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Subaru Legacy/Outback Wagons Maintenance & Repair



  • fibber2fibber2 Mid Hudson Valley, NYPosts: 3,775

    It has been a few years since I did my '02, but IIRC, in addition to the large floor panel, there was a smaller 'wing' that slid partially under the passengers side 'wall'. Down in that valley, coming off the wheelwell region was a wiring harness. I remember that my connector and a length of wire was wrapped back on itself and taped (?), making it a bit hard to see or feel.

  • geneobgeneob Posts: 5
    I dont think I have seen a hydraulic clutch that is adjustable. If it is, I would love to know how on my 2001. Should the clutch fork have some spring load on it to keep it against the clutch actuator?
  • Below it what I had posted earlier. I would suspect that your connector should be in the same location as mine; that is, on the left side. It was indeed hard to find. As I remember the JCWhitney converter was for all Subarus.

    Hello. I also have a 2005 OBXT. I purchased & installed a HiddenHitch receiver (because it is the least conspicuous) and a JCWhitney trailer light converter speced for Subaru. The converter is necessary to convert Euro separate brake&turn to US combined brake&turn. The Subaru wiring connector is buried inside the rear left plastic panel (even the dealer didn't know where it was); you might have to root around to find it. The Subaru connector also supplies 12VDC for converters such as the JCWhitney; you want this so that your trailer lights do not load the car lighting circuit. This 12VDC supply has a separate fuse, but I cannot remember if the fuse was installed or if I had to install one. ALl went together nicely; the JCWhitney converter was "plug-n-play".
  • sissymarjsissymarj Posts: 1
    The moonroof on my 2002 LL Bean Outback leaks. I've managed to clear the rear drain tubes, but I can't seem to locate the front ones ... and that seems to be what is clogged. Probably with mud.

    Does anyone know where the front drain tubes exit the chassis? I'm hoping for a simple fix by back-blowing them with compressed air, if I can find them!

    Thanks for your help.
  • subarujonsubarujon Posts: 13
    I found it where you said. It was hidden behind a piece of styrofoam insulation that I had to remove by sticking my arm inside the speaker hole.


  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587

    Awesome, gotta love these forums.

  • ncdadncdad Posts: 3
    This potentially could be a situation where someone could make a little money. IF anyone knows of a bullet proof Subaru motor that would be readily available in the wrecking yard, I am sure someone would pay for instructions on swapping that motor for the 2.5's and others with the same problems.

  • fibber2fibber2 Mid Hudson Valley, NYPosts: 3,775

    Odd that yours was buried quite so deep, but glad to hear that you found it!

  • rangnerrangner Posts: 336
    Depending on your model, the 2.2 H4 and the 3.0 H6 are reliable motors with no headgasket trouble, possibly even the 2.0T from the wrx. 2.2 might be the most available. not sure about installation though Eric
  • 1mr21mr2 Posts: 2
    Could you please email or post a few pics of the hidden hitch you have installed. I have read in several locations that the hidden hitch was the least obtuse and am about to buy either a draw-tite, hidden hitch, or curt and would love to see a photo. BTW, I own the 05 OB 2.5i

  • utherjorgeutherjorge Posts: 13
    I have two questions about my Legacy that I just bought used; it's a 2003:

    1. My owner's manual says I should have a 16.9 gal tank. The gauge goes to E, I fill it up...and I get only about 10 gallons in. Is the manual wrong?

    2. My mileage, regardless of the size of the tank, is awful. In city, I'm getting about 11mpg.

    How wrong are these two numbers? Can anyone help?

    Thanks in advance!

    Dave Becker
  • kenskens Posts: 5,869

    10 gallons sounds a bit low even considering that there is some reserve after your fuel indicator hits "E". The low fuel light comes on with 2.5 gallons left. So assuming you run it down to the light, you should still be able to fill about 14 gallons. That's been my experience with my 2005 Legacy GT wagon which also has a 16.9 gallon tank.

    How do you decide when the tank is full? Do you let the pump click off on it's own? I've seen faulty pumps that triggered off prematurely. Do you always pump gas at the same station and pump?

    As for the gas milage, 11mpg sounds a bit on the low side, even for city driving. Is your Legacy AT or MT? How short are your city driving miles? Also, how do you calculate your mpg? Do you warm up your car before driving?

  • utherjorgeutherjorge Posts: 13
    I go to the same station and stop when the pump shuts off. I don't top off. I have let it run to about 1/8th, and put in 10 gallons to fill it. I thought that was very small.

    Auto tranny, only a few miles, so it doesn't have a chance to wamr up much, but regardless...180 miles on 3/4 a tank seems very low.

    Dave Becker
  • hustoncshustoncs Posts: 21
    That doesn’t sound right is your Outback a 4 cyl or 6? If it’s a 6 cylinder it will need premium gas I have a 2002 Outback with a 6 and it gets reasonable mileage it’s driven around town for short distances no huge commutes. Since it’s used some things to have checked if you haven’t already done so is the air filter and if the car has over 60K miles on it have the timing belt checked and also the plugs. Another thing that could be a problem and I’ve seen it on other cars is the catalytic converter going bad which will degrade performance. Anyway I hope this helps.


  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    The fuel gauge is very conservative. My Forester will be on E and still have 4 gallons left. I use my trip odometer to keep track of how many miles I've driven instead, and fill up once I'm past 300 miles or so. 350 if it's all highway.

  • fibber2fibber2 Mid Hudson Valley, NYPosts: 3,775
    Maybe someone needs to recheck my math, but at last count 180 miles on 10 gallons was about 18 mpg.

    The gas gauge is rather non-linear. If I run mine down to close to the E, until about 10 miles after the light goes on, I can put about 14 gals in. That is about 320 miles of mixed driving, for about 23 mpg. 2002 Outback, H4 auto.

  • rudikamprudikamp Posts: 34
    Juice , does the sedan have a timing belt or chain ?
    Do you know when the 2007 models arrive at the dealers ,
    and what changes will there be on the new models ?

    Thanks, Rudi
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Chain on the H6, no maintenance there.

    07 models should be here soon, we'll get an Sat. Radio option and an aux input, and probably memory seats. Little stuff.

  • stevenm1stevenm1 Posts: 25
    The following problems can lead to poor gas mileage, and should be checked first because they are not hard to check:

    1) Sometimes the front brake calipers stick and can cause the front brakes to drag. Rapid pad wear will occur and can cause poorer gas mileage. You can remove the tire and make sure that the brake disk turns freely.
    2) Proper tire inflation is important. Under-inflated tires can dramatically affect mileage.
    3) A cooling system thermostat that is stuck open will lead to more inefficient engine operation, and can affect gas mileage.
    4) Tire design is a factor. When we change to snow tires during the winter for our 3 Subarus, the gas mileage goes down from 3-4 mpg for each of them.
    5) A lead-footed driving style can cause poorer gas mileage as well, particularly in city driving. City driving that is characterized by a lot of traffic jams with engines idling and no movement will cause poorer gas mileage. An idling engine uses more gas than most people realize.
  • chrisl22chrisl22 Posts: 24
    I just bought a new outback and am considering getting a "protection package" for the paint and interior (carpet and leather fabric) since I'm in the mountains alot with dust and tree sap, etc. I got a price of $495 for all interior and paint from a local autodealer: 7 year warranty with a product called Perma Plate. This is two years longer and $100 cheaper than what my local Subaru dealers are offering.

    Does anybody have any experience with this product and would you recommend it or not?


  • I have taken the hitch pictures (JPG) for you. Now, if you could suggest a way to transfer them to you or make them visible to you.
  • rudikamprudikamp Posts: 34
    Juice ,I am offered a 2006 sedan w/o nav. for $ 29,250, or
    should I wait for the 2007 model. As you mentioned before,
    there will be no important changes, and the price will be
    Thanks, Rudi
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Protection - that sounds like a lot for what is probably a synthetic wax job and a can of Scotchgaurd. I'd shy away. Get an extended warranty instead, you're much more likely to have some sort of mechanical problem vs. a paint problem that would be covered.

    Or pre-pay your maintenance if you prefer. You can get more value (substance) for your money IMO.

    Pics: try Photo Bucket or ImageStation. Heck, try Edmunds' own CarSpace, put your photos up there, and then link to them. If you're having trouble, get the photos up there and I can help you link to the pics.

    $29,250 for a Bean sedan? Your profile says NJ, so you're not far from or Van Bortel, and could maybe do a tad better. Fitz has them from just over $27k to just under $29k. The sedans cost a bit less, so you'd be on the low end of that.

    Consider taking the train down to Union Station in DC, then the Subway to White Flint. I believe Fitz will even pick you up there. You'd save almost $2 grand, easily worth the trip.

    I live very close by, so if you feel nervous about it I'll meet you there. My family has bought 4 cars from that specific dealer and I trust them.

  • dljdlj Posts: 1
    My 2003 OB waggon -- purchased two months ago at Subaru dealership -- with 40,000 miles started having pulsating braking issues. The noise was not noticeable on short drives, usually on longer drives and in traffic with more braking. Took it to a brake specialist -- he said the thumping was coming from the drive train. Took it to the Subaru dealer, he said it was rotors and they replaced the two back ones. That was 2 days ago, I can begin to hear the thumping noise again ... again on longer drives with stop and go traffic. The thumping never seemed to come from the back but from the front. I just read about "bedding the brakes". Should I do that to stop the existing thumping or does this mean that the front brakes will need new rotors as well?
  • bat1161bat1161 Posts: 1,784

    If you don't mind me asking, which dealership? I've dealt with Flemington Subaru and they have matched the best offer out there. They are very close to Fitz as well.

  • utherjorgeutherjorge Posts: 13
    Thanks to all for the replies. When I had said 180 miles, and the mileage, I was abbreviating, but rest assured, this tank was 12mpg: unless the odometer is off, I took the number of miles since I last filled all the way up, divided by the number of gallons, and voila. As I said before, I do this each time I fill up, even with my Accord...I'm a little anal that way.

    The car is a four, which is another reason I'm mystified and concerned. As to stevenm's points:

    1. I haven't heard a ting from the brakes. I'm not the car's primary driver, but the times I do drive it (at least three times a week, no stereo on, and windows down when it's nice) I haven't heard anything.
    2 and 4. Tires are inflated properly. I also know about snows-I have them for my Accord, and I know how that will drop it. These are "Summer" tires.
    3. I don't know anything about the thermostat being open, but at no point have any gauges lit up and it does not run excessively hot or cold, even when cruising on the highway.
    4. My fiance drives like a slug, which is actually her nickname. Leadfooting isn't an issue that I've seen, and I don't get on it much at all. I live in a "city", but I use quotes because a city of 15,000 people in Northwest PA isn't NYC by any means, so there's no traffic, etc. The lieage is far worse, though, when not driving on a lengthy trip.

    Thanks again to all for replies past and future.

    Dave Becker
  • stevenm1stevenm1 Posts: 25
    Sounds like you eliminated some of easy-to-check possibilities. The mileage you are getting is half of what it should be, so something is definitely not right. Other things to check are:

    1) It might be worth having the CPU scanned with an OBD-II scanner to see if it will yield any clues. I'm assuming that your "check engine" light isn't coming on.
    2) The clue that your thermostat may be sticking in the open position is if it takes an unusually long time for your engine to warm up.
    3) A dirty or plugged-up air cleaner will hurt your mileage.
    4) It might be worth pulling your spark plugs to see if your engine is operating properly. Any that are black with carbon or oil indicates your engine may not be operating properly or has internal mechanical problems.
    5) Check the color of your exhaust tail pipe. It should be a light or dark grey color. If it is black with carbon, it indicates your engine is not operating properly.
    6) A check of all your fuel lines and gas tank for leaks would be a good idea; I'm not sure about your model, but most Subarus I'm familiar with have the fuel pump in the gas tank so all the fuel lines are under pressure. I'm assuming that you are not smelling gas when it is parked.
  • rudikamprudikamp Posts: 34
    Juice , I just bought a 2006 L.L Bean Sedan today.
    No hassle from the saleman , free oil change.
    Paid $ 28,500 .
    Thanks for info.
    Best regards, Rudi
  • My 99 OB, 131K miles, has a rough idle when it is warming up. When the car is started cold it idles pretty well then after a short run of about 1/2 mile, it feels like it is running on three cylinders at idle until it warms up. When hot it runs great, plenty of power and reasonably smooth idle. Also when air cond is turned on and engine is under load, the roughness diminishes to almost nothing. Check engine light comes on intermittently. Codes show #3 cylinder has a problem. Plugs, wires, and most sensors have been changed, cpu replaced, and every test known to man has been performed by my mechanic with negative results. He is at a loss. Is there anything that he might have missed? Subaru dealer said they would replace #3 fuel injector, (done with no improvement), then if no improvement noticed, they would give it a valve job. The compression check shows excellent compression. Sounds like they don't now the cause either. Any thoughts would be welcome at this point.
  • hrlyrydrhrlyrydr Posts: 5
    I have a 2005 Legacy GT Wagon. Recently the ABS light started to stay on and the ABS doesn't work. About the same time I got the ER 55 or SS code on the trip odometer and the cruise control quit working. These problems occurred about 1 month after I put on new tires (same size, but Continentals). The wagon has about 37,000 miles on it. As I am about 200 miles from the nearest dealer any help you can give me will be greatly appreciated.
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