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Subaru Legacy/Outback Wagons Maintenance & Repair



  • otis123otis123 Posts: 431
    They grind and pulse. Someone in the general Outback thread has the same problem.
  • zberkzberk Posts: 5
    I have a 2000 Outback wagon with less than 30k miles. It's my fourth scoober. I saw in some earlier messages that others were having the mystery burning rubber smell eminating from under the hood and somewhat through the vents. I don't live where the roads get salted, I haven't run over anything, and the car started this smell about two months ago. There are no puddles of oil or anything else under the car.

    I've had the techs tell me it was CV boot leaks, but now that they've replaced both of them, the smell remains. I'm about ready to take my car in for the third time on this problem. There are no TSBs or recalls regarding the smell.

    Has anyone successfully resolved the issue?

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I imagine a warranty on the exhaust will cover perforation, not surface rust. But don't worry, if it leaks, you'll definitely hear it!

    Regarding that smell, has any oil spilled on the block? The undercoating burns off slowly and the stench lasts for months, FWIW.

  • rob999rob999 Posts: 233
    Has anyone used aftermarket OBDII Diagnostic Scanning software (like on your Sube? If so, can you recommend a package or pass along any cautions?
  • trek2002trek2002 Posts: 17
    Dropped off the 2002 OBW with 4400 miles for the pinion bearing / gear ring repair today. Will post results hopefully by Friday after completion.
    Let me know how your dealer is handling your situation.

    Good Luck
  • subarudesubarude Posts: 5
    I own a 1999 Outback. I had no problems with the car in the first two years.
    In December of 2001, we developed a burning smell from the front of the car. When describing the symptoms over the phone the dealer correctly diagnosed the problems as a leaking front engine crank oil seal. He told me this was quite common and after replacement we could expect the seal to last 100,000 miles or more because the dealer installed seal lasts longer than the factory seal. Immediately following this work we heard a constant squeal from the engine, which was diagnosed as a defective alternator. Having just spent over $400.00 on the car, I now faced spending another $250.00.
    What I anticipated from Subaru was well over 100K trouble free miles. The replacement alternator, a factory authorized rebuilt was defective from Day One. The squeal was worse than the original. Once again, I brought the car back in for more service. Again the diagnosis was the alternator, which was replaced under the parts warranty. Within a week the car died in traffic on a very busy highway stranding me with an out of town guest. We had it towed to the dealer: diagnosis- defective alternator cable.
    I had 57,000 trouble free miles. The warranty is 60,000 miles. At 63,000 miles the car began to fall apart. I exceeded the Subaru recommended service interval by 100%.
    In the first 70,000 miles I changed the oil 18 times.
    Not one month later while on a vacation trip, the car stopped running stranding my wife on the left shoulder on a very busy 75 MPH interstate at 11:00 PM 500 miles from home. Taken to a local dealer the diagnosis was a rod through the block. Destroyed engine.
    Needless to say, I am not happy. I had anticipated reliability equivalent to my 30 years of experience with similar vehicles. What I have is a car that has cost me $3,300.00 in repairs when I consider it to be barely broken in. I selected this car based on its reputation for reliability. Myth: A fiction or half-truth, especially one that forms part of an ideology. A popular belief or story that has become associated with a person, institution, or occurrence, especially one considered to illustrate a cultural ideal
    Looking at the Edmunds website, I see numerous mentions of the odor that presaged the complete failure of my engine. I hope I can warn those Subaru owners before they learn the same expensive lesson I learned.
  • revkarevka Posts: 1,750
    Very sorry to hear about your vehicle problems. Hopefully, you'll be able to put this all behind you and move onto another vehicle of your choice....

    Also, please be aware that spam is a direct violation of our Town Hall Guidelines. I've removed several of your duplicate messages from our Town Hall discussions. People will be able to read it here and in a couple of the discussions where it still remains. Feel free to send me an email if you have any questions or comments about this. Good luck.

    Hatchbacks & Station Wagons Boards
  • tqw123tqw123 Posts: 3
    Thank you very much!!!

    I have been waiting to return to the dealer until I got some information from this site. Was the repair covered under warranty? Did you have to pay anything? I only have about 1500 miles on the car.
  • trek2002trek2002 Posts: 17
    The advisor called today to inform me that SOA sent them the wrong part even thought they ordered all the parts according to the VIN/model.
    Sounds fishy but, they should receive the part overnight and possibly have it repaired by tomorrow afternoon. This is after dropping the car off on Monday afternoon, hopefully they started on it on Tuesday morning.
    Repair should be under warranty, and they provided me a rental from Enterprise. Boy now I now why I don't buy Chevys, The Impala is a dog.

    I will post a more detail description off the worksheet after all is completed.

    If your service advisor can't seem to realize what the problem is tell them to call Jim Burke in Birmingham AL.

    Good Luck.
  • cfeldmancfeldman Posts: 14
    Down to the wire between 2002 4 Runner and Outback vdc wagon.
    Own a forester now, need more room and want a bit more torque. Love the awd of subaru but 4wd and traction looks appealing on 4 runner.
    Any advice??
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    The milage on the 4-runner will be horrible compared to the outback and the handling will be nowhere near as good. If you need to tow, offroad then I'd go with the 4-runner. IMHO the 4-runner is small inside and I feel really closed in by the windshield.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Thanks revka, but I still found several copies of that cross-post.

    This guy is a troll because he has not had a 2nd, follow-up post in any topic so far.

    Cliff: try a Legacy GT, they are geared 7% shorter (tires) and therefore a little quicker plus lighter than Outbacks. Or try the H6.

  • linsavylinsavy Posts: 13
    I had a 1992 4Runner for 7 years. Great vehicle. If you are towing or do heavy offroad, its the vehicle, great resale too.
    The outback will handled better, run quieter, out brake, accelerate and corner the new 4runner.
    The 4 runner's awd system has some quirks with the interaction with traction control at low speeds. It's not quite as seemless as the Subaru, but is far better for off-road duty. 4 runner has a taller cargo area too for the odd time you have a piece of furniture in there.
    Maintenance and gas cost and insurance on the 4Runner are going to be higher.
  • nygregnygreg Posts: 1,936
    Well, just installed 4 new Dunlop Sport A2s on my OB (Juice - you can take some credit for my decision :)) The jury will be out for a while, however, they seem quieter, ride better and take a turn better than the OEM Firestones with both at 33 PSI. The max pressure on these is 44 PSI, so am not sure where I want the pressure to be yet. Also, have some radial pull - will need to rotate to find the errant tire. Stay tuned.
    BTW, had Costco install these. The guy who installed them did a good job, however, the manager that checks the bolts had no clue what to do. Therefore, removed and reinstalled them myself when I got home.

  • heatherbeanheatherbean Posts: 82
    I too just had tires put on today! I either wanted the Dunlap A2 Sport or the Michelin Pilot XGT A4's. Really the only two choices for good all weather traction plus performance and superior handling. I chose the Michelins since they were the same price at American tires. Much better then the Bridgestone Potenza Re 92's! My GT wagon is very pleased with my choice. The grip excellently and take corners ever tighter then before. Seems like the perfect match for my GT and my husband's L.L. Bean as well. We love these tires! Hey his Outback pulled to the right before these tires- I noticed others have this complaint, well better tires fixed it 100%!
  • nygregnygreg Posts: 1,936
    Had the same issue on the Yokos I put on my Sienna. I rotated them around and it went away (tire placed on rear wheel). When I rotated them back 2 weeks ago the radial pull was gone. Wondering if the same will happen with the Dunlops on the OB. The pull is not bad.

  • otis123otis123 Posts: 431
    Background: Had 2001 LLBean front rotors re-surfaced at 10,338 miles (brakes were vibrating and scraping when braking off the highway). At the time, the service manager said "next time Subaru won't pick up the tab..."

    Last week: Brought the car in for its free 22,500 service (oil, tire rotation). Brakes were back to how they felt at 10,337 miles. Walked over to the mechanic as he was working on the front brakes...."I'm replacing your front rotors and front pads. Your rotors were re-surfaced back at 10,000 miles, so they need to be replaced. They had "hot spots" = areas in the rotor where the pads get stuck. It's all covered."

    So, here I thought I'd have to fight or make a stink. No problems. Subaru must be aware of the problem (silent recall?)?

    I'm a happy camper, for now. Still wondering if it is an engineering flaw = brakes can't handle the weight of the car. Will have to wait and see (hopefully before 36,000 miles, if it is a design flaw.)

    Otherwise, car has been flawless...

  • nygregnygreg Posts: 1,936
    After replacing the tires and torqueing correctly, I still get the pulsating especially when the brakes are hot (after driving a while). Called a Subaru dealer near my house and they said they will take care of the problem under warrantly (most likely). Need to schedule an apptmt. BTW, I have 23K on the car.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Ralph: who cares, it was free to you! :-)

    I haven't heard of lots of problems like that, but maybe there was a TSB on it.

    Rotors got 0.7" bigger in 2001 or 2002, I can't remember exactly when.

  • otis123otis123 Posts: 431

    Free this time, but after 36,000 miles...

    I still think the brakes can't handle the weight of the car. Only time will tell... My 92 Camry LE 4 cyl. had the same problem (maybe Japanese engineering schools don't teach brake design theory well :-o ).

    Otherwise, the rest of the car is, no complaints here! We love the car and the service we are getting from Curry Subaru.

    Can't wait for the 2005 Outback w/ even larger front brakes, side curtain and front knee airbags, monotone paint, DVD rear passenger entertainment unit,.... LOL!

  • nygregnygreg Posts: 1,936
    Your very happy with Curry? Still trying to figure out how I feel about Colonial (Danbury). Also thinking of trying Smith-Cairns (Brewster). Need to get the rotors replaced/cut and yesterday I received the ECU reprogramming letter from Subaru, therefore I need to plan a trip to the dealer. Just wondering if I should go back to Colonial (where I bought the car) or try someone new.

  • emmalineemmaline Posts: 27
    I haven't rec'd any letter from Subaru re. ECU reprogramming, and am just wondering if it has to do with the faulty "check engine light" problem I was dealing with on my 2002 Legacy Wagon. Emma
  • cautiouswpcautiouswp Posts: 9
    Can you elaborate on the ECU reprogramming letter from Subaru that you received.

    Was it in regard to a specific problem that you are having? .... or a general notice?

    Were there any details in the letter regarding its purpose?

    Thanks for your help.
  • postmodernpostmodern Posts: 38

    Curry is the dealer that I'm NOT happy with! (extra $45 for Mobil 1 on an oil change, under hood fluids not checked/replaced and tire pressure not checked on the same 7500 mile service). Their parts dept also told me that I'd have to replace the entire right mirror assembly even though the mirror was the only broken part -- there was no way to only replace the mirror.

    I've heard iffy reports of Smith-Cairns in Brewster, although my daughter is happy with service at the Mt. Kisco location. And her bill for the comparable service that Curry charged me $122 for was $55! Too bad that they don't sell Surbarus at the Mt. Kisco location.

    Incidently, the mirror replacement kit has arrived. It does appear to be the correct kit, complete with mirror, heating grid, hard plastic backing, sticky pads, etc. Are you and Steve (fibber2) still game for a lunchtime mirror repair and tailgate party?

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Ralph: perhaps in repeated stops, where the brakes don't have time to cool down. I think they're fine for normal use.

    Braking distances for the WRX and the Forester are class-leading. The Outback is a tad heavier, FWIW.

    You should see the tiny rotors on my Miata, of course that's a light weight.

  • peterson10peterson10 Posts: 116
    Sorry, but I don't have my letter in front of me. As far as I can "recall", most current model Legacys/Outbacks and Imprezas (those with AT) and all 2001-2002 Foresters need to have their ECUs re-educated to correct the erroneous Check Engine Light problem that some have experienced. Apparently the forward emmision sensor is talking gibberish which the ECU mistranslates as "yikes, something is terribly wrong". I had my Forester's ECU reprogrammed two weeks ago, but as I've never had the CEL problem I can't testify to its effectiveness.

  • otis123otis123 Posts: 431
    I think Curry Subaru has been great so far, and Curry Honda has been great for my Honda since 1996 (as was Geis Toyota, for my Camry - although I know people that get extremely mad when I mention Geis).

    As far as the brakes on the LLBean, I think I need to start slowing down BEFORE I exit the parkway. Approaching the exit lane at 75-80mph isn't healthy (for me or the car)...

    I haven't received a letter from Subaru and haven't had any problems, so I probably won't let them touch my ECU!

    Weird though, I received an e-mail from yesterday - don't know where they got my address, or why they waited 1 1/2 yrs. to contact me? I filled out the mySubaru stuff.

  • nygregnygreg Posts: 1,936
    I have never had any problems with CELs. The letter is a general service campaign. It addresses the CEL as well as some reports of stalling or hesitation. States it will take about 45 minutes to do. I'll try to get it done next week. I'm leaning towards Colonial Subaru where I purchased the car.

  • jay_24jay_24 Posts: 536

    What OBW models/years did the letter mention? I haven't seen a letter nor have CEL problems, but the hesitation problem exists so this is of interest.

  • nygregnygreg Posts: 1,936
    I don't have the letter with me now. I will try to post what it says tonight.

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