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Subaru Legacy/Outback Wagons Maintenance & Repair



  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    I thought I had read somewhere (pre-senility keeps me from remembering where) that the next generation Legacy/Outback would be larger. However, now that I've seen some photos and perused other information, it doesn't seem accurate. The car doesn't look a whole bunch different in size or overall design. I also didn't think current generation didn't look remarkably different from the previous generation which includes my 2003 Legacy wagon. It's evolving, yes, but is it not changing much in size?

    Although it is changing only marginally in exterior dimensions, the interior size is increasing a lot. Also the concept is not exactly the real deal. Head and tail lights will be different and obviously not so many spoilers and air dams on the real one. Very similar in size/specs as a G35/37 sedan.

    Subaru Guru and Track Instructor
  • all well and good UNLESS mr bleuboy has an awd wagon like me - then you have to remove exhaust and rear axle etc. to drop tank. = an expensive disaster waiting to happen! my question is why remove it- unless dead sure it leaks? i had a mechanic tell me my tank was leaking on top when it turned out to be just bad hose connections to fuel pump, which is accessible on pass side beind seats just as described by mr shiftright. there is also an access cover on driver side which gives access to hose connections beside tank where fuel lines disappear on their way to engine. i had leaks there too. point is nothing was wrong with tank! 91 leg wgn 265K miles in salty new england. they are pretty durable nowadays and don't seem to rust out like in the olden times.
  • My many thanks to MrShiftright & Birdmanbob, you have both helped me and I appreciate your advice on the fuel tank very much!!! Antlerman376
  • please help i have a 2000 subaru legacy 2.5l awd 150000 mile its making a wierd squealing/grinding noise after about 10-15min of driving it only does it while turning and in motion, like making a turn, if you hold the steering wheel straight noise goes away but if you move it just a hair off center noise is there, again only while moving it does not make the noise while sitting still, front-end is tight and the brakes are good backing plate not rubbing cv boots not torn ps fluid good and at proper level and belt is tight the noise gets a higher pitch the faster you drive and sounds like the drivers side. it does not sound like a typical wheel bearing noise, although im not ruling this out just yet. im thinking it may be the drive axles or a bearing in the front diff. i know noises are hard to fig out especially when you cant hear it but any related answers would be greatly appreciated thanks
  • We have a 2004 Outback and just discovered the same problem. Head gasket leak on drivers side. Had an appointment at the local Subaru dealership this morning. Over the phone they said it would be covered under warranty because we only have 58k miles on it. When they ran the vin this morning and discovered original owner purchased the car in 2003 they said we were not covered. They gave us a phone # for Subaru and sent us on our way. Any suggestions before we make this call to negotiate the repair with them?
  • tomrtomr Posts: 20
    After explaining to the Subie Rep about the known headgasket problems on the other 2004 Outbacks, I was offered $500. It was the dealership that negotiated for me. Maybe you can try another dealership and explain to them before you go. I found the Subaru Rep that I talked to very difficult to negotiate with. I suggest you try and find another Subie dealer feel them out before calling Subaru Rep.
  • ted55ted55 Posts: 11
    Why don't you do what I did when the transmission in my 2000 Outback died with only 50K on the car - I checked through all the forums and found a rash of people with the same problem which (in my opinion) constituted a factory defect. I was offered a rebuild for $2K or a new trans for $4K. I called Subaru N.A. direct, asked to speak with a manager and after I threw the words "class action suit" around a few times along with the URLs of the sites with the other victims of this "defect", I was quickly offered a new trans for $2K. They delivered the trans to my dealer, installed it and guess what - it too had a problem. After still more haggling, I was offered another new trans for $1K. It has been problem free ever since. It just seems to me that I'm constantly reading about head gaskets going on these cars and when it affects so many vehicles, this is not a coincidence but rather a "defect" and should be handled accordingly. Remember - "the squeaky wheel.............
  • gjksngjksn Posts: 35
    I'm confused. From reading this forum, I'd come to understand that this head gasket problem had been remedied beginning with the 2003 model year. Now, it sounds as though it persists beyond 2003. I'm concerned, because I have a 2003 Legacy wagon with 46K-47K miles. Can't decide if I should keep it beyond the expiration of my Subaru Gold 7 year extended warranty later this year or replace the car before that. I'm not mechanically inclined and hate car problems which is why I switched to Japanese cars after years of unreliable VWs.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,604
    This might help clear things up for you:

    Subaru Head Gasket Problems

    MODERATOR --Need help with anything? Click on my name!

  • We had the head gasket replaced in our 2004 outback. While they were replacing it we had the timing belt and a few other things done, since they were already in there. Do they take the engine out of the car when they do this? And if so... is it usually done thru the top or by taking out the drive shaft and dropping the engine out? Thanks
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,925
    The work can be done with or without the engine out. My preference is to pull the engine, which comes out the top. I am really not sure whether shops typically leave the engine in.
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • I got pulled over twice last year for two separate brake light bulbs burnt out. Thought I'd be ok for awhile with two new bulbs. There is NO bulb out indicator on this car... so how will I know?

    Anyway... pulled over AGAIN!!!!!! tonight. BOTH TAILLIGHTS OUT this time... but the brake lights work!!!! WHAT is GOING ON with this car?

    Anyone know why the taillights are out?
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,925
    No; that blows me away! I have never had a tail light go out on any of my Subaru vehicles. Well, no, I take that back. I had one go on my '96 Outback, but that was at about 180,000 miles, with lights used every time the vehicle is on.

    I suspect you either have an over-voltage situation or some other electrical curiosity, so you may have an isolated problem.
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • jay_24jay_24 Posts: 536
    Are your headlights on? Might sound like a silly question, but on a Subie (at least older ones) With just the daytime running lights the tail lights are not on. If your driving in town its sometimes hard to notice that the headlights are in the "off" position, becausse the daytime running will appear bright enough if there are a lot of street lights.

    I caught myself doing that when my 2001 OB was new. Since then I just leave the head lights in the on position.
  • the dash lights are extremely bright when just the DRL's are on... so after 4 years I'm pretty sure I know when my lights are off... :)
  • I've had trouble with my 02 Legacy wagon. I think it is caused by water somehow getting into the tailgate during a rain storm. It runs out when I lift the tail gate and the bulbs have been corroded and /or wet.
  • i bought a head unit and new face plate for my legacy. and i am having trouble taking the stock stereo out. i have a manual thermostat and i cant disconnect the blue cable for the knob. any suggestions? i got all of the other clips out from the back and that is the only thing holding it in. thank you.
  • ncc4ncc4 Posts: 16
    I have a 2007 Outback ( non-turbo ) with the 4 speed automatic. As part of the next service the dealer wants to do a transmission flush. I called another dealer and they said a "drain and fill" is all that is required, but they use Dexron111 ( three ) fluid. My owners manual says not to use Dexron 111 as this could lead to transmission damage. Has anyone else gone through this and got the "right" answer?
  • 2004 Outback H6 3.0L, 126,000 miles with a CEL code PO420 (catalyst efficiency low bank-1). What is the most likely cause for this? I've read about replacing the O2 sensors, but mine has two front sensors (left & right) and one rear sensor. I don't want to be just guessing and replacing all three sensor if this may not be the problem. The front sensors are $169.00 each and the rear is $130.00, to much money to be unsure if it will fix the problem. Any info would be helpful.
  • On my 2001 Outback I got the same code, at about the same mileage. I was told by more than one person that it was the catalytic converter that needed replacing. For the 2.5 motor the dealer quoted $950 for a replacement. My mechanic is positive that code would only mean a bad cat, although some others told me it could be a bad sensor. I replaced the front sensor (only 2 in the 4 cylinder) which was causing poor idle. If your 6 acts similarly to the 4, and you are not having any engine idle issues (or other poor performance) you might want to look at the rear sensor, although you might need a new catalytic converter. As I understand the process, the 0420 code comes up when their is not enough of a difference between the front sensor(s) and the rear sensor (post catalytic converter). Accordingly, my guess would be the rear sensor if it is not the cat. Good luck.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,925
    I had this code come up for more than 50,000 miles on a '96 Outback. According to emissions testing, there was no impact at the tailpipe, so I feel the cat was doing its job sufficiently. I used a scanner to regularly check and clear the codes. If you have noticed a drop in fuel efficiency or any other engine-related problem, it could very well be an oxygen sensor that is becoming gummed up. Aside from that, I agree - you should not go throwing parts at it.
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • can you tell me where to find the instructions on how to replace the bulbs behind the climate control on the 98 Legacy
  • pmackpmack Posts: 3
    Good day! Can you offer some suggestions for -2- issues I am having with my 97 Legacy Wagon? Terrific car - 160k and still going very strong, but ....
    1 -- Fuel tank leaks when full. It looks like the filler neck clamp at the tank, but very hard to see. Is this accessible through the floor panel? (Does this wagon HAVE a floor panel?)
    2 -- Rear differential leaks, from the top. Is there a vent up there? Very hard to see. Any ideas on how I can stop the leak? It used to be just a drop or two, but has been increasing of late.
    Thank you very much for your help.
  • gof4gof4 Broomall, PAPosts: 22
    I just read your post & wanted to let you know & others who are experiencing wind noise how I solved the problem on my 2001 Outback. I went to the hardware store & bought a 3 ft piece of black rubber tubing( about the diameter of a sipping straw) & placed it inside the grove of the rubber window gasket & that fixed the wind noise real simple & inexpensive.
    Give it a try & I hope it works for you.

    Bob :)
  • I have an 1996 subaru AWD 5 door and it needs the plugs and wires replaced. It also needs the PCV valve changed. I was just wondering where these parts are what tools I need to change them and how easy it is to do. Thanks!
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,925
    Well, it sounds like you are extremely unfamiliar with routine maintenance items, so, without dissuading you from performing the work, I will suggest that you start by getting ahold of a maintenance/repair manual, such as Haynes.

    The spark plug wires are probably red and should be easy enough to see snaking from center-top of the intake manifold (on the top of the engine) down, two per side, to the sides of the engine. Those are simple to remove - just pop them off the coil pack where they connect in the center and off each spark plug where they connect on the sides of the engine.

    The spark plugs are located at the terminus of each spark plug wire (as indicated above), and are somewhat more difficult to remove. I think they use a 5/8" spark plug socket, and I find are easiest to remove if you attach a u-joint to the socket, followed by a 3" extender, followed by a 6" extender, followed by a ratchet. All these tools are 3/8". Clearance is tight, so you should remove the battery from the driver side and the air filter box from the passenger side before attempting to replace the plugs. Be patient - it is a pain, but they will come out and go back in!

    The PCV valve is simple. It is small, located on the upper, left-rear side of the engine (just match the installed valve to the one you buy at the parts store for visual confirmation). Pull the hoses from each end, install the new one, and you're done.
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • cdk15cdk15 Posts: 9
    disconnect at heater under dash right pass side and pull out, a no brainer
  • cdk15cdk15 Posts: 9
    cats dont last forever, a possible replace, go after market 1/3 the price.
  • cdk15cdk15 Posts: 9
    you got something jamed in lock plate, bang on tailgate and shake till frees up
  • cdk15cdk15 Posts: 9
    check your bulbs you might have the wrg ones causing a short
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