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Subaru Legacy/Outback Oil and Other Fluid Questions

dliboirondliboiron Posts: 10
Will using a synthetic oil increase my overall gas mileage?

I drive a '97 Legacy Outback AWD, 2.5.
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Comments

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I don't think it will make a measureable, significant change, so not really.

    Won't hurt, certainly.
  • kathrynwkathrynw Posts: 3
    I just recently bought a 1998 Subaru Legacy Outback, I started smelling oil burning, and it worried me. I looked under the hood and there is oil all over my radiator, and inside of the radiator. Are these Subaru models known for this problem, and does anyone know what it could be?
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,662
    No, Subarus are not known for this. In fact this is the first I've ever heard of it.

    Are you sure that what you're seeing is oil, and not antifreeze?

    Oil "in" the radiator is not a good sign. It indicates a possible cracked engine block, a cracked cylinder head or a gasket problem. Oil "outside" the engine could mean cracked external oil lines, or again a cracked engine block. Since you mentioned oil in the radiator my guess is a cracked engine block or cylinder head.

    Pray that I'm wrong, as you're looking at big bucks to repair that.

    Bob
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Something doesn't sound right here at all. I highly doubt that the oil could be in and on the radiator at the same time. Do you mean in the rad, like in the radiator fluid? or in it like in the fins of the rad?

    -mike
  • kathrynwkathrynw Posts: 3
    there is oil in the radiator, mixed with the coolant, i guess. if you open to radiator and put your finger in, it comes out black.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    First thing to do since the car is new-to-you is get the coolant flushed and then keep checking it. If it gets contaminated again then you have a headgasket or a cracked block problem.

    -mike
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,450
    Agreed - and she could also be experiencing multiple problems. The external oil leak could be a result of leaking camshaft/crankshaft seals and/or valve cover gaskets. These leak down and drip on the exhaust headers, creating the burning oil smell. If it gets bad enough, you will see smoke billowing around your car at intersections and other stops once the exhaust system heats up sufficiently. It is a real joy ( :sick: ), but a drop in the bucket compared to the head gasket (or block) problem.

    Head gaskets and seals are a fairly common issue with the 1998 2.5L model. Cost of repair, if it is a head gasket problem, is about $2000.
  • kathrynwkathrynw Posts: 3
    we drained the coolant yesterday, there was no oil in it. my friend looked at it and said that it could very well have been someone just poured oil into the overflow resevoir. we flushed the radiator, and now it seems to be doing fine.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Cool. I always try to direct folks toward the simple fixes before going crazy with the sky is falling routine. It probably needed a rad flush anyway! Glad to hear it worked out.

    -mike
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Glad to hear that, however....

    Given the previous owner put oil in the coolant overflow tank, you might want to have all the fluids changed to be safe! :surprise:
  • Does anyone know the degree I need to torque the timing to so I can begin fixing this problem?
  • Has anyone ever heard of Ethos Fuel Reformulator? Allegedly increases mileage by up to 19 - 20%, lowers emissions, and lubricates and cleans internal parts (for more power, smoother running engine, longer lasting engine, etc.) I've watched some of the testimonials (including one from Al Unser from NASCAR) and numerous testimonials from people running trucking firms, etc. They also include local TV station stories on this product showing emissions test before and after, etc. My question is: would this harm the car in any way that you can think of? I normally do not believe any claims of better mileage and such but this one seems to be different from a lot of the other products out there in that I have not found any negatives online like you can for most other products advertised as doing the same thing, and the emission testing results on the videos from Las Vegas and Dallas local news seem to be confirming the claims (with increased mileage). I feel like trying it out but I do not want to cause any damage to my engine.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    20%?

    Maybe if you add 3.38 gallons of the stuff to your tank (i.e. 20% of the fuel tank capacity).
  • I need to add fluid to the transfer case, but do not know how. Can this be done fairly easily, or must it be done by a mechanic? Thanks, Paul
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,450
    Transfer case.... the center differential? What is it, auto trans or manual? It is easy either way, just a different point of entry for the two types, as the manual's center differential shares its fluid with the transmission.
  • Sorry, I've had a few Ford trucks and it's called a transfer case, as you know. It's an automatic and the car seems to "hop" a bit when I make slow, sharp turns. It was fixed last time by the mechanic addind fluid to the center diff. I want to do it myself. Do you know how to add fluid?
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    On an automatic there is 3 places to check for fluid.

    Front Diffy, which is the PASSENGER SIDE behind engine, in engine bay.
    Transmission/center diffy, which is DRIVER SIDE behind engine, in engine bay.
    Rear Diffy, which is in the back on the actual diffy.

    Front and rear Diffy takes 70-90 GL5 Gear Oil
    Trans takes ATF (I suggest Amsoil or Redline High Temp ATF)

    -mike
  • Thanks so much for the free know-how.

    Just to confirm that I know what you're saying: Even in automatics the center diffy and the trany share fluid? That is, if the trany fluid level is fine, then the center diffy level is fine as well.

    And so, I'll check this but I think it may be more than a fluid issue.

    I had the car at a trany shop last year b/c it was doing the same thing. All he said was that he added fluid. I recall him saying something like "the "hop" is caused by the 4x4 being engaged when it shouldn't be". Could fluid level cause this?

    Part of the problem is I don't know how all-time 4x4 works. Is it always front wheel drive except when slippage is sensed, and the the 4x4 kicks in? Could my car be improperly locked in 4x4 mode? That is, could the center diffy be broken? How would I know?

    Sorry for all the Qs.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Sorry for the late reply.

    On an automatic subie of that vintage there are clutch packs that vary the power between the front diffy and the rear driveshaft. As a differential of speed is sensed F/R the clutch packs (electronically controlled) will tighten up and send power front or rear. They are similar to the clutch packs found in the automatic trans and therefore share the same fluid (your trans takes about 9-12 quarts of fluid).

    Hope this helps.

    -mike
  • paulmanpaulman Posts: 10
    Thanks Mike,

    The fluid was low and I added amost a quart. Problem is much better. There's still a slight hopping in slow sharp (to wheel lock) turns. I suspect a little damage to the clutch pad in 6 mos of low fluid. Thanks again.

    Paul
  • I just bought this used Outback, 01, very clean runs great. One thing, the sprayer doesn't work on the wipers. I check the fuse- it looks good. Pulled a hose under the hood, nothing coming out, so I assume it's the "motor" or another connection. I can't seem to disconnect the two wires I see connected to this. Any thoughts on this. The fuse looked old, but it wasn't blown, that is certain.

    Thoughts??
  • It is probably the washer motor. These are pretty easy to replace. At the bottom front of the washer fluid bottle are two small motors, one for the front and one for the rear. You can tell which one is which by following the tubing leading from them.
    Remove the bottle by removing the top two bolts and freeing the assorted tubing from clamps on the side. The wires are a little difficult to pull out, but come off easier when the reservoir is lifted up. Pull the motor out and replace with the new one. It would be a good idea to replace the rubber grommet around it also. These little motors run about 40 to 60 dollars.
  • Hi, I have a 1995 Legacy AWD, I need to replace the water pump.
    Anybody have any tips to make this a smother operation. I have the service manual, it looks like quite a job. I need to get a compression gauge to set the engine at top dead center first. I'm going to change the timing belt also.
    Any thoughts would be great
    Thanks
    Dan
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,450
    Why do you need to set the engine at TDC?

    When I replaced my water pump, at about 177,000 miles, it took about four hours to do the task. I also had assistance, but we were working in a shop with which we were unfamiliar, so finding tools took some extra effort/time. I never made any special effort to set mine to TDC, and had no problems with it any of the five times I had the timing belt off the car.

    Replace the thermostat while you are in there, and also your upper and lower radiator hoses if they are original or very old. The job is fairly straight forward, but it does take some time to dig down to the pump, put everything back together, and then refill the cooling system. Be CAREFUL with the timing cover bolts and the water pump bolts. They are small (10 mm heads?) and are not very forgiving when it comes to torque.... ;)
  • you'll save time and maintenance
  • I have a 1997 subaru legacy and I know what kind of gear oil my center differential needs but how much does it take?
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,450
    Take a look here, and put in your vehicle information. It will give you information about all your vehicle's fluids; capacities are listed near the bottom.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Says 1.7 pints, FWIW.

    Do this - remove the top bolt FIRST, that's critical, because if you can't remove it and you drain the fluid by removing the bottom bolt only, you'll never be able to fill it with fluid again.

    Remove the bottom bolt 2nd, drain the oil in an oil drain pan.

    Replace the bottom bolt, and use a hand pump to add oil in the top hole. The stuff is thick so be ready for a little bit of work here, especially if it's cold.

    Basically buy one quart and top it off. When it begins to spill, it's full. Wipe it clean.

    Replace the top bolt, voila, you're done.

    Now go shower because your wife will hate the smell of gear oil cologne. :shades:
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I bought one that looks sort of like this at the local Pep Boys:

    image
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,450
    Do this - remove the top bolt FIRST, that's critical, because if you can't remove it and you drain the fluid by removing the bottom bolt only, you'll never be able to fill it with fluid again.

    Remove the bottom bolt 2nd, drain the oil in an oil drain pan.

    Replace the bottom bolt, and use a hand pump to add oil in the top hole. The stuff is thick so be ready for a little bit of work here, especially if it's cold.

    Basically buy one quart and top it off. When it begins to spill, it's full. Wipe it clean.

    Replace the top bolt, voila, you're done.


    This is for the rear differential. For the front/center, there should be a dipstick, and the fluid is filled there. There is a drain in the bottom that now uses a T70 Torx fitting, though a T60 works fine, too (T70 can be tough to find!). I am not sure if the Torx was being used on your model year, but the drain plug should be pretty easy to find - between the oil pan plug and the transmission pan plug (if yours is an automatic).
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