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Subaru Legacy/Outback Wagons Maintenance & Repair



  • Thanks for all of your replies. They have been very helpful. Final question ... Outback vs. compact pickup like Nissan Frontier with rear 4WD? It seems to me that read 4WD on a pickupwould be difficult, since the weight is up front. But some say yes, some no. Anyone with experience? Thanks again. I like the Outback ... just don't know if the clearence is high enough.
  • krzysskrzyss Posts: 843
    "rear 4WD"?
    "read 4WD"?

  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,391
    A friend of mine has a 2005 Frontier - base model manual (SE?). A nice truck; it actually feels like a truck versus the oversized car feel of most modern pickups. Anyway, it does quite well in 4WD snow situations at low speeds, though I would much prefer the Subaru if going any appreciable speed (>10 mph?). I daresay it would take more snow to hold up that Nissan than it would a Subaru, but there is optional equipment on the Nissan, too, like ABLS, etc., so you would need to make sure you get the options you need.

    Tires, like always, make a huge difference. ;)
  • I have found that driving in situations where AWD/4wd is actually helpful are also aided by reasonably equal weight distribution. A lightweight bed with nothing in it means there is very little over the rear axle. This can increase the opportunity for the rear of the vehicle to pass the front of the vehicle.
    They make bags to be filled with water that can go in the bed of a pickup to get some weight over the rear axle, but if you are going to make the bed more difficult to use and add weight that will invoke a MPG penalty, why not just be comfortable in a Subaru?
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    I have an Armada and my buddy has a Frontier. The 4x4 w/ABLS will outperform an Outback in deep snow and offroad situations. With that said, the Frontier's 4wd can't be used on dry pavement so you lose that advantage in the dry.


    PS: ABLS is Anti-lock Brake Limit Slip, this gives you an LSD in both the front and rear which is AWSOME in snow.
  • jaxcarjaxcar Posts: 2
    I have a 2000 Outback. The security light (a red dot and the word "SECURITY") just started flashing when the engine is turned off. The light flashes twice, then a short pause, then two more quick flashes, then a pause, and it continues until the engine is started - when it stops. Anybody know what's going on? Thanks for any help.
  • PS: ABLS is Anti-lock Brake Limit Slip, this gives you an LSD in both the front and rear which is AWSOME in snow.

    It gives traction control in the form of limiting power output, not limited slip. Not really a big deal in snow, but a big difference in performance situations (although I don't see many Armadas at track events unless they are towing something there).
  • Here it goes…I’ve got a `98 outback, and I’ve notice a few people had complaints about their trannys, but I’m not sure if mine is in the same ballpark.
    My outback started developing intermittent shifting problem, in first gear, that was more prevalent after the car was driven for a while, and then stopped. If it were left to sit for more than 5 minutes, it wouldn’t shift out of first gear, with out stopping and trying again. It has begun to happen more and more often. My regular repair shop didn’t pull up any codes, even though they could recreated the issue. The next stop was the dealer. They suggested a regular tranny service, even though it had already been done earlier in the year. They test road it. They suggested a power flush, and sent me on my way. Now the problem happens all the time. The fluid has been change 2 more times, to no avail. The tranny finally got stuck in first the other day, and wouldn’t work again, until after sitting all night. The dealer’s check still shows no code, but they go, as far as to say that the tranny is NOT serviceable. They reference a bulletin from Subaru that says to not attempt rebuilds, but to offer a re-manufactured tranny. They won’t even tell me what’s wrong! My warranty expired over a year ago, and I’m a little put off at the fact that I’m looking at a couple thousand dollars to fix a car that’s less than 10 years old with only 102K! I really do love my car, but they’re telling me that the car’s not even worth the repair? Is this true? Is there somewhere/ someplace I can find out what exactly my problem is? I don’t want to get rid of my car, especially with the way it handles so well in the snow, but I’m not really sure what else I can do. —Thanks, Tirebuster420.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,391
    I am not convinced that replacing the transmission (if it needs it) is "not worth it." After all, we are talking about a $2000 transmission on a car with only 100K miles. That's a heck of a lot cheaper than car payments!

    So, has it been flushed with solvents to remove any glazes and grime that could be causing or exacerbating the problem? And, has the filter been changed?

    It certainly seems pointless to just flush the fluid out if the fluid is new. It seems a no-brainer that such a flush would not solve anything.
  • jfljfl Posts: 1,346
    Did you ever do the power flush? Or did you just have the fluid changed?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    What mike said. Check the axle/CV boots.

    I had a leak in our old 626 and the grease spilled on O2 sensor and ruined that part as well. So fix it soon.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    What mike said. Check the axle/CV boots.

    I had a leak in our old 626 and the grease spilled on O2 sensor and ruined that part as well. So fix it soon.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    They make very minor revisions all the time - I doubt most people will notice the change.

    Go by the style, do you prefer the old look or the new bigger-grilled face?

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Yikes. Glad you were OK.

    Dibs on the rims.


  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,391
    Haha... playing catch-up, juice?! You could have had them, almost new tires included, but I decided yesterday to let the car go. Now I just have to find the darn title..... I have the title to my van, Pinto, truck.... even my 3-wheeler.... but cannot find the title to the Subaru. :mad:
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Hmm, I might have taken the rims for my snow tires, then left the steelies behind. Meh, too much work and the snows aren't on long enough for it to matter.

  • Had the fluid changed 3 times now in just one year. The last time, was last month, and it came out clean. :confuse:
  • The filter has been replaced twice in the last year, not the third time. The fluid, each time it came out was clean. I just can't emagine that a $160 power flush can be a cure from the dealer, when they can't even find a problem.
  • b10609b10609 Posts: 37
    A leaking head gasket can let coolant drip onto hot exhaust and create pretty strange smells, too. Worth a look if all else fails. Problem occurs a bit too often here in Canada. Hope this helps.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,391
    Well, if there is quite a bit of varnish build up in there or a blockage of some type, it would not be solved just by flushing the fluid because it is not suspended in the fluid. A solvent flush would dissolve the buildup and allow the clean fluid to flow properly. I just have a hard time believing this procedure would not have been done if the fluid was replaced so many times in the last year, but stranger things have happened.

    The solvent flush is fairly caustic, so I have heard that it is not something to be done as "preventative maintenance." But, if it will keep you from having to replace the transmission, then it is well worth it!

    Do not feel like you must have this done through the dealer - often times there are far more competent independent shops around!
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