Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Subaru Legacy/Outback Wagons Maintenance & Repair



  • markk1markk1 Posts: 30
    I have not found out much yet except that other folks have this problem also. Interestingly my car is often parked on an incline in my driveway which is fairly steep. Although I have not noted any correlation between the issue and having parked on the driveway. The problem seems to always occur when I stop at a light within the first 5 - 10 miles after starting up. The one time it was really bad (maybe 30 seconds before it went into gear) I tried putting it in the low gears 3,2,1 to see if that made any difference which it did not. BTW did you have your transmission fluid changed shortly before this started? There was a posting that asked me and it turns out I did with the 60k service which was really at 63k which was shortly before the issue started.
  • bat1161bat1161 Posts: 1,784
    I will echo atarget's view of no car is perfect. I have a 2000 OBW 5spd, which I love (else I would not be following the boards here :) ).

    I have had various problems since I have taken delivery 4 years 8 months ago. I have had the warped rotors (front and rear) that have been ground once, then replaced. I have had the clutch replaced at 36K miles (under warranty) when I had complained about clutch shudder. I have had a fuel injector replaced at 59K miles, both head gaskets replaced, as well as "minor" work done. That includes the weather stripping replaced around the passenger door, and a missing grill for the fog lamp. The story continues as I bring my car in tonight for getting the front struts done.

    I have been fortunate in finding a good service dealer who has worked with me throughout all this. I would say that 99% of the work I have had done has been covered either by the original or the extended warranty, so my out-of-pocket cost has been trivial.

    My point is: no car is perfect. Sure there have been vehicles that have needed less work; however I have never had the pleasure of a manufacturer who has stuck by their product the way Subaru has stuck by me. I figure I got the "Monday" car -the one that was built on a Monday after a very long weekend of partying:-). My wife has felt that we have had more than our share of "luck" with this OB; but for all that she does agree that we will stick with a Subaru when we do move to a newer car. I know there have been major improvements since my 2000 came out, that's one of my selling points for a new OB XT :). My friends know what I have gone through, but after riding in the car, agree it is a good vehicle. Heck, it even got one of them to buy an OB, and another to add 2 more Foresters to the collection.

  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 7,770

    Edmunds Moderator

    Need some roadside assistance? - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

    Share your vehicle reviews

    PF_Flyer's 2014 Versa Note Long Term Blog
    How To Start Your Own Long Term Blog

  • We just traded in our 01 GT for a new 2.5i wagon (sweet). The GT (our 5th Subie) was perfect until recently, with minimum service ("if it ain't broke dont fix it"). There is even about 25% wear left on original brakes and no leaking gaskets or plugged hoses/PCV! Want the secret? Amsoil! After about 10K I switched to 0-30 Amsoil 2000. That stuff is awesome, apparently eliminating the clogged hoses, PCV etc., and no leaking anywhere! It had to be the oil, that was the only thing different and all our previous Subies have leaky HG by 100K. I changed oil every 36K, per Amsoils recommendation and oil filters every 3K - 12K, depending on who's filter I was using. I had a theory, that since syn' oils don't have any contaminants, like paraffins, there wuoldn't be anything to clog the works and I think I was right, plus I beleive the gaskets last longer because the engine runs cooler on syn' oils. One other thing with syn, I only went through a quart about every 10K, instead of every 2K with dino oil.

    But then, at 137K my clutch started making a strange humming noise just before engaging, probably a throughout bearing (and of course it had been chattering practically since new, but of course my local dealer couldn't "recreate the chatter"). That could have been why it's early dimise. Also, occasionally the starter would make a strange buzz when trying to start, but no starting, till the second attempt. So with all that, and needing a new set of tires (I got over 110K miles out of Pirelli P3000 80K tires, those are great tires!!!!!!!!!!) we took our black beauty down and traded for a new black beauty wagon, which is a great ride and was very reasonable at about $16K. How can you beat that? I haven't paid less for a Subie since '94!! We're lovin it!
  • atargetatarget Posts: 4
    Thanks for a warm welcome ! It's just my pleasure to hang out w/friendly folks
  • jfljfl Posts: 1,385 turns out I did with the 60k service which was really at 63k which was shortly before the issue started.

    The next questions are: who changed the tranny fluid and did they use the correct fluid?

  • garandmangarandman Posts: 524
    whatever people say about various subaru problems ( head gasket, transmission, front suspension squeeks, etc) I think it's mostly matter of driving habits and proper maintenance to avoid them

    If you go to and do a search in the new generation forum for head gasket, you get 13 pages of posts. That's not posts - that's summaries.

    Not to put too fine a point on it but you just bought a Subaru showing evidence of head gasket problems! I've driven two OBW's a total of 242,000 miles so I'll stick with my experiences and those of the hundreds of owners reporting head gasket problems everywhere else.
  • bmm001bmm001 Posts: 1
    I have a 1995 Legacy Sedan (automatic/AWD) with 90,000 miles on it, and I feel a very strong vibration when in Drive and stopped at idle (for example at a red light). A friend of mine suggested that my idle speed is too low. It is under 750 RPM when in gear and idling. Estimating from the tach, it appears to be around 600-650 RPM. Could this be the cause of the shaking? If so, how do I fix the low idle speed? The vibration goes away when I put the car in neutral.

  • Hi,

    Have an '03 outback limited wagon. Expecting third child. Problem is I can't fit 3 car seats accross the back seat (or at least the three I already own from previous 2 kids). Has anyone had success, and if so what brands did they use? I would need a booster, convertible, and infant seat to go accross to accommodate my kids. Please help.
  • kat95kat95 Posts: 49
    I had an older car that did, the timing was off and just needed to be adjusted. When was your last tune-up? It may be something else, which is why I just go to the dealer.
  • francophilefrancophile Posts: 667
    Two things come to mind:

    1) A misfire on one of the cylinders, possibly only under low/no load. This is the first thing I would have checked out. It could have a variety of causes; spark plug, plug wire, timing, fuel injector, valves, and more.

    2) A transmission problem, although I have never heard a specific issue that would cause roughness at a standstill.

    Good luck,
  • rob_mrob_m Somewhere North of BostonPosts: 813
    Misfire would throw a CEL. Could need the injectors cleaned. Or maybe a bad vacuum hose. Rob M.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,925
    My '96 periodically does this, but I just toss it in neutral until the light turns green. Your idle speed (at operating temp) is normal, so that is not the issue. I am not sure what is causing it, but I am at 183K now and it has done it (again, periodically) for 100K now (I bought it at 83K).

    Good luck,


    Garandman: "Not to put too fine a point on it....." LOL! That one tickled my funny bone.... thanks....
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • garandmangarandman Posts: 524
    Have an '03 outback limited wagon. Expecting third child. Problem is I can't fit 3 car seats accross the back seat (or at least the three I already own from previous 2 kids). Has anyone had success, and if so what brands did they use? I would need a booster, convertible, and infant seat to go accross to accommodate my kids. Please help.

    Subarus are indeed a bit narrow. We had a Britax Roundabout (? don't remember) and two Eddie Bauer booster seats and they fit three across with no extra room, and you have to move them back and forth to get the belts buckled. If you put the infant in the center it's extremely hard on your back to reach in like that and dos not improve the child.Some of the European brands (hard to find in the US) are narrower.

    That's also why we went from two OBW's to one and a '99 Dodge Caravan [not Grand] Sport. It has bucket seats in the center row and we took the one of the driver's side out (on newer minivans they fold down or away).

    So instead of reaching, climbing over each other, etc. now we open the sliding door, put all the kids in, shut the door (if it's cold) buckle them in, then walk up between the front seats and sit down. And carry two strollers and sometimes a bicycle. I think the passenger volume on the smaller minivans is almost exactly double that of an OBW.
  • jay_24jay_24 Posts: 536
    We have/had the same thing (2, 5, and 8). When our youngest was in an infant seat (backwards facing convertable?) it was OK. Once the youngest flipped to facing forward the seats couldn't fit. A year latter, however and two boosters and a child seat do fit, but just barely. We use 2 graco boosters (seat bottoms only) and a Cosco(??) child seat (5pt harness that can be removed so seat can be a booster, about 17 inches wide). The Graco boosters were the narrowest I could find (just over 16 inches if I remember.)

    Minivans aren't much better. Why? most can't take 3 kids in the second row, forcing you to use the third row. That kills the storage space and helping a 3yr old in the third row is tough. Toyata Sienna has an 8 passanger model that looks nice. Part of the reason we dumped our Grand Caravan was due to the poor second row.

  • stantontstantont Posts: 148
    Did you get this fixed?

    Beyond the normal tune-up stuff (plugs, wires, filters, etc.) the easiest thing to do, especially on a car with 90,000 miles, is toss a bottle of injector cleaner in the tank next time you fuel up. I've used Red Line and Chevron, and both work quite well. Apparently slightly clogged injectors don't affect normal running at speed, but at idle and just coming off-idle, you can feel a noticeable improvement. My '90 Taurus SHO needed the stuff about every 6-10,000 miles after it had about 60,000 on it, and the improvement was almost instantaneous (don't know how it can clean them in just a miinute or two, but it seems so). I put some in our '02 Legacy when we bought it with 57,000 miles, and again saw a slight but noticeable improvement. Both cars had a slight off-idle stumble from dirty injectors. Our Subie is a stick shift, so clean injectors made it easier to learn the Subaru clutch. Your automatic is in "off-idle" mode whenever it is idling in gear, right?

  • tpearsontpearson Posts: 1
    This is going back in time, but any more suggestions on what may be causing a sound like loose glass or plastic on plastic coming from the upper rear of the vehicle? This is on an 04 Subaru Legacy sedan.
  • 2000 obw with 90k miles started intermittently running like crap. Put it on the scope and it says "Misfire in cylinder 3". That would lead me to look at plugs, plug wires, or maybe the coil. Where should I start to fix it? The plugs were replace 10 months ago. I can't recall if wires replaced then or not. Coil is original as far as I know (only had car 2 years).

    Any suggestions based on similar experiences?

    Thanks for listening!
  • vetmatsvetmats Posts: 71
    When was the last time you changed your fuel filter?

    I had the same code, different cylinder on a 2000 obw and it turned out to be caused by a clogged fuel injector. I had neglected to change the fuel filter, and some debris was getting past the filter into the fuel injectors.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587

    We've done this in our Legacy also.

    The key is the middle seat, it's one of those boosters that simply raise the child up, they're more compact and don't have sides to them. Buckling that center belt was a pain.

    I do think a Sienna would be ideal, because you can slide that center (8th) seat forward, offset from the other two, for more shoulder room.

    Another vehicle that lets you do this is the Expedition.

    As you can imagine both are larger/wider vehicles.

  • markk1markk1 Posts: 30
    The Subaru dealer (who I've been very pleased with) changed the tranny fluid
  • jay_24jay_24 Posts: 536
    You didn't suggest a Tribecca? Its got an extra 2 inches of width over the OB Wagon. It just might be enough.

    Yes the Expedition has more than enough. We have a Tahoe many for that reason and to tow a camper... Any of the big SUVs fit the need, however they tend to drink a bit more gas. Honda Pilot might fit the bill too. It was a close second choice for us.

    I see Edmunds has the Tribecca avaliable in the databse for doing comparisons now.

    However I have a feeling that "Outbackmom" really doesn't want to buy a new car. So squeeze them in best you can.

  • marlenesmarlenes Posts: 1
    I have a similar problem, and have replaced numerous sensors, gas filler tube. The latest code is to replace the catalytic converter, which I did with an aftermarket product, and it still does the same thing. Subaru later told me the aftermarket product doesn't meet the standards required for a Subaru, and that could be why it is still hesitating. I'm not about to replace it all again, without any guarantee that this will fix the problem, which they haven't given me. Did you ever figure out what fixes the low power and hesitation. When it runs good, it is fine, but when it gets in that phase, it runs poorly, sometimes for days, then clears up, then back to running poorly again.
  • francophilefrancophile Posts: 667
    Subarus are indeed a bit narrow.

    That's intentional, and it is due to size/taxation limitations in their home market. The Subaru Legacy is as just exactly as wide as it can be without falling into a higher tax bracket in Japan.

  • fibber2fibber2 Mid Hudson Valley, NYPosts: 3,775
    I recently bought a laptop based scan tool, and have been reading everything I can get my hands on about the operation of OBDII. I could be wrong about this, but I am not sure that minor 'quality' differences in a cat-con would explain what you are experiencing.

    There are two oxygen sensors (more correctly called a/f sensors - successor to the original O2 sensor design), one before the front cat, one behind it. The front one does most of the work in feeding back to the ECU for adjusting the injector duration to maintain stoichiometry. In closed loop mode, it makes quick adjustments around a center point, known as 'short term fuel trim' as you drive. Monitoring long term trends in vehicle performance and driving style, it makes broader map changes known as 'long term fuel trim'. This is the ECU 'adaptive' provision that you hear the folks here talk about.

    I have not found much information that indicated that the rear sensor does much more than monitor and report on how well the cat is doing with final combustion of the gases it is given. I don't think it really effects driveability much unless it becomes an actual restriction to flow, or dissappears alltogether. If that is not the correct interpretation, someone let me know! So for now, I would not let their comments compel you to spend more money on another cat. I'd look elsewhere for a problem.

    It is more likely that a sensor is compromised and is feeding the ECU bad data. That is what lead me to buy the scan system. I get occasional driveability problems, and have logged a front O2 sensor (P0130) code. The nice thing about a computer tool is that you get the full snapshot of the conditions logged by OBDII, (freezeframe data) and not just a code number. It gives a dozen parameters, such as road speed, engine speed, manifold pressure, calculated engine load, fuel trims, air and coolant temps, etc. So now I am trying to look for trends before going back to the dealer.

    Interesting tidbit. Slow response from the O2 sensor can be from surface contamination on the element in the exhaust stream. Ethylene Glycol can do this. Watch your coolant level to see if there is some correllation to when it acts up, and fluid loss. You might have a leaking head gasket.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    One "c" by the way, it stands for Triangle Below Canal Street. Though it does rhyme with Rebecca. :)

    Of course, it's just not available yet. It is significantly wider, and does have a 40/20/40 split fold seat that is nifty. Plus a 3rd row option.

  • smillersmiller Posts: 32
    I had a 1999 OBW that did the same thing after it was supposedly repaired after an accident. It was hit by a F350 on the front left wheel - It spun the car 180. :sick:
    The engine ran very smoothly until I put in drive and was stopped.
    They finally admitted it needed a new transmission but the insurance people did not want to spend the extra
    money because they had already paid the body shop $6500 plus my deductible.
    They could not completely repair the car so they ended up totaling the car and
    sold it to someone in VT. I ended up losing my mint condition
    Subie but they did give me a $10,800 check for it.
  • goosegoggoosegog Posts: 206
    Fibber 2 wrote: Slow response from the O2 sensor can be from surface contamination on the element in the exhaust stream. Ethylene Glycol can do this.

    That made me recall that in my 00 OB manual there's a warning not to use fuel with more than 10%(?) ethylene content. Or something like that. Generally this results in lower pollution levels, so I have wondered why this warning is there.

    Just my fuzzy brain churning again.
  • fibber2fibber2 Mid Hudson Valley, NYPosts: 3,775
    Saturday Night Live skit from around 1979 (paraphrased...):

    Emily Latella: What's all this I hear about not burning xxxx in my engine. That stuff is good for you, helps reduce dependence on foreign oil, and reduces emissions....

    Chevy Chase: That's yyyyy, not xxxxx

    Emily Latella: Oh.... Never mind.....

    Sorry, Brian! I just couldn't resist! ;)

    I don't have a CRC Handbook handy, but IIRC, Ethylene Glycol is a kind of double alcohol, related to ethanol. Like two double carbon hydroxals bonded together? But far from the same thing.... The owners manual probably suggested against any gas-alcohol blend (methanol, or ethanol) over 10%. I think the problem is attack of some sealing materials in fuel pumps, plus alcohols affinity for water can sometimes lead to corrosion of metals.

  • goosegoggoosegog Posts: 206
    I knew it was Ethel somebody. Oh well, another red herring.
Sign In or Register to comment.