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Subaru Legacy/Outback Wagons Maintenance & Repair



  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,925
    One would need to bolt an A-bar onto the car's frame rails. Theoretically one would need brakes, but it really depends on the weight (and brakes) of the tow vehicle and the capability of the driver. For a short trip towing the thing home, I would not bother with either. I would just remove the rear drive shaft and tow it home on a two-wheel dolly or use a flatbed trailer, whichever was available. My first choice would be the trailer. But, with one side of the car lifted up, it should only take about 30 minutes to pull the shaft. It only requires removal of the heat shields to gain easy access to the shaft. The annoying part is working around the exhaust pipe.

    Come to think of it, I have not seen a tow dolly with brakes... and the dolly would make the total towed weight greater than just leaving the car on the ground. Imagine that. :D
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • gatineaugatineau Posts: 3
    The dealer couldn't find any oil leaks. Any specific place the mechanic should look? I will also take it back to the dealer and have them look at the belts. Thanks for the advice.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Both sides head gaskets, valve cover gaskets, and front and rear main seals.
  • bufwxguybufwxguy Posts: 10
    Update on my head gasket/coolant leak. 3 weeks and about 700 miles (odo now at about 81,900) after having the coolant conditioner added at the dealership (which helped - temporarily), a bigger leak opened up in the head gasket yesterday rather dramatically and suddenly fortunately at a donut shop drive-thru so I could shut down fairly quickly. Engine did not overheat according to temp gauge, but she was steamin' from coolant leaking onto exhaust and it drained the coolant jug quickly. Had car flat bedded to Subaru dealership (free AAA tow), now to see how helpful the extended warranty is.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Have this number handy just in case the dealership isn't cooperative: 1-800-SUBARU3.

    Good luck.
  • bufwxguybufwxguy Posts: 10
    Thanks. So far dealer has provided free loaner '08 Outback wagon while mine is in the shop. Great of them for doing that since they haven't looked at it yet due to shop backlog.
  • I have a 95 Subaru Legacy. The Transmission recently went up and I'm shopping for a new one. A friend of mine found on in a 98 Subaru Legacy Outback and we are trying to figure out if the 98 Transmission is compatible with my 95!? Can anyone help?
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Is this a MT or AT trans?
    Also which engine in the 95 Legacy? 2.5 or 2.2?

  • Mike,

    Thanks for the reply!! It is an automatic trans. I'm pretty sure its a 2.2 but, I will have to verify that!
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,925
    Mike, I thought 1996 was the first year for the 2.5L; is that not correct?
    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
    sounds right to me...
  • calimaricalimari Posts: 2
    I just purchased a 96 Subaru Legacy Outback with manual transmission. The car seems to have issues starting after driving short distances. If I drive for awhile, the car will start no problem. If I only drive it a few miles, then turn it won't start until it has sat approximately 15-20 minutes. The previous owner told me he would just push start it, but it isn't always convenient to park on a hill. Any information someone could supply, would be greatly appreciated!
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Hmm Wes, I'm not positive but IIRC in 1995 there was a 2.5LGT which required premium fuel.

  • zyuzyu Posts: 4
    My 97 Subaru Legacy Outback with manual transmission seems to have a similar problem. Whenever the weather is a little bit cold, it takes a few minutes to start and the engine jumps slightly. And the power is kind of weak when starting uphill. But once it struggled to start in the morning, it starts right away without any problem during the daytime. It has been sent to check for a few times, but they had no clue. According to the manual, there is no special requirement for fuel type, isn't it? I will probably try the unleaded from now on. I have been using the regular since I got it. And the condition of this car is getting worse. Is this really the reason for the problem? I would appreciate very much if anyone could give any help! :cry:
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    mike's correct, for the first model year the 2.5l made 155hp and required premium fuel. Make sure you use that.

    By 97 is was tuned to make 165hp on 87 octane, so that's not the issue with yours.

    I would look at the spark plugs, spark plug wires, and ignition coil to determine the health of the spark. For fuel, make sure the fuel filter has been replaced recently and maybe have a mechanic test the fuel pump/pressure.
  • zyuzyu Posts: 4
    I have sent it to the mechanician. At the first time, he changed the crank sensor. At the second time he injected fuel cleaner (??Not sure if this is the right term). But the car still has the same problem. I will probably call him and ask whether he checked all of those you listed. Thanks a lot.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,925
    Please clarify a bit on this. When you say the car will not start for a while, what does it do? When you turn the key to start, does it crank? Does it just sit there? Does it 'click?'
    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
    FWIW, we had a hesitation issue with our 626 V6, and a throttle body service cleaned up the fuel system and cleared it right up. That's probably what he did to yours. Too bad.
  • zyuzyu Posts: 4
    I am sorry for the confusion. If the car starts normally, once I turn the key, it should start to have some "tu-tu-tu" noise for a few seconds and then starts to run smoothly, right? But for my car, in the morning or at night, when I turn the key, it make the "tu-tu-tu--------------------------tu" nosise maybe like a few minutes. And I had to turn the key a few times to make it start to run. Is this clear? Thanks for all the suggestions above.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,595
    Nope, not clear, sorry.

    What I think everyone wants to know is....does the starter motor SPIN the engine even though the engine doesn't actually start running?

    So we are using the term "crank" to describe the starter spinning the engine and the term "start" to mean that the engine is actually running after you've released the key.

    The other option would be that you turn the key to start and nothing happens except dashboard lights and a little click or something.

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  • zyuzyu Posts: 4
    I am sorry for the amateur description. I just checked with the mechanician who checked my car a couple times before, and he said that the starter motor does SPIN the engine even though the engine doesn't actually start running.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,925
    Hahahaha, now how is that for some confusion?! I actually wrote my question in response to a different poster (calimari). But, your problem does sound similar.

    My 1996 Outback used to have startup issues similar to these. For four years, actually. It was quite troubling at first, but once I figured out the triggers and the resolution, I could live with it. Let me recount the issue in my usual excess of detail.

    The first occurrence was a month after I purchased the car (but only a week after we started using it), on or about September 1, 2000. There were about 86,000 miles on the car. After driving for about 14 hours that day with only stops for fuel, we pulled to the side of the road for a 4-hour sleep break. About 45 minutes into the break, I awoke to find the car unbearably cold. I tried to start it to warm the cabin. The car cranked and cranked, but did not start. I was concerned, since we were about 150 miles from the nearest town in either direction. In my usual fashion, I went back to sleep. Two hours later, I tried starting it again, and it fired right up. MIL was on, but turned off after driving a short while.

    A week later, having arrived home in Fairbanks, I was at a feed store about 6 miles from home. I had driven the car on a few errands prior, so it was warmed up, but had no problems restarting it. I was in the store about 15-20 minutes. Upon trying to start, it just cranked, but would not fire. Being stubborn, I continued my efforts until the battery on the car finally died. At this point, I was very annoyed at the car (keep in mind I had only owned it for one month). I ended up walking home, retrieving my pickup, and coming back to jump it. It fired right up. :confuse:

    I quickly realized, as the problem randomly persisted, that it would do this to me under the following conditions:

    1. Any temperature, be it 90 above or 50 below.
    2. The car had to be started 45 minutes or less after last running for the problem to manifest. Overnight, after work, etc., I never had a problem starting it.
    3. I could crank it until the battery died, but it would not start.
    4. The car was not going to start if I cranked it more than 6 times without it firing.

    The solution to the immediate circumstance was to wait for five minutes, then try again. Within four waiting cycles (20 minutes), it would start. I never had a dead battery again because of this problem.

    The complicating issue is that the car also stalled occasionally when I first bought it, but would only do so within the first 3-4 miles of driving and when the engine was at idle. After spending several hundred dollars on diagnostics for these problems (even though the MIL came on, the ECU never recorded any codes according to the mechanics), one mechanic suggested I replace the mass airflow sensor. It was expensive, but I went ahead and purchased a used one from a bone yard. The stalling problem never happened after this (spring of 2001 at this point) and the no-start issue was less frequent.

    Finally, in August of 2004 with about 165,000 miles on the odometer, I started having severe cold-start issues with the car. It ran rough, tried to stall out constantly, and would only behave after the engine warmed up to operating temperature. The ECU recorded multiple codes, including misfires and knock, crank, and camshaft sensors. I decided to go for the sensors first, and replaced all three of them. The cold-start issues were gone and, coincidentally (?), I never experienced another no-start situation as described above. I had the car to 220,000 miles in December 2006, so that was another 55,000 miles with no problems starting.

    This does not provide a clear course of action, but my experience leads me to believe that the problem is related to sensors and/or the ECU rather than a mechanical cause. If not, though, I would check the fuel system (versus spark or air) first. While I could crank it and mess around until the battery died, the car never flooded, so it may not have been receiving fuel. You can tell if it floods - you will be able to hear it as the car cranks (it sounds like the engine has less resistance as the starter cranks it). To clear a flood situation, just press and hold the accelerator to the floor until it clears and the engine starts firing.

    It might be helpful to have an OBD-II scanner available to check for codes any time the light comes up.

    I about tore my hair out over the whole thing at first. Now, though, I fondly remember the vehicle as the best and most versatile I have yet owned. How is that for irony? :P
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • My 96 legacy would crank and crank & simply not start once a week or so, usually when run a short while & left for a few a quick shopping trip.
    Always started eventually (5-10 min) & ran ok rest of day.... Occasionally died in slow traffic also & immediately restarted.

    Changing camshaft position sensor made it better.... then also changing crankshaft position sensor cured it.

  • mradermrader Posts: 2
    I have a 97 outback (117,000 miles, I bought it used), I was told today that I have a blown head gasket and there is a strong possibility of warping. I don’t know if I should pay to have the motor pulled to assess the damage and then pay for the repairs. I don’t think I will get another Subaru and I’m not in a place to get a replacement vehicle until the end of summer. If I wanted to get rid of it, does any one have any resources where/how to sell it and get the most honest $$ I can.
  • calimaricalimari Posts: 2
    Hi, and thank you for replying to my post. There is 130,000 miles on the car. I forgot to mention that little fact. Since I know absolutely nothing about Subaru's, (my last car for 14 yrs. was a Nissan), I really appreciate the information.

    What you wrote makes sense, although my mechanical knowledge of cars is minimal. I have nothing else to go by, and very little money. I am going to try to replace the sensors, (and hopefully they aren't too expensive). I do know someone with the scanner, so I guess checking for codes would also be a good idea.

    I feel like I got a good deal when I bought this car, but it will only be a good deal if the car runs without major issues. The car not starting has already caused some problems for me. I hope I can be as lucky as you, and be able to drive this car for as long as you were able to drive yours.

    Thanks again!
  • The sensors are not too expensive.... Perhaps why you got a good deal is because the previous owner was not able to diagnose the problem.. i would not have either, unless someone here had suggested the solution a while back..
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,925

    I had the engine out of the car twice - the first time was to replace leaking oil seals/gaskets at 145,000, the second time was to replace head gaskets at 192,000. Both were time intensive processes, but neither were at all expensive (shop labor is the expensive part, which I was able to save by performing the work myself). I would likely still have the car with over 240,000 on it had it not been destroyed last winter. I am still sad about that.
    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
    What led the person who diagnosed the problem to suspect a strong possibility of warping?

    The repairs, performed by a shop, are indeed expensive. Probably around $2,000 assuming warped heads. How long have you had the car?

    The "salvage" value on the car is highly dependent upon where you live and the overall condition of the rest of the vehicle. But, you have to consider the market value for the car in good condition (including the engine) and essentially subtract the cost of replacing the engine.

    If you have any mechanical knowledge at all, I would suggest performing the repair yourself (except the head resurfacing, which is not overly expensive). If I can do it, anyone can. ;)

    Consider that if you do opt to have the car repaired (or replace the engine) and keep it another couple years or more with normal maintenance, the invested money already paid for itself.
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • ">our 2007 Outback 2.5 has 18k miles and has intermittent grinding noises when coming to a stop. almost sounds like a groan lowering in pitch- it is speed dependent. in the past 6-8 months the dealer has replaced front brake rotors, front wheel bearings(twice) and several other front end related items .... but to no avail. the noises only show up when the car is warmed up and has been in stop and go driving conditions. Never shows up on freeway driving .... the regional rep says that this is a brake issue caused by harmonic vibration of the front disc brakes .... he wants to replace the pads and scour the rotors. Ever heard of this issue or the recommended solution ?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Wow, I was thinking wheel bearings all the way. So even the new ones didn't quiet the noise, brand new?
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