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Subaru Crew Problems & Solutions

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  • bsvollerbsvoller Posts: 528
    I'm originally from the mid-west, college in MN & WI. I'm sorry, but a battery with less than 400 CCA is a joke, especially in snow country. Get real, Subaru.

    Would definately go aftermarket. CR just did extensive testing across brands and sizes. Unfortunately the Group 35 size is one of the smallest, so getting a decent battery for the Forester is hard. Bigger sizes don't fit.

    CR did recommend the Exide Nascar 35-84 as their top rated Group 35 battery, as I recall. I have one in the Sentra, and it's great. Alternator went on that car recently, was still able to drive to the repair shop with no worries on a full charge (topped it off before I left home).

    I'll be getting one for the Forester when the OEM super 'D' size dies... Looking forward to more vigorous starting when I do...

    -brianV
  • kenskens Posts: 5,869
    Have any of you folks heard of the center diff in the 5MT failing before? My friend who owns a 2000 Forester S just out of the blue started getting bad binding. It would happen after the drivetrain was fully warmed up (ie. highway driving) and with the steering wheel turned all the way to lock (ie. parking maneuvers).

    He took it in to the dealer and it turns out that they need to replace his center differential. Unfortunately, he's already out of the powertrain warranty so it's going to set him back around $1300 (ouch!). It's got me baffled since the vehicle has never been subject to conditions that would cause failure (ie. towing, different diameter tires).

    Any theories on what happened or is it just plain bad luck?

    Ken
  • jay_24jay_24 Posts: 536
    Juice and Brian,

    The OB has a more powerfull battery. I can't remember off hand but I think it was in the 550cca range.... would the all-weather package make a differance with all those heaters to run? I'll have to peak under the hood tonight and double check.

    Brian, (off topic) where did you go to school?

    --Jay
  • locke2clocke2c Posts: 5,038
    Ken,

    it could happen. driving around for a while with the parking brake on would definitely do it. otherwise, it's a really rare problem... usually the center diff wears out and doesn't limit slip much, but they don't tend to seize.

    -Colin
  • kenskens Posts: 5,869
    Colin,

    Yeah, I thought it was rare for that part to fail. I couldn't imagine he would make the mistake of driving around with the parking brake on either.

    So, is the center diff synonymous with the VC? Since the problem only happens when the tranny is warm, I wonder if the VC fluid is suspect.

    Ken
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I think it had 260 CCAs, now that I think about it. It worked OK and started her up for about 3+ years.

    Ken: that's the viscous coupling. And no, I've never heard of such a failure. It's sealed and maintenance-free, so there's nothing he could have done. :-(

    Are his tires all the same size, same pressure? That's the type of thing that would have caused it.

    $1300? Call SoA and see if they can offer help, maybe split the cost. Or tell him to order the parts from a wholesaler, and then have his mechanic install those. Bet he could do it for $600-800. Try SubieGal or e-mail parts@libertysubaru.com for parts prices.

    Has he tried the figure 8 Patti suggested to someone? Though I think that was for the automatic to break-in.

    -juice
  • bluesubiebluesubie Posts: 3,497
    I think there was a post on the i-club a little while ago about someone's VC going bad.
    edit: Here it is: http://forums.i-club.com/forums/showthread.php?threadid=269498&referrerid=767

    -Dennis
  • kenskens Posts: 5,869
    juice,

    Tires all the same, pressures close enough -- it's baffling.

    It's the figure-8 kind of driving that actually causes the binding. If you lock the steering wheel and roll forward, you get this "thud, thud" jerky motion up the steering column.

    The dealer already called the regional tech rep for him, but no avail. I told him to at least call customer service and have a case documented. I was thinking about refering him to Patti since it's such a rare occurance, but she's still out of commision.

    I'm sure if there was any symptom early on it could have been documented, but this just suddenly started.

    Ken
  • I broke a tooth Tuesday night. I was only eating pizza so I think it really broke while I was drilling a 1 3/4" hole through 3 inches of wood to accommodate a new sub panel in my garage (rewiring). The 1/2" Milwaukee drill bound up a little and I foolishly had my face too close to it. Wham, got hit in the face with the handle. Didn't hurt that much at the time. Anyway, that prompted a trip to the dentist. Since we moved to Eureka a year ago we still use our old dentist in San Francisco (like a good mechanic... once you find one). So off to SF. 600 miles later we are back. What a great ride. Two thirds of the trip on 101 is a wonderful curvy cruise with little traffic through forest and rolling hills. What a great opportunity to test out my new Protenza RE950s. They feel great. No noticeable road noise and nice grip. Smooth as glass. I love this car. BTW, got compliments from the installer for my (OCD) freshly cleaned and rewaxed inside of the rims.

    The trip back last night was fun but a little freaky as the fog was at times dense. We took it easy and there was no traffic only maybe 6 or so dear (that we saw). So I think it is time to quit procrastinating and get upgraded fogs. The fogs on the GT are not fogs. They do nothing. A while back I was contimplating replacing them with Hella MicroDEs and I think that is still what I am going to do.

    bit
  • bsvollerbsvoller Posts: 528
    Our Forester also has the AWP - makes no difference. Starts OK so far (2.5 yrs, 30k mi), just not energetic about it.

    I do wonder about the load, especially with all the heaters going (seats, front wipers, mirrors, rear window, fan) with lights. Also, the electric trailer brakes can pull 25 amps I believe (alternator makes 75). Even with a Group 27 trailer battery, it's quite a wallop.

    OT - Spent 2 years at Carleton College in Northfield, MN. Great school, very nice people, but the proverbial ivory tower in a wheat field. Went overseas the first time on an exchange with them, stayed a while, then transferred back to UW-Madison to finish my BBA.

    Currently a MSCIT candidate at Regis University here in Denver.

    How 'bout you ?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    That stinks. Probably is the VC, then, given those symptoms.

    Wonder if Subaru will swap to the 950s as OE tires. They seem to overlap with the RE92s.

    BTW, the automatics had more CCAs, I guess because you can't push start them?

    -juice
  • hondafriekhondafriek Ottawa CanadaPosts: 2,922
    I was only quoting prices of the specials, I would never replace an OE battery with another OE, there are much better deals on the aftermarket for batteries, as well living where I do I always replace the battery with the biggest I can get in there.

    Cheers Pat.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I did too, Pat. In fact I had to modify the base slightly, but it fit. They didn't have the OE size in stock, mine's a tiny bit bigger.

    -juice
  • Three months ago, I bought a demo model 2002 Subaru Outback LL Bean Edition wagon. Auto transmission, 20,000 miles.

    Had no problems until yesterday. On my way to work, in stop-and-go traffic on a congested metro-area bridge, my car completely STALLED without warning. The "check engine" and "brake" lights came on. I had no brakes, no power, and no steering, and it was very frightening.

    After about 20 very tense minutes waiting for help to arrive - worrying that someone was going to crash into me - a good samaritan restarted my car, and I drove it to a local Subaru dealer.

    They ran computer checks and test drove it, but could not find a problem. Wanting answers, I called the dealer who sold me the car, and the salesperson told me to bring the car to them for a second opinion. They also found nothing, and gave no explanation as to why this happened...

    I am worried that my car might stall again without notice. Has this happened to anyone else out there? Or does anyone know why my brand new car just died like that?

    (More info: Before stalling, my gas tank was 3/4 full, the weather was about 50 degrees and drizzling, radio and thermostat were on.)

    Also, I've had problems with the dealership. They are very unprofessional. Their financial/credit guy kept making passes at me when I was signing the paperwork to get my auto loan, and he did so again yesterday while I was waiting for the service dept to diagnose the problem with my car.

    I would complain to the manager, but he's a creep, too. Yesterday, right in front of me, he started cursing because he was frustrated by how long it was taking to negotiate a deal with another customer... "I gotta sell a f**king car today, God d*mn it!" is what he said. That is a completely unacceptable way to behave in front of customers.

    I am feeling like I might have made a mistake buying this car. I worry that I'm going to have mechanical problems with it, and will be at the mercy of the sexist, unprofessional people at the dealership, who I can't imagine will be helpful.

    Sorry for the long message, but I am very frustrated.
  • Is there another Subaru dealer nearby? You might want someone else servicing your wagon from what you describe.

    How did the good samaritan start your wagon? This might give the service department a clue as to your problem.

    Good luck from an '01 Bean owner with NO problems!
  • It can be startling to have something like this happen, as cars provide us with more than mere transportation - they are our secure little steel boxes in a sometimes harsh world. I think this is more true with females such as yourself. When they let us down, we feel betrayed and this is especially frustrating as there is no opportunity to voice this to an inanimate object.

    I'm sorry the dealership has such an apalling level of personnel working there, and agree you might consider establishing a relationship with the other place you stopped at. You were doubly impacted by having the dealer you bought it from not only do nothing to alleviate your concern, but deal clumsily with you and even insensitively make a pass. Incredulous, really.

    You made a fundamentally sound decision to get this car and I predict it will turn out to be a very wise investment for you in the years to come. I have a couple thoughts for you in regards to the stalling.

    1 - If you're the type to buy the cheapest gas available, stop doing this immediately and use a national brand's midgrade. I suspect the problem was cheap fuel and/or water in the fuel from a substandard gas station. It is common this time of year to have a bit of water in the gas due to the condensation of cooler temps. Go to an auto parts store and buy a can of HEET, or another brand of gasoline drier. It has a high content of alcohol, which combines with the water so that it will move through and burn (gasoline will not combine with the water).

    2 - Be sure your gas cap is tightened thoroughly after fueling up. Get it to click at least 5 times before stopping when you tighten it. This is a critical seal on today's cars to be sure the engine's fuel injection system is working properly.

    Also, can you tell us what happened when you tried to restart the car after it stalled? And what the helper did to get it started?

    IdahoDout
  • I don't buy the bad VC at all. 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.

    In the last 6 months, I have had issues with two Subaru drive systems reveal tire circumference variances that surprised me. One was my Mother's car you all recall I towed a couple thousand miles (did some measuring before electing to remove the drive shaft). The other was my Pastor's Subaru which was making a rear CV sound.

    These Subarus both had the same tire and size front and rear. When I measured them, they were in excess of 3/4 inches different in circumference as against Subaru's 1/4 inch allowance. The message here is that it takes really diligent tire rotations to successfully wear out a set of 4 tires while remaining within spec.

    In addition, when you turn sharply (as into a parking space) the rear wheels describe an arc that is shorter than the fronts. This means they're turning notably slower. This means the 50/50 VC can cause a bit of 'axle windup' as the axles fight one another since you're on grippy pavement in reality (no slipping occuring).

    Couple this turning action with slightly different tire circumferences and you can definitely get some odd sounds and steering feedback.

    I suggest the following:

    Jack each tire in turn after confirming pressures are correct and measure the centerline circumference. Measuring the tire's height (diameter) as some have advocated is useless. I used a piece of string and a marker on the tire, then measured the string marks with a tape measure on the garage floor for accuracy (you'll need a helper if you use the tape measure directly on the tire). I suspect you'll find some significant differences even though these are the same exact tire, due to wear. If using the string, be diligent in keeping the string from falling into the tread grooves, and choose a string that will not stretch as this will easily blow the measurements.

    To alleviate the problem with the existing tires, put the smallest circumference tires on the rear. That way the larger rear tires are rotating faster and the VC will be less likely to rear it's head in tight turns when they slow down relative to the fronts.

    This is worth taking the hour or so to measure and rotate. If you find the rears currently on the car are smaller, then swapping them will make a huge difference. I have a LandCruiser with a center VC in high range and it exhibits some strange tight handling if I neglect tire rotation as well, so I suspect this is part of the tight VC characteristics. Let us know what you find. I was quite surprised at my measurements and I suspect you will also be surprised.

    IdahoDoug
  • jay_24jay_24 Posts: 536
    Forgot to check cca rating on the battery.

    Anyway, college days were spent at UW-Stout. 'bit' spent some time there too. Just slightly before my time...

    --jay
  • fibber2fibber2 Mid Hudson Valley, NYPosts: 3,729
    As usual, well done. However I had to read your recommendation a few time to be sure I got it right:

    "To alleviate the problem with the existing tires, put the smallest circumference tires on the rear. That way the larger (smaller??) rear tires are rotating faster and the VC will be less likely to rear it's head in tight turns when they slow down relative to the fronts."

    Thanks,

    Steve
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Wow, that guy should be fired. You should call 800-SUBARU3 to register a complaint, and then start using a different dealership.

    You probably lost power assist on the brakes. They are hydraulic and you wouldn't lose braking power completely, you'd just get a really stiff pedal.

    My guess is it was either the ECU, the alternator (which powers all the electricals), or the battery.

    A battery is a cheap fix, I got a new one for $40 at Wal Mart, and one with more CCAs. It starts more easily now.

    The dealer hopefully checked the ECU, but I'd also have them look at the alternator and test that, plus the accessory belt tension for the belt that turns the alternator.

    Guess it could be the gas too. The H6 thrives on premium. It'll run with lower octane, but the ECU will retard ignition timing and you'll lose about 4 horsepower.

    -juice
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