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Subaru Legacy/Outback Tire Issues

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Comments

  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Actually a reduced diameter of the tire will decrease the sidewall height, increase handling and increase acceleration.

    A reduced rim size, while keeping stock diameter or increasing diameter will give you more sidewall, better off-road ability due to the give in the sidewall, and a better overall ride due to a softer area.

    -Mike
  • Actually a reduced diameter of the tire will decrease the sidewall height, increase handling and increase acceleration.

    I didn't realize you were going to change the tire's external diameter. That will effectively change your final drive ratio, making the car "geared lower" which will adversely affect the speedometer reading and fuel economy.

    It will have very little affect on handling except for possible reduction in unsprung weight from getting lighter tires and wheels. If one is looking for handling, it would've been better to select the Legacy wagon vs the Outback to being with, but a +0 or +1 tire fitment would have a better effect on handling, while keeping other drive characteristics (gearing, speedometer) the same.

    A reduced rim size, while keeping stock diameter or increasing diameter will give you more sidewall, better off-road ability due to the give in the sidewall, and a better overall ride due to a softer area.

    I concur, but this will come at the expense of on-road handling and possibly load carrying capacity (it is easier to make a lower-profile tire stiffer to support weight in a passenger car tire).
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Agreed, and I'm not sure what the original poster was attempting to do! Ha Ha Ha.

    -mike
  • Have you considered switching with an older gen Outback. I know mine came with 16s. I dont think they should have clearance issues with the brakes on either cars. Incidentally, where are you located?
  • hamezhamez Posts: 8
    WOW I didn't expect such a showing of concern for a simple tire question, and I appreciate all of it. I understand all the posts and they are very helpful. I wanted a beefier tire, as simple as that. The low profile 55's don't make me happy when I am completely loaded up for camping they flatten out a little. I don't want to put to much extra tire pressure in them. So I thought if I decrease the rim size I could get a larger side wall. Due to the fact there isn't a lot a clearance in the wheel well. I know that I need to keep as close as possibly to the original size for reasons mentioned. At the same time I was hoping to make these my winter tires as I do a lot of driving all over the northeast. SO PLEASE CONTINUE to tell me the right thing to do, I love all of the input. Thank you in advance, Hamez
  • I would look for a tire in the same size with a higher load rating. A larger side wall is going to make it worse, not better.
  • ncc4ncc4 Posts: 16
    Has anyone tried the Goodyear Comfort Tread 225-55-17's on the new Outbacks? I have a 2007 and am finding the original equipment Bridgestones less than capable on the snow/ice we now have. The Goodyears are very well rated on the Tireracks website, but that's not the same as an actual Outback owners experience.

    Thanks
    Nigel
  • We bought the Goodyear Assurance TripleTreds a week after buying a 2007 Outback. Then it promptly stopped snowing. But in some mixed ice/rain we have found them to be better tires than the Bridgestone originals (which I sold on Craigs List). I didn't drive the Bridgestone's long enough to allow a more complete comparison.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,686
    I do not know why I tend to buy Goodyear tires, but the ones I have purchased are very good tires with excellent tread wear, and at a reasonable price. Availability is also good in my isolated market (Fairbanks, AK).

    I had Assurance TripleTred on my '96 Outback as year-rounds. I put about 25,000 miles on them before the car's demise. Great tires for ice, as far as all-seasons go. Not even comparable to the OEM Bridgestone RE92's. Wear was at 9/32's at the end - ironically I had the car at a shop only a week before its death, to get a leak (puncture) fixed. It did seem that they dropped my mileage considerably. Maybe as much as 10%. On summer trips the year prior, I would get 26 mpg on the all-highway stretch between Fairbanks and Anchorage. Last summer I topped out at 24.5 mpg, all other things being equal.

    So far, for my '07 Outback, I am leaning toward the ComfortTred for "summer" months (probably April through Sept/Oct, depending on when the snow flies) and the Eagle Ultra Grip Ice for winter. If I go that route, it will be my first set of winter tires... ever. I almost look forward to it, but still have not fully convinced myself it is "necessary" to the point of actually spending the money on it. :sick:
    2010 Subaru Forester, 2011 Ford Fiesta, 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup, 1974 Ford Pinto Wagon
  • I hear you. I bought my first-ever set of snow tires in December 2006, after two blizzards stranded us here in Colorado and my '93 Corolla had no chance at getting out of our driveway. I put the snow tires on the Corolla - even studded them - and instant grip on ice and the ability to blast through snow drifts that had immediately high-centered me before. That worked great for the next four snow storms (inches varying from 3 to 8). Now that it has been 50 degrees and the snow is all gone I feel somewhat conspicuous in my LOUD studded snow tires.

    I'm hoping the Assurance Treds will be all-season for us on the Outback for a couple years, at least.
  • steveb10steveb10 Posts: 13
    2006 Outback Manual Trans. Got a sidewall damaged tire in Death Valley one mile from the highway on the way out! Was out in the back country for 3 days. Put the space saver spare on the rear cause that's what the manual says to do. Had to get home to Oakland Sunday, so I drove it back home all the way at 50 mph (well 55 actually). That tire is definitely smaller than the original rubber on that car, but would think that Subaru would realize that families gotta get home on the spare tire they provide- even if it is about 1/2 inch smaller diameter. You guys think any damage was done to the fancy drive train? There is no mention in the manual regarding distance allowed. By the way, 450 miles will wear your space saver out. I'm gettin me a full size wheel and spare. No more boondock trips with no proper spare for me...
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Please don't tell me you drove 450 miles on a donut tire? They are go for 50 miles at 50mph only! I believe it is stamped right on the tire.

    -mike
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,727
    Mike's right. These are limited-use tires only, with a very short tire life—which is why I HATE these things!

    Bob
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Oh yeah have to agree. I always run a full-size spare in my cars. Heck when we do the 48hrs of Tri-state each year which is an 800-1500 mile trip in a weekend we REQUIRE all participants to have a full size spare with them.

    -mike
  • steveb10steveb10 Posts: 13
    Well I didn't relish the idea of driving that far on the damn thing but short of finding a motel for two nights etc etc, I really had no choice. It was Saturday night in an area that had no services. Do you really think that Subaru would supply a tire that will damage the drivetrain in 450 miles? I can't believe they never considered the possibility that their all wheel drive cars might have to get a family home on a spare. By the way the sticker on the tire only states a speed limit not a distance limit. There is no mention of a distance limit in the manual either. I figured the issue was mainly safety- reduced braking and handling capability with the skinny tire.
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,727
    What I find annoying is that Subaru equips full-size spares on car sold in other markets other than North America. If you buy an Outback in Australia, it comes with a full-size spare.

    Bob
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    In other markets I think they get narrower tires, so they fit in the wheel wells. Also overseas I think the vehicle cost is higher. It's all about the cost savings.

    And no offense to the original poster but it's rare to find ANY car that doesn't come with a donut tire, I think VW is the only one with a full size spare std across the board.

    -mike
  • steveb10steveb10 Posts: 13
    I find that the full size 225/55/17 won't fit in the wheel well fully inflated. I needed to air it down to about 15 psi and then it barely fits. So I guess I'll have to carry a pump now too. I guess I'll find out how this all works out today when I pick up the two new tires from the dealer. They anted up $113 towards replacing the damaged tire, and I bought an additional rim so now I will have 5 good tires that I'll put in the rotation. I haven't driven the car since I parked it in the driveway at 3:00 am Sunday morning, so I don't know yet if the fancy viscous do-dad or the differential is toast until I drive it later today. The car drove fine but there was a definite singing rumble from the corner where the spare was. Maybe they are just noisy because they hold 60 psi?
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,727
    As Mike stated, with the Outback it's a size issue. Our Outbacks have a 225 tire. In other markets they use a 215 tire. That 10mm is just enough so that the larger tire won't fit in the spare tire well.

    That excuse won't work for the Legacy, Impreza or Forester. In fact. up until a year or so ago, all our Foresters had full-size spares. We have one in our '01 Forester, but the new ones don't.

    Bob
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    That excuse won't work for the Legacy, Impreza or Forester. In fact. up until a year or so ago, all our Foresters had full-size spares. We have one in our '01 Forester, but the new ones don't.

    However the cost factor should be enough of an excuse, no? Same reason why I don't mind RE92s instead of expensive "performance" tires that I don't want anyway.

    -mike
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,727
    I would think that streamling production (not having to make and inventory donuts) would also save costs. But even if you're right, the customer gets short-changed here in North America.

    Bob
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Well I don't know if we are getting short changed, the way I look at it is "Do I want to pay what they pay for a Subaru elsewhere in the world?" the answer is "not really" so keep the spare, heck keep the tires too, and keep selling em to me at a good price.

    I'll be putting a full-size spare in my car when I get it, probably a 205 or 215, even though I'll run 225 or 235 widths.

    -mike
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,686
    As you suggested, Steve, time will tell on this one. But, even though the donut tire is well used (probably lucky it even took you 450 miles!), the AWD system is probably okay - keep an ear out for any unusual sounds or behavior. You should definitely consider replacing the rear differential fluid immediately, though, as I am certain it was given quite a workout.
    2010 Subaru Forester, 2011 Ford Fiesta, 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup, 1974 Ford Pinto Wagon
  • steveb10steveb10 Posts: 13
    Picked up the two new tires today at the dealer. I explained my concern to the service guy. I said here they are checking the tread depth on the original tires to see if I could get away with putting two new tires on the front, while Subaru supplies a spare that is about 1/2 inch smaller than the stock tire diameter. And this is in the country that equips the cars with BIGGER tires in the fist place. Once the spare wears down in a single use its even smaller....

    I drove the car and it seems fine. No funny noises. Xwesx- your suggestion about changing the diff oil is one I had thought of. I don't know much about the viscous coupling unit on the trans though. Is it a separate unit or does it share the same oil as the tranny? I may call the dealer on that one. The service guy seemed sympathetic to my situation, and suggested I write a letter to Subaru about the spare tire thing for all the good that will do me. I guess at least it would serve to document the incident in case something in the drivetrain lets go in the next 10,000 miles or so.

    Hell I even bout an expensive Gold Plus warranty when I bought the car. This is my first new car. And I still drive my '87 GL Wagon with 318,000 miles on it with the twin stick tranny that is way more capable off road than the Outback will ever be.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Viscous rear diffy is a sealed unit, there is no serviceable fluid in there. The rear diffy takes regular diffy fluid and doesn't lube the Viscous Limited Slip Part.

    -mike
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,686
    Without a low range, "off road" with an Outback is fairly light duty. I sure worked my '96 hard though. From pulling stumps to towing loaded trucks up slippery slopes, out of ditches, etc., it performed incredibly well.

    The rear differential is likely the one that would have taken the brunt of the load since one tire on the rear was off-sized. The rear differential takes about a quart of oil; the front/center differential's gear oil is shared with the MT (3.7 quarts) and separate from the AT. If you have two differently sized tires on one end, the center differential is the one that will be taking up the slack. At least, that is my understanding of it.
    2010 Subaru Forester, 2011 Ford Fiesta, 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup, 1974 Ford Pinto Wagon
  • steveb10steveb10 Posts: 13
    Well I drained the differential and it was pretty grey, but left no residue on the pan. The trans oil looks clean on the dipstick. I'll just replace the diff oil with some Lucas 80/90 and move on with life. I think I will write Subaru a letter though if for no other reason to document the whole business.

    I don't abuse my cars, but like you, I use them for the intended purpose. The Outback is perfectly fine for most off highway situations like in Death Valley or Saline Valley where high clearance 4X4 is required. You have to know the limits though. We had been in the boonies for 3 days and came out on the Saline Valley Road which for the last few miles consists of old potholed asphalt. That's what did the tire in- bad asphalt and too much speed. I knew better too!

    I pushed a fully loaded Chevy 3/4 ton out of the sand in Baja one time with the '87. Just kept ramming until he was out. No harm done to the car. I'd hate to see what the fancy bumper on the Outback would look like after the same treatment.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I swapped the donut in my wife's car for a full-size spare and it actually fit the well, but this is a 2002 model, which had smaller tires (215/60R15).

    $70 well spent if you ask me.

    I had to ride home from the beach on a spare, about 120 miles. Luckily my Forester has a full-size spare, something they dropped for MY06.

    Tribeca comes with a donut so I'll be trying to figure out a way to swap that out, too.

    I guess you limit the speeds to 50-55 so it doesn't put the same stress on the drivetrain that it would at 75mph. Still, I'd much rather have a real tire on there.

    In fact, with a donut, I'd stop and try to plug the flat if possible. :sick:
  • steveb10steveb10 Posts: 13
    I would have plugged it on the spot, but the sidewall was ripped. I think the 50 mph speed limit may be primarily a safety measure. You certainly can't stop the car as well, and obviously the handling is affected on the donut spate tire.
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