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Subaru Legacy/Outback Wagons Maintenance & Repair



  • tkanictkanic Posts: 78
    I have isolated the wind noise to the left rear window (by taping it up), I have heard that the glass can be adjusted to form a tighter seal. Is this hard to do? What are the 'basic' steps to do this. This is for a 05 outback, but if you know how it works on another year I would like to know so I can get an idea what is involved.

  • I just don't find them powerful enough in sudden braking on the highway.
  • tkanictkanic Posts: 78
    Perhaps it is related to that clicking, or if you are carrying around a lot more weight (you have the heavier engine/trans), if you are carrying a lot of equipment/people that could be a factor.

    If you are not really carrying around all that much stuff I might suspect a caliper has hung up and you are braking on 3 or 3 + 1/2 wheels.
  • Just following up - any experience with Frozen Rotors or Brembo rotors for replacement on the Outback???

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    What an odd name for a product, the last thing you want is for your brakes to freeze up!

    Wind noise - I've seen instructions for adjusting the front door glass, but not the rear.

    Try a search in the Legacy/Outback thread. Not the 2005, the older one.

  • I've got a 2000 Legacy GT wagon. Auto with 89,000 miles. Just got this error code (P0420 Catalyst system efficiency below threshold) on the check engine light. Other than a bad catalytic converter does anyone have any ideas or experience with this issue?

  • tkanictkanic Posts: 78
    I didn't know that cars have a sensor past the cat
  • I'm posting here as some of you regular readers have been helpful in the past and I'm hoping you can give me some ideas as to what is going on now.

    I have an 03 Legacy Wagon (5 speed). In recent weeks, I seem to notice (at times) a whiff of the smell of gas soon after I start the car and drive off. Today, this seemed stronger than at other times. When I finally got to work, a drive of about 45 minutes, there was a stronger smell of gas which I noticed when I got out of the car. There are no fluid leaks that I can notice. I park my car at the same place at work and in my garage at home.
    When I've looked under the hood, I can't see any apparent problems. There does seem to be some odor of gas in the garage, but no leaks in either my or my wife's car.

    Have others experienced this? Any ideas as to what is causing this or is it time to have a mechanic check it out?

    thanks in advance to all who respond.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Check if the emissions warranty covers it, I think it's longer than the powertrain warranty.

  • kenskens Posts: 5,869
    Hmmm. Is it clearly gas or are you smelling exhaust fumes? If it is gas, one easy place to check is around the fuel filter. Check to see if any hoses may have come loose.

    If it's more of an exahust smell, there could be a crack somewhere along the exahust plumbing. Typically, the exahust smell would be accompanied by a louder than usual exhaust note.

    Just some guesses off the top of my head.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I'm surprised, because if it were a leak in the fuel system it would trigger a check-engine light. :confuse:

  • fibber2fibber2 Mid Hudson Valley, NYPosts: 3,775
    There are two oxygen sensors. The one located before the converter is part of the feedback system for mixture control. The one after checks to make sure that the output of the cat has little or no free oxygen - that all remaining hydrocarbons are 'burnt' and converted to COx, NOx and H2O. So if it is picking up Oxygen, then it assumes (usually correctly), that the platinum catylist has been damaged and is no longer capable of doing its job efficiently.

    I think the non-California warranty for the converter is 80k.

  • fibber2fibber2 Mid Hudson Valley, NYPosts: 3,775
    Long shot, but there was a TSB for fuel injection fittings (the short hoses and clamps) on some of the WRX turbos. Because of the higher torque, those engines tend to physically move more on their mounts and were pulling on some of the hoses. But it is worth taking a screwdriver to some of the visible clamps and checking for tightness.

  • tkanictkanic Posts: 78
    Thanks fibber2, I didn't know about the 2nd one, just a slight correction, NOx is not created from the fuel but as a byproduct of the high temps, the N and O both comming from the air.

    Ideally this fuel should contain hydrogen and carbon and should combust into water and CO2.
  • I had this problem almost a year ago and I think it was Craig who pointed me to the fix. The hose clamp on the fuel filter (located on the driver's side near the firewall) was loose. It happens to be close to the air intake for the cabin, I smelled gasoline when I was driving at slow speed or stopped but not when I was moving. Hope this helps.

  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,920
    I have had this same code issue for over a year now on my '96 OBW; it first started at 160K+ miles and I am now at 196K+... it is intermittent, meaning I can often go a couple-three weeks without a CEL, then it pops, I reset it, and it will perhaps pop the next day, later that week, or several weeks down the road.

    From my readings on this, the computer determines the acceptability of oxygen content in the exhaust post-cat based on a ratio of a voltage differential between the fore and aft sensors. Because of this, I am prone to believe that it is possible for other problems other than just the converter's efficiency to trip the code - for example, voltage irregularities due to circuitry, a faulty sensor, etc. I was due for an emissions inspection a few weeks after the code popped the first time. I chose to have the inspection done prior to investing >$400 in a new cat. The tailpipe readings indicated that everything was working properly, with #s almost identical to the test run 2 years prior, but many were even slightly lower. So, I am up for another inspection Sept 2006. If there are problems at that point, I will replace the cat and O2 sensors.

    My only concern is that if there are O2 sensor problems then the car is not running as efficiently as it otherwise might. It nags me partially because of the 20-21 MPG I am averaging lately. Now with winter in full swing, we've been in the 18 range. :mad: Anyway, with $110 or so for each sensor, I do not want to replace them without reasonable assurance that it is the correct route....
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • fibber2fibber2 Mid Hudson Valley, NYPosts: 3,775
    Agree... I didn't state that very well, but you get the point.

    In an ideal world, the N2 (something like 79% of air) would pass thru the combustion process unchanged. But at high temps it breaks down and comes out the other end as an oxygenated byproduct. I am still willing to bet that a very small contribution comes from the fuel as well, as crude is mostly decayed plant matter, once rich in nitrogen. Benzine and other aromatics in the finished gasoline still carry single bonded nitrogen.

  • Having reviewed some of the previous posts on this forum, I know that this topic has been addressed several times before, as recently as several days ago. So my apologies upfront for raising this again.

    Here is my problem/question:

    I have a 2002 Outback Base Wagon with about 53k miles on it. About 3,000 miles ago, the Check Engine Light came on and stayed on. I took my car to the dealer and the dealer did the diagnostics and came up with a P0420 code. The dealer's mechanics told me it was a two step process to fix -- step one would be to replace the oxygen sensor and then, if the CEL came back on to replace the catalytic converter, which is under warranty.

    Well, I did step one -- they replaced the front oxygen sensor -- but that fix lasted only about 3000 miles at most. Now, it looks like they would replace the catalytic converter, if I take it back to the dealer.

    My question is this -- Is that the way to go next or are there some interim steps that should be taken? Some of the posts I read about this talked about resetting the vehicle's computer and adjusting the electrical wiring, so I was wondering whether simply going straight to replacing the catalytic converter is the best approach.

    Any thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks, Tom.
  • Our Outback has consistently (about 9 visits to dealers) had problem with erratic engine rpm and loss of power, shuddering, slow start from stationary and the like with the check engine light on. No dealer explained what did the light signify in each instance. After all these visits with replaced ignition coils, spark plugs and tips on better driving (we have automatic), as our warranty wore out, we were told the problem is in a defective transmission which is very damaged by now. However, we are now out of warranty (69000 miles) so tough luck.
    This just seems bizarre that so many visits for the same problem starting in 2001 with less than 10000 miles would count for nothing. It seems there is an incentive to not diagnose the problem correctly at the outset. We suggested transmission problems early on, only to be overruled.
    Any suggestions on how best to make the case? Recently we were told the codes on our system were P0733 and P0303 indicating an incorrect gear ratio and firing error in cylinder 3.
    Could a transmission problem cause problems in the engine or are they necessarily independent?
  • tkanictkanic Posts: 78
    Since it's under warranty I would have that done, unless there is some other issue here, like if the new cats are not as good as the orignal ones. Perhaps your concern is a new cat will mask the problem till after the warranty is over, which if the 1st one went in 53K, I would WAG that it would happen in a shorter time the 2nd time.

    Resetting the computer, AFAIK just means clearing the trouble code, which looks like will just come back in your case, though it may take some miles.
  • tkanictkanic Posts: 78
    The transmission could cause the problems you describe. I know in other cars a locking torque converter which got 'stuck' locked should cause those symptoms. I'm not totally sure if that holds for this case since the AWD system is a bit of a ???? to me.

    The advice I hear often is document everything, it sounds like you are going to have to appeal this to higher ups in SoA and/or to the courts.

    From what you have posted it sounds like the unlt was failing under warrenty and they should cover it, but IANA (I Am Not A) lawyer.
  • Do a search of oxygen sensors in Subies. There is a technical service bulletin out for sensors that freeze up in cold weather. My 95 Legacy's check engine light was going on all the time and after 2 Oxygen sensor replacements, I just left it alone and my car has been fine. The only impact is reduced mileage in cold weather when the light is on. It's intermittent. When the sensor fails, the default signal instructs the engine to use a rich air/fuel mixture.

    Your hill problem is another issue. I'm stumped on that one. Do you have a manual or automatic?

    The damp weather issue may be your spark plug wires/distributor(?). If they're old and you haven't replaced them or the spark plugs, you're losing electrical current though insulation cracks,etc. and your engine isn't getting adequate spark. I'd replace the wires and plugs (check the gap).
  • K9LeaderK9Leader Posts: 112
    An annoying problem on my 2000 OBW Ltd -- when I pull on the driver's seat belt to put it on, it curls under where it goes through the pillar guide and jams. I have to reach over and pull it down and straighten it out, and then very carefully pull it straight out and high (like across my face) to get it to not curl under.

    Has anyone else experienced this? I'm sure that the belt material has gotten softer/more pliable at that point and now has a tendency to curl under. If I replace the belt will it just do this again over time?

    --K9Leader, Newark DE
  • Hi, I own a 1991 Subaru Legacy GT wagon (157,000km's), and I could do with some help.

    I've only recently bought the car second-hand, so i'm not sure how long its been happening. When i'm cruising at about 100km's and then i floor the acceleration pedal in 5th, the turbo starts to kick in, and then at somewhere between 105-110km/h there is a hesitation in the engine or something, as in the car just stops pulling for a second, then continues. I also had it happen to me a few days ago, when i was accelerating from being stopped, into a 100km zone. While flooring it from first and changing gears at about 4.5k revs, I think it was in 3rd gear at around 3.5-4k revs it did it also, causing much more of a jerk, as there was more torque.
    Does anyone know what may be wrong? :confuse:
    Also, I'm not sure if this would have anything to do with it, but it has a boost controller under the hood, that doesn't look very professional.
  • fibber2fibber2 Mid Hudson Valley, NYPosts: 3,775

    Believe it or not, there is a TSB out about this. I saw this on the alldata site when I was searching for another subject. The fix was to sand some burrs off of the guide, and apply a smooth tape for the belt to slide over.

    Unfortunately, I bet that pulling on the belt constantly has stretched it unevenly, promoting the 'rolling'. So the fix might not be enough without replacing the belt itself.

  • Robert: You might want to check with Subaru, but I'm pretty sure that SOA warrants that your seat belt will function for the life of the car. I just checked the warranty book for my 02 Outback and that's what it says. This may be a Federal safety requirement. Martin
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Sounds like you have the 2.0l turbo model that was never sold here in the US.

    Any how, yours must have been customized by the original owners. He may have cranked up the boost, but I wonder if the fuel system is keeping up, or if the quality of gas (octane) is good enough for the setting on the boost controller.

    Are you using the best gas you can find? Is it an MBC (manual boost controller)? If so have you tried adjusting it?

  • As far as I'm aware, it's 2.2l, but I don't actually have any evidence of it. I'm only using regular 91 octane, mainly because I figured it wasn't that important to be using 96. The boost controller is adjustable and I think it's adjusted quite high right now (about 14 p.s.i). I'll try turning it down a bit.
    Thanks for the help.
  • Ok so I have a 2001 outback wagon limited that I love. I haven't had any real problems with it until recently. There seems to be a leak through the sunroof. every time it rains my map light drips and it soaks all the paneling from the map light to the passenger door. I took it to the dealer last month to have it fixed, they said they cleaned out the drains and re sealed the sunroof. but last week it rained again and low and behold my map light leaked water again. it's now been at the shop and the people can't seem to figure out why it is still leaking...does anyone have have any ideas on what could be causing this leak?
  • My 2001 Outback keeps misfiring after 2 trips to the garage--now getting ready for my 3rd trip. Have 22,000 miles on the car. First they changed the Oxygen Sensor--still misfiring--then they cleaned connectors and cleared codes. May need coil connector if the the problem resumes. Yep after driving about 15 miles shopping--it starts misfiring and chugging but no engine light on at least not yet. But now its Fri--day after Thanksgiving call back Monday. In the meantime I have no car.

    My bigger question is this--being this is my first Subaru and not experienced with repairs on these cars but finding that anytime something goes wrong the service department takes forever to fix the problem. I had a problem when I first bought the car and that was a nightmare to behold and
    Subaru customer service handled that problem--now for the first time since then I am facing a repair problem again and right back to not getting it fixed and going back and forth with the car. I don't get it. Why can't they diagnose the problem and fix it This will be my 3rd trip back to the garage with the same problem and does that mean I am paying for an oxygen sensor I did not need since I still have the problem? Seems like when it comes to repairing this car--no one knows how or what is wrong. I am tuning sour on Subaru and I wanted the Baja pretty bad and my husband just last month said go ahead you want it get it--but now I am afraid to go Subaru again due to the fact I am experincing the dealers service department being such a problem or do I just need to find a good mechanic?
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