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Subaru Crew Problems & Solutions

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  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    I also gave the guys a $20 tip the first time I went there and explained that I had 2 cars and would be coming in rather often to get tires mounted, also drop at least $10 tip on later trips :)

    -mike
  • Hi -
    I am hoping someone can shed light on the problem I am having with my 1998 Subaru Outback wagon. It has 96,500 miles. About two months ago, I replaced the transmission due to ongoing, intermittent slipping and revving at high rpm's. At about the same time, my car overheated. Since then, I have had three new thermostats, new water pump, new radiator... and have had the cooling system completely bled/flushed out several times, hoses and heating block cleaned, as well as a last ditch effort with "Blue Devil". The car has stranded me in several highly inconvenient and dangerous times/areas, hence many mechanics have looked under the hood. Each one is convinced they've fixed the problem, only to find me stranded on the road once again. My current mechanic is stumped. He thought it could be the head gasket, but can't find sufficient evidence. Has anyone had a similar problem , or does anyone have advice??
  • idahodougidahodoug Posts: 537
    Why do you thing it's overheating? Are you basing this on the guage, or does the engine stop running?

    What do you mean by stranded? Stopped running, or you stopped it due to a temp needle approaching red?

    Basically you've replaced everything impacting engine cooling but the fan and its drive system. If everything was installed properly, that's all there is left.

    The reason I asked about the guage, etc is that I hope this entire cooling system thing is not simply a faulty guage showing hot. A good mechanic would have installed an aftermarket heat gauge for $100 on a chronic heating problem vehicle rather than charge 5 times that tossing radiators, water pumps, etc at it. What say ye?

    IdahoDoug
  • celica115celica115 Posts: 169
    Do you know what is the normal temp that show up on the heat guage?

    Luk
  • timo43timo43 Posts: 23
    Question: I am used to standard shifts, but just got a 2003 Forester automatic. Half the people I talk to say do not downshift to second gear and use the braking influence of the engine, as brakes are a lot less expensive to replace than transmissions. The other half say a heavy Forester puts too much demand on the brakes on a hill, and I should use second gear. The manual says to use a low gear. What is the best technique for going down hills?
  • kenskens Posts: 5,869
    It really comes down to a judgement call for you in the end. If you are going to be constantly on the brakes for a long time downhill (say more than several hundred feet), then it probably is wiser to downshift and allow engine braking to help you. What you want to avoid is a dangerous situation where your brakes have faded from heat build up to the point where you can't stop.

    For a short stretch or occaisional "taps" of the brake, it's probably better to leave the transmission alone.

    Ken
  • The only time I'd bother to downshift an automatic would be going up or down a very, very, very steep hill with a bad surface such as wet leaves, mud, dirt, sand or loose rocks. And then I'd use first gear to obtain all the help I could get. Otherwise, I'm on the brakes. And pump the brakes, don't ride them and let them heat up.

    Back to the battery problem briefly. Chatting with the architect next door, he reminded me that his Camry had once had a daily dead battery problem. After umpteen trips to the mechanic it turned out to be a bad relay for rear window defroster.

    John
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    For that battery issue, if the dealer has tested the alternator, check the alternator belt tension, and the battery itself, then it likely is your driving habits.

    A battery will hold a charge for a certain time, but it is designed to be used regularly. If you must, just start it once a week and let it idle in the driveway. Let it warm up, and give it a couple of minutes after that. This also cleans your motor oil, and circulates it in your engine to keep everything lubricated nicely.

    If you leave a car for extended periods you should winterize it, so I don't think it's unreasonable for the dealer to suggest a trickle charger.

    Just my opinion.

    By the way, I would consider a new battery. I replaced mine, which had 260 CCAs, with a $40 battery from Wal Mart that has 535 CCAs. She starts better now. It's a cheap investment and might solve your problem completely.

    -juice
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Yeah, Costco told me they'd only rotate the tires for free if I bought the tires there.

    I'd rather do it myself anyway, just to ensure the proper torque settings. So I buy tires wholesale and have them mount them the first time, then I recheck the torque and rotate them myself from then on.

    Haven't had a flat in 18 years, knock on wood.

    Wow, Loosh, oil leak come and gone while I was away.

    Jim: I forget exactly, but they charged us a ridiculous amount to fix that axle boot. $600 or so? The grease leaked and shorted out a $220 oxygen sensor, too. Mazda parts are brutally expensive if you go to a dealer.

    For $200, go ahead and do it, that's cheap.

    -juice
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Another thought - I believe the alternator shares a belt with the power steering. Does your steering seem heavy or uneven? If so, it's the belt or the tension causing both problems.

    -juice
  • cploegcploeg Posts: 6
    I went to pick up my Legacy from the dealer after they called and said "The only problem is that you don't drive it enough." After letting my husband drive off, the repair manager came and told me that they couldn't start my car. Dead battery. Ironic, huh?

    Anyway, they gave me a nice loaner and have had my car for the last week. Still nothing they can determine that is wrong. They assume it was dead when I came to pick it up because perhaps someone unplugged the charger. Hmmmmm, not a very satisfying explanation.

    Anyway, thanks for all the comments. Yes, I already have had the battery replaced. The second battery seems very underpowered. The car always seems to hesitate before starting, and often needs to crank several times. I did not have this problem with the first battery; it started or it didn't.

    Subaru has also put a meter on the car several times and said that the battery drainage is within expected specs (10 something), which is why they do not think it is an after-market problem. They have tested the alternator and the electrical system. Everything checks out.

    The service guy also said they have one other customer with the same problem ("short-charging"). He didn't say if this is a local customer, or someone in the database. He also said that other low-mileage customers have not had the same problem with their Foresters.

    I generally drive my car 50-100 miles a week, but it may sit for 3-4 days between trips. But this is a small town and those are mostly in-town miles. Let's face it, at this time of year, there just aren't too many places one CAN drive in Alaska.

    Wish me luck. Tomorrow I go to speak with the service manager and then I plan to escalate this. I really don't want to be plugging my car in every night . . .

    Cheryl
  • cptpltcptplt Posts: 1,075
    I don't think they check if you purchased the tires from them, they asume you did, unless you actually tell them you didn't. If you have a brand and model totally foreign to them they might notice otherwise they just do it! At NTB they did free rotations for me for 2 years on several of my cars till finally one day someone actually checked and found out the tires I was rotating weren't the ones I had purchased from them several years previously, or even the same car! But since I was a "repeat" customer in the computer they just kept doing things for free!
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Here they ask for the reciept, also to get my tires rotated here would take like 2+hrs, at home it will take 15 min :)

    -mike
  • mchinmchin Posts: 22
    I brought a 03 Impreza. My wife drives it and puts the car in the garage. It has been in the garage for the weekend. It's been cold here in the NE. She tried to start it but did not start until the fourth crank. Strange for a new car not to start up. Has anyone come across this?
  • kenskens Posts: 5,869
    Cheryl: Thanks for the update. It must be frustrating, but at least it appears the dealers are trying. What kind of battery was the second one? Did they test the new battery to see if it was good to begin with? Perhaps it's something as simple as a bad run on the OE battery. Keep us posted.

    mchin: The original equipment battery is fairly weak to begin with (low CCAs). Combine that with cold weather and you'll notice the starter needs to work hard to get the engine started. The best solution is to invest in $60-70 and buy an aftermarket battery with a higher CCA rating. The other less practical thing you can do is to keep the battery warmer either by heating your garage or by using a battery warmer.

    Ken
  • Hello all -

    Long time since my last post. Just got 6"+ of snow here in Tennessee. The Subaru performed as advertised. The AWD and Michelin X-ones proved to be a great combination . . .

    Anyhow, I seemed to be plagued with engine-oil leaks. I just replaced both head-cover gaskets at 98K. I had to replace my rear engine and crank seal at 73K. I crawled under my car yesterday and discovered oil seeping from the underside of the timing belt cover. Last time I saw this it meant that the crank seal was bad (only 25K ago). Could it be one of the cam seals? Any thoughts? Anyone else seem to spring oil leaks as frequently as I do? With the exception of these leaks and a starter motor - the car has been great . . .

    Thanks for any advice!

    -Outbike I
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I agree 100%, mike.

    -juice
  • jimmyp1jimmyp1 Posts: 640
    are you refering to my post a while back while you were on vacation? If so, thanks for the reply. Yes, $200 WOULD have been good, but I just dropped the car off an hour ago, and realized that that was just the parts price, and it's really closer to $400 with labor, which still sounds reasonable given what you've said. Oh, and they agreed to clean up the ABS sensor that got gunked up from the grease when the boot failed. It's the clutch and throw-out bearing that are really going to add up.

    Jim
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Yep, that's still much cheaper than mine, and it was only to replace the boot - the axle, bearing, CV, and all were OK.

    -juice
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    No, you get the record for oil leaks. Most I've heard before on a single car was just in one place.

    For that cold battery, try turning on the radio for just 10 seconds or so before you start it up. I've heard this can help warm up the battery so it's prepared to start more easily. Don't quote me on it, I have no idea the mechanical explanantion behind the idea, just sharing it.

    -juice
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