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Subaru Legacy/Outback Wagons Maintenance & Repair



  • Well, to answer your question very, very late... I would shift into reverse (required when backing out of a parking space) then shift into drive to go forward. While in drive the engine would race until the gears finally engaged.

    To remedy this problem my transmission was rebuilt to the tune of $3000. To date I have not encountered any other transmission problems (knock wood!!!). However my outback is now back in the shop again because the rear gate is stuck shut. I've been told the actuator is stuck in the locked position, thus prohibiting me from opening the gate. They say they can fix this to the tune of $335. Anyone else ever experience similar problems?

    To the couple people who were unhappy with me venting about the transmission problem...Subaru made design changes to the 1999 outback tranny and I have seen several people, not just on this board but other boards, who had the same problem as I did. The shop who rebuilt my transmission had another outback (1999) in at the same time under going the same sort of work. So perhaps you might be willing to add transmission to your list of known outback issues.

    Regardless, thanks to all of you who had offered advice way back when!

    Oh, btw, my comment about buying German next time was a joke, hence the ;-). I've owned 4 Japanese cars (3 Nissan and 1 Subaru) and have no plans to switch anytime soon. Unless of course someone wants to GIVE me a BMW. >^..^<
  • kenskens Posts: 5,869

    Any idea if a similar resistor controls the same function in recent Subaru ATs?

  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Not sure but I haven't seen any mention of it so i'm thinking it doesn't exist anymore. Someone actually made a vacum controlled switch for it that disconnected the resistor under heavy load.

  • blackbeanblackbean Posts: 100
    I torque them at 65 ft lbs (the range given is 58-72) with a click-stop torque wrench.

    The replacement rotors that use OEM (Subaru) blanks are EBC and Powerslot. Brembo did not have any front rotors available for the H6 Outback a year ago (their catalog on the websitew does not list them currently either for a 2002 - although TireRack is now listing Brembos as being available). I will certainly try the Brembos if I need rotors again - although I am hoping that proper lug nut torque will prevent that.

    The main concern I have with the Subaru rotors - if they are indeed "inadequate" - is that the other companies who are slotting, dimpling, drilling or coating these rotors are not going to *significantly* change the overall warp resistance of the metal.

  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Correct if they are using subaru blanks. We've been testing with racingbrake all kinds of rotors on the impreza and i've learned a lot about rotors etc. The material and casting process is very important, which is why Mountain and Brembo IMHO are the best blanks you are going to find out there, I've used the mountain blanks a lot and they show no warpage as they are a slightly thicker material and better casting process.

    EBC and powerslot never impressed me, nor did drilling :)

    Lemme see if I can get a part # for the H6 front rotors. Interesting no H6 fronts from Brembo or Mountain. Time to upgrade to WRX brackets and rotors :)

  • Since you guys are on the subject of brakes:

    My 2005 Outback has 900 miles on it and I noticed a couple days after I bought it, brake nose (friction sound) coming from the rear when slowing to a stop.
    two weeks ago I brought it in and they roughed up one of the rear rotors and pads saying there was a stain on the pad.
    Well after two weeks I still hear it.
    Is it possible dirt got embedded in the pads while it was sitting on the dealer's lot?
    At what point do I say "hey, I thought I was buying a new car... get rid of the noise" or does Suburu use noisy pad material that I'm not use to? ;>)
  • fibber2fibber2 Mid Hudson Valley, NYPosts: 3,775

    Long Beach? Nice area...

    For reasons I don't really understand, I have had more anomalies with my '02 OBW's brakes than any new car I ever purchased (9 of them...). Whenever I travel and the car sits for more than a week, the pads seem to 'weld' themselves to the rotors, and literally need to break away with a loud 'thump' when I press the gas. And I am not alone - a co-worker complains about the same thing. The net is that I end up with patches of rust (pad sized) that take a while to wear away.

    After one such event, the noise and pedal feel was so bad that the dealer readily agreed - replaced one set of pads and turned all 4 rotors. A few months later the car sat at the airport for a week, and the pad patches repeated. My travel companion asked me if it was safe to drive the car as it shuttered to a stop at the first traffic light. Took about 4 days of use to return to normal.

    So bottom line - push the dealer to look at it again if you are unhappy. It is probably the result of sitting on the lot.

  • c_hunterc_hunter Posts: 4,487
    Mike, if I remember right, the 01-04 H6 models were already using the WRX brakes. I think they are identical, in fact, based on what other people have reported on nabisco.

    The non H6 models use smaller discs and calipers and would benefit from an upgrade to WRX parts.

  • dcm61dcm61 Posts: 1,550
    ALL '01-'04 Outbacks have 11.4 inch "WRX" front and 11.3" rear rotors.

    FYI - '00 Outbacks have 10.7 inch front rotors.

  • nagohdnagohd Posts: 2
    Hi. Seeking expert knowledge or experiences of others...

    I have LLBean Outback V6 model. Sometimes, there's a cricklet-sounding like clinking on left side of car, speeding up and slowing down with car. This comes and goes, with no apparent cause. Once when it was happening, I braked, and the brakes slipped. I've taken car to repair numerous times, but cricket sound doesn't happen then, and repar staff can't find anything wrong.

    Any insight?

    Thanks in advance!
  • mrk610mrk610 Posts: 378
    I have a my02 outback wagon with 48k miles . I have had 0 problems with my brakes . I guess I am just easy on the them or very lucky. A long time ago a friend of mine who worked in a brake shop told me 2 things about brakes .

    1 Never rest you foor on the brake pedal . If you drive with both feet change it .

    2 When you come to a stop always let the car roll forward a little bit. That way the heat generated from stopping is spread out on the disk surface .

    Mike k
  • fibber2fibber2 Mid Hudson Valley, NYPosts: 3,775

    Your point #2 is indeed very critical. After a hard stop substantial 'pad transfer' can occur if you keep the pads tightly clamped against the rotor. I have one such stop each morning (the substandard exit ramp off of the Taconic Pkwy), and I always give myself some creep room when I come to a stop at the light for just this reason.

    But my problems always seem to happen after non-use of the car. The worst time occured when I washed and put her away for a week. Brakes were locked up tight as a drum, and within days the dealer was replacing/lathing parts.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Clicking with the speed of the car? Could it be a loose speedo cable?

    On 2nd thought, I think they did away with those and send electric signals now instead.

  • c_hunterc_hunter Posts: 4,487
    I had an 02 LL Bean H6, and I did have an ocassional chirp from the engine belt at around 24000 miles in cold/damp weather. I replaced the belt at the 30000 service and it took care of the problem. But in that cas it was obvious that it was related to the engine.

    If your chirp is dependent on road speed and not engine rpm, I wonder if it is the squealer on the brake pads -- they are designed to squeak when the brake pads get worn down, to let you know it's time for new pads.

    If not the pads, I would suspect a bearing -- they also can make a squeaking noise, though it would soon become louder (like a jet engine) as the bearing fails.

  • jfljfl Posts: 1,385

    The last time I washed my car, the rotors showed slight rust by the time I finished thoroughly drying the car!

  • saywhatsaywhat Posts: 63
    My 05 Legacy GT Ltd. sedan has a unbelievable strong odor while under medium acceleration. The smell is reminiscent of sweet or rotten eggs. My car has 2,000 miles on it, I broke it in the proper way, and the service manager doesn't know what to do about it. He has contacted SOA, and I have started a case with Subaru, and we are waiting for an answer. The Ser. Manger suggested that maybe they are using different catalytic converters and they are not working right. Between the smell of the cat. conv., and the warm air coming out of the vents on the fresh air setting (101) when the outside air is 79, have made this car a nightmare. I even changed gasoline trying to get a lower sulfer content, all to no avail. The worst part is all the so called experts dont seem to have a clue on how to fix the two problems. And also, there are many other GT owners on other web sites, that are having the same exact problems. My wifes 04 Forrester Turbo is perfect. What the heck has happened to the 05 Leg. GT. Ltd.? (other than a price increase). I'm at the point now where I can't even drive the car because of the smell. My wife has Asthma, and I'm 67 with a heart condition. We both feel sick after being in the car for more than 15 min. Does anyone have any suggestions? I will keep this board informed of SOA's recommendations as we go along with these 2 very aggravating problems. And I thought I was getting a safe car for the winter time, etc. etc. I guess we dont get smarter with age.
  • c_hunterc_hunter Posts: 4,487
    Sorry to hear of these problems, definitely not right. Does Patti know about your case?

  • saywhatsaywhat Posts: 63
    Craig; Yes Patti does know about my case. Considering all the exact same complaints on some of the other forums, this has to be a design and or an eng. problem, or maybe like my Service manager suspects, they may have changed cat. converters. I'll post the answers when I get them from my dealer and SOA. My service manager said that when he was invited to drive the 05 Legacys at some race track by Subaru, all the cars had that same sweet sickening smell, so Subaru knew about it and still brought the car to market in America. I just cant believe that a Japanese Manufacture would bring such a problem car to America. Isn't this what all the domestic cars did 30 or 40 years ago? And look what happened to the domestic car market! But anyway, thanks for your concern Craig.
  • fibber2fibber2 Mid Hudson Valley, NYPosts: 3,775
    I am going to assume that everything is tight and that there are no obvious leaks in your exhaust system. Then the only possible explanation is that the exhaust pipe output is somehow (via the vehicles aerodymanics) being trapped underbody and finding its way back into the cabin. If you are willing to experiment, try getting one of those chrome tips from an auto parts store to lengthen/redirect the output from the exhaust pipe. If the problem goes away, then it is indeed one of airflow. If not, then there must be an undetected leak somewhere.

  • saywhatsaywhat Posts: 63
    Steve; That's a good idea. The only thing is that the GT LTD. Sedan has the two tail pipes that come out pretty far, but I will suggest that to the service manager and let them try it out. (If i bend over that far, It will take me an hour to get back up). Thanks for the suggestion. Bob
  • goosegoggoosegog Posts: 206
    I've just had my 2.5L manual 2000 OB serviced at 48,000km. Not only have we never had any brake problems the dealer's report estimated 75% remaining on the front brakes and 85% remaining on the rear.

    Although we don't drive the car hard, we live near Vancouver BC and it is normally driven in urban traffic, as well as at least one long road trip a year towing a brakeless tent trailer.

    Thus, I can't help wondering about driving habits. For instance, I am frequently passed by people in another lane as I am slowing for traffic or a red light. Obviously these folk must brake much harder than me in order to stop at the same spot. And I'm assuming that most of them drive automatics which put more stress on the brakes anyway.

    Also, I release the brakes after stopping, and either allow a short roll or simply sit there in neutral if the road is level. I learned to drive in the UK, so I tend to use my parking brake if stopped in traffic for any length of time or on an incline.
  • You might want to video tape the problem with someone sitting in the back recording the problem going down a straight stretch of road providing shots of the road and steering wheel.
  • I have a 1998 Subaru Legacy Outback that has a periodic problem with the rear hatch not opening. Holding the remote to unlock all doors, manually hitting the unlock door switch on the drivers side door and manually inserting the key into the hatch to unlock the hatch does not seem unlock the hatch. It started happening 6 months ago but only has the problem for a length of about 1 week and then works until the next month it repeats itself again.

    Has anyone experienced this problem before?
  • I have a 2002 outback with eng. knock when first started which last about 30 min. are longer the dealer says this is normal no help from subaru
  • fibber2fibber2 Mid Hudson Valley, NYPosts: 3,775
    I know that this is probably not what you want to hear, but it may indeed be normal. Many of us are experiencing it, few are overjoyed at listening to it, but we are learning to accept it. Here is the deal:

    A knock that begins when the engine is cold and goes away once fully warmed up (length of time varies between a few minutes and up to 15 or so) is probably due to something called "piston slap". The quest for reduced reciprocating mass has caused many mfgrs to shorten the piston's lower skirt around the wrist pin area. The result is that the piston can oscillate in the bore, making the noise. It is not a "Subaru only" thing, and has been discussed in news articles on engine design.

    SoA, like most mfgrs, has a time/noise level spec on what is considered 'normal', and what warrants possible piston replacement with slightly oversized units. Call them and open a case if you are really concerned and have a factory rep listen to the car on a cold start. But chances are it is something you will have to learn to ignore. Believe me, I find the sound a bit distressing as will, but at least understand the cause.

  • amsbearamsbear Posts: 147
    Yep, I do. I notice on mine that there is a good deal of rust on the hatch lever hinges and springs. This seems to interfere with the latch returning to its normal position. Locking it with that latch/handle in the pulled position causes some difficulty when trying to unlock and reopen the next time.

    My solution is to make sure that after I close the hatch, I push the lever towards the car (the springs are supposed to do this) then lock it with the remote.

    Spray some WD-40 (or something like it) onto the lever mechanism every so often to keep it lubed and prevent further rust.

    I think that a lot of this rusting is due to moisture from the exhaust.

    Hope this helps.

    98 OBW Ltd
  • Do you still have this problem? I have a 99 Outback and have a constant squeak from the front brakes and I had the pads and rotors replaced at 40K and since then have been told the squeak is "normal."
  • papagpapag Posts: 4
    Good idea. I'm starting to think that, for some reason, one wheel is getting more torque than the others, since alignment, etc. appears to be fine.
  • mrk610mrk610 Posts: 378
    I also have a 02 obw . I now have 48 k miles on it . My car started to knock at 6k miles when temp was below 30 degrees. It would last about 5 mins then go away . Took it to the dealer and they gave me a sub tech bulletin about it . See (fibber2 remarkes).
    Fast forward to Jan 04 42k miles on car . The knock got progressivly worst and would knock at all temps at start up .Took it back to the dealer and had the District Serv Rep listen to it. He consulted with the Sub Tech Line and they said that if the noise goes away after 15 mins that it is normal . My noise didn't go away it would be quieter but was still there at all times . Was told they would get back to me . I got the call 2 days later to bring car in to have countermeasure pistons installed . They only do the #2and #4 pistons on the drivers side of engine .They had the car for 2 days . I now have put 6k miles on it and it is much quieter at start up . I still have very slight knock but goes away in 15-30 seconds.the real test will be when the temps get below 30 degrees.
    Throught this whole time my car never burned a drop of oil and ran like a champ other then the knock noise .
    I was able to see the pistons that came out and there was some wear near the wrist pin .Just the moly coating worn off . The cylinder walls had no wear at all.
    So I guess all I'm saying is stay with it get the District Serv Rep involved and call the 800# for SOA and get a case # . As I said before the main thing is that if the noise goes away they won't do any repairs .

    Hope this helps
    Mike k
  • I have owned a 94 Legacy wagon, a 96 Legacy Outback, and a 99 Legacy Wagon. One problem I have universally had is bad tire wear. I rotate every 3,000 and align every 6,000 and I still can't get 12,000 miles out of a set of tires. I have taken them to many garages and tried many different tires. The last attempt was in March. The dealer aligned the car and I bought new tires. Now, here we are 8,000 miles later and the tires are at 3/32 and the edges are gone.

    I am in the market for a new car and I really like the 2005 Legacy. But, I am very hesitant to get another Subaru just because of the expense of all of the alignments and tires.

    By comparison, we didn't have to align our Honda for 30,000 miles and tire wear has been great.

    Anyone else having problems with tire wear and does anyone know if it is better with the 2005?

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