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Subaru Legacy/Outback



  • evilizardevilizard Posts: 195
    To prevent peeling
    A) Try to minimize exposure to enviroment (yea right). Keep the car parked out of the sun and protected from the elements as much as possible.
    B) Don't get your bumpers scratched
    C) Keep em clean of bird droppings and keep them waxed.
    D) Avoid exposure to temperature extremes if possible.

    For the small chips try touch up paint availible at your dealership. Or if you dont want to mess with that any type of clear sealent to keep the air and mostiure out.

    You also might consider the acrylic hood deflector or other front protectors. Problem with the fabric ones is that you have to keep them clean on the inside or they will rub your finish. YOu also might get different fade rates. But a full Bra would solve that bumper peeling problem!
  • kmcleankmclean Posts: 173
    Woody -

    Here's a technique that can work well with your band-type oil filter wrench (preferably the wider band - about an inch wide): remove grease/oil from the old filter, put several rubber bands (the thicker kind work best) at the base of the filter (near the gasket) - sufficient to cover the area that will be in contact with the band wrench, use the wrench slowly with increasing force - I'll bet dollars to donuts it'll come off intact. Reminds me of my first oil change on my '97 Max (which I started around 10 PM) - after draining the oil and getting ready to remove the filter, discovered that NONE of my band or cup wrenches fit that skinny little sucker. The guy across the street was still up, so borrowed this weird little wrench with a length of bicycle chain on it that you could size to fit. Hey, it worked - whatever it takes! FWIW - used Fram oil filters for years on many types of vehicles, and never had an engine/oil problem (kept most cars to 125K miles). Changed every 3500 miles. Bought a pack of 5(?) plug washers from the dealer.

    Sharon - the ping is a malfunction. My 2000 OB Ltd Wagon (2.5L H4, 13.5K miles) has never made a peep or a ping - even climbing up mountains at fairly low RPMs (regular fuel). They're feeding you a line. Good luck.

    Just bought my first air filters from - anyone have any idea when there will be an after-market filter available?

    How about an after-market service manual for us occasional do-it-yourselfers? NOT the dealer's $300 set, either.

    Mileage report: went to Mount St Helens this weekend: 1/3 interstate (65-70 mph), 1/3 two-lane highway, 1/3 mountain roads (lotsa up/dowshifting and switchbacks), 4 riders, small amount of luggage, 28.5 mpg on regular (5-speed).

    Time to change the oil again, and run this baby down Highway 101/1 to Morro Bay, California next week (from Seattle).

    Cheers from the PNW!

  • hammersleyhammersley Posts: 684
    Ken: I'm using Napa Gold #1334 oil filter - seems to work just fine. Thanks for the reminder on the air filter... time to check mine.

    Where in the Mt St Helens area were you? We camped at Seaquest State Park last summer... wonderful place. That volcano is still an awesome sight 20+ years after the big kaboom.

    Have fun in CA. We're headed for Humboldt County middle of next month ourselves.

    Go Mariners!
    Cheers from the dry side,
  • sagrestasagresta Posts: 39
    Thanks for the feedback -- my car is an H4 and we switched to 92 octane for a while even though it's not required. The subaru service dept. even drained the tank and put 92 octane in it and it still pinged. The regional guy told me to stop putting the higher octane and go back to regular unleaded.
    It's not the gas. And you're right Ken, they are feeding me a line. I think if they would be honest and say that there is something wrong and that they just don't have a fix for it yet, it would be much better. But it angers me for them to say it's normal and that lots of them do it. The only thing they can offer me is reimbursement for my extended warranty (they would pay for it) and if I wanted to trade it in for another one $1500 credit. That doesn't do me much good since I put $5000 down on the car and doubt the Subaru folks would give me a good trade for it. I'm going to have my husband go and see what they would give just out of curiousity.
    Any other input/feedback from others out there would be great.
  • magic12magic12 Posts: 1
    My wife and I are considering the base model outback wagon. However, we are not sure whether or not to purchase the all-weather package as an option. We live in the delaware area where temperatures in the 20's and snowfall are common during the winter. Does the de-icer on the front windshield really work? My assumption is that if there is ice on the front window you will still have to get your hand scrapper out and have at it... Your feedback would be welcomed. Thanks for your help.
  • craigmccraigmc Posts: 4
    I've noticed that people report their gas mileage in this forum down to the half mile! This sounds dumb, but what method does one use to get such accurate figures? I'd like to know what my
    OB really gets (I've had it only a month).
  • Well for instance I just took a trip to the Sierras this past weekend in my 01 Legacy GT 5MT. We drove a total of 356 miles. I filled the tank upon return and it took 12.75 gallons. So if you divide 356 by 12.75 it comes to 27.9216 MPG.

  • joeb24joeb24 Posts: 111
    I have a 01 LLBean, and am generaly happy with it. However, whenever I go to car wash, a little water leaks through the top of the hatchback door. I can see it leaking from the top break light. It does not leak when I wash car with a hose, or when it rains. I assume it is the high pressure spray in the car wash. Anyone else experience this? I have not taken it to the dealer yet, but I bet they will have a hard time correcting it.
  • aakersonaakerson Posts: 71
    Re engine ping -- sagresta, keep updating us; the problems you're having (with the company more than the car) make me worry. I'm a big Subaru fan. Bought nine in the last five years, and now thinking about both a VDC and WRX in the next year or so. Subarus without doubt offer the best combination of safety, drivability, quality and value anywhere.

    But we've become concerned because far more problems pop up on our 2000 OB and '01 VDC than the older ones we had. Like you, we're willing to be patient and put up with some glitches -- BUT would never put up with the kind of response from the company that you report. The one time Subaru did get involved with a mechanical problem on one of our cars, they handled the situation wonderfully and graciously. They went far above and beyond what I expected. I hope your situation gets resolved in a way that you can report the same kind of support from Subaru. These are truly outstanding cars, and we owners expect the company behind them to reflect the quality of their products.

    By the way, in 1996 we totaled our first Outback three months after purchase (wife/driver totally unscathed, but totally embarrassed). To settle, the insurance company took our car's purchase price, deducted 25 cents per mile from that price, then gave us a check for the remainder. And our dealer chased down for us a identical car and simply took the insurance check as full payment.
  • pmagspmags Posts: 11
    My wife and I cruised home in our new, Sapphire Blue, 2001 OB, H4, AT Wagon this evening!

    After doing a thorough inspection at the dealers, and then finalizing the paper work, we slipped a Ray Charles CD into the stereo and headed off for a lesiurely drive into the Connecticut countryside. It was dusk as we left, and the sunset was in my rear view mirror.

    We cruised the smaller CT backroads as I got used to the handling and enjoyed the quiet and smooth ride. The car felt and sounded great - steering and handling was responsive, the engine responded like I wanted it too (I didn't push it past 4000 rpm though, 'cuz of the break-in period).

    We even had occasion to test out the brakes - once when some idiot in an SUV coming in the opposite direction decided to make a quick left turn 30-40' in front of us (at 50-55 mph that's not too comfortable a margin). The second time as we headed down hill on a dark, twisty road. I'm used to a smaller, noiser car and didn't realize I was doing about 40-45 mph on a road rated for 25 mph (the quietness and smooth ride is deceptive!). This is supposed to be an area where there is no parking after sunset, but as we came into an S-turn I saw a car parked by the side of the road with it's lights off and I realized I was going to fast for comfort. I gave the brakes a pretty hard tap (again, what I was used to in my previous car). The braking response was quicker than I anticipated, and I even felt the ABS pump the brakes a few times, but the handling remained responsive and secure.

    I'm usually a pretty light-footed, non-agressive driver so I wasn't too pleased that I had gotten myself into that situation. However, I was reassured by the braking and handling performance.

    I'm pleased as punch, and am looking forward to putting some miles on it this weekend! Now off to peruse the owners manual.

  • sagrestasagresta Posts: 39
    Thanks Alan for the supportive post. I know the subaru folks (at least Patti) check this board regularly. I think I'm going to try to post everyday regarding my dissatisfaction as a protest toward the company.

    I agree -- I think subarus are probably great cars and I think I just got a bad one. Bill Lineberry my regional rep and Susan Hoff with SoA though are not doing a good job with my case. Susan also insinuated that I have unrealistically high standards in demanding that the engine ping be repaired or vehicle replaced. She also said that just because my car had been to the dealer 6 times didn't mean that there was anything wrong with it 6 times and that evaluation doesn't equal an attempt at repair. Obviously I think she's full of crap!
    I have documented invoices and each time I took it in they did more than evaluate it -- they always tried replacing parts, gas, etc. I know they've tried to fix it and they just don't know what's causing the problem, but they won't admit that it is a problem. I've been calling other Subaru dealers service depts. across the southeast and not one department has had a car with engine ping. So who's telling the truth Susan Hoff, or all of the service depts.?
    thanks -- I appreciate everyone's advice.
  • oclvframeoclvframe Posts: 121
    I think you answered your own question....If you don't take your car to a car wash, it doesn't leak. So, wash your car by hand. Besides, it is the best way to know exactly what condition your car is can get close and personal with it....and it will love you for it ;)

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Sharon: I'd really try to work out that trade. Their offer for $1500 seems like it's in good faith. That's about the value a car loses when you drive it off the lot, so the only depreciation yours will suffer was for the miles you put on it.

    I know I'm playing the devil's advocate, but that at least seems fair to me. If you turn their offer down, I wonder if they can transfer that offer to me so I can get a Forester S Premium! ;-)

    Ask them to work out a deal with similar terms to your current deal. You should be able to recover most of your down payment (maybe all with the $1500 credit) and apply that to the new car, so that your payments are similar.

    That's just my opinion, of course. It's your call, totally.

    Manuals? I have yet to see a Chiltons or Haynes for newer Soobs. Then again, they aren't that good - I could not adjust my Miata's timing with a Haynes, only vague photos and names of components I was not familiar with were offered. saved me there, with photos of the specific items I had to work with.

    AWP is worth it, IMO. I wish my Forester had heated seats. It's such a luxury. My dad's got 'em on his OB. Premium european brands charge about double, and Subaru throws in the heated mirrors than help them stay dry and aid visibility, plus the windshield.

    Congrats Paul. Easy on those rotores as you break it in. Of course if you have to stop, by all means stop! :-)

  • jay_24jay_24 Posts: 536
    I've only had my outback since April and even here in Minnesota/Wisconsin it hasn't snowed. But our Plymouth Voyager has a similar front windshield wiper defrost feature. It works reasonably well during heavy snow and freezing rain. It basically keeps the wipers from icing up too much while driving. I'm also looking forward to the heated seats come January and -20F. They even feel good on the mornings its been 40. Up north here its not an option for us according to the two dealers I've been to. Subaru puts it on all the OBs they ship to the dealers up here.
  • Just to let everyone know and thanks for the support also--- I got my Outback dash light indicating the back hatch door was open finally fixed and have no more problems. My hatch door that was out of line is fixed too and something was definately wrong with that lift door cause it took no effort to close before besides the electrical problem. I have had the car back a week or so and no problems now. All problems seem to be in the past hopefully
    Just quite an experience and my first when buying a new car. I really love the Outback model--and I looked at dozens of cars and I was narrowed down to the Outback and the Ford Windstar minivan. I couldn't resist the look of the Outback.
  • That's great news. We'll keep our fingers crossed for you.

  • breckcobreckco Posts: 62

    Congratulations on your new OB! I hope you enjoy yours as much as my wife and I enjoy ours (00 OB). I don't know what type of vehicle you had before this but just a note of caution: Subaru's have higher handling, traction and performance limits than typical cars. It's important to remember this while driving, especially with snow or rain on the pavement. No vehicle defies the laws of physics.

    AWP: Though I live in San Diego, I made sure our OB had the AWP. Minimal expense and worth every penny when it snows or when you drive to the snow. (Oddly, I didn't get this on our Legacy when we lived in Chicago - wished I did.

    Live Happy,

  • erics6erics6 Posts: 684
    Sharon - There has been a lot of discussion about pinging occuring, mostly with Phase II engine. Our 2000 Outback pings under moderate load in warmer weather. Even the dealer's Service Rep.'s 99 RS pings - and he's not happy! Check out the Subaru Owners Club - General Maintenance & Repair II section for past discussions on that subject. There are a lot of Subarus out there that are pinging. My wife even heard one on the street next to her last week. Our dealer has had a number of Subarus with the pinging problem.

    The latest "fix" was to replace my timing belt, which has had no effect on the pinging. My dealer/SOA experience has been pretty good. They've acknowledged the problem and have been trying to find a fix. Remember that even after warranty expires a manufacturer is responsible for a documented problem that occured under warranty.

    I am concerned about the longevity of the engine with the sustained pinging that occurs. Clearly, since the majority of Subaru's are not pinging, they need to find a fix to the one's that are pinging. Claiming this is "acceptable" is unacceptable. As much as I like Subaru's, I'm not sure I'll be buying another one - the jury's still out though.
  • Neither my 00 Legacy GT with 12k miles or my 01 with 6k miles have ever pinged. That includes 100 temps and lots of mountain passes. I'm sure this is a real issue for some Subaru owners and I don't mean to diminish the significance of your problem. But without hard numbers it is difficult to to make judgments as to how wide a problem it is. I have frequented this board for a year and even though I have seen some serious discussion of pinging I doesn't seem to be a problem for many of the members. How many pingers are there?

  • erics6erics6 Posts: 684
    I'm aware of at least three Subaru's at my local dealer that ping. I haven't kept track of those posting to this board. Obviously, the majority of Subaru's aren't doing this, but there are some that are. I'm sure SOA keeps track of the pinging complaints they get.
  • subearusubearu Posts: 3,613
    As I mentioned in the Meet the Members, I haven't experienced any ping-ing from our '00 OB. It's practically 1 year old now!

  • pmagspmags Posts: 11
    Chris and Juice,

    I hear you about the physics of driving - by no means do I expect my 'Roo to defy those laws! I've never been in an accident after 15 years of driving, and I hope to keep it that way (knock on wood).

    However, the vehicle physics of my new wagon are substantially different than those of my previous car - a Saturn SL2 sedan. The 'Roo has more than a 1000 lbs. curb weight on the Saturn, and rides MUCH higher (it wasn't uncommon for the Saturn to scrape the front end a bit at the bottom of a steep driveway). Those 1000 lbs make for a big increase in momentum - especially going down hill!

    After 8 years of driving my Saturn, I was intimately aware of how it handled, sounded, and felt and I responded appropriately. It's gonna take some time to break those old habits, and tune my intuition to the 'Roo.

    Well, I'm off to Pep Boys to get some goodies for my new toy.

    Keepin' it safe,

  • sagrestasagresta Posts: 39
    It's good to keep this out there. The more we discuss the more likely the subaru guys will read and hopefully help us more.
    Eric, I share your concern for the longevity of an engine that pings. The independent mechanic that listened to my car yesterday concurs as well. It's irresponsible for Susan Hoff with SoA to tell me that pinging is not detrimental to my car in any way. The most important thing is to find a fix sooner than later, the longer this goes on, the worse it is for the pinging engines.
    Thanks again for the posts, it seems like all of the folks that post to this site really know their stuff.
  • goosegoggoosegog Posts: 206
    Re: #2046 by magic12

    "Does the de-icer on the front windshield really work? My assumption is that if there is ice on the front window you will still have to get your hand scrapper out and have at it..."

    Here in the Great White North the AWP is standard on the OB. So I find myself on the mild wet BC coast with heated mirrors (handy for those high humidity days during the monsoon season), heated seats which I hate 'cos the switch always gets knocked on, and heated wipers. These last I used once, last winter, when we had our one and only snowfall. As someone else said, they are only supposed to stop the wiper icing up...they don't clear ice off the glass. But I stopped twice on the 25km journey to clear ice and packed snow off the blades...I was using the washer quite a bit and it built up on the blades and below them too.

    Was the heater thing working at all? I couldn't really tell. I think you'd need to be on a much longer journey and be more familiar with driving in falling snow conditions than I am.

    But the AWD was awesome! I deliberately went up a VERY steep winding road covered in 4" of untracked snow, and even made a "drop the clutch" standing start halfway up it without wheelslip. Totally undramatic but very reassuring. You'd really have to work at it to get this car stuck. Maybe drive into the ditch or something.

    Our snow here (if we get any) is always difficult because it's wet; there's sometimes ice in with it from melting and refreezing too. It doesn't get cold enough for that easy-to-drive-on stuff you get in colder areas.
  • dervishdervish Posts: 19
    Wintergreen, all-weather package, in-dash cd changer... We picked the 5-speed OB over the Passat 4-motion mainly because of cost and availability. The recent year-end offers were simply irresistable. Also the reliability record of our past 3 VWs in the 80s were not stellar, I'm sure the new VWs should be much better in this respect but still, I was a bit leery. Just hope that our new OB will live up to that durable reputation I often heard.

    1. Good ride. Stable. Quiet cabin on most smooth roads but ... (please read more)
    2. Good value. A lot of car for the money.

    1. Overall fit and finish, frankly it is no Honda no matter how much I try to defend it. Quite a few cheap looking snapped on parts. To name a few: the plastic panel below the windshield glass popped out the very first day. The fake wood dash is not very classy, I rather have real plastic! The workmanship of the seats appears to be poor, the rear head rests are the worst looking of all, they're not nicely shaped and stitched. Very "Rentown USA". Of course, I removed them all on the first day. In contrast, the overall fit and finish of the Passat is simply first-class.

    2. Road noise is quite intrusive on certain parts of highway. I think the car could use more sound deadening materials in the floorboard. The upper part of the cabin is well insulated, however. This probably makes road noise even more noticeable.

    3. The shifter is a bit clumsy to engage, specially in reverse. I found one problem that need to be fixed soon is when in first gear, the shifter has tendency to pop out to neutral, when the car is moving slowly on flat or slightly inclined surface. Has anyone experienced this? Hope it is not serious.

    The frequent complaints about brakes noise, dump seat heater switches location and hard to shut rear lid are all true. They just don't bother us that much.

    Like many posters on this board, even with those shortcomings, we like our new OB. Can't wait to take it to the ski slopes on Mount Hood this winter.
  • nygregnygreg Posts: 1,936
    Only heard my 01, H4, AT OB ping once or twice. Very minor, going up a hill with ~2000 RPM. It's so minor I am not concerned.

    Driving in 90F degree weather and was wondering why the AC was not cooling off the car as quickly as usual. Then I realized the heated seats were on....high!. I agree, it is too easy to hit those switches. Can't wait for snow.

  • nygregnygreg Posts: 1,936
    Congratulations and welcome to the fun. I had the dealer reorder a new plastic "rivet" for the front plastic below the windshield since mine was a little loose also. I need to pick it up or have them put it on. I agree that Subaru needs to work on the inside a little to match the likes of VW, Toyota and Honda. Having owned a Camry before my impression is that Subaru spends more resources on the mechanics of the car and less on the atmosphere (i.e. AWD, boxer engine, etc) which is what I prefer. Keep in mind that the subaru powertrain costs more to manufacture. So I guess to stay competitive they need to cut back somewhere. This is my 0.02. Good luck.

  • kmcleankmclean Posts: 173
    Even tried to induce pinging by lugging the car a bit while climbing Mt Saint Helens - engine was clearly laboring, but no pings (regular fuel). 'course, the brakes have never squeaked, the hatch has always closed nicely, and have never seen the Check Engine light illuminate except on start-up. I'll probably regret saying all that!

    Paul - just took some out-of town guests for a weekend trip - drove in on the east side (Windy Ridge) Friday, back around to spend the night in Castle Rock (El Compadre - Muy bueno!), then in from the west to Johnston Ridge the next day. Total miles from north Seattle: 530. Will spend a night in Humboldt County (Eureka - staying near Old Town, overlooking the bay), SF (2 nites), Big Sur, Morro Bay, then the long haul back to Seattle.

    A big "thumbs-up" for the AWP - especially in places like Seattle. Even used the mirror heaters in the mountains last week. Funny thing was explaining to the San Antonio Nissan dealer why I wanted a Maxima with an AWP - until I told him I was moving back to Seattle - viewed as the "frozen north" in south Texas.


    Ken M.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Small world, Elsie. My cousin has an Outback, and her sister-in-law wanted to sell her a Windstar also. She turned it down, just like you!

    Sharon: I wish we had more technical info. I do know that there is a knock sensor that is supposed to retard timing, and maybe that is what is malfunctioning? Still, it should not need to act all the time like that.

    Also, I've heard that a carbon build up in the engine can effectively increase your compression ratio, also causing pinging. It shouldn't be happening to a new engine, but maybe the dealer has some type of solvent-based detergent to clean it out?

    (just guessing here folks, feel free to jump in with other suggestions...)

    Hmm, what else? Definitely the timing, though on our Subies it's controlled by the ECU. Maybe they can program the timing to retard the spark a little bit. They could at least check it, and maybe dial it back a couple of degrees.

    The timing belt is new, and not scheduled for replacement until 105k miles (with an inspection at 90k miles). If it were bad, you'd probably have more serious problems.

    If you are in the DC area, e-mail me ( and I'd be willing to come over and take a look at it. If nothing else, it's a 2nd opinion and perhaps the dealership knowing a Subaru Crew Chief from (read: publicity) agrees that something is wrong will motivate them to take a closer look.

  • subaru_teamsubaru_team Posts: 1,676
    Hi - I have been monitoring your case and I am sincerely sorry that you are not happy. By reading the previous post, you will see that it is something that we are following. From the testing that has been done, our engineers are confirming that the ping is non-destructive. I know that this does not minimize your feelings on the issue, but they do not make strong statements like that unless they know for sure.

    It looks like Susan is trying to find a way to resolve the case. I appreciate your patience and hope that you will continue to work with her.

    For your information, I do not get involved with seeking/providing resolutions through Edmunds. I have reported the concern to our Service Department and they are working with dealers to track the issue.

    If new information becomes available, I'll share it with everyone here. In the meantime, I recommend you continue your discussions with Susan.


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