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Subaru Legacy/Outback Wagons Maintenance & Repair



  • morin2morin2 Posts: 399
    I'm also not a mechanic, but doesn't every mechanic know that subarus are famous for loose heat shields - that should have been checked first (and just removed). Its about the right age for it. A really noisy heat shield could probably mask some other sounds, but I would expect a decent mechanic to diagnose thoroughly before doing repairs.

    Used subaru buyers would be wise to look for those with loose heat shields and negotiate much lower prices due to the "scary" noises (yes, I have done this)...
  • loiseerloiseer Posts: 1
    2004 Subaru Outback 4 cyl All Wheel Drive 70,000 miles

    I took my Subaru to have the oil changed last week. I drove it away just about 3 miles, heard an odd noise and pulled over. I checked the dipstick - no oil! Had it towed back. The oil change shop guys admit they failed to put new oil in - about 1 cup drained out of the engine back at the shop. Their insurance is paying for repair.

    Car is now at a Subaru dealer service department. The technician there says only the right side of the engine lost compression,cracked the head, and threw a rod. They are doing extensive work on that side - about $2000. However, he says the other side has compression in the normal range so it was not damaged. However, the oil pump seal and o-ring and the cam seals are leaking oil, and the head gasket is leaking coolant. These, he says, are NOT from the "dry run", so I can "choose" have them fixed - about $800.

    This car was not leaking anything. I have had the maintenance work all done at the same shop here in my hometown, and their records show no incidence of low oil or coolant since I bought the car 3 years ago. There are no spots on my driveway or garage. Is it feasible that the 3 places on left side of my engine spontaneously started leaking without connection to the serious damage sustained on the right?

    This is not making sense to me. I'm concerned that this is in fact damage already - and that more will show up down the road, when I won't be able to get it taken care of by the insurance. But of course, with this recommendation from the service guy, the insurance adjuster is "doing all he can".
    What should I do? :sick:
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,588
    No it doesn't make sense. If it "threw a rod" the engine is toast.

    This is between you and the oil change shop.

    Don't let them patch up the engine. What does Subaru care how much the oil change company pays? And by what magic do they determine that one side of an engine is damaged by loss of oil but the other side isn't?

    SAY WHAT??

    Get a lawyer.

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  • I'm with the other post who said that the whole engine is toast. If the engine overheated at all from driving with no oil then it could have warped something which lead to the coolant leak and the other problems. Talk to another mechanic about what he/she would expect in such a situation, and do not forget that most states have a small claims court in the event hiring a lawyer is cost prohibitive (and bring your witnesses (i.e., the mechanic that is telling you the truth)). Good luck!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,588
    Good suggestion. If Small Claims allows enough to settle for a rebuilt engine, then get the car out of the Subaru dealer and to a Subaru shop that isn't dizzy on exhaust fumes. Get an estimate and present it to the oil change company. It would be great if you didn't have to take any legal action. Treat the oil company fairly and they may respond in kind.

    Or, if the Subaru dealer mis-conveyed this information to you, go back and get it spelled out so that it makes some kind of sense.

    Despite the TV commercials for snake oil additives, you cannot in fact run an engine without oil for 3 miles at regular traffic speeds without probable and serious damage.

    Without a disassembly and inspection, in fact no one knows yet what the actual facts are.

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  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    You mean end link for the anti-sway bar? Probably the same thing.

    It just bolts on, nothing special. All you need is your ratchet set and maybe some lithium grease if you're working on the links that have bushings on them (usually the center ones).
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,919
    Absolutely. In that situation, I am not even sure why they are monkeying around with repairing the current engine. There is no way one side of the engine would suffer such catastrophic damage while the other side sits pretty.
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • machiusmachius Posts: 28
    Hi there - My '00 Outback has "only" 79K miles on it. The age of the car would suggest to replace the timing belt but the mileage would not. Now, with some items, it is probably better to go by age and not by mileage. I would assume that the timing belt is such an item but wanted to hear the opinions of more experience members.

    Thanks! MM
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I believe the intervals were 90k for inspection and 105k for replacement.

    Even given the age I'm sure you'll be OK until 90k. Then just have it replaced. To inspect it you've done most of the labor anyway.
  • benttoolbenttool Posts: 4
    I have a 2002 with 194k on it and mine is doing the same thing its not in the intake mines all new not the plugs or wires tried that, they are going to replace the MAS tomarow hope it works will let you know its making me crazy no codes at all and runs perfect until it rains! :mad:
  • benttoolbenttool Posts: 4
    my outback has 194k on it and has been a grate car until now stalls runs bad only when its raining or humid replaced plug,wires,filters ,good fuel presser no loose wires on motor or under car tried to spray with hose on a dry day and couldn't make it do any thing until sprayed motor then it did it but was so wet by now could be any thing. going to try MAS tomorrow if thats not it no idea what to try next.
  • subyobsubyob Posts: 4
    Gday - Assuming you have a 2.5 Outback, as the 3 litre engine does not have a timing belt, as far as I'm aware timing belts have always required changing around 100k kilometres which is approx. 65k miles. Given this and the age of the vehicle I would just get the belt replaced as the cost of replacement is far cheaper than risking engine damage due to belt failure. Cheers
  • sk66sk66 Posts: 2
    Recently I bought a 2009 Outback 2.5i Special Edition. Consumer Reports calls attention to "major engine" problems in 4 cylinder engines for years preceeding 2005. The car was redesigned in 2005 and subsequently the 4 cyl engine(s) is rated much better than average. Can anyone comment? Does the problem show up after five years (after the warranty expires) or can we assume that the problem has been resolved in 2005
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,588
    They mean the head gaskets and yeah, that's been solved. Old news. Very old news from CR historical records.

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  • sk66sk66 Posts: 2
    Thank you for your prompt reply. I'm new to the forum and was unaware of problems and developments regarding the 2.5 engine.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,588
    Me too until about 6 months ago when I read up on it. :P But yes, anyone shopping an older Subaru with high miles approaching 120K, that hasn't had head gaskets---watch out......

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  • ted55ted55 Posts: 11
    This is my last post on this site for my (former) 2000 Outback. Traded her in last weekend for a 2007 Suzuki SX4. Don't get me wrong, I was really sad to see her go but here's what happened in a nutshell: bought her 4 years ago with 54K for $13K. Within 6 months the trans went, had a feud with Subaru NA and got a new trans installed for $1K. Had issues with front brake rotors, replaced them several times. Last year the fuel pump went, replaced that myself also, not too bad, $300. Brought her in for some fluid changes and found out she needed the timing belt job. New belts all around, new tensioner, new water pump, new front wheel bearings, new battery, then soon after the alternator went - $2800. I'm at just about 100K miles on her and a CV boot ripped. Brought her in for the fix ($288) only to be told that my head gaskets are starting to leak and the rear axle seals are leaking also. For a mere $3100, they can fix her like new until something else goes. That was the proverbial straw. The dealer gave me $4K trade in and we parted ways. You can bet your butt I bought the best warranty package Suzuki offered and I love the car. My Subie was slated to be sold at auction, so anyone out there who gets it will get an "almost" perfect car thanks to my piggy bank!
  • rpilrpil Posts: 5
    After it's reset, within about 70 miles the CEL goes on the dash of my 2004 Outback Sedan LTD (75k miles). The car continues to run fine, but in addition to the CEL being on, the cruise-control button light continues to flash on and off, whether it is pressed to the "on" position or the "off" position. Once it is all reset, the lights cut off until another 70 miles or so. What should I be checking or replacing? Thanks.

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,588
    You should have the code read so that you aren't in the dark. That's what the CEL is for---to get you to read the codes.

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  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,919
    Absolutely. Ask around - many people have the code readers, and there are also places (like Auto Zone, if you live near one) that will read the codes for free in the hopes you buy parts from them! ;)
    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
    Indeed, could be as as simple as a bad gas cap (not sealing well, so vacuum pressure is lost in the canister). Many parts stores will let you borrow a scanner since they know you'll buy parts there to address whatever issue comes up.

    Shifty: agree on the HG issue.

    Funny thing is we had 5 supposedly affected Subaru in my family (that's 10 head gaskets for those who are counting, given the H-4 layout) and none of us ever had that problem. Knock on wood.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I'm at just about 100K miles on her and a CV boot ripped.

    All by itself? ;)

    Think about it - what caused it to rip? You probably hit a rock or drove over a curb to cause that tear to happen. CV boots don't rip themselves.

    That's like saying, "The other day I drove straight in to a tree, BOY these bumpers are so unreliable! Now I need a new one!"

    No warranty in the world would cover that, either.

    FWIW I had bad luck, too - some rodents (squirrels? chipmunks?) got in my engine bay and chewed up the wiring harness in my brand new Sienna, less than a year old. $700 out of my pocket, not covered under warranty by Toyota.

    Better luck with your Zook.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,919
    Regarding CV boots, they either rip or they split. Splitting is due to aging of the rubber (tends to be smooth and on a normal crease/wear point) and tearing is mechanical. If the boot splits at an early age, that could be a warranty issue, but it is highly weather dependent (extreme temp highs and lows, humidity, etc).
    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: 57,588
    Mileage has a lot to do with it. If those cars were under 100K, it's too early for the problem to show up I think.

    Anyway, it can't be more than a 10% failure rate, so your family might not get "decimated".

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  • benttoolbenttool Posts: 4
    something new it runs bad most of the time but still really bad when it rains it wasn't seting any codes before but now get a rich on bank one side of motor. fuel regulator checked out to be good has good compeshion on all cyl's kills at stop signs but will start right back up. runs good at 85 and up but get below 70 and almost stops running then at around 45mph it will kick in and if you keep your foot in the same position will climb back up to 80 or more but let up just a litle and back down to 45 or less. had new timing belt at 125,000 miles and some gaskits now has 194,834 no big problims till now and no one can tell me what it is dealer said it could be any thing and I should bring it in to them so they can start replacing stuff till they find it . NO THANKS thast time I did that It cost me $3800.00
    and is was a bad rear wheel bearing so they replaced them all. they said they would have needed it soon any way. haven't been back there and dout plan on it if at all posible Any oone ever had this problem need it back on road soon thanks
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,919
    Whoa. You lost me after "fuel regulator checked out to be good has good compeshion on all cyl's kills at stop signs but will start right back up." I honestly have no idea what you were trying to convey after that.

    My two guesses for you: 1. Mass Airflow Sensor needs to be cleaned or replaced. 2. Knock sensor may be acting up.
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • blackbeanblackbean Posts: 100
    Hi all,
    My front moonroof won't pop open any more (stuck shut), but the back one works fine. Any one have this problem before or have suggestions for a DIY fix? Just want to fix her up before getting the new 2010 Outback.
  • gjksngjksn Posts: 35
    I had a similar problem with my 03 Legacy LSE wagon. It was under the original warranty at the time, but the Subaru dealer told me it would have been close to a $2000 repair. The ceiling had to be removed, and it took quite a few hours. My theory is that I tried to open the sunroof at a time when temperatures had caused it to be frozen shut. It may be winter, but I still like ventilating through the roof. Previous sunroofs that I've had, even after-market ones, never had this problem. They just cracked the frozen seal and opened up. The Subaru mechanism is apparently a plastic strip with holes in it, and these holes line up with some kind of a gear mechanism with teeth. The gear turns and pulls this plastic strip, and that's what causes the thing to open. I was told that this is also how power windows work. Ever since, I've always immediately opened the sunroof after a winter car wash so that it won't happen again. Seems like a chintzy mechanism. Sorry that I'm not able to explain this more articulately as a knowledgeable mechanic might.
  • chipinawchipinaw Posts: 2
    I am looking at an older Legacy ,( automatic) When I put it in gear the shifting seems to be a little slow. I was told that this is normal for the subaru.Other cars I have driven, you put it into gear and feel...shift...this car I put it into gearand have to step on the gas to feel the shift .Is this normal for an older subaru ( 1999 Legacy)

    thank you,

  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,919
    No, those '99s seem to have an increased frequency of transmission failures, and the symptoms start with delayed shifting. It has to do with internal seals in the transmission and will only get worse.... :cry:
    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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