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Subaru Crew Problems & Solutions



  • dryboatdryboat Posts: 1
    I have a chance to buy a 1997 Impreza cheap because the rear wheel seems to lock up then release in slow full loch turns. It acts like it has different diameter tires, that can't spin at the same speed. I put the underhood 4wd fuse in , hoping disconnecting the 4wd would prove my tire theory correct. But to my surprise the FWD light didn't appear on the dash, and the rear wheels were still engaged? Secondary fuse?
    Also, can someone tell me the symptoms of a auto trans that has been towed over 20 mph, or has been towed on 2 wheels with 4WD engaged?
    I would appreciate any advice!
  • hammerheadhammerhead Posts: 907
    edited March 2010
    My 99 LGT exhibits similar behavior, but not to the same degree, and only when thoroughly warm - my shop tells me it's the viscous coupling/center diff. I thought it might be something in the rear differential, since it only seems to affect the rear wheels. They suggested I wait til it quits completely, because it's about a $1500 fix.

    Not sure if this helps or hinders your decision, though.

  • phil2000phil2000 New JerseyPosts: 195
    I did change the radiator cap.

    I went cheap on the thermostat though ($11 from Advance, $35 from Subaru). I am now changing my replacement philosphy. Since I am saving money on doing the repairs myself, I can purchase the parts from Subaru. That would eliminate some of the problems I have had.

    I still plan on having Subaru do the Coolant Service, after I replace three more hoses(bypass, supply & return heater).
  • fibber2fibber2 Mid Hudson Valley, NYPosts: 3,770
    Phil, remember that even new parts can be bad. As I wrote to you previously, it sounds like the upper seal isn't, well, sealing to produce the vacuum required to suck fluid back out of the overflow.
  • phil2000phil2000 New JerseyPosts: 195
    This morning I checked the overflow tank.

    It was full (yesterday it was empty), When I took off the radiator cap, I heard a rush of air and bubbles gurgled up in the overflow tank.

    The radiator cap is from Pep Boys, I am going to Subaru and get another one. It seems like the seal is a little deformed now.
  • fibber2fibber2 Mid Hudson Valley, NYPosts: 3,770
    One other thing to check that I have seen before. Take the lid and hose completely out of the the overflow tank, wrap it in a towel, and set it aside. There is a single 10mm bolt holding the overflow tank in place. Remove it, and gently lift the tank off of the lower retainer. Empty it and clean the insides thoroughly.

    The constant fill and suck out tends to have a cleaning effect on the radiator, depositing a thick layer of sludge in the bottom of the overflow tank. If you used it, that is where a lot of the Subaru Coolant Conditioning (ie stop leak) ends up, along with other garbage. If this level rises above the level of the bottom of the hose, it will clog the end. Coolant will flow into the tank, but no get siphoned back out.
  • phil2000phil2000 New JerseyPosts: 195
    Can I change the rear wheel bearings myself? Or is it something I can trust my local garage to do? The dealer ship will want $200+ to do it.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I've heard it's not simple, you have to press in the bearings. Let the pros do it.
  • girlcarbuildergirlcarbuilder Posts: 218
    edited March 2010
    If you have FWD only, then chances are you have a non servicable hub unit which can be pulled off and replaced with a new one. $50-$70 each. The nut that holds it on has to be carefuly unbent to unscrew it. When you put the replacement on, make sure you stake the new nut on. Only replace when it gets noisy. If you are real good at taking one apart without removing seals. It is possible to disassemble and clean, repack before the unit fails.

    Now, if you have AWD or need a bearing press and a good bit of experience with such tool. Otherwise, you could have an assembly suddenly breaking in the press and flying who knows where. Best left to someone who has done these before. Here again, if you repack around 150-170K, you can avoid having to press in new bearings! Same interval applies to the hubs!

    Be careful not to drive too long with little grease in them. Because if you over heat the knuckles, the bearing opening will distort and the new bearing will fail early. trick to avoid that is to service early again.

    Two choices basically. Drive till it fails, 240K or more and replace everything including possibly the knuckle. Or service around 150K-170K and just have new seals, some cleaner and new grease. Currently using the Valvoline full synthetic in road tests. About $8 for a small can.
  • sus77sus77 Posts: 1
    edited March 2010
    I am hoping the Subaru crew can help me out once again.

    My 1999 2.5 Subaru has never had any problems except for the known separator plate leak. My mechanic fixed the plate with the new metal one. When he fixed the plate problem, he took the engine out and then put it back in the car. The leaks are gone, but I have a new issue.

    It happens (usually) once a day and the problem happens at different times and road conditions. After I come to a complete stop, I can try to accelerate and the car starts moving with heavy hesitation. Its almost like someone is grabbing the front wheels. If you apply more pressure to the gas pedal, the car will continue to accelerate at a slow pace. Eventually when the car gets to 2nd or 3rd gear, the car accelerates at an expected pace. There are no noises or smells. When this problem happens, it is like the car is operating on a 40 to 50% acceleration reduction.

    The mechanic did change my transmission fluid and he is a trusted mechanic. But the problem will not replicate on demand and the car is not giving any error codes.

    Help - any ideas?
    Jason Nance
  • saedavesaedave Chicago, ILPosts: 693
    Hesitation at starting was a problem with my 1997 Legacy GT and the fault was the knock sensor. Have you checked it yet?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I thought of a simpler possibility - a sticky front brake caliper.

    Are you sure it's the engine, and not resistance from the brakes?
  • phil2000phil2000 New JerseyPosts: 195
    The dealer said he could put the knuckle on the bench and press it out for $99.00. Now all I have to do is get it off the car and some how get it to the dealership.
  • fibber2fibber2 Mid Hudson Valley, NYPosts: 3,770
    I keep a Dahon folding bike in my car for just such emergencies! :P
  • ths258ths258 Posts: 10
    Progressive Insurance has device that monitors your car activity via the OBD port. On a 2009 Outback, it does not record any trip activity (failed with 2 devices, although the first one worked a few days). Progressive can contact the device via the cell phone network, but there is no data to download.

    Do I have a faulty OBD port? Anyway to diagnose this further?
  • fibber2fibber2 Mid Hudson Valley, NYPosts: 3,770
    I'm pretty sure that all new Subi's use CAN. My older car uses ISO which was pretty easy to talk to. I've heard that CAN can be more particular. If the first one worked at all, I suspect that the problem is more likely on Progressive's side. If they haven't certified their device with Subaru vehicles, they may have to update their interface.
  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Posts: 1,794
    Any comments or feedback on whether the front or rear tires on a Subaru Forester wear faster?
    I suspect the front, but would like to hear opinions.
  • phil2000phil2000 New JerseyPosts: 195
    I have 317K miles (on the 5th set) on my Forester and found that all tires wore pretty evenly given driving habits. But proper inflation and regular maintenance (balancing, rotation, alignment) is the key.
  • girlcarbuildergirlcarbuilder Posts: 218
    edited April 2010
    Rear wheel bearing service failure report at 40K service miles. Total mileage on unit. 258K.

    Unit from MO came in. It had been in deep water. Rear wheel bearing was howling for some time. Like 5K miles. I was expecting the knuckle to be ruined. Turned out it was just fine. This is an AWD wagon. Tore it down. The install of the old bearing had full synthetic grease used. Found the grease in good condition, but bearing had rusted and pitted very badly. No signs of heating up! Very pleased with grease performance. Regular grease and I do not think the car would have made it all the way from St. Louis to Baton Rouge, LA. Second incident of rough service unintentional testing of synthetic grease.

    Also noted, that inner wheel bearing and intermediate seal made by National had failed. So when doing a reinstall, make sure the face of the half shaft is sanded smooth and the seal has a coat of grease. We plan to observe the National seals from now on and are considering going back to OEM seals.

    Bottom line, caution. These bearings are vulenable to water and dirt if these seals get torn up and I am willing to bet this is a common problem with Subies that play in deep dirt and water. The ones from St. Louis are road runners.

    Also, I forgot, forgive me. Slide hammer part number 05223 from Harbor freight with small enough drilled out stack of flat washers works well as a hub puller on AWD units. You want that 5 lb hammer for this. They also have a kit for pressing the bearings on car, # 66829. Works for install as well as uninstall. I also had to get another threaded longer bar with proper size washer to do the job. Both of these kits require a expert mechanic to use properly because you have to know what to push what against to do each task. About $100 buys these nice little toys.

    The following website should help with this job. Good luck.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    On our FWD cars we've observed that the front wheels wear much faster, but with AWD the wear has been fairly even.

    We rotate the tires every 7500 miles, and that's often enough that I have to mark the tires with chalk so I know where the tires should end up.

    This was true for 2 sets of tires on our Legacy and 3 sets of tires on my Forester.
  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Posts: 1,794
    Mine rotate around every 6000 miles.
    They are Nokian WRG2's which Consumers Union rated only fair for tread life (my tread will be down to winter wear bars within a year).
    However, Oregon roads are mostly paved gravel, very coarse and noisy, and that probably doesn't help the tread one bit.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    edited April 2010
    I don't mind tires that only last 2 years or so because I think the material deteriorates anyway.

    I had some Nitto NT460s on my 98 Forester and I think they lasted TOO long. There was tread left but they were noisy as anything towards the end. I replaced them with high-rated Falken Ziex 512 (short tread life).
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 9,950
    Yeah, three years is about right before the tire material starts to harden, resulting in increased noise and decreased traction.

    Kurt - You use the Nokian tires year-round, correct? How many miles do you have on them? Wear actually doesn't sound too bad, so far, given that the winter wear bar is typically at the 50% point of total tread life or less. If the tires are in otherwise good shape, you could have them siped to provide additional winter traction for another season.
    2013 Volkwagen Passat TDI, 2008 and 2010 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • fibber2fibber2 Mid Hudson Valley, NYPosts: 3,770
    I have Dunlop Wintersport M2 tires on Tirerack house alloys on the Subi now, and decided to run them thru the summer to kill them off. Once they get down to less than 5/32, they are pretty useless as snow/ice tires, plus they are quite old. I'll get new treads in November.

    Problem I have is that I only average about 8500 miles a year on the OBW (75k now, at 8.5 years old). Plus I spit that annual mileage between snow and all-season tires. So I end up with tires that have tread left, but are hard and risking dry rot.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 9,950
    I'm afraid I might be in the same situation now that I run dual sets on my Forester. I suspect we will put about 15,000 on it in an average year even though we have over 10,000 miles on it right now after 6.5 months.

    I took the winter tires (Goodyear Ultra Grip Ice, 13/32 initial tread depth) off about 1.5 weeks ago since most of the roads are completely dry now, and we only put 7600 miles on them over the first winter. The tires looked great when I put them away, but I have not yet measured them to see how much they actually wore.

    After three years, though, they will only have seen approximately 22,500 miles. So, even if the tires have tread, they may need to be replaced anyway. We'll see, though. When I ran all-seasons year-round, I replaced them every three years with between 60 and 80 thousand miles on them.
    2013 Volkwagen Passat TDI, 2008 and 2010 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Posts: 1,794
    Yes, I run the Nokians year round - Tire Factory and Nokian told me WR G2's were an all season tire but rated for winter use. Right now there's roughly 15K miles on them. Oregon roads are very rough and probably wearing them out faster than normal - they're currently at 7/32 tread. When they get to 6/32 or so that will be near or at the winter bar limit, at which point I will replace them.

    Oddly, Consumers Union rated the Michelin Primacy MX4V, an all season tire, superior to those Nokians for ice traction, and vastly superior in terms of tread wear.
    I may be running Michelins next.
  • My wife and I bought a new 2010 Outback Limited and picked it up this week. On the floor model, the windshield deicer's orange lines are clearly visible. For whatever reason, I looked at our windshield yesterday and didn't see those lines. Are they normally exposed like on the floor model or are they normally hidden beneath that black layer on the windshield? The only thing I can see on ours is a little orange dot.
  • fibber2fibber2 Mid Hudson Valley, NYPosts: 3,770
    Unless something has changed, the front deicer is a compact, high output version of what you have on the rear window. You should see the traces printed right on the inside of the glass on the bottom 2" or so of the windshield where the blades park.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 9,950
    Yep - if you don't see that, there is a good chance it is not on there. Do you have seat heaters on your car? It may be that yours does not have the AWP, so, if it should (in other words, if you paid for the AWP), then there is a problem! :(
    2013 Volkwagen Passat TDI, 2008 and 2010 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 9,950
    edited April 2010
    Wow.... 15,000 miles! That really is fast wear! I have heard good things about that Michelin tire; they may be worth a shot. I like to try different tires, even if I am happy with the ones I currently use, just to see if I can find better bang for the buck. It is sometimes tough, though, to find an all-season tire that truly performs well in all situations while offering decent treadwear characteristics.
    2013 Volkwagen Passat TDI, 2008 and 2010 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
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