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Subaru Crew Problems & Solutions

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  • We've been thinking about the possible differential problem, and don't know much at all about what's required here. the car is an 02 Forester , manual, approx 63k miles, timing belt & water pump changed at 60 k service$$ in Seattle area. cv joint and axles were checked in last 4 months and deemed OK.

    1. What is the failure possibility or pattern here ... are we good for 10k miles with increasing thumping, or could a catastrophic failure be imminent???
    2. What are the likely costs? would replacement be mandated for the differential, or is there some intermediate solution?
    3. Is the problem unique enough to Subaru that only Subie technicians or dlrs should be considered?

    thanks for all help!
  • tbragg44tbragg44 Posts: 24
    Make sure your mechanic used the correct marks when he initially set the cam / crank timing.

    On the 2.5L, the crankshaft sprocket has two stamped-in marks, 90 degrees from each other. No idea why Subaru did that.

    I made the (rookie) mistake of using the triangle-shaped mark on the face of the sprocket rather than the bar-shaped one at the back to time the valves with the crank. I could blame it on bad tech data, but more realistically it was my own inexperience.

    Anyway, three broken valves and a $3500 rebuild later, I'm just about ready to put it back on the road. Anyone have an engine hoist I can borrow?!

    TB
  • jeffmcjeffmc Posts: 1,742
    ronaries10 - while I can't directly answer your technical questions, I can say that if you do end up in need of a Seattle-area Subaru specialist & are looking to save a bit over the dealer, check out Smart Service... they have shops in Mountlake Terrace (at the King-Snohomish line) and Mukilteo, & are highly rated by AAA. I primarily use my dealer, but I've also had great experience with these guys. IMHO, they're knowledgeable, honest, & can save you quite a bit. You can check 'em out online here: http://www.smart-service.com/

    Good luck!
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,396
    Are we discussing a rear differential here? They are self-contained units, so unless you are looking at rebuilding it rather than replacing it, I suspect it to be a very simple process: Disconnect half-shafts and drive shaft, unbolt it from the body, install new differential, fill with oil.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    I think he may be referring to the front diffy, which is integrated with the transmission unit.

    -mike
  • jssh1jssh1 Posts: 6
    I have a 1998 Forester - automatic transmission with almost 165K miles. While driving ona road trip this weekend while going up a mountain in Central PA, the CEL came on and the care starting jerking. I took it to a mechanic a few miles down the street and they checked the fluids and added oil and transmission fluid and said I needed to change the transmission filter which is causing the jerking when the car shift gears.
    I called a couple of dealers and they say Foresters do not have transmission filters and it's probably the solenoid that needs replacing (over $400). Is it worth it to spend the money? My husband wants to trade the car in and get a new car since we keep replacing things (CV boots, O2 sensor, etc). Thanks very much for any help.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Um, what was the code on the CEL. I don't think it has anything to do with the transmission from your description.

    -mike
  • hypovhypov Posts: 3,068
    I called a couple of dealers and they say Foresters do not have transmission filters

    Actually, the '98 Forester 4EAT do have a transmission filter; however, it'll cost to get to.

    It's in the AT fluid pan. :sick:

    -Dave
  • jssh1jssh1 Posts: 6
    How do I figure out what the code is? Can I do it myself? I took it to the dealer today and they said it was the spark plugs and wires - needed to be replaced and I also needed a fuel induction system change, or something like that for over $600. They also added that I needed the valve covers replaced for $550. I got them to adjust the price for the first part for $100 less, but decided to forgo the valve cover replacements for now. I hope this care will last another 6 to 8 months without anything else mahor happening. Did I get hosed on the price?
  • aathertonaatherton Posts: 617
    The dealer's diagnosis makes more sense than the first shop. In addition to the plugs and wires, it sounds like they did a fuel system "charge" with a can of BG 209 using their fuel injection/induction system cleaning machine:
    http://www.bgprod.com/products/fuelair2.html
    That is standard practice for shops and dealers when there may be a fuel system problem. It's a high-profit procedure. Various shops and dealers have done the BG thing to several of our cars over the years.

    So your dealer did ignition and fuel system actions, one of which or both cured your problem. The price of $500 is high but not unreasonable.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Yeah $500 for the injector cleaner, wires and plugs is a little high, but average for a dealer so you didn't get totally hosed. Glad it fixed the problem.

    -mike
  • jssh1jssh1 Posts: 6
    Thanks, everyone. I called my husband about the initial price (~$550) and he nearly flipped. I got him to call some other dealers to see what it would cost and other dealers quoted under $200 for the spark plugs and wires with labor and that the fuel induction cleaning was not really necessary, especially if we were going to trade/sell the car in 6 months (we're moving cross country). He did not have a nice talk with the service people - that they took advantage of a very pregnant lady when I asked for the minimum to be done to get the CEL (by the way, the code was P0304) to go off and the jerking to stop when shifting gears.

    I was able to convince the service manager to give me the price of $441 out the door in a relatively civil manner. The CEL is off now, but ocassionally I still get a little jerking of the car at low speeds - will have to see if it gets better in the next couple of days. If something else comes up - we'll have to trade it in or sell it since we will have two kids by then and will probably need new wheels.

    thanks, everyone!
  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Posts: 1,714
    I'm seeing in the '09 Forester, now that there is some nice weather up here with sun, that while the white exterior does not get very warm from solar heating, the sunroof internal cover does.

    Is anyone aware of a Subaru approved or aftermarket device that helps reflect sunlight off the internal sun roof cover, thus helping keep the head down inside the vehicle?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I would consider a reflective metallic tint on the glass itself. Certain ones are not too dark yet reflect light nicely.
  • zberkzberk Posts: 5
    I have 97,000 miles on my 2000 Outback. Today I was driving along and suddenly the engine shut off, power steering goes away. Luckily I had enough momentum to coast into parking lot.

    So I try to start the engine and it cranks fine and strong, but won't start... Does this sound like a fuel pump issue or anything else? Hopefully not expensive... :sick:

    Thanks in advace for any help.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,396
    Seems odd for it to be so sudden (no symptoms) and persistent. As such, I would agree that it could be fuel, or otherwise a lack of spark (coil pack failed). Anyone else?
  • samiam_68samiam_68 Posts: 775
    Maybe a timing belt.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    No check-engine light? A misfire code might help us diagnose it.
  • zberkzberk Posts: 5
    Turned out to be the fuel pump and relay. The dealership said the relay overheated. Since then, I talked to the subaru specialists in sacramento and they said its very unlikely that both pump and relay would go out. It's usually one or the other. Is this true?

    Dealership also said timing belt tensioner is making noise, but I don't hear anything...

    Thanks for your replies.
  • saedavesaedave Chicago, ILPosts: 683
    Dealership also said timing belt tensioner is making noise, but I don't hear anything...


    That sounds ominous. I would ask the dealer for more information with regard to possibility of timing belt failure and engine damage.
  • We have gotten more info and service and can update our situation previously described:

    "We've been thinking about the possible differential problem, and don't know much at all about what's required here. the car is an 02 Forester , manual, approx 63k miles, timing belt & water pump changed at 60 k service$$ in Seattle area. cv joint and axles were checked in last 4 months and deemed OK. "

    The problem - heavy knocking/thumping in front was diagnosed as a failing viscous coupler both by dealer and indy garage (subie spec) in Seattle area. Costs were est at $1000 and $1250 b4 tax, respectively, and we chose the indy garage previously recommended (here) "Smart" Subaru specialists. Chose to renew the failing clutch at $900 also, discounted to $800 for amount of work . Car has endured the first 120 miles well, so far!

    There was an odor of oil - possibly gear oil? - in car at first but it seems to have dissipated now.

    Our experience has been a high amount of service required at 65000 mile range (timing belt, tune, water pump, frt rotor/pad, vis coupler, clutch) when compared to our other cars - perhaps this must balance against the AWD option of the Forester.

    Thanks all for your comments.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Why would you do a timing belt at 60k? On all subarus sold 2000+ the timing belt interval is 105k miles.

    -mike
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    I also doubt it was the pump and the relay. My guess it was the relay and they just took you for a ride on the pump part.

    -mike
  • saedavesaedave Chicago, ILPosts: 683
    I also doubt it was the pump and the relay. My guess it was the relay and they just took you for a ride on the pump part
    mike

    While not terribly likely, more-than-rated current can damage relay contacts. Such might occur with leakage to ground or shorted turns in the pump. Another way to burn the contacts is a loose connection to the relay coil which produces excessive repetitive relay actuation.

    dave
  • hammerheadhammerhead Posts: 885
    (note: posted this awhile ago in maint & repair, got no responses at all, so here it is, for your convenience. Apologies for the cross-posting, but struck out the first time!) :)

    Looking for some opinion & guidance, as usual

    I'm aware of the complications regarding a high-mileage changeover from dino to synthetic engine oil - does the same cautionary tale apply to trannies & differentials?

    I'm getting some feedback from the car (the 99 GT, 160K) that a fluid change is in order. Given the mileage & uncertainty as to when it was last done, I think it's time.

    75W90, correct? And do those numbers change if I pull the synthetic trigger?

    Thanks, gang, and
    Cheers!
    Paul
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Synthetics in the diffys and trans is very very good, even on a high milage car. This is the only form of cooling that they get so any reduction in friction will lead to a longer service life.

    -mike
  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Posts: 1,714
    Does Subaru approve any specific Synthetic lubes for their auto-trans, diffs, and engine?
  • I bought a brand new 2008 Legacy Limited sedan 3 weeks ago. I have a mere 650 miles on the car. Since then it has developed some odd electrical problems.

    Two days after I bought it, while driving it on the highway for about an hour or so, the display on the dash above the CD/radio (which shows mpg, time, temp, etc.) flashed & came back on. Oddly, the car showed only 16.7 mpg despite the fact that I was driving exclusively on the highway.

    A week ago, I noticed the car radio volume had become quite loud. I noted that the radio station display was unlit. I tried to lower the volume, change the radio station, even turn the radio off and I could do none of these things. I pulled off the road, turned the car off, then back on and was able to get the radio to work properly again.

    Finally this past Friday the radio just completely cut off and could not be turned back on until going through the same process of shutting off the engine and turning it back on.

    The car was taken to the dealer's service department who checked it, but they couldn't find the problem.

    I'm concerned that this could eventually prove to be a safety issue. Am I correct?

    I mean, this is a BRAND NEW CAR! I don't believe that electrical systems need to be "broken in."

    What rights do I have?

    The dealership has told me that I have to document every time I have a problem, but frankly I am concerned that I could have complete electrical failure.

    What should I do? I have told the dealership that they must make this situation right.

    I'd appreciate any and all advice. Thanks!
  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Posts: 1,714
    I once worked for GM as electronic engineer, so here are some possibilities:

    1. Bad connection somewhere in the system buss linking instruments to body computer (badly seated plug, damaged harness, etc),
    2. Body control computer itself is faulty.
    3. Someone/something with very strong CB or other transmitter temporarily "jammed" your vehicle electronics as they/it passed you (I have seen this happen in my former Malibu) causing various parts to get screwed up.
    4. Was it raining or did the vehicle hit any water? If water hits any badly fitting electrical connectors, that could cause momentary faults in the system.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Have them check the grounds.
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