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Subaru Legacy: Typical high-mileage repairs?

jeijei Posts: 143
We have a 1992 Legacy AWD wagon with 175,000
miles, which is still reliable and in generally
good shape. We have done the usual oil changes
every 3-4,000 miles, and normal preventative
maintenance such as timing belt replacement and
brake jobs every 60K or so. However, we did have to
rebuild the automatic transmission at 170,000
miles, which by many standards is a good track
record. Now the center differential / clutch pack
is feeling tight during sharp turns (at low speed
of course). - This could be another expensive
repair. I'm beginning to wonder how much longer
this car will stay healthy and robust without
needing large infusions of cash.

QUESTION: What MAJOR repairs have you needed to
make and at what mileage or age? Did they come up
suddenly? How many miles do you have on your
Legacy?
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Comments

  • Hi. I've got a '92 Loyale (not quite as good as the Legacy, but comparable). It has 125,000 miles on it. Recently, I've had to replace the front/rear brakes(108K), entire exaust(115K), front CV joints(118K), water pump, timing belt and drivetrain(124K), muffler (125K), and more. I think the thing is rotting away, actually. Seems like you've done well with your Subaru so far, but I wouldn't count on it much longer! Subarus can get expensive to repair.
  • nmgnmg Posts: 1
    I have 101,000 miles on my Subaru. So far, the only problem I had was that the shafts had to be replaced because I didn't replace the CV boots on time so they cracked and caused the shaft damage. I also had the brakes overhauled(new calibers, etc.) Lately the "check engine light" started coming on along with rough idle and very poor performance. I replaced the plugs but it didn't help. Then,the battery went dead. I replaced the battery and now it is running fine and the check engine light hasn't come on so far.
  • Sounds like the light was trying to tell you of a charging system problem, which can include bad cells in the battery. If the battery was old, that is probably what it was. If not, watch for another light and alternator replacement.

    Have all of you been happy with the performance of you Subarus? I am debating between the new sedan and a Maxima. I live in the south so the AWD may not me needed. Is it worth getting?
  • Camydog....tough predicament. I have a Maxima 98
    and Subaru 96, it is a matter of what driving you will do and what are you going to transport.

    When it is bad weather- Subaru of course. Other
    wise, which ever car is closest ( if my wife is not going out because she cannot drive standard
    trans.) Good Luck!
  • We have 124,000 miles on our subaru. Repairs so far include; starter, cv boots, axles; timing belt; wheel bearing. Other costs, the usual brakes, reg oil change.
    Our check engine light is often on & I know our battery is old. I will change the battery to see if the light will stop coming on. We also have the same problem as JEI, the trouble with low speed turns. I have been contemplating taking it to the dealer. Any ideas of repair cost?
    The legacy is a great car.
  • Ours is a Subaru Legacy 1993, but with only 96K on
    it. We had heard a lot of good about its
    reliability, but after a lot of the normal repairs noted above, and major ones such as having to replace a wheel bearing at 40K, we are now told we have the crank pulley bolt backing out, which may have damaged the keyway and/or shaft, which will very likely necessitate a
    new engine. (BTW, the mechanic we use is completely trustworthy, and in fact has had to refer this on to someone else, so there are no ulterior motives.)This vehicle was METICULOUSLY cared for, oil changes every 3K, etc., etc., is only driven by my wife who is a very conservative
    driver, but has left my her stranded twice now,
    while a little "junker" Hyundai Excel that I drive
    the heck out of, with the same milage has only ever had the alternator replaced, and has been
    competely reliable, with almost identical milage. We are very disappointed, to say the least, and as we need to buy two new vehicles in the near future, I guess this will end our experience with them. So, whether the repair costs themselves are high or not, the actual NUMBER of major repairs - even if they were of average cose - makes this a prohibitive proposition.

    As it looks like I will have to replace the engine, anyone know where I can get a rebuilt one? (email me at jvanne@cleanweb.net if you want).
  • Judging from your mileage, most of you are about ready to replace your Legacy - will it be another Subaru? If not, which car-manufacturer do you think will deliver better reliability?
  • crb5crb5 Posts: 1
    My Legacy crossed the 200,000 mile mark this month. I had to have the front axle assemble replaced today and the clutch at 85k. Other than that the main trouble I've had has been with the AC. Had most of it replaced about 2 years ago and it has recently stopped working again. I've tried to keep the oil changed but will confess that I've gotten slack in the last couple of years and have started letting it go 7k or more without changing it. Will be replacing it in the next month or two with something with a little more leg room and an automatic transmission. Sadly, it will probably not be a Subaru. Mine has been very reliable.
  • As my title says, My Legacy has 124,000 on it. But, as much as I love Subaru's, I have to say that it has not been without problems. The car has had four recalls, which include, camshaft sensor, crankshaft sensor, alternator, and the front tow hooks had to be cut off because if they hit a speed bump or any obstacle in the road, the air bags would deploy. Also, my manual transmission had to be replaced (not under warrenty) due to a bad input shaft and case. That major repair was done last month (November). I bought a used transmission for $600.00 and had a dealer install it. My regular mechanic didn't want to tackle the job. At the sametime, I had the timing belt replaced, and the water pump done also. The pump wasn't bad, I just figured while they are there replacing the timing belt, just replace that too. So, the grand total for this rapair, including transmission, cost, $2100.00. What really bothers me about the transmission is, I have always had five speeds, and have had three Subaru's prior to this one and they all had sticks. They all were high mileage cars when I sold them, and I never had a trnsmission problem with any of them. When mine failed in my Legacy, I called Subaru to ask if they had any service bulletins concerning manuals, and if not what could they due to help me. Now I wasn't expecting them to pay for the whole job, but anything would have been nice, even an apology would have been nice. After all, I have been a loyal customer since 1984, but nothing, all I got was a rude customer service person that said,"what do you expect us to do, do you expect your car to last for ever?" No I do not. But with 90 percent of my driveing being highway, I would expect it to last longer than that. I told the rude person on the phone that I would have to think long and hard about buying another Subaru, she said,"I'll note that in the computer". Well thank you Subaru for standing behind your products. So, to answer anyone's question out their about buying a Subaru, think long and hard before doing so, and if you do, purchase an extended warrenty for those BIG repairs as it ages. Also I would like to add that I took immaculate care of this vehicle.
  • ... Unfortunately, I don't think one can rely on ANY car to go much beyond (or even reach)100K miles without requiring some major work (and that includes our '90 Honda Accord which also started "showing its age" after hitting the century mark). But certainly there is no excuse for the way your call was handled by SOA!
  • My 93 Legacy sedan with 105K has never been trouble some. In fact it run perfect, the tranny is still smooth and the engine is strong. The only problem has been warping rotors and the paint wearing off the trim around the doors, (which every other Subaru Legacy I see is suffering from). This car has been so reliable when compared to the Audi 90 series (which I loved except it was always needing repairs. I've been thinking about selling my Subaru, anyone have an idea what a reasonable price to ask would be.
  • You can check kelly blue book on line. I live in the Northeast and recently saw a Legacy Wagon with 200k miles for an asking price of $1,999.

    Four wheel drive universal on my Legacy went bad, now driving on fwd only! Not sure if I want to spend the $ to have it repaired. I am also getting a thumping noise in front left wheel area. I'm going to have that checked soon.
    Engine and tranny seem to be fine. Original trans fluid still looks fine.
  • My wife's car is a '96 Legacy Outback which I bought with 40K on the clock. Within two weeks of purchase it started pouring oil out of the engine. Thankfully, the dealer I bought it from had a 90 day warranty and covered replacement of all seals and timing belt.

    In the 2+ years and 35K miles since, we have had problems with the shifter not coming out of park which the local Subaru dealer fixed after four attempts and several hundred dollars. The alternator and battery went out, which wasn't that expensive but very annoying since we were on vacation and were stranded 500 miles from home on a Sunday. Once we did get it started with a new battery, every light on the car blinked all the way home.

    Recently the engine started pouring oil out, again. This time the repairs (all engine seals, water pump, and cam gear which the dealer broke during repairs) cost me almost $1000 dollars.

    I seriously doubt this car will see 100K miles and it will be a cold day in hell before I would consider buying another Subaru.
  • 12481248 Posts: 1
    I have a 1995 Legacy sedan. Replaced front engine seals along with timing belt change at 115000 miles. Just brought car in for check engine light on. I need new catalytic converters to the tune of $900. Up to now the car has been great. I hope this is not the beginning of increased maintanence and repair costs.
  • I have a Legacy 2.5 GT with an Auto, trans. I had been a Honda driver for years but wanted an all wheel drive vehicle that was very reliable and got good gas millage. I did some research and the reliability ratings had the Subaru's just a bit above the Honda's.

    The 96 models only came in auto trans, no problem for me because I love remote starters on my cars, they are great.

    I have had very few repairs need over my 95'000 miles. I did have voltage regulator that controlled the heater, stereo, lights go out. I just recently had to have a seal replaced(by timing belts) there was a very small leak. Other than the 60k mile timing belt and spark plugs tune up I have not had to put any money in the car. It has been very reliable. the transmission does shift a little rough from first to second but other than that I have no complaints.

    I have used synthetic motor oils and change every 5k miles. I Recently went on a 500 mile trip got 30 miles to the gallon driving 65 to 75 MPH, my normal millage is about 25 MPG depending on conditions.

    I am thinking of getting a 2000 Outback Wagon or Sedan at the end of the month. I would be very interested in comments from those that have the new 2000 Outback Wagon or Sedan.

    thanks

    Jeff
  • pat455pat455 Posts: 603
    If you use the Search feature at left to find all topics containing Outback you will find a whole lot of discussions in our Wagons Conference. Those folks are all talking about the 2000 Outbacks.

    Pat
    Community Leader/Maintenance & Repair Conference
  • My 90000 mile legacy wagon awd has air struts which allows you to increase the height with the push of a button. Now the front fenders are almost hitting the tires. Obviously there's no airr at all in the front struts. A leak? After running the engine for a short while and then turning it off, you can hear air coming from somewhere near the front. How to check? New/rebuilt struts? The dealer said for usd 2,000.00 I'll be all set. I bet!
  • ohvohv Posts: 1
    We're sitting at 125,000 on our 1992 Legacy Wagon, with _no_ major repairs of any kind. We've just
    changed the oil every 3k, and done routine work.

    This is the most reliable car that I, my family, my relatives, or my close friends have ever experienced.

    We're shopping again now. We're probably going to sell to relatives, and buy another one. It's hard not to. I've thought about the Volvo V70 AWD XC, but it just doesn't nearly meet the reliability numbers.

    It's a boring car, but man it's been a good investment.
  • kl44ikl44i Posts: 1
    I'm right at 125,000 with my '94 Legacy wagon, but if this is any help, it's been extraordinarily reliable thus far. It's a 5spd; I replaced the clutch at 115,000; timing belt once at 70k; brakes were done once, and a "knock sensor" ($190 repair) at around 100k. That's all. I'm looking forward to another 120K miles on my Subaru. As for the person who had all the problems, I'd say two things. They bought their car in '95, which was the first model year of a complete redesign for Subarus. While it shouldn't have been that unreliable, in general, I'd avoid buying a car that's just been redesigned if you're at ALL concerned about reliability. Second, it sounds like SOA treated them pretty poorly--if I had a similar experience, I probably wouldn't buy another Subaru either.
  • my subie has 111k on it as of now. i got this car in december with 103k on the clock. i put alot of mileage on a car quickly, and this car has been a very reliable vehicle so far. i dont "crap" around with the car, i just drive the heck out of the thing. i follow all severe service mant. schedules in the manual, with one exception: timing belt. i have no idea if this has ever been changed, and dont want to pay to find out. is there something that i can do to check on this? also what happens if the belt brakes? does this car have clearance between the valves and pistons to prevent them from crashing into each other or what? i am a broke college student, and need to save any money i can. oh and i love the 4 speed auto, the power light gets alot of use. car is wonderful in corners, due to the low center of gravity from the horizontally opposed boxer engine. very nice car, that was cheap.
  • pat455pat455 Posts: 603
    While we wait for someone to chime in here, I wondered if you had looked through our existing topic timing belt replacement? (Topic #284). There might be some helpful information in there.

    Pat
    Community Leader/Maintenance & Repair Conference
  • I have a question to those of you that have had good service or above average service on a subaru, why you are not considering another? Is it due to the new styling of Subarus, or just wanting something for a change.
  • hello25hello25 Posts: 30
    sorry to hear it. even lexus' variable suspension adjustment system on the ES didn't work. variable suspension systems are trouble.
  • Why isn't Subaru generally included in remarks about how Japanese imports like Toyota, Honda, etc., can rack up 200K+ miles before they wear out? What should one reasonably expect to get out of a Subaru Legacy? My old 1980 DL was beginning to choke at 85,000 when I got rid of it.
  • cptpltcptplt Posts: 1,075
    I think Subaru sells only 100,000 cars total in the US, Toyota sells 6-7x times that in Camrys alone. Its such a small player compared to the big Japanese companies thats why you don't hear much about it. Plus in some parts of the country a Subaru dealer is as rare almost as a Lamborghini dealer! I know people with Subarus with close to 200K running strong. On the other hand I traded my Japanese made 92 Legacy with 90K when things started going wrong - multiple sensors, pneumatic suspension, oil leaks all in 1 year. I've put 40K on my 98 now and the thing runs like new still. My in laws US made 92 Legacy has 80K and except for one sensor has never had anything else fixed except brakes/rotors etc and fluid changes. Your car is 20 years old no matter the mileage. You should have gotten rid of it just to save the hassle of trying to find parts for it in the future!
    The other side of my family are Honda nuts and I have had two Integras. I don't know anyone who didn't have lots of trouble by 100K with their Honda products. One cousin has had Accords since the year dot and they always reliably have a catastrophic engine/trsansmission failure by around 100K take or leave 10K! I will never ever buy an Acura again. 2 gaskets on one in less than 60K, transmission on another in 40K. Honda/Acura dealers also seem to be of a lower than human species in my area. When Hondas go well, they really go well, when they fall apart they make Detroit products look good and they are built to need everything replacing after 60-70K. If you are conscientious about it you can go far with one but they are only trouble free in their youth!
  • I just purchased my 4th Subaru, a 2000 GT Limited Sedan. The wife drives a 1996 Outback and I have put to rest two 1987 GL Wagons. The first GL I bought new, it was a 4wd 5 speed. I got 275,000 miles out of it before I donated it. I did not do anything to it other than wear items. I replaced front axles twice, air pump, radiator, timing belts, hoses etc. I never had an engine or trans problem although I had the "y" pipe replaced under warranty. I changed the oil about every 7-10k miles, used Mobil 1 which I think helped a lot.
    Decided to get rid of it when I blew a head gasket.

    The second Subaru I bought used with 60k miles on it. It was an automatic and think it was slightly abused as a child. I started to have some problems with it around 150k miles. The trans started to act up although it never quit. I also had to start replacing sensors, ekg valve and an alt about that time. At 160k I had to put head gaskets on it and have some front end work done. I retired it at 175k. I was happy because I got about 90k miles out of it before I had to put any money into it.

    The 1996 Outback has been flawless. I had the whole rear replaced before I took delivery. It was bad from the factory. It sounded like there wasn't any oil in it. That kind of gave me the creeps but since I had had such good luck with my old one chalked it up to chance. After that I never had anything wrong with it. I will get a check engine light every now and then. When I took it in, they said I didn't tighten the gas cap and the pressure in the fuel system caused the light to come on. I have been good about keeping the oil changed, 5-7k miles, tranny, brakes, and radiator and gearbox oil changed every year. Now have 70k on it and it is the best car I have ever had. Fun in the snow and mud too.

    My 2000 sedan so far has been great. I get a lot of questions about "what kind of car is that" and a also lot of compliments on its good looks.

    No car is perfect, and everything mechanical will wear out or break in time. I think it is real important to get a mechanic you can trust but overall I have had real good luck. I stay away from the dealer as much as I can. I feel the reliability and wear is as good as any. One thing that I really like is most cars when they get a few miles on them develop squeaks and rattles. All of my cars have been very tight. Even with 275k, 175k and 70k miles I never had something rattle or squeak. And the electrical systems were great. I remember replacing only a few bulbs in the 87's. And the 96 Outback still has all of its "stuff" working. No knobs breaking, switches still work and cables still pull.

    As far as reliability goes, I feel like I have played "around the world" with some of the most crappy and/or ugly cars ever made; Fiat X/19, Renualt Encore (wife's), Ford Capri, AMC Gremlin (wife's) and a few Pontiacs and Chevy's. The Japanese cars just seen the hold up better.
  • focuszx3rfocuszx3r Posts: 92
    I had an 89' DL Coupe that was auto and 2wd. I bought it from a friend for $50 after it has been totaled, then hit into a telephoen pole 2 weeks later. I fixed it enoegh to drive, the drivetrain was perfect--engine ran beautifully(had 80k. day after day of extreme( I mean EXTREME) offroad abuse took its toal. Busted the exaust (didnt care) but then a cv joint gave out and I didnt want to fix it and exceed the cost fo the car--plus i got tired of the fumes and wrecked appearence--but i have to say that car was TOUGH because of how much and how severly I abused that car. It took all of the abuse and I would follow jeeps up challenging trails cuz well i didnt care. my intent with the car was offraoding and that engine and tranny took it well. it ran perfectly when i junked it, thought it neede that cv joint and hub. But Subaru makes the best cars you can buy and the few of us who knwo that are the lucky ones.
    I have noticed this with Subaru more then any other make: Once somebody buys there first subaru, thats all they buy after that. just look in druveways that have scoobs and you will always see atleast another if not all subarus (when I get older I will have all scoobs). I now drive a Focus ZX3, only cuz I couldnt afford an Impreza L.
    Subarus are the best by far and will continue to be the best--way better then honda and toyota and all those other hyoed up companies
  • My wife and i just recently sold our first subaru, which was a 90 Legacy L model with 236k and ran as if it were new. Only general maintenance items were ever replaced and the car just kept taking my wifes abuse. We are looking for any information on the 97 Legacy GT models. We found one used and are considering buying it.
  • gtdrivergtdriver Posts: 67
    ...well I have only 188,000 miles to go to catch up with the mileage on your '90 L, but I can tell you that my first 48,000 has been virtually uneventful. I say "virtually" because the Subaru factory alarm control module did fritz out and need replacing under warranty, and I had a sealed headlight unit changed under warranty 'cause it wasn't quite sealed enough (there's a TSB (tech. svc. bulletin) on that issue on some '97's). Did you like my parenthesis within parenthesis?
    Anyway, I also didn't have the car for its first 8,000 miles so I can't honestly say they were uneventful. This is my 3rd Legacy ('92,'96, '97) and the '96 was a GT also. The '97 picked up 10 more hp, 16" wheels vs. 15", and the ability to use 87 octane instead of 92. I really enjoy the car, and I'm looking forward to getting a 2002 0r 2003 GT when the 6 cylinder appears. My '97 GT provides an ideal blend of power (compared to the '92 & '96), handling, safety, comfort, style and reliability. Of course, the performance in snow is legendary and I look forward to snowstorms so I can take it out and "get my money's worth". When the tires are in good shape (I have new ones on order), it actually will accelerate up a steep snow covered hill with minimal wheel spin under full throttle.
    As far as comfort goes, I know somebody who, after 4 consecutive Legacies dating back to '90, decided to try an Audi A4 Quattro. The seat hurts his back and he regrets not getting another Legacy.
    Of course, no car is perfect, and mine has a creaky sound coming from the front dash that gets worse with hot weather, and I agree with others that the brakes are a bit mushy, particularly for a car wearing a "GT" badge. There's also the noisy steering at low speeds over bumpy roads in turns, another common issue with later model Legacy steering boxes. Not dangerous or defective, just the way it was unintentionally designed. Oh yeah, and the auto trans. is sometimes a bit abrupt, but then again, it's connected to two sets of wheels.
    Last, I am pleasantly surprised at not only the reliability, but the durability of the car. I was recently rear-ended by a steel-bumpered Chevy Caprice cab that was probably going 20 mph as he skidded into me. The impact and noise from inside suggested I would see the entire rear quarter panel crumpled. I was shocked to see the damage was a small puncture/scrape on the bumper cover, which I mostly eliminated with a touch of Subaru touch-up paint. The damage looked like it was from a gentle parking lot bump, not from a hip-check by a 4500 pound Chevy.
    Needless to say, I endorse your purchase, assuming the price is fair and the car's been maintained well.
  • THANK YOU FOR YOUR RESPONSE ON THE 97 GT LEGACY SW. MY WIFE AND I TEST DROVE THE VEHICLE ON SATURDAY AND BOUGHT IT. THE CAR HAD ONLY 28000 MILES ON IT AND WAS IN EXCELLENT COND. IT WAS FROM A DEALERSHIP, BUT THE DEALER SEEMS TO THINK THAT THE ORIGINAL WARRANTY WAS ONLY 5/50 ON THE DRIVETRAIN. DOES ANYONE KNOW WHAT THE ORIGINAL WARRANTY IS, AND IF SO CAN YOU PURCHASE AN EXTENDED WARRANTY FROM THE DEALERSHIP?
    AFTER AN EXHAUSTED EFFORT TO FIND THIS VEHICLE WE FOUND OUR BEST DEAL IN ANOTHER STATE. WE LIVE IN MARYLAND AND SUBARU'S SEEM TO HOLD A VERY HIGH VALUE HERE. WE GOT A PRICE AT LEAST 3500 CHEAPER {ON AVERAGE} THAN ANY WE COULD FIND HERE IN MARYLAND. ANY MORE INFO WOULD BE GREAT.
    AND BY THE WAY "GT DRIVER" YOUR RIGHT THE BRAKES ARE KIND OF MUSHY.
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