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Subaru Legacy/Outback Wagons Maintenance & Repair



  • Thanks for all of your replies. They have been very helpful. Final question ... Outback vs. compact pickup like Nissan Frontier with rear 4WD? It seems to me that read 4WD on a pickupwould be difficult, since the weight is up front. But some say yes, some no. Anyone with experience? Thanks again. I like the Outback ... just don't know if the clearence is high enough.
  • krzysskrzyss Posts: 848
    "rear 4WD"?
    "read 4WD"?

  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 11,000
    A friend of mine has a 2005 Frontier - base model manual (SE?). A nice truck; it actually feels like a truck versus the oversized car feel of most modern pickups. Anyway, it does quite well in 4WD snow situations at low speeds, though I would much prefer the Subaru if going any appreciable speed (>10 mph?). I daresay it would take more snow to hold up that Nissan than it would a Subaru, but there is optional equipment on the Nissan, too, like ABLS, etc., so you would need to make sure you get the options you need.

    Tires, like always, make a huge difference. ;)
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • I have found that driving in situations where AWD/4wd is actually helpful are also aided by reasonably equal weight distribution. A lightweight bed with nothing in it means there is very little over the rear axle. This can increase the opportunity for the rear of the vehicle to pass the front of the vehicle.
    They make bags to be filled with water that can go in the bed of a pickup to get some weight over the rear axle, but if you are going to make the bed more difficult to use and add weight that will invoke a MPG penalty, why not just be comfortable in a Subaru?
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    I have an Armada and my buddy has a Frontier. The 4x4 w/ABLS will outperform an Outback in deep snow and offroad situations. With that said, the Frontier's 4wd can't be used on dry pavement so you lose that advantage in the dry.


    PS: ABLS is Anti-lock Brake Limit Slip, this gives you an LSD in both the front and rear which is AWSOME in snow.
  • jaxcarjaxcar Posts: 2
    I have a 2000 Outback. The security light (a red dot and the word "SECURITY") just started flashing when the engine is turned off. The light flashes twice, then a short pause, then two more quick flashes, then a pause, and it continues until the engine is started - when it stops. Anybody know what's going on? Thanks for any help.
  • PS: ABLS is Anti-lock Brake Limit Slip, this gives you an LSD in both the front and rear which is AWSOME in snow.

    It gives traction control in the form of limiting power output, not limited slip. Not really a big deal in snow, but a big difference in performance situations (although I don't see many Armadas at track events unless they are towing something there).
  • Here it goes…I’ve got a `98 outback, and I’ve notice a few people had complaints about their trannys, but I’m not sure if mine is in the same ballpark.
    My outback started developing intermittent shifting problem, in first gear, that was more prevalent after the car was driven for a while, and then stopped. If it were left to sit for more than 5 minutes, it wouldn’t shift out of first gear, with out stopping and trying again. It has begun to happen more and more often. My regular repair shop didn’t pull up any codes, even though they could recreated the issue. The next stop was the dealer. They suggested a regular tranny service, even though it had already been done earlier in the year. They test road it. They suggested a power flush, and sent me on my way. Now the problem happens all the time. The fluid has been change 2 more times, to no avail. The tranny finally got stuck in first the other day, and wouldn’t work again, until after sitting all night. The dealer’s check still shows no code, but they go, as far as to say that the tranny is NOT serviceable. They reference a bulletin from Subaru that says to not attempt rebuilds, but to offer a re-manufactured tranny. They won’t even tell me what’s wrong! My warranty expired over a year ago, and I’m a little put off at the fact that I’m looking at a couple thousand dollars to fix a car that’s less than 10 years old with only 102K! I really do love my car, but they’re telling me that the car’s not even worth the repair? Is this true? Is there somewhere/ someplace I can find out what exactly my problem is? I don’t want to get rid of my car, especially with the way it handles so well in the snow, but I’m not really sure what else I can do. —Thanks, Tirebuster420.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 11,000
    I am not convinced that replacing the transmission (if it needs it) is "not worth it." After all, we are talking about a $2000 transmission on a car with only 100K miles. That's a heck of a lot cheaper than car payments!

    So, has it been flushed with solvents to remove any glazes and grime that could be causing or exacerbating the problem? And, has the filter been changed?

    It certainly seems pointless to just flush the fluid out if the fluid is new. It seems a no-brainer that such a flush would not solve anything.
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • jfljfl Posts: 1,385
    Did you ever do the power flush? Or did you just have the fluid changed?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    What mike said. Check the axle/CV boots.

    I had a leak in our old 626 and the grease spilled on O2 sensor and ruined that part as well. So fix it soon.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    What mike said. Check the axle/CV boots.

    I had a leak in our old 626 and the grease spilled on O2 sensor and ruined that part as well. So fix it soon.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    They make very minor revisions all the time - I doubt most people will notice the change.

    Go by the style, do you prefer the old look or the new bigger-grilled face?

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Yikes. Glad you were OK.

    Dibs on the rims.


  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 11,000
    Haha... playing catch-up, juice?! You could have had them, almost new tires included, but I decided yesterday to let the car go. Now I just have to find the darn title..... I have the title to my van, Pinto, truck.... even my 3-wheeler.... but cannot find the title to the Subaru. :mad:
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Hmm, I might have taken the rims for my snow tires, then left the steelies behind. Meh, too much work and the snows aren't on long enough for it to matter.

  • Had the fluid changed 3 times now in just one year. The last time, was last month, and it came out clean. :confuse:
  • The filter has been replaced twice in the last year, not the third time. The fluid, each time it came out was clean. I just can't emagine that a $160 power flush can be a cure from the dealer, when they can't even find a problem.
  • b10609b10609 Posts: 37
    A leaking head gasket can let coolant drip onto hot exhaust and create pretty strange smells, too. Worth a look if all else fails. Problem occurs a bit too often here in Canada. Hope this helps.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 11,000
    Well, if there is quite a bit of varnish build up in there or a blockage of some type, it would not be solved just by flushing the fluid because it is not suspended in the fluid. A solvent flush would dissolve the buildup and allow the clean fluid to flow properly. I just have a hard time believing this procedure would not have been done if the fluid was replaced so many times in the last year, but stranger things have happened.

    The solvent flush is fairly caustic, so I have heard that it is not something to be done as "preventative maintenance." But, if it will keep you from having to replace the transmission, then it is well worth it!

    Do not feel like you must have this done through the dealer - often times there are far more competent independent shops around!
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • I noticed something sticking out from under the front passenger of my 2002 wagon. Getting under there, it seems that the plastic underlining there has a connection piece that was cut off, and the remaining bigger piece is sticking out and down. I'm fairly sure that it doesnt interfere with anything mechanical, looks like a simple covering, but I'd like to replace it, once I know what it is called. Does anyone know what piece that is?

    Thanks in advance.
  • Well, I'm a bit confused on how this happened but here it is....

    This is facing the left side of undercarriage, with the front of vehicle is the top of the image.

    That's the strap that seems to have been cut. It is the part that tucks under the access hatch.

    Here's another connection that keeps the hatch in place that seemed to have been ripped as well, same orientation as the above pic.

    Here's the view from the front of the vehicle and how it hangs. My hand in the picture so show some perspective. I have very minimal pressure on the piece, if any.

    Here is what it is supposed to do.

    And here's a view of the other side, and what it should look like.

    I just had an oil change on the 3rd. Went to a new place, and just wanted to get it done. Pretty routine thing. Had some minor alarms go when the oil change guy couldnt figure out how to open the hood. Had to go to him and tell him how.

    Its my wife's vehicle, and I only noticed the protruding part as I was doing my routine checking the car for dents and and anything weird as I was driving away in our other vehicle.

    Is it possible that something was hit that dislodged it? It looks alarmingly like it was cut to access the oil filter. I'm heading for the lube place to ask for some explanation, but knowing I have no way of showing fault, I'm going with a "Hey, did you happen to notice this?" demeanor.

    Also 2 of the 3 screw fasteners weren't there as well. Just cant figure out how this can happen with an accidental bottoming out.

  • Apologies for such a late reply, here.

    I had the radio repaired at a Audio/Stereo Shop here in South Jersey. I asked for a recommendation from the dealer, and he went ahead and gave me the guys they use. If you're in the area, and need the actual name, let me know, I'm sure I can look it up.
  • plim77plim77 Posts: 46
    Is this a Legacy or an Outback? I had something similar happen to my wife's 06 Legacy sedan. (I know, because I did it.) I parked the car and the concrete parking bumper scraped the bottom of the car, just behind the bumper. The car was literally on top of the concrete. When I pulled out of the space, it sounded like it scraped the bottom of the car right off and left a similar plastic hanging.

    It's also possible that those screw fasteners not being there are a coicidence. They could have never been there or vibrated out as the car has been driven.
  • Its an Outback. I've been trying to see if I bottomed out recently, and I cant seem to remember. Also, there doesnt seem to be a scraping cut, but an actual knife cut. The remaining piece does not show any scraping either. Also dont know how to explain 2-3 inches of it missing.

    Cant see replacing it, since its part of the big housing. I might have to just cut off that whole piece, and just put in new fasteners.

    Did your end piece have scrapes on it? What did you do with it in the end?
  • rangnerrangner Posts: 336
    I would put my money on the oil change place being the culprit. they're just too lazy to remove the three screws to access the oil filter. The same thing happened to my car.

    Go back and pitch a fit and send them the bill from the dealer.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Actually you are not correct.

    VDC- limits power by cutting the throttle.
    ABLS- applies the brake to a slipping wheel on an open differential to force the power from the slipping wheel to the wheel with grip, same as a viscous or clutch-pack LSD except that you wear your brakes quicker and it's only a hair less useful than the viscous or mechanical LSDs, it doesn't work well in a track situation because the constant application of the brakes would cause the pads and fluid to overheat (I saw this at Pocono on a MB owned E55AMG they were testing at one of our track days)

    Interestingly, you can disable the VDC on the Nissan implementation, but the ABLS stays active even if the VDC is off.

  • I'v searched on this, and it does sound like several others have had this problem. What was done to solve it, though? I can pour a little water into the sunroof drain holes, and it does go away immediately. However, on the driver's side, it immediately goes into the headliner. On the passenger side, it drips down by the passenger's feet from the lower part of the door seal. Our service person blew out the drain tubes with compressed air when it first started doing it this past summer. That didn't change anything, as it did the exact same thing before he did it.

    To me, it sounds like the drain tubes have come off. Has anyone taken apart the inside corners to fix it? My Haynes book doesn't cover those areas, so if someone has instructions, or can point me in the right direction, I'd appreciate it. Car interiors are always a pain, if you don't know what to take apart first or how to pull on what. We take our car to the dealer for real repairs, but minor things like this, I usually handle them if I can find the info on how to do it.

    By the way, my wife and I are looking to buy a new Forester or Baja. (That wasn't a solicitation for offers.) We love the Sub's!

    Thank you very much!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,839
    That's exactly what happened..the drain tubes inside the trim have come off (or were blown off by air pressure, or someone stuck a coat hanger down there).

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  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 11,000
    I agree. Looking at the photos, it does not look broken but cut. The only "damage" to any of the other plastic just looks to be rock deflections - no gouges or anything that would indicate an impact with something. The screws could have rattled out, but considering that both of the interior screws are missing (it looks like there were 4 across the front of that panel?), I think someone just failed to attach them. Now, whether the screw loss happened last oil change or prior is hard to say.

    I managed to break every bit of plastic off the bottom of my car during the years I owned it and I guarantee you that none of the breaks were anywhere near as clean as that! That plastic is very durable and it does not break willingly (though subzero temperatures "help!").

    How infuriating. A local Jiffy Lube "forgot" to tighten the oil plug on a friend's new Toyota a few years back - she made it about 50 miles and the engine seized up. Initially, the vendor denied any wrong doing! :surprise:
    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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