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Subaru Legacy/Outback Wagons Maintenance & Repair



  • The description of piston slap sounds like a perfect fit for what I am experiencing. I also had the oil (5w30) changed recently and I paid close attention to see if there was any difference. At best, there was a slight reduction in noise, but it was still there and the noise reduction may have been due to somewhat warmer temperatures.

    Thank you all for taking the time to respond. I look forward to many more miles with my Subie.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,910
    Ah, okay. The additional information definitely helps. If it is not steering, then it is likely a serious (and expensive to fix) issue - front differential. You may have a problem with the clutch packs in there causing something to bind. If so, that may also be the reason for the transmission not wanting to shift to drive. If there is significant resistance in the drive line, the computer-controlled transmission likely thinks you are trying to climb a hill or something and is keeping it in the lower gear to overcome the resistance.

    Of course, this is all conjecture, but the front differential (which is the front, bottom portion of the "transaxle") is a likely candidate for the source of the problem.

    Out of curiosity, what year is the car?
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • Does anyone have any ideas on what this could be: During acceleration 30-40 mph my car makes a shuddering sound like when a rear window is open but not as loud. After that it seems to go away until 55 to 60 mph. At that point it turns into a vibration which is louder in the back seat. As long as I am pressing the gas or have it on cruise you can hear this hum/vibrating sound but when the car is coasting there is no noise. Its an automatic w/ 115,500 miles (sage green).

    So far the guess/fixes have been: replaced inner/outer tie rods & boots. Rebuilt drive shaft. Replaced rear stabilizer link kits. Put winter tires on. Changed differential fluid - slight evidence of metal.

    I would appreciate any thought on this. I bought a Haynes repair book because I have been to a dealer & two other garages & feel like I'm getting the runaround on this. So if I dont know exactly what you're refering to I can at least look it up. Thanks! I love my car!!! :confuse:
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,570
    Do you have half-shafts on this car in the rear or a straight-tube read end? If half-shafts, I'd definitely check the CV joints. Sorry I don't know Subarus.

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  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,910
    Hey, Shifty. Yes, the car does have half-shafts w/ CV boots. No solid axles on a (modern) Subaru.
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,570
    Okay! Did anyone check this CV joints for excessive wear (not easy to do, usually you have to take them down and clean them and then look at what you got).

    I'd suggest running the car up on a lift but the type that lets the wheels hang, and then running the car and observing the half-shaft rotation.

    I'm suspicious of the half-shafts because this happens only on "pull", when the engine is driving the wheels, but not on "push" when the wheels drive the engine.

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  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Might as well just replace them all they are about $50-60 each and the labor is about 1hr per end of the car.

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,570
    yeah but that's another $500 guess. Unfortunately you can't really check them by just grabbing them and twisting them around.

    I wonder if the driveshaft was balanced after it was rebuilt?

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  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,910
    I have heard of and experienced vibration from the drive shaft. It was due to a faulty bushing that surrounds the main bearing on the shafts. But, it actually caused a thumping that could be felt through the car, not just heard.
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,570
    I think he said he was feeling it, too.

    If in fact he feels NOTHING, only hears a sound, then it's an aerodynamics problem somewhere, or a harmonics issue, not actually mechanical per se.

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  • Finally I got this fixed relatively cheap -

    After visiting, dealer and Schwab I realized that both of them really not sure that their recommendations would fix the CAR and hence took to the AAA car care.

    Thanks to all of you and Grahmpeters for your advice. The lower control arm bushing was replaced and that fixed the problem.

    I paid only 350.00. I relaized that "non-profit" organizations work great.
  • We just purchased a 2001 Outback with 109k on it. Great shape runs well but we noticed that the hatchback is leaking so that when we open it up water streams out..

    It also appears that the water is actually going into the inside of the hatchback door and getting the electrical wet..

    I'm thinking there is a seal or gasket I need to buy as there is no rust or anything like that and the window isn't cracked. I'm thinking it's the rubber seal around the hatchback rather than around the window.. Anyone have these problems and can suggest what to buy? I'm thinking of buying something from Autozone or something...

  • '99 Outback 30th Anniv, Wagon, 2.5L, 125k miles

    Got in the car, locked the doors (electrics) and they made a buzzing noise then locked. A few minutes later was driving up an on-ramp, engine died. As it died it made a rumbling-ish noise like a flat tire or broken belt hitting the hood would make. CEL and Oil Light came on, but no power.
    I assumed the timing belt broke, as I had replaced it just a couple years ago. Removed Alt and A/C belts (intact), and removed the TB covers to find a beautiful intact timing belt. Okay, ruled that out and checked the Haynes. It suggested check the coil pack. Resistance values were out of specs, so I replaced the CP. Upon restart, cranked the engine a couple times and was finally able to coax it to life, but it died immediately. Now it won't crank at all. Battery voltage is 12.5 volts.

    Any suggestions appreciated. I don't have an ODB reader, and $125 coil pack are expensive troubleshooting tools!

    Thanks, TB
  • Many autoparts stores will loan out the code reader. Autozone will run the codes for free, Murrays will sell you the reader and then buy it back from you when you are done.
    I concur, debugging by parts replacement can be very expensive. Did the coilpack you just replaced test good after the engine died?
  • Thanks for the info on borrowing a code reader. I'll check on it this evening.

    Like an idiot, I didn't think to check the CP prior to install, and I was too irritated to check it afterwards. Also on the list for this evening. :)

  • OK.. I checked into it further and the water is actually leaking out of the back of the left tailight housing. I lifted the hatchback and the "pocket" type flap that allows access to the left tail light streamed water (it's Oregon and it rains a lot :) )

    I took out the fixture and the water leaked out of it.

    When I close the hatchback I see an area right above the tail lights ( like a 1/4 inch black rubber? seal that actually looks like the rubber seal has intentionally spaced areas of about an inch or two long for venting .. ? Where I can see it as a possible entrance of water.. Is that typicall? Should this be sealed up?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    They are not sealed, I remember that about my Forester.
  • ted55ted55 Posts: 11
    My 2000 Outback started running hot recently and based upon info that I found in these discussions, it seems likely my water pump died. I also have about 78K on the odometer and it appears that the thing to also have done at this point is to change (or adjust?) the timing belt while the engine is open. I was just wondering what the average cost is for these procedures?
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,910
    Assuming you are looking to have the work performed for you, probably about $500. The timing belt is about $80-100 for the part and the water pump is another $100.
    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
    There's also a tensioner ~$190 that is often replaced. If it's not replaced the mechanic has to compress the old one and insert a pin in preparation to re-install it. If the compression is done improperly, he'll damage the part.

  • maxszmaxsz Posts: 1

    I am new to the world of forums. I purchased my new 2006 Outback last year. Its a great car and I have had no problems. A week ago the front seat adjuster (that moves seat back or forward) stopped working. It is a manually operated system with a bar that you pull up to release the claws that lock the seat in position. Can any one help me with any ideas on how I might repair this on my own?

    Regards to all

  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,910
    That is true. $190?! Wow. Must be a different design than on the older ones (mine was a '96), as that is just a small piston - the whole thing is not more than 3.5" long and maybe 3/4" around. There is no way that one could be so expensive. I never replaced mine though. I would put it in a bench vice and slowly compress it until I could insert a small allen wrench. I never had any problems with it, and I removed the timing belt 5 times, if I recall correctly.

    The last time I worked on the car, I was in my driveway and did not have a vice available. I ended up placing the part between a hydraulic bottle jack and the trailer hitch of my truck. I jacked it up about 4 inches and the steady pressure of the truck slowly depressed it over about 10 minutes. It was just enough time to go in the house to warm up a bit before tackling the belt installation! :D

    It is not good if the tensioner fails, though. Really, that is the only part that keeps the timing belt in place. ;)
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • My 2002 H6 is in need of serpentine belt replacement due to heavy cracking (side edges have been chipped away), and it also makes too much squeaking noise at start up. I am sure I can remove it, but my main concern is setting proper tension on the belt after installing it. Do I need a special tool and what is the proper tension setting (ft-lb) etc? If you have done it and would like to share the knowledge, I would appreciate it.

    For the belt, I am replacing with Gatorback brand.

  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    There is no tool, you tighten it up and leave a small deflection, I think it's about a 1" deflection. There is no "torque spec" to my knowledge on the accesory belt(s) on subarus.

  • Thanks Mike. Good to know that I don't need a special tool.

  • Update:

    OBD reader says "PASS." Engine will crank, but not start. Brand new coil pack reads resistance out of specs. Possibly a bad coil from the parts store? Or is there something I can check in the firing circuit that will blow out a coil pack?

  • I opened up the cover of my 02 H6, and I can't find the swivel part that release the tension of the belt. My Corolla is so simple, untighten the bolt at the alternator that provide tension to the belt, swivel the alternator, and the belt comes out so easily. On this outback, I can't seem to find the part that swivels to release the tension of the belt. The alternator, power steering pump, and AC seem mounted fixed. That leaves two free wheeling pulleys, one located just below-and-between alternator and AC, and the other located just below-and-between power steering pump and alternator. May be one of those provide tension and swivel action. It seems unlikely. May be I am over looking something. Can anyone tell me which part that I need to remove and swivel it in order to release the tension of the belt? Thanks.

    Here is how the belt going through each part clock wise:

    Starting from power steering pump, the belt loop through free wheeling pulley with back side of the belt, make a u turn, then loop over the alternator and AC with the groove side, wrap around the crankshaft pulley on the groove side, go back up to another free wheeling pulley on the back side of the belt and ends back at power steering pump.

  • Analyze the parts again that the belt loops through, and the logical step would be to remove the bolt that attaches to the alternator. Putting back the bolt would requires prying the alternator to align the bolt to the hole.

  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    I haven't done any belts on the new H6 engines. Is it a single belt that runs all the accesories? If so, it may be a spring-tensioner type where you put a wrench on one of those pulley nuts and just release the pressure on the belt. That is how it is on my Armada and my Trooper.

  • Hi Mike,

    Yes, it is a single belt that runs all the accessories. I would think that H6 would not be much different from H4. This is my first subie, so I am in a new territory in terms of fixing and doing maintenance. If it is a spring-tensioner type, do I just put a wrench on one of those pulleys nuts and just release the pressure, but not necessarily unscrew the nut all the way out? May be it is time to invest in an expensive service manual, around $300 plus :sick: whereas I get my complete Honda and Toyota service manual for around $65.00 each.

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