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Subaru Crew Problems & Solutions

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  • jay_24jay_24 Posts: 536
    The subie is in need of an oil change and I'm revisiting the thought of going to synthetic (mobil 1). If I go synthetic I'll probably change it myself to save some $$.

    A) does it really help cold starting/performance?
    b) can I go longer between oil changes?
    c) what oil filter is best. I've heard bad things about Fram, but my GMC went 180+k on them.
    d) how hard is it to do-it-yourself? keep in mind its 22 degrees outside and my garage is not heated.

    so is it worth it?

    side note: how can/do you adjust headlights?

    --Jay
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I agree with Doug (with Steve's correction). Besides, if a pair of tires is newer, they should go on the front since they do all the steering and carry most of the weight.

    But if the difference is more than 1/4", you may need a new set of tires.

    Sorry, the headlights on the Outback are different than the ones on my Forestser and on our Legacy.

    Only change to synthetic if the car is relatively new. So after the break-in period, but before, say, 15k miles. That's what the chief mechanics at that chat told us.

    I've thought about it a lot, but my Forester and Miata have both used dino oil for several years. I'm afraid a synthetic at this point might strip the seals and start an oil leak.

    I bet it does help cold starting, since it doesn't get a thick as dino oil when it get real cold, and it flows better. Performance? I doubt it once the car has warmed up.

    The oil lasts longer, but the filter won't. So you can probably use the 7500 mile interval, max.

    The oil filter study had Purolator and Champion Labs filters at the top. Fram and Pennzoil filters were poor performers. I found some Car & Driver filters that Target used to carry on closeout, for just 40 cents! You betcha, I bought about a dozen, still have maybe 6 left. That was sweet, but they don't carry them any more, at least around me.

    It's not hard. The Outback doesn't have the cover under the engine, so it's easier than a Forester. The oil filter points right down and is easy to access, though you may need an oil filter wrench if it's tight (but hand tighten when you replace it). The drain plug is easy to access, use a 17mm socket on a ratchet. Get a new 17mm crush washer for it. Just make sure you're removing the one at the bottom of the oil pan, not the transmission, which some Jiffy Lubes have done, d'oh! (*)

    -juice

    (*) D'oh is actually a word now, it was added to the dictionary!
  • jimmyp1jimmyp1 Posts: 640
    I think I'm having classic throw-out bearing symptoms. Squeek that I thought was belts got a little worse and I decided to do the old "clutch in, pay attention to whether there's any squeek" test, and wouldn't you know it, squeek went away. So, Paisan, you're going to have a pretty fresh Turbo Legacy when the time comes. I think I'm going to have at least the second gear synchro done at the same time. Maybe third also. Just how many PVC valves do I have in my car? Just curious. At 90k miles, should I have any/all checked/replaced? I was pretty down on the thought of spending another $1500.00 on it, but then I got to thinking about how quickly I'd burn through $1500.00 with a new car payment....like two or three months, so, so be it. Also, Paisan, why is it that I had no earthly idea you were so highly placed on another board? We Texans are troublemakers, aren't we? :) (I'm Jarvis there)

    Jim
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Yeah, the average car payment is just over $400, so about 3-4 months.

    Besides, can you imagine what a grey-market Blitzen would cost?

    -juice
  • tyguytyguy ColoradoPosts: 849
    "Besides, if a pair of tires is newer, they should go on the front since they do all the steering and carry most of the weight."


    This has been a point of controversy for a while now, but the general consensus is just the opposite, which is newer tires should be mounted on the rear axle. I didn't realize or understand this until Click and Clack discussed the topic on air and in their newspaper column. Now Michelin has addressed the issue in their literature, going as far as producing handouts for customers at Michelin dealers. Here's a link to Michelin's website that briefly discusses it: http://michelinman.com/care/tire_saving_tips/replacing/replacing_f.html


    -Ty

  • jimmyp1jimmyp1 Posts: 640
    that's the mental picture I had when I calced $750/mo! :)

    Jim
  • locke2clocke2c Posts: 5,038
    quote: I also don't understand the connection between leaving the parking brake on and causing damage to it. If the parking brake is on hard enough to slow the rear tires down, then you won't get far before the rear rotors are warped, and smoking. The VC can easily handle transfering torque to the rear longer than the rear brakes could handle that abuse.

    1. Subaru, like many other manufacturers, uses a set of small drum brakes in the center of the hub or inboard on the axle for the handbrake. Don't see the rear rotors warping in this scenario... but yes, you can fry the small drums.

    2. Consider for a moment the real drag on the VC caused by small tire diameter differences. Now consider what happens when the rear wheels are attempting to lock, which slows down the front wheels solely through the locking action of the VC. I've known people who ruined their VC getting stuck in a ditch, because it overheats from the slippage of having one set of wheels on the ground and the other in infinite slip. It's not hard see some equivalence in that type of strain to dragging the rear wheels with a forgotten handbrake.

    -Colin
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Ty: but the fronts wear more quickly naturally. That would make the rears wear out completely before you could even rotate them.

    I guess that's why they tell you to rotate often.

    -juice
  • tyguytyguy ColoradoPosts: 849
    Totally agree. I always recommend to family/friends replacing all 4 tires with identical size/make/model/tread depth and rotating regularly. The extra investment is always worth the extra safety and handling.

    Michelin is simply recommending to keep the best tires on the rear axle for optimum handling given the situation. Like you said, though, the fronts will wear faster (unless you have a rear-wheel drive and spin the tires, I guess), which means they'll have to be replaced sooner. At that replacement point, you would put the new tires on the rear and move the existing rear tires to the front.

    Given that strategy, it seems more expensive in the long run to keep replacing only 2 tires at a time. Yet another reason to replace all 4, rotate them regularly, and keep the pressure at the recommended level.
  • jfljfl Posts: 1,356
    juice - did you mean to say "fronts wear out..." since putting the worn tires in front would continue their "high wear" status?

    The Michelin link is interesting. Does Subaru have a recommendation on mounting two new tires, front vs rear? (or just get 4 new tires!)

    I think the reasoning behind installing them on the rear is the same argument about tire chains. On a FWD, chains in front and not in back means when you try to stop, the front grabs but with no traction in the rear, the tail just spins around out of control.

    Jim
  • jfljfl Posts: 1,356
    Just received my parts order from 1stsubaruparts.com. Very efficient and great prices! They're a Subie dealer so I called them to confirm prices and part numbers and mailed them Subaru credit card coupons to cover the parts costs. Great for those of us on the left coast as they're in Washington state. Saved on sales tax too!

    Jim
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Jim: yes.

    I guess Michelin is trying to prevent oversteer. Most drivers don't know how to react. Understeer is generally safer.

    Good to hear of another good wholesale source.

    -juice
  • hondafriekhondafriek Ottawa CanadaPosts: 2,930
    I changed at least 3 of my Hondas to synthetic, all had at least 40,000 Miles when I changed, I had no problem with leaking seals on any of them.

    I think those guys were being extra careful given that subaru does endorse the use of synthetic,strange since my local Subaru dealer is actually recomending synthetic over dino,especially given our cold climate, less wear and tear and easier starts.

    Cheers Pat.
  • nematodenematode Posts: 448
    Whatever you decide to do with the car make sure you report the dealer to Subaru so that there will be a complaint put in their file. Behavior like that should not be tolerated. juice posted the number.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Yeah, in that kind of cold, it won't get quite so thick and take so long to flow properly.

    I changed the gear oil on my Miata a couple of winters ago on a bitter cold day. The stuff is 75w90, thick-thick, so I replaced it with the same viscosity in a synthetic gear oil. I used a hand pump to force the oil up a tube into the tranny and diffy.

    MAN, that was hard. The stuff was so thick!

    I did the same to the tranny of our 626 on a hot day, and it was a piece of cake. And that was with synthetic gear oil. Imagine dino.

    -juice
  • otis123otis123 Posts: 426
    I third that! Call Subaru immediately to report their unprofessional behavior!

    I've luckily had nothing but excellent experience with my 2001 LLBean (close to 33K miles) and the dealer I used to buy and subsequently service the car - Curry Subaru in Yorktown Heights, NY

    Ralph
  • lspivalspiva Posts: 49
    Dixie. I know that you had expirienced and what is your feelings right now. I went through that not even a months ago, when I had a problem with my 5 months old 2003 Forester with 3,300 miles. You could guess the respond of the Subaru service advisor. So I complained to SOA. And how surprise I was to hear his sweet talk at the moment when I pick up my car. So Juice is absolutely right, complain to SOA and you will definately see a result. I am not sure what kind of the strings SOA pulls on dealer, but it seems to be working just fine. Maybe SOA are threating dealer to withdraw the franchise lisence (just a thought)?
  • Last December I bought a cargo bin, the non-collapsible style, from them for my wife's Forester. The price was low, they did a nice job of packing such a bulky item and it arrived in a timely manner.

    My wife really likes that cargo bin. It's seldom removed from her car.

    --- Lowell
  • Thank you all for the good advice.

    I will definitely try using higher quality gasoline in my car. As a matter of fact, when I thought about it again, I remembered I had fueled up at a "no-name" gas station the day before my car stalled. I'd never used them before, but there was a line at my usual gas station, and I was in a hurry. Bad gas could definitely be a factor.

    Also, you have convinced me to complain to Subaru about the dealership. While I knew their behavior was wrong, I was initially afraid to complain because I feared retaliation during future service visits. However, if I work with a different dealer, that won't be an issue. Besides, if they've acted that way towards me, they're probably doing the same thing to other women - and they need to stop.

    Juice, if my car stalls again after I make the switch to better gasoline, I will have the ECU, alternator and battery checked out.

    Idaho Doug, you articulated what I was feeling so well. Thank you for understanding the very heart of the matter here, and for offering such practical suggestions. (To answer your question, while I'm quite embarrassed to admit this: after my car stalled, I was in such a panic that I did not try to restart the car. Since this had never happened to me before, I thought I had completely lost my brakes and steering, so I was afraid that I wouldn't be able to control the car if I got it started again. So when that nice guy came to help me, he simply started it right up! At least now I know what to do if this ever happens again.)

    If anyone else out there has any related stories/advice, I am still all ears. However, I'm already feeling much better thanks to all of the nice, caring people who have posted responses.
  • hondafriekhondafriek Ottawa CanadaPosts: 2,930
    I put the Titan on synthetic Mobil One at the 6,000 mile change and that will be it for as long as I own him, in my experience synthetic does make a big difference.

    On Synthetic the hot running oil Pressure never varys, wheras on dino the hotter it gets the lower the oil pressure which more than proves dino loses viscosity the hotter it gets,lower viscosity plus hot engine equals lower protection.

    Cheers Pat.
  • jfljfl Posts: 1,356
    My next oil change is at 60k. Should I switch to synthetic? What are your thoughts?

    Jim
  • Thanks for the corrections, Fibber and Colin.

    Colin, I think my original point "The VC can easily handle transfering torque to the rear longer than the rear brakes could handle that abuse." is still valid regarding the dragging parking brake. Though it is not really a difference of opine since we both agree that dragging the rear brakes is a bad thing, eh? :-)

    I think Michelin's recommendation on the tires is a little generic, personally (surprising since I'm a Michelin fanatic). Juice's point is well taken and I'd recommend someone put a set of news on the front where they wear faster.

    Interesting thought starter on ABS, though:

    In severe braking, the fronts generally lock before the rears on a healthy vehicle. New tires on the rear (turning slower) would engage the ABS later (takes more front tire slippage to slow down to, then drop below, the rear tire's RPMs). For some annoyingly sensitive systems, this may be a good thing, but for a market average this may not be the best.

    With the new tires on the front, the ABS system may be a bit more sensitive, but now the most likely to lock (front) tires have maximal traction to provide superior actual braking and to resist locking. Overall, I'd still put mine on the fronts, though I have not done this due to a lifelong "all four new at a time" ethos.

    IdahoDoug
  • locke2clocke2c Posts: 5,038
    Doug,

    the other interesting thing is that the VC seized. I commented about that before... I've only heard of two seizing, ever, and in both cases they were the result of a mistake choosing a rearend and tranny (thus front differential) that didn't match ratios.

    otherwise I'd thought the VC just wears out and does nothing over time. presumably this forester had 4 tires the same rated size... regardless of tread wear, that's nothing at all like running 4.11:1 r&p in front and 4.44:1 rear!

    -Colin
  • nine51nine51 Posts: 78
    About using mid-grade gasoline, I had a person who sold gasoline wholesale to the dealers once tell me that if you want fresh gasoline, don't buy mid-grade. The regular and premium grades sell faster and therefore the tanks turn over faster. Mid grade is a slower seller, and some smaller stations could have mid-grade that's over 2 months old in their bulk tank. His advice was to buy your gas from a station that has a lot of traffic. Their gasoline is the most fresh.

    When your engine stalls, you really don't loose your brakes or steering, it just feels like it. You do loose the power assist, but you can still brake and turn, although it is very difficult. If you are not very strong, you might have to pull on the wheel with both hands to get it to turn, but that's better than running into something. And remember, you always have your hand brake. That is not power assisted, and in a newer un-rusted car, it should work.

    The finance guy at the sealer should be canned. It gives dealers a bad name to have someone like that around. Who knows, it's probably the owners brother-in-law, and he can't be fired.

    You didn't make a mistake buying a Subaru. I've had 6 of them and they are great cars. If you are from a large urban area, there may be an independent garage that will do maintenance work on Subarus. Ask around, and check the yellow pages. They might be able to figure out why it stalled. My 96 Outback Sport had a bad stumbling problem two years ago (at 110,000 miles), and a couple bottles of Techron fuel system cleaner cleared it up.
  • nine51nine51 Posts: 78
    If you use HEET in your fuel injected Subaru, be sure to get the kind in the red bottle. It contains Isopropyl alchohol. The other stuff in the yellow bottle can be corrosive to the metals in the fuel injection system. Check the label for Isopropyl alchohol.
  • kenskens Posts: 5,869
    Yup my buddy Tony had the same brand, size and pressure tires on all four corners.

    Ken
  • kenskens Posts: 5,869
    I'm sorry to hear about your incident. A sudden stall in traffic has got to be stressful.

    To emphasize IdahoDoug's point, I've always used name-brand gas and my Forester has never quit on me.

    I'd also urge you to call SOA and complain about the dealer. Not only will you be making a difference, but I'm more than certain that your report will be held confidential.

    I hope you find confidence in your Subie again!

    Ken
  • First post, so please bear with me. I unfortunately signed my paperwork for my new LLBean at the VERY MOMENT the dealer was informed about the recent recall. They impounded the car until they could get the needed part. Yesterday they installed the part and told me I could pick up the car. I was very anxious to drive it home. After I got home (25 mile trip) I noticed smoke billowing out of the engine compartment. My heart sank. Then I remembered reading that in order to fix the parking pin situation, they have to remove the transmission. After looking at the area it appears that the dealer, in his haste to complete the repair, spilled transmission fluid all over the place. I think some of the fluid was burning off the exhaust. At least that what I hope.
    ONE, I hope that is the case (I'll know latter when I drive it more), and TWO, I hope this is not an indication of general sloppiness with this dealer that I'll have to put up with latter.
  • JimmyP: Methinks I have the same squeak, but without any synchro/gnashing of gears (yet?) Does a throwout bearing replacement require the rest of the clutch be r&r'd as well, or can it be replaced in & by itself?

    Cheers!
    Paul
  • Siezing would be interesting to do an autopsy on, eh? I'm interested in what you think could have achieved this. I can only come up with 2 scenarios:

    1- The metal discs/blades got so hot they warped and physically interfere with each other.
    2- The VC fluid got so hot it coked up into a semi solid.

    Either way, yowza.

    Kens - I think it's important to realize that same tire, same pressure does NOT counterindicate different circumferences. As mentioned above, I personally measured 2 Subarus with the same tire and same pressure and found differences easily capable of activating the VC when it should not. I don't think the casual owner fully comprehends how diligent they must be on tire rotations to prevent this uneven wear - fronts get smaller far faster.

    IdahoDoug
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