AT shifts from 2nd to 3rd. Not consistant, but always when cold and never at WOT (Wide Open Throttle). Took it in to the dealer (60 day warranty) and they say they can't find a problem. I don't want to drive it until a critical failure happens, and I haven't seen any mention of this problem on the board. Does anyone have any input on this problem?

    Otherwise I love this car. I was surprised by the amount of go the small powerplant produces, the handling and the ride. It's fun to drive, and I imagine the manual would be even better. I could forgo the wind noise that seems to come from the mirrors, but keeping the stereo up seems to fix that .

  • fibber2fibber2 Mid Hudson Valley, NYPosts: 3,729

    Unfortunately, this can be a tough one to fix. I had a Toyota that gave a terrible kick in the rear upon the 1-2 shift, and no amount of external intervention seemed to fix it. Finally at around 70k miles I had it rebuilt (really because of a bearing problem, but it was a good opportunity to address several things), and it was smooth as silk afterwards. You could still read the printed numbers on some of the friction materials, so it was indeed engaging without slippage. Cleaning the valve body might have fixed an actuation problem.

    Several things come into play to minimize shift shock: electronics, fluid pressure on clutches, and friction materals. Electronic engine/tranny management may retard timing / cut fuel, etc, to reduce power during shifting. The valve body (again under electronic managment) should ramp up pressure to lock elements into place, and friction material should 'give a little' as it couples elements together.

    They say that more shift shock minimizes total wear by rapidly coupling parts rather than allowing heat and wear inducing slippage. I guess my clutch materals bore witness to that concept. Performance car 'shift kits' speed engagement by substituting higher k value springs in the valve body to rapidly direct fluid to lock motion. But I agree, if you are not running your car at the track, few need or want to put up with the harshness.

    It is possible that your dealer just does not know where to look. You might want to try an independent tranny shop that deals with this stuff daily.

  • I have a 2005 Legacy GT wagon, and have problems with the a/c climate control system. When outside air is selected instead of re-circulation, the air coming out of the vents fluctuates between cool air and warm/humid air every 15-20 seconds. It doesn't matter whether the system is on auto or manual setting.

    I have been told by Subaru that the a/c compressor cycles on and off, and to use only the re-circulation button in the summer, but I can't imagine that warm/humid air should ever come through the vents when the a/c is on. I have never had this problem on any other car I have been in, even when outside air is selected. I've heard bad things about Subaru climate control systems, but this seems ridiculous.

    Has anyone had this problem? Is it a design flaw with the climate control system?


  • Where did you buy this gel pad? What is the brand name?

    I stopped by the Subaru dealer and checked out an 06 OB. The seat bottom cushion has been altered a little bit... I seems a tiny bit softer and has different stitching.
    Hard to tell if it's more comfortable without driving for at least a half hour.
  • 1999 Subaru Legacy Wagon L Series 92K Miles: My check engine light comes on and the error code is P0325, Knock sensor, circuit problem, bad sensor. Before I buy a new one I would like to know what the resistance of a good knock sensor is. From the engine block to the sensor I am measuring 540K ohms. There is no engine knocks or pings and I have done a tune up including plugs, air filter and drive belt. This has gone on for a few weeks now so I am sure that a bad tank of gas is not an issue. Any description of how this sensor tells the engine that there are knocks would be appreciated. I cannot imagine how a coil can vibrate at certain frequencies and send information back to the computer to tell it to advance or retard the ignition timing.
    Thanks, Jay
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,276
    Well, there are a lot of them out there (keep in mind that this is for a task chair at work! Not sure how it would translate to an automobile). This one is a Kensington. Here's a link to the product description on the manufacturer's website: Liquicell Seat Rest

    I think I may post that site since it is not a competitor or forum, right?
  • How long does the Check Engine light stay out after you reset?
    I'm chasing a similar problem - my '99 Outback Wgn (120 k mi) has been throwing an EGR/bad spark plug code every few months for a year. The car runs fine, and after "fixing" the problem the first few times, I just check to see if I'm throwing a new code for a new problem,and reset. I figure that there must be a stray signal getting into the system, and I'll just have to live with it.

    You might also see Subaru TSB #116000, CEL code P0705
  • I have a 2000 Outback with the original Subaru battery. This battery has lasted longer than any new car battery I have had- :) . I'm wondering if should I just go and get new battery now before I'm left stranded somewhere looking for a jump in the middle of the winter. How long have folks batteries lasted? Is there a test I can do on the battery?
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,276
    In what part of the world do you live? If at/near/below the 45th parallel, you probably ought to replace it as it as likely taken its fair share of heat damage. If above or well above the 45th, you might be able to push it a bit longer, but definitely do a draw test on it to see how much umph is left. Cold starts require about 2.5x the cranking power as a startup at 50F+. If the battery is weak, you'll find out the second day it is less than 10-20F..... not a good way to find out!

    I go with NAPA (gold?) batteries. Not maintenance free, but they have never done me wrong and I have one in my pickup that was installed in August 1999.... it will start up that truck at -35F after two months of sitting and no battery heater! (I just found out recently that the pad had gone kaput... probably years ago by the looks of it! :sick: ) I'll be sure to log when it does fail. ;)
  • mrk610mrk610 Posts: 378
    I have a 02 outback . I have added the security upgrade you can purchase from the dealer . I tried to program one of my key fobs but i can't get the car to go into program mode. I followed the instructions in the owners manual but no good . I tried it about a hundred times .
    Anybody have any suggestions .

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Make sure you top off with distilled water. I didn't - and that's why mine failed. One of the cells was way too low. My fault.

    It was 6 years old at the time.

    Mike - sorry, never tried that myself.

  • dsaindsain Posts: 17

    I've gotten to know when to let off the gas a little to ease the shift, and the used car warranty has expired. It's not all of the time, and I spend most of my time at highway speed so I think I'll leave it for now. Thanks for your input.

  • fibber2fibber2 Mid Hudson Valley, NYPosts: 3,729

    You are most welcome.

  • fibber2fibber2 Mid Hudson Valley, NYPosts: 3,729

    Just to be sure, these are the instructions that I posted when someone else asked. They had lost a set of keys and wanted to disable the lost fob. It is basically what is in the manual, plus some rewording for clarity. Maybe there is some minor deviation that is hindering your attempts:

    Round Fob Programming Instructions

    Warning: Do not program your remotes with other Subarus in the vicinity as you may be unknowingly programming someone else's remote for your vechicle.!

    1. Disarm the security system (if your vehicle is so equipped).
    2. Open the driver's door and sit in the driver's seat.
    3. Close the driver's door.
    4. Place the ignition key in the ignition switch and cycle the switch from "LOCK" to "ON" ten times within 15 seconds. Be sure to stop at the "LOCK" position. (leave the key in the ignition) The horn will sound once to indicate that you are in transmitter programming mode.
    5. You must finish the next steps within 45 seconds of the horn honking.
    A. Open the driver's door.
    B. Close the driver's door.
    C. Press and release any button on the transmitter. The horn will sound two times to indicate that the transmitter has been programmed.

    The control unit can remember up to 4 transmitter codes, so your lost unit is still active and could potentially be used by a bad guy. Wipe it out by programming the new one and the remaining original two times each to reassign all 4 program slots. You can do this all in one step by repeating items "A, B & C" in quick succession.

    Exit Program Mode: After programming your remote, remove the key from the ignition switch. The horn will sound three times to indicate the system is now out of programming mode. Check that your remotes work properly at this time.

    Good luck,

  • dsaindsain Posts: 17
    One evening when leaving work a truck had blocked the road, so I figure this car can do this, so I cut through a field, went through a drainage ditch and back up onto the road. In the bottom of the ditch I hit a hard bump. Maybe a rock or a channel cut throuch the bottom that I couldn't see through the grass. Two days later I hear dragging when making corners (when I hit the stops in & out of the driveway). The stabilizer bar is broken at the right body mount. I'd like to replace it with a little stronger one, but I haven't been able to find many after market parts for this car. Does anyone know of any sources of good suspension or performance parts for our wagons?

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    The OE ones are cheap, FWIW. Wholesale for my Forester ran $82 for an 18mm thick one and $78 for a 21mm thick one. Don't ask me why the thicker one is cheaper, though.

    They probably make different sizes to fit the OB as well. If you have Subaru Bucks from a Chase Subaru credit card, like me, it might end up being free.

    If not there are aftermarket options, try Google for "Subaru Sway Bar".

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