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Subaru Legacy/Outback Wagons Maintenance & Repair



  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 12,049
    You can experience problems related to the sensor if it is not being fully responsive. Usually the CEL will only trigger if the sensor stops sending feedback (either intermittently or altogether). That said though, gummed up injectors/valves can cause pinging that the knock sensor will not correct and it does not mean that the sensor is going bad. *shrugs*
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • ssteveksstevek Posts: 45
    I wonder if any good cleaning additive would help. I'm thinking no, I recall a somewhat recent post where someone tried that with no luck.
  • As we all know, in FEB 2004 SOA announced a campaign that addressed the HG issue in the 2.5 engines. That campaige only includes the 2.5L engine of years 99 - 02 and not all 2.5 engines in that year range are covered.

    I know this topic has probably been beaten like a dead horse, but I have a few questions that I have not been able to find answers to before I buy my 1st Subaru:

    1. I was all set to buy an 03 Outback assuming that by 03 SOA must have addressed the HG issue in their new cars. But I have heard some owners of 03's have experienced HG problems. At what year is it safe to buy a 2.5L engine Subaru and not have to worry about the HG issue: 03, 04, and 05?

    2. What did SOA do to eliminate the HG issue: newly designed HG? , new HG manufacturer? , new HG sealant?, new install procedure? , etc. Basically what was the original problem and how was it redesigned so it will not happen any more?

    3. If your Subaru is one in the HG campaign, you are advised to put in a 'special conditioner'.
    What is that conditioner?
    What's in it?
    How does it stop or prevent the leaking?
    If the conditioner can plug or clog small leaking passages, why won't it clog or reduce the flow through small passages in the radiator or engine?

    4. If an engine is included in the HG campaign and SOA authorizes the HG to be replaced, when the new HG is put in are you still required to use the special additive?

    5. I found a 02 outback for sale, it has a HG that leaks externally. I called SOA, they said that cars VIN is not part of the campaign and is not covered. How is that? Did this happen to many owners with the HG issue? Is this a way for SOA to say they are doing something for their customers, but in most cases they are not?

    6. What percentage of the 2.5L phase II engines had the HG problem?
    Do some years have a worst percentage than others? If yes, which?

    7. Does anyone know the VIN ranges that are included in the SOA HG campaign?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    1. I have not seen the 03s that you report, I thought by then it was behind them.

    2. The HG material was revised more than once, I believe.

    3. Conditioner = Stop Leak. basically.

    4. Not sure, but I think so. You have a sticker that says whenever you flush the cooling system to use the conditioner again.

    5. Some 02s were included, others were not. Our '02 Legacy L was not included, but it's been just fine. We did not add the conditioner.

    6. Hard to say. It was common enough that I would be concerned about the 99-02 used models. At least those are covered. Just make sure they did have the conditioner added (so I'd avoid that 02 just in case).

    7. No, but call 800-SUBARU3 with any particular VIN to find out.

  • garandmangarandman Posts: 524
    Go to an enthusiast site like
    Most of your questions have been correctly answered in existing threads.

    It's important because the HG warranty was extended if you add the stop leak product. I forget the brand, but it is a commercial product.
  • I just got off the phone with SOA. They told me that starting in late 02 and in all 03's and up, SOA started adding the conditioner(StopLeak I guess)and put a newly designed HG in all the 2.5L engines.

    So if you have a 2003 or newer, you supposidly have the conditioner. (I hope this stuff does not affect the radiator) Anyone out there with an '03 or newer who can look at their owners manual(or maybe a sticker somewhere) and tell me if the conditioner is in fact required on coolant changes.
  • goosegoggoosegog Posts: 206
    Well, for my 2000 model I'm supposed to use the additive every time the coolant is changed, for evermore.

    And because I'm :mad: about it I'll reiterate that Subaru did not see the need to extend the warranty on HG failures for its Canadian customers. Why bother, eh?
  • ssteveksstevek Posts: 45
    My '02 had the trouble last year. The dealer added the sealant and admitted sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. Surprisingly mine may have been "fixed". I haven't noticed any anti-freeze smell, the level was down slightly about six months after. I added some & will keep an eye on it.
  • goosegoggoosegog Posts: 206
    The driver window on my 00 OB stopped working today (fortunately in the 'up' position). I pulled the switch panel and got the switch assembly open. As far as I can tell using a meter, the actual switch works, making the same connections as the one next to it. But the circuit board has some other components on it so without a wiring diagram I can't be sure that the whole assembly is operating correctly. So my next step is to take the door panel off and check for power at the motor.

    I wanted to check fuses, but where are they? I can't find a mention of window fuses in the manual or on either of the two fuse panels. Anyone know?
  • gearhead4gearhead4 Posts: 122
    If your meter showed power downstream from the switch, the problem is not a fuse or a switch. It sounds like the motor.
    I just finished replacing the power widow regulator assembly on my 02 Caravan. The job took me 4 hours. But the Subaru regulator assembly is simpler. I never had to work on the power windows on any of my Subarus. Yours is the first power window malfunction I have heard of.
    I have seen estimates of over $500 for the job. The part will probably run $100. If your time is worth less that $200 an hour, I would recommend you order a motor and do the replacement yourself.
    Jim W
  • nerdnerd Posts: 203
    It is time for the first oil change on my 2006 Outback 2.5i. I bought a filter and oil plug gasket from the dealer. But the service advisor could not tell me the torque value for the drain plug. If anyone knows the value, I would appreciate hearing.
  • From the 2005 Legacy/Outback service manual, section/page PM-8, the torque spec is 33 ft-lb (44 N-m in metric). Of all the cars I've had, this is one of the easiest for oil & filter change. By the way, I find it very odd that a Subaru service advisor wouldn't know this. An afterthought: If you want, I can email the oil service pages (.pdf) to you; just make your email visible.
  • nerdnerd Posts: 203
    Mr. Crowell, thank you for the information. The owner's manual has decent instructions on oil changes, so I think I'll be OK now that I know the torque value. I, too, was surprised that the service guy didn't know - he just told me to tighten the plug until the gasket was fully crushed.

    Where did you purchase the service manual? Eventually I would like to get one. Thanks again.
  • goosegoggoosegog Posts: 206
    I have ascertained that the motor is dead (put 12V on the connector both ways and got no response). But getting the entire regulator out to replace the motor and more to the point, putting it back in again, looks tricky. So I think I'll leave this to a mechanic.

    But having done the diagnostic and much of the disassembly work It shouldn't be too much for labour. I found the motor online at a Subaru dealer for US$165 and at a non-Subaru parts supply place for $73 exchange. Which probably means its about CAN$300 at my local Subaru dealer.
  • The service manual is impressive; it fills 9 2" 3-ring binders, printed both sides. As I remember its about $1000 to buy it, which was too steep for me. Another option is to download it from They offer a 72-hour subscription for about $30 or so. However, they limit you to 20 .pdf files per hour (I think it is 20) so the download task will keep you busy for those most of those 72 hours. And you can pick & choose. For my 2005 OBXTMT I did not download the normal engines, auto transmission, sunroof, VDC, etc. Now I have what I need both printed and on CD-ROM (with a copy in the car). In the future you can purchase another 72-hours and download updates and changes. Now for my opinion: I think Subaru should supply car purchasers with the CD-ROM in the first place. And I'm surprised that some scofflaw is not selling bootleg copies.
  • nerdnerd Posts: 203
    Again, thank you for the valuable information. I agree that $1000 is not affordable. I'll look into the downloads.
  • sugardogsugardog Posts: 41
    I sold my vehicle Oct of 2005.
    Excellent resale value.
    I am very happy to be rid of the vehicle.
    Needless to say, I won't be making anymore entries into
    this forum.
  • tkanictkanic Posts: 78
    It's time for me to change or get changed the plugs in my 05i. The owners manual says something along the lines that perhaps you should bring in the car for this one. Looking at it, it seems like there is not a whole lot of space to work, and removal of the battery and air filter assembly may help, but it doesn't look too bad to do.

    So anyone have any advice on it? Is it really something that I should bring in?
  • According to the service manual (page PM-11) for 2005 OB 2.5 nonturbo:
    1. remove intake duct and intake chamber
    2. remove battery
    3. disconnect spark plug cord
    4. remove spark plug
    5. recommended plug NGK PFR5B-11, tighten to 15 ft-lb

    This doesn't sound too bad assuming that you have a socket set with various length extensions and a u-joint.
  • i just brought home my brand new 2006 legacy gt wagon and there is some kinda greenish/yellowish residue that almost looks like paint or something thats splashed on all the brake calipers, anyone have an idea what that is? the brakes work great so i dont know what it is thx
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 12,049
    Agreed. The process is not too bad, but you do need to have a u-joint in the mix. I have found the best way is to place the socket on a 3" extension, then attach the u-joint, then another 6" extension, followed by the ratchet. In 10 years' time, there are probably a few changes in there, but all in all the layout looked quite similar to me.

    Good luck - it is a pain to do, but less so than the hit taken by the wallet to have someone else do it. ;)
    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
    Well brake fluid is generally yellow, which if it is would be disturbing because it shouldn't be there (ie leaking). Unless it's some kind of new caliper grease I'm not aware of, I'd clean it off with a rag and see if any more appears.

    If so, I'd take it in to the dealer and have them fix it under warranty. Actually they should have taken care of it in the first place during the pre-delivery inspection.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I'm usually here offering answers, but this time I have a question.

    Anyone ever change the rear brake pads on an '01 Outback? The bolts that hold the caliper in place seem extremely difficult to access due to all the suspension components in the way.

    I tried to get the sway bar end links out of the way but could not get *that* bolt all the way loose, later I could not get it firmly tight! Ugh.

    That round black thing, is that a rubber plug on the one side of the end links? i.e. do you need tools on both sides to get it tight?

    This is on my dad's OB.

  • tkanictkanic Posts: 78
    Thanks larrycrowell, just completed it and it was helpful getting your post before I decided to do it.

    It wasn't all that bad, but the rear 2 are a PITA.

    For the record, I used some combos of 6 in, 3 in and a flex joint 3 in socket. The flex joint is more like a CV joint then a universal joint but a U joint probabally would have worked too.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 12,049
    Oh, I messed this up. It is socket, U-joint, 3", 6", ratchet.

    A 2nd joint between the 3" and 6" might be nice, too! Glad to hear you got it - there will be no disagreement on this thread about your "PITA" assessment, tkanic! :D
    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
    I have a 2000 outback wagon but I assume the mechanics are the same. IIRC, to change the pads, you don't need to completely remove the caliper. I think you just take out the slider bolts, swap out the pads and grease & lube the sliders and bolt it up again.

    The only time you have to take out the 2 bolts holding the caliper to the hub are when you're changing rotors or checking parking brakes or something like that. If you're checking parking brakes I would recommend against that (from personal experience), I wouldn't mess with the sway bar too much and for heavens' sake don't overtighten it'll break the bolt. (also from personal experience) :sick:

    So the best way to remove the bolts are to have a long ratchet extension and reach behind the hub and there should be a hole in the hub just for the purpose of getting a socket in there to get at the bolt. IIRC there is no nut to tighten against; just the bolt. Take out both bolts and voila the whole caliper comes off.

  • rangnerrangner Posts: 336
    Anybody ever try those steel braided cable ratchet attachments that you can turn whatever direction you need?
  • goosegoggoosegog Posts: 206
    Update: The non-Subaru parts supply house won't ship their $73 motor to Canada. So I contacted my local dealership who wants $377 for the motor, without installation. Even a Subaru dealership in WA only charges $165. Why is it that we Canucks get ripped off by Subaru? Parts at double the price and no extended HG warranty either! :mad:
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    That sure does sound a whole lot easier, Eric. I'll try that out.

    The instructions I refered to were for a Legacy and an upgrade brake kit at that. Harder than the job needs to be!

    The sway bar end links - do you need tools on both sides to get it tight again? Looks like one side has some sort of rubber boot covering it? Sound familiar?

  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 12,049
    Ugh. All for a motor?! I call the shipping prejudice Alaskans receive from the lower 48 the "3rd class citizen fee." So, what about Canadians? Is it the "piss on the northern neighbor" exclusion? Sheesh.

    I say have them ship it to a friend's address in the US and then ask the friend to re-route it to you. A PITA for sure, but better than the bite your wallet would take from a $73 part costing you $377.
    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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