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Subaru Legacy/Outback Wagons Maintenance & Repair



  • sugardogsugardog Posts: 41
    I own a 1999 Outback Limited, 43000 mi.

    The car is in the shop today having the rear differential replaced under warranty, the warranty expires next month. (july 2004)

    Is this a common problem with Subaru?
    It seems strange to me to have a rear diff fail before the tires or brakes are worn out.

    I am soooo glad that it went before the warranty expired.
  • I own a 2000 Subaru Legacy Outback Wagon. I love the car, But I HATE those annoying Daytime Running Lights!!! I have been trying to have those blinders disconnected since I have purchased the car new in 2000, and other than pulling the parking brake up a notch or two- it caused the rear brakes to smell funny- I am at my wit's end! I called a couple of Subaru Dealers and they say they cannot disconnect the DRLs because they are hard wired. Last time I checked DRLs are NOT mandatory in the good old USA!!!
    I know there are at least 2 ways of dsiconnecting the DRLs, but I have not done it yet. Anybody out there who is mechanically inclined on how to disconnect the DRLs from 2000 Subaru Legacy Outback Wagon? BTW, I had to have both headline bulbs repalce on 2 different occasions, costing me $47 total. Subaru should really think about the customer first!!! I also have a web link for those who HATE Daytime Running Lights:
  • zman3zman3 Posts: 857
    I tend to gripe more about Subaru quality than most people around here (or at least don't rave about it) since I have had several issues with my 98 Outback - poor idle, dash lights, alternator, wheel bearing, head gasket leak, piston slap (which is back again) but I don't recall many, if any, differential issues mentioned here. What were your symptoms?

  • subearusubearu Posts: 3,613
    The dealer can't disable them because they are a safety device, much like how they can't disable the airbags or seatbelts.

    Toyota has 'em now, GM has been using them for years, Subaru has them on all models now too. There's probably a discussion on Edmunds where you can debate the pros/cons of them.

    There usually is a relay under the dash or in the engine area that controls the DRLs.

    FWIW, my 2000 Outback had 'em too and I never burned a bulb out in the 4 years I had the DRLs on. YMMV.

  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    First failed diffy I've heard of in all my contact with suby owners.

  • frogfrog Posts: 52
    In reply to base manual engine stumbling at 2000rpm, I believe it is suggested that you shift between 3000 and 3600 rpm's for the smoothest transitions.....
  • dougb10dougb10 Burlington, Ontario, CanadaPosts: 185
    I have been driving cars in Canada with DRL's since 1990. In all that time,(6 cars including our '97 Outback), we have never had a bulb burn out.
    I really believe that DRL's save lives. Even the drunk who comes down the road at 2AM at least has his DRL's on so you have a chance to get out of his way.
  • nematodenematode Posts: 448
    I'm another one of the complainers because out 2k Outback Ltd. has had tons of problems too but not with the differential.
  • sugardogsugardog Posts: 41

    This vehicle has been excellent, this is the first problem since purchase, never back to the dealer for anything except the recall for the brake master cylinder back in 99.
    Symptom was whining noise in the drive train when using power or coasting, take out of gear (manual tranny) and noise went away. I felt sure it was a u-joint. I was concerned that if it was a u-joint, it would NOT be covered by warranty, but it should since the u-joints are not servicable, must replace whole drive shaft which is balanced, this is moot because they determined the noise was the rear diff.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Don't want to start the debate, however I believe that as driving is a priveldge, people should take the responsibility to put their headlights on in conditions that need it. I'm sick of people not taking responsibility for their own actions.

  • bat1161bat1161 Posts: 1,784
    As someone who has his share of problems with my 2000 OBW, I have never heard of the rear diffy failing. My feelings towards a car having problems are that it is a vehicle that gets used everyday, so naturally things will happen. I also happen to have one of the earlier produced OB's, so that may expalin things. Overall though, I love my OB.

    As for DRL's, I take it one step further and just keep my headlights on whenever I am driving. This is even easier with the auto-off feature for the headlights. I had a problem at the beginning of this year when I had the bulbs go within a month of each other, but since switching to the European bulbs (that I beleive Ken was kind enough to tell me about) I have had no problems.

  • djb63djb63 Posts: 11
    Well I now have 1100 miles on my 2004 LL Bean. I do have a major concern however.. The 4EAT transmission does not shift smoothly it clunks especially when shifting around 20MPH,none of the shift points (IMHO) are smooth. It's noticeable enough for my wife to say it doesn't sound or feel right (this is the woman who drove on a flat tire and didn't realize until the tire was flat that something was wrong). Also my 16 year old grandson who has only been driving a short time noticed it the first time he rode with me. The 4EAT transmission in my 95 Legacy LSi with over 92K miles shifts better that the new LL Bean.. Any suggestions..
    other than the transmission concern I am pleased with my new Subaru.
    p.s. Monday I am going to replace the break in oil with Mobil One.
  • c_hunterc_hunter Posts: 4,487
    Check the fluid level, and then take it back to the dealer if you think something is wrong. My 02 Bean shifts pretty smoothly. Subaru autos are not the best out there, but they should be shifting pretty smoothly most of the time.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    rear diffy? No, not common. I just changed my rear diffy oil and it was still clear, at 63k miles. On my Miata is was clowsy at 30k miles!

    With the MT, you can check the gear oil level for the tranny, it's way, waaaaaay down behind the engine. It is bright yellow, at least. ATF is probably in a similar location.

    Call 800-SUBARU3 just in case to register a complaint, if it fails at 60,001 miles you should be safe.

  • rob_mrob_m Somewhere North of BostonPosts: 813
    I believe that these transmissions have a learning mode and will tailor the shifting points to your driving habits. Combined with multiple drivers, and relatively low miles, it might not equalized itself yet. I am not sure how long this will take (juice, bob, mike?). I am the primary driver of a 99 GT with the 4EAT, and after 105k, I can tell exactly when it will shift, and how long it will hold the gear. When I drive my wife's 03 Outback, again 4EAT, it is another story. I never know when it will shift - typically, it downshifts unexpectedly when I get on the gas, then quickly shifts when I back off - and this is after almost 2 years. Rob M.
  • ebony5ebony5 Posts: 142
    According to the owners manual and past experience all the doors(including the rear gate) should unlock when I use a key to open my drivers side door(not by remote control activation) Also in the past when unlocking via the lever on the inside drivers side door all the other doors would unlock as well, this too is not functioning properly. The mechanism works only periodically and less and less often. I have checked the fuse and it seems to be O.K. Any ideas on what might be causing this and how to remedy the situation. Being able to unlock all the doors at once is one of the conviences that I really appreciate and not being able to I find extremely annoying.
  • dcm61dcm61 Posts: 1,552
    The actuator in the driver's door is either bad or needs adjusted. The same thing happened with my '96. I took the door panel off and adjusted it once. That worked for a while but then it went back to being intermittent.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    If you want that tranny to start out with a "clean slate", reset the ECU. Disconnect the negative battery terminal, wait 20 minutes, reconnect, start it up and let it idle until warm.

    Who knows how it was delivered or test driven before you bought it, but clearly their habits may have been different than yours.

  • djb63djb63 Posts: 11
    The car is shifting, It just doesn't shift smoothly. IMHO one should not have a thunk/clunk when shifting.All shift points should be seamless. Listening to the engine you should know when the shifting is occurring but you should not feel a thunk/clunk during shifting.
    Will re-setting the ECU effect the rough shifting??
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    IMO it's worth a try.

    I would still at least register a "customer says" complaint with 800-SUBARU3 in case it becomes a problem in the future.

  • djb63djb63 Posts: 11
    Thanks, for the input.. I have re-set the ECU (no discernable difference IMO) but I'll give it a few hundred miles to adjust to my driving style. For the next few hundred miles I will be the only driver and we will see what happens.. DJB
  • coyote1coyote1 Posts: 1
    cant park our new 04 outback ll bean for two days or the battery will go dead , been to the dealer three times, they can find no problem , they said have it towed in next time so we can see it in a discharged condition, sent it off this morning on a tow truck.. very frustrating , any suggestions ? thanks
  • 96pathfind96pathfind Posts: 22
    Help! Wife driving our '03 Legacy SE wagon yesterday, tire blew out on the highway. Here's the dilemma: we've got about 29,000 miles on the original Bridgestone Potenza RE 92s, by my measure they have approx 7 or 8/32 of tread left-look real good overall. New ones come with 10/32 of tread depth. By my measurements, there would be .19625" difference in circumference between the new one and the 3 remaining old ones. Am I OK to replace the blown one, or do I need to replace all 4??? I know I read that 1/4" difference is the cutoff, but I'd really hate to damage the drivetrain. Any ideas???
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    You are within their tolerance, plus you have two open differentials. The tolerance Subaru states has to account for models with the viscous limited-slip diffy.

    So you should be fine.

    Having said that, 29k miles on an RE92 probably means they're far from being in their best condition, and they're not great tires to begin with. So I'd still consider a new set, anyway.

  • 96pathfind96pathfind Posts: 22
    Thanks for the advice. Helps to get some input from knowledgeable folks like yourself!
  • mjansen1mjansen1 Posts: 46
    OK, made it to 85K on our 2000 Outback with hassle free breaks, until now. Last summer we had the local cheap place put new pads on (rotors not re surfaced, I think). They have always squeaked but now they are squeaking even when I am not breaking. Are the calipers not releasing or breaking all by themselves? Any help would be appreciated. Thanks
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    when you aren't braking usually means that they are worn out those are the squeelers to warn you to get new pads.

  • questionerquestioner Posts: 11
    I was planning to flush the tranny on my 91 turbo Legacy recently because the tranny jerks when shifting at low gear around 10-20MPH. But the service consultant at local Subaru dealer suggests me to do a tranny service (drop oil pan and change filter) instead of a tranny flush because he thinks my Legacy is too old with 100K miles to have a tranny flush. While my tranny flush still looks pink and doesn't smell burnt(I had a tranny drain and refill 15 months ago). What's your guys opinion on this? Should I go with a flush or just a service?
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    I had a flush on my trooper and had to go with the service cause the flush didn't work very well.

  • questionerquestioner Posts: 11
    I was planning to flush the tranny on my 91 turbo Legacy recently because the tranny jerks when shifting at low gear around 10-20MPH. But the service consultant at local Subaru dealer suggests me to do a tranny service (drop oil pan and change filter) instead of a tranny flush because he thinks my Legacy is too old with 100K miles to have a tranny flush. While my tranny flush still looks pink and doesn't smell burnt(I had a tranny drain and refill 15 months ago). What's your guys opinion on this? Should I go with a flush or just a service?
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