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Subaru Legacy/Outback Wagons Maintenance & Repair



  • Likewise in my 2005 OB. Trust us, it's in there somewhere.
  • nerdnerd Posts: 203
    Yes, I found it. I would have given up were it not for Mr. Crowell's assurance that it was there. I'll try to describe the procedure I used to pinpoint and access it:
    - remove the access panel on the driver's side and set aside
    - note that the power point and the rubber plug below it are closed off from the small storage pocket
    - remove the rubber plug (about1.25" dia)that is just below the power point
    - raise the center panel that covers the spare tire
    - remove the floor panel on the driver's side. Just pull it straight up. Notice that it is held by two pull-out fasteners toward the front of the panel.
    - at this point, I borrowed a borescope from my mechanical inspection group. I inserted it in the hole below the power point. Eureka - I finally could see the connector laying on the bottom at the rear of the compartment. The connector was pointed to the rear of the vehicle at the end of its wire harness.
    - I made a small hook from a clothes hanger. Inserting it through the rearmost slot (where the access panel attaches)near the floor, I grabbed the wire bundle just behind the connector and raised it from the bottom of the compartment.
    - I then inserted the hook through the hole, grabbed the harness, and pulled it up enough to grab it with my fingers.
    - I pulled the connnector out of the hole and secured it with a piece of twine to keep it from falling back in.

    Good luck!

    Now I am trying to figure out how to route the trailer wiring adapter to a point outside the car. Of course, the easiest way would be to run the wires out through the liftgate and the lower seal, but that isn't a good long term solution. I would welcome any recommendations.

    With all the fine design of the OB, I can't believe the the Subaru guys made this connector so hard to get to. The Forester has a much better design.
  • I leave the trailer connector inside in the spare tire storage area, where it is out of the elements. When I need to use it I just let it extend under the liftgate. Never had any problems with doing this. The seal holds it pretty tightly.

    I agree that something is lacking in Subaru's logic (they're one pin shy of a full connector?) regarding this connector location.

    Glad you persisted & succeeded.
  • nerdnerd Posts: 203
    I'll use the same technique as you. I won't be towing very often. Thanks for your help.
  • ebony5ebony5 Posts: 142
    Everything else seems O.K. today the horn did not sound .I am going away for about a week and will deal with when I return. But I would like to know what to look for when i get back. Is there a fuse just for it,or would something else be affected by the same one, or the wiring etc? Thanks
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Check the fuse first, then the ground on the horns.

    Mine has 2 horns, so that's why I think it's a fuse. If a ground connection went bad, the other horn would still work, I believe.

  • goosegoggoosegog Posts: 206
    That's the method I used on my 00 OB. A flat 4-wire cable is easily accomodated by the seal on the tailgate and won't leak. But many recreational trailers, even small tent pop-ups like mine, now have 6 or 7 wire connectors and you cannot close the tailgate on these. You'll need to bring it out, perhaps from the spare wheel well, through a new hole fitted with a rubber grommet.

    According to my local RV place nobody tows with cars any more. Apparently you need a truck or SUV.
  • On my 98 Legacy GT, my radio (Sony) does something wierd and I don't know if it's the receiver or speakers or wiring. At random, I would start hearing noise on my side from all three speakers (2 speaker + tweeter) and then all sound goes to the right side (passenger). In order for me to get the sound back on the driver's side, I have to increase the volume and the sound comes back. It mostly happens when I'm listening to AM stations. Less on FM and almost never while playing CDs. Any ideas on what it could be?
  • ebony5ebony5 Posts: 142
    Well it is neither the fuse nor the ground. I guess the next step is to replace the horn? Any ideas for the most economical way to go about this? On line I found horns for $27.26 (low note) and $31.16(high note). I am not sure which is preferable but I would like the louder of the two. This offer is from Premier Subaru Parts, I also got some emails back from used sources but they are as much or more. After the weekend I will see what the dealership I use to service my car has to say. Any other suggestions are welcome. Thanks.
  • I've had this annoying rattle when I travel at low speeds over bumpy roads. I finally isolated it to the passenger side seat. The head rest rattles and so does the seat-when I put my hand on the head rest or the seat cushion and brace it, the rattling stops. Just wondering if anyone else has had this problem and if there is any information that I should be equipped with before I go to the dealer. My Jetta used to rattle all the time and I thought that with this wonderful car the rattles would be gone. :( Thanks!
  • dsaindsain Posts: 17
    Oh, this was a fun one. I tore apart all trim/carpet from the back of my '00 OBW. I traced the rear drivers side lighting harness over to the passenger side and that's where I found the connector, but it is in the worst spot. Below the storage area on the passenger side, but it can't be seen or reached without plenty of disassembly time.

    I guess the '06 is a lot easier, but I'll post what I found if anyone else is interested....You ready??

    Oh, by the way, DO NOT DISCONNECT ANY CONNECTORS THAT ARE YELLOW!!! These are for the airbag system, and I think there is one back there. You don't want an airbag deployment. The best thing to do if you're not me (I don't mind taking chances, he he he) is to disconnect the battery.

    Remove cover and spare tire well foam cover.

    Remove floor panel forward of the tire well (I just lifted it up, taking it easy so I didn't break the push 'pins' that hold it in place.

    Remove the passenger side rear floor panel. My car has cargo net tiedowns at carpet level that I had to remove to get this off.

    Remove foam block.

    Remove rear door (hatch) sill.

    Remove passenger side panel (some screws involved). Do NOT use brute force. This is not a very strong structure. If you have all of the screws out it will come easily. I don't remember if I took it all the way out or if I left myself just enough room to trace the wiring harness.

    Now, grope in the dark, down and behind the rear wheel well. I found one loose connector (nothing connected, and when I pulled it out into the open, viola, it was the correct one.

    There is enough slack in this cable to pull the connector up behind the passenger tail light access panel, and I suggest you do that, even if you are not intending on getting back into there after hooking up your trailer light converter. My trailer light converter (a T-ONE from Draw Tite failed after 11 months, they were awesome about replacing it, just had to fax them my reciept).

    If you pull everything out, your bound to find it. The main harness in the rear half of my car is on the passenger side.

    Good luck (even the dealer service guy I asked didn't know this one).

    Phew! Thinking about this makes me tired. Oh, I took the time to vaccuum whilst I had it all apart. (took on some Lake Michigan sand after a day with the dogs and kids at the beach).

    Thanks Subaru. This doesn't make any sense at all. Why did the get it right on the Forester, and still don't have it right on the OBW (and probably other models).

    I do the same thing, where I keep it out of the elements and just pull it out when I'm towing.

  • I have an 02 Legacy Wagon L. My head gaskets have been replaced due to the common oil/coolant leak. Now, my engine wants to knock when heated up and under load, even with 89 octane fuel. My dealer service department is playing dumb. Anyone heard of this? One suggestion was that the heads were plained when the gaskets were replaced and the compression ratio was changed. Any thoughts?
  • rob_mrob_m Somewhere North of BostonPosts: 813
    I had the same problem with my 05 Legacy GT. I just moved the headrest up one notch and the rattle went away. Good luck! Rob M.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I would take a lot of resurfacing for it to actually change the compression ratio.

    Aren't carbon deposits more likely? Or maybe a faulty knock sensor? It should dial back the timing, anyway, if there is knock.

  • I have a 1998 Legacy Outback that over heated.Lost all the antifreeze and the upper
    radiator hose collapsed.Took the radiator
    cap off to relief the pressure and the hose
    returned to normal.There is a clicking in front of the engine.When I start the engine
    it has a lifter noise.Could this be a warning that the water pump is about to go out?Oh,by the way after replacing the coolant it has'nt over heated since.Can anyone give me a hint of whats going on?Also
    how do you replace the spark plugs on this car?Sincerely,Dumby2.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Not sure about the noise.

    I've done plugs on a '98 Forester and on an '02 Legacy. The Forester has very tight clearance, but the Legacy has more space so it's easy. Yours should be in between the two.

    Just follow the wires to the plugs. I'd change the wires, while you're at it.

  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,920
    Hmmm.... tough to diagnose the overheat based on the information provided. The lifter noise probably is not indicative of a water pump problem. If you have any coolant leaking from the "seep hole" in the pump, that would be an indicator that you should replace it. Check your oil level and make sure it is within the marks on the dipstick, if low, that might be why you are getting the ticking.

    For the spark plugs, fairly easy job (now that I have done it a few times), but still more consistently trying than on any other car on which I have changed them. You should remove the battery for more clearance on the right side and remove the air cleaner assembly on the left for the clearance over there. If you have trouble getting the plug wires to come off the plugs, there is a handy and cheap tool you can buy that gives you better grip and leverage on the plug wire. After that, take a 5/8" plug socket (I think), followed by a u-joint, then by a 3" extension, then a 6" extension, then the ratchet. That should allow you to get the plugs out and back in.

    Good luck with the car and be wary of the overheat event - it is probably indicative of a looming problem.

    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • tomrtomr Posts: 20
    Need a little help. I have an outback 2004 wagon auto trans. with 50k. When I put the car in reverse it makes a loud whining noise. This just started this morning. Does anyone have any ideas.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    It should be under the powertrain warranty, right?

    For now, check the ATF level, it's the yellow dipstick on the trans tunnel. Passenger side I believe (ours are not automatics so I'm not sure).

  • Well it is neither the fuse nor the ground. I guess the next step is to replace the horn? Any ideas for the most economical way to go about this? On line I found horns for $27.26 (low note) and $31.16(high note). I am not sure which is preferable but I would like the louder of the two. This offer is from Premier Subaru Parts, I also got some emails back from used sources but they are as much or more. After the weekend I will see what the dealership I use to service my car has to say. Any other suggestions are welcome. Thanks.
    They are just simple round metal diaphram horns. You can generic replacements at any auto parts store. I've used both Hella and Fiamm, but there are others.
  • Is it really that necessary to change the coolant and brake fluid again? I did this at 30K. I drive my 2003 3.0L LL Bean Wagon in the suburbs...24 miles each to work.


  • tomrtomr Posts: 20
    Thanks Juice I will check the levels tonight. I already have an appointment for tommorow. Just thought it may have happened to someone and I could get an idea of what it could be.
  • My 02 Outback VDC recently has the McIntosh Radio buttons intermittenly working. The on button, eject (cd and tape)and volume control works everytime. But every other button, (radio presets, forward on cd and radio knob, scan or fast forward on cd knob, toggle to cd/radio/am-fm button) first does not work, then it works for a bit, then functions only on specific buttons.

    I was away for 2 weeks and it sat everyday (except one when it was driven). Also it was raining heavily throughout the weeks. Possible condensation in the wiring? I know the volume knob is dust/static prone, but it has never ceased its functions. Anyone have similar situation? Fixes to suggest? Thanks all.
  • I have just found this forum...

    Last spring we upgraded from an 85 GL 4WD wagon to a 96 Legacy/Outback wagon. We drove the ol' GL until she gave up the ghost and our Subaru mechanic took our hands and told us to not put any more money in her, to let her go...

    Everything has been hunky-dory until recently. In the last several weeks, it has started leaving a gooey mixture of an oil and antifreeze like puddle on the garage floor. The oil level hasn't dropped although we are due for an oil change, but a couple days ago it wanted to overheat for the first time. I opened up the radiator cap and sure enough, it was low on coolant. I have also noticed a rattling/tingling sound in the front area of the engine behind the belts and pulleys. I was wondering if it's time for a new water pump. I have done some searches on the net (how I found this site) about this but haven't pulled up any good info as of yet. Anyone in this forum have any experiences of this nature with this year of Subaru? We are at 166772 miles on this car...

    I have to say, even with this trouble we love this car!

    Thanks for any advice any body can offer....

    Concerned in Idaho...
  • rangnerrangner Posts: 336
    Hi sorry to hear about your trouble. Given the symptoms you've described: I would bet head gasket failure. If you can get under the car and look at the heads after a drive and see if there's any weeping of oil/coolant coming out of the heads.

    Could be waterpump or radiator but an inspection of the heads should get you on the right track.

  • rob_mrob_m Somewhere North of BostonPosts: 813
    Does anyone have instructions on how to remove the radio from a 2003 Outback?

    I was able to pop out the trim piece from the shifter, but the trim piece around the radio/hvac seems to be giving me a problem. I got it unclipped most of the way, but the bottom will not release. I removed the change bin, ash tray and a screw behind the ash tray. What am I missing? Thanks! Rob M.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    It's been a while, but let me try to remember...

    OK, you start at the back of the center console and work forward. I remember there were two screws ahead of the shifter that I originally overlooked. They may be under the shifter surround, IIRC.

    When you get that out, remove the ash tray, and you'll need a very long phillips screw driver to remove a bolt at the very back. Get one with a magnet on the head so you don't drop the screw.

    The rest was pretty routine.

  • Entirely my experience. Intermittent crank without starting. Replaced cam position sensor & no more problems ... at least for the last 5 days.
  • tomrtomr Posts: 20
    Found out that the loud whine when in reverse was front brakes and rotors. 50k and had to replace at cost of $472. 10 yr old corolla with 293000 replaced the front rotors once and the pads 3 times. Still at least it wasn't the transmission.
  • Thanks Eric! I got under the car and the coolant leak is limited to the front of the engine behind the belts/pulleys, somewhere above the lower radiator hose. I contacted my independent Subaru repair shop and they think it's the water pump. I'm scheduled for the repair on Firday morning. I'm going to follow the advice of a previous post and have them change the timing belt while they are in there. This will be the first time they have seen this car, and I want them to give the once over. They took wonderful care of our old GL for as long as they could. Find a good mechanic...KEEP 'em!
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