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Subaru Legacy/Outback Wagons Maintenance & Repair



  • My 99 outback has 2.5 year old BridgeStone Turanza tires with about 27k miles on them.

    One of the tires got cut from the side and cannot be repaired. Every tire dealer I speak with tells me that all tires should be changed since it is an AWD. But the 3 remaining tires are all at about 7/32 - 8/32 tread. It seems a big waste to throw all of them and get new ones just to replace one.

    My driving is largely on the US west coast.

    Could someone guide me with my options?

    Is shaving a new tire to match the current tread an option? I hear that does that when you buy new tire from them.
  • Altho you could probably have a new tire shaved, I would suggest going with a new set---AWD cars are pretty sensitive to differences in tire size---the question is how much tire size difference will cause a problem. Maybe you could get the dealer to buy the three good tires.
  • Most new tires are 11/32nd tread. As long as you pick the same brand and construction, and check that they're the same rolling diameter (most manufacturers have this information on their webistes) you will be well within the .25" diameter spec that Subaru calls for.

    You could have them shaved, but what I would do in your shoes is buy a pair and mount them in the front, where they will wear a little faster anyway.
  • kenskens Posts: 5,869
    That's great! Congrats!

  • kenskens Posts: 5,869
    I agree. Subaru overdid it with the non-functional hood scoops with the 96-99 model year. I think they thought it would be an easy way to make the car look more "exciting" by using the hood design from their non-USDM brethren.

    I think some Impreza RS owners from at the time actually removed the plastic blocking the hood opening to allow it to cool the engine block!

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Yep, saw that in person a few times. With a hot engine at a red light, you'd actually see the heat coming up out of the engine bay, it would distort the view directly in front of you slightly.

    Meh, the hood scoops worked for marketing. Outback outsold the Legacy 3 to 1.

  • My original battery is starting to "worry" me. No problems except for age (bought car in July 2000).
    Any suggested replacements?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Have you kept the water level up the whole time?

    I let mine drop too low, and killed the battery prematurely. I think it still lasted 6 years or so.

  • I have not done anything to the battery water level... It is a Johnson Ctrls I think it is sealed Org equipment.
  • What mfg did you buy?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    The brand from Wal Mart, I think it was just $40-50 or so.

    The OE battery is not that strong, I think mine had 260 CCAs and my new battery has something like 500+. It's not hard to find a stronger one.

    Starting does seem easier since the swap.

  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 11,000
    A little late on my reply, but just for a story relating to yours:

    I had a similar situation, where a sidewall failed on one of my tires about 11 months after original purchase - they had about 20K on them. I replaced the one tire with a matching tire and did not have it shaved. All the other tires were at ~9/32. I ran these tires on the car until about a month ago, and the three originals were at 4/32 w/ 73K on them; the newer one was still at just under 7/32. I had no problems other than the fact that I could tell there was very slight "binding" in the spring time when the roads were extremely slick due to melt water on top of the ice pack. When this would happen, I could feel the wheels slipping very slightly to relieve the pressure. As soon as I changed the tires and we had a warm spell, I was happy to note that this slippage was gone.

    So, it will cause a slight bit of friction w/ the AWD, but probably not enough to cause a problem. If you can get a new one shaved, do it. I think a full set would be a waste of resources, but 8/32 is greater than my 9/32, so I'd consider it "real world" borderline as far as potential for binding in the AWD without the shave.
    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
    '96 included? Must have been late model builds. I thought such silliness was limited to the '97 - '99.
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • I have a 1996 Subaru Legacy Outback, 2.2 L engine. My car has been just fine and I love it to death. Until I took it 2 weeks ago to a service center in MT for snow tires. I planned on an oil change and tune-up to prepare for a trip to Colorado for Christmas. They talked me into a fuel system flush and coolant flush as well. We drove it around town for the week, then took off for Colorado.

    We had been on the road for about 4 hours when I decided to pull over to see Little Big Horn. Lucky that I did so, since my engine was "ticking" and smoke began billowing from under the hood! It appears that all of the oil had blown out of the engine and all over the undercarriage. My sons and I put in 3 quarts of oil to get us down to Sheridan, WY, about 30 miles away. We stopped at a tire store and they put in more oil since much of the previous oil had blown out as well. That got us down the street to another of the same service center. The car was not ticking anymore, but oil was being burned off of the engine and smoking.

    The mechanics saw that it was overfilled (from the last stop), drained it, cleaned it up and re-filled with oil. You could not see where it was leaking from until I drove it on the freeway (under pressure)for a couple of miles, then could see that it was leaking from the camshaft cover. Apparently the timing belt and everything inside there was fouled, so I had to leave the car and rent one to Colorado. Once they got inside the area they found that the O-ring that connects the oil pump to the engine had blown out. Possibly this is the inception of the problem? Mechanics said they thought it was as a result of being overfilled before I left.

    Bottom line here is that once they finished putting the car back together, they have not been able to get it to run properly. Mechanics spent several hours trying to fix the timing, etc. and it's just popping and farting and will not run.

    I had to have it towed back home where a Subaru dealer has been looking at it. The have tried everything, including switching out the computer, and it still will not run properly. Now they are saying something about the crankshaft?

    Any ideas? I guess everyone is just stumped and I'm up a creek and still have a rental car. All I know is that the care was running perfectly well with no problems at all until I had it serviced. HELP!
  • lfdallfdal Posts: 679
    I really hope it was an authorized Subaru dealer that did the original work, otherwise you're trapped in the hell of "authorized" vs "non-authorized" service.

    It's going to be tough to prove the original place overfilled it.

    I never leave the service area, dealer or otherwise, w/o checking the fluid levels except for one time recently...and I'm afraid that's going to get expensive as I let the dealer leave an extra 42oz of auto tranny fluid after a drain and fill in my FXT 2k miles ago. Another story for another day. But the ATF dipstick in that car is a royal pain to check.

    There's an excellent article on the endwrench site that explains how a loosening oil pump rear sealing plate can cause an over pressure condition that will blow out the crankshaft oil seal.

    I'd wonder about how well they replaced the timing belt (sounds like they had to have it off?) A badly timed car will exhibit the symptoms you're experiencing.


  • Hi! We just bought a "pre-owned" (formerly known as "used") 2005 Outback 2.5i to join our '98 Forester. We noticed that the Outback has two plastic splash guards on the front underside on the left and right. But there's not a splash guard in the center, even though it looks like there logically should be one there to help keep water from being splashed up into the engine compartment. I've looked under a couple of other 2005 Outbacks and they also didn't have a center splash guard, but I've also looked under a couple of 2006 Outbacks, and they do have one. Anybody have any idea what's up with that? Did Subaru not put center splash guards on 2005s? Or did they only put them on certain trim levels (and, if so, would it be real easy to add one to ours?) Or -- the conspiracy theory here -- should every 2005 Outback have a center splash guard and lazy maintenance people have secretly removed them from every single one I've looked at so far?
  • kenskens Posts: 5,869
    Are you refering to the plastic brush cover that spans the underside of the engine? My 2005 Legacy GT wagon has one.

  • when the service center replaced the front crank seal/oil pump seal. They would have to remove the crank sprocket some times this can be hard to remove. The sprocket gets stuck/ rusted on and could have been damaged during removal. There are taps on the sprocket there is a possibility that one got broken off (the tabs are a pickup reference for the crank sensor) and would make your car run like this even if the cam belt was installed right (mechanical timing )The crank sensor would be for the ignition timing (when the spark plug fires )
  • tkanictkanic Posts: 78
    my (early) 05 OB i does nto have a center splashgard either, and I really don't see more then 1 possiable attachment point, though I didn't really look. I think the XL and the bean edition may have included it.
  • texsubarutexsubaru Posts: 242
    Yep, that's the thing I mean. My 2005 Outback 2.5i has two small, sorta wing-like ones on the left and right side of the underside of the engine compartment, but a rather large yawning gap in between them. It seems like an odd arrangement to me.
  • texsubarutexsubaru Posts: 242
    One thing that make me wonder was that there was a small metal clip hanging onto one of the little side splash guard things that I do have. I can't be sure what the purpose of the clip might have been. It sure wasn't doing anything useful there, so I was theorizing that perhaps it had been part of what could've held a center piece on. *But* it wouldn't have been at all secure without being attached to something other than such a small clip. As mentioned in original post, I didn't see one under the couple of other 2005s I've checked, but have seen them on a couple of 2006s that I checked (didn't take time to study how those were attached, since I felt a little odd about kneeling down in parking lots staring at the underside of total strangers' cars; might get reported to Homeland Security or something!).
  • I purchased my so called dream car, but when winter hit I noticed more moisture in the car and ice built up. Mold grew in the back of our car. The dealer found a leaking hatch. No drain holes and miss placed gaskets. I curious if any one out there had and of these problems. Plus the undershields kept breaking.
  • Nick...

    I'm curious if you ever happened to get any resolution on the ticking problem you described and attributed to the keyless entry. I have a recurring ticking problem as well that sounds similar (unlike others who describe ticking the same as "pinging" and related it to oil or whatever).

    This ticking clicks 60 times, then stops for about ten seconds before resuming. The only way I seem to have been able to get it to stop (sometimes it will just stop on it's own, other times it will click and flash the parking lights for hours or until it's drained) is by fiddling with wires and what must be the keyless entry box you described. I've never found a button either. Thanks for any insights.

  • tkanictkanic Posts: 78
    . Plus the undershields kept breaking.

    My understanding is that the plastic shields under the front engine area do break way to often.

    Can't help you w/ the leak
  • I have a 2003 Legacy wagon. The passenger side rear seatbelt had not been retracting properly . . . one night when my son was driving the car, apparently the seatbelt was caught in the door and dragging on the ground, and then got caught in the rear wheel. The car suddenly veered to the right -- luckily he did not go in the ditch or hit anyone. Now that seatbelt is all mangled, and the rear wheel makes a funny noise. I will take the car to the dealer. Anyone else had this problem? Is this a car defect, or an act of God? Any perspectives appreciated. -- Ken
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    ...or the previous owner removed them to facilitate oil changes. Don't you have to remove it to get to the oil filter?

  • Has anyone else seen this?
    Start out from a stop, hard acceleration. At about 10mph, the tunnel at the back of the front center console "rumbles" as if the driveshaft is shaking (about 4 cycles/sec).

    This is an '01 Outback VDC, so it's H6/auto, so no clutch, unless you're referring to the center diff.

    Is that a CV joint in the driveline right behind the driveline support? Would that be going bad?

    Thanks for any input.

    BTW, the car has been doing very well for 108K mi. The front sunroof shattered while driving down the road (no other vehicles in sight, the rear spoiler got crushed by backing into a garage door that wasn't completely open, and the hood protector disintegrated (warranty replacement), all in '01-'02.

  • link5link5 Posts: 1
    Hi, I just purchased a set of KYB's GR-2 for my 2000 Outback Wagon and would like to know if there are any free info sites where I might get detailed installation instructions. Only for the rear as I'm assuming they will be easier than the fronts. Any help is appreciated. Thanks. Also, anything good to say on the KYB's? Only wanted to get it back to original specs, not looking for hi performance.
  • kenskens Posts: 5,869
    On my 05 LGT wagon, there's a small cover that you swing open to access the oil filter. It's so much easier than the cover that was on my 98 Forester. You just pop out three quarter-turn plastic plugs with a screwdriver and swing it open. The underside of the engine from the oil drain plug forward to the bumper has a black plastic cover.

  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 11,000
    The rubber gasket is bad on the driveshaft bearing that supports the front half of the driveshaft. I had this same problem on my '96 when I purchased it in 2000. The part (new) was somewhere around $500, though I purchased mine from a scrapyard for half that and have not had any problems since (another 115K miles). The work itself was easy to perform, though frustrating due to the location of the exhaust system and associated heat shields, though the '01 layout may be different.
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
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