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Subaru Legacy/Outback Wagons Maintenance & Repair



  • grahampetersgrahampeters AustraliaPosts: 1,783

    The washer nozzles have a ball type outlet in them that can be adjuted by putting a fine needle in them and wiggling a bit. They should be hitting the screen toward the top so that the water deflects ontpo the screen as it is being used at speed. However, it should not be going over the top. Typically for each side there are two nozzles and one should be aimed a bit lowerr and to one side of the other.

    One possible problem is small bits of gunk in the washer bottle. These can be sucked up andclog the nozzle. It loooks daft but you can usually blow this back by leaning over the washer nozzle and blowing really hard. It helps if you have Satchmo lips! There is also some points where you can separate the tubing and avoid blowing all the way back to the washer bottle. Repeat a few times to really persuade the neighbours you've gone mad.

    Flushing the washer bottle once in a while is a good idea. It get rid of the cruud that inevitably builds up over time.


  • jlemolejlemole Posts: 345
    Ditto Graham. You should be able to adjust the ball with a pin. If the adjustment doesn't work, just use very quick repeated taps of the washer button. This prevents the pump from getting to full power and washing your roof instead of your windshield.

  • c_hunterc_hunter Posts: 4,487
    On the three Subarus I have, there does not seem to be an adjustment -- it's just a single rectangular orifice molded into each plastic washer "pod" on the hood. Are you saying there is a ball inside that, because I can't see one? Some of my past cars have had a little stainless ball that you can position, but not these newer Subarus.

  • b7857b7857 Posts: 1
    I own a 2003 Outback and have had problems with the transmission when driving speeds between 35-40mph. I have had to 2 dealers and they found that the fault codes were okay for both the engine and transmission. the last dealer did drvie it for 100 miles and did get the transmission to act up...It surges, shutters, hesitates, call it what you want....The car now has 15000 miles on it. Anyone else having this problem.?
  • nowakj66nowakj66 Posts: 709
    Any ideas for this situation?

    On occasion, less than a minute after starting the cold engine (it never happens when it's warm), the engine is slow to respond to the gas pedal. By slow to respond I mean that I press on the gas pedal, but the engine doesn't respond. There is no acceleration sound, and the car feels like it is going forward (if it *is* going forward) solely due to the gas it was given when it was started -- almost like it's coasting on fumes. Sometimes it "stutters" like this even when I've floored the gas, so I know it's not a case of me having a feather touch on the gas. Today it felt like it was actually going to stall. The stutter lasts for a couple of seconds, then the engine responds, and the problem is gone again. The problem is intermittent. The outside temperature doesn't seem to matter. It's always happened when I've changed to drive after reversing out of a parking position, but that might be because I almost always have to reverse out of parking. I should note that the problem doesn't seem to happen when I'm back up, but after I change gears to go forward.
  • c_hunterc_hunter Posts: 4,487
    I notice the same thing on my LL Bean every once and a while (probably once every 2-3 months). It only happens after I start the engine first thing in the morning. It's so infrequent, I have not worried about it.

    Definitely seems fuel related to me, but I have not done much in the way of investigating the problem. I did replace my fuel filter recently for the 30,000 mile service, so 2-3 months from now, maybe I can comment if that was the problem.

  • sebberrysebberry Posts: 148
    When they were replaced, the dealer mentioned that they used to be adjustable, but not the new ones.

    I did take it upon myself to try with a little pin to see if they would move, but no luck.

    Graham, if you are feeling generous, maybe you could send me a couple of the Australian ones :)

  • nowakj66nowakj66 Posts: 709
    Thanks! Lets hope it is something simple like the fuel filter.

    I do notice that when starting you have to let the fuel pump do a little dance first before turning the key. Perhaps indicative of under-engineered fuel system on the Bean?
  • I'm looking to upgrade my stereo in 99 obw. Does anyone know if the factory high-end (80 watts) unit has an external amp. If so any idea where?
  • c_hunterc_hunter Posts: 4,487
    I have noticed that all fuel injected cars start easier if you let the pump pressurize the system first. Whenever I remember, I let the pump run 1-2 sec before cranking the engine over.

  • My 2001 OB seat heater switch has a burned out white lamp. The dealer indicated its a new switch at $30 to fix the problem. Has any one replaced just the lamp and if so what is the P/N for the lamp. Or any one with a bad switch and a good lamp? If I knew the P?N I might be able to find one at an electronics supply house. I have 60K mile and the only problems were front brakes (pads and rotors) at 47K and new Nokian tires. OH and a CV joint repack under warranty at 56K. I just got 28.7 MPG from the last tank on the interstate.
    Has any one had any problems with the samll galvanized metal bracket on the drives side near the strut rusting? It holds two emission items. Thanks Mike
  • 27k27k Posts: 1
    My 02 Bean has 25,460 miles. I have had the front rotors resurfaced twice, then replaced the front rotors and brakes, and now 4K miles after replacing front rotor and brakes---I again had to have the front rotors and brakes resurfaced.

    Today I filed a complaint with NHTSA and I encourage others to do the same. If enough compliants are received an investigation may be conducted.

    In the mean time, I would appreciate feedback on what aftermarket rotors to buy.
  • We have a 2001 Outback LL Bean wagon that we bought used a few months ago. There is still warrenty left on the vehicle so we want to fix the leak as soon as we can. The only problem we are having with the vehicle is a leak from the roof area in the rear of the wagon after a heavy rain. It has happened a few times now. The water pours into the rear of the wagon through 4 openings -- the roof-mounted seatbelt area and the three plastic roof-mounted brackets. It happens when we are breaking as we transition from reverse to drive when backing out of the driveway. It does not leak at any other time.

    We tried to make it leak using the garden hose and then backing up, but we could not duplicate it. The dealer also looked at it and could not duplicate it or find anything that looked like it needed attention.

    Has anyone else had this problem? Better yet, any recommendations on what needs to be fixed?


  • nygregnygreg Posts: 1,936
    I would check the gasket around the roof rack mounting holes.

  • As for the water leakage, a definitely possibility is the sunroof. I have known many people with leaky sunroofs, and the water can flow back into the headliner.

    As for the transmission after backing up, I find if I wait for 1-2 seconds it does not have that no power/going to stall feeling. Seems to be slow to shift from reverse to 1st.
  • c_hunterc_hunter Posts: 4,487
    If you have a sunroof/moonroof, make sure the drain lines are not plugged. If they are, it could definitely create other problems.

    That said, I don't exactly know where the drain lines are on Outbacks. Anybody else know?

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    For the body shop, I would ask for references and talk to previous customers. All work is not the same. Ask if you can see some of their work. The shop that worked on my Forester did a great job, they're in Kensington, MD.

    For that tranny: first, make sure to document the issue, 800-SUBARU3. Did the dealer try flushing the fluid? I also suspect the ECU may be at fault, you could reset it to see.

    External amp? I don't think so, not unless you have a subwoofer/amp under the seat.

  • MSG #1971 I have a LL Bean OB 03 and I too had my brakes warp at only 7000 miles. They resurfaced them and it's time to bring them in again at 10,000 miles. Also on both my 1997 and the 2003 vehicle I continue to have unexpected acceleration. Just yesterday when I turned on the 03 OB and backed it up in the parking lot, I put it into drive and without touching the gas pedal the car took off, shifted into second on it's own and was at 25 mph before I had to hit the brake pedal for a stop sign. The 97 tried to take off on it's own at a stop sign while my son was driving it. The 3rd problem in both cars is the wind coming through the driver's side door/window. I've had teh dealer adjust it several times but it never works. Apparently the rubber seal is not doing the job. Anyone else experiencing one of these problems?
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    I find it odd, that 2 of your cars almost 4 model years apart both have acceleration problems? That is weird, maybe you live in area 52 or something? ;)

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Hang on a sec, there is a brake interlock on the shifter, you can't get into drive without having your foot on the brake. We can thank the Audi controversy for that.

    There's no way the engine can outpower the brakes, so just make sure you don't let off the brakes until the engine is fully in gear.

    I would reset the ECU if your idle speed is that high or fluctuates that much. Disconnect the negative battery terminal, wait 20 minutes, reconnect, idle until warm. Have your keyless ready to lock/unlock and turn off any alarms.

  • Thanks for the information on clearing the ECU. I took the 97 OB to the dealer yesterday and the mechanic said he cleared the memory (ECU?) and also told me I could replace it for the tune of $660. What's really puzzling me is the problem with the rotors warping. I bought a 2001 Toyota Tundra Truck which had the same problem. I was 1 of 10 trucks in the area that kept having to replace the brakes, calipers, rotors, ect. Toyota had a service bulletin out so there wasn't a problem until the warranty ran out, then it was going to be my tab at the tune of $300+. In another talk room for tundras many owners were having the same problem and getting rid of their trucks. I was told that all trucks had problems with brakes because of their heavy weight/V8 engines. So I traded it in for the 03 LL Bean OB and now I have the same problem again. And I see many other OB owners are having the problems as well. But the OB weighs considerably less than the truck, so what's the excuse. I am getting highly discouraged and feel that the 03 OB won't have much of a future in this family either. BMW's and Honda's are real popular around here and are starting to look pretty good. I'm real disappointed that Subaru has not stepped up to the plate and done a recall or at least a service bulletin on this problem (or the other problems like wind noise, hesitation/ acceleration). At least Toyota replaced my brake system, the dealer here just keeps resurfacing and putting off the situation.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Call 800-SUBARU3 and ask them to open a case number. Then ask them to replace the rotors, given they're not lasting long enough for practical ownership.

    Every new vehicle has teething issues, the Honda Element for instance is having windshield issues, they get stress cracks. BMWs are not known for their reliability at all.

  • Hi folks...
    Just reviewing people's posts and have seen some that have had to deal with clutch chatter on a continuing basis. I had mine replaced at about 17,000 and it's been ok since then. I've seen mention of a TSB concerning the parts that are to be used for replacement, but I can't seem to find it? Also, since I am about to clear my warranty period, is this clutch issue something that will become my responsibility financially after that (if it's a manufac. defect?)

    Rain guards: I can't believe I'm the only one seeking some solution to the rain that falls in the drivers window with even the slightest of opening. No matter what the season, I often ride with my windows cracked or down, as this helps my vision whether I'm scanning the woods for animals, picture ops, bigfoot, etc. I also like to keep them open for fresh air, and in case something might be burning in my car. Like incense.

    To my knowledge, there are no rain guards offered for my '03 Outback, and I wondered what others may have done to attack this need?

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Keep the windows closed? ;-)

    But seriously, the Forester has rain gutters that run along the roof to the edges, so it's not much of a problem for me.

  • But I don't have a Forrester!

    And although I'm tempted to go check one out because they gave the sucker the power of turbo, I cannot afford a switch right now. But I still want my car to stay dry!

    Doesn't anyone else experience this? I mean, rain's no big deal on me, but as it drips into the car, and possibly into the window buttons, or in between door panels, then I stat to worry about further complications.

    Subaru designers should take into account, more so, the needs of folks who want to be able to drive with the windows down (cracked) in rain or snow and not get soaked. Riding with open windows in inclement weather may not make sense to flatlanders, but to people who have Subies b/c the environment demands it, it's a necessity!

    Any info on specific parts that are supposed to be used for the clutch replacement problem?

    thanks again
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I think they have them available in other markets, either Japan or Australia. I've seen them for other models, but not yours specifically.

    As for the Clutch, use part number 32098AA020, as per TSB 03-51-02R, and that the new clutch kit includes a new flywheel, clutch kit, cover, and bolts.

  • It bugs the crap out of me too. I spent some time trying to find the rain guards you are talking about. No luck. They are available in Europe but I never got a response to the emails I sent to several dealers.

  • c_hunterc_hunter Posts: 4,487
    My understanding is that as long as the clutch is replaced with the revised parts, the problem should not recurr under normal use. I believe the clutch material was the main problem, and it has been changed. My 03 WRX came with the new parts, and has been just fine.

    I had warped rotors on my 00 base Outback and my 02 LL Bean. In both cases, the rotors were machined and were fine thereafter.

    Recurring warped rotors is likely due to wheels being over-torqued, and this is very common. Happened on two of my Hondas when the dealer service depratment overtorqued the wheels (*way* over torqued, I could barely get the lugs loose). It is worth asking them to hand-torque your wheels, and double check if needed. Most places whale on the lugs with an impact wrench, and this can easily add up to 150-200 ft-lbs of torque (way over the recommended 60-80 for most cars with aluminim wheels) and certainly uneven torque. When the rotors heat up, uneven pressure from the lugs can lead to warpage.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    70 for any Subie alloy works.

    Craig's right, I recall Mercedes applies about 120 ft-lbs for the ML class, that'll warp rotors in a heartbeat.

  • I'm pleased that Subaru is surveying us about our cars, dealers, and SOA. In short, our cars are "thumbs up", SOA stands up for its customers, and our dealer who sports an award on the wall as a SOA "Dealer of Distinction" needs some work. Had the recall done with a less than two hour wait and the car returned with no overspray as it was washed and (waxed?).This was very good. But their was an overcharge on the bill for maintenance, something that has been happening lately, and which they fixed after discussion. In addition they "forgot" to deduct the discount coupon they sent me from my bill. They have "forgotten" 4 out of the last five visits. We've had a number of foreign nameplates over the years, but Subaru dealers (this one at least) take the prize for being the most difficult to work with. It seems to me that Subaru is going to have a tough time cracking the higher end market until their dealers get some "religion" when it comes to customer service. Note to Idaho Doug. I haven't forgotten your admonition to try another dealer. I envy all of you who live near an honest reliable Subaru dealer and/or can do the work yourself because the car is very good.
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