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Subaru Legacy/Outback Wagons Maintenance & Repair

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  • Driving along the highway this weekend, I noticed something with my steering. 2008 Subaru Outback 3.0 LL Bean. My usual commute to work is mixed with just a little highway so don't notice.

    Periodically on the highway, my steering wheel would vibrate/shake. Mostly around 65 mph. Then, it would calm down and be fine. It happened about 4 times in my 30 minute ride on the highway. The tires only have 7000 miles, been rotated and balanced about 1000 miles ago.

    Is this wheel bearings? Can I just deal with it for a few months before my next oil change?
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,273
    Any snow in your area? I notice (regularly) that my Forester likes to shake at highway speeds during the winter due to snow/ice buildup on the wheels causing them to be out of balance. As conditions vary, so does the vibration. Sometimes it is severe (meaning I'll slow down in order to temper the vibration), and sometimes it is barely noticeable.

    Generally, I won't have that problem with my Escort, but I guess the ice just doesn't stick/build up in the same way.
  • Might be something as simple as you've thrown a wheel weight, causing one corner to be off balance just enough to cause a wobble at certain speeds/wheel RPMs. First thing I would do is have the balance checked on all 4 tires. Also, as tires wear, the balance can get thrown off a bit.

    That's where I would start.
  • My Subaru this last week failed to start one morning, noticed that the battery was completely drained to the point that the locks, digital clock and all other indicators were not functioning. Nothing was left on. Battery was 1 year old. So we jumped it and it appeared to run fine the rest of the day. Next morning, same issue. This time the battery couldn't be jumped. Again nothing was left on. I went to an alternator repair place where they also specialized in electrical issues. They replaced the battery because it seemed weak. Alternator and the fuses were all checked with no apparent issues. However, 2 days later it died again! We jumped it again and took it back to the shop & advised to let it sit overnight. The darn car started with no issues for these guys. The culprit has not become apparent to this writing. It is now the weekend & I needed my car. I'm unhooking the battery at night to avoid this issue again until I have a better time to take it in. Being self employed as a painter I can't afford this downtime. Has anyone had simular issues and found out the problem?
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,273
    This doesn't really help over the long term, but you can buy a manual disconnect battery terminal from NAPA or other auto parts stores. This will allow you to quickly disconnect the battery by simply throwing a switch rather than having to remove the terminal from the battery stud.
  • Sounds like a parasitic drain. First the drain kills the battery---you jump it, which is really never a good idea to do to a completely dead battery, and then your alternator works very hard to put a kind of 'surface charge' on the battery. So it's possible all this stressed out the battery. completely, utterly, dead batteries must be slow-charged or you can damage them.

    if the alternator checks out okay, and if you don't have problems when you disconnect the cable each night, then for sure your issue is a drain.

    How to Track Down a Battery Drain Issue

    good luck with it!
  • Does it get really cold at night? Cold outside temperatures will affect cold cranking amps.
    Or do you have warranty on your battery? Could be faulty if it is only one year old.
  • Double check all of your fuses. The same thing happend to me and it was the fuse for the altenator. It is not marked as such in the fuse box. It is marked something like 'meter' or M (?). It is large and it dosen't look like a fuse, it looks more like a relay. It is in the box under the hood on the drivers side.
  • could it be steering stabilizer? I had to replace one on my Jeep Cherokee this fall. Felt like front wheel was falling off. They look like a small hydraulic cylinder.
  • im planning a 600 mile trip and im having issues with my 1997 Subaru Outback AWD Legacy "overheating"..the quotations are because its not behaving in the least like it is,,it happens randomly..doesn't matter if its in-town driving or highway,the gauge will shoot to the top, but when i pull over,everything appears fine.a few people told me to turn on A/C the next time it happened,and immediately the needle dropped to normal again.im pretty broke so cant afford to take it to a shop,but a friend thought it sounded like a bad t-stat...any suggestions would be GREATLY appreciated.
  • That sounds like the temp gauge sender. I have had that happen a few times over the years. Once you figure out where the sender is, it is a quick replacement and not particularly expensive. When the thermostat goes bad it will not cool down all that quickly.
  • I have a 2006 OB wagon. How do you get the rear wiper blade off? It is not like the front blades. I am afraid of breaking it ..... Don't know why Subaru did this because you can not even get Winter blade for the back. Janice
  • The battery that initially suffered the total drain has already been replaced yet the problem persists. We are having one of the warmest winters on record so I don't think that is the culprit at all. It's a maddening issue to be sure. I was hoping that the problem was something that may have come up with others with the same make model & year to give me a clue. I will go for the quick disconnect battery relay cable for now and keep searching. Thank you for you reply.
  • Thanks for the tip. I'll check it out.
  • It is definitely a parasitic drain. I replaced the battery. I unhook it whenever it is parked for over a couple of hours at the moment. I followed your link and plan to make use of it - thank you!
  • Yep. I will be getting one of these. My brother suggested the same thing. I will go through the fuses and everything else one by one when the weather improves. Hopefully I can limp it along until then. Thanks for your response.
  • I had this problem with my 97 Subaru; two things I would check. #1 would the alternator; however, #2 what was causing my car to constantly go dead was the security system on the car. I was told by Subaru, that was causing problems; they can't remove it because it will mess up the wiring on the car, but they can disconnect it. It was draining the charge on the car.
  • Happened to meo once in the middle of pudumh , nowhere... The alternator ws the culprit.... Hard to walk home 500 miles from nowhere... Put in a rebuilt alternator (much cxheaper) and see what happens...
  • OK, now that the weather has warmed up, so has the "sounds" that went away during the winter. One of these new sounds is a squeal whenever I am turning at intersections.
    Last year I had a wheel bearing changed on the drivers front, I am wondering if the mechanic botched the job and said part is failed and thus making noise (part not loose but is making noise like it did before it was initially changed. I also wonder if my Left front strut is failed, there is oil/greasy dirt/residue from the strut that would indicate to me that it is leaking/failing and has been that way for a while but I've never had an issue with. Any other possibilities? thoughts on what might be wrong?
  • hammerheadhammerhead Posts: 885
    Maybe a bad CV joint?
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