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Subaru Legacy/Outback 2005+



  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    I often smell this in the snowy/icy weather. I have determined that it's the salt/road treatment being sprayed up on the hot headers that we are smelling.

  • zman3zman3 Posts: 857
    Hmmm. I've never smelled it on any vehicle we've owned other than Subaru's.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Well it could be the placement of the headers. Perhaps on your other cars the headers didn't get hit with the salty water and then have it evaporated? I didn't notice it on some of my cars, but other ones where the header is more likely to get hit with the spray it's more prominent.

  • I have 06 w/8,600 miles ( bought new) auto 2.5i. I'm convinced there's a problem w/ coolant. The dealer said it's normal for the levels in the overfill tank to flucuate, so if I check it everyday when it's "cold" it'll have a different level, is this true? I've read many posts on bad head gaskets, engine issues, brakes warping, truly this has made me want to trade it in.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,504
    I have noticed no fluctuation in my cars' levels. When cold, they have a very consistent level, though the overflow level obviously raises when the system is hot. Are you having to add fluid?
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,504
    Salt is not used here except for rare occasions in early Fall, but yet I will smell it intermittently all winter long depending on whether there is fresh snow or depending on how "hard" I drive the car.
  • saedavesaedave Chicago, ILPosts: 683
    How many miles do you have on the car? My Outback VDC wagon had the odor under the conditions you describe when it had low miles. At 14,000 miles I don't notice it.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,504
    I noticed it on the 07 Outback, which had between 8 miles and 6000 last winter. I regrettably had to sell the car this summer; it had about 9200 miles at that point.

    This winter, I temporarily have an 08 Outback, which had about 5000 miles on it when it first encountered snow. At 6500 miles now, it will stink a little from time to time, usually after a fresh snowfall over my steep, snow-packed driveway. The OE tires do not help it gain any reasonable traction... ;)

    The 08 is an auto, the 07 was a manual. My '96, which had 83K when I purchased and 220K at the end, never had that smell. I suspect, as you mentioned Dave, it goes away with age (use).
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Brakes don't warp on Subarus, they are way way too light a car to actually warp the rotors. Pad transfer is possible but that's possible on any car. My shop specializes in subaru brakes and rarely do we see warped or pad-transfered rotors. Engine issues? none over the years. Head gaskets on 98-00 DOHC 2.5 Non-turbos.

  • zman3zman3 Posts: 857
    Wow, I feel special. My 98 OB had either warped rotors or pad transfer, I don't know which. All I know is that it vibrated when braking. It also had piston slap and head gasket issues. Do I win a prize?
  • The coolant level in my 07 H-6 Outback has dropped from the "Full" to the "Add" line four times in just over 10K miles, and I've added coolant each time, about 32 oz total. The dealer has pressure-tested the system four times and hasn't found a leak, and tells me that using/losing coolant is common for Subarus.

    The Subaru Tech line has told me that this is not common and that the coolant must be going somwhere. To be continued.

    As for rotors on my 02 H-6 Outback, they were turned once and then replaced under warranty. The Service Manager told me both times, that the rotors were no longer "true". When I traded in the car with 62K, there was a pulsation in the brake pedal which was not a good sign.
  • Brakes don't warp on Subarus, they are way way too light a car to actually warp the rotors.

    Contrary to that statement, Subaru's are famous for having warped rotors. Both of my Subarus had them, and virtually everyone I personally know with a Subaru, has had warped rotors.

    Subaru rotors are very weak, and even modest overtightening of the lug nuts will cause them to warp. And we all know that most dealers and tire shops don't have their techs use clicker torque wrenches to tighten the lug nuts.

    More recently, after any kind of service that requires wheels to be taken off, I loosen and retorque all lug nuts myself in three passes (54-64-74 ft-lb) after bringing the car home.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Dunno about that - we've had about 5 Subies in our family and no rotors ever warped.

    Dad had squeeky brakes but I changed the pads for him and used anti-squeel compound and that fixed it.
  • I have the same problem with a 2004 outback that I recently purchased. I've had in to the shop twice and they can not find anything wrong. I did notice that my brake rotors eem unusually hot. Could this be the cause? Anyone have other suggestions?
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Contrary to that statement, Subaru's are famous for having warped rotors. Both of my Subarus had them, and virtually everyone I personally know with a Subaru, has had warped rotors.

    They were probably pad deposited rotors OR as you stated below over torqued wheels. Most of the 100s of subarus we've worked on over the years has only our hands working on them and we use torque sticks followed up with a torque wrench.

    Most probable though is that a good portion of the rotors that people and mechanics THINK are warped are pad deposits though.

  • zman3zman3 Posts: 857
    So as an owner, what do I do about pad deposits? Is there a fix short of turning the rotors?
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Yes there are several things you can do to relieve the pad deposits.

    1st is the easiest and cheapest. Take your car out to a deserted road/street and get it up to about 50-60 and brake hard down to about 5mph. Repeat this about 6 or 7 times. Park the car and allow the pads and rotors to cool for about 20 min. This should generate enough heat and scrubbing action to loosen the deposits and "wipe" them clear by your pads.

    If that fails you can pull your wheels and use some sand paper on the rotors to loosen up the deposits.

    As a way to prevent this from happening, After heavy braking try to allow yourself to slow down before stopping. If you can't slow down early before a stop, then put the car in neutral or park w/o keeping your foot on the brake at the light. Pad deposits are created when you have a hot pad and rotor, come to a complete stop at a light or similar situation and keep your pads pressed against the rotor, the micro-fractures in the rotor surface pull the pad material out and embed it in the rotor.

  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,504
    I cannot recall where I last had discussion regarding interior rattles, but after three visits to my local dealer, exactly zero rattles are gone. I find it horrendously annoying to have the rattling, but, considering that not every car they sell is in their shop every day for these obvious rattles, not all buyers feel the same about them. The most frustrating part is that every time I take it in, with the same 5 parts of the car rattling every time, they claim they cannot hear any but one of the rattles and that they "fixed" that rattle they could hear. Every time I take it home, all the rattles are loudly present, including the one they just "fixed." Considering that the rattles are not changing between visits, the only conclusion I can reasonably draw is that this dealer is operating under varying degrees of rattle-hunting incompetence.

    I sure hope that the first thing a potential buyer says when they start driving the car is not, "Wow, there sure are a lot of rattles in here!" :sick: ;)
  • cptpltcptplt Posts: 1,075
    Wes My heart goes out to you but I have given up trying to fix non mechanical noises as it only seemed to make things worse - I had a horrible, but intermittent ,squeak in my WRX window, its gone since they realigned the mechansim, now I have an almost constant rattle from somewhere in the window whenever its below 50deg!. My new 08 OB had what sounded for sure like a exhaust shield rattle, they found it and fixed it, now I have an even more annoying one at certain revs!!
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,504
    I know that you mean. The last time I took the the car into their shop, they told me that they were hearing a resonating rattle related to the exhaust. They said it was due to ice build up around the mufflers. I looked at them like they were crazy and said there was absolutely no such noise at any point before I had brought it in there.

    Sure enough, every since I picked up the car that day, the thing sounds like I have a fart can on it. It is an obvious, metallic vibration and considering I have put about 160,000 miles on Subaru vehicles, at least 50 percent of which was during winter conditions and NEVER heard this sound before, I seriously doubt it is due to ice. I even went so far as to knock all the ice out from the rear bumper shell and from around the mufflers. No change. Another trip to the shop, I suppose, after the weather warms a bit and if I still have it. I have to think that it must be a broken or defective support bushing, but hard to say without putting the car on ramps and crawling underneath it. Not something I am keen on doing at -40, especially regarding a warranty issue.

    Funny enough, this same dealership was actually quite successful in eliminating all rattles in my '07 (which was supposed to be a long-term ownership!) aside from the glove box, which they insisted on replacing but were completely unable to order the correct part, or so they said (over, and over!). As a result, I was deluded in my optimism this time around. :blush:
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Have someone else drive and crawl around listening for rattles. When you find one, try to isolate it by putting your finger on/around it. See if you can quiet the rattle.

    Dealers have "ears", i.e. a device that should help then narrow it down, but they likely won't here the rattle if the car isn't in motion.

    Better yet - crank up the tunes. :shades:
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,504
    Better yet - crank up the tunes.

    Great suggestions, one and all!

    1. The dealer puts 25-30 miles on the car each time I bring it in, so they are definitely driving it. They really have no good excuse for not hearing the rattles, but I suppose there is that "plausible deniability" factor. The surmised, after the second visit, that leaving it in their shop all day might reduce the likelihood of the rattles because the car is warmer, but they insist they left it outdoors on the 3rd visit and I drove it there sans heater that morning when it was about 5 degrees. All five rattles were creating beautifully unharmonious music all the way to their shop.

    2. I usually prefer to not listen to music/radio, especially on short drives, as I prefer the music of the driving experience all by itself. I feel more connected to the car/road without the radio drowning out the machine sounds. However, I do prefer radio to rattle! When I do have the radio on, it is at a space-filling volume, and the rattles are not quite so annoying. Probably not surprising, but I almost always have the radio on in my Caravan. Not quite the same "driving experience" in that thing... am I wrong?! ;)

    3. Great idea regarding the close inspection while in motion. Maybe my neighbor will be willing to do that with me when he gets back to town from DC. After all, I am spending hours of my day keeping his house from freezing up while he is away! :D
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I did that with someone here who happened to live close to me. We trace it to the rear axle, and eventually diagnosed a bad rear wheel bearing.

    We were even able to narrow it down to which axle, and which side. And we were right.

    He changed both wheel bearings, right and left on the rear axle, because they should be replaced in pairs.
  • Don't know if you saw my posting a while back about there being a service bulletin for the cold weather rear tail gate rattle. (Recall your car had this problem). After five or more trips to the dealer and installing some parts they were able to eliminate it.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,504
    I did, but my internet browsing incompetence shone through when I tried to reference the TSB and came up with nothing. :blush:
  • On SOA's website, you click on Owners (top of page) and then on Technical Information. I don't remember my exact steps, but I typed in my year and model of my car and did a search for tailgate rattle, and it gave me a a title, Cold weather tailgate rattle, and a Bulletin number. You have to pay to find out the details,(which I didn't do) but it sounded like that was what I was looking for and I told the dealer and gave them the number and that was it. There are some parts to order and when they installed them they found something else that needed a new clip, and yet another visit for me to the dealer. But the rattle is gone.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,504
    Thanks - I will give it another try!
  • You mentioned the Subaru Tech line, how do I contact them? I've talked to SOA but they just referred me back to my dealer saying they don't provide technical info.
    I'm convinced something is wrong w/ my car too regarding the coolant. Yet, despite trips to the dealer and speaking w/ service manager, says that only when it gets below the Add line then I need to be concerned. I had an impreza for 8 years prior and never have I had this issue. What does pulsation in the brake pedal mean?
    Are there signs/sounds that will tell you rotors are warped? Just curious have you experienced a hesitation/stutter like it might stall?
  • SOA Customer Service will not answer technical questions, and will refer you back to your dealer. I asked Customer Service if it was normal for a Subaru to lose 32 oz of coolant in 10K miles ( I added coolant 4 times during the year). Customer Service spoke with someone at "Technical". I was told that it was not normal to use that much coolant and that "it must be going someplace". I would consider it normal to need to add some coolant during a year's worth of driving. If you continue to need to add coolant, ask the dealer to do a pressure check whenever you bring the car in for an oil change. And, since you've talked with SOA, you have a case number with them if there is a problem in the future.

    Pulsation in the brake pedal in our Subarus has been a sign of warped rotors.
  • feilofeilo Posts: 128
    Been meaning to ask this question since I did the first (3,750 mi) OC. Mine does not but the manual shows a hatch you have to slide out of the way in what looks like a belly pan/under-engine panel. I asked the dealer but they said nope, the 08's don't have them; earlier MYs did.

    So what say you all? If I'm missing a belly pan, I want one when I'm still under warranty! ;)
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