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Subaru Crew Problems & Solutions

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  • ronc7ronc7 Posts: 2
    My 96 L wagon failed to re-start when "warm" and smelled of fuel. After sitting awhile, it started right up but had a check engine light. AutoZone read(and rest) the code for me (free) and it was P340 "cam pos sensor ckt fault". Dealer said I should change both Cam & Crank position sensors. This is EASY to do yourself (dealer wanted $120)
    which is crazy. A week later, ANTOHER check eng light .. this time 420 "Catalyst below threshold #1 side" ... I've had it reset but, suspect that this latest prob may be the result of the earlier one and hope it will "pass" (not come back "on").
    Any similar experience with multiple codes ??
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    What is your current mileage? If you are under 60k, the powertrain warranty may still apply.

    Call 800-SUBARU3 and ask for them to open up a case. I bet they'll provide some help. At least push for the newer replacements.

    -juice
  • idahodougidahodoug Posts: 537
    Ron,

    I'm not clear on whether you replaced the cam sensors or??..

    The second code could be the result of pumping raw gas into the cats, but I don't understand why it would have taken a week for the engine to throw a code or it.

    IdahoDoug
  • subaru_teamsubaru_team Posts: 1,676
    It looks like Felicia is still working on your case. Monday's can get a bit crazy, but you should hear from her soon. Sorry for the delay.

    Patti
  • Everything OK now? No explosions?

    Howard
  • ronc7ronc7 Posts: 2
    Actually I did change the cam pos sensor and have no further occurance of that code (P340) AND... it was super-easy to do(a 5 min job). My new code (cat convertor below threshold # 1 side (#420)) may actually have been caused by cleaning my engine ? I recently used the Castrol SuperClean product (great stuff) and the high-pressure car wash spray to clean the whole engine compartment. Unfortunately, now I read that one should never get any cleaning solvents on the Oxygen sensor and wonder if this could be why i got the light.
  • gjoygjoy Posts: 2
    It went well except ...

    I'm still furious that i couldn't remove the drain plug myself. Granted i was using just a short, cheesey socket wrench, but i couldn't budge the thing. Had to call a friend and he takes it off without missing a beat and patronizingly says "it was on too tight" ... uugh ... what's a girl to do ... more push ups i guess.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Actually, it's just a matter of leverage. A longer handle give you better torque.

    Or a breaker bar that can slide onto your socket wrench.

    When you reinstall the plug, use a crush washer and only use enough torque to crush that washer.

    -juice
  • I am the proud owner of a brand new '02 Outback. It's the first new car I've owned and has generated in me (for the first time) a desire to understand how the car works and how to perform maintenance on it. I've never even been interested in cars/motors/etc... before so I guess I'm a late bloomer. Does anyone have suggestions as to how I could learn basic Subaru maintenance short of taking a few months off from work and enrolling in a trade school?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Try little things at first, using hints from here and i-Club.com. I'm self-taught and have done most basic maintenance, a little at a time.

    First things first, you should change the oil at 3k miles. Go ahead and get a filter now, Purolator makes the OE filter, or grab one from a dealer. Plus 5 quarts of 10w30 oil, and oil pan, a crescent wrench to remove the drain plug. Grab a 17mm crush washer from the dealer or parts store, too. You may (or may not) need an oil filter wrench. I can usually get them out by hand. Make yourself a check list.

    When you are ready, we'll show you photos and tips for changing the oil.

    That ought to build your confidence. At 7500 miles you should do another oil change and rotate your tires as well. For that you'll need a torque wrench, and I'd recommend a floor jack, but I say tackle one task at a time, so don't worry about that until closer to the time you do it.

    -juice
  • I'll be back when I'm closer to 3000 miles. Thanks for the info.
  • Hi, all.

    First, good news! I'm looking at buying a 2000 Forester with 25k (UK) miles on the clock.

    My wife and I are pretty made up about the car - right size, shape, versatility, kit - but (bad news) all the issues about wheel bearings are worrying me. I don't really want a car that requires me to spend $400 plus every 30k miles or so!

    So I'd really appreciate some help with the following:

    - When exactly did the bearing spec change between 00 and 01 models? Is there a VIN number from which they are OK? What is it?

    - Is the new bearing/assembly available for fitment to an earlier vehicle?

    - If so, is it standard procedure to do this on (warranty) failure on the bearings now? Or are the old sort still fitted? (I assume retrofit might be expensive if hub etc have to go)

    - Does the tech bulletin issued on careful fitment of the old type of bearing mean that dealers can fit these accurately now?

    - (I know this is difficult as I'm in UK) - is Subaru practice to replace bearings free of charge once the warranty has run out, given all the issues? Could/should I push for a warranty extension on these?

    - I'm also keen to know if the clutch gremlins (seem to be on '98 models) was fixed by '00.

    Many many thanks for any help you can give
    I hope to be a proud owner any time now...
    Jon
  • idahodougidahodoug Posts: 537
    Ron,

    That was a little detail that you left out. Washing the engine with a car wash spray or pressure washer at home is a very, very bad idea. All over your engine is dust. Dust that came from the engine operation itself, and from a road covered with dust from millions of other engines. What that dust has in it in unusual abundance is metal. Metal that can short things out, cause stray electrical currents in areas previously insulated, etc. By pressure washing, you're blasting this stuff into crevices, electrical connections, under seals, in components, into bearings, etc.

    There are also combustion byproducts that create acid when mixed with water, a potential for the pressure to knock connections a bit loose, etc. Enough about this - I think you get it by now.

    If you've got to have that sparkling clean engine bay, use one of those foaming cleaners and cover your major electrical components with saran wrap. Then use a gentle spray of water on a cold engine to remove the foamy stuff.

    The gas additive cleaner may also have something to do with it. Perhaps the catalyst was on the way out and you took a few thousand miles off its life by suddenly freeing up a bunch of grundge from the cylinders that overwhelmed it. I've heard of cleaners causing codes to pop up. Don't know. But you might try a nice hour long drive on the freeway with premium gas to see if the catalyst can burn itself clean - which it is designed to do. Then reset the code and see if it comes back.
  • Its a given that when I let the dealer or someone else change the oil, they ALWAYS put the plug back on too tight. I decided to change my oil this past weekend, and tried with all I had to remove the oil plug, but it wouldn't move. As usual, I cursed out the dealer for about 20 mins before I remembered to use a little WD-40. After 1 quick spray, the plug came off with little effort. That stuff works miracles.

    Jon
  • oclvframeoclvframe Posts: 121
    I don't know if this a fluke or if it has to do with the oils I put in during the 30k mi service, but, ever since then my gas mileage has been steadily increasing. I haven't changed any of my driving habits, yet, my mileage has gone from 23.5mpg to a whopping 26.8mpg on my last tank (it was 25mpg just before that).

    I changed the engine oil to Mobile 1 5w-30, and both of the differentials to Mobile 1 75w-90. The ATF remained the same with a Dextron III grade Quaker State oil.

    Could it be the oil? Or is it possible the gas blend has something to do with it?

    BTW this is on an '01 Bean.

    -r
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I'm not sure when they changed it, but the newer ones do fit on the rear axle.

    Good dealers will use the TSBs to install it right the 2nd time around. I'm not sure about dealers in the UK. I'm also not sure how long your warranty lasts.

    The clutch got incremental improvements through the years. My wife's 2002 seems better than my 1998, FWIW.

    -juice
  • leo2633leo2633 Posts: 589
    Juice has obviously had good success using a crescent wrench. However, I would avoid a "crescent" (ie: "adjustable") wrench on the drain plug. It only has two points of contact with that six-sided bolt head. I recommend a 17 mm socket or box wrench. (A 6 point socket or wrench is preferrable, though a 12 point will also work.) It's easy to slip off the bolt head and round it off if you're not on there squarely. If you're going out to buy the tools needed, I'd recommend the socket or box wrench right from the start.

    Just my 2 cents.

    Len
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    The oil might be one of the factors to your better mileage. Have you used the A/C less? Carried less weight? Or changed your commute?

    Len is right, I stand corrected. Mine has been OK because it's never over-tightened - I torque it down myself with a torque wrench. So the forces aren't great enough to strip any bolts.

    But if it's tight, definitely use a socket.

    -juice
  • oclvframeoclvframe Posts: 121
    No changes in driving...same daily drive (40mi mostly hwy, each way to and from work).

    It has been hotter than ever around here so I actually have been using the A/C a lot.

    I will continue to monitor the mileage and update....at the rate I consume gas, I fill up very regularly.

    BTW although the vehicle will run fine on regular, I have mostly used 93 octane premium. Esp. since our Ingles grocery store sells it for $.07 off on Tuesdays.

    -r
  • kenskens Posts: 5,869
    grisgris -- I also was a maintenance newbie when I purchased my Forester but I learned through the Subaru Crew as well as i-club. Also check http://www.scoobymods.com/forums/ -- there's lots of maintenance stuff that's been photographed and documented. Take little steps by tackling easy maintenance items like washer fluid, air pressure or the engine air filter first. It's a great thing to take full ownership of your car!


    Oil Plug -- another popular alternative to the standard oil plug is the Fumoto Drain Plug -- it has a small valve that you can open to drain oil without removing the plug. I don't have the URL, but a Google search should bring it right up.


    oclvframe -- I also noticed a small, but measurable increase in my gas milage (~1mpg) when I switched to synthetic oil. Also, don't discount warmer weather for better milage and the fact that your gas milage does improve as the engine breaks in (still possible even at 30K).


    Ken

  • idahodougidahodoug Posts: 537
    I've noted slightly better MPG with synthetics if you do several fluid changes at once, like changing the engine and diffs. Can't say how much of the change is simply due to fresh gearlube and oils per se as opposed to the synthetic factor. I have synthetic in literally every lube application on my 'Cruiser - engine, driveshafts, steering knuckles, birfields, f/r diffs, center diff - and I get about 1.2mpg better than the other guys in my club. Whether this is the reason or because I'm also anal about tire pressures, tuneups, air filters and the like is a tough call. But better quality lube is less friction is more power is better MPG...

    On the oil plug, are you guys using crush washers on your drain plugs? This is the proper thing to do but a lot of dealers and most chain lube stops generally don't put fresh ones on for you. I've used these religiously and you don't have to crank the drain bolt at all for a leakproof seal. Comes off easily, too.

    IdahoDoug
  • kenskens Posts: 5,869
    juice -- Also the Legacy gets a slightly different clutch design than the Forester. I don't think the parts are compatible.

    Ken
  • p0926p0926 Posts: 4,423
    Robert- Your Ingles grocery store sells gas? Where in the Atlanta metro area do you live?

    -Frank P.
  • oclvframeoclvframe Posts: 121
    I live in Cumming....off of Hwy 20, real close to Ga 400. We also have a BJs that sells gas at a discount to memebers. Yesterday I paid $1.32/gal for 93octane at Ingles. BJs sits at $1.38. Gotta save every penny these days!

    -r
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I learn something every day.

    -juice
  • 2sube2sube Posts: 3
    I'm considering buying a 99 Forester L that
    was a lease vehicle in a fleet, 43k miles, and
    the carfax looks ok, but there's a recall on the
    air flow sensor on the master brake cylinder.

    I've read that this is common on some foresters,
    but I'm curious what you all think, is that a problem,
    or should I go ahead with buying this car?

    I've been searching for one for a few months now,
    so I really want one at this point, but I don't want to
    make a terrible mistake.
  • 2sube2sube Posts: 3
    ..and, after just reading the posts about bad wheel bearings, that's a concern$.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I had the brake master cylinder recall, and 3 years after that fix no problems. Mine's a '98, and the '99 actually had a few improvements and more standard equipment.

    Test drive it and do listen for any drive train whine, which would indicate bad bearings. If it's quiet at 43k miles, you're probably fine. They would have failed by now, most likely.

    -juice
  • p0926p0926 Posts: 4,423
    "$1.32/gal for 93 octane" !!!!!

    Hear that Crew... one of the few advantages to living in GA.

    -Frank P.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    $1.799 in Potomac, ouch. I managed to find 87 octane for "just" $1.459 yesterday.

    -juice
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