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Subaru Legacy/Outback Wagons Maintenance & Repair



  • krzysskrzyss Posts: 848
    my car developed new feature.
    There is a hair crack in windshield.
    Right lower corner going toward center up. Lovely sight.

    I will be visiting dealer on Monday.


    PS In MA windshield is covered by insurance so if Subaru says that it is not warranty then it will be insurance. By the way there is no sign of impact near the crack.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I wouldn't exactly call that premature failure, heck on a Dodge van that's longer than average life! LOL

  • cptpltcptplt Posts: 1,075
    my heart goes out to you as I had my hassles with the Ford. I don't quite understand what you mean though by they wouldn't fix it as they had not heard of tranny problems, if there was a problem there and it was recognized as such by the dealer it should be fixed regardless of whether the product has a history of problems unless they could say it had been abused or it had never been serviced beforehand.
    unfortunately things do fail, some things more often than others and some manufacturers more than others, getting 200K out of any car is fantastic regardless of the make but even Honda with its minivans have had lots of problems with trannies recently and Toyota with its engine sludge.
  • Subaru P/N 63269AE020 are the stay assemblies that lift the rear tailgate. I have replaced them twice at a cost of over $100 a pair. They don't have enough power to raise the tailgate under their own force. The tailgate must be raised by hand then the stay assembly will keep it up. Am I the only one with this problem? STRONGARM, LIFTER
  • I am having trouble with my brakes. It has been serviced by the dealer 4 times. The brakes make a grinding noise when trying to stop at low speeds or stopping on an incline. The service dept. says that these brakepads leave a film on the rotors and that is the problem. They clean them off and send me on my way. The problem dissappears for a short while but comes back when I have to stop on an incline.Then it grinds intermittantly on stopping. But always grinds on an incline. I am being very careful not to come to any sudden stops. These brakes feel weak. It scares me. They tell me that all Subaru brakes are this way. I have 17,ooo miles on this car. I have had 3 instances where I had to make a sudden stop at a low speed that I thought I was going to crash into the car in front of me. Does any one out there have clue as to what the real problem is? This is my first Subaru. I talked to the mechanic and he said that I would probably need new pads by 20,000 mi. Sounds like they are trying to limp it along until then. Even so that seems soon for new brakes.
  • tkanictkanic Posts: 78
    This is the 2nd post about '05 OB brakes being weak. I have not personaly had any such issues in 34k miles, and am on the 1st set. At current wear I hope to get another 10k out of them.

    I think no matter what the manufacturer says, new pads have to be broken in (basically lightly riding your brakes and no sudden stops if possiable for the 1st few miles). If it is not needed all it will do is wear them a tad, if it is it will set them up nicely till they need to be changed.

    If you have started cutting into the rotor and the rotors have not been replaced or resurfaced that could cause the grinding noise, Also I have heard of some buildup causing it, but don't really recall how that happens, perhaps the pads become contaiminated w/ leaking brake fluid.

    Rust can also cause a grinding noise and wil happen if your car is stored outdoors and not driven every day, but usually the rust comes off after a few brake applications.
  • stantontstantont Posts: 148
    Subaru brakes have not been a problem as far as I know, and in my experience they are anything but weak. My 2002 Legacy has been stopped HARD in traffic when folks cut in front of us and jammed on their brakes. My biggest concern was watching my mirror in case the guy behind us couldn't stop in time and I had to dive for the shoulder to get out of his/her way.

    Have you ever done any hard stops in this car? If not, if you are a habitually gentle braker, you may not have ever pushed them hard enough to "bed" the pads to the rotors. There are several procedures for doing this, but all of them involve some routine of one or more hard stops (not quite hard enough for the ABS to kick in , but HARD) from high speed (70 mph or so) down to a NEAR stop, but not quite stopping, and then driving on until the rotors COOL WHILE MOVING. Then repeat as needed. In all of this, safety is a concern: don't try it under slippery conditions, and don't do it when anyone might be behind you and panic or run into you. A deserted road under good conditions is perfect.

    What happens is that a thin, even coating of the brake pad material is deposited on the steel rotors under the very high heat involved, and thereafter the brakes stop better (more friction between the pads and the thin coating than between the pad and the bare, smooth steel rotor), and they also last much longer.

    Most companies that sell racing brakes describe procedures for doing this in their literature or on their websites, but new car manufacturers don't bother with it. It not only improves brake performance, it also increases durability (strangely enough), but since the durability benefits would not show up for several years, car makers don't bother with it. For most people, normal driving in traffic yields adequate brake performance, and I bet the car companies don't want to tell a new customer that their brakes would last longer and stop better if the owner went out and did this. And certainly some yoyo would try it on an icy road and crash and sue, and the lawyers would all get rich...

    For more info on this procedure, do a Google search on "brake bedding" and see what some of the racing brake mfgrs tell you.

    We bought our Legacy used, with 57,000 miles and excellent brakes, so I didn't bother with this; but when our 2001 Honda Accord developed a brake pulsation after about 25,000 miles, I bedded the brakes (three hard stops from 75 mph, as above) rather than have the rotors turned. The problem went away immediately, and brake performance thereafter was flawless.

    Hope this helps.

  • This car is driven everyday, garage kept. I am normally a fairly agressive driver but I have had to change my ways especially in parking decks and inclines because these brakes grind and feel weak. This problem didn't start until about 8,000 mi. I have 17,000 now in just one year. I bought a smaller SUV because I have 2 girls that are learning to drive. I wanted a safe car that they could handle. Now I feel like I should have gotten something else. I don't have time or patience to deal with this. I am afraid that their inexperience could be a problem if these brakes don't stop this car. I made a quick stop the other day going about 20 mph and I thought I was going to crash into the car in front of me. Believe me most cars would have stopped without the awful noise that I heard. I think something is wrong. I just don't know what. I drove my husbands Buick the other day. It is 8 years old. Wow! That is how brakes should work. I had forgotten what good brakes are like.
  • jarbojarbo Posts: 1
    2001 Outback wagon - 2.5 manual trans
    Got a 420 code - and the engine hesitates when accelerating in the lower range of any gear in any way other than gently.

    Wonder if it's an O2 sensor and if so, which one? Is there an electronic test one can do on the sensors themselves? Would like to avoid getting raped at the dealer.......if sensors check out ok I guess the cat(s) might be the problem...?
    --have done the obvious: plugs, wires, fuel filter, (it was time for those) and dry gas...thanks
  • I just wanted to clear up the confusion regarding why my 99 Outback wasn't repaired under warranty.

    The dealer could not make the trannie problem happen, as it was intermittent at that time(at 72000kms). By the time the trannie problem became solid, my Outback was out of warranty.

    I am aware that things do fail, if I were the only person to have had trannie problems with my Subaru Outback, I too would have put it down to bad luck and that would have been the end of the story.

    However; my point is that this was a known problem by Subaru, therefore Subaru should have done something about it.
    Subaru have done nothing.....except send out a leaflet offering a rebuilt transmission at an inflated price.

    Subaru Automatic Transmissions before 1998 did not have a problem and there are many Subaru's with well over 200K kms still running with the orginal Trannies.
    I have not heard of any transmission probems on 2003 to 2006, but that maybe because they are still under warranty.
  • tkanictkanic Posts: 78
    Well it might be a plus that you are becoming a less agressive driver, but I know that's not what you wanted to hear.

    The grinding noise is not normal and it does indicate a problem as well as the 'ineffective brakes'. Let me assure you that a 05 OB should be able to stop very well, leaving a lot of room between you and the deer on the road.

    Do you know what wheel it is comming from? Some ideas is a hanging caliper, brake pad installed 'backwards' (metal to the rotor - yes I have seen it happen), badly scored rotors, misalligned pads and/or caliper.
  • stantontstantont Posts: 148
    If you are a fairly aggressive driver, then my long discussion about brake bedding is not relevant: your normal driving should have set the pads up just fine. I would echo what tkanic said: have someone check pads, rotors, be sure some yoyo didn't put a pad in backward (metal to metal!?), and check functioning of the ABS system. Also check a few oddities, like inspecting tires to be sure pressures are up to normal and no exposed metal belt plies, etc. I once had a tiny stone not much bigger than a grain of sand somehow work its way into the edge of a brake pad (how???) and make horrible noises until I dug it out with a screwdriver.

    You spoke of grinding on inclines, and I'm trying to figure what that means: is the noise a squeal like a metal scraping, as the wear indicators on the brake pads? That sounds a bit like fingernails on a chalkboard, BTW, if you can remember from school days. Or a buzz-like vibration in the brake pedal, as when the ABS kicks in? Or a "pulse" in the pedal as from a warped rotor (note that overtightened wheel lugs can cause this). And does it not happen on level roads? Is it dependent on the severity of the stop, or speed, or wheel turn, or what? When did this start? Did you have any work done on the wheels or tires, etc., just before that? Did you do any offroad excursions? More data might help with all the experienced Subie owners in this group.

    Brakes are such a fundamental safety component that no manufacturer would dare build weak brakes. In fact, most braking systems are capable of stopping the wheels under literally any circumstance, so stopping power is determined more by tire grip and by effectiveness of the ABS if the car has one. If the brakes on your car can't do that, there is something seriously wrong, and it doesn't matter if the car is a Subaru or a Porsche.

    Any decent dealer should have found this in one visit, or at most two, if it is intermittent. Maybe it is time to try another dealer. If so, check with others on this network for recommendations. What part of the country are you in?

  • Hi, did you ever get a response/solution to this problem?
    I purchased a 03 Legacy at 50,303. At 53,800, while traveling, the battery and brake lights stay on. At 55K and cold weather the lights come on at very low speeds,the headlights flicker and the engine revs. Any idea what is going on? :confuse:
  • tkanictkanic Posts: 78
    An update.

    today I drive the car, the check engine light was not on. I went on my trip and figured to repeat what I did last time to see if it reoccurs. So I stopped on my driveway on a snowy patch then tryed to get up the steep part from a stop. After some wheel spinning the ABS light came on, the Check Engine and the cruse started to blink.

    Also the trip odometer shows a 'Er SS' or 'Er 55' code. What is that suppose to be? The ABS light went out on a restart, the check engine is still on.

    Also does the car's OBD2 (computer) hold onto the codes so if the check engine light goes out again the dealer can find out why I get the check engine light?
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 11,000
    Wow... that's baffling but the good news is that that you were able to replicate it! The OBD is supposed to hold the codes until they are reset or after what was it.... 90 cycles? So, even if the light goes out in the next couple of days, the code should still be there. Since you know you can replicate the situation that causes the light to trip, perhaps enlist the dealer's help to solve this one. I'm probably being overly optimistic here, but hey, it's Monday! A perfect time for optimism!!!! :P
    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: 11,000
    Hmmm.... I'm not the fastest car in the garage, so I'm surprised to see this post.

    I replaced the rear pads on my '96 about three months ago (first replacement with about 193K on the car!). That was the first time in my life I had worked on disc brakes, so I read through the appropriate section of my Hayne's manual, got my tools together, and set to work. From the point I jacked up the first side of the car to pull the wheel until it was back on the ground and ready to go, it was 45 minutes. I figured I could knock off a third of that time next time.

    Maybe now I am being TOO optimistic!

    If a DIY'er, the Haynes manual is cheap and comes in very handy for all sorts of everyday (well, periodic anyway) maintenance. I think I paid about $20 for mine back in August 2000 at a local auto parts store.
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • stantontstantont Posts: 148
    You can also get a set of factory Subaru manuals on CD from eBay. I think mine cost about $15.

    Takes up a lot less space than the book, but of course you can't take it outside and drape it over a fender while you are under the hood!

  • jfljfl Posts: 1,386
    Haynes manuals are the best I've used. They walk you through step-by-step with photos.

    A factory manual assumes that you know what you're doing and provides a not very detailed sketch.

    Unfortunately, I haven't seen any Haynes manuals for any Subaru's 2000 and newer. :(

  • stantontstantont Posts: 148
    I ran into the same thing; that's why I got the CD factory manual for my '02 Legacy. It seems Haynes doesn't produce manuals for reliable cars like Subies, Hondas, or Toyotas until they are at least 5 years old. Being a bit anal, I wanted more info about the car than the owner's manual provided.

    The factory manual provides good pictures and diagrams, but it is organized a bit randomly. I suspect the guy who sold them actually downloaded the chapters from Subaru's website, and not in any particular order.

  • whats the transmission problem slow or late engagement into drive you did not say? if so this would not be to replace the whole trans with a re-man but to repair it with a rebuild I have fix a few for this problem. the low rev clutch piston o ring seal is leaking causing the fluid to leak past the apply piston make sure they replace the apply piston , o ring, clutches and steels . as i Sean in the past this will make it like new one more
  • alternator alternator would explain illumination of mystery lights.low voltage like this can cause problems in this nature to happen it would be a good idea to get this checked out (alternator) before it leaves you on the side of the road. check with Subaru some 03 Had alternator recalls
  • stop spending your money !
    the 420 code is a p0420 evap code not related to you driveability problem .
    your problem comes down to the A/F (air fuel ratio sensor)
    in 2000 Subaru removed the air flow meeter and went with the more accurate a/f sensor it is a hybrid o2 sensor located in the exhaust. the o2 sensor reads o2 only not unburned fuel like the a/f sensor dose!
    I am sure this will make you car happy ! also it will help with fuel mileage. also stay away from the dry gas don't like it on the new cars !
    If you were wondering about no check engine light for this problem it's got to due with programed parameters in to the control unit. you can buy the part from a Subaru dealer for about 130.00 it should be a in stock item
  • rob_mrob_m Somewhere North of BostonPosts: 813
    I agree with the alternator diagnosis. Same happened on my 96 Outback when the alternator went. Found out after the fact that there was a recall. Rob M.
  • rob_mrob_m Somewhere North of BostonPosts: 813
    Could be unburnt gas tripping the sensors. There have been a bunch of reports of this happening on 05/06 Legacies in LGT dot com, especially after this type of situation. Dealer can reset the ECU which will turn off the check engine light. Rob M.
  • I read your message and it sounds EXACTLY like my experience. I bought a 2002 Subaru Outback (new). I have the same grinding noise pulling out of my driveway (small incline). I also never liked the way these brakes stopped. I live in snow country and slid into another vehicle a couple years back. That has petrified me ever since. I now drive my husband's pickup. But, back to the grinding, they also told me "that's the way they are". I took my car back to the shop to have them checked right before my 3 year warranty was up and they replaced the whole braking system. Thank goodness I was still under warranty. Now, 8 months after my warranty expired, I need to replace the "soft plug" between the transmission and engine. The labor will cost $500.00 alone. Merry Xmas to me. I love the car in the summer, great gas mileage, but will not buy another one.
  • I just purchased a 1995 AWD Legacy, It runs nice, however, the first snow has come and it will not go at all in the snow. This is my first AWD. Only one of the front tires spins at a time, I have never had the rear tires spin at all, should they atleast spin alittle? . The tires on it are just basic. Does this sound normal....Does it need snow tires..... When the snow was slushie it did fine...but then it got really cold and like a packed powder.... My FWD car goes right up a small hill on our driveway no problem. Thanx inadvance
  • The noise happened several times today. Always starts on an incline. It sound like fluid is moving around in the front wheels and the grinding is under my brake pedal. The pedal moves closer than it should to the floor. After this it happened I noticed it when stopping at slow speeds. Even on level ground. I never feel this when I am stopping from a fast speed. This is the weirdest thing I have ever experienced from a car.
  • Are you sure that it is AWD not all 95's are. Take a look see if it is awd under the car is the rear diff there ? your condition is not normal. do you have a yellow fwd (front wheel drive) light on the dash ? this would explain why the awd is not working. see owners manual under spare tire install this will explain this light
    Your car should fly through the snow even with poor tires
    It is normal for only one tire to spin it has to due with the gearing in the diff
  • Thanks for the input. I have always felt that these brakes were not quite right. Not as strong as one would expect. Then after several thousand miles the grimlins have really taken over. I am going to be the biggest pest my dealer has ever seen until these things are fixed. Hopefully before the warranty runs out.
  • Yes it is AWD....I checked the rear diff, and VIN. No FWD light is on in the dash either. It didn't come with a owners manual. I was hoping for the best before I took to a shop, I guess it doesn't look good. I would hate to pay alot of money for someone to fix a simple problem, but it looks more serious.
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