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Subaru Legacy/Outback



  • rmanleyrmanley Posts: 8

    That's a good suggestion on the key light. I'll have to look into that. That's just the type of input I was looking for. Any web links or sales locations that you know of to obtain such a light attached to the key I would be interested in hearing about.

    I went down to our local Subaru dealer here on McPherson Church Rd in Fayetteville, NC to speak with them about my concerns today on the Outback Wagon and to take it for a test drive.

    The lady I spoke with was friendly and not pushy at all. Once she realized I had a list of negative things about the Outback she was a little taken aback. She was honest though when she didn't know the technical questions about the engine and brakes. She also admitted that she was just a salesperson.

    She said it would be best to meet with the guy in the service department during the week (when he works) to ask the technical questions.

    Unfortunately, she brought out another salesmen who tried to dazzle me with fancy footwork and baffle me with BS when I asked him specific questions which were all raised on this forum by Subaru owners. The only point he raised which might have been valid, was that the oil pan protector is plastic because if it was metal it would rust from road salt. I think he was just BSing on every one of my questions though and I'll have to get better answers from the service rep who works on the Subarus.

    This BSer also suggested that I go to better web forums (which I took to mean Subaru sponsored) than this one at and get info from people who "really know Subarus." I guess since I'm in a military town (Ft. Bragg), many of the car dealers seem to think that every short haired soldier/Marine who walks into the door is an easy target who will buy into a bunch of baloney and that none of them do their homework before walking onto the lot.

    I appreciate the continued feedback.

    If there are any aftermarket ideas to make the bumpers stronger I'm interested in hearing about them. Same is also true for the undercarriage oil pan/muffler and front and real axle protectors.

    Rob M
  • rmanleyrmanley Posts: 8

    Do you have the Subaru installed tow kit or an aftermarket model for your rear bumper?


    Rob M.
  • hennehenne Posts: 407
    when you slide the sunroof back does it stop when it gets tucked inside the roof? mine stops but you can still here the motor trying to keep pushing it back. is there supposed to be a limit switch of some sort? it stops when its closed, it even stops halfway so not to crush your fingers. it just keeps running when tucked inside the roof, any answers?

    thank you,

  • grahampetersgrahampeters AustraliaPosts: 1,783
    G'day Rob

    I have a Subaru supplied tow bar manufactured by Hayman Reece. It does not have a square section removable tongue as this is not an isue for me.

    The actual mounting for it includes a 40mm diameter pipe across the whole of the rear between the bumper and the bodywork.

    It is solid and is rated to 1400kg braked or 750kg unbraked load. Australian standards effectively mean that the braked load should be less than the car weight.

    Hitch works well and the Outack is an excellent tow car, particularly with load levelling rear end and low ratio transmission as fitted here. Pity you folks don't get these items


  • francophilefrancophile Posts: 667
    That salesguy was feeding pure 100% malarkey. Even about the plastic shroud under the motor. It's there for airflow purposes, NOT to protect the underside of anything. People make skid plates out of steel and aluminum, and guess what, they last as long as the rest of the car. Road salt - that's a good one!

    Key light: maybe you've heard this one already but the keyless entry illuminates the interior lights when you press the unlock button. On my car (model year 2000), as soon as I'm in and close the door the lights go out. I just press the unlock button again, turn the lights back on, and I can see just fine.

    (who despises car salesmen who tell such bad lies)
  • gotenks243gotenks243 Posts: 116
    The seat heaters in our VDC are like that too, though I don't see anything wrong with it. To me, seat heaters you use at first, and once everything has warmed up, you turn them off entirely, not leave them on. And they work great for that. They get toasty faster than most any seat heaters I've ever used. After that, I just turn them off and continue on my way. It's certainly not a "problem".

  • jdlanganjdlangan Posts: 48
    When I first got my OB the lack of an ignition light drove me crazy since I have it on my Explorer. My interior light does not autodim, I have the "regular" 01 wagon. I've simply learned to sit down and immediately put the key in the ignition before closing the door so the lights are still on. If I'm in an area that makes me uncomfortable, I'll just get in and lock the doors, then flip the interior lights on, they're in such a comvenient location it's not a big deal. Yes, it would be a nice feature to have, but with everything else great about this car it wasn't too tough to get over not having it.....
  • mjansen1mjansen1 Posts: 46
    Tons of good mountain biking here in the Northwest. There is a place called Victor Falls you should check out near Puyallup. It has no elevation gain, but there are miles (prob. hundreds) of trails. If you see a wintergreen Outback in the lot, look for me on my Stumpjumper.
  • hammersleyhammersley Posts: 684
    Mine is a 97 OB wagon, 5-speed, 63k miles, bought used Feb. '00. Allow me to offer experiential comment on some of your concerns:

    -Key lights - keyless entry transmitter turns on interior lights when it unlocks the doors. I can't remember the last time I used a key to unlock a door!

    -Center A/C vents - I've never needed to turn them off. I can aim them anywhere necessary. Hasn't been an issue.

    -Lumbar support - mine is 3-way adjustable. Nice on long trips, along with adjusting seat position. I've always been comfortable, and felt there was adequate support.

    -Variable wiper - Front yes, rear no. Wish it weren't so.

    -Brakes - Dealer put on new front pads at time of purchase (53k miles). They feel great to me, not the least bit "squishy".

    I haven't driven a new one (yet) - I would expect them to be better in most respects. I hope my observations as they apply to a slightly older version are helpful. Don't forget to get to a Mariners game or two!

  • ckfreundckfreund Posts: 24
    We finally hit the end of the thousand mile break-in period. Here are my observations on items people have commented on:
    We did a 450 mile trip mostly on the Interstate this weekend. Our 2001 Outback wagon with 5 speed got 27.2 mpg. The worst I've gotten is 18.5 driving only on surface roads in the city. As far as seating room, no problem. I'm 6 feet and don't have the seat even close to being all the way back. I sat in the back seat to see what it was like and was able to sit with my legs straight. More than I can say for the seats when I fly. Our car never got that bad smell people talked about. I feel the power of the car is more than adequate. I passed people going 70 in 5th gear quickly when driving today. The heater and heated seats seem a bit slow. It took about 20 minutes this morning to warm up even though it was only 35 outside. I'd like a nice snowstorm so I can check out the all wheel drive.
  • rmanleyrmanley Posts: 8
    Wdb: Thanks for the feedback on that plastic oil pan cover. I didn't really feel comfortable about anything that salesman said, although I did enjoy watching him crawl under the car with me with his collared shirt and tie in the 90 degree North Carolina heat and sweating a little and getting grease stains on his nice shirt. He's probably not used to people crawling under the car and asking him to explain stuff and then looking at him like he is full of dung.

    Do you know of any skid plates which can be put in on the Outback Wagon aftermarket, perhaps between that plastic airflow device and the pan/engine?

    mjansen1: Looking forward to checking out that trail site in Puyallup. If you know of a good web site for mountain biking trails in the South metro Seattle area let me know. I've managed to hit every published (and a couple of unpublished/off limits) trails within a 100 miles of my current home.

    Paul: The key ignition light, center air vents and the time variable (not just one "variable" time but a variable set to any of a number of time delays that the driver wants) are all big issues for my wife. I don't know what it is about the AC or the heat but what feels good for me invariably is not the right temperature for her. I think all of those are minor issues that she can probably get over, but it would be nice if Subaru made the minor corrections to their future models.

    Take care all and thanks again for the feedback,

    Rob M.
  • arriscararriscar Posts: 13
    Ok, this is freaking me out. You are all so happy! Have any of you read the streams on the ford escort and volvo discussion pages?
    Here, this is like a parellel universe of positivity.
    I am looking for a car and early on had a really bad experience with a NJ Subaru dealer. Salesman lied about a car and then had the nerve to say "I've got to try." We'll see what the BBB has to say but I guess just one more dirty s/m...
    BUT NOW, after reading the messages on Subaru, where happy messages flow, I will find another dealer and see what I can find.
    To date, search revolved around Volvo. I liked it because of weight as I am in SUV land (scary). I need a grunt car for 100m/wk child travel to/from playgroups- and the Volvo seemed to have it all. All that is except unhappy owners who are full of horror stories. So thanks and now on to the SUBARU hunt.
    Any suggestions? I am looking for a wagon, I guess yr '97-'93 as my price range is $7-10k, and care little for extras beyond air, roof rack (@6'2" I deplore the sunroof), and a trailer hitch. Legacy seems to fit the bill but how do the mid-90s versions hold up?
  • armac13armac13 Posts: 1,129
    Well either our Soobies make us really happy or we are all so busy with our OCD and therapy that we have neither the time nor energy to be unhappy. Either way it seems to work for most of us. Actually I find this group very therapeutic and I'm a psychologist. ;~)

  • I just got my 01 OB Ltd back from its 3000 mile service and the tires had been pumped up to 38psi. Remembering all the RTFM comments :-) I RTFM which told me 30psi. I put them down to 30. I also called the service dept who told me that they always put them up to between 35 and 38psi to avoid tire wear and that the only reason Subaru says 30 is for passenger comfort. Apparently Firestone says they are a high pressure tire (up to 40 psi) but understandably I am reluctant to believe much that Firestone says about tire pressures right now.

    So, who do I believe, the folk at Subaru who "wrote the manual" or the central Pennsylvania car mechanic who interpreted?

    I remember that someone recently had a question about canoe cartopping. I am in the process of building a 2-piece fitted wooden roof rack that will extend beyond the sides of the rails thereby widening the effective platform. We will then use locking straps around the hull and the rails to secure to the roof. This plus two-point connections at the front and rear to the towing points (actually to carabiners attached to the towing points) will lock the whole thing into place. Having built the cedar strip canoe by hand, I just could not see spending $150 or so for a soleless metal rack. Having said that, I think REI ( is having a 20% off sale on Thule racks right now.

    Spring is almost here, time to put the skiis away and get out the summer toys.
  • grahampetersgrahampeters AustraliaPosts: 1,783
    I have found the Outback to be the most sensitive car to tyre pressure variations that I have ever driven. Even fluctuations of a pound or two make dramatic differences to handling. This is most marked when one front tyre is a different pressure to the other but even overinflated tyres have a dramatic effect on handling and comfort.

    I have tried varying pressures and found Subaru's recommendations to be the best comfort / ride / handling compromise. Try lowering the pressures a pound a day until you get them to Subarus spec and see if you can see the change. Check temperatures at consistent temperatures as measurements are based on cold tyres.

    By the way, it is worth investing in a good trye gauge and cross checking the read outs on your local service stations pump. They are dropped and quickly go off true readings.


  • francophilefrancophile Posts: 667
    If Ford had listened to Firestone the current mess would not be as bad as it is. Firestone said to put 30 lbs in the tires, but Ford went with 26 in order to soften the ride. Please understand that high tire pressure is NOT what caused the tire problems. LOW tire pressure contributed to the problem. This might seem contrary to nature but it really isn't.

    LOW tire pressure will cause MORE heat buildup and increase the danger of tires failing due to heat. Lower pressures mean that the sidewalls will flex more as the tire rotates. (Look at the sidewall of your tire where the tire is touching the road, then look at it at the top; see how it bulges a bit at the bottom? That is normal. Now imagine that the tire is rotating; the bulge is being transferred around the circumference of the tire as it rotates.) Sidewall flex and its attendant friction are a source of heat; too much heat is the (probable) cause of the Firestone-related tire woes you've heard so much about. That and the fact that the tires were undersized for the vehicle, in my opinion.

    HIGHER pressure will DECREASE heat buildup, will give you better gas mileage due to decreased friction, and may even give you longer tire wear. Higher pressure will make the handling feel crisper and sharper; in fact folks who autocross pump the tires up really high, say 50 lbs or so, to minimize sidewall flex and improve handling. Higher pressure will also slightly diminish wet weather traction and it will slightly but noticeably increase ride harshness.

    38 lbs is a lot, but then the OB has pretty chunky tires. I have much lower-profile tires on my GT, and I like 34 to 36 lbs. 30 lbs will make for a cushy ride. NONE OF THESE PRESSURES IS DANGEROUS. It really comes down to preference. Set your pressures to 38, drive the car for a day, then the next morning lower them to 34 and drive it, then the next morning lower them to 30. Always set tire pressure when the tire is cold. Find a number that feels good to you, and enjoy it!

  • dannykadannyka Posts: 115
    Glad to know spring is there for you! :-)

    Here we got tons of snow this weekend. Most of it melted off in the valleys. However, most of the ski resorts are reporting a foot of new snow, with bases in the 80" to 140" range. My Forester's temp gauge reported 10 degrees (F) this morning in Park City (UT). Brrr!

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Paul: check out Consumer Reports and you'll find that the Legacy is listed as a best bet among used cars.

    I think the 2.5GT came along in 1998, and given you're going to load it up I'd look for one of those. Other Legacys had the 2.2l engine.

    The Outback came along in 1995, and in '96 got the 2.5l engine. In 1997, it got a power boost to 165hp and no longer required premium fuel, so I recommend 1997 or later.

    Both may be a bit above your price range, but they may still have a bit of the 5/60 powertrain warranty remaining to offset that.

    Sorry to hear all the Volvo horror stories scared you off. Subarus are not perfect, but even folks that have had some problems tend to be drawn to them. They have a lot of character, and represent a good value.

  • joeriz1joeriz1 Posts: 1
    I'm being quoted a lease price of $379 per month for 39 months (excluding tax) with first/last month down on a 2001 Outback L.L. Bean. Does this sound like a good deal? Also, do you know the current Subaru money factors (36,39,48 month)?

    Thank you.
  • Dan,

    The bulbs are coming up, the mosquitoes are coming out (got my first bite of the season the other day) and the sunroof is opening.

    Actually, I would like to do just a bit more skiing but that's not going to happen this season around here.

    Graham/wbd- Thanks for the feedback on the tire/tyre pressures.
  • mochalabmochalab Posts: 5
    I just bought a 2001 Outback L.L. Bean and am in love. After considering the Volkswagon Passat 4Motion Wagon and a Toyota car-based SUV, the Highlander, I definitely feel I made the right choice. I can't believe how well the Outback handles and, if I'm not careful, I'll be getting my first speeding ticket soon. The car rides so quietly and smoothly. I bought the car from Ed Rielly Subaru in Concord, NH, for $27,274 with an MSRP of $30,045. Subaru financing is incredible right now with 6.5% for a 5-year loan; beats the rates of our local banks. I loved my 1995 Olds Cutlas Supreme, but after driving the Outback, I don't think I'll miss the Cutlas as much as I thought I would. I have a question for all Outback L.L. Bean owners, what is the function of the round turning knob above the cruise control and fog light buttons? Can't quite figure that out and can't seem to find it in the ownwer's manual. I have been contemplating a Subaru since last year, and feel I made the right choice in vehicles. Anxious for the "nice" weather to arrive in the White Mountains to use the sun roofs. Peace, Donna :)
  • Looked on my 2001 VDC and the only thing there is the air shut off for the dash driverside vent. The one for the passenger side is vertical but the driver side is horizontal.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Donna: congrats, sounds like a sweet deal.

    We always joke that Subaru owners are dog people (OK, cat lovers, pet people). You'll fit right in.

    Join us this Thursday from 9-10pm eastern time for our weekly chat. There's a link right at the top of this page. We'd love to hear about your new car!

  • rmanleyrmanley Posts: 8
    Ken M,

    Thanks for the feedback. I'll check into those two web sits.

    I got an e-mail offer from my local dealership, which I visited the other day and the lady there said that the vehicle had scotchguard and underside rustproofing for an extra $795. She claimed that everyone up north pays extra to get their cars rustproofed because of all the road salt.

    As I understand, Subaru gives a 5 year rust perforation on all new cars. I'm also under the impression that all new vehicles already have protectant on the interior as is standard with all new cars.

    Ladies and gents from the North, am I getting fed another load of bull with this scotchguard/underside rustproofing offer?


    Rob M.
  • Rob,

    I live just outside of Chicago. The area is "known" for its use of salt on the roads during the snow season. In spite of this, I have NOT used rustproofing as Subarus are built with sufficient protective coating and use galvanized metal.

    I have owned three Subarus. The first was purchased in late '91, the second in Sept. '95 and the latest in Nov. 01. At NO time did my dealer suggest scotchguarding or rustproofing. I never experienced rust on any of the cars.

    I don't think I'm alone in saying "buyer beware!"

    My two cents!

  • Woops: the third Subaru was purchased in Nov. 2000, not '01!

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Subarus built in Gunma, Japan (Forester, Impreza) already have undercoating applied, because they make the boat trip across the Pacific. I'm not sure about those built in Lafayette.

    So they could literally be collecting money for doing nothing at all. In fact, this undercoating is what causes the New Car Stench that Subarus are famous for!

    Yes, they mostly use double-galvanized steel nowadays, so it probably isn't necessary any way.

    Scotchguard was recalled, pulled from the shelves, because it was found to leave a chemical residue on the fabric that basically lasted forever, and they didn't know what side effects that would cause. I don't even think it's sold any more!

    Man, that dealer is full of BALONEY!

  • oclvframeoclvframe Posts: 121
    Hello folks...I have a question for you.

    I was looking under my Bean Outback and I noticed a plastic flap that protrudes from the underside of the vehicle, just forward of each rear tire. SAABs have a similar flap that protrudes further than the ones on my Outback, and, they are mounted at a slight angle relative to the rear wheels. The flaps on my Bean are perpendicular to the direction of travel and stick down about 2".

    Any thoughts?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Covers for emissions equipment protection? The gas tank is in the general vicinity.

  • oclvframeoclvframe Posts: 121
    juice, I don't think they are that...there is one on each side. They hang down verticaly. I figure it is a sort of spoiler that either disturbs or smooths the air flowing under the car just in front of the rear wheels.

    Please check to see if your Forester has them the next time you get a chance.
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