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Subaru Legacy/Outback Wagons Maintenance & Repair



  • That's ignition noise being picked up by the car radio.... Something similar has always happened in my 1996 legacy, but not too loud.

    Not likely to be trouble & someone else here might know how to correct it. Have a good autoelectrician look at the engine electrical systems.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,810
    Probably a stereo shop can cure this, known as "alternator whine". Have you had any stereo or speakers installed recently? If so, they may have made an error known as a "ground loop".

    Some stereo shops can install a Noise Suppression Kit.

    These whines aren't always easy to fix or trace but ask a good stereo shop what they can do for you.

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  • Thanks for your response. Do you think it might still be related to the ignition even when the radio isn't on? I hear the whine when I first start the car, with no radio, and sometimes I am still able to hear it when I am driving. The ipod/radio thing just makes it extremely noticeable.
  • Thanks for your input. As far as I am concerned, the car can whine all it wants as long as it runs right. And no, I didn't have any stereo work done..everything is original. It's just this whining noise that has developed over the past few months. Would the alternator cause a whine, which can be heard even with the radio off? My concern is that the noise is a warning that something is getting ready to give.
  • I have 2002 LL Bean edition - with approx 70k mileage - and 100k GOLD
    extended warranty.

    Recently a month back that my front right wheel is making skweaking
    sound (metal rubbing) on sharp, slow turns. I took the car to the

    Dealer took a look at the car and mentioned that "The front right
    wheel is touching back while taking sharp turns (mainly right)making
    that sound and would require
    right front strut, hat bearing, wheel liner to be replaced with approx
    cost of 800.00."

    I mentioned the vehicle is under warrenty, but he said this is the
    result of the road hazard not the defect. My wife never experienced
    any situation that would have caused this. The discussion with the
    dealer was fruitless.

    I asked another dealer the cost of same maintenance. He came up with
    the estimate of around 550.00 so I took the vehicle to him. This
    dealer mentioned that there is no damage after observation and would
    require whell balancing.

    I took the vehicle to the local "TiresLesSchwab" tire center. He (good
    guy) also could not balance the whell and given the estimate of around
    550.00 with total including parts like -
    1) lower control arm 2) gr2 strut.

    Now I am more confused - with questions. Any help would be

    1) Does the extended warranty covers the struts movement, I do not
    remember any road hazard situation that happened to my vehicle.
    2) Why the parts naming is different with the first dealer and
    the "TireLesSchwab" guy?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,810
    Yes an alternator can whine like a banshee.

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  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    "The front right
    wheel is touching back while taking sharp turns (mainly right)making
    that sound and would require
    right front strut, hat bearing, wheel liner to be replaced with approx
    cost of 800.00."

    This seems viable, for sure, cause if the hat bearing were bent or damaged it would cause a wobble and could cause the wheel to be cocked a bit. However, it's not likely that the wheel would actually rub if it were only the strut and the hat bearing.

    The LesSchwab guy is on the right track with the Lower Control Arm, because if that were bent then you would get rubbing of the wheel.

    In my opinion this was caused by hitting a pothole of some sort and would not be covered under warranty. Further, I would go ahead and replace both front struts (best to always replace in pairs) and long with the lower control arm on the damaged side, and the strut-top/strut-top bearing, and the wheel well liner.

    Based on the prices they are giving you, you are looking at about $1000 in damage which wouldn't be warrantyable.

    Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.

  • cptpltcptplt Posts: 1,075
    they replaced my 02 WRXs rear strut under warranty. I don't know if they can tell from whats wrong with it as to the mode of failure but maybe with the wheel liner etc also showing damage this would indicate road hazard problem while my case was an isolated strut gone bad - but maybe I was just plain lucky. (having taken my other 3 Subarus to be maintained at the same dealer and having purchased one from them may have helped my case also, they also did stuff once under the ext warranty which is definitely not covered- HVAC bulbs).
  • grahampetersgrahampeters AustraliaPosts: 1,783

    It might be worth having a look at the ower control arm fixings. Years ago, I had a similar problem with a whell alignment proving impossible. Eventually traced to a U-shaped fitting with a bush inside it surrounding the lower sway bar, which had been pushed back about an inch. Replaced the fitting and instant fix


  • My check engine light has been on for a while. It goes on and off... I brought it to one shop and they said a $450.00 repair of O2 sensor. I waited because I couldn't afford it. Brought it to another shop and they said it was a Knock sensor. I finally brought it to a dealership (not specifically subaru)...and the said it was a code P0160, but they weren't sure whether it was the catalytic converter or 02 sensor. I finally am here, doing research and have found that it is a rear o2 sensor driver's side bank 2. This dealership wants to further examine it and double check to see whether it really is the 02 sensor or something else. from what I was told...the engine is trying to initiate the 02 sensor (which apparently is not functioning) and because it isn't is pulling a ton of gas into the chamber. But, the mechanic said it might be a loose fitting as well. He said he didn't want to put a $100.00 part inside t he engine and have it not be the case.
    What do you think....Please advise as I really can't afford much.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,993
    This and the timing position sensors are definite possibilities. Another may be the Mass Airflow Sensor (MAS). A good cleaning of the element should make it less sensitive to moisture.
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • The engine on my 2000 Subaru Outback has recently started running rough. When we opened the hood, sparks were apparent around the wires to the spark plugs. We replaced the wires and the spark plugs. The mechanic then told us that the gaskets needed to be replaced and the ignition coil is cracked. Has anyone had experience with this problem and can share their experience.

  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,993
    It is a tough call at this point, but it really depends on how much life you think it will give your car, and how long you plan to keep it (independent of the repair). The block repair is going to run you what, about $2200? If you spread that over a couple years, you spent quite a bit less than a new vehicle. If you get 4-6 months along and have another major problem or decide to trade it in, then you would be better just buying now.

    Good luck with it, regardless. I have to remember how many miles you said you have on it, but it seems like it was between 120 and 130K. There is, potentially, quite a bit of life left. This is coming from an owner of a 220K mile '96 (and it could have gone for quite a few more).
    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: 10,993
    To what gaskets was your mechanic referring?

    The symptom you describe does sound like the coil is cracked (small plastic box mounted on top of the intake manifold). Those are incredibly easy to replace; I think they cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $80. Juice could confirm that, his experience with chipmunks makes him a master of knowledge in this regard... :P

    As for the gaskets, that must be another issue. I do not think there are any gaskets involved with the spark delivery.
    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: 10,993
    Well, I agree that it is never effective to start throwing parts at a car in the hopes of hitting the right one. The codes for the O2 sensors are particularly troublesome because there are so many intertwined possibilities that can result in an oxygen sensor code popping up. Unfortunately, the only way around this is to do physical inspections/testing and to run the vehicle while plugged into a live feed diagnostics system, and both of these options cost money because they take time.

    Hopefully another member can provide you more insight into P0160 specifically.
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • That was exactly what was said to me at the dealership. So, I think I probably will have to go that route and get the intense diagnostics done. It does disturb me, however, that there are these small private garages that also have the diagnostic computer and come up with the wrong diagnosis...or an incomplete one. The dealership was the only one who said, let's do a more intense check to see if the catalytic converter might be in play, or it might be something else like a vacuum leak. The other garages said nothing about saying it was the knock sensor...which I believe was totally wrong. I wonder how many people get work done they don't need or that doesn't really address the issue at hand.
  • I think it happens a lot. I think many people and some mechanics feel like they can just read the computer and it will tell you everything, but in reality, it gives you only a place to start. I was getting a code for cylinder running lean and then another code for catalyst below efficiency (bad cat) and 2 places said it was an O2 sensor, and one place said it was the catalytic converter assembly. It was a $7 cracked plastic hose causing a vacuum leak.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,810
    I'd like to have a dollar for every needlessly replaced 02 sensor in America.

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  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    You'd be a millionaire, no doubt.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,993
    I had code P0420 (Cat Converter below threshold) popping up on my '96 Outback for more than 2 years. At first go, the dealership said it needed a new converter. At ~400 for the part, I opted to wait until after I had done the emissions testing to see if there was an issue with the tailpipe emissions. There was not. In fact, the emissions tested better than they had 2 years prior. So, I left the converter in there. I never could find the problem, but I still do not think it was the converter. It probably was an oxygen sensor, but bygones are bygones at this point.
    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
    I had a misfire on my Forester, people told me to change the 02 sensor.

    That wasn't it. After investigating I found a chip munk had chewed up some wires under the hood! Needed new plug wires and a new ignition coil.

    Car ran fine for 2 years after that, all with the original 02 sensor.
  • jntjnt Posts: 316
    recently tried to replace a factory radio with a VR3. The VR3 radio has only one illumination wire but there is a positive wire and a negative wire from the factory. If I only hook up the positive the stereo works fine but I have no speedometer/tachometer lights... unless i blew a fuse somewhere? Anyone know anything about this "illumination" hook up... i'm not much of an electrician.

    In some vehicles, OEM uses PWM + (dim plus) and PWM- (dim -) to light up all light bulbs for radio buttons. Note that the dim- wire is isolated from GROUND to isolate dim noise from affecting radio performance.

    So with the VR3 connected, did you get the radio buttons lighted at night? Note that if you do not hook the dim+ and dim- to the VR3 radio, it should work but without the back lighting of the radio buttons. Doing so may get you back the Tach/Speedometer lighting. You could have blown the fuses during the process.

  • Follow up news: Brought the outback in to the dealer for further analysis. Since leaving the dealership the check engine light was off. When I brought it in today...low and turns out that the computer is telling us now that it is indeed the knock sensor. I was told that this also plays a role with gasoline to make it lean or not...and if I had put in some bad gas at some may have triggered this sensor...but, because of the fact that I waited a while to get into the shop....the 02 sensor was compensating. It's really complicated, I suppose. Anyway...let's hope that this cures it. It's $200.00 that I could use for xmas...but, I guess....I can't afford to waste gas now either.
  • I have a auto transmission w/ approx 80k miles on it. When I bought the car it had the wrong fluid in the tranny. I had it serviced about 20k miles ago. Here is the issue. When I put the car in drive or reverse when I start out in the AM it does not engage right away. If I give it some gas it engages hard no slippage ever. After it is worn the chance of occurring is less likely. The dealership speculated that there is an internal leak and need a new tranny $4k. A friend of mine was in the car when it did it and said it did not feel like an internal leak and thought it might be a selenoid that is bad on the tranny or did he say servo? Anyway, Any ideas or things I can check to to narrow down the problem. Thanks in advance!
  • My 74 year mother and I just got off the phone. The 2001 Legacy she recently purchased is throwing a check engine code. The dealer she bought it from has been trying to fix a slow tank fill issue that he says is related. There are a miriad of valves(?) that he has replaced and he still has not solved it. This is all second hand from my (non-technical) mother. Is there a known related issue? What is the fix. Are there related recalls?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    There is probably a leak in the fuel vapor recovery system. My Forester had a canister under the fuel fill door that you could see from underneath.

    All those hoses need and air tight seal, or it will throw a code, some even will disable the engine so it won't run.

    I found out by accident, while installing a hitch, I did not connect the hoses properly. I re-connected them and that resolved it.
  • markk1markk1 Posts: 30
    My tranny failed in a similar manner a little earlier in its life (luckily) as Subaru picked up the replacement cost. The only difference I see is that in my case i don't remember it engaging better after it warmed up. The issue typically occurred at a stop light. You might look back a couple of years in this archive there was a big discussion about the transmission problems.

    You might want to get some other quotes for a rebuilt transmission 4k sounds a little high.
  • it is winter now here in colorado and i have started using the heater in outback. this is my first subaru so i am uneducated. when i stop and have the heater on after driving for awhile there is a burning rubber smell that come in the car. just wondering what that could be? also, when i turn the vent preference from one setting to another, like from feet only to defrost and feet, air always comes out from the dash vents, i was wondering if this is normal?
  • I need information on removing the glovebox in order to change the cabin filter. I think I need to remove the console panel and don't know how. Any help would be appreciated.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I smelled some undercoating burning off for the first few months, but yours it 2 years old now, so that's strange.

    The climate control has a mind of its own, that was discussed a lot when the 2005s came out. Go to the 05+ Legacy/Outback thread and ask there.
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