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Subaru Legacy/Outback Wagons Maintenance & Repair



  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    To be fair, it's tough for them, too. They only see a symptom, and the codes don't necessarily pin-point the exact problem.

    What I'd do is ask them to try the most likely fix, then test the car for a longer period of time. Let it idle for 15 minutes, see if the light comes back on. If so, fix the next most likely thing and try again.

    Have the mechanic do more testing before returning the car to you, basically. Talk to the service advisor about that, but make sure they keep you informed at each step.

  • Without knowing where you live or who the dealership is, it's pretty hard to answer your question.
  • I don't think I can be of much help -- I have the P0420 and a P0440 at the same time. The 440 is often a gas cap not tight enough or a crack in the fuel filler or gas tank. The 420 seems to say that I need a new cat. Both codes clear and stay away for a while, although the 440 seems to come back every other time I fill up. Anyone have any other ideas???
  • Hi:

    I own a 2004 OBW with 20k miles. For the last 2-3 months, when I am coming to a stop (especially after the car has been stopped for a while and this is the first use of the brake after that), I hear a "click" noise from the rear. It sounds like metal sitting down on metal or perhaps like a pair of spectacles being dropped on a glass surface.
    During the first few occurrences of this phenomenon I suspected that I might have run over something but then realized it was indeed emanating from my car!
    The dealer suspects that it is a "brake ware warning" system and is willing to look at it. I will know more this week.
  • What does where I live or dealership have to do with anything? I am confused with that repy--please explain.
  • jfljfl Posts: 1,385
    What does where I live or dealership have to do with anything? I am confused with that repy--please explain.

    By knowing the region or dealer, someone might be able to recommend a better nearby dealer or mechanic.

  • What does where I live or dealership have to do with anything? I am confused with that repy--please explain.

    In MA or NH, where Subarus are popular and there are at least three dealers in any particular 30 mile radius, such service wouldn't be tolerated by anyone. There are literally hundreds of repair garages that work on them as well.

    I was wondering if you lived in an area where that single dealer was your only choice. And also hoping if the dealer is that bad perhaps you could help other prospctive owners by saying who it is.

    So to answer your question directly: no, your experience is not typical. I've had three Subarus drive around 250,000 miles so far and never had treatment like that. I bought the first two from Wakefield, MA Subaru and the latest one from Manchester, NH Subaru.
  • I have a Legacy L with the dual sunroofs. Both of them have a small gutter around the inside trim that should catch any water that makes it in around the seal. You can test this gutter by opening your sunroof, and slowly puring water into the gutter. The gutter has a small drainage tube that takes the water to the underside of the car. I'm not sure (anyone else?) where the tubes drain, but, you should see it come out. If you don't or it don't drain, the tube has stopped up, which could be possible if it has leaked for a long time and has grim/mold buildup in the tube. If it don't drain, that is the problem. I would suspect that you could find the drain tube, at either end, and blow compressed air in it to clear it. Good luck....

  • I have a 2003 Legacy Wagon with 29k trouble free miles. A month or so ago, the drivers door speaker stopped working. I've been dealing with it, not wanting to go to the dealer.

    Last night, after a full day of slow and steady rain, I opened the rear hatch and water poured out of the tail-light access panels and up all the trim and into the car. Arrgg.. :(

    I don't see a cracked lens, all the seals look OK around the lens, but, I do see water in all the lens. Anyone ever have a similar problem?

    My dealer won't look at anything water related, he pawns the work off to "The Water Doctor". So, I'll have to wait 2 weeks until that guy is there.....or, find another dealer.... :sick:
  • lfdallfdal Posts: 679
    Most dealers know they're incapable of handling seal leaking issues. There are lots of jobbers out there that travel from dealership to dealership (some are even on retainer) to deal exclusivley with seal and leakage problems. If you can stand the wait, it might be better to let a leak expert look at it.

    My Mercury dealer always jobbed out leak issues and they were always' fixed the first time. One car had a door seal, another a trunk seal.

    Just my 0.02

  • I live in the south--Charlotte, NC to be exact and Subaru have only been recently popular--the Outback to be exact. And we had to go through a Buick dealer who sells Kia and Subaru. There are no Subaru dealers (only)here.

    You may be hitting the nail on the head because when I first bought the car they had to fly someone in to correct the problem and this took a week to get done. Before they did that it was constantly going in and out of the garage with it. I belong to a consumers group and definately intend to write this problem up and contacting Subaru. I wanted that Baja but I can't deal with a dealership that can't repair this car if and when needed.

    Either way the car is there for the 3rd time with the same problem and I really don't expect them to fix it. Been down this road before. Also time to go car shopping--for a car they can fix that is!
  • I have an automatic transmisson on my 99 Legacy outback. When I first go into drive in any gear the car does not lock into drive. I need to hit the gas and then it seems to catch. Sometimes it takes about 30 seconds for this to happen. Once in drive the car runs fine, no transmission slips. It always works fine in reverse. If I'm driving for a while and I go into park or reverse and switch back to drive, it also has the same problem once in a while. Has anyone else had the same experience?
  • grahampetersgrahampeters AustraliaPosts: 1,783

    I had a similar problem with my 99 OB and was told by servicing garage that it is a common problem. cost to replace is about USD500 so a fix is in order. I removed the trim from the rear hatch, removed light bulbs and drained the water. I then drilled a couple of small (1/8") holes in the light assembly at the low points when the hatch is down and separately in low point when raised (in Australia there is a spare slot where a high intensity tail light ulb might fit). Water gets in but drains out okay

    I also applied a bead of windscreen sealant between the top of the lght bar and the underside of the rear hatch glass.

    It's not a perfect solutio but beats replacing the light bar


  • I have the same issue with my 99 Legacy GT Wagon. It seemed to start around 97,000 miles (now at 103,000) and now that it's getting colder the problem is not at all evident in the morning. The worst situation seems to be when the car has been warmed-up and then sits for 1~3 hours; not enough to cool-down but not warm enough to allow normal operation. Shutting the car off for an hour results in only a short (30 sec) delay, but shutting it off for 2~4 hours can give me a 10-minute wait for it to get into gear. Reverse and automatic shifting between the gears are trouble free... :confuse:
  • For the 3rd try had the car back in for the "misfiring" problem and got a loaner car as I didn't want the car back till it was fixed this time--this way didn't worry and good thing cause they didn't find the problem till the next day and it was a #3 plug. My husband told them it was the plug to begin with but they said no they checked that. So go figure!

    So I am happy now and this time its "fixed" Went through a lot for a real minor problem. Subaru called and said they had 2 excellant well trained men to work on Subaru. This place is a long time Buick dealer but now also Izuzu, Subaru and Kia.

    Either way sure appreciate the input.
  • I own a 05 OBW, while driving through some really heavy rain in which there was ponding on the road, I encountered grinding noise and low brake proformance for several miles. This occured several times even after avoiding the large puddles. Anyone else encounter this issue?
    I have Michlen Ice X Winter Snow tires but on the car, several times I ended up hydro-planing at speeds around 55-60 mph. Pretty scary, Consumer Reports rate these tires as fair for hydro-planing I would rate it as poor.
  • tkanictkanic Posts: 78
    I was told that when driving through water that is deep enough to wet the brakes to 'ride' the brakes through the water (to squigie them) and to ride them a bit after to heat them up to dry them.
  • krzysskrzyss Posts: 845
    your case has deeper water than test setup at CR. Did they list the speed at which Michelin "Ice X Winter Snow" tires started hydroplaning?

  • guy6guy6 Posts: 6
    I know a little time has passed but I wanted to give my "solution to the brake problem" time to settle in. Here is what I did: Went to and bought Power Slot Slotted Brake Rotors #732PSL and #732PSR for $110 each and bought Hawk Performance Brake Pads for $78.96. Have had them installed now for about 2 weeks and I absolutely don't know how to describe the improvement. I don't want to get carried away but I noted earlier that I have a Porsche Boxster and the brakes on the Sub are more like the Porsche than I would have ever believed possible.And no more squealing in the morning and no extra shims. Obviously I can't address longivity but so far I couldn't be happier. I'm going to keep this car for awhile
  • I don't think the water was any deeper than 2-4 inches that I drove through, but I have heard a little as a half inch of water can cause hydroplaning of a car. CR didn't report at what speed the Michlin X-Ice tires start to hydroplane.
  • I'm driving a '98 Subary OUtback Wagon. Its been a pretty good car except for the Alarm system. It goes off when other people use their remote keyless clickers. This occurs fairly frequently - say once or twice per week. But, does not seem to be associated with only other Subaru cars. It might be a Chrysler Van, maybe another Subaru. I've gone to the dealer and they claim they've never seen this before. They reset the alarm, but it hasn't help. And, in the 98, you can't turn off the alarm. The car won't drive then. Any ideas? Thanks!
  • I was taught that when the car starts to hydroplane you take the foot of the accelerater and don't touch the brakes until the hydroplaning has stopped. Much the same way when a car breaks contact with snow or ice and start to skid.
  • grahampetersgrahampeters AustraliaPosts: 1,783

    What you described sound far more like hydroplaning than brake problems. The grinding noise is probably the ABS operating when there was no effective contact between the tyre and the road.

    Simple rule. When you first detect hydroplaning, its a warning that you are driving dramatically too fast for weather conditions and must slow down. All tyres are designed to clear water from the road tyre interface, but if the volume of water is too great, either through being deeper than the tyre designer intended or you driving so fast that the channels cannot displace it quickly enough, the water builds up as a wedge under the tyre. If you are that enthusiastic about driving on water, buy a hovercraft.

    If you do start to aquaplane, the rule is to back off gently. Do not touch the brakes and do not make violent steering corrections. You can check if you are aquaplaning by easing off the accelerator. In extreme situations, you will see the engine speed suddenly drop to idle, until tyre road contact is re-established.

    Changing tyres may result in differing aquaplaning sppeds but comes with other trade offs. Wet weather tyres are usually biased toward preventing aquaplaning as part of their design.


  • fibber2fibber2 Mid Hudson Valley, NYPosts: 3,775
    As the alarm was an option item, I am going to assume it is at least similar in execution to the way it was done on the 2000 - 2004 Outback & Legacy Wagons. The keyless entry is a module located behind the glovebox area, and the alarm module is located behind the radio in the center stack. Each could be added to base models, thus what is added can be removed - unplug and unplay (in Microsoft speak).

  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,908
    2-4" and you were going 55-60? That sounds like asking for hydroplaning more than anything else.....

    On snow/ice, the first thing I do in a skid situation if I *really* want to re-grip the road is jam on those brakes to engage the ABS. That sucker grips the road like superglue with the ABS. I only do that when a ditching is emminent though. Most of the time I just steer it because I wanted to slide in the first place. :blush: I find I have to work a bit at losing my grip on the road - it doesn't typically happen by accident as long as one drives with a smooth and steady hand. Quick movements of those front wheels or quick, heavy stomps on the accelerator are the surest way to break loose. The other common option is uneven tire resistance - say when one drives through a puddle that is deeper on one side of the vehicle than the other or in snow that is deeper or denser on one side than the other. That's what makes slush so trecherous.
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,908
    Well put, Graham! I should have read a little more before posting my blather. :blush:
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • tkanictkanic Posts: 78
    My reply was to driving carefully over flooded roadways and other surfaces, like one should drive offroad. Hydroplaning is a different animal.
  • I have Michlen Ice X (sic) Winter Snow tires but on the car, several times I ended up hydro-planing at speeds around 55-60 mph. Pretty scary, Consumer Reports rate these tires as fair for hydro-planing I would rate it as poor.

    And we find the Nokian RSI's resistant to hydroplaning and just bought another set for my Outback 3.0 - even though the same dealer carries the X-Ice at a lower price.

    There is a message on the CR forums asking how they come up with their Ratings, with the following response by a CR person(emphasis added):

    Overall score is a weighted average of all the rating categories (including some that are not publiched (sic)). Braking, handling, hydroplaning resistance, and winter grip are more heavily weighted than other items. Ratings represent a number in a range. For instance, "Good" represents a 3, and that can fall between 2.51 to 3.49. That range will impact overall score....The cars used last year were a Chevy Malibu (all season tires), Toyota Camry (winter tires), and Chevy Silverado (all terrain tires).

    In summary CR uses categories not published to give Ratings; does not give out the raw data; and doesn't explain how meaningful the differences in their scores are for the real world.

    One might add that they make some peculiar choices for which tires to test. For example, they tested the Hankook W404, which is designed to be studded, but not the W300, which is more directly competitive to the X-Ice or RSI, and has a reputation for offering excellent winter tire perfomance at a low price.

    Looking at tire tests done by car magazines and others where the data is available, and reading user reviews like those at Tire Rack seems to be a lot more reliable method of selecting tires. Tire Rack does not sell Nokian (Nokian does not allow mail order sales of their tires) but you can get many, many first person recommendations from folks who drive a great deal on snow and ice.
  • I have a 1999 Outback AWD, and am having the same exact problem your having. 136,000 miles. I took it to a Cottman Transmission place and without even looking at it they said it was an internal seal that would require a complete overhaul to the tune of about 2500-3000 bucks depending on if they find other issues. I've seen some messages on this board suggesting that Subaru may help with the costs, but nothing significant, 1-800-SUBARU3, Customer Service. I guess it's worth a shot. I also read in this board that someone had our problem and has just lived with it...Cottman people told me it would just get worse.
  • The low beams of my 2006 Outback wagon cast a light beam pattern that I've not seen with other cars -- there's a distinct horizontal "line", below which is brightly lit and above which is unlit. This is a "wrap around" effect with the "line" seen in front of the car (on the road and/or objects ahead)and at the sides of the road when there are relatively nearby objects (e.g. a Jersey barrier or a line of trees). This is particularly noticible on road signs; you see the light/dark line move across the face of the sign, top to bottom, as you approach. When parked close to a wall, garage door etc in front of the car, the light/dark line is quite apparent (compared to my other cars that show a more diffuse lighting pattern, just gradually fading out as you move out from the car). Does this sound normal for the Outback, or do my headlights need adjusting?
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