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Subaru Legacy/Outback Wagons Maintenance & Repair



  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    No, and I believe the Ethanol can even damage fuel lines and seals, things like that.

    Engines are purpose-built to run on E85, and those can run on gas, but not the other way around.

  • I am about to buy my 5th soobie, a 2005 Outback ll bean, left over from last year from a dealer and well below original invoice. I have 3 concerns.

    One is that several reviewers said that the A/C is horrible - and I live in a *very* hot place. Is this a real concern?

    Another is gas mileage in the real world can be as low as 16mpg. Is this for real?

    The LLBean has power passenger seat - - does this make putting an amp for the stereo in this car an impossinbility?

    My other option is to get a 2006 but it would be the 2.5i ltd as the llbean is too pricey.

  • tkanictkanic Posts: 78
    I have a 05 OB i, I don't recall any issues with the a/c, and I love my a/c, but it is winter now so it might have slipped my mind. If it were truely horriable I would remember that, but if it is 'i just wish it was a tad colder' I might not, so I am 100% sure it is not horriable. Then again the bean ed might be different.

    If you get a 2006 i model I get around 27-28 (expect post katrena whic costs about 2 mpg) with my 05i, I expect you can do the same. Actually mpg was the reason I got the i and again this was before the run up in price.

    I don't know much about adding amps and the like to the car, but there is a storage area under the cargo floor, which also holds the spair tire where anything you can store under a seat can fit in. You would just need to keep the wires flexable so it can be placed aside if you needed the spair.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    FWIW, I think the controls are what people complain about, I don't think it's the cooling capacity of the A/C itself.

    You should average 20-22 mpg or so with the H6, which can run on regular fuel, too, unlike the turbos.

  • zman3zman3 Posts: 857
    I can try to address two of the concerns.

    I live in MN where we run 10% ethanol all year round, and this can have an adverse effect on mileage. On my 06 3.0R wagon I am getting about 19 MPG on typical suburb to suburb commuting. It seems to be getting gradually better but I only have 2600 miles on it.

    The Subaru web page let's you pick the subwoofer as an accessory when building an LLBean so I assume that it will fit. I thought I also have seen the sub on an LLBean before but I am not 100% certain.

  • fj60fj60 Posts: 28
    I can only compare my GT's AC with an '85 Land Cruiser, '93 Altima, '00 F-150 and '03 Passat. Without a doubt the GT has the worst cooling capacity. However, I **LOVE** cold temps and I'm probably more demanding than most people when it comes to an AC's cooling capacity.

  • lfdallfdal Posts: 679
    Yup, I figure if I get 20-30k out of it remaining quiet, I'll declare victory. My piston slap was of the "it never went away type". If I get some slap further down the road that quiets down after 15 or 20 minutes when cold, I'll be thrilled.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I looked there first, but the scanner was $120 or so. I got it on line, I think via Amazon, for $104 delivered.

    Of course a week later it went on sale at NAPA for $99, so with tax it would have cost exactly the same!

  • About 2-3 times a week, our 98 Outback w/90,000 miles has a burning/smokey smell right after we turn it off. I don't think it's the brakes because it seems to be coming from the engine. I can't really figure out what it is. Anyone have thoughts?

    Also, dealer or mechanic for the 90,000 mile service? My experiences the Oakland and South SF Subaru dealers have been horrible and costly. I have not been to the Albany or new SF dealership. Any thoughts on them would be welcomed.

    I do have a shop that I somewhat trust. ( A couple of years ago we were having trouble with the mass flow sensor and he could have gouged us by replacing it. Rather, he just cleaned it and everything's fine.) I'm thinking about having the shop do the 90,000 mile service. Is this advisable or should I just have the dealer do it?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Have your mechanic inspect the front main seal, the rear seal, and both head gaskets. If there are any signs of leaks, you're much better off fixing it before the engine overheats.

    If it's the front seal, go ahead and change the timing belt, since the labor is basically paid for.

  • I got Yokohama Avid V4S. $110 each including mounting, etc. plus $10 each hazard insurance and tax came to $530 for 4 at STS. They include free rotation every 5,000 miles. The Subaru dealer got me for $28 for rotation last time...!

    If I got them from tirerack... I would have only ended up saving maybe $40 when all was said and done and I'm not sure if I would have gotten free rotation.
  • A/C worked great last July in NY (bad heatwave).
    My gas mileage can average as low as 13 mpg if I'm just driving around the neighborhood! But I average 20.7 with a mix and I have the NON-turbo 2.5.
    When the weather warms up, I average 22.2.

    The seats have no room under them...besides, the power passenger seat doesn't have height adjustment as far as I remember (so what's the point?). My collegue has his subwoofer on the floor in the back seat in his Legacy GT.
  • goosegoggoosegog Posts: 206
    Has anyone replaced their front (upstream) O2 sensor with an aftermarket part, and is it easy to do?

    Subaru want CAN$379 for this part and the government will want another $53, and a mechanic another $70 or so, yet I see websites (only in the US of course) selling what may or may not be the right part for US$80-130.

    There seem to be a lot of different sensors depending on the year, transmission, and perhaps the paint colour, but I think I found one...Denso part # 2349018 replacing OE-type #22641AA00A (my car is a 2.5L H4 manual). I'm loathe to order something from the US, pay duty and tax, and then find out it's got the wrong number of wires (like the cheaper part the mechanic ordered initially from Lordco).
  • Hello all,

    I drive a '98 legacy/outback wagon, which now is now 65k miles old. I've had it for the past 30k. Starting yesterday, I've noticed what seems to be clutch slippage - if I apply heavy throttle in 3rd or 4th gear, the tach climbs for a second w/o the car speeding up appreciably, then settles back down to pull the car. As far as I can tell, this is an abrupt development over the past 3 or 4 days.

    Is this a problem that can be corrected or temporarily fixed by some kind of adjustment, or will I need to replace my clutch imminently? Anyone have an idea of the timecourse I can expect - ie how long should I expect before it's undriveable and actually in need of a new clutch? I'd also like to know how much I should expect this to cost.

    Any information would be greatly appreciated.

  • About 2-3 times a week, our 98 Outback w/90,000 miles has a burning/smokey smell right after we turn it off. I don't think it's the brakes because it seems to be coming from the engine. I can't really figure out what it is. Anyone have thoughts?

    It's usually the camshaft seals, or the front seal leaking. The oil runs down the front of the engine and the breeze blows it back to the exhaust manifold behind the engine, where it burns.

    It's probably most noticable after a stint of hard driving on the highway, as the oil pressure is high, the breeze is strong, and the exhaust is hot. At most garages it runs around $600. Probably worth changing the timing belt and the o ring seal on the oil pump as well at the same time.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    You are describing my old Sprint about a month before the clutch failed completely.

    Change it before you get stranded somewhere. Plus you can price shop a little, if it strands you, you're stuck with the closest mechanic plus a towing bill.

  • Thanks alot. That sounds like exactly what it is and seems consistent with the same problems folks have with high mileage outbacks.

    Anyone have thoughts on dealer v. shop service?
  • Thanks, juice. I was afraid that would be the answer.

    Anyone able to comment on what kind of price I should expect? My excellent local mechanic estimated 750-800, which seems reasonable given the quality of work they do.

  • Another question that came to mind... I've been reading that the OEM subaru clutches aren't known for their longevity. On top of that, I've never been crazy about the feel of my clutch (compared even to 2000-2004 outback and WRX). Are there any options other than straight legacy OEM that I should consider - either aftermarket or compatible parts from a different sub?

  • lfdallfdal Posts: 679
    Picked up the OBW tonight with the new oversized pistons on the driver's side. Only in the shop for two days. I never thought that they'd get it done that quick.

    On the drive home it sounds very different - A tiny bit of noise when started, very quiet after 5-10 minutes. :) It's below freezing here today and the car was outside for a while before I got it. I'll start it in the morning and hear what it sounds like then.

    There is an odor of burning anti-freeze, but I'm not going to worry about it for a week or so unless I see green in the driveway or the level in the bottle drops. I figure there's bound to be some misc crud that needs to burn off.

    BTW - Saw the warranty slips and it was about $1760.00 for the entire thing.


  • fibber2fibber2 Mid Hudson Valley, NYPosts: 3,775
    Yes, does indeed sound good! Lots of labor involved. Drop the oil pan and remove the rod end caps. Remove the head (intake, exhaust, etc...), and slip the piston & rod out thru the top. So the good news is you also got a fresh HG and retorqued head on that side as part of the deal!

  • Had an oxygen sensor replaced on my '98 Legacy wagon yesterday ($225 incl labor)to get rid of the Check Engine light (and also to pass the NYS inspection process). Less than 24 hours later, the light is back on. When I picked up the car yesterday, the mechanic told me there are three on the car. Anyone else have similar experience. The car does have 147,000 miles.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I'm still on the OE clutch...a friend with an RS got one from ACT. Try a search maybe?

    The ACT didn't have any chatter issues like some early RS clutches did.

  • lfdallfdal Posts: 679
    Started it up this morning, at 18degF after setting approx 14 hours. Sounds absolutely quiet. Silence is golden ;)

    Looking at the parts list I was surprised by how few parts were actually involved. I guess I'm a little puzzled by why both valve covers were pulled, but there's new bolts and gaskets on both sides.

    Also looks like they ordered 4 pistons for it, two normal and two oversize. But could they replace all the pistons without pulling both heads?

    Anyway, I'm not going to think about it very hard, just enjoy the piece and quiet.

  • goosegoggoosegog Posts: 206
    Follow-up to my previous message. The sensor I found on the internet, which I'm sure is the correct one, is US$97. My Subaru dealer wants the equivalent of US$460 for it. Guess which one I'm getting.

    This is an "upstream" sensor (before the catalyst). Has anyone experience with replacing this? I'm sure it can't be too difficult.

    For those posting about clutches, I had my slipping clutch (only 57,000 km) replaced last week for under CAN$800 including tax. Not by the dealership and not with a Subaru clutch. My mechanic told me that the supplier he uses not only is cheaper, but offers a warranty that includes labour if the clutch fails. I don't feel bad about a non-Subaru clutch, given the reputation and pathetic lifetime of the original.

    Strangely, five days later the clutch pedal got stuck down, but after being pulled up manually has been OK.
  • jfljfl Posts: 1,385
    There's something on about sticking clutch pedals. It recommends replacing the clutch slave cylinder. I believe the condition is more prevalent in hot weather.

    My dealer said both the clutch master and slave cylinders needed replacing. Fortunately, I had $600 Subaru bucks to cover the cost.

  • jay_24jay_24 Posts: 536
    well maybe second. It came on first 2 weeks ago on Sunday after some rain/snow. Monday morning it was off. Well it came back on yesterday when it snowed again. This time I happened to be close to the dealer so I dropped it off. no word yet on the problem. The only thing I somewhat could notice its that the AWD doesn't seem to work as fast as it used too. Not sure that would cause a check engine light. Bummer is 82000 miles. 80000 waranty.

    Plus side! I got a 2006 loaner with 2500 miles on it. AWD is much faster to kick in. Drives much better than my 01.

    I'm not sure I like:
    - the seats. Seat back feels more like a bench seat.
    - lack of numbers/tick marks on gauges. (speedo)
    - door handle opener on inside. (too high)
    - radio look. cheap plastic aluminum look-a-like.
    - center console design. console too far back.
    - side mirrors slightly smaller.
    - almost hidden window controls.
    - heated seats too hot even on lowest setting.
    What I like:
    - quieter
    - quicker? 150lbs less and extra hp? just feels quicker.
    - slightly more leg room? seeat feels lower and can go back farther?
    - Feels more stable and planted to the road.
    - shifts better/easier?
    - red needle on gauges.
    - drive better. because my old one is really broken in?

  • jay_24jay_24 Posts: 536
    Well I just got the call. Knock Sensor. $250
    It needs the 90K tune-up, might as well since its there. $650. Add a new battery $100 since the old one if 5 years old (original).

    He also said it needed front brake pads and turn rotors for $250. I passed. I had the brakes check about 4 months ago at a independant mech. They were about 70% left. Too me the rotors aren't too bad. only very slight pulse to them. I'll have them double checked the next oil change.


  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    All the other stuff was due any're only out $250 more than planned, and got it out of the way so you didn't lose a stop.

    Having a loaner is nice, it's like an extended test drive.

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