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Subaru Legacy: Typical high-mileage repairs?



  • My first Subaru was a 90 Legacy and after a few years or so I also had the same problems. The 2000 RPM at cold weather start is your engines automatic choke until the engine is warm. (The dealership told me this.) The hesitation and rough idle that I experienced was due to the amount of dirt and gunk that had built up in my intake manifold. My mechanic cleaned it out and the problem went away for about six months or so and I noticed that it began to idle roughly again. I cleaned it out again myself and the problem went away again. This could possibly work for you but I would check with my mechanic first if I were you. I sold that subaru with 240k and it was running well. My wife and I currently own a 97 Legacy GT and plan on buying a 6 cyl Subaru one day. I hope this info helps and good luck.
  • I have a Legacy L wagon with 135,000.
    Overall I have been very happy with the car and would definitely consider buying another.Although they are a bit pricey, even used.
    I have same problem as JEI, the center differential. In fact, the last several months I have the 4wd disengaged. Dealer gave a price of $1,100. They said I might as well replace the tranny for an additional $1,100.
    tranny is fine, have yet to chg tr-fluid. afraid to now!
    They charged me $30 to disengage the 4wd until I decided what to do. I will likely take it to a local garage. The car doesnt drive well in 2wd.
    I had 2 broken transmission mounts replaced,seems to me it was related to the center differential problem.
    Other things; time belt, cv boots, serv engine light (replaced an old battery, still goes on), wheel bearings (cv related)
    Happy Holidays
  • I'm pulling the heads to investigate a blown head gasket or cracked head. Can I reuse the head bolts, or must they be replaced? Car has 140K & the water pump failed, causing overheating. Anyone know for sure about those head bolts? The dealers here don't seem to stock them, so maybe they just keep on re-us in' them?!
  • dnuggetdnugget Posts: 17
    I recently noticed a grinding noise coming off the front left wheel that increases as you accelerate. Brakes were checked 4 months ago so I know its not the problem. Could it be the wheel bearing ? If somebody there has had this problem before, can you tell me what symptoms you had and how much it cost you to have it fixed ? by the way, I have a 92 Sube Legacy L. Thanks!
  • My 97 outback limited with 114,000 miles had to have the main rear seal and the front oil seal (oil pump replacement) repaired. Not a cheap job. Has anyone else with high milage subarus had to do similiar work on the oil seals?
  • I just gave my 93 Legacy its FIRST timing belt change at 116,000 miles. Decided not to do the water pump, my mechanic said it was a waste of money. Its nice to have an honest mechanic. The only unexpected repair I have made is CV-joints, this is a common Subaru problem. You can disengage AWD by putting the fuse in. Spending 30 bucks for something that literally takes a few seconds is outrageous. Read your owner's manual, its all in there.
  • I saw a '91 Subaru Legacy AS I think is a good buy at $2,200 with 144,000 miles. However, I would like to know more of what to expect from a car this old in terms of maintenance, particularly the engine. It's an automatic with power doors/locks. Is there a particular problem that I should look for in this car? Thanks for any info.
  • blaneblane Posts: 2,017

    As with ANY brand or model of vehicle that you may choose to buy with 144,000 miles on the odometer, be prepared to spend $1,000 to $3,000 for repairs within the first year or two. You may not have to, but don't be surprised if you do.

    To review ANY manufacturer's Technical Service Bulletins for possible weak points in vehicles, you should check out the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration's website at:

    Just type the make, model and year of the vehicle that you are researching in the right-hand box and press "Search". You can then know which areas of your chosen vehicle should be checked by your mechanic first. This may also be a good tool for reducing the price that you pay for the car.

  • s1ginss1gins Posts: 45
    I have a 96 Legacy with 71000 miles. So I was getting a brake job at Midas (Don't bother ever going there, they have no respect for the customer and don't know much more than the basics.) and noticed a bit of gunk by the front drivers side half-shaft. I then listened more intently to the sounds fromt he car and notice a slight clicking in turns. I figure it may be a either a leak and therefore a seal is bad or the axle/half-shaft is bad. How much should this cost to get repaired and are there anyother opinions.

    Thanks in advance
  • My CV boot split on my `93 Legacy, which led to a clicking noise when turning that got louder and louder. It was cheaper to get a remanufactured half-shaft then replace just the boot. Cost was $150. I've noticed a lot of Subaru owners have had problems with CV joints and boots. Climb under your car and check your boots/joints yourself first.
  • Hi, i have a 88 subaru GL wagon.
    Recently, when cruising at 45 mph and above, if i let off the gas, a loud knocking sound seems to come from under my feet, or in that general area.

    it is front wheel drive (not awd.)

    does anyone have any idea what this could be?

  • nylegacynylegacy Posts: 4
    Hi guys..... I have one comment and question:
    Let me begin by informing you that I own a 2000 Legacy GT Ltd. I bought the car in November of 1999. During the first 6 months of ownership I discovered about a dozen paint chips on my hood. They were everywhere and looked very ugly. Not knowing this was occurring to many Subaru owners I just took it to my body shop and had the hood repainted. Not one paint chip since then. This tells me it was the quality or application of the original paint and not my highway driving. The only reason I mentioned this was because someone brought it up in an earlier post.
    My question is: What is the correct torque specifications for the OEM wheels?? I just had 4 new tires mounted and balanced on my car and I know they used an air ratchet to tighten the wheels. This has always been a concern of mine and I wanted to know what the correct torque figures were?? I had my rotors replaced 6 months ago under warranty so I don't want anything to contribute to this problem again.
    Also, what's the best way to remove a door ding? I just got one from an SUV and almost pulled the guy out through his window. I exchanged words but he drove off after claiming he couldn't see anything. After washing my car, it was evident. Please help.
  • dnuggetdnugget Posts: 17
    This may not totally help you but I have a Haynes manual for 1990-1998 Legacies and on Chapter 1 it states wheel lug nuts torque should be 72 Ft-lbs.
    You have a 2000 GT so it may be slightly different so you may want to buy one that applies to your year/model or check your local library since they have automotive repair manuals there. Good luck.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Sounds about right. Try 65-75 lb-ft for alloys, 75-80 lb-ft for steel wheels.

  • Hi Mark I have a 87 GL wagon with 247000 miles on it and I had the same kind of sound but only when I was making a turn. I found out it was a worn out axle shaft that needed to be replaced. The end of the axle has spines that match up in rotor/wheel and these were worn. It was a fairly easy job to do. I got some used parts from a local pull and save yard and did it myself. I figured since I bought the car for $100 I am not going to put that much $ into it. It has been a very good car though even with the high mileage but I have been having a problem with it overhearing. I have heard that these yr of cars are notorious for the heads to crack and I suspect this is what has happened to mine. I still use it to commute to work in the summertime. I work for the Forest Service in a and drive 90 miles a day on mountainous road to my station. I have to carry extra H2o to refill when it does get hot but its still good to go.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Keep it going! Man, that is sweet!

    Pretty soon you'll join the quarter million mile club! Any pix? Please share!

  • Sorry got no pictures. Thanks for comment though. Pinchydelrios.
  • kameelekameele Posts: 29
    I just bought a '95 Legacy L AWD sedan w/75K miles about three weeks ago. Now that I've gotten over how much better it is than the '90 Escort wagon it replaced, I have a couple of questions I hope more experienced owners might be able to help with. first, I am getting only about 20MPG after first 3 fillups in about 1/3 highway, 2/3 city/stop and go. The original EPA estimates were about 24city/28highway. Is this usual or are there things to do. Second, during highway driving I see that for the 1st 5 minutes or so, I see about 3200RPM @ 70MPH, which then drops to 2800 thereafter. Is this what the final drive should be? I couldn't find anything in the owners manual and haven't had a chance to get ahold of fancier manual. Which is better, Chiltons or Haynes? Thanks for any response and I'm glad to be back to Subaru after about 10 years.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Not sure about the rpm, but it sounds like it's not going into overdrive soon enough, so I'd at least have the ATF drained and refilled.

    It should have a new timing belt, too. Given it's age, whatever you don't have records for I'd do, so that you get a baseline for future service. That would include the basic 60k service, or items like:

    oil and filter change
    air filter
    fuel filter
    Chevron Techron fuel system cleaner
    PCV valve
    spark plugs
    spark plug wires
    inspect/change all belts/hoses
    rotate tires
    consider balance and alignment too
    distributor cap & rotor (if applicable)
    radiator flush
    bleed brakes, inpsect/change pads
    check power steering fluid

    Sounds like a long list but you could do most of them yourself.

  • ferraro1ferraro1 Posts: 44
    Hello ~
    I am new to the forum, but i need some help in choosing a Legacy Wagon 1998 or 1999 are their certain models to avoid? are their common problems i need to keep my eyes open for ? I think I want an Outback (Wagon)but I do like the Wagons that have the power Antannas what Model are those and I dunno I just need any Helpful advice in choosing a good Legacy thanks everyone .
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