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Subaru Legacy/Outback Wagons Maintenance & Repair



  • richz3richz3 Posts: 3
    will give it a try, anyone notice any better transmission shift learning using the "sport" position?
  • fibber2fibber2 Mid Hudson Valley, NYPosts: 3,775
    Interesting! I went back and re-read some of what I have downloaded on the subject, so here is an update.

    The codes and a snapshot of the conditions that accompanied the code stay in memory for 40 cycles for most things, 80 for severe misfires. Some codes that stay will interfer with the readiness status reset, but most will allow it if the condition does not repeat (that part I got wrong the other day).

    So under most conditions, it is possible to get the ready status needed to pass inspection once the light goes out. And you can always turn off the light and clear the codes if you have a scan tool. But still, you must have been darn lucky to have set all of the flags in short order! Although I cannot find the specific Subaru procedure, I am posting the GM one, which is pretty typical. Credit goes to the AutoTap site for listing it.

    To perform an OBDII Driving cycle do the following:

    Cold Start. In order to be classified as a cold start the engine coolant temperature must be below 50°C (122°F) and within 6°C (11°F) of the ambient air temperature at startup. Do not leave the key on prior to the cold start or the heated oxygen sensor diagnostic may not run.

    Idle. The engine must be run for two and a half minutes with the air conditioner on and rear defroster on. The more electrical load you can apply the better. This will test the O2 heater, Passive Air, Purge "No Flow", Misfire and if closed loop is achieved, Fuel Trim.

    Accelerate. Turn off the air conditioner and all the other loads and apply half throttle until 88km/hr (55mph) is reached. During this time the Misfire, Fuel Trim, and Purge Flow diagnostics will be performed.

    Hold Steady Speed. Hold a steady speed of 88km/hr (55mph) for 3 minutes. During this time the O2 response, air Intrusive, EGR, Purge, Misfire, and Fuel Trim diagnostics will be performed.

    Decelerate. Let off the accelerator pedal. Do not shift, touch the brake or clutch. It is important to let the vehicle coast along gradually slowing down to 32km/hr (20 mph). During this time the EGR, Purge and Fuel Trim diagnostics will be performed.

    Accelerate. Accelerate at 3/4 throttle until 88-96 km/hr (55-60mph). This will perform the same diagnostics as in step 3.

    Hold Steady Speed. Hold a steady speed of 88km/hr (55mph) for five minutes. During this time, in addition to the diagnostics performed in step 4, the catalyst monitor diagnostics will be performed. If the catalyst is marginal or the battery has been disconnected, it may take 5 complete driving cycles to determine the state of the catalyst.

    Decelerate. This will perform the same diagnostics as in step 5. Again, don't press the clutch or brakes or shift gears.

    So as you can see, you are a pretty lucky guy to have passed so easily in such short order! I would suggest that you play the lottery on your way home tonight.... it's your turn to win!

  • jfljfl Posts: 1,385
    Ask for a discount on the emissions test as you own a Subaru AWD and they don't have to perform the dyno portion of the test.

  • lreecelreece Posts: 1
    I am having the same problem with my 2000 Outback. What kind of rebuild kit did you use and how much was it?

    Thank you
  • ebony5ebony5 Posts: 142
    Well I am soon to receive an OEM radio to replace the one in my '96 OBW (I got it through ebay-thanks for the earlier feedback). Now all I have to do is install it. How difficult is it to install and where can I get the instructions to do so. As I said I am replacing the radio with what I believe is the same unit. I have made a few calls around the NYC area and I can have it installed for about $45.00-$50.00. I may do that but if is not too complex and the prospect of messing up other wires under the dash does not exist I would not mind saving the money. Any suggestion or instructions are appreciated.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I've done an '02, but not that generation.

    The only hard part on the '02 was one single bolt at the way back of the center console that required an extra long phillips screw driver with a magnetic head. Takes about 2 hours on these later Legacys.

    My '98 Forester was even easier.

  • erics6erics6 Posts: 684
    I think the 96 is similar to my old 93. I had a 6 disc wrx changer. If I remember correctly, you take the ash tray out and the screws behind that. The center faceplate can then be removed. Then, you can remove your original stereo. I can't remember about the plug. To me, $45-50 sounds reasonable for someone else to deal with it.
  • mflakemflake Posts: 1
    I recently bought a 1997 Subaru Outback Limited. The instrument panel where the temperature controls are located are not lit up at all at night. I was wondering if anyone knows if this is a burnt out bulb or blown fuse, or whether it is just not supposed to light up.
  • tygerleotygerleo Posts: 16
    I got this car about ten months ago with 64K miles, it has been running OK for 10K miles. But recently I notices the car shakes a bit, it often occurs when car runs above 50 mph and I start to slow down, the car jerks a bit when I just release the gas pedal. some of my friends said this might be the engine problem, other said it is transmission problem. Anyone has some ideas what is the cause of the problem, please post the message. Thank you.

    One more thing, I often hear the clicking sound just before the car is stopped with brake applied. Are these two problem related? Please HELP!

    The car was done 60K service at the dealer about six months, they did very thing outlined in the manual and change the front brake pads,
  • jernjenjernjen Posts: 1
    Our '95 Wagon has been a fantastic member of the family. Now with almost 213K miles, I think it's just getting broken in. I had a rebuilt transmission installed about 1K miles ago, which was necessary but did not fix one of the problems I thought was an indicator. When I am turning at low speeds I can feel a slippage in the rear end. It feels as though the inside wheel is dragging. A co-worker suggested that I am feeling the clutches release and that perhaps they are not fully disengaging. The fluid has been changed at regular intervals and level is normal. Any suggestions for repairs? Is it just an annoyance or are immediate repairs in order??? :confuse:
  • fibber2fibber2 Mid Hudson Valley, NYPosts: 3,775
    Short life bulbs in the temperature control stack seems to be a common complaint on your vintage model. Try doing a search on this, and the Subaru Problems & Solutions board, and you may find the disassembly methods previously posted. I think "IdahoDoug" and others wrote up a procedure?

  • fibber2fibber2 Mid Hudson Valley, NYPosts: 3,775
    It really does sound like the rear differential is not allowing the two wheels to travel at the different speeds required when making a sharp turn. I have no idea if a limited slip diffy was available in '95, but at the minimum, I would start by draining and replacing the fluid. There are two 1/2" square drive screws that need to be removed (lower is drain, upper is refill). The shop that did your tranny can certainly handle this if you do not have the 1/2" drive socket and a long breaker bar to bust them loose.

  • fibber2fibber2 Mid Hudson Valley, NYPosts: 3,775
    Found it - Post #5441! Paul (Hammerhead) posted this, and I am reposting it again....



    This is the text of an email I rec'd from an Edmunds contributor (IdahoDoug) describing how he performed this routine on his 97 OB. Neither he nor I would claim to know how it applies to your specific situations.
    Hope it helps.


    Subject: Re: HVAC bulb

    Actually, the operation is incredibly simple. Pop out the cupholders and
    remove the two LARGE phillips screws (don't touch those teeny ones) that
    hold the cupholder assy in. Pull out the cupholder. Pull out the ashtray
    all the way (push down on the spring loaded "lid" and it comes all the way
    out) and look in the now vacant hole for two phillips screws fairly close to
    the rear edge (vehicle's rear) of the "roof" of the vacant hole. They're
    impossible to access with a normal screwdriver - I used a bicycle multi tool
    but you can also use a phillips bit and a pair of pliers to complete the
    half turn it takes to loosen them enough to remove by hand.

    Now pull out on the top edge of the trim piece that surrounds the radio
    until it resists further leaning. All you need is for the top edge to come
    out about 3 inches - DON'T try pulling this out all the way, meaning don't
    try pulling up on it to pull it's bottom edge out of the slot. Leave the
    bottom edge pinned between the front edge of the center console and the
    center of the dash. I pulled this trim piece out when putting a stereo in
    my nearly identical '97 last week and it was a pain to put back.

    Now point both center vents all the way down, providing a ledge at their
    bottom edges to grip the trim piece with several fingers and pull back and
    down at a 45 degree angle, wiggling it side to side to help free it. It
    takes a surprising amount of force, but then two plastic clips at the
    vertical centerline of the vents on each edge will pop out of the dash
    opening. They're not fragile at all, but just don't break the trim piece
    that defines the bottom of the vents - spread the load with several fingers.

    Once it's free, there's a wiring harness to the emergency flasher switch to
    disconnect - I think the catch is on the top surface of the white connector.

    Now you've got 4 phillips screws holding the HVAC unit in place. Remove
    them, then lift it like the hood of a car and see two small silver phillips
    screws. Remove these (key here is don't drop these into the dash) and you
    can now wiggle the part they held onto the back of the HVAC unit away about
    a half inch. These screws hold the cable mechanism that moves the water
    valve. Now put the HVAC unit back down (again like a car hood) so it's
    close to its normal position and you'll see you've opened up a half inch gap
    into which you look. At the bottom you'll see a white 'wire tape' that's
    the wiring connector and the thing that limits you from pulling the gap
    wider. On the rearward face of the slot you've opened up, you'll see the
    back of a circuit board and on it are 3 green plastic discs about a quarter
    inch in diameter. These are the light bulbs. Use a small standard blade
    screwdriver to hook a crevice on the edge and rotate the uppermost one
    counter clockwise about 1/16th of a turn. That's all it takes to remove
    them as they're kind of a 'push and turn' install. Once you've pulled this
    easy one, it will help you get the harder two that are down deep in the slot
    you've created. Note that the one by the fan switch is longer - the other
    two are identical. Once they were loosened, I used a pair of needlenose
    pliers to reach down and gently remove them from their holes. Kind of like
    that old game of "Operation".

    This whole thing should take you no more than 20 minutes. Now slap the new
    ones in, remembering the long one goes by the fan switch and button it back
    up. The bulbs again take just the slightest rotation to lock them back in
    place. A penlight helps you see the holes they go in have notches in and
    position them with the needlenose.
  • gmwaltersgmwalters Posts: 20
    I have been driving a Honda Pilot (leased ) and while I like the suv, an AWD wagon is more like what I need. I have looked at the Outbak wagon and like it a lot. But I have been reading many posts about the Piston slap issue. Don't think I would want to get into an issue like that. Has Subaru resolved this issue in its latest models? If not, does anyone have data on what % experience piston slap? Does the piston slap also occur in the 6 cylinder? I read in one post thet the turbo version does not seem to have this issus. Is that correct? Thanks for any advice you can give.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    It's really not that common. In fact I'd say head gaskets are by far more common, and we haven't seen those on 03+ models.

    Put it this way, it's less common than tranny issues for Hondas.

  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,858
    With the shortness of the lifespan of these bulbs, I'd just consider it a "not supposed to light up" item and memorize their locations! :P

    Thankfully, the sun is back and getting brighter everyday, so I'll not have to be annoyed with it for another 6 months. :D

    I just noticed a couple weeks ago that my first instrument cluster light went out - the 0-3 range on the tachometer no longer lights up. Anyone want to place bets now about whether I will lose the rest of them within the next 18 months? :P
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • gmwaltersgmwalters Posts: 20
    Thanks for the reply. I am glad to hear that since my last 3 cars have been hondas and never had a tranny problem. In fact-no problems at all. I'll look more closely at the outback wagon because it is the type of vehicle I need. I owned a subaru GL Sedan in the 80's and only had problems with the exhaust system, which was fixed under warranty even though I had just crossed the 50K mileage when the problem surfaced. Subaru was good about fixing it.
  • hustoncshustoncs Posts: 21

    I have a 2002 Outback LL Bean with 72k miles when I drive it makes a loud rumbling noise that sounds like its coming from the front and gets louder as I accelerate. I did have the tries balanced and rotated and the alignment checked. There are no pulls to the left or right and thanks to Jiffy Lube draining my front differential during an oil change the transmission was replaced on their dime just recently. Any ideals?
  • kenskens Posts: 5,869
    I would suspect the wheel bearings. It's not a difficult thing to replace but you do need to make sure they are put in correctly else they can fail prematurely.

    As for Jiffy Lube, I'd really advise against using them. Not only do they get things wrong (like your diffy fluid) but they also charge extra, for no reason, just because you have AWD.

  • dunsduns Posts: 2
    I've got a 2006 Legacy 2.5i with 6K miles. It has developed a very nasty rattle behind the flip-up storage compartment at the top of the center stack of the dashboard when I go over highway expansion joints or a significant bump, pothole, etc. in the road . It is intermittent, and of course did not happen when the service advisor at my dealer took the car for a ride (twice!!). They are clueless as to what to do about it. Is anyone having a similar experience or can suggest a solution?
  • hustoncshustoncs Posts: 21
    Thanks! I'll get it checked out and let ya know.


  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Also inspect the axle boots. Our 626 had the boot crack, the grease leak, and it made a noise like that.

  • hustoncshustoncs Posts: 21
    Thanks I will do that!

  • jeffer3jeffer3 Posts: 22
    After several years of research and much obsessing I finally took the plunge and bought a spankin' new '06 Blue Peal or whatever they call it - OB with the limited interior. This was actually my second choice vehicle and the Toyota 4Runner being my first. But I decided to go for the economy solution and procure the OB. I figured I'd save a few G's on the purchase price and also save a little on gas as well. Over 4 years I expected to save about 4 - 5 Gs.
    I opted for the 4 cylinder due to the better mileage and the fact it takes regular gas over the 6 cyl. While I would have liked the better performance of the 6 cyl I found the 4 to be adequate.
    I currently have just under 1,000 miles and I am shocked to find my MPGs to be around 17 mpg. Whoa! While I do mostly city it's off hours and I don't spend a lot of time sitting at lights.
    I'd like to know if anyone else is experiencing these poor results. If I knew that's all I would get I might have went with my 1st choice vehicle.
    jeffer3 now - for some reason I couldn't sign in with my existing username of jeffer
  • tkanictkanic Posts: 78
    I am assuming you don't have the turbo 4.

    I have a 05 OB with the (non-turbo 4) with the epa ratings of 24(23?)city/28hwy - I also have that CA zero-PEZ emmisions engine. Most of my driving is on highway. For the 1st 1000 miles I got about 24 and it crept up to 27 over the next 9000 miles.

    I have heard from others also that it may take up to 10K to get full miliage.

    I can now, through very careful driving get 28-29 mpg, but usually default to 27. I have noticed that it is VERY sensitive to oxygenated gas, or at least ethanol blends which could knock me down to 24, luckely I can get non-oxgeneted gas where I live.
  • clr4tkfclr4tkf Posts: 1

    I have a 1997 OBW with a 5spd manual and 104,000 miles. The engine (2.5) has a sound similar to some of the other posts I have read, (ie) Sewing machine like, but it stops when I press in the clutch. I thought it was the clutch bearings, but it did not go away when I had to replace the clutch anyway. After listening closer, it sounds like it is the lifter discussions in this forum, however, I don't fully understand the logic behind it stopping in a) warmer weather (>50f +) or b) under the clutch being depressed. Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated. Thx.
  • jeffer3jeffer3 Posts: 22
    I have the straight 4 cly - no turbo. Had a bad experience with one once and don't want to repeat it (a '84 Mustang though).

    I was shocked when I made my first calculations of under 17 mpg's. The computer and actual calculations are both very close. I started using the running computer stats to try to increase my mileage by watching closely as to when and how to increase by fuel economy. Less brake, coast more, time lights, etc.

    Then I realized what a waste of effort that was proving to be. It didn't really help that much and was potentially dangerous. My 2000 6 cyl Nissan Maxima gave me around 20 or better and I didn't have to drive like an old lady to get it (no offense to LOLs - little old lady's that is). I just don't feel like having to drive like one to squeeze a few more mpg's out of a car that I thought should do much better.
    thanks for the reply
    Jeffer - Edmunds is restoring my original handle!
  • jay_24jay_24 Posts: 536
    HOw long is your commute? I find my subaru gets very poor mpg while cold. My commute is 25 miles one way, but for the first 5 miles of highway driving I swear I can see the gas gauge moving down. In the winter 23mpg is common for mostly highway. In the summer 27 to 28 is normal on the same drive.

    Watch the tire pressure too. It seems to really help to have recomended (32) or slightly high pressure.

    As for trying to coast. Good luck. My doesn't coast well at all.

  • jeffer3jeffer3 Posts: 22
    My commute is about 7-8 mi. depending which way I go. But this car warms up quickly and I travel at off hours. by watching my running mileage computations I can see where the figures are low. Since I travel at low density times I have some running room and therefore can accelerate for reasonable distance which of course eats up the gas. So I try to accelerate more slowly and get up to a reasonable traveling speed and keep it there. Then I'll take my foot off the gas whenever possible to use my momentum to carry me to the next stop (which is not really coasting but that's what I meant). Keeping a more constant speed with fewer accelerations seems best, but all this just irritates me as I'm the type of person who just likes to drive. I always liked going fast and I drive a little aggressively - not obnoxiously though. I know where I'm going and I want to get there. Pokey and indecisive people tend to annoy me.
    Anyway, I think I'm just going to drive the car. For the most part I like it and I like the way it handles. So I'm going to have fun and the heck with worrying about a few mpg's for now.
  • garandmangarandman Posts: 524
    My commute is about 7-8 mi. depending which way I go. But this car warms up quickly and I travel at off hours. by watching my running mileage computations I can see where the figures are low.

    It's not unusual for breakin. Subarus are known for having MPG increase for the first 20K miles or so. I have been logging all fuel use on my 06 3.0R and it is much higher now at 6K miles than the first 3K, when it was winter; I had snow tires mounted; and the breakin oil was still in use.

    The H6 and call for an oil change at 3K miles - the 2.5i at 7.5K. I switched to Mobil 1 at that time, and along with the warming weather mpg improved. So losing the breakin oil may help as well.

    For the last 2K miles I've been running regular in my H6, so the dealer's inventory must have been low.....It appears the H6 will get about the same average mpg as my 97 OBW, but is much smoother, quieter, and more powerful. They should offer the 5spd auto in the 2.5 models.
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