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Subaru Crew Problems & Solutions



  • 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.... ;)

    Moderator - Prices Paid, Lease Questions, SUVs

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


    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.

    Subaru Guru and Track Instructor
  • Ahh....

    Thanks for the clarification....

    Moderator - Prices Paid, Lease Questions, SUVs

  • 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: 3,729
    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.

  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 39,041
    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?
  • not sure about "about to go" but it would show if you had coolant in the oil.
  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 39,041
    Good point; might be worth it on the Outback.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,276
    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.
  • 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.

  • 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":
    But it is repackaged Holts Radweld "sealant":

    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: 3,729
    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:
    And here is Subaru's:

    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. - stems#holts-radweld
  • fibber2fibber2 Mid Hudson Valley, NYPosts: 3,729
    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: 303
    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:

    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: 8,276
    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 as a vendor. They have a good selection and great service!

    That said, I purchased my receiver from as they offer free shipping to Alaska. ;)
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,276
    Very true, plus the cost difference is negligible in terms of initial investment.
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