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Subaru Legacy/Outback Wagons Maintenance & Repair



  • c_hunterc_hunter Posts: 4,487
    About the only thing I want to point out is that most of us frequent multiple Subaru enthusiast sites in addition to this one. I look at 3-4 of them on a regular basis. Very few of us are Edmunds-only, so I don't take the different tone here to be an issue. Actually, all the sites have a different flavor. For one thing, because of the strict rules and the format on Edmunds, we're less likely to get into mods, projects, and hacks here. That alone gives this forum a lot less depth.

  • njswamplandsnjswamplands Posts: 1,760
    heck even the name benign
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,865
    I had ONE 350-mile run that gave me 31.2 mpg five years ago with my 2.5L '96. But, the speeds were an almost perfect 55-60 mph and I may have stopped the car 4 times total and did 0 passing. Also, the terrain was quite mountainous and the general tendency was an overall decrease in elevation. Since then, the best was 28 and the normal highway (those 100% trips at ~65) mpg is about 25.5.

    Cleaning the fuel injector system along with an ECU flash is probably a good idea. If you drove the car on several distance trips during the first two weeks, the car may have "adapted" to your driving habits incorrectly, and now it is programmed for distance instead that incredibly short 3-mile trip.

    If the car has run poorly for that long, you may consider taking a peek at the spark plugs too, but it is a bi.... er, uh, troublesome... task as there is not much clearance with which to work. :D
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • jfljfl Posts: 1,385
    In my experience, the first tank after an ECU reset had lower than typical mpg. But came back to normal afterwards.

  • occkingoccking Posts: 346
    I wonder. In the almost 7500miles I have travelled in outback 2.5i ltd, average fuel consumption (actual) was 24.8 yet via trip computer a little over 26. This is consistent with other cars I have had with trip computers--they always show computer mog higher than actual. However, I reset the trip computer with every fillup. I wonder if I only reset if for one of the trip odometers & checked mileage over three or four tankfulls if that would give a more accurate reading. Think I will try that. Have others on this board had similar experiences?
  • K9LeaderK9Leader Posts: 112
    I have a 2000 OBW and those MPGs sound about right. The best I get on long trips is 26 - 27. Around town, it's more in the 18 - 20 range. Your short 3-mile commute would bring that down, so 16 is not unthinkable. Now, if you wanted to improve that, you could move further away from work. Your average MPG would be better but you'd be burning more G.

    If you have a mechanic that you trust, you can have it looked at/diagnosed to see if there is something that might be dragging it down somewhat. You should run screaming from that dealership that did the test that got 31+ MPG. That test was so brief as to be worthless - they were just saying anything they could come up with to get you to go away. Average MPG has to be measured over a longer time -- several tanks worth.

    Another thing to remember, these are fairly heavy cars -- 3600 lbs. One of my other cars is a V8 powered 1994 Lincoln Mark VIII that comes in at under 3900 lbs. and is considered big and heavy, so a 3600 lb. Outback is no lightweight -- lots of glass, extra stiffening, extra plating, AWD equipment (although I understand that is only about 150 lbs., surprisingly light for what it does, but still an extra 150 lbs.).

    You shouldn't really compare the OB only to an Accord, Saturn, etc. Also compare it to a Trailblazer, Explorer, etc. It should and does fall somewhere in between these two classes of vehicles. More efficient and economical than an SUV and more versatile and rugged and capable in snow or on dirt than a plain vanilla passenger car.

    Now what about a hybrid Outback? I have to say that when Toyota comes out with a hybrid car-based SUV, or Honda puts out the hybrid Accord in a wagon with AWD, I will take a serious gander.

    On the trip computer, only my Lincoln has an onboard MPG calculator, and it always comes out 1 - 2 mpg over the full-tank to full-tank calculation. The manufacturers fudge them as much as they can to help buyers rationalize their purchase.

  • ppersppers Posts: 1
    We have a very similar problem with our 2005 Outback w/manual transmission. At first the dealer service said there was no error code. On the third visit, they said there was a problem with the cruise control switch on some manuals. A few weeks ago, we finally had the cruise control switch replaced. Today the problem re-appeared after driving a few hundred miles.
  • Let me start by stating that I have both a 2000 and a 2002 Outback wagon. The 2000 at 50K miles has never made any engine noises.

    The 2002 (50K miles also) from the beginning had some valve noise, but nothing unsettling. From the beginning, and getting worse every winter, is the loud, obviously piston, clunking. It is now loud enough that people and animals turn their heads when I go by in the car. It is present at all temperatures up to about 80 degrees - lasts about 15 minutes and returns after exiting high speed highways for another 5 minutes or so.

    Remarkably, the car runs great (about 27 MPG, 80 mi/day highway commuting).

    I've told 2 dealers, who both told me "they all do that" which is obviously a lie since my 2000 doesn't. To drive to a dealer is a 40 mile hike, so it is rarely loud when I get there.

    At this volume, is it still non-destructive and nothing to worry about? If not, how do I get a dealer to actually do something?

    BTW, my report to SOA on this resulted in a "you need to work with your dealer." - which has the same value as "don't bother me sonny...."

    Don't get me wrong, I love the cars and will buy more, but waking all the farm animals in my very rural neighborhoods is not making me any friends. :)
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Edmunds has a lot of regulars that stick around. That's the thing - participation, long-term. Many of us have been here 7+ years, like me.

    Other boards may have folks that seek them out for answers or even just an ear to hear their venting. When they are done, they just leave.

  • m1axm1ax Posts: 3
    I have a problem that seems common on Subarus. When I drive my car I hear a sound from the motor. This sound is like a high pitch whine. I hear it as soon as I hit the gas on the road, but it's almost impossible to hear when the car is on idle, while driving or not.

    I first thought that it was the alternetor and showed the car to a mechanic (not a Subaru dealer) and he sent the alternator to get fixed. The alternator came back, but I was told that it was in perfect order and that the sound was normal.

    Well, I don't think this sound is normal at all. I don't like it and I think it should be fixed. What should I do?

    Thanks a lot in advance.

  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 7,717
    We're getting a fair amount of crossover between the chat groups, so why not invite all the Subies to the Tuesday Mazda chat?? :)

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  • c_hunterc_hunter Posts: 4,487
    If it's a high ptched whine (like a TV whine) you only hear when you apply throttle at highway speeds, then I've been told it's the pinion gears in the transmission/diff and it's normal.

    My 02 wagon made this noise. It bothered me at first, but after a while I really didn't notice it too much.

  • do you have another car? I put my wife's car keys together with mine andhad the same problem, leave the keys apart and the problem will be solved
  • The noise comes from the clutch and has no influence on its effectiveness, mine has just worn out on the 2.5from 2000 after 210.000 kms.
    After a while I even learned to appreciate the noise while accellerating.
  • just repair the cap over the axle, nothings wrong with the axle itself, you can check easily if the cap is still intact. Just fix it on the next maintenance, the cost is minor on parts and costed me about 80 $, myproblem appeared after about 135000miles
  • Outback owner, model LEGACY 2.5, mileage 217.000kms recommends the model after a very active and sporty use with only a clutch issue solved by Subaru under warranty even with 197.000kms on the car as I had formulated a request during the warranty period.
    It is a fantastic car for cruising, increadibelly stable even under overcharged conditions(very heavy loads) and very effective on ice and much fun on snow for towing your two wheel drive neighbours. Its a bit more noisy than average but if used at his torque not thirsty at all even if they say so.
    Have fun.
  • c_hunterc_hunter Posts: 4,487
    The H6 was auto transmission only -- no clutch (well, not a traditional one anyway).

  • I was very close a week ago to buying an Outback wagon with the 2.5L. Loved everything about it. Researched the web a bit and got scared to death by the seemingly infinite web sites and postings regarding the "2.5L headgasket leaks from hell" issue.

    I've seen posts affecting the 2.5L from ~1999 through 2003. Nothing on 2004 or 2005 models, but from what I can gather nothing much has changed in the engine over these years.

    I deeply want to avoid any sort of hassle factor of a 10 issue arguing with the dealer over this sort of stuff. Esp. considering it is such a major part - not something like a strut or a rattle.

    So please educate me.

    My salesperson claimed the whole issue was originally a bad batch of gaskets that they worked through. I took that as total BS given I've read people having to replace the gasket at 60K and then again only 20K later. Why wouldn't the replacement gasket be the "better" one if true?
  • m1axm1ax Posts: 3
    Thanks for the answer C_hunter. I will have the car checked by a dealer next week; I'll let you know what is his diagnosis.

    BTW, I don't hear it only at highway speed; I'd say that it's there at speeds as low as 20 MPH, but it gets more audible at higher speeds.
  • sos03sos03 Posts: 6
    To slickdog and to later response from Jim W.,

    Engine temp seems to have stabilized (though gauge is is slightly lower than before) and have not, to date, had hesitation recurrence - am beginning to wonder whether I just got some "bad" gas.

    New problem is intermittent clicking noise from steering wheel on turns (probably just got put back together incorrectly after all the
    monitoring?) Guess will try to get car to dealer when clicking noise next occurs....

    jim, the heater always worked perfectly (frequently too warm for me so the auto-climate control overworks the ac)

  • kenskens Posts: 5,869
    Replied to you in the other topic.

    Please don't cross-post.

  • bmurphybmurphy Posts: 1
    I have a 2000 Subaru Outback that developed coolant leaks at Headgaskets leaked at 20,000, 46,000 and the last one at 63,000 miles. I had the tsb done with the additive but it's done no good. I'm talking to a lawyer to see if there's anything I can do. Are there enough of us that we can get a class action started or something? Has anyone else in NJ had this problem? I'm desperate and just want Subaru to fix this mess. Please email me if you've had any luck if getting this fixed or or any luck with the lemon law or want to join a class action. Something has to be done. Help!
  • I have a 2003 Outback Limited with a six cd changer (Part #H6240LS101) and one of the disks apparently got stuck. I was wondering if there was a manual release to eject the cd or whether I need to take it back to the dealer. I bought the car used with 30,000 miles and got the $100 deductible extended warranty but to avoid the hassle of leaving the car with the dealer I was wondering if there was another way out.
  • hypovhypov Posts: 3,068
    If the disc is stuck and wouldn't eject, you'll have to take it apart.
    I believe you can access the disc by removing the top cover of the HU.
    I've not done it myself... well, I was going to when I forgot to remove the CDs after I did the aftermarket swap today, but 3 of the 8 screws on the mounting bracket just wouldn't budge :(

  • Wow! Thanks for the quick reply...I think I'll take it back to the dealer and spend the $100 bucks...sorry about your cd's...I hope they can salvage mine when they remove the unit...Thanks for you help!
  • K9LeaderK9Leader Posts: 112

    I also have a 2000 OBW. I bought it at 32K miles in March 2003. In January 2004 at 42K I had the head gasket leak and had it at the dealer when SOA announced the coolant additive/warranty extension fix. The dealer seemed to have been giving me the runaround for a couple of days (stalling due to the breaking news of the fix) so I got SOA customer service (via Patti) involved. The gunk was added, the warranty extended to 8/100K, and the SOA CSR offered to pay for my 60K service when it came due (they volunteered it -- I hadn't even raised the issue).

    It hit 60k recently and I was smelling coolant again (usually on the colder days). Took it to the dealer (different one than a year ago as that one is no longer a Subaru store) for the 60K service and, yes, it was leaking again so they replaced the gasket under the warranty. I have sent the paperwork in to SOA for reimbursement and am looking forward to them being good to their word.

    In all, both dealers and SOA (so far) have been up front and responsive. These kind of mechanical/technical things happen. The real test is how they deal with it. Assuming I do get the reimbursement for the 60K service, they done right by me.

    Were the gaskets replaced at 20K, 46k, and the coolant additive done at 63K? If you had the coolant additive done, then you should be covered under the extended warranty, even though you were beyond the original 60K warranty as it was an ongoing condition. You need to call SOA customer service and get them involved. Give them a chance to make it right before you resort to unchaining the lawyers.

    I know it is frustrating, but in the grand scheme of automotive problems, this is on the lower end of the spectrum. You ought to talk to my buddy who has finally given up on his Chrysler minivan now that it needs its fourth(!) transmission.

    Good luck!


    P.S. Tried to respond by email, but no go -- you have your email address blocked in your profile.
  • hypovhypov Posts: 3,068
    zellaidella, "Legacy/Outback Wagons Problems & Solutions (Wagons)" #4463, 23 Mar 2005 3:58 pm

    You could also just remove the radio and leave it with the dealer. That way, you still have the car to drive around (minus radio) :)

    I got my CDs out... had to uninstall the new HU and plug the 6 CD back on to eject the disc :P

  • omeromer Posts: 7
    I just bought a new 2005 Legacy base model. When i first start the car in the morning it is very noisy for the first 30 secs. Is this a normal noise??
  • bat1161bat1161 Posts: 1,784
    I also have a 2000 OBW and had the headgaskets replaced under warranty back around 36000 miles. The dealer added the additive las tyear, and so far no problems.

    Which dealer are you going to? Sometimes that can make all the difference. I go to Flemington subaru, where I have alsways been treated fairly.
    Good luck and let us know what happens.

  • smillersmiller Posts: 32
    My 2005 OBW 2.5i is noisy too right after cold start. My dealer said it is normal -
    "That it is the computer doing its job along with
    the emissions system doing its job to achieve the low emissions standard."
    I hope the know what they are talking about.
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