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Subaru Legacy/Outback Transmission Problems

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  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,391
    I agree that it is likely spark, but since the spark is electronically controlled it could be more than just the mechanicals themselves. Since your ECU coded an airflow sensor issue, you might consider replacement of it. The part is expensive, but extremely simple to replace. I had the problems noted above with the MAS (likely) and never was a code recorded, though the CEL did illuminate. So, at this point it is hard to say, but I concur with juice that it is likely either spark or something that controls the timing of it.

    Interesting that you say the CEL is "flickering" on. I have never observed that behavior and was not aware it was able to simply "flicker." I wonder if that is indicative of something in and of itself? How many tanks of fuel have you run through the car in the past two weeks? Perhaps there is/was a little water in the tank. A bottle of Heet would eliminate that possibility.
  • The same thing happened to me in July 2006. I was on the freeway and in slow moving traffic and my car died. I was able to get it to turn over and stay on long enough to get it to the shoulder while I waited for a tow truck. The Subaru dealership I took it to didn't find anything wrong with it after 2 days of testing. When I heard a similar noise in late August (a high pitched buzz - I heard it prior to the July breakdown), I drove it into another dealership and they ended up replacing the main electrical relay. I still don't have any confidence in my car, which is sad, since I bought a Subaru with the hopes of having it for years (and hundreds of thousands of miles). Now, I am thinking of trading it in for anything but another Subaru. :(
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Why? That's a very rare problem, what are the odds that it would happen again? And changing brands doesn't necessarily improve those odds. For MY2004 Subaru was Consumer Reports single most reliable brand, so switching to anything else might actually make your odds worse! :surprise:

    -juice
  • That's so funny you should write that (re: changing brands doesn't necessarily improve the odds). I have been thinking about purchasing a 2004 or 2005 Chrysler Pacifica and in reading the boards have discovered that it has an electrical problem similar to the one I have experienced with my Subaru. Let's just say that I am going to be in research mode for a while before I make any rash decisions. :)
  • So the same thing just happened to my wife's '01 VDC. Where did you get the bearing???? :confuse: :(
  • Called the local Sube dealers. They had no clue. $50 for the idler. Only one in stock at one of the largest Sube dealers in the country, Dellenbach, Ft. Collins, CO.

    Fortunately, last night I ran across a posting in a Mazda forum. They use the same NSK 6203DUL1 bearing for the idler pulley in the Mazda 6. So I called the local Mazda dealer, Spradley-Barr, Ft. Collins also. They knew immediately what I was talking about and said they get the bearing from Carquest Auto Parts and the number is 203SS. I called Carquest, 4 in stock, and have a better bearing that is the 203FF which is sealed both sides with steel. ~$10.50 ea.

    BTW, they're easy to press out and in with a 6-inch vise and a set of impact sockets as the spacers. Loctite the bolts on re-installation. Now how to get the belt back on... :cry:

    Hope this helps someone!
    Theo
  • terry92270terry92270 Posts: 1,247
    "Now how to get the belt back on... :cry: "

    In cartoons, that's when the lightening bolts are coming out of the guys head! :P
  • While tightening down the bolt on one of the idlers, I realized that it was the tensioner. So just a 14mm wrench on the idler bolt to move the tensioner arm to where it is not tensioning the belt. Viola!
    :shades:
  • All cars from '96 on will flicker the MIL when there is a misfire. The misfire could be from the ignition or the injectors though. I came over to this forum because I just picked up a '96 Outback with 134000 miles on it. I can't believe how good this thing runs, I work on Fords & most won't go that far! What kind of fuel mileage can I expect from this car, 2.5 dohc and auto trans?
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,391
    When I picked mine up 8/2000 with 83.5K, it averaged ~27. Now, at 220K, it is at more like ~22.5. However, in the past 3 weeks I have had the dreaded P0400 (EGR system) code, so I plan to run it through the paces come spring and will probably address old oxygen sensors, so it might kick up a few mpgs. At 130xxx I probably got an average of 25-26 out of it.

    Be wary of head gaskets and oil leaks from the camshaft seals and/or valve cover gaskets. Otherwise, quite a decent car.
  • I do have an oil leak at the rear of the engine. It drips right onto the exhaust & really stinks up the garage after I shut it down. It looks like a rear main seal but I hope it is just valve cover gaskets. The acceleration seems to flatten out at times, on long moderate accels it doesn't pull evenly. I'm going to look into this during the week, any ideas?
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,391
    That leak sounds like valve cover gaskets. Honestly, I have not heard of any rear main leaks... not even on mine and I would venture to guess my car has leaked more oil than any dozen other Subarus combined. However, since replacing the head gaskets (unrelated problem) at 192.5K, I have had zero oil leaks (almost 30K miles now), so I am hoping those days are behind me. The oil dripping onto the exhaust was so bad before I fixed it the first time (144K) that I would have to shut off my defroster or it would fill the cabin with smoke. :blush: The dealership from which I purchased the car overfilled the oil by about 1.5 quarts and it blew the gaskets/seals all to pieces. I noticed the overfill within about 100 miles, but within another month it was leaking 1/2 quart every tank (~250 miles). That was at 84K miles. By 144K when I finally fixed it, it was around 3 quarts per 250 miles. All 4 cam seals, the valve cover gaskets, and the oil temperature sending unit were all leaking profusely. The crank seals were fine though - in fact, I never have replaced the rear main on it.

    As for acceleration, mine does not pull real strong between ~35 and 50 mph unless I intentionally hold gears longer and accelerate aggressively, but I think this more a function of the gearing and shift points than it is a "problem" with something in the drivetrain. This engine can rev high with no problems though - max torque is achieved at 5500 RPM if I recall correctly, though I rarely take it that high as I am used to old vehicles like my '69 Chevy C20 (307) and there would be pieces of iron all over the highway if I tried that. :D
  • 1996 outback I changed my driver head light and had to remove my battery to do so. I put everything back togeather and the light works fine but my blinkers go on and off intermitinly with a cliching sound my radio blinks also. I cleaned the crossion of the battery and cleaned both tremonals. also the blinker on my dash are not on. dose anyone have an idea. thanks
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,391
    Do you have the optional remote door locks / alarm? If so, that is it. There should be a reset button located on the left kick panel a up under the dash (behind the hood release area). The owner's manual should also mention the reset steps... I think!
  • I have Legacy GT 01 with 85K, sometimes it is hard to shift into 1st, 2nd or reverse gear (or simply impossible), although clutch pedal is fully pushed. What is possible source for that problem? What needs to be fixed to eliminate it?
    *Car has customized rims and low-profile tires
  • from the day we purchased our wagon, the doors randomly lock on their own, sometimes leaving keys inside or even in the ignition. subaru service turned the lock-out prevention from on to off but the problem has continued. anyone else have this problem or a solution? thanks.
  • Not sure about the 96, but the 98 and newer ones that i own require that when the battery is disconnected and the parking lights start flashing, you can turn them off by simply cycling the door locks with the remote. HOWEVER, that flashing is an indication that the computer has lost its memory. The procedure is to start the car (no AC, lights, defrosters etc.) and allow it to reach operating temperature (i typically allow the fans to turn on at least once) WITHOUT touching the throttle or anything else for that matter!!! When the fans turn on, the computer should be happy and you can then turn the car off (again, without touching anything else mentioned above!). The car is ready to drive normally now when restarted.
    I believe eventually the car will re-learn itself if this procedure is not followed, but not exactly sure. Easy to do and I recommend it anytime the battery is disconnected long enough to start the lights flashing.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,391
    That is why I find this situation strange. I have a '96 and I have never had a "flashing light" situation. And, there have been plenty of times when I have had it apart long enough to reset the ECU - the two times I had the engine pulled not withstanding.

    Anyway, considering no response thus far from the original poster, all must be well.
  • ENGINE lights and more... Yes, my 75 year-old mom had the same oil leak problem on her '96 Subaru Leg. Outback Wagon and at 120K they pulled the valve covers off and did a gasket job--due to wierdness of when oil is checked, 50% of the time it looks low, 50% looks normal. I admit I did
    that--and yes--car was level! AND I'm a trained machinist! Am I human? Does being a cave-man count? Well...as far as the "check engine" light goes, she's had the same problem for years--the car will stall or sputter a bit then the light comes on and the car runs fine until the light goes off. 6 months ago she paid (without family knowing) $275.00 to have the light checked out and a crankshaft sensor replaced. Light comes on again 3 weeks ago, she takes it in--always to the dealer, they tell her "oh hey now its got 123K on it, you need all the valve shims checked and adjusted" (ain't they they hydraulic--wink wink??) and "the check engine light isn't the same thing it was 6 months ago, so its not covered under warranty--it's too technical for you to understand." All without family knowlege again... BTW car has been nicely cared for--will cruise easily at 90+++... I finally find out 2 hours after she says yes to a $1,400.00 estimate after they talk her into doing 4 more jobs, including tire rotation, a new key, blah blah... So I call, the guy says "oh yeah well we didn't do the valve shims 6 months ago when we had the valve covers off cuz nobody thought of it." So I also look at ALL the bills for last 9 years--looks like she's paid thousands for recalls. WTF??) All she wanted was her $4.95 oil change with her little coupon. One question is--in CA, would it be OK to ask them if they are commiting elder abuse without being sued for hurting someone's feelings?? So as I write this they called--the guy says "ohhh yeah those valves ARE hydraulic." I want to see a naked head and check with own eyes before I blow a gasket!! Hey Happy New Year and Good luck to all!!
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,391
    ???? !!!!! :mad:

    That is unbe... well, nevermind, I have come to believe quite a bit to be possible. :blush:

    Push it - perhaps contact SOA (800SUBARU3) and report it to them first, maybe talk to legal counsel if you can get a free consultation to find out what else you can do. Maybe chew out some higher-up at the dealership in a public place for taking advantage of their customers..... and definitely convince your mother to find a new shop or find one for her.
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