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Subaru Crew Problems & Solutions

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  • fibber2fibber2 Mid Hudson Valley, NYPosts: 3,735
    One of the first things I did after reading your post on rotor warpage was to get out the torque wrench and check the lug nuts. Mine were actually a bit loose. I put them to about 70 ft-lbs. and added the factory wheel locks. IIRC the spec is about 58 to 75.

    Steve
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I have found that just about any bolt I've removed was grossly over-tightened, so I agree, they do need torque wrenches.

    -juice
  • What does this sound like to you? Oil pump and oil seals replaced at 38,000 miles, valve cover at about 57,000 miles, both on warranty. Now -- at 71,000 miles -- more oil leaks and the dealer says I have to replace the valve cover and re-do all the engine seals. But there's no more warranty and the cost is to be well over $1,000. This car has been well-maintained and regularly serviced. Subaru corporate says they won't take responsibility. Any thoughts or comments appreciated. Thank you.

    arlo47
    Montclair, NJ
  • locke2clocke2c Posts: 5,038
    I can't imaging replacing the entire valve cover, although it isn't much. At most I'd replace the gasket, which is supposed to be NON-consumable. (i.e. reusable, it's a round--not flat--rubber gasket that is press-fit into the valve cover.)

    If you install the valve cover with incorrect torque, especially uneven torque on the valve cover bolts, it will leak at some point. Been there myself in fact! ;-) The valve covers do not take much torque at all.

    If the leak started there, it's easy to imagine it running forward and soaking the timing cover gasket, which would have to be replaced. Still don't know about that "well over $1,000"... seems like a very high quote, although I do a large percentage of work myself.

    I'd get a second opinion, preferably from another Subaru dealer since they will have a factory service manual with the proper torque values and an independent probably will not.

    -Colin
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Yeah, and the pattern is kind of tricky. I believe you apply a certain amount of torque and follow a specific pattern, then go around a 2nd time and apply more torque, also in a pattern.

    In other words, they don't just bolt the sucker on.

    -juice
  • locke2clocke2c Posts: 5,038
    Actually that's the cylinder head bolts, which do have a very complicated installation and removal process. The valve covers are much simpler, but the torque is so low (like 10-15lb/ft for SOHC) that it's really easy to overtorque them, which squishes/misaligns/displaces the valve cover gasket since it's somewhat round.

    -Colin
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    For all the engine seals etc. Pre '97 subies are known for bad seals. Those of us with older ones have a running joke.

    "Check the gas and add oil, please" or

    "I don't change the oil, I just keep adding it"

    -mike
  • bluesubiebluesubie Posts: 3,497
    For major service (15k, 30k, etc.) North Jersey and parts of Central Jersey are $100-$125 higher than where I go now (Flemington).

    If I were in your shoes, I would tell the dealer that you would like to meet with the District Service Manager. I've met the north Jersey manager and he's a great guy. If your dealers tries to give you any hassle (my former one did), call SoA and ask them to set up the appointment for you. Also get a case number. Hope you're not going to Lynnes because I've heard "less than good" things about them.

    Dennis
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    will buy a lot of oil :) Unless it's pouring out.

    -mike
  • Alas, Lynnes is my dealer and they did all the previous work I mentioned. Supposedly they are going to make me some sort of "deal" -- what exactly remains to be seen, it will be faxed to me. Is there another dealer in Bergen or Essex counties you would recommend? I did contact SofA and have a case number, but they said they are taking no responsibility because the car is out of warranty. How could I still get to the District Manager? Thanks for the help.
  • c_hunterc_hunter Posts: 4,487
    If you're gauging torque while removing a nut/bolt, the wrench will always read higher than the actual tightening torque at first. I don't think you can accurately measure torque when first loosening a bolt or nut, because of the high level of static friction in the threads. Same reason you cannot accurately re-torque an already tightened nut/bolt. You really have to get past the initial "sticking" for a torque wrench to be accurate.

    Craig
  • subearusubearu Posts: 3,613
    so what is the 'proper' method for re-torqueing lug nuts?

    I've always loosened them a bit and then tightened/torqued, only one at a time. Is it better to loosen the lug fully?

    -Brian
  • ffsteveffsteve Posts: 243
    "I don't change the oil, I just keep adding it"

    Loved your reference, but it didn't originate with old Subarus. I've used it for many years when talking about my Corvair!

    steve
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Both are flat sixes :) hee hee

    My uncle has 2 corvairs.

    -mike
  • c_hunterc_hunter Posts: 4,487
    I don't know the proper way to re-torque premounted wheels, as I have only ever torqued lugs from scratch (when the wheel is off first). In this case, I usually snug up the lugs with the lug wrench first, and then go around in the star pattern with my torque wrench for the final tightening.

    I think re-torqueing would only be a problem if the initial turn (where the sticking-friction is high) exceeded the desired torque setting. If the wrench can get past this point and then creep up to the desired torque, I think you're OK.

    By the way, I'm basing this info on the safety procedures we have at work for torqueing nuts and bolts. I think it's correct in general, but it may be that there are different rules for lugs.

    Craig
  • bluesubiebluesubie Posts: 3,497
    Call the dealer and they will set up the appointment with the District Service Manager. He makes rounds of all the dealers in his area and usually hits all of them at least once a month. They will be able to find out when he's there next. You just have to work your schedule around his. When you meet him, he will have studied your case. Then you just go over the details with him.

    If they give you a hard time trying to set up a meeting, just call SoA and tell them. They'll set it up as a last resort.

    I had always heard good things about Liberty Subaru in Oradell. Someone recently posted on this board that they were having problems there. I still think they have about the best reputation in that area though.
    You could also try i-club.com. There's a Dealer Forum and also a Tri-State Area Forum. You could search and/or post in those forums for N. Jersey dealer info.

    Dennis
  • fibber2fibber2 Mid Hudson Valley, NYPosts: 3,735
    I have a question related to a driving technique I have used for snow and ice for 25 years. I spent 4 years along the Canadian boarder in the '70's and learned some things from a rally driver friend. Basically it entails using the hand operated parking brake to make the rear end step out abruptly. It is ideal for making a tight radius turn under conditions when the normal vehicle tendency would be to understeer and plow ahead. A turn of the wheel accompanied by a controlled pull on the rear brakes (with light throttle to make the fronts track where you point them) can make a car corner in powdered snow better than on dry pavement. While it works best on FWD, I used a modified version of it on my old RWD Datsun. It has saved my butt several times on nasty back country roads, but you had best practice it first in a parking lot before you try it for real!

    My question is whether this can be done on an OB (non VDC) without damaging the center diff? This would force a substantial rotational speed difference between front and rear for a short duration. Any thoughts from the mechanically inclined?

    Steve
  • locke2clocke2c Posts: 5,038
    while I seriously doubt subaru of america would advocate this for liability reasons, there should be NO problem with this manuever as long as you're in slippery conditions.

    if you have a manual tranny the handbrake slide also works better if you depress the clutch.

    -Colin
  • fibber2fibber2 Mid Hudson Valley, NYPosts: 3,735
    For clarification it is an H4 automatic

    Steve
  • armac13armac13 Posts: 1,129
    I learned the same technique back in the '60s. I tried it in my Forester last winter and it worked quite well. As Colin said I would use it only in very slippery conditions. Enjoy, I did.

    Ross
  • jfljfl Posts: 1,355
    Many posts have mentioned the 1/4" diameter difference between tires on AWD cars. I cannot find this mentioned in the Subaru owner's manual. Isn't the differential supposed to handle such differences?

    I measured the diameters of my spare and regular tires and it looks like a 1/2" difference in diameter between the two. Does that mean using the spare damages the car????

    Is there a solid technical explanation for the 1/4" comments?

    Thanks
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    here is basically the explaination as I know it. It's ok to drive with an odd sized tire (such as the spare) for a short period. Most spares are only good for 50 miles @ <50mph. On AT subies you are supposed to put the FWD fuse in to turn off AWD when doing this. On MTs it's not possible to do it. For the short term there is no damage that will occur.

    However in the long term, by having a different diameter tire, you are constantly sending a signal to the AWD syatem (either AT or MT) that that particular tire is slipping because that 1/2 shaft or that ABS sensor will be spinning at a faster rate than the other 1/2 shafts. Long term effects of this can be devistating on the AWD system and lead to a diminished life.

    On my Trooper I have an actual torque split guage on my dash, and when I had put on a tire that was 1/2" smaller than the other 3 (due to wear on it) I immediately noticed that the AWD system's torque was constantly going whacky, I also had problems shifting it from 4wd Lo to AWD as well. I thought that it was a problem with my AWD system and brought it to the dealer. After much research they measured the tires and found one to be different than the others. I hadn't told them I put on a tire that was "odd" but as soon as the put my spare on which had similar wear as the tires on there, probelm solved. The Trooper AWD system is similar to the AT version of the subie one, except that it puts 85% power to the rear and 15% as a std split with up to a 50/50 split overall.

    I used to be of the camp of "how could such a small difference in tire sizes have that much effect?" But after that situation I've learned how technical new cars and the AWD systems are in particular.

    -mike
  • c_hunterc_hunter Posts: 4,487
    Paisan is correct that it is the circumference which needs to be within 1/4" (I had also mistakenly thought they said diameter). Here is a link to a Subaru web page which mentions the spec:


    http://www.subaru.com/home/faqs/faq_tech.html#cookies


    The new tire I put on my Outback (5-spd) is 1/8" greater in diameter, based on measuring the tread depth (assumes all else is equal among tires). This works out to pi/8 ~ 3/8" greater circumference, which is outside the 1/4" spec. The car runs fine, but I am thinking I should go and get three more new tires now . . . . .


    Craig

  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Craig don't use that. I had the same tires, (Make, model, tread, size, etc) One was an OEM one, the other was one that was made earlier and no OEM. Their tread depts were aprox the same. I believe you need to jack up the car, and use a string to measure the actual circumference.

    -mike
  • jfljfl Posts: 1,355
    Craig & Mike,
    Thanks for the reply and especially the link. I'm surprised that this isn't in the owner's manual.
    Jim
  • fibber2fibber2 Mid Hudson Valley, NYPosts: 3,735
    Colin & Ross,

    Thanks for the reply. The last thing I want to do is rip the center diff apart on my nice new car! After giving it some thought, I think keeping my foot off the gas would be better for the car (less applied torque to the mechanicals) until the brake is released.

    Steve
  • locke2clocke2c Posts: 5,038
    changed the oil & filter, cleaned the airfilter (AMSOil), and the big thing... flushed the heck out of the coolant system and converted to DexCool antifreeze.

    I'm set for now until it's time to change tires!

    -Colin
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Did you run a hose into it and flush it out? You need a kit to do that properly, right?

    I rotated the tires this weekend, but found an oil leak on the 626. :-( Haven't traced it yet.

    -juice
  • kenskens Posts: 5,869
    That reminds me, I need to clean out my Amsoil filter too. I found it's a lot easier if you pre-heat the oil before applying it to the filter.

    Colin -- do you run dedicated winter tires?

    Ken
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Out of curiosity, how do you clean them? Did you get a spray cleaner with the oil in a kit?

    I clean foam air fitlers for lawn mowers and stuff like that with a solvent, but it's messy and you need time for it to dry.

    Here are the tire rotation photos I promised. OCD Club Members will get a kick out of the waxed wheels. You gotta admit they look good for 14k miles, though.

    -juice
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