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Subaru Legacy/Outback



  • jtcomjtcom Posts: 2
    Have a 1999 Outback limited
    I have a Front end vibration when I hit the brakes.
    Put4 new tires on the car yesterday, replaced all the rotors and brakes (front and rear) last week.
    And still have the problem of very apparent vibration when I brake.

    What else is there, wheel bearings?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Yes, that is exactly where I'd look next.
  • cmckeown1cmckeown1 Posts: 1
    A friend of mine's parents are looking to get rid of their daughter's '98 Subaru Legacy Limited for a rather low price - the catch is is that it's because it's over-heating when driven. They took it to a garage and the mechanic said he's pretty sure it's due to a blown head gasket. I don't know a great deal about any kind of car, but apparently it was estimated as an approxiate $1000 repair. From what I've seen and found around online, I'd still be getting the car for an incredibly good value.

    So my question is, does the mechanic sound correct? I'd hate to go through all that just to discover the problem is something else. I can't say I'd be able to afford that kind of mistake as much as car trouble shooting can be hit or miss at times.

    Any information would be greatly appreciated!
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Is that quote to replace one head gasket, or both? Remember the boxer has two heads.

    The key, though, is has the overheating been bad enough that the heads are warped and may no longer seal properly, even after new gaskets are installed?
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Overheating doesn't necessarily mean it's the head gaskets. Unless you have evidence other than overheating, I would not assume it's headgaskets. I'd start with making sure the radiator AND the top of the engine has coolant, then check the T-stat, then pressure test the radiator, then replace/check the water pump.

  • larshlarsh Posts: 1
    Hi! Looking for advice, as visits to both the dealer and an independent mechanic have failed to solve this problem. The A/C, apparently still fully charged, has intermittently failed during highway driving or extended driving during very hot summer days. This has happened last summer and now this summer (hot and dry in Salt Lake City) as well. Usually, this failure is immediately apparent when we start the car, though a few times the A/C system has conked out after a moderate amount of highway driving. Other times, nice, chilly air comes out! The mechanics cannot reproduce, I guess since they can't heat up the engine enough. Any thoughts on how to proceed? We are OK for daily driving, but dreading our road trip next month....thanks for anything you can offer.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Sounds like a bad relay and/or AC switch of sorts.

  • I just bought a 99 outback with 159000 miles...what should i be watching for concerning the headgasket and any other expensive problems? Also i wanted to put some beefy tires on it...215 75 r15's does anyone know if those will fit? Any input would be great! thanks
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    For the head and valve cover gaskets just inspect them for oil leaks. Also make sure the coolant is green and not mixed with oil.

    Also check the front and rear main seals of the engine for leaks.

    At 159k miles the head gaskets owe you nothing, so maybe they will never fail, who knows?
  • I just came up on a 1996 Legacy Outback for free!!!!!! The motor is just leaking a lot. I think the main and rear seals are toast, but maybe it just needs a whole new gasket set? What I was wondering is can I drop in a WRX turbo motor in the 1996 Outback, or what other badass turbo motor could I fit in there??? Any feedback would be awesome, I have to fix this thing before the snow starts to hit. Thanks..
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Head gasket failure was common, so you could rebuilt that one, just make sure the heads themselves are not warped, so they seal properly.

    Basically if the engine was driven while overheating a lot, you have a boat anchor.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,908
    Well, put a "badass turbo motor" in there and you will likely end up with a bad transaxle pretty darn quick, but from the sounds of your post, you will burn through this car quickly either way. Any Subaru engine (4-cylinder) will fit, it is just a matter of how much work you want to go through to do it. There is more than just an engine to change... you would have to change out the control units, sensors, and so forth.
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    I've done about a dozen or so motor swaps in subarus wrx/sti to non-turbo cars.

    There are a lot of things beside just slapping it in....

    1) Wiring harness- You will have to rewire a good protion of the wiring harness to accomodate the WRX ECU the wiring harness usually runs about $2-4k to have someone do it in the car, $2k outside the car.

    2) Motor itself- make sure you get one out of a running car or else it'll be a headache forever. Seen this a few times where we didn't see the car it came out of running.

    3) Other items- Front crossmember, sway bar, power steering lines, etc. etc. This stuff usually adds up to about $2-3k worth of "misc" items.

    All in all if you have someone install a turbo motor, expect to pay about $8-10k for the work with the parts. Even then the car will likely not be 100%.

  • jrp5jrp5 Posts: 1
    My 1997 Outback with 210,000 miles on it is getting downright noisy. I'm wondering if it's due to wheel bearing problems, or something else. Here's the situation...when the car is moving I can hear a "whuh-whuh-whuh" sound. The sounds speeds up as the wheels turn faster. As highway speeds its a pretty loud drone. I recently replaced the tires and had the front brake pads replaced. Neither fixed the noise problem. The noise gets a bit more pronounced when I turn right, then quiets a bit when I straighten back out.

    What do you think? And, if it's wheel bearings, how urgent is it that I fix the problem quickly? I ask because I will be replacing the car in the spring. And, finally, any guess on the cost of replacing a wheel bearing?

    Thank you very much for any and all advice about this.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587

    Change 'em. Think of all the added friction, if they don't fail they will at least be costing you in gas mileage.
  • I was reading the Wikipedia article on the Subaru Outback and found this interesting piece of information regarding the 2000-2004 Automatic Outback.

    Is this true???:

    "The 4 speed automatic transmission, had a feature where the transmission could be instructed to ignore 1st gear from a standing stop to assist driving on traction limited situations, such as ice and snow. The system was activated by moving the gearshift from the "D" position down to "2nd". The car would then start in 2nd gear, and not 1st. The transmission also splits the delivered torque 50-50 between the front and rear wheels. Once the car stopped, the transmission would start back in 2nd and not 1st, until the system was upshifted to 4th."

    I tried this recently on my '01 and could almost "hear" all the wheels pushing me forward.

    Thanks for any insight!
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Yes, true. I read that from some Subaru material a while back.

    Good way to start in Snow.

    Actually, an SoA rep was on these boards for a while, and she polled us to find out how many people knew about that feature. Most owners did not know, so they ran a publicity campaign to inform more owners.

    Definitely true.
  • I just took delivery of a new Legacy SE yesterday.

    Can someone help me with resetting the trip computer? The manual simply talks about resetting the trip button. I don't see anything but the one button that changes the reading from temp to mpg to ave mpg, etc.

    I tried pushing the trip reset button by the speedo but that didn't do anything. Anyone's help would be appreciated.
  • Good to confirm and definitely good to have up north here!
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    IIRC the button used to switch between A/B Trip odos on the gauge panel when held will reset the ODO it is displaying. This also resets the Avg MPG for that ODO.

  • Thanks a lot Mike.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,908
    Yep. To reset the individual trip odometers (A or B), you need only push the button to select the proper meter, then push and hold for a couple seconds to reset. They reset independently, so you can use 'A' to track tank-based mileage, and leave 'B' accumulating to give you an inception-to-date economy rating, etc.
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • I've only owned Hondas and Toyotas, mainly because I have always found them to be the most reliable - never had one break down, only needing to change oil and perform regular maintenance on them, no major repairs ever necessary. I'm looking into buying a Subaru Legacy because I want a car that handles well in the winter snow, but I am concerned that a Subaru won't be as reliable as Honda or Toyota. How reliable are they in comparison? Is this a car that I can drive for 10 years, 100,000+ miles, without frequent, major repairs?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Well, so far you've been lucky, because any car, from any brand, can give you problems.

    Generally I do think you're likely to get 100k trouble-free miles from most Subarus. At least free from major troubles.
  • Hey Gang,

    Long time member, but been a long time since I've last posted.

    Looking to ditch my 05 CR-V (FWD). Since moving to PA, the roads are not exactly like they were from my previous address.

    When comparing the Outback 2.5i Special Edition vs. Forester 2.5X Premium, I'm having a hard time seeing exactly what I'm getting in the Outback for ~$1400 more. I used to have a 05 Forester and I thought VERY highly of the Subaru make in general after my experience w/ that car.

    Is there anything I'm not seeing mechanically? Is it a quality of drive issue? What say you pros? Break it down for me pls ! :)


    PS Juice, I'm sure you're still here in one form or another. Hope all is well.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    The outback is a bit more refined, has a longer load area, and is more "car-like" rather than crossover-like. Also is probably a bit quieter as well.

    Motorsports and Modifications Host
  • toyo_ztoyo_z Posts: 47
    Test drove several 2009 limiteds with auto trannys today. Very, very nice ride. One unusual thing i noticed though was that the car would roll backwards on inclines when starting from a stop, almost like driving a manual & stepping on the clutch.

    It seemed rather weird, so I took out another car, and it did the same thing. My 2003 and 1996 Legacies did not do it on the same incline.

    Anyone know if this quirk is new to the 2009s?
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,908
    Well, one thing aside from those Mike mentioned earlier, is that the Outback SE also has a limited slip rear differential. That, in my opinion, adds much to the control factor of the car in low traction situations. Assuming, of course, you turn off the VDC. ;)

    Aside from that, I would have to run through the features list of the vehicles, but mechanically, I do not think they vary too terribly much.

    Take a look at the site for a comprehensive run down of features for both models.
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • zspzsp Posts: 1
    I have to say that I have always been a fan of Subaru and the concept of equipping all their middles with all wheel drive. I too have always driven Toyotas and Hondas for their track record of reliability…and I too have been tempted by the Subaru allure…until recently…
    Here is the story:
    My girlfriend purchased a 2004 Subaru Legacy 2 years ago. At 80k the entire engine had to be overhauled due to a fatly connecting rod slowly destroying everything from the connecting rod on down the line (pistons and crank shaft included). Prior to the rebuild, I had noticed that the head gasket was leaking and had to have that replaced as well. Fortunately, all this work was done under an extended warrantee. All in all, this work would have cost $2000-PLUS had it not been for the warrantee. After further research, come to find out this issue was not an isolated issue (Just Google Subaru 2.5 liter engine problems…)
    My advice for new Subaru owners – get the extended (**100K plus**) warrantee – YOU WILL NEED IT.
    As for me, my love affair with the rugged AWD Subaru brand is not what it used to be. I will (albeit reluctantly) stick with my Hondas and Toyotas and continue the family tradition of consistently driving them past 200k…without major engine overhauls.
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