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Subaru Legacy/Outback Wagons Maintenance & Repair



  • Instead of rotating the tires from front to back vice versa, try switching tires from left to right vice versa. If the pulling goes to left, then it is a tires or rim issue, not a alignment issue.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    2 year old RE92s are well past their prime anyway. Now is a good time for 4 new tires plus that overdue alignment.

    My Forester tracks straight but the tires are getting noisy, I might replace them even though there is tread left.

  • tphtph Posts: 2

    I hope I'm addressing the right group here. I just purchased a used 1996 Subaru Legacy L wagon from a small used car lot w/no warranty (sold as-is). We just had a lot of heavy rain here in Southeastern PA and I noticed that a pool of water had accumulated in the rear left (driver's side) passenger floor and the front driver's side carpet was all wet as well. Where is the water coming leaking from? I don't have a sunroof and there is no water pooled in the spare tire compartment as others have seen. The car was recently painted however, so maybe a seal was not properly replaced or something. The car is starting to smell really foul and I'm not too happy about that at all. What is the most cost effective way to have this leak diagnosed and fixed? Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    This might be tough - a repaint is definitely a red flag for previous damage.

    Check the floor boards themselves, for holes. The water could be splashing up. Look for cracks or poked holes.

    True story - my brother put a jack under my dad's Cougar, when he was younger and not as bright, and poked a hole right through the floor board.

    He vindicated himself by becoming the valedictorian of his law school.

  • dcm61dcm61 Posts: 1,552
    Check the rocker panel and door drains. They are probably plugged up from the repaint.

    Get a wet vac and clean up the water ASAP.

  • tphtph Posts: 2
    Where are the "rocker panels" and door drains located? Sorry for my ignorance on this issue... Thanks for the quick responses. I appreciate it. I did clean up most of the water with a wet vac... still the carpets are really damp and the smell is hanging around. Any good solutions for fighting the mildew on the rugs/mats... I guess lysol might work, but that smell is not too pleasant either in my opinion. I guess I need a few dry sunny days to open up the windows and let the car dry out, unfortunately it is still raining lightly here in Philadelphia, PA. Thanks again.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I heard some sloshing in my Miata - time for me to do the same thing.

  • I own a 2001 Outback which at 31,000 miles overheated. Took them a while to figure things out but after 2 months they replaced head gasket, radiator, thermostat, spark plugs, etc. Everything was fine until one year later, last week when on a freeway out of town the gauge went straight to red. A service station helped me and replaced the radiator and thermostat. I drove 140 miles home (with no problems), left the car for 4 hours, and when I drove it one mile it overheated again! Straight to red. It is now at the dealers, but they say they don't know what it is yet. I have 49,000 miles, no extended warranty, and have found out on the web that there have been problems with the head gaskets and coolant stuff (which I knew nothing about). Am very upset and not looking forward to fighting the dealer and paying for something which may be systemic in my car. Help! Any suggestions?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    You're in luck because Subaru extended the warranty coverage on the head gaskets to 8 years/100k miles.

    Let them look at it. I hope you didn't go very far after it overheated, it was wise to stop right away. Continuing is what does long-term harm.

    Did you ever get a service bulletin (guess not)? They were supposed to put a coolant additive in your radiator. Of course they worked on that at 31k miles, so it should have gone in at that time.

    Call 800-SUBARU3. Be polite, give them the same information you gave us. Let them liase with your dealer to make sure the fix is done thoroughly this time, so it doesn't reoccur.

    Hang in there, hopefully they can help you out. Stick around and keep us posted?

  • Thanks. I wasn't sure if the extended warranty would apply since I didn't get the additive in (that I know of). Also, since I moved, it is another dealer I'm working with. They told me it may be a head and that would be very expensive (for me). Would that be covered under the extended warranty? Ouch.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    That falls under a gray area.

    The warranty was for people that agreed to use the additive, but they never contacted you.

    Did they have your new address?

    Call 800-SUBARU3 and be real, real nice. Befriend them because they might take your side and help you if the dealer does not want to cover it.

    If they put in the additive at the 31k point, you should definitely be covered. Even if they didn't, your car showed symptoms while still under warranty, and you're having the same problem now.

    Keep us posted? I think the 800 folks will help but just in case stick with the Subaru Crew here on Edmunds. :-)

  • dcm61dcm61 Posts: 1,552
    I believe the rocker panel drains are on the outer side of the underbody (underside of door sills) behind the front tire and in front of the rear tire. The door panel drains should be on the bottom of the door.

    Try sprinkling some baking soda on the carpet.

    You can try putting a dehumidifier in the cargo area to draw out the moisture from the carpet. Or maybe use a blow dryer.

  • norm1norm1 Posts: 1
    Dave - I had the same problem in my 1998 Legacy Wagon - squelchy carpets. It was due to the plastic sheet on the inside of the door (under the door trim) being ripped or unglued from the door. I've had no further problems for 4 years in rainy Vancouver. I never got the carpet completely out, but removed the driver's seat and lifted the carpet enough to get a blow dryer on it. Good luck. Norman
  • goosegoggoosegog Posts: 206
    I've never heard of this. My 00 OB is just about to go in for it's 48,000 km service. I have been notified about the coolant additive and it will be added then. But I've never heard of this warranty. Is it something the dealer will tell me after I've had the additive put in?
  • dcm61dcm61 Posts: 1,552
    I don't think the warranty extension ever made it across the border. I'm pretty sure it's USA only.

    DaveM (south of the border)
  • goosegoggoosegog Posts: 206
    Sounds like discrimination to me...I'll ask at the dealership.
  • Good news. The recurrent overheating cracked my car's head, however, Subaru is going to replace the engine at no cost to me. I didn't have to ask or complain - the dealer took care of everything. Smart move since now they have a customer for life. I do love my car and am very satisfied with the result.
  • fibber2fibber2 Mid Hudson Valley, NYPosts: 3,775
    Good news! Not that you had misfortune, but that SoA and your dealer are proactively doing the right thing. We all appreciate hearing this kind of news.

    Now go out and buy a new car (Subaru, of course...) for your wife with the savings!

  • Wow, that's pretty impressive. I bought an '04 Volvo XC70 and have been looking at something more sporty in another year or two.

    The Legacy is certainly on the hot button list and it's nice to see Subaru doing the right thing in this case.

  • trd1trd1 Posts: 1
    I'm considering an Outback, and have test driven a few and done lots of research. Everything looks great, but have always been concerned about the lack of a frame around Subaru windows. I remember my dad's 60 something Ford with windows like this, but I can't think of any new car with this "feature". The door "seal" is simlply a piece of glass slammed against a piece of foam. It seems that this couldn't provide the best seal against wind noise and water. Also, it seems like many people (including myself) push on the top part of the door to slam it shut, which in Subaru's case would mean pushing on an unsupported piece of glass protruding from the window. Finally, IMO they just look funny/cheap, especially when the door is open and the windows rolled completely down.

    Any idea why Subaru does this? If this is a beneficial feature, I'd expect to see it on other makes of cars.

    Has anyone noticed wind or water problems, primarily after a few years?

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Full replacement at no charge? Sweet...

    Maybe I can get mine to leak somehow! LOL

    Todd: call it a quirk, a characteristic, whatever, but all Subies have frameless doors. They are lighter and easier to close, and if you look at crash tests Subaru does far better than average.

    The Porsche 911 and BMW M3 have frameless doors. The Yugo GV and Hyundai Excel did not. So by itself I don't think it means much.

    I use a pressure washer to wash my cars, it does cause my Miata's soft top to leak at times, but never the Subie, not a drop. If it is adjusted properly, anyway.

  • katwaykatway Posts: 19
    Subaru does seem to be the only manufacturer with frameless windows on sedans and wagons. However, most coupes, regardless of manufacturer, generally have frameless windows.

    Frameless windows offer a safety benefit since in a side impact collision beneath the window the glass will generally tilt out and break. In framed windows, the glass has a greater chance of entering the cabin since the window frame is more likely to follow the path of the impact into the car. Another small safety benefit of the frameless feature is that they are "finger friendly" such that if a door is accidentally closed on fingers, the fingers simply push into the window cushion and don't get crush. (I've seen a salesman demonstrate this one. It looked like the window would surely injur his fingers and he was fine.) This especially benefits those with kids.

    Finally, the frameless windows provide the vehicle with a slightly sportier/cleaner appearance with fewer lines.

    I've had no noise or air issues with my frameless windows.

    It does take a couple days getting used to closing the door the proper way by using its handle.
  • jfljfl Posts: 1,385
    I've had no water or air leaks with my 2000 Legacy. My teenage daughter still closes the door by pushing against the window.

    It actually looks very clean with the windows down. Kinda like the door of a convertible.

  • c_hunterc_hunter Posts: 4,487
    The other benefit is that the structure that would otherwise be in the door frame around the window, which adds weight without contributing to the body's overall structural integrity, is not present. If you look at the strength to weight ratio of a frameless design, it is higher than the comparable frame design. The way Subaru pitches it, the structure goes into the body where it can be used to the benefit of strength and where it becomes part of the body's main crash absorbing frame.

    We ocassionally hear of wind noise problems, but they are easily remedied by adjusting the glass and/or seal angle. Subaru has designed numerous adjustments into the design just in case it needs to be tweaked.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Actually the primary benefit, now that I think about it, is visibility. The pillars can be thinner.

    Compare a Subie to, say, a Volvo. Blind spots galore.

  • erv1erv1 Posts: 3
    Thanks again for your input. I test drove the car around the block and it seems to function properly. Now I am going to get my subie to the frame guy to get the upper rail in place. Thanks.
  • grahampetersgrahampeters AustraliaPosts: 1,783

    With frameless windows, you have half the air and water leak points to seal. That means actually less windnoise potential.


  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Yep, there is just one seal, a double seal along the pillar edges.

  • I have an '05 Limited Outback with auto transmission with 600 miles on it. I was on the GW Bridge going about 40-50 mph when I hit the gas to pass someone and get over to the right.
    To my shock...nothing wouldn't downshift...engine just revved...hit the gas again..nothing...
    I know it has a sportshift..but I should't have to use that everytime the tranny won't cooperate.

    Is this how the car I just bought for over $28K with tax works??? If this normally is how the car is going to react on the highway...then I made a big mistake with my hard earned money.
  • kenskens Posts: 5,869

    There are quite a few "new" vehicles other than Subarus that use frameless windows. The Nissan 300Z is one model I can think of off the top of my head.

    Also, keep in mind that even with framed windows, the seal is still created against a gasket on the chassis side. The window frame itself takes on a secondary role.

    The only non-subjective drawback I can see to Subaru's frameless glass is that it does pose a higher security risk. Otherwise, it performs as well, if not better than framed windows. The seals on my 98 Forester after 5.5 years, 100K+ miles of driving were fine.

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