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Subaru Legacy/Outback Wagons Maintenance & Repair



  • subaru_teamsubaru_team Posts: 1,676
    then the upcoming campaign. I'll let Barry and Joe know that your happy. It'll mean a lot to them, as it does to me.


  • I was on the freeway and all my warning lights came on. Then I noticed that my car no longer accelerated. I pulled to the side of the road and turned off the car. I turned it back on and it seems to work fine. I have been driving it for a couple of days without any problems.

    I checked with the dealer and they said that they had never heard of this happening. Has anyone experienced this with their Outback. I have a 2002 VDC model.
  • subaru_teamsubaru_team Posts: 1,676
    to ask the dealer to check it out to see if any codes were stored in the control unit. That might help explain it.


    PS I'm sorry that happened. It must have rattled you quite a bit.
  • I have just discovered a coolant leak on the bottom drivers side rear cylinder 69000 miles. It is not the dreaded headgasket leak but the engine plug in the side of the block. I stopped by my local dealer (Wagner in Fairborn Oh) They looked at it and confirmed by dianoges. I placed a plug on order and will fix it this weekend. Headgaskets due fail, but Subaru seems to be more then fair about treating the customer right! I had a Chey Luv truck that left be stranded 70 miles from home with a blown head gasket with a cylinder full of coolant. This was when warranties were only 12/12000. I had to have the head milled before I could repair it. Patti my kudos to Wagners. They all ways take the time to look at problems and share freely their expertise. Now if Subaru could only make a "Real" pickup truck. Keep up the good work
  • Your Subaru engine probably was stalled. It usually happens when there is a water in the gas tank. Get a bottle of a "DryGas" and it should fix the problem, as it fixed mine with LL-Bean.
  • rob999rob999 Posts: 233

    I was going to bring in my 01 Outback next week for the 3-year cooling system flush. Do you have a service bulletin or service directive number pertaining to the cooling system conditioner? I would like to ensure that this is added when I bring my car in.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I would go ahead and get it scanned for error codes. More than likely the ODB2 system stored at least one fault code. Dealers have a scanner that can read those. Even a place like AutoZone will scan it for free.

    I'd suggest you reset the ECU if you were ever stranded, but that would delete any codes so you'd never know what happened. Plus it's working well now.

  • subaru_teamsubaru_team Posts: 1,676
    WWP-99. They are just coming out today. The conditioner might not be at your dealer until late next week. Can you reschedule the appointment by a week? Just a thought to save you a trip.

    I'll post details on the bulletin this weekend when I get a few minutes "quiet time".

  • Thanks for the online and phone discussions regarding my case. You explained the nature of the "conditioner repair" well and stressed that you do believe in its effectiveness. I really do hope the coolant conditioner resolves my leaky head gasket.

    Also, I hope my car is one that gets covered under the upcoming service program regarding head gaskets. From earlier phone conversations with SOA and your #2664 post above, I was told and given the impression that my 2000 OBW would be offered the extended 8yr/100,000 mile warranty for head gasket and related failures.

    Just today, SOA informed me that only certain 1999-2002 OBW would be offered this extended warranty. The selection criteria was not known by the SOA Rep. Sounds like Subaru may have an idea as to the root cause of these HG issues.

    Since my OBW has an HG leak, I can only keep my fingers crossed that I am included in this program.

  • rob999rob999 Posts: 233
    I really appreciate the info. I will indeed reschedule my appointment.

    Thanks again,
  • As a prospective Subaru owner, is there anything unique to the boxer engine as compared to my current VQ3.0 from Nissan?

    I've seen some comments on here about burning oil and such, which I don't really understand why it would be different for the boxer.

    IS there anything different or better - is servicing easier/more diffult?

    those kinds of opinions are what I'm looking for.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Yes, it's totally unique. It's laid out longitudinally, compared to your transverse mounted VQ.

    The VQ has better access, the engine sits higher, above the tranny and diffy. Plus the V shape put the spark plus up where you can access them. BUt a lot of weight sits very high up, look at the position of the engine block and how it affects the center of gravity.

    Subaru puts the boxer engine in front of the trans. It's very low down, if you look the top of the block falls below the top of the tire. That keeps the center of gravity low.

    The trade-off is tougher access. To get to the plugs you might have to remove the intake or the windshield wiper fluid container, or both. Fortunately it's not as hard as it sounds. That's why they use long-life plugs.

    All the routine stuff is accessible, all fluid lids are bright yellow for easy visibility. I've done all my own service, and I don't even have a shop manual. So it's not that tough.

    The most common problems? #1 would be wheel bearings, but only on Foresters up to 2002 and Imprezas up to 2001. The Legacy has been good and newer designs have been good. They seem to have corrected this.

    #2 among serious issues would be the head gaskets on the EJ25 engines, but Subaru stretched warranty coverage to 8 years/100k miles. 2002 and later have had far less frequency than the 1999-2001s.

    With that said, there are 4 Subarus with the EJ25 in my family, that's 8 head gaskets, and zero leaks.

    Also, the H6 engine has not been affected, nor has the turbo engines in the XT or Baja. Those do have a different block design with a semi-closed deck. They seem to be very robust and no one has reported any sort of failure with those up to now. So the H6 or turbo are worthy upgrades even if you're just looking for a robust/reliable design.

    Good luck shopping.

  • nygregnygreg Posts: 1,936
    the only thing I would say is partly difficult to get at is the plugs. BTW - 30K miles is not long life plugs. :) But, to change the oil or items like timing and PS belts, the boxer is a dream compared to most others.

  • c_hunterc_hunter Posts: 4,487
    What's unique about the boxer 4 cylinder (H4) is the firing order and timing. It results in a wonderfully rumbly engine note and a sweet sounding exhaust (especially if you put on a nice muffler). I put a Prodrive muffler on my WRX (with the H4 turbo) and it sounds like a cross between a quiet Harley and a V8 muscle car, with a dose of class thrown in. It really is a pleasure to listen to, unlike many other cars out there (if you've ever heard a Honda or VW with a potato shooter muffler, those sound horrible).

    The H6 fires more like a straight-6 and is less unique feeling/sounding. However the H6 is very smooth. I forget the relative rankings, but I think the H6 is up there with the V12 and straight-6 as the smoothest engines. Certainly smoother than a V6 or V8.

    I've had four Subarus, and none have consumed any oil between changes. In fact, I don't even check the oil between changes now! (which is probably a bad habit to get into). Other than a little difficulty getting to the spark plugs (which have a 60000 mile interval on the H6) the engines are super easy to maintain and work on. As Juice already mentioned, the compact size and layout of the boxer really helps keep the COG low, which improves handling and packaging quite a bit. if you look at Subaru's overall engine/transmission/drivetrain layout, you can see how well it is packaged. It really is an engineering marvel (and I say that as an engineer!).

    Definitely test drive a Subaru to get a feel for the engine. Any model with an H4 and 5-spd will give you a good example of the fun rumbly side of the boxer, while the H6/auto cars will feel super smooth and refined.

  • jfljfl Posts: 1,385
    well, Porsche uses boxer engines and so did Ferrari for a while as did the VW Beetle.

    I also believe a number of light aircraft engines are of boxer design.

  • I've got some GM sealant tabs, (primarily a vegetable formula). Would it hurt or help to add them to the Subaru's cooling system. No head gaskets leaks at 87,000 miles, preventative maintenance mainly. Coolant system flushed and filled by Subaru technician about 3000 miles ago.
  • the Subaru conditioner. I think we used those "tabs" in the early '80's? Anyway, this conditioner is really good with the rust prohibitor also, so it might be better. At least that's what I'm told. Also, since it's now being used in production, I know that they've tested it out pretty thorougly.

  • GM's still using them though to reduce porosity in aluminum parts.

  • About a year ago I was on this board quite a bit with a blown left head gasket on our 2000 Outback with 62K. After a lot of phone calls and my own research, SOA paid somewhere around 75% of the bill. Now I'm reading about this 100K coverage on head gaskets. Is this correct? I notice a person from SOA (Patti?) is on this site now. Should I give SOA a call?
  • mjc440mjc440 Posts: 76
    I understand that Subaru recommends rotating the tires front to back rather than criss-cross them. Does anyone know what the reason is?
  • Please call into us again with your VIN. You might get the percentage back that you paid and you may need to get the coolant conditioner added. The Rep. should be able to check your VIN next week - or you can check it yourself if you have a site.

    You may want to wait until Wednesday or Thursday next week because volume on the phones will be high on Tuesday (the first day after a holiday).

    Thanks - I hope it works out for you!

    Patti (Subaru Team)
  • for the rotation recommendation - I just can't recall it at the moment. I'll check and post or some of the other Subaru whizzes here will probably provide the answer before I can check back in.

    I just don't want you to think I'm ignoring you.

    Thanks for your patience!

  • glenfordglenford Posts: 138
    1996 Legacy LSi Wagon. Since September of last year, I have....
    9/8 CEL - replace coil and wires $409
    12/8 Complete loss of power on a hill - NTF
    12/17 CEL - Fuel induction service $100
    1/12 CEL - Idle Air Control Valve $125
    1/19 CEL - Valve replacement $600 (@ 1/2 price)
    2/3 Alternator and battery $257

    The car spent days between 12/8 and 12/17 in the shop, and all except one day in the shop between 1/12 and 1/19. Car has 99K miles, was bought new by me and always serviced at our local Subaru dealer. All of this trouble happened over less than 4000 miles. From the first CEL to now, every time we brought it in they fixed something, but we got rough running and another CEL pretty quickly. That means one of two things to me - either they are fixing the wrong things, or EVERY time I take it in there are two things wrong - the one they fixed and the one they still haven't. Car is running fine since last rcvd (fingers crossed here), but I spent about $2K on it in the last 12 months. I should have bought a new car (and not a Subaru, based on this). My confidence in the dealer is now very low. I suspect they screwed something up in the valve service (requires engine removal, according to them) that destroyed the alternator. Is this car waiting to massively fail, and should I sell now while it's running? I expected to get lots more miles out of it than this with better reliability. Our 95 Honda had no unscheduled maintenance over its lifetime. Any thoughts?
  • c_hunterc_hunter Posts: 4,487
    I get the impression your mechanic is taking the gorilla approach (just keep replacing different parts at your expense) without properly diagnosing the problem. This is certainly uncharacteristic for a Subaru of this mileage.

    Was there any significant problem associated with the first event other than a CEL? Because a CEL by itself is no reason to replace the coil pack and wires -- you'd have to be experiencing a rough engine and/or loss of power (possibly intermittant) before going in that direction. On the other end of the list, the car would have to be blowing smoke and/or burning oil before I'd go for a valve job.

    I suspect there's something wrong that they have not properly diagnosed, and it's unfortunate you have to fund their research! This is a case where I would not blame Subaru, but would instead have issues with the dealer.

  • fibber2fibber2 Mid Hudson Valley, NYPosts: 3,775

    Kind of sounds like my '93 Toyota. Ran virtually trouble free for 85k miles until '01, then cost me $2.5k in a likewise narrow window for a variety of problems. How do you predict what will come next? The 'problems Gods' might be satisfied, and you might run for another year or two and recoup the outlay, or there might be another headache waiting for you around the corner.

    If you liked the car otherwise but are beginning to feel uneasy about it, then it is time to trade towards another Subaru while it still has some value.

  • glenfordglenford Posts: 138
    Thanks to you both for the feedback - perhaps we'll also see others with similar experience come out in time.

    The first CEL svc writeup says "MIL perform select monitor code for misfire test" & "System needs coil and wires". Not a lot of info there to me. I can't recall if it ran rough, but it probably did for a moment (at this point I didn't realize it was the start of a string of problems). For the last one, it ran rough for 1/2 mile, then cleared - svc says "Exhaust valves not seating properly due to carbon."

    We also had oil pump seals done at 47K and 65K miles, and leaking valve cover gaskets at 73K.

    I do think the dealer represents Subaru, though - they are my point of contact. In Glenford (my town) it's the difference between 20 minutes and 35 minutes to go to the next nearest dealer - but that might be a good investment.

    As to trading for another Subaru - I looked at new "B"-six models a year ago when I bought a used RX300. (Also drove Murano, Passat, A4, CRV...) Subaru was too much money for not enough value above the 4 for me. Plus, with a service history like this, my brand loyalty is not high. But you put your finger on the heart of it - get out now while it's running well, or hang on and hope? Tim
  • subaru_teamsubaru_team Posts: 1,676
    that you open a case with us at 1-800-SUBARU3. Or, the better option - please send us a letter and include all of the RO's that you have (including the maintenance history). Please make sure you supply the VIN and the name of the dealer that services the vehicle. I can't handle the case directly, but please add a note to the letter advising the Rep. that I (Patti Mickel) would like to review the file. We'll see what we can do to keep you as a Subaru customer. I hope you give us a chance.

  • glenfordglenford Posts: 138
    Patti - thanks for the concern. What address would I send it to? The 800# is closed today for the natl holiday. Tim
  • subaru_teamsubaru_team Posts: 1,676
    It is:

    Customer Dealer Services
    Subaru of America, Inc.
    P. O. Box 6000
    Cherry Hill, NJ 08034
    Attn: Lana

    Lana handles most of our correspondence and she reports to me. If you address it to her, I know I'll get a chance to review the letter and docs. Just let her know that you are sending it to her at my request.

    Thanks! I appreciate the opportunity.

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