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Subaru Crew Problems & Solutions



  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,267
    My Escort fit that bill for me: It was terrible about battery terminal corrosion. Then, I replaced the cables last year and added another large grounding strap from the negative terminal to the body.

    What do you know? No corrosion at all the last year I owned it! In other words, it's a resistance game. Try adding (or replacing) a grounding strap on your car and see if it makes a difference.
  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 38,910
    I walked out to the garage an hour ago and popped the hood and the battery is pretty clean. The petroleum jelly I smeared on the terminals back in the fall may have helped? Took a good sniff of the coolant overflow tank and it smelled fine (didn't really smell of anything).

    Got the craigslist ad drafted but maybe I'll talk myself out of it. Just makes little sense to have two cars when neither gets driven that much.
  • hammerheadhammerhead Posts: 885
    Tesoro gas makes my car run like ca-ca. Switched to Chevron, issue fixed. Costco has 5 times the EPA required additives, and I fill there when I shop as well. Like someone else suggested, try a change of fuel flavor first.
  • Interesting. After reading the article and tearing the first, right side easy to remove head, I went to the left side. That side was a bugger to get off due to corrosion. It also had the worse leak problem.

    Needless to say, conversation ensued about relocating the ground strap. I have added another one on an 89 Mazda a few year or two ago. Nice to hear the Escort experience. Might be worth trying it on the Subie as well. The left side has a bunch of timing electronics there. Cam shaft sensor on head. Ground on block. Think that thought out later to try. As for the article about running Subies and not storing. That does seem to be the case. 1st engine died a high speed head gasket failure. Lost it at 286K. The one I service as stated before, could not have had more than 100K is clearly a 98 engine. Clearly a acid build up from oil/blowby gases? The 94 I am getting ready to deal with is at 247K and the youngest '03 unit is at 271K. I am dreading the last one. It will be work on every end of that sucker including valves. Oil galley, clutch, rear main, head job, timing set and everything else up front. Been a very trouble free unit. Everything in house. Too many mechanics have overcharged and beep beeped up! My new curse word! FCC approved!

    On the other hand, by having extra cars in the fleet and grouping together with other family members who can drive, we can take the time needed to do a job right and not cut corners.

    But before you holler.....sure beats car notes! Some states also have provisions to keep your tags, remove your insurance and store the vehicle. If you do this like me, make sure you tag the steering wheel that unit is in storage so a family member does not take it out when it is grounded! This is also a good time to pull maintenance. I rotate them in and out of service so they all get some use. The older cars are great for winter if they have heat. We save the newer ones with good a/c for summer.

    As for the "the inevitable head gasket failure" I always say, anything goes over 200K: things get interesting above 300K! I try to move those cars to winter use in LA. We have a lot of snow here you know! So Steve, I hope you reconsider keeping Subie around. Hard to beat that 4 wheel drive system in snow and the maintenance is not all that bad. Besides, several of us in forum have a lot of road we have already been on. Oh, highway unit....fuel pumps go around 250K+! We now consider pulling before it beeps somewhere in nowhereland. Another thing to add to that 03 list to do.

    Second ground.....maybe attach somewhere on left head? Graphite head gaskets not the greatest conductor. Painted new head bolts not great either. Thoughts anyone? Attach to mounting bolt on front bearing housing near cam shaft sensor?
  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 38,910
    edited March 2013
    We have snow in the forecast all week and there's a fresh inch on the ground just this morning (and it's still falling). Here's a pic from last week's shoveling out the in-law's drifted sidewalk.

    I dunno, the van is more comfortable to drive and we could borrow the in-law's Buick if it died and we needed to go buy something. After 13 years, we're at the point with the car fund where we can pay cash, but interest rates are so low, who knows. Just don't like owning stuff I don't use and would rather see someone else run it into the ground (and freeing up half the garage would be nice too).

    Maybe one more winter (for the car and me. :shades: ).
  • snowbeltersnowbelter Posts: 286
    edited April 2013
    CR has posted a story today, apparently based on updated results of their annual consumer survey, of various used cars, foreign and domestic, to avoid because of problems. The Subaru Forester, 03-07, is on that list because of HG failures.

    I'm disappointed to see that CR readers are reporting HG failures in their Foresters. Subaru had led me to believe that it had solved the HG failure problem a few years back with a different gasket material and the required use of some sort of radiator stop-leak. Subaru has to have known that the HG leak problems were continuing and only changed engine design recently.

    I suspect this means that anyone who owns a Forester of that vintage, or perhaps even an Outback or an Imprezza (similar engines) is going to find that their vehicle is going to be valued less at resale or trade-in because even a vehicle without a failure now is at greater risk for needing an expensive repair sooner than later.

    I sure hope that Subaru redeems itself by extending the warranty on HG repairs to at least 125,000 miles. A modern engine that is properly maintained should not need an expensive HG repair even at 125,000 imo. The article doesn't tell us at what mileage HG failures are occurring.

    We've owned five Subarus since 2000, and so far have been lucky. Or it may just be that three of those Subarus are H6's, which appear to be pretty much immune from the HG failure problem.
  • girlcarbuildergirlcarbuilder Posts: 218
    edited April 2013
    I have 3 Subaru's under my care. 94, 97 and 03. The two older units as of now have had HG jobs. 250K, 94 and 97, 289K which that engine was lost due to a high speed failure only to have the replacement 98 engine fail at an approximate 80-100K miles of service. This is a very old problem for Subaru.

    Like I tell people, if it can not make 200K historically without major maintenance, it is junk on the lot brand new. Needless to say Subaru is not on our replacement vehicle supplier list anymore unless it is needed for 4 wheel service applications! Shame for Subaru.

    As for the H6 engine, it shares the same design flaws, but keep your oil changed and try to operate each car at least 10K or more miles per year. Check out the following website to read why these gaskets fail and use those preventive measures. You may be all right. Several of us agree these guys may have this figured out. As you may have already noted we pull a lot of miles out of Subies as well. Oh, I failed to mention, the 03 is in failure mode at 280K currently.
  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 38,910
    edited April 2013
    I checked with my mechanic the other day and he loves Subarus - makes a lot of money doing head gasket jobs on them. He pulled a recent ticket and the bill was around $1,300. He typically doesn't see them until 160,000 miles or so though.

    Mine is at 92,000 miles after a ~16 hour RT cruise to Chicago and I've decided to try to get one more winter out of it.
  • hammerheadhammerhead Posts: 885
    My '99 just flew north of 210k. Had the HGs, timing belt, etc. done at 124K, about 20K before I bought it. Nice timing, huh?
  • sgloonsgloon Posts: 303
    So, do you think the "new" foresters will have the HG problem as well? Has the engine design been changed enough yet to avoid that problem?
  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 38,910
    Better sell it Pauly- the timing belt will be coming due again soon . :D
  • hammerheadhammerhead Posts: 885
    I did the math - not til 129K, 19K from now. Heck, that's maybe 2 years around here! Plus, we've got the '95 for the kids to share, so that will keep the miles down on the mom & dad fleet. And I'd much rather drive this one than one with too many gadgets... although financially, I should think about getting something a bit fresher & getting it paid for before I retire.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    edited May 2013
    Well, we won't see any coolant leaks, because now the coolant no longer flows through the gaskets. The heads have separate cooling lines.

    That also means the gaskets have far fewer holes and seams, so certainly the odds of failure are much lower.

    Don't worry, we still have front and rear main seals to worry about. ;)

    Just teasing, no car is perfect. I'm sure Dodge and Honda owners would be delighted to get 160k miles out of their transmissions. $1300 repair bill they wish!

    Per Steve:

    He pulled a recent ticket and the bill was around $1,300. He typically doesn't see them until 160,000 miles or so though.
  • Very good question......if you read that website link I sent, the answer could very well be no. Most of the units here have been hit with high usage until later in age. There is a lot on that link about oil changes and usage, not to mention other issues. Open road units here seem to pull 250K+ regardless of year which leads me to think their comments on that website have a lot of bearing. These issues come down to the H design and the materials of the HG itself. Basic nature of the beast! Time....will be the only indicator. It takes 20 years for an auto maker to get a good rep. Only a few bad years to get a bad rap! Ford for example would have to put out 20 years worth of good cars for me to even consider one of them. By then I may not even care about cars given my age!
  • girlcarbuildergirlcarbuilder Posts: 218
    edited May 2013
    So with this newer design we got rid of the possibility of sucking coolant, but now the only indicator of trouble will be increased oil consumption and blowby! Goodbye seals! Blow them all out so now we have to pull the engine to do a HG and replace all seals......not to mention the notorious oil galley! We now have no early warning feature! They must have hired some Detroit engineers!

    Maybe we need to wait 20 years for Subaru! Then again, my new Toyotas are all plastic! I wonder if that plastic can be used to buy the next car! Charge it! Fake money for fake cars?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I looked at the 2010 Siennas when they came out, and I'll keep my 2007, thanks very much. A lot of soft touch materials became hard plastic. The floor also is not longer flat.

    Cost cutting, big time.
  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 38,910
    Retirement? I see you segueing into the Chile/Lookout ski patrol scene full time. :D
  • hammerheadhammerhead Posts: 885
    Retirement will mean just shifting gears (remember, I'm a stick guy) - something part-time, without the life-and-death component. And I'll stick around here & use the ski off-season to try to resurrect my long-dormant golf game. DW has a few years left before she's eligible to pull the pin, so there will be house-hubby duties as well.
  • cptpltcptplt Posts: 1,075
    I had a 09 OB and I purchased a set of wheels with TPMS sensors from Tirerack back then. I now have a 13 OB, will those sensors still work?
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,267
    You sprung for a 2013?! Congrats. They'll need to be reprogrammed to communicate with the car, but they should work.
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