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Subaru Legacy/Outback Wagons Maintenance & Repair



  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,925
    We are certainly entitled to our differences, juice. Again, I am thinking *should*, not *will*, so obviously there are factors there such as build quality (here's where the manufacturer comes in), driving environment, driving habits, etc. The automotive industry, like any other, works on a double-edged sword because while they want the perception of reliable, quality automobiles, it would be quite a self-inflicted shot to the foot for every car coming off the line to be built to go forever. So, as long as they can build them to a, say 5-year standard (60-100K miles) of reliability, then in general the perception amongst those valuable 3-5 year repeat new car buyers is that the cars are reliable. Why should they care so much if us 10-year, low frequency buyers feel the cars become unreliable too soon in the low to mid 100,000 range? After all, we are still driving them, so we should expect some maintenance. I go for that - I look forward to maintaining my cars as it is, to me, an integral part of the ownership experience. But, that is where repairs come in - I do not so much enjoy fixing manufacturing problems, especially if it is something that has not been fixed by the manufacturer such that I will just have to address the issue again and sooner than I should. For me the heart of a car is its engine, transmission, and differentials. Those parts should last the "life" of the car. The manufacturer can choose that life for sure, but then I can also choose the manufacturer. I prefer maintenance/repair costs over car payments, so when the average monthly cost (including reliability costs) begins to approach that of a car payment, it is time to move on.

    I know that your view on vehicular life spans is shared by many - looking at eBay I see many MANY Subarus out there with at or right near 100,000 miles, and that cannot be coincidence. ;)

    I always think, "whew... still just a baby!" :P
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • cptpltcptplt Posts: 1,075
    we've all been spoiled by our Subes. how about 38K on a tranny for a Ford Windstar (and when they replaced it under ext warranty - best "option" to get when buying any Detroit junk -they needed to get a 2nd one shipped as the first factory one didn't fit!!) and then blowing its engine gaskets at 75K or 40K on a Chevy intake manifold leak - supposedly because the long life pink coolant junk they use eats through their engine gaskets!!
  • We've all been spoilt by our Subes.....not really. Basically, I learnt the hard way (after spending real money) that Detroit junk will remain Detroit junk.

    Case #1: Bought a brand new loaded Mercury Cougar right out of college, since I was an immigrant transplant and enamored by that 'Ford' 2 years and less than 10,000 miles, everything started falling apart and needed warranty fixes, in spite of having babied it. I sold it and bought a used Mitsubishi Mirage with 77K miles, sold it to a friend at 150K, who used it and drove it all over the country (this was an AT), routine maintenance only, until it died around 320K. Phenomenal.
    Case #2 - not having learnt my lesson, bought a brand new Ford Escort GT - fun and peppy car to drive. Never stressed it. Was fine mechanically until one of the front axle tie rods actually snapped while driving out of a gas station (imagine what would have happened if I was out on the highway doing 65...). Ford towed it to a dealer and examined it, replaced under warranty, explanation given - 'routine stress wear'. MY @$$. I forced the dealer to buy it back from me under the threat of a lawsuit.

    Next few cars in the household - 95 Honda Accord, 02 Toyota Camry, two Infiniti G20s (93 and 01), and now a 06 Legacy wagon (all bought new). All went into the high 100Ks when I sold them. Never taken in for warranty issues, just proper routine maintenance, not driven hard (except for the G20s which I did drive aggressively). The 02 Camry is coming up on 100K, still drives as smoothly as the day we bought it ( I was lucky in that I got one of the first 2000 units of the 02 Camry redesign that were delivered here from Japan, not made in USA). I do realize that The Subie is made in Indiana, but the engine, transmission, and other parts do come from Japan......why can't US manufacturers learn how to put a car together? Look at the Subie interior, fit and finish....

    This is not a US vs Japan knock, but just my opinion - I'm sure others will have completely polarized opinions compared to mine. I do not intend this post to spawn into a big debate neither. :blush:

    Looking back at purchases that my friends, relatives, office colleagues, etc. made, I've come to realize that the US auto industry will never produce a car that has a combination of an ergonomically well-designed interior (including screws and bolts not visible..), decent exterior styling, good handling, and more importantly, reliability at a reasonable price. Slapping a warranty on a car for 100K miles to catch up with the competition is one thing. What good is it though, if it spends most of its usable life in the shop honoring that 'warranty'.... :lemon:
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    100k I can agree with, but 250k for any vehicle is very optimistic.

    On the Odyssey, for instance, I'd be willing to bet anything that the transmission will *not* make it to 250k without a rebuild (or two).

    Honda is still making revisions to the transmission, as evidence that they still think it needs work to meet their usual durability standards.

    My buddy and former college roommate operated a fleet of F150 trucks and they got 250k out of them but with a powertrain rebuild in the middle of that cycle.

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  • zman3zman3 Posts: 857
    We've all been spoilt by our Subes.....not really. Basically, I learnt the hard way (after spending real money) that Detroit junk will remain Detroit junk.

    I will continue to be the dissenting voice in this area. I had far more problems with my 98 OB than I have either of the Ford SUV's I've owned.

    My 98 OB had wheel bearing issues, blown head gasket, piston slap, plus other minor issues.

    I had a 95 Explorer that had a few minor issues in the first year such as blown relay, etc. We drove it to 90K without spending a penny on anything other than wear and tear items. Our 03 Expedition was not as good as the Explorer and had a few minor visits to the repair shop the first year, but nothing major mechanically. It now has 55K on it with no out of pocket repair expenses.

    I know I am only one data point, but I think people that still think American cars are junk have not owned on recently. My opinion of Subaru may change with my 06 3.0, which seems to be a solid powertrain so far, but I will reserve judgement for a few more years.

  • aaykayaaykay Posts: 539
    On the Odyssey, for instance, I'd be willing to bet anything that the transmission will *not* make it to 250k without a rebuild (or two).

    Honda is still making revisions to the transmission, as evidence that they still think it needs work to meet their usual durability standards.

    Actually, the previous generation Odyssey (pre-2005) and the previous generation Acura TL had a design issue with the transmission, which gave Honda a bad rap. Unfortunately, it was too late into the model years to do a complete re-design and hence Honda came up with a workaround (some kind of a supplemental oil pump) to mitigate the problem, in the 2003/2004 model year. A very rare slip from Honda, IMO. Actually, since the interior of the Odyssey is commodious, I have known people stuffing in HEAVY things into the interior (with the 2 rear rows of seats taken out), to the tune of well over a couple of thousand pounds (way beyond the load capacity of the vehicle), and I am surprised that the transmission/brakes/tires/wheels/engine etc is holding up to such abuse....maybe Honda did not do such testing prior to releasing the older Odyssey for sale ?? - maybe. Things happen in the real world, that you simply don't cater for during internal testing, since internal testing will simply test for situations that are within the design parameters (or maybe a bit over but not substantially over).

    Honda being the engineering powerhouse that it is, would almost certainly have done a complete engineering analysis of the whole transmission issue and during the re-design, they almost certainly would have over-engineered the new transmission (fitted into the 2005 and beyond Odysseys) if anything to reclaim back their reputation. I think a significant portion of Honda sales is purely based on their reputation for bullet-proof reliability, in addition to the product quality.

    I believe if anything fails in the new Odyssey (2005+ model years), it will not be the transmission. I am confident about taking it to 300K+. JMHO.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    That's not what I read in the Ody threads. Even when the new one came out, there were a few people waiting for further revisions to the transmission.

    I'll have to defer to those more knowledgeable members for any more detail than that, however.

  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,925
    I think you have the rest of us perplexed as well. It sounds like an electrical interference with the radio, but why it is coming through even after the car is shut off simply makes me scratch my head. How loud is the interference? Is it something you would hear with the car running, so is it possible it would happen all the time? It seems like perhaps you have a short of some kind, but it is strange that it would affect things intermittently and not affect any fuses. I think you probably need an automotive electrician to take a gander at it, unfortunately.
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,925
    Juice, my apologies for having dragged this one out too long.

    What everyone has been citing here is manufacturing concerns, and of course to some extent that translates into life expectancy of the vehicle, so I can certainly see your point of view on the subject. :(
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • w9cww9cw Posts: 888
    ateixeira wrote: "A Dodge van would be on it's 2nd trans, maybe 3rd. Most Acura TLs would be on their 2nd trans by then, and Acura only covers them for the first 100k."

    I guess I'm an anomaly, as I've never had transmission problems in any of my vehicles including a 1985 SAAB 900 with the 5-speed stick (over 200K at the moment), and a 1994 Dodge Grand Caravan with the 4-speed ECT automatic (162K). The Caravan transmission is the original - changed ATF at every 20K and drive very conservatively, never having used the kickdown "passing gear." In many cases, it's all how you take care of your equipment!
  • I took it to the dealership and they ended up replacing some sort of circuitry board that ran the odometer, tach, trip, speedometer. They showed me the old board and there was a burn mark from a short circuit. They also discovered that radio shorted out and needs replacing but elected not too because I was already in deep. Problems still not solved. Now speed and tach don't illuminate. (Did adjust dial to no avail). Also, rear speaker still making loud noise when rear door is shut even though car is off and keys out of ignition. Noise starts off loud then slowly peters out. On top of that, car was running and idling normally a week ago and now the rpm's are dropping so low it ends up on the verge of stalling when parked. Also noticed when downshifting while going around a corner that the rpms dive really low.
  • wjawja Posts: 1
    How did you make out on this and what was the final resolution?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    changed ATF at every 20K

    Oh man, that's an automatic OCD Club for Life Membership. Congratulations. :shades:

  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,925
    Well, the good thing about the speed and tach not illuminating is that if they did prior to taking it in for the work, then it is on the dealership's dime to set it right. As for the radio, I would again guess that the speaker is picking up electrical interference - though it sounds like it is from a capacitor that is discharging, so at least you do not have a "constant on" problem there that will drain your battery.

    The rpm problem..... vacuum? Was the dealership poking around under the hood at all? I would consider this to be a "it worked fine before taking it in, but I have had this problem since I picked it up" issue and take it to the dealer to see if they can set it straight again. Perhaps the knocked a hose loose or broke a plastic connector or something. It could also be a sensor feedback problem, but if it is, then I have to wonder if there is a different electrical problem that is causing all this other stuff to suddenly short out, one after the other, as different resistors fail.
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • weezusweezus Posts: 1
    I have a 2000 Outback. At 80K the engine blew, on a bridge over San Francisco Bay. We are diligent oil-changers so the cause is unclear. It cost a pretty penny to replace.

    Just this week, I was driving on a freeway, stopped to pay a toll, and when I started driving everytime the automatic transmission would move another gear, it felt like I was getting rear-ended from behind. I took it to the nearest Subaru service center, they say it's fine. The transmission is fine, the fluid levels are fine. Obviously, something isn't fine. I commute 80 miles a day -- I'm not willing to wonder when this is going to happen again.

    Has anyone had a similar problem?

    For obvious reasons, I'm planning on selling this car and getting my 3rd Toyota. I grew up in New England, have always considered Subarus to be work horses but I am really disappointed.

    Thanks for any counsel.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    For the engine, if it was head gaskets Subaru actually covered those if owners agreed to use a radiator conditioner (dealer added free of charge). Just an FYI.

    The trans? Those are usually pretty robust, not a common failure at all. They probably can't reproduce the problem right now, on demand.

    Have them service it anyway, flush the ATF, and see if that helps.

  • My left windshield nozzle has a foreign object lodged in the spray opening that is preventing proper flow of the fluid. I've added solvent thinking it will help. No dice. I've tried to break it down with a pin, but it is stubborn and will not break small enough to fit through during spray.

    I have searched for a way to dismantle it, and have found none. Nor a way to even take it off the hood. Can anyone direct me? Is it a simple yank and pull? I've tried to do that, but it is a bit stiff. Thanks again for the help.
  • My 1999 Outback LTD, 141K miles, has a shimmying problem in the front end between 20 to 27 mph as I accelerate. Car has new tires, balanced wheels, and four wheel alignment. The wheels were even rotated after all this. The dealer can't find anything wrong although he has felt the shaking. It can not be felt in the steering wheel but the whole front of the car seems to shake. One thought was bad bearings in the front differential. Anyone out there have a similar problem they have found a fix for? The problem is intermittent and ranges from almost unnoticeable to severe.
  • It was a relatively easy disassemble. It has a clip from the inside of the hood that enables you to take out the nozzle itself. The nozzle is a one piece thing, as much as I can tell, as no apparent ways of opening it up. I called the parts department, and it was $26 to replace the nozzle as it only comes in a package of nozzle and wires. Also, there is a different nozzle per side.

    As I looked into the nozzle, there were many pieces of white objects obstructing the pathway. I had to surgically remove these items, as they were embedded deep into the well, with only a small cylinder for access. These white objects almost looked like the white stuff that accumulates at the car battery contacts. At first I thought it was dried up car wax from waxing the car and not being too careful around the nozzles, but these were way inside. Now I'm wondering if the combination of windshield fluid and winter solvent might be making this in small amounts. Either way, after I was successful in getting these out, it was easy to blow air through the nozzle, where before it took a monstrous effort.
  • This is a mail vehicle over 200,000 miles. We drain off the excess engine oil and add to gear box, I run 140 miles for the day and engine is over full and gear box is low. My husband has maintained this vehicle for 8 years so I believe he knows where to put the oil, there is no coolant in the oil and it is never low, no sign of a leak under the vehicle . :confuse:
  • fibber2fibber2 Mid Hudson Valley, NYPosts: 3,775
    The onset of sudden kick-in-the-back hard shifting is a symptom of a problem brewing. But you probably already knew that!

    Quite often it is actually part of a self protection mode taking place. When the transmission control unit thinks that something is wrong, it direct a substantial increase in fluid pressure to solidly lock the planetary gearset on each gear change. It is to protect itself from perceived slippage or other problems that might result in overheating and damage.

    I went thru a similar problem a few years ago with my 2000 Ford Windstar. It took multiple visits to the dealer to catch it misbehaving, as the TCM never logged a code that told why it was occasionally going into auto-protect mode. Turned out to be a leaking seal caused by a scored shaft. It is one of those things that will be much easier to diagnose once the components degrade further....

    As suggested, try a flush and filter change. It could be triggered by a particulate that is floating about in the valve body.

  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,925
    Well, I am going to make the assumption here that the engine is a 2.5L, in which case it should take 4.5 quarts of oil. Try a couple of things here. First, upon the next oil change after draining the pan and pulling the filter, fill it with exactly 4 quarts of oil - pour 1/3 to 1/2 a quart in the new filter before installing it, and place the rest of that quart and 3 more in the filler spout. After driving it for your 140 miles, check it... presumably it should be somewhere between the low and high marks. If it is significantly over the high mark, I have to wonder if there is a seal or something allowing the oil to fully drain back into the pan. In any case, you do not need to drain oil out as it is not over full, but this could still be a problem because your bearing surfaces (crank/cam shafts) could be running increased friction until the system primes after every start up.

    Next, the differential oil - assuming again that this is the front differential? How low is it and how soon after shutting off the car is it being checked? Some time should be given for drain-down, but if there is no external leaks at all on the differential, perhaps drain and refill the transmission fluid to visually confirm it is a decidedly red color. I cannot imagine the gear oil leaking into the transmission somehow, but if it is not going external, then it must be going somewhere. Oh, did he wait a few minutes between filling and checking it the last time? Perhaps there was some residual oil in the filler area that gave a bogus reading. Just searching ideas here. ;)
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • dhyandhyan Posts: 2
    occking: Didn't know there was such a thing as an armrest extender. Can you tell me more about it?
  • I had the same problem with my 01 Legacy wagon. It turned out to be failed sealant at the top edge of the light bar. I removed the assembly (a bit time consuming but easy) and layed a bead of silicone along that edge and it fixed it.

  • Hi there I have a 2003 subaru outback wagon two weeks ago after the engine is warmed up it stumbles and stalls,I brought it to the dealer and they diagnosited it to the o2sensor they replaced it and it still stumbles and stalls any suggestions?
  • Hi there I have a a problem with my Subaru 2.5 engine it stumbles and stalls after it warms up I took it to the dealership and they diagnosied at as a o2 sensor and it still does the same thing even after replacing it with a new one any suggestions?
  • krzysskrzyss Posts: 845
    clicked refresh afer 10 hours.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    It doesn't throw any codes at all?

    If the plugs and wires are more than 30k miles old, I'd try that first. Otherwise my guess is it's the ignition coil (only about $80 and there's just one).

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