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Subaru Legacy: Typical high-mileage repairs?

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  • 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.
  • gtdrivergtdriver Posts: 67
    Bumper-to-bumper 36 mo./36k miles; powertrain 60 mo./60k miles. You can buy the extended warranty from Subaru. Be careful buying from third parties; the warranties often have weaker coverage. You should be able to buy it directly from Subaru; they sell it up to the end of the original warranty. Even if you are a few months out of the 36 months, they will probably allow you to buy it. Just for the record, I didn't buy it; I'm "betting" that the $1,000 or so sitting in the bank will grow and be more than enough to cover the repairs I need to do. Of course, if the auto trans. goes at 90k, I made the wrong decision. The warranty is transferable, which is a huge selling feature if you sell the car at around 75,000 miles (assuming you have the 100k mile warranty). I just like to believe that I'll sell the car at around 100k with no major repairs, and the warranty would have expired with no utility. Based on my '92 sold with 93K, I was way ahead without the warranty, despite the two repairs it would have covered.
  • mswtangmswtang Posts: 1
    I have a 98 Subaru Legacy Wagon with only 35k km. 1) I have been hearing a grinding sound every now and then with the front brakes. Took it to the dealer twice, and they serviced them, but the sound still came back. Now, at 35k km I have to replace the right front brake pads because it only has 5% left. 2) The window seal holding the side windshields at the rear of the wagon is leaking black "glue" or looks like it's melting.

    Has anyone else got these problems?

    Thanks.
  • AFTER BUYING OUR 97 "GT" WAGON WE WERE WONDERING WHAT THE AVERAGE MPG PEOPLE WERE ACHIEVING? THE CAR IS GREAT AND WE LOVE IT AND ARE VERY SATISFIED WITH OUR PURCHASE BUT I NOTICED A VERY SMALL AMOUNT OF VIBRATION IN THE REAR END AT 65 MPH. I'M NOT SURE IF THIS IS THE NEW TIRES OR IF IT IS SOMETHING THAT SOMEONE ELSE HAS EXPERIENCED.IF ANYONE HAS ANY INFO, PLEASE RESPOND.
  • bubba66bubba66 Posts: 3
    I'm looking at a 1993 Legacy turbo wagon with 94000 miles. Its being sold by a used car dealer
    but the previous owner was nice enough to talk to me and told me that the transmission was replaced
    by a "new" rebuilt transmission 10k mile ago.
    Should this be the end of the transmission problems or is the turbo wagon likely to have them again? He also said to make sure the sunroof seals are checked. I was really impressed
    with how the car drove and am having it checked by a mechanic before making a decision, but would appreciate any feedback. This would be our first Subaru.
  • My wife and I had a 90 legacy wagon and luckily got over 200k out of it without any major problems. As long as the car is in sound shape and seems to run well it could turn out to be a good investment. Good luck with your purchase and "if so" your new vehicle. P.S. we just bought our second Subaru and are very happy with it.
    ONE THING TO LOOK FOR IS OIL LEAKS AT THE VALVE COVERS AND THE RUBBER BOOTS ON THE RACK AND PINION.
  • bubba66bubba66 Posts: 3
    Thanks for the advice; tomorrow I'm going to the mechanic with the 93 Legacy.
  • ramonramon Posts: 825
    Legacy turbo? tre kewl! i wish i can get one of those babies! lucky dawg.
  • 3dogs3dogs Posts: 4
    My 96 GT Wagon averages 23+/- depending if I am driving or my wife.
    We are probably better than 70% on the highway.
    We also have a black gue on the drivers window
    approx in the center as the window is up.
    I think there is a problem with the lift mechanism
    as it does not seem to operate smoothly anymore.
    I will be bringing it in the the dealer within a month or two as I am approaching the end of my 80K warrantee.
    So far, Subaru is way ahead.
    Only claim to date was a leaking pwer steering pump and valve cover gaskets.
    Both covered!
  • ralphe3ralphe3 Posts: 1
    I have a 96 outback and manual calls for 89 octane gas. 87 is much cheaper and seems to run the car without any knocking. Is this injuring the engine doing this.

    ralphe@localnet.com
  • My wife and I just bought a 2000 Legacy GT and we just love that car. We live in the mountains of Tennessee and I have already had a chance to test it out in the snow. I was amazed at how well the car preformed in the snow. I have a 4wd truck and the GT felt more stable and handled better that my truck but the car has already developed chips in the paint on the hood. I do not know it is just real world driving or is it a problem with the paint.
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