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Subaru Legacy/Outback Wagons Maintenance & Repair



  • We have two sets of winter/summer rims/tires for our 2008 Outback. Each set has it's own tpms sensors. Each spring/fall we bring the car to the dealer to change the rims/tires, they of course have to reset the tpms (don't get me started on this). The problem is, virtually every time we do this, the tpms warning light comes on on our way home from the dealer. And of course we have to take it back (another day, since it's a 30 minutes drive). They usually get it right the second time around. We now beg the service mgr. to please try to get the reset right the first time, but it never happens. We dread having to go this this farce every 6 months. Can this procedure possibly be this difficult? What could they be doing wrong to mess this up -- every time?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,604
    If they've synched up the sensor IDs with the control module, it should go off (which it does when you drive away from the dealer), if it's going ON again, then maybe they just put in the wrong tire pressure. You could check this, and if you correct the tire pressure, the light should go out in a certain number of driving cycles.

    Also look in your owner's manual for more info. On my car, which is not a Subaru, there is a button and a procedure to shut the light off once tire pressure is corrected.

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  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,925
    It may not be that simple, unfortunately. When I first installed the winter tires on my '10 Forester last Fall, which are on a separate set of rims (without TPMS stems), the warning light on the dash did not illuminate for a while - I want to say about fifteen minutes. Once it finally did, it flashed for several minutes and then held steady. After that first trip, every time I started the car the light would flash for a few minutes before holding steady for the rest of the trip - there was no delay after startup.

    There must be a way for this process to be completed without the need for a dealer. If not, I sure do feel (extra) justified in not installing the silly things in my second set of rims! :D
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • rebel71rebel71 Posts: 87
    Car has 24,000miles and getting close to do the 30,000 service. Warranty book says to inspect/change if necessary every 15,000miles steering/suspension. To me that just means components. All other fluids brake, transmission, coolant etc. have separate listing change intervals. I emailed SOA and said it wasn't clear about the steering fluid. They just cited the warranty book. I know that all these fluids break down over time and need changing. I called my dealer and asked for a price and they said Subaru doesn't recommend changing it and then ask me why I feel it needs changing. I've always changed the fluids in my cars, why is this different? As with the brake fluid which the dealer said Subaru doesn't recommend changing. I told them to do it anyway, to me this was absurd. I know I'm not going to void my warranty if the steering fluid is replaced. Has anyone else replaced theirs or had their dealer tell them a similar thing. Thanks
  • fibber2fibber2 Mid Hudson Valley, NYPosts: 3,775
    I'm pretty quick to say fluids should be changed, but to be perfectly honest with you, in my 35 years of car ownership, I have never changed PS (basically ATF) fluid. In that time, I have only had one failure (the pump on a '76 Ford F-150 sometime in the mid 1990's.

    I'm sticking my neck out here, and I'm sure someone could say that I'm peddling bad advice. But unless you are a taxi driver, I don't think there is much abuse to the system, and thus little degradation to the fluid. If you see it go milky or grey, then I agree. Change it and look for why. If it is still a nice shade of red, skip it.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    It may be difficult enough that the dealer just doesn't think it's worth it.

    You can use a turkey baster (DON'T TELL THE WIFE!) and suction out the old fluid, then replace as much as you can with new stuff. Save the receipt for the fluids you purchased.

  • Recently I had the head gaskets, timing belt, tensioners and water pump replaced on my 2001 Legacy.

    After getting the car back I had intermittent loss of power, felt like a momentary short. Especially happened under load.

    I brought the car in and they replaced the spark plug wires, but the problem persisted.

    Eventually engine completely failed, and I took it to a different shop -- the dealer, and they fixed the problem with a crank sensor.

    My questions is, does shop that did the gasket/belt work owe me anything? After their work I found myself with this new problem, and I suspect that they damaged the crank sensor during that job, although this is hard to really prove. However, the fact that they gave the car back to me twice with a crank sensor problem irks me. They didnt sufficiently check car, even when I brought the car in a second time.

    What says y'all? I had the car towed, rented a car for several days while dealing with this.

    If compensation is due, is there a set method for negotiation? Threaten to contact their certification association (ASE)?

  • ponytrekkerponytrekker Posts: 307
    You'll need to sue them and hire and expert to testify that what they did caused your damage. Most likely a small claims thing depending on your jurisdiction. The question is whether you can do that for less than the crank sensor cost you.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,604
    edited April 2010
    If you don't have the old part, then I see an obstacle to your your claim going anywhere. Furthermore, even if you did have the old part, AND it was shown to be broken or molested, you'd still have to prove that shop #1 did it, and not shop #2.

    You could *try* Small Claims court, and claim that shop #1 couldn't fix the car and you were *forced* to go to shop #2----it's worth a shot I guess but don't get your hopes up. When you engage a second party on a problem (which you sometimes have to do), you sort of let party #1 off the hook.

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  • pilot1226pilot1226 Posts: 165
    Hi all,

    I'll admit this question is more about my `01 Nissan Sentra, but I imagine it could be useful for my Legacy in the future (and I have had very helpful replies on this forum previously).

    Cloudy headlights on my `01 Nissan Sentra. I used the $8 TurtleWax Headlight Restoration kit with a little bit of success, but never really got all the cloudiness out.

    I recently purchased Mother's Powerball 4 Headlights off Amazon (Link) and am waiting for it to arrive (should be Monday 5/3). Have heard nice things about it, will post back when finished.

    Anyone used this product before? Seems like they recommend to use the polisher (powerball) first for around 10 minutes per headlight, then use the sandpaper afterwards if you "need" more.
  • unlucky2unlucky2 Posts: 3
    Our 2006 Outback broke down last week and needed a new engine replacement. Quotation from the dealer was $4950 and we negotiated down to $4,500. We thought this would take at least a week for the fix - we thought a special order from Subaru was needed. To our surprise, the dealer called up back in less than 24 hours and told us the car is ready for picking up. We are worried if the dealer has actually put in a new Subaru engine for our car.

    As we know nothing about mechanic stuff, how do we know the dealer has replaced with a new engine? How do we know if the new engine is a Subaru one but not something else? Please advise.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I was watching one of those shows on TV and they used 2000 grit sandpaper, which is very fine.

    Sounds like you have a good plan. Start less aggressive, and progress only if needed.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    They could clean up any block to look new, but I'd be asking about what sort of warranty they offer. Hopefully it's at least a year.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,604
    One wonders what was meant by "new engine"? Was it a "new short block" (engine block w/ all internal parts but no cylinder heads or accessories), or a "new long block" (entire engine without accessories), or a "rebuild" (disassembly and re-machining or replacement of ALL parts to factory specification) or an "overhaul" (disassembly and replacement or re-machining of all DEFECTIVE parts, with old parts still usable left in).

    These are all different, and often carelessly interchanged.

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  • pilot1226pilot1226 Posts: 165
    Thanks ateixeira...

    I spent about an hour or so doing them today. The first time I did it, they were absolutely see-through except for a small horizontal bar near the bottom of the plastic that seemed to be extremely oxidized. This is the same area I had trouble with before when I tried using the TurtleWax kit I mentioned in my first post.

    It seems you're right - the grit starts at 800, 1200, 1600, and 2000. They recommend using the ball first, which I did, and the sandpaper applications really couldn't be easier.

    Except I suppose my arms got a little tired as I progressed through the sandpaper stages (they say to do it a little bit longer on each step), so as a result, while I have some pretty clear looking headlights right now, I most certainly need to have another go with the 1600 and 2000 grit pad in the next day or two.

    All and all a good purchase, and I would recommend it. Just make sure you actually spend enough time with the higher grits otherwise you'll end up doing a second application like I'm going to have to do to get rid of some scratch marks in the plastic.

    The 800 grit (coarse) pad melted the oxidation away almost instantly, so I didn't spend much time with that pad. Perhaps if you're trying something similar you might want to start with Pad #2 (1200 grit, I think).
  • Just got a Brand New car last week. This Saturday while I was driving, Check
    Engine light comes on, and several other lights came on or started blinking. Called sales at dealer since the service was closed. I was told most likely it would be caused by loose gas cap. I then added more gas and tightened the cap. After several trips, short and long, the light are still on or blinking!!

    I got really frustrated now! :mad: :mad: What should I do except for having the car
    checked at the dealer tomorrow? To file a complaint? Anything else I can do?
  • hammerheadhammerhead Posts: 907
    First, you can stop cross-posting in more than one forum. We all read most of 'em, we'll get the message.

    Next: with only 270 miles underneath the car, filing a complaint is way premature. Call the dealer first thing Monday morning, explain the situation, and allow them to deal with the problem. Obviously something is amiss, and it could be something relatively easy to mitigate. Give them a chance.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Glad to hear it seems to be working.

    Thanks for sharing.
  • gjksngjksn Posts: 35
    Hello, If the Mother's doesn't do the job, try Meguiar's Headlight Restoration Kit. My 2003 Legacy headlights were completely and badly clouded over. After about half an hour on each headlight, they looked like new again.
  • camp8camp8 Posts: 10
    Just bought 2003 outback 130,000 miles, while driving home noticed burning oil smell coming from engine. Especially noticeable while stopped. Any idea what is causing this?
  • pilot1226pilot1226 Posts: 165
    Okay, just did my second application. It worked well, this time I just did the two fine pieces of sandpaper, and that seemed to get rid of a lot of those scratch marks I noticed. Finished up with the powerball and a little buff from the microfiber cloth, and it looks great.

    Mother's recommends you do it about once a month, but I think that may be a little extreme.
  • pilot1226pilot1226 Posts: 165
    It's probably noticable while stopped because the airflow is letting it waft upwards (kind of like when you let your car idle, you can smell the gasoline fumes compared to when you're driving)

    As for the smell itself, pop the hood. Take a peek around the oil dipstick and the oil cap, and make sure they're relatively hand tight (don't overtighten the cap because thermal expansion will make this a pain to try to get off). Check the oil level while you're at it and make sure it's not overfilled.

    Then, if all looks good, take a peek around the engine block itself. See if you can see any drips. If you still can't see anything, there's some type of special flashlight/filter that will help any oil leaks illuminate. I think it's blue or red, something like that. If you go to an Auto parts store they should know exactly what I'm talking about.
  • camp8camp8 Posts: 10
    Oil level is above the full mark. Is this doing any damage to the engine? I haven't gotten under the car yet, is it relatively easy to change oil and filter?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,604
    It's easy to change the oil but a slight overfill won't hurt anything. If it's WAY OVER then that's not good and must be adjusted.

    As for the smell, best case scenario was that someone was sloppy in refilling the oil (these engines tend to consume some oil between changes as they mile up).

    Since you have a 2003, your engine is *not* prone to the dreaded Subaru head gasket leaks.

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  • Changing oil on an Outback is extremely easy (I can only speak to the 2.5 4 cyl). As another person mentioned previously, it is best to check the oil level first thing in the morning as opposed to any other time to get an accurate reading due to the design of the boxer engine which takes a long time to drain back into the oil pan. If your oil level is still reading full you might want to check to see if it is contaminated with anti-freeze to make sure that you don't have the dreaded head gasket problem with this vehicle, as any oil that is burning could be replaced with other fluids leaking past a bad head gasket. Someone could have also spilled oil onto an exhaust part when the oil was last changed and that could be causing the burning oil smell. Good luck.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,925
    It could be an oil leak, which should be noticeable if it is bad enough to be dripping onto the exhaust. Common leak points on these cars are the camshaft seals, front/rear crankshaft seals, and also valve cover gaskets (often around the openings for the spark plugs). If significantly overfilled with oil (more than perhaps about a half-quart), one or more of those gaskets will surely fail in short order. Air movement while driving will push the oil back across the bottom of the engine and force any drips back onto the exhaust system as it converges behind the engine.

    Another possibility is a cracked CV boot from one of the front axle half-shafts. As the shaft spins, centrifugal force sends the grease inside the joint onto everything in its path. That smell is fairly distinctive, though, as it is a much fouler smell than engine oil.
    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
    First I'd wipe any oil spills on the valve cover.

    Keep an eye on the oil level, just measure the same way every time.

    If you smell it, though, it's probably an external leak/spill. Check the head and valve cover gaskets and the front and rear main seals for oil stains.
  • camp8camp8 Posts: 10
    I changed the oil and drained 5 quarts, owners manual said to fill with 4.2 quarts. No leaking oil noticed from top side of engine, did see some had dripped on the exhaust down below. Wiped up all I could and drove around this weekend. I haven't crawled under the car again but I can still smell the oil burning. Must still be a leak somewhere. What do you suggest?

    Problem #2 Transmission: When first starting out the transmission shifts fine. As the car warms up it seems to have a problem shifting between gears. Especially when I take my foot off the gas and slow down, then accelerate slowly. Car bucks as it goes back and forth between gears, finally selecting the lower gear and speeding up then shifting to the higher gear. On longer trips, over an hour, transmission is worse. When going uphill transmission seems to slip then catch a bunch of times before getting to the top of the hill when all is fine again. When I got home I checked the transmission fluid, level and color appeared fine. Any idea what is going on here? Can an adjustment be made or do I need a new transmission?
  • Although you could definitely have an oil leak somewhere, I would bet that the last person who changed the oil overfilled it and either something failed due to that, or, best case scenario, you didn't get all of the oil wiped off the exhaust and you are still smelling oil burning off another part.

    Maybe I missed this from somewhere else, but did you say you had an automatic or a manual transmission? I've seen a few posts in the past where people discussed some shifting issues with manual trannys. With my automatic, it takes a little time to shift into 2nd when it is very cold, but works fine once it is warmed up. If you have an automatic, then I would definitely have someone look into that issue.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Check the level regularly.

    Also see if there is any oil in the coolant.

    Was the oil that you drained free of coolant?
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