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Subaru Crew Problems & Solutions

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  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,980
    The problem is that I can change my own oil for less than what an analysis costs. About $15. Last I checked, the mail order analysis was running $22 or so. Plus postage.

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    Minivan fan. Feel free to message or email me - stever@edmunds.com.

  • colin_lcolin_l Posts: 591
    With most cars it is not feasible to do an oil filter change without draining all the oil (or making a huge mess), so that's why the change interval has to be around 10k with a premium spin-on, or maybe 15k with a large-volume cartridge filter.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,687
    Very true, Steve - it all depends on how much you drive it!

    I put 15,000+ a year on my car. If I ran 3,000 or 3,500 mile changes five times a year, it would cost me more for the basic stuff. Plus, I'm not wasting the resources and I am not changing oil at -30F on the snow pack in my driveway!

    The mail-order analysis is up to $25. :(

    If I drove fewer miles, I would go with the most appropriate oil for that usage.
    2010 Subaru Forester, 2011 Ford Fiesta, 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup, 1974 Ford Pinto Wagon
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,980
    edited February 2011
    If I was using that Amsoil stuff, my '97 would be on its third oil change. :D

    There's only two roads out of town where I live too - I really don't know how you manage to mile them up so much. Of course, I actually hit a highway intersection in 20 or 30 miles. :shades:

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    Minivan fan. Feel free to message or email me - stever@edmunds.com.

  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    How often do you change the oil using a synthetic? I heard with Amsoil it is 25K?

    We are an Amsoil dealer and carry Motul, Redline, Rotella, and Subaru. We have had several customers who used Mobil 1 in their subies and the UOA (Used Oil Analysis) on them have come back poor at best in Subies at least.

    As for 25k changes, we suggest that if you have a non-turbo subie and use Amsoil, with the Amsoil Filter, you can safely go 10k miles on a change, however make sure to check the oil every 1500 miles to make sure you haven't consumed any.

    On turbo cars we don't suggest going over 7500 miles with Amsoil & Amsoil Filter.

    Here is a link if you'd like to order AmsoilAmsoil as well as the application guide Application Guide

    -mike
    Subaru Guru and Track Instructor
  • joe_in_pajoe_in_pa Posts: 7
    edited February 2011
    I am the original owner of the car. I had transmission service done at the the dealer. The rest I can do myself. I used Mobil 1 and Pur-one filters and changed oil every 5000 miles. I have done this with every toyota and subaru vehicle I owned without any problems, until this one. I run my cars well into the 150K mile range before I even consider buying another car. If Subaru wants me to have the car serviced by the dealer to keep up the warranty or stand behind known problems later on down the line, they should state so when you buy it. I just cannot see spending money to have someone else do something I can do myself.
  • aathertonaatherton Posts: 617
    edited February 2011
    "... From some discussions with a local resident and former regional mgr, there were several running changes in head gasket design intended to better cope with the difference in coefficient of expansion between the material stack. There may have also been some changes in the flatness specification and surface finishing (machining) of the sealing surfaces along the way..."

    There was this change to the NA head gasket in 2010, says it can't be retrofitted to previous year engines, and is not applicable to the different new 2011 engine.
    http://allwheeldriveauto.com/subaru-changed-there-head-gasket-for-the-2010-25l/

    Larger gasket photo at:
    http://www.subaruforester.org/vbulletin/f66/head-gasket-design-changed-2010-n-mo- - dels-69170/#post766275

    Discussion of why the redesigned gasket only fits 2010:
    http://www.subaruforester.org/vbulletin/f66/head-gasket-design-changed-2010-n-mo- dels-69170/#post766541
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 31,211
    edited February 2011
    So... Amsoil recommends 7500 or 10K changes with full-synthetic?

    Wow... :surprise:

    That's the manufacturer-recommended service interval for most cars, using dino oil..

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  • fibber2fibber2 Mid Hudson Valley, NYPosts: 3,735
    Perfect! You just verified what I had been told back in 2004 about the revised HG:

    It is a single piece of steel with a gasket material bonded to it. This is the updated gasket used to correct the vehicles that fell under the WWP-99 campaign and is the gasket used in production of all of the N/A 2.5l EJ 2.5l from 2003 until 2007.

    Unfortunately, while those engines have held up better with the revised gasket, they still seem to be subject to a higher than expected failure rate.

    The cooling hole changes reminds me of a situation I faced back in the late 1970's with my old Mercury's 302 cid V8. Ford made running gasket changes, with different size and distribution of cooling holes. They were biased in size from one end to the other in an attempt to force more flow to one end to address a known hot spot issue. I used a punch to modify a non-conforming set. If that is all it would take to make the new 2010 multi-layer sandwich set work on the older cars, I'd say go for it.
  • colin_lcolin_l Posts: 591
    Most cars with a spin-on filter aren't more than 7500 for standard duty or 5000 for severe usage.

    My Evo is 3750 miles severe and 5000 standard. I do 7500 and add about a half quart at the halfway point. 98k and not the slightest hint of a problem, running 21.5 psi. :)
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 31,211
    A lot of cars have gone to the "experienced-based" change... Honda does this now, as well...

    But, as an example, my 2002 CR-V recommended normal changes at 10K.. that was on normal oil, not synthetic....

    I'm sure an EVO has a little tougher life than a CR-V.... ;)

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  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    So... Amsoil recommends 7500 or 10K changes with full-synthetic?

    Wow...

    That's the manufacturer-recommended service interval for most cars, using dino oil..


    I said that WE at our shop don't recommend over 7-10k miles on Amsoil, this is when Subaru suggested 3750 changes for the turbo cars. Also don't forget that our clients are all located in the NY/NJ area where it is all stop and go traffic which falls under the very severe driving conditions.

    Amsoil suggests 25k for non-turbos, and 15k for turbo vehicles.

    -mike
    Subaru Guru and Track Instructor
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 31,211
    Ahh....

    Thanks for the clarification....

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  • phil2000phil2000 New JerseyPosts: 195
    Since I only have 420 miles on the Outback, I will wait until 199K to change over to synthetic.

    I am going to start using my cruise control this week. I will drive 10 miles at one speed and 10 at another. Off the highway, I will stick with the pedal. For the last 300 miles, I used the pedal. The rings should be seating.
  • fibber2fibber2 Mid Hudson Valley, NYPosts: 3,735
    edited February 2011
    There was a widely held belief that a certain amount of friction was required to properly seat & seal new components. That is part of the break in process. For that reason, conventional oils were preferred. They provided good lubrication properties - but not TOO GOOD. A little friction allowed enough metal-on-metal contact (at the micrometer level) to buff off the rough spots and allow rings to seal to cylinder walls, valves to seal to seats, etc. If you changed to super lubes (engineered lubricants - synthetics) too early, you never achieved the best seal, and oil consumption would remain high. For that reason, it was recommended that you not change from conventional to synthetic until xxK miles or so (fill in the blank - 10k, 15k - differing opinions). I switched my '02 at around 20k and have stayed with M1 since. Given that I only put on under 9k miles per year, I simply change it every 6 months.

    Better machining and finishing practices (tighter engines at the start) have probably made this a non-issue. A number of cars now come from the factory with either synthetic or some kind of break-in additive, or a specific 'don't do the first change until 10k miles' type of clause (Honda, for example) to achieve full sealing.
  • True, although it may be worth doing one now & then because you'll get more info than just whether your oil is OK (wear indicators etc.).

    I did one at 3k on my factory fill ('09 OB 2.5i) and the analysis said time to change (wear metals). Did one after ~3,750 w/ Mobil 1 and no surprise, tested just about "as new"; Did one after 7,500 with the dealer's synth (can't recall what it is now -- Castrol? = darn I'm getting old) and it tested just fine.

    So from that we establish no surprise, that a 7,500-10k interval on a nonturbo is just fine. I typically use RedLine, Amsoil, or Mobil1 when I'm supplying the oil but for now (at 20k miles) up to the 30k service I'll go to the dealer (they're reasonably priced & convenient) to establish a relationship, then I'll be back to my long time friend's indep shop.

    I still have concerns about going more than 5k on turbos even w/ synth given, e.g., the history of sludge in VW/Audi 1.8t engines, etc. We did 5k Mobil 1 changes in ours and it was fine up to 131k miles when it was totalled.

    cheers,
    Jon
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,980
    True, although it may be worth doing one now & then because you'll get more info than just whether your oil is OK (wear indicators etc.).

    I almost got one last summer for the van, but it was at ~140k then. It just didn't seem worth it on that rig.

    Would an analysis tell me that my '97 OB's head gaskets are about to go?

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    Minivan fan. Feel free to message or email me - stever@edmunds.com.

  • not sure about "about to go" but it would show if you had coolant in the oil.
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,980
    Good point; might be worth it on the Outback.

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    Minivan fan. Feel free to message or email me - stever@edmunds.com.

  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,687
    It should probably be clarified that the analysis would show trace amounts of coolant - far less than what would be required to discover its presence from a visual inspection. That means you could catch a problem before it starts doing damage to the engine.
    2010 Subaru Forester, 2011 Ford Fiesta, 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup, 1974 Ford Pinto Wagon
  • fendertweedfendertweed Posts: 98
    edited February 2011
    right, good point ... the HG may be gone or about to go big time but you can catch it earlier than waiting for a more dramatic symptom (either visible in oil or mechanical disaster)...

    even though my understanding is that the HG problem is largely corrected by my MY ('09), I'll probably still do a UOA every 30,000 miles or so ... "cheap insurance" as they say and since we have the 3 early readings, it has a good baseline to compare to.

    jc
  • aathertonaatherton Posts: 617
    edited February 2011
    "... my understanding is that the HG problem is largely corrected by my MY ('09)..."

    The HG problem was caused by the open deck cylinder block design, which was not corrected until the new engine for MY 2011.

    The HG problem is only mitigated by changes in the HG design, and by the addition of Subaru Coolant Conditioner, which is Holt's RadWeld. Holt's Radweld contains a sealant compound that solidifies when deprived of water. This happens first in the confines of a compromised HG, and later if the compound should make its way past the gasket and meet air.

    Subaru calls their additive a "conditioner":
    http://homepage.mac.com/smoresi/.Pictures/SOA635071.jpg
    But it is repackaged Holts Radweld "sealant":
    http://www.holtsauto.com/images/prod...radweld-hi.jpg

    A sealant does not prevent a leak. It only tries to stop a leak after it has occurred. Once a leak occurs, the sealant goes to work plugging the path of the leak.

    If the additive is in the coolant before a leak is apparent, you may never know if or when it has gone to work. In that case, you will think it prevented a leak.
    If the additive is used after a leak is apparent, the leak may stop. In that case, you will think it fixed the leak.

    Perhaps the 2009 engine and the HG that apparently only fits it solved the leak problem.
    Otherwise, for peace of mind from HG leaks, one must either buy the longest Subaru Gold extended warranty possible, or buy a Forester with the redesigned 3rd generation 2011 engine, where head coolant does not pass through the HG.
  • fibber2fibber2 Mid Hudson Valley, NYPosts: 3,735
    I cannot open your links, but I believe it is actually Radweld Plus, not the baseline product.
  • aathertonaatherton Posts: 617
    edited February 2011
    Links are old and now dead. I should have tried them before posting. Point is still valid, that the conditioner is actually a sealant.

    Subaru's original conditioner did come in the same blue bottle as Holt's, even with the name Holt's embossed in the bottle. Subaru merely changed the paper label.
    Here is Holt's product:
    http://i49.photobucket.com/albums/f280/vintagefortytwo/Forester/HoltsRadweld.jpg-
    And here is Subaru's:
    http://i49.photobucket.com/albums/f280/vintagefortytwo/Forester/HoltsSubaru.jpg

    Apparently Subaru has now gone to Holt's Plus, for improved performance. Especially "Seals coolant to air leaks in Engine block, cylinder head." That is the current description of how Holt's works now. If you don't pour it into the radiator, but try to pre-mix it into coolant, its soft granules turn hard from exposure to air.
    http://www.holtsauto.com/products/group/repair-and-maintenance/cooling-repair-sy- - stems#holts-radweld
  • fibber2fibber2 Mid Hudson Valley, NYPosts: 3,735
    The blue colored bottle is simply more attractive than the kaopectate tone!

    I've heard that all is well as long as the cooling system stays closed. The stuff stays in suspension until it hits air (at the failed gasket site), and then it seals. The problems arise when the system fails totally and you have to tear it down. Word has it that it can set up like concrete in places you don't want it to!
  • interesting, thanks...

    I've been planning to get a Subaru svc contract before my factory coverage expires ...
  • sgloonsgloon Posts: 322
    Hi, All,

    I'd love to get a recommendation from the group. It looks like I'm going to have to get a hitch for my MT 2010 Forester in order to haul some stuff across the country.

    Last time I had a hitch put on(long time ago), someone just welded it to the under carriage of my 1986 Subie, so, I am way out of touch.

    What are your recommendations? Off brand vs Subaru brand? Is there one I can get that is removable afterwards? Approximate cost?

    I want to have something safe, but minimize my cost, as this will probably be the only time I use it.

    Thanks for your help.
  • colin_lcolin_l Posts: 591
    What's the tongue weight and gross weight of what you intend to pull?

    Despite only intending to use it once, I wouldn't skip here, mainly because the proper solution is rather inexpensive. I've put Draw-Tite hitches on a few vehicles, including my '08 Suzuki G-V.

    Looks like they have a 1.25" and 2" option for the Forester:
    http://www.drawtite-hitches.com/hitchsearch?year=2010&make=Subaru&model=Forester-

    I would get the 2" despite the Forester only being rated to tow 2400lb. You can't do a lot with a 1.25" hitch.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,687
    edited March 2011
    The new units that attach to the car are hitch receivers, and they come in multiple classes. The Subaru unit is a Class II, which has a 1.25" receiver. Cost-wise, I recommend an aftermarket brand - they are less expensive and more readily available. I put a Curt unit on my 2010 Forester, also with manual transmission. I opted for a Class III receiver, which has a 2" receiver and a higher weight rating. It is overkill considering the weight ratings for the car, but I use mine in conjunction with a cargo tray, which puts more stress on the unit than a ball hitch, as well as using it as an attachment point for vehicle recovery (something I do not recommend with a Class II unit!).

    The install can be done professionally or by yourself. It takes approximately an hour and is a simple bolt-on install. I can give you more information in that regard if you are interested in doing it yourself.

    The Curt Class III hitch part number is 13147 and can be had for about $130. You'll also need a wiring harness to connect the trailer lights (plug & play!), which adds about $40.00. I purchased a T-One #118467 for my car. You can either run the wiring out the hatch and just close it in the seal for temporary use, or send it through the spare tire well and under the car for a permanent mount to the outside.

    I highly recommend e-trailer.com as a vendor. They have a good selection and great service!

    That said, I purchased my receiver from Amazon.com as they offer free shipping to Alaska. ;)
    2010 Subaru Forester, 2011 Ford Fiesta, 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup, 1974 Ford Pinto Wagon
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,687
    Very true, plus the cost difference is negligible in terms of initial investment.
    2010 Subaru Forester, 2011 Ford Fiesta, 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup, 1974 Ford Pinto Wagon
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