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Subaru Crew Problems & Solutions



  • girlcarbuildergirlcarbuilder Posts: 218
    edited August 2013
    There is a consumer grade manual from Haynes. Found it on Covers 2000-06 Legacy and Forester and other models. My experience with Subaru is the basics change little over time. Looks like part# 89101. Just verified that as correct. $18! I recommend Wal-Mart full synthetic oil. With a WIX oil filter. That is the same company that makes the NAPA oil filters. If you have an old Subaru manual, Haynes 90-98, hang onto it. Little has changed. As for that oil, I have the MO people change every 10K miles. Those cars do a bit of interstate running. I have seen one get as high as 15K miles once with still a bit of slipperiness in the oil,,,,,but as I told them, I frown on that kind of distance between changes.

    Now, when things get really tough, I pull the professional grade manuals out from the library or the ones I have already bought. That is very rare. We also still have contacts with dealer parts supplies who are very happy to share some of their mechanical nightmares and how they solved them. Needless to say, we share ours as well when they need help. For example, I do not replace the oil galley gasket with just silicone! I make a paper gasket and coat both sides with a thin coat of silicone. Needless to say the paper and the silicone must be correct for the application. has become a good repository of repair info from many of us as well. Just search a topic and read. Lot of stuff there that will open your eyes just surfing and reading. Lot of stuff that will keep you out of trouble before you get in it. This info I have even used before buying a new car to see what kind of headaches people are having. Before buying the Yaris, I solved the problems others were having before the first dollar went out. Now there are 4 Toyota Yaris's in service replacing the Subaru's. 36-40 mpg is a real good deal and the maintenance needed is a lot lower than Subaru engines. NO timing belt!!!! But before you jump up and down on that one, timing chains do require service eventually. Ignore it, and you bang pistons into valves!

    Bottom line, the more you know about your own car yourself, the less likely you will get screwed by a mechanic, the more likely you can head off major trouble before it comes and the longer that car will serve you. Not to mention you begin to know what parts fit what years! Huh....can you imagine knowing more about that car, like can you push it into at the rate you are age 30 with the original driveline!? Yes, if you can still get parts! I know, because I have a few up in that age bracket!

    So much for shop talk today! This is what the pros use to get the tips they need for talk. Go get that Haynes book on Amazon.....that is your first textbook! Back to school! Imagine this it less than an inch thick and you will use it more than your college textbooks that were several inches thick! What a deal!

    Back to edit.....another thought. The local library here has a subscription to Alldata. I rarely use it, but when I need it, it is there. Helpful when it comes to stuff like that DOHC 89 Volvo which has even less info available. So check your local library to see what resources they may have available.
  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 39,936
    edited August 2013
    My local library has Chilton's online and it seems pretty worthless. Lots of generic "filler".

    Try here too:

    Online Repair Manuals

    Need help navigating? - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

  • Hello Everyone - wanted to follow up. When I went to my scheduled appt with the local dealer, I limited my service to an oil change and re-charge of the a/c - (thanks for the advice). I plan on doing all the things on my wish list but will need to use my SubaruBucks judiciously.

    They called me mid-day to say that the a/c compressor was not working. They had already charged it with freon. I paid $155.25 at pickup ($37 oil change - $118 a/c charge ). The a/c is working fine now but I haven't had it on for more than 20 minutes at a time.

    They performed a multi-point courtesy inspection and here is what they itemized:

    New a/c compressor w/ Labor - $920
    Rear wiper blade torn - $16
    Both Drive Belts (I assume P/S and Alternator) - $150
    Both front marker bulbs - $26
    Front left axle needed (torn boot will dry out?) - $340

    $1452 - the above work + Tax

    GirlcarlBuilder - I ordered the book from Amazon. I am in the process of moving to Long Island from Pittsburgh - where I will have a big driveway.
    Any suggestions about stuff to buy for driveway work....pans, tarps, ramps?, whatever... greatly appreciated. As I said before back in the day I used to be able to slide under my oldsmobiles, however today, I am a bit more well nourished. :)

    Thanks for the input everyone
  • jfljfl Posts: 1,346
    Note: when you change the diffy fluid, remove the FILL bolt first. You don't want to drain the fluid and discover that the fill bolt was installed by a 1000 pound gorilla.

    Other than this, it's pretty simple.
  • Thanks for the tip JFL. What do you do about access? do you use jackstands?
  • jfljfl Posts: 1,346
    Sorry for the late reply.

    I used jack stands the second time.

    The first time, one of the bolts WAS installed by said 1000# gorilla.

    So, with the car on the ground, I set-up the wrench with a long cheater bar, used a jack to apply pressure on the bar, then bounced on the car to break the bolt free.

    YMMV. This is information only and I'm not responsible for injury or damage to anyone replicating my actions.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    For my Miata I used ramps for the rear tires.

    Also 2 bolts, removed the top one first. I bought a cheap hand held oil pump to pump diff oil UP in to the pumpkin. It's full when it spills out.

    Your sig other will hate the smell of gear oil cologne. ;)
  • Does it make sense that my a/c compressor is the problem if I get cold air for the first 10-15 minutes? Got the 2000-2006 Haynes manual for the Forester and started to take a look at my a/c lines etc.

    When I was walking away from my car I noticed that my exhaust was leaking water. Something it has never done. Please tell me this is not the head gasket issue.....

    It seems that whenever I take my car into a dealer all my problems get worse. I have been through the mill with this car. Ugh....
  • Hello! That is exactly what my brother said when he quit seeing them years ago. I see each car about 1-2 times a year.

    As long as you are not seeing the temp gauge take off under load, forget head gaskets. The nature of this beast is there is always small amounts of leakage. It starts out very small and builds gradually to the point of overheating under load. This can take years in some cases.

    Compressor shutting down early? Check your Freon levels. Check to be sure your cooling fans are running.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    edited October 2013
    A little water/vapor in the exhaust is not unusual. Make sure the engine gets a chance to warm up, so when you shut it off it evaporates and doesn't leave water sitting in the exhaust system.
  • I bought my first Subaru in July 2012. It is a 2012 Forester Premium 5-speed manual. In the 15K miles I've driven so far, I've generally been happy with the vehicle due to the great traction in snow and fuel mileage higher than advertised. It gets 31 - 32 MPG on long trips and 28 MPG on my suburban commute. One thing I've been less than thrilled about is oil consumption. It uses around 1 quart for every 3K to 4K miles driven. My previous vehicle, a 2005 Toyota Matrix, never used oil in the 91,000 miles I drove it, and my other 2 current vehicles: a 2000 Honda Odyssey with 170K and a 2010 Toyota RAV4 with 43K don't use any oil either.

    My questions for those with more experience with Subarus: is this oil consumption typical of the boxer engine and is this oil consumption something I should be concerned about?
  • GCB -

    When I took my car in they charge the a/c system ($118) and then told me my compressor was shot. They quoted $900+ to replace compressor. I can't afford that but I really don't want to go without air next summer. The a/c is fine for the first 15 minutes but then loses its ability to cool. Does that sound like a compressor. If so Can I buy a rebuilt one and dIY?

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I think that's not exactly common (our 2009 does not burn oil), but falls within the industry standard tolerance for oil consumption. A quart every 1000 miles is considered acceptable.

    I think we used to change oil every 3k miles and probably never noticed. With a longer interval more common nowadays, we might.

    Are you doing changes every 3750, 5000, or 7500 miles, or what?
  • girlcarbuildergirlcarbuilder Posts: 218
    edited October 2013
    I would have to have a set of gauges on it to see what is really happening. But if your a/c has been working fine prior to the last trip to the dealer I can only wonder if someone contaminated it with some moisture intentionally. With too much moisture in the lines you will have ice slowly build up at the refrigerant control to the point that it will eventually block the flow. That will at that point shut down the system, hopefully. High side pressure will go up and should cause the high pressure switch to shut down. Low side will go down more than normal. If this is what is going on, then there will be a lack of lubrication to the compressor which will cause it to self destruct eventually.

    I should add that this all assumes there is a correct charge amount on the system. If the charge is marginal it will begin to cycle on/off, but not a total shutdown.

    Personally, around 200k miles or so, I like to pull the system down, pull a vacuum on it and a new filter dryer on it. There is some moisture invasion over time which is another reason I like to dry out an older system. Lot of the newer stuff is integrated in different ways. The new Toyota Yaris's we have, have that filter system inside the condenser now. Unless you have refrigeration experience, best left to a good pro with a specialized shop that does a/c work exclusively.

    Rebuilt compressor......I do not care for them. I do know that Tri-State refrigeration in Louisiana has a rebuilder he swears by for Subie compressors. Otherwise I prefer new. They specialize in semi-trucks and may have a branch near you.
  • I have it changed at the dealer about every 5K to 6K based on the time interval of 6 months, even though I could go up to 7.5K if I drove it more frequently. Subaru specifies synthetic 0W-20, which seems very thin, but it should help lubrication and fuel economy.
  • That's a non-issue IMO, as ateixeira notes (1 qt./1k = generally acceptable tolerance)... my '09 burns little or nothing between 5k oil change intervals using synthetic but a quart every 3-4k is not a concern IMO.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    0w-20 is thin, seems to be a new strategy to eek out every last MPG in the EPA ratings.
  • About two months ago the a/c started behaving as follows. Turn it on and it worked fine for 10-15 minutes. I thought it needed to be charged with Freon so I took it to dealer. They charged it, charged me $118 and told me the compressor was broken. That is the way it continues to operate.

    As a layman - it would seem that everything is fine but then something shuts down/fails. Does it make sense that it is indeed the compressor?
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,391
    My 2010 Forester doesn't use any oil (normally!) for all practical purposes, over the ~12K mile OCI I run it. In the absence of any other issues, it will still be a little above the "fill" mark on the dipstick when I do the oil change after that many miles. But, mine is the EJ25, not the FB25, so your thinner oil may make the difference (I use 0w-30 as compared to your 20-weight).

    I wouldn't worry about that consumption level unless it has changed over time. If the car didn't use any for 30K, then suddenly started using a quart every 3K, that would be worth inspecting.
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