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Subaru Legacy/Outback Wagons Maintenance & Repair



  • c_hunterc_hunter Posts: 4,487
    Seems very high to me. I pay about $20 for an oil change and $40 for rotate and balance. The other inspections are quick and easy (even more so if they are removing the wheels/tires already.

  • lfdallfdal Posts: 679
    I'm pretty sure my Foresters' (03XS and 04XT) have the diffy stick on the passenger side and the ATF stick on the drivers. Think its the same on the wife's 03 OBW. Were they different on the 2.0L's vs the 2.5L's?

  • Thanks for all of the responses!

    I've already had the 30,000 mile service completed, so I'll clarify this with the dealer to make sure there isn't a mix up.

    Using the Edmunds maintenance guide page, it appears it should be ~$100 for the service in this area.

    Thanks again.
  • I am sorry to say that I don't have an answer, but I have the exact same vehicle and problem. I will contact you if I find a solution, and would appreciate if you would do the same...

  • I have a 1995 T-100 4X4 pickup, and it has consistently had a pulsing in the front end. As you accelerate it gets faster, and eventually goes away completely. It seems worse when the vehicle is cold, and it goes away when you pull it into 4 wheel drive. I have had several people look and have found no root cause. I have the automatic locking hubs, which I feel is part of the problem. Has anyone seen this? Any input you might have would be much appreciated.

  • hammerheadhammerhead Posts: 907
    Dave: Not because we may already have too many Dave's (can you ever have enough?), but more because this is a Subaru forum rather than Toyota, you might get better results there rather than here.

    Too Many Daves... wasn't that a Dr. Suess title?

  • rob999rob999 Posts: 233
    Did I ever tell you that Mrs. McCave
    Had twenty-three sons, and she named them all Dave?
    Well, she did. And that wasn't a smart thing to do.
    You see, when she wants one, and calls out "Yoo-Hoo!
    Come into the house, Dave!" she doesn't get one.
    All twenty-three Daves of hers come on the run!

    This makes things quite difficult at the McCaves'
    As you can imagine, with so many Daves.
    And often she wishes that, when they were born,
    She had named one of them Bodkin Van Horn.
    And one of them Hoos-Foos. And one of them Snimm.
    And one of them Hot-Shot. And one Sunny Jim.
    And one of them Shadrack. And one of them Blinkey.
    And one of them Stuffy. And one of them Stinkey.
    Another one Putt-Putt. Another one Moon Face.
    Another one Marvin O'Gravel Balloon Face.
    And one of them Ziggy. And one Soggy Muff.
    One Buffalo Bill. And one Biffalo Buff.
    And one of them Sneepy. And one Weepy Weed.
    And one Paris Garters. And one Harris Tweed.
    And one of them Sir Michael Carmichael Zutt.
    And one of them Oliver Boliver Butt.
    And one of them Zanzibar Buck-Buck McFate . . . .
    But she didn't do it. And now it's too late.

    This is posted in our office. We have ... Many Daves
  • rob_mrob_m Somewhere North of BostonPosts: 813
    Rob, LMAO! Rob.
  • libby1libby1 Posts: 1
    I have a 1998 Subaru Outback. Frequently, but not all the time, when I step on the brakes I get a "crunching" noise. The sound makes me think the brakes aren't going to work but the brakes work fine. We have had three mechanics check it out and all say there is no problem with the brakes. None of the mechanics have heard the noise but many people who ride with me have heard the noise. Has anyone else ever run into this problem? Any ideas what it could be? Thanks.
  • zman3zman3 Posts: 857
    Or you can substitute George for Dave and Foreman for McCave.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    How appropriate. I have to attend any kind of Subaru meet where there wasn't at least one Dave, usually 2 or 3.

    Crunching doesn't sound good. I would suspect some debris got stuck between the pads and the rotors. Do the rotors look scored? Prolly not, given they've been looked at.

    Strange. If the noise is repeatable you'd think they'd find it. Could it just be surface rust being scraped off first thing each morning?

  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    My bad... The Diffy is on the passenger side and the ATF is on the driver's side.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    On the MT5 it's on the passenger side and the gear oil serves both the diffy and the tranny. 75w90 I believe is the spec'd weight.

  • dop50dop50 Posts: 162
    In reference to your concern about the side impact problem... Go to post # 3497, go to the maintenance guide and check your car there. There was a recall issued for side impact bags on some early '05 models of the outback. I called the Subaru service number listed and checked mine, I'm OK. Hopefully yours will be alright also. Be sure to have your VIN# handy when you call.

    Have a great day!

  • sugardogsugardog Posts: 41
    Refer msg #3192.
    In msg 3192, I reported that they were replacing my rear diffy under warrantee at 43000 miles and almost 5years.
    Well, Monday, it failed again!!
    I was turning around in my driveway, backing up when I felt a 'boom' like something broke. After that, the drivetrain made a loud noise.
    Took it to my dealer, they said I 'blew' out another diffy. They found that a crossmember supporting the diffy was bent where it meets the body. I do not know what caused this, but it points out a serious defect. If this rear end supports are so sensitive to being out of alignment, what happens when the car gets older and rust sets in? This all-wheel drive system is very delicate. How can they advertise this as an 'offroad' vehicle? Man if you hit a stump or a rock, it ruins the drive train?
    This will certainly be my last 'all-wheel' drive vehicle. I need a vehicle that I can have confidence in and that I can work on myself without disturbing the delicate balance of the drivetrain. I'm thinking about a Ford or Chevy pickup. What do you think?

  • lfdallfdal Posts: 679
    Uh, if you hit something hard enough to throw the drivetrain out of alignment, I would expect a fairly quick component failure. So here's the question - DID you hit a stump or rock off roading? If so I'm not sure I'd blame the car....something bent the cross member. Pot hole from Hades?

    On the other hand if it was already out of alignment when the first diffy blew, the dealer should have caught it. With all that if its being covered under warranty, be grateful you've got a more than reasonable dealer. If I took my Forester in with a bent frame component, I'd be severely out of luck.

    Regarding a pickup, hit a big enough rock, stump, or Boston big-dig pothole and whatever you're driving will be toast eventually... Also, about the time rust alters the drivetrain geometry, there's other problems afoot.

  • oakyoaky Posts: 6
    I think that this may be new - please check out

    5 star side impact rating for Outback.
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
    How does that square with the earlier marginal side impact rating?

  • papagpapag Posts: 4
    Hi all -
    I bought a new '04 Outback wagon in May (base model w/AT). I've been quite happy with it, except for one very annoying and potentially serious problem. When I picked the car up, I noticed a tendency to pull to the right. In addition, the steering wheel itself was way off center.

    I took the car in a week later to have it checked. The dealer aligned it - or so they said. The steering wheel was properly centered, but the pull was still present.

    Two weeks ago, I took it back for the first oil change, and indicated that the problem was still present. Again, the alignment was done - the service rep. wasn't sure why the issue was not corrected the first time.

    In any event, steering is better now (it was quite a chore before), but the car still has a tendency to "drift" or "wander" to the right. I've also noticed a slight vibration around 65-70mph and some sloppiness in the wheel.

    I have a number of theories:
    1. one of the front tires (probably the right) is out of balance;
    2. the alignement is still off;
    3. one of the tires is bad;
    4. ???

    Road crown does affect how quickly the car tracks to the right, but it appears to be more than that.

    Any thoughts or advice would be appreciated. I have a friend who has an 04 OB (identical to mine down to the color, but two months older), and he has no such problem.
  • c_hunterc_hunter Posts: 4,487
    You are right that crown will affect straight line tracking, but the car should drift to the left when on the left side fo a crown and to the right from the right side of the crown. If your car drifts right from the left side of the crown then there is definitely a problem.

    I have had some of the lousiest alignments from dealers, and some of the best from Firestone. I don't normally recommend Fireston for other than tires, but they got my car tracking perfectly.

    BTW, if the car is misaligned for more than a couple thousand miles, you can wear your tires unevenly and then it will be difficult to correct the problem.

  • nic519nic519 Posts: 9
    My plan is to sell my beautiful 96 LC and get something cheap - I'm still paying for the cruiser - useful, and reliable. I need a vehicle that I can use for all the fun stuff I like to do - surf, ski, bike, etc - and fit my big dog too. I live in NYC and only really drive my car on the weekends if that.

    I was looking at 90 - 95 4runners/pathfinders, but then I had a thought - Outback.

    I have done some reading on 97 outback's (what I am looking at) and have some concerns. Many of the consumer reviews posted here on Edmunds do not sound good; alternator problems, gaskets, brakes,etc.
    Buying a car that I will end up sinking money into is exactly opposite to my needs.

    I love my LC, but the cost of the car and the insurance / vs. my needs is just too much. That said, it is in great condition and I can see my grand children driving it someday - reliable.

    So, are these cars reliable? I and looking at a 97
    outback with around 150k mls. It sounds really good, but I am concerned. I have far less apprehension looking at 90-95 4runners/pf because there is so much good buzz about them. Plus, I have owned 3 toys and they were great.
  • hammerheadhammerhead Posts: 907
    Could tire pressure differences make that much of an impact on steering? I know Subarus are sensitive to TP, but that much?

    Just another avenue to explore.

  • steverstever Posts: 52,572
    I got a used '97 Outback Ltd back in April, 2003. I had considered another '97 5 speed that had 150,000 miles on it, and it seemed to drive great, but the chances of stuff going wrong on a car with that many miles on it is pretty high I think. I decided to pay a bit more and hopefully spend less time fixing stuff.

    I knew someone with a '97 so I dropped some hints and they decided to upgrade to an '04 since they knew they had a buyer for the used one. I got into the OB with 34,000 miles on the clock. If you chat up older folks in the grocery parking lot, you may luck into just such a deal too.

    Steve, Host
  • Hello to all.
    I changed the oil for the first time on my 03 Legacy 2.5 and have a question. The manual says that there is a plastic cover that must be removed before you can gain access to the filter and drain plug. On my car there is no such cover. Is this a misprint in the manual or am I actually missing this piece?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Wild, Sam, but yours is the first and second case of rear diffy failure that I've seen. I think oldjayhawk had some noise, but not an outright failure like yours.

    If it's a limited-slip, I'd be inspecting the tires closely. They allow for a little tolerance (1/4" in circumference of the tire) but beyond that you might have binding of the kind that would cause drivetrain issues.

    If you hit something, well, Subaru does sell a diffy protector.

    You can get part-time 4WD, that would lock the axles together, but when engaged that actually leaves even less tolerance for rotational differences front to rear.

    Even then, your issue was not the center diff, it was the rear diff. So you might prefer a 4WD truck with two open differentials, vs. a locking differential. But you'll sacrifice some amount of grip no matter what you buy.

    So, 20 stars from NHTSA. Or we should say quarduple 5 stars.

    Bob - the Marginal result was from IIHS, not NHTSA. And that was on a Legacy sedan.

    nic519: '97 was the year they bumped HP up to 165 and it runs on regular fuel vs. premium for the '96. So 1997 is a sweet spot.

    Any car with that kind of mileage will depend on luck and the previous care it was given.

    Brake pads are cheap, but ask for a service history. I haven't seen many alternator issues. Gaskets were a common problem but by 150k miles they either would have failed already or have been replaced.

  • keith53keith53 Posts: 4
    On my '01, there is a black plastic cover that spans under the entire engine compartment. Within that is a smaller 'door' or 'flap' that hides the filter.

  • papagpapag Posts: 4
    Thanks for the line on Firestone. I had wanted to stay away from one of the "chains," but they may have a better handle on alignments and such than the dealers do.

    While I hate the thought of spending $80-90 for alignment and balancing, I'd rather be safe than sorry.
  • ladywclassladywclass Posts: 1,713
    yeah .. sort of the way we got the good deal on the b/f's new 'used' car ... (and I'm sure he'll buy a Subaru NEXT time!)
  • Outbacks have that engine cover but Legacies do not.
    Don't ask me why.
  • RE:
    "yours is the first and second case of rear diffy failure that I've seen. I think oldjayhawk had some noise, but not an outright failure like yours.
    If it's a limited-slip, I'd be inspecting the tires closely. They allow for a little tolerance (1/4" in circumference of the tire) but beyond that you might have binding of the kind that would cause drivetrain issues.[...]
    Even then, your issue was not the center diff, it was the rear diff. So you might prefer a 4WD truck with two open differentials, vs. a locking differential. But you'll sacrifice some amount of grip no matter what you buy."

    On various forum I have heard of people blowing rear diff from time to time.
    I one case, the diff overheated and cought on fire on hwy driving. In that case, the owner used uneven tires which blew and locked the center diff and then put extra stress on rear diff.
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