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Subaru Legacy/Outback Wagons Maintenance & Repair



  • leporevaleporeva Posts: 1
    I am considering buying the 2012 Outback. Reviews are great. I have recently read that there is a "wandering" problem with the 2010-2012 models. Is this the case and if so what is the fix?
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
    edited May 2012
    Not sure about the wandering?

    If I were you, I'd wait for the 2013 Outback, which should be out in a month or two. They've made a number of refinements (new FB25 engine, all-new 2nd-gen CVT, chassis and suspension upgrades, better gas mileage, as well as some styling/content/functional upgrades). It's a mid-life refresh, but a significant one. Here are a couple of links: - k/

    If there is a wandering issue with the 2010-12 models, I'm sure it's been addressed with the 2013 model. It will certainly handle better, as there is a claimed 40% improvement in roll control.

  • kmartinkmartin Posts: 427
    I am finding some obvious paint defects, esp on the hood of my '12 OB LTD. Small areas where bird droppings or such made contact for a short time. I wash the car every week, so it's not like it was a lot of crud left for a long time. One dealer tried to use some colored buffing compound, but it just left ugly swirl marks. They told me it was normal, but I disagree. Anyone else having paint issues? Wondering if it's a clear coat problem, or just the red paint itself, or both.

    -Karen in AZ-
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I had the same issue on my Miata's hood, also from bird droppings. I haven't really tried any polishes yet, but let's see what others suggest.
  • fibber2fibber2 Mid Hudson Valley, NYPosts: 3,775
    This past weekend I struggled with getting my nearly 11 year old exhaust system ('02 OBW) apart after it blew out the gasket at the rear axle (mid-rear pipe with resonator connection to the final pipe / muffler assembly. After what seemed like ages with a rotary cutter & drill I got it separated, but the mating surfaces and flanges were in poor shape, and would not seal on a new gasket. I thought about modifying a doughnut, then thought about cutting off the flanges and joining them with a stub pipe and clamps, but ran out of time (evening activities).

    Finally, I priced up a whole cat-back system ($350), but before ordering it, the Misses got into the act. She threatened that if I spent any more time on the car as opposed to working on the whole other 'honey do' list, she'd yank the jack stands out while I was underneath! So being a smart guy, I drove it to Meineke yesterday and handed over 6 Ben Franklin's. An hour later all was quite. They even tack welded those rattly shields, and threw in a pretty chrome tip.

    Best of all, now I can tackle that broken dishwasher! :cry:
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,925
    Steve, you are a good man. I would probably be a corpse right now had I been in your place. :blush:
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • fibber2fibber2 Mid Hudson Valley, NYPosts: 3,775
    At the time I was actually kind of pissed... Not at her, but at the time wasted foolishly trying to take something apart that should have just been tossed in favor of ordering all new. Had I gone that route, I would have spent half as much and been satisfied by having done it myself. Instead I spent double and had nothing to show for a lost day, loss of some blood and skin, ruined blades and bit, and a major dent in my dignity! Did I mention the dent to my dignity? Imagine being beaten by something mechanical? Say it ain't so!!!
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,925
    Ah, point taken. I hadn't considered that aspect as much as I should have. I sure know that I would have been a stubborn SOB about it until the job was done... good, bad, or ugly.
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • marc1771marc1771 Posts: 1
    I just took my identical year/model Outback in this morning for a somewhat similar problem. Noice/vibration at 50-70 mph, increases/decreases with speed, and I can feel a grinding in the brake pedal as I bring the vehicle to a stop. I was told it may be a bearing issue - - I am waiting to hear.

    At the same time, back when the vehicle had about 32000 miles, I noticed a shudder/vibration in the steering wheel between 25 and 50 mph (usually between 1500 and 2500 rpms). I learned that this was caused by the torque converter, which was replaced under warranty. You may want to acelerate and/or decelerate through these "zones" to see if the vibration becomes a more pronounced shudder. It is my understanding that this year and model was somewhat prone to torque converter issues.

    Otherwise, i am waiting to see what happens regarding the bearing.

  • jd_24jd_24 Posts: 92
    I've had the shudder as well in my 2001 OB wagon. Just had the wheels balanced because that's what it feels like, but it comes and goes which suggests possibly something else. Still happening after balancing, but maybe not as bad. Mostly happens around 60 to 70mph. With 200K miles so manythings could be loose or need repalcing.
  • rsadetskyrsadetsky Posts: 2
    Same thing happened to mine. Mechanic calls me at home and asks if I had gone through any mud recently (I did). Mud got up into the wheels from underneath and caked causing the steering to vibrate at 65 mph. He scraped all the mud out and that was it. And, he didn't charge me!!!!
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    So honest. Kudos.
  • pugjoypugjoy Posts: 14
    Hi everyone,
    almost 15K since we got the 3.6 R Outback in late December and we are having an oil issue that is of concern. The oil just seems to plummet as the mileage since the last change approaches 3K. Just read which was an interesting article, and in short, says that some cars use more oil, and even more oil at certain times. We had it checked at the first oil change and there are no leaks.

    Just wondering if anyone else is having this issue, and if so, how you are managing it.
  • rcassanorcassano Posts: 2
    If you are referring to a need for micro corrections at highway speed it may be a result of "Electric Power Steering" (EPS) that almost all new cars will have including Honda and BMW. This technology is in its infancy and is here to stay due to low cost and compactness. The issue feels like the driver needs to make constant small steering corrections at highway speed which becomes fatiguing. Hopefully, if this is the problem you are asking about, it can be resolved with a software update as the system matures. I hope the 2013's will not have this characteristic. Honda Civic and CR-V also have EPS systems.
  • diver7diver7 Posts: 5
    good morning
    i have 00 outback 5 speed 280000 miles at 60 mph i hear a low humming no vibration or grinding just a low hum kind of like a ship's horn off in the distance. took it to my regular mechanic- he said not wheel bearing - he saw the boot covers are torn?- tires were checked

    wondering if anyone else has this problem-- i love this car so much- i prefer to drive this everyday as opposed to my 12 outback that i just bought which i drive only for cross country trips

    thx in advance
  • rcassanorcassano Posts: 2
    I don't have this problem, however, from your description I would check the CV joints. Since the boots are torn the grease may have washed out and they are running dry. Without grease they will fail quickly and need to be changed. The other thing that comes to mind is check the transmission oil to be sure it is full. If gears are not bathed in oil they may be making the noise. If all these things are fine my next suspect would be tires - even if not fully worn out.
  • I have a 96 outback that I will be bringing to California. Does anyone know what the conversion to California pollution standards entails. A ballpark cost would also be appreciated.
  • Nada! all imports brands either manufactured here or elsewhere are all engineered to CA smog standards. Howerver CA testing is more strict than other states, so if your outback has not been maintained well then you'll need to do all the maintenance to get up to smog standards here. Also if there has been any mods to auto ie catbacks, cold air intakes, throttle bodys and so on all the addon products have to be CARB appoved here or you will fail the smog test right away. I hope this answers your question

  • winter2winter2 Posts: 1,801
    I have a 2013 Outback Premium. I now have about 750 miles on it. When I initially purchased the car, it did seem to wander a little but then again I had been driving a 2010 Mercury Milan Premier that had very touchy steering.

    As I have driven the Outback more and more the wandering seems to be much less. I had a Jeep Liberty some years ago and that did wander but because it was more of an offroad vehicle than the Outback, I was comfortable with it but it did require constant steering correction.

    The 2013 Outback has hydraulic steering, not electric. It has a fairly heavy feel to it and the road feel is a bit number than I like it.
  • luvawdluvawd Posts: 2
    Our 2011 3.6 Outback requires what seems like an excessive amount to force to turn the steering wheel also the steering system does not want to center itself. Any wheel movement up to about 15 degrees off center does not result in self centering when the wheel is let go. The vehicle requires constant steering correction on the road and it is not safe to take your eyes off the road at all to tune the radio for example. The dealer states this is normal for this vehicle. Any body else with a similar experience and or fix. Help woukd be appreciated.
  • What speed are you going when the steering is difficult and not returning to center? Expect that when at a stop position but not when making a 90degree turn at least 10mph. Get 2nd opinion at shop with computerized wheel alignment equipment.
  • winter2winter2 Posts: 1,801
    A few questions. 1. What kind of driving do you do normally? 2. What kind of oil are you using? 3. How frequently do you change your oil?

    The above questions are not answered in your post so it is hard to say why your Subaru is burning so much oil. I read the article and the author mentions that the type of driving you do has a big impact on oil consumption. If you use a conventional motor oil, that to can have an impact on consumption as most conventional motor oils do not hold up well in newer engines.
  • luvawdluvawd Posts: 2
    At any speed above 20 mph up to interstate 75 mph. At real low speeds I would not expect the steering to self center. In all normal driving turing the wheel up to 15 degrees, it will not self center, the wheel has to be returned to center. At 15,000 mile service the alignment was checked. The tow on both front wheels was out (towed in). Following the alignment the problem still persists in addition to what I feel is excessive effort to turn the steering wheel. The dealer says this is normal for this vehicle.
  • buyabuya Posts: 74
    edited January 2013
    "never a good idea to do to a completely dead battery, and then your alternator works very hard to put a kind of 'surface charge' on the battery. So it's possible all this stressed out the battery. completely, utterly, dead batteries must be slow-charged or you can damage them. " ;) That is very true. And check the number of battery cells in your new battery even if they look the same and from the same mfg.
  • ominousominous Posts: 2
    edited January 2013
    OK so I (and I mean I) replaced the clutch in my ancient legacy a few months ago and now I am hearing a loud almost knocking noise from somewhere under the chassis. It only happens when the clutch is engaged and I am accelerating again only while accelerating , tried disengaging the clutch and revving the engine and could not duplicate the noise even while moving, Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated as this is the only vehicle I have right now I need to get this solved before whatever it is becomes a major issue if it is not already. :confuse: :mad: :(
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,596
    Sounds like engine or transmission mounts OR a bad CV axle joint. If it's a bad CV joint, try to find a good used one, because rebuilt Subaru axle joints don't seem to work out very well.

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

  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,925
    I agree that the noise doesn't sound like it is coming from the clutch parts. Did you drop the tranny to do the replacement? Are all the nuts/bolts properly secured?

    If it only does it under acceleration, then it is likely torque related. My first guess would be that the center driveshaft bushing is bad (that's the bushing on the driveshaft appx. 16" behind the rear of the transaxle), and is throwing out of balance under high-torque situations. If it's doing it under all acceleration, then it's really bad.

    But, if you had no problems with it before the swap, then most likely it is something related to repair. Check that peripheral stuff that was disconnected and/or moved out of the way while you were doing the job.
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • ominousominous Posts: 2
    edited January 2013
    So after driving around for errands today the noise became much worse....then....damn dog ran out in front of me and had to whip the wheels to the right and heard loud crunch noise from underneath so I pulled over to look under ( not easy seeing as the car has low ride highth and its on 6 inches of snow lol) but saw nothing had to get it off the road so I started to drive away and the clicking noise started to deminish, now only clicking when turning right. So I think that you guys are right in that its a driveaxle probably passenger side front but as far as dropping the tranny when I replaced the clutch, nope I pulled the engine out It seemed much easier to do and I wouldn't have to get under it for much that way(bad back and all) I will keep you updated to what I find. :)
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,596
    edited January 2013
    If you have to replace the CV joint/axle, I would encourage you to search for a good used one, which you can inspect by cutting off the boots, cleaning the joint up and if all is well, installing new boots (which you should do anyway on a used part).

    The failure rate for remanufactured Subaru CV joints is about 50%. Lots of Subaru guys already know this so finding a good used axle might take you a while.

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

  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,925
    I didn't know that, Shifty, thanks for the tip.

    Ominous, it definitely sounds like a CV joint at this point. if it only makes the noise while turning right, then it is most likely the joint on the passenger side. At least, that's what I found when my joints went out. Crunching/scraping to the right was the passenger side, and the same to the left as the driver side. :)
    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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