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Subaru Legacy/Outback Wagons Maintenance & Repair



  • ozman62ozman62 Posts: 229
    Yes, Subies do have a hydraulic clutch system. I recently replaced the slave cylinder on my Forester ('98) and it was really easy. I'm guessing that your noise is from maybe a little bit of dirt or corrosion between the shaft of the slave cylinder and the clutch actuator lever. Try putting a little bit of spray-on lube in there and see if it helps out. I think if your slave cylinder was going bad, or your clutch hydraulic system needed to be bled it would be really obvious i.e. 'soft' clutch, clutch not coming back up or other drivability problems.
    Hope this helps, stucko
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Check the clutch fluid level, too. A low level was my first warning sign of a bad slave cylinder.

  • markk1markk1 Posts: 30
    Recently my 2000 Outback 86k miles started giving off an odd sound from under the car approximately the back of the engine compartment. The sound almost sounds like bee buzzing or piece of paper stuck in a fan. (a high pitched vibration). It seems to occur the most when the is car cold and I’m pressing the gas pedal (accelerating). At first it only occurred accelerating, now it occurs also whenever the engine is on, but is louder when accelerating. At above 30mph or so i do not hear it. In addition it seems to fade and sometimes go away after several miles of driving.

    I don’t see anything loose under the car and off hand it does not sound like an exhaust system problem. I thought at first maybe the speedometer cable but it now makes the sound when stopped also. I’ll probably take it in soon but am tied up for a week or two and assume it is nothing urgent. Any ideas? Anyone had anything like this?
  • zman3zman3 Posts: 857
    I know you said it does not sound like an exhaust problem but to me the symptoms sound like the exhaust heat shield. Before I had the dealer re-weld it, mine would rattle like crazy until the vehicle warmed up.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 12,762
    I was thinking the same thing - a heat shield.
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • mozziemozzie Posts: 4
    I've owned my car since 2000. Love it. It has 147,000 miles on it. I've fixed an oil leak back in 2002 and no problems since. In 2001 on a road trip I had to have the alternator replaced when it went out in the middle of BFE Illinois.

    2 weeks ago, the alternator went out again! The mechanic said he saw that there had been a recall on the original alternator in 2000. Wish I'd have known that!

    Now for my question related to that: is it normal for a car to go through that many alternators?

    Second round. (Yes I still love the car!) :)

    The car feels like it pulls really hard when I've ran the A/C for 15 min+ on super hot days. Sometimes I have to just turn it off because it feels like it's going to kill the poor thing! It makes a clicking sound and the car has a "I think I can, I think I can!" attitude. I've taken it into 3 different places who say there's nothing wrong with it. (They drive it around the block and of course - nothing!) It doesn't need to be recharged. Any ideas what I can have them look at?

    Third and final question, how hard is it to fix an antenna? I only get the 3 most powerful stations in the area come in even when I replaced the radio. If I go 3 miles outside town, I lose those 3 even. The CD player works fine though!

    Thanks for any help!
  • mozziemozzie Posts: 4
    forgot to add: I'm female, so if there's any maintenance that should be done, can you let me know that as well? Thanks!
  • tkanictkanic Posts: 78
    I don't know what you mean that it pulls really hard (or whatever terms you used - can't see it now). Please try to be more descriptive.
  • mozziemozzie Posts: 4
    Kinda like what you'd expect a vehicle to do coming up a steep incline (I think I can, I think I can) - although I'm on flat ground, not a hill.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    The A/C compressor draws a lot of power from the engine, with smaller engines you just notice it more. My Miata has what I call "air brakes", you turn on the A/C and it literally slows the car down. The tiny 1.6l engine struggles to keep up.

    I think this is normal. With 147k miles on the clock the engine probably isn't making the same power it did when it was brand new. Don't feel bad, my Miata has just 62k miles!

    Alternator - well the first one was bad, the 2nd lasted years. That's not too bad. Make sure the installer puts the right tension on the drive belt.


    Antennae - hmm, it would seem that this would be on or off, not broken. Maybe it disconnected from the back of the radio? Though you might not get any signal at all if that were the case. You can get a cheap replacement at WalMart but you have to access the rear of the stereo to plug it in.
  • tkanictkanic Posts: 78
    I don't buy for a second that it is normal. I have not noticed such a/c behavor in a 98 OB w/ the base engine. The engine always gave ample power w/ or w/o the a/c on. Also it appears that this problem doesn't happen all the time, but only after about 15 minutes of running the a/c. Perhaps the oriface tube or dryer (inside the a/c freon lines) is partially clogged as the compressor works for a while the pressure builds up which requires more power to turn the compressor.

    Another possibility (one to attack first), which is more shade tree mechanic friendly, is that the condensor is clogged (the 'radiator' infront of the main radiator), which can usually be backwashed with a hose, or the fan is not operating correctly.

    It sounds like your car is actually downshifting to run the a/c - which will build very high pressures in the lines which could lead to premature failure of the lines, compressor, or if equipted the bursting of the burst valve to relieve large pressures.

    Another possibility is that you may have too much pressure in the system.

    Till you get this fixed I suggest cyclying the a/c on and off manually, via the button.
  • tkanictkanic Posts: 78
    >>>Another possibility (one to attack first), which is more shade tree mechanic friendly, is that the condensor is clogged (the 'radiator' infront of the main radiator), which can usually be backwashed with a hose, or the fan is not operating correctly.<<<

    I need to clarify this, I mean to have the hose backflow water where the air would flow through (but from the engine to the grill. I am not saying to take it apart and run water through the condensor where the freon is.
  • dbell1dbell1 Posts: 40
    This forum was a huge help when I bought my Subie back in September 2005. An idiot teen blew through a stop sign last Thursday and tboned my side. :sick: Major damage to the rear door, tire and quarter panel. $4300 for repairs (body shop fought to get me new parts). Back tire is being replaced. I asked them to also replace the other back tire, but they recommended replacing all of them because of the AWD. Said there was about 4,000 miles left on the old tires and I'd notice the difference. Were they right?

    So - what do I look for when it comes back? It's a brand new rear door, so I'll be checking the power weekly, but anyone have this happen before?

    I'm driving a Ford Escape rental. Nicer than I thought it would be, but I really miss my little car. I'm still thrilled with the buy. It's been 8000 miles. It's great on gas, air is nice and cold, handles great in rain and it drove like a bear in a gusting snowstorm when SUVs were all over the road. :shades:
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 12,762
    I think I would agree with this scenario more than it being "normal." Especially if it has not always done this. I have 208K on my '96 and I do not notice the A/C on when I do actually use it! It will idle a little higher, but does not work noticably more at highway speeds.
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • rhonda10rhonda10 Posts: 21
    About 3 months ago I purchased a used [27,000 mi] 2004 Subaru Outback Wagon. About 3 weeks into owning it I noticed while on the freeway a strange sound [like paper in a fan] coming from the front driver side; it seemed to be coming out of the air conditioning vent. To make a long story short we have narrowed the sound to only when the car is going between 70-75 mph. and upon acceleration. If I go below or above that speed range it stops; if I take my foot off of the accelerator between that speed it stops. This is an intermittent problem that has stumped 2 dealerships thus far. Because I otherwise love the vehicle and do not want to hassle with Lemon Law, I am hoping someone can give me some suggestions to pass on to the mechanics. As we speak my car is at the dealership for the 3rd time. Thanks.
  • cptpltcptplt Posts: 1,075
    Subaru says you should not have tires with more than a 1/4 inch difference in circumference or it can damage the AWd system.If you only have 4000 miles left on the old tires you can be sure thats more than a 1/4 in difference with your new ones.
  • jfljfl Posts: 1,389
    Sorry to hear about your accident.

    I agree on getting 4 new tires if there is only 4k remaining on the old tires. Along with the tires, I suggest a four wheel alignment.

    That's what I did after being rear-ended hard enough to make one of the rear doors hard to open. A t-bone could affect alignment far more than being rear-ended.

    Hope it all goes well,

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    A 3rd in agreement about getting 4 new tires...

    When you get it back, go during the day, look it over closely. Step back and make sure the body panels align nicely. Check the gaps around the door for evenness.

    Then take a test drive, do a figure 8 in forward and reverse (!) in an empty parking lot to make sure the differentials are all working properly, who knows what an impact like that could do to them.

    Turn off the radio and open the windows, and listen for any drivetrain noises that don't sound familiar (wheel bearings especially).

    Do not accept the car unless it's quiet and looks and feels nice and tight.

    My Miata was fixed recently and I did not accept the car - they cracked some trim and I made them replace it. Then the alloy wheel cap was not replaced and I made them get that too (I had asked originally). So I did not accept the car back until the 3rd time I saw it.

    Be picky, it's your right, the car should be returned to its condition prior to the accident.

  • markk1markk1 Posts: 30
    Perhaps it is the heat shield. The reason I did not think so is that on a previous car the when the heat sheid was loose I heard a rattling sound. In this case it is more of a buzz / vibration than a rattle (much higher frequency). Perhaps it is just loose in a different way.
  • zman3zman3 Posts: 857
    That's the problem with noises. They are difficult to describe over the internet. With mine it was a high frequency rattle/vibration, but it definitely had a metallic sound to it. If yours does not sound like metal, it may very well be something else.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 12,762
    Oh, right... I was making the same assumptions - the heat shield sounds with which I have dealt were similar, I would say, as to the way zman3 described them.
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • tkanictkanic Posts: 78
    I had a interesting experience today, I sometimes slow down via downshifting (automatic w/ 'sports shift). Sometimes I shift too soon, and get the beep-beep-beep sound which basically means I am going too fast to get into the gear I requested and denies my request. All well and good, though I am now dependant on this beep-beep-beep as a safety.

    On today I was slowing down and shifted into 1st, all of a sudden I hear the wheels skidding and the 'roo slows down abruptly. I downshifted into 1st too soon, and my 'roo let me :confuse:

    Then looking at it and some more playing with the 'manumatic' mode, it seemed it gave a OK to downshift into 1st at about 32 mph, when is was suppose to be at about 23 mph.

    I hope that was just a blip, but could it indicate a computer problem, or another problem. Does it sound like I caused any damage in this shift? I haven't drove it since then and hope it will be all better on the next restart.
  • A really smart way of driving!
    If this was manual tranny, the car would be toast!
  • mozziemozzie Posts: 4
    Thanks for the suggestions. I'm going to be taking it to the shop this week. My battery light is now coming on again and I just had the battery & alternator installed over Memorial Day! Any ideas what could be causing me to lose all this power?
  • tkanictkanic Posts: 78
    >>>A really smart way of driving!
    If this was manual tranny, the car would be toast!<<<

    Though I agree with what you say, if a manual tranny locked you out from this also I can see more people doing this.

    But a clarification - it appears like I didn't exceed the speed, but downshifting into 1st over about 23 mpg caused a very abrupt downshift, but it is within the rpm's allowed.
  • rhonda10rhonda10 Posts: 21
    I have been reading the replies to your question and I keep wondering why my posted question [Unusual Sound at High Speed in 2004 Subaru Outback Wagon] has not been addressed beings it is so similar to your problem. I see that someone replied that it may be your heatshield. Well, I would be curious beings my dealer thought the same thing and after adjusting and replacing a broken exhaust bracket, the vehicle still continues to rattle between the speed of 70-75 upon acceleration. My husband thinks it could be the speedometer cable getting stuck at the 70-75 point. The dealer has not seemed to excited about this theory. Although I love Subaru's as this is my second one, I am beginning not to love the dealership mechanics and/or Subaru of America. Any replies are appreciated. Thank you.
  • goosegoggoosegog Posts: 206
    I had a loose heat shield on my 2000 OB about 3 years ago, and now it's loose again (or another one). Both times it manifested itself by a metallic buzzing at about 2800 rpm (in my case). So I hear it in every gear at the same engine speed, but not at the same road speed. If your's is loose and rattling at 70-75 mph, I think you would also hear it at the equivalent engine rpm in the other gears.

    Of course 75 mph is 120 kph in Canada and illegal anywhere near where I live :cry:
  • rhonda10rhonda10 Posts: 21
    Thank you for your reply. I actually spoke with the dealer this morning and they are now suspecting my exhaust and have ordered a new one. At this point they have checked and adjusted my heatshield and replaced a broken bracket on my exhaust and are essentially picking at straws because the noise is so baffling.
    Although our general posted speed limit in So. California is 65, if you are going any slower than 70, you run the risk of getting ran over. The CHP usually allow you those extra 5 mph. There are also other areas in So. Cal. with open highway that the posted speed is 70 mph.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 12,762
    Hahahah... I hear you! When I drove my 1969 Chevy pickup from Alaska down to Oregon, over to Pennsylvania, and back up in 1999 the only place I did not feel like I was poking along was Canada! I pretty much set it at 65 and just let it purr. Everything passed me in Montana and Wyoming!
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • rangnerrangner Posts: 336
    Hello all! I have a 2000 outback wagon with 81k on it now. I think my engine is pinging when I go up a slight grade from 1 to 2k rpm. I use only top tier 87 octane gas, it's up to date on maintenance. I tried using midgrade, but it still pings. There are no warning lights on (CEL's). Would a scanner detect what is wrong even if no warning lights are illuminated? Thoughts? Thanks Eric
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