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Subaru Crew Problems & Solutions

Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
This topic is for discussing any problems with Subaru vehicles that haven't been covered in the Owners Club Board or for people who need pointers to that Club or other resources that would help them solve their Subaru problems.
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Comments

  • From her album "Short, Sharp, Shocked"??
    Ron
  • your discussion from Subaru Crew - General
    Maintenance & Repair (Topic #15)
    here. Enjoy!

    Bonnie Rick
    Conferences Manager, Edmunds.com Town Hall
  • Now that it snowed yesterday... :)
    Still debating myself re the merits of studded vs. studless snow tires... I really want to believe that the studless will work, but I've been driving studs on every car I've owned for as long as I've been driving. My chief concern is stopping on ice - we get a lot of warming/freezing cycles here, and the roads turn to skating rinks. "Go" grip isn't a problem (as I discovered driving home from work this morning), but stopping is an adventure on the Michelins. Anybody in the snow belt have any input on this subject? (I'll put off my trip to Les Schwab's & wait for responses) :)

    Cheers!
    Paul
  • Several questions re: '01 Forester.
    1) My left windshield washer squirter shoots the fluid out too low. It squirts out and hits the bottom of the windshield. My other one squirts the middle of the windshield. Is there anything i can do that is simple enough for me to do.
    2) is it standard that when I turn on the intermittent wipers, you can hear a distinct "click" as the wiper goes back and forth or is that not supposed to happened. It does not click when on the other options?
    3) Interior noise - I just may not be used to it but it can be noisy. It sounds like a window is down or a door is ajar(but they are not). I do have the moonroof but that does not seems to be the case. Maybe this is normal???
    4) Clicking noise or cricket noise coming from front driverside seatbelt mechanism? My wife thinks i'm nuts but this is driving me crazy. I've located the noise I just don't know what to do about. Push, pull, apply pressure, Whack it nothing helps? Can or will the dealer fix this problem for me? I've only had the car for 1 month!
    5) I've tried to move the roof rack backwards to eliminate some wind noise for the moonroof and also to give an unobstructive view upwards. The allen wrench that was supplied does not fit tight enough or i'm doing it wrong. Should i leave this alone?
    Thanks for any replies! K
  • re #2 wiper click: In the intermittent mode, there's a relay that triggers the wiper cycle every few seconds. You're probably hearing the switch inside the relay closing & opening. This would be normal.

    re #3 noise: What were you driving before? My OB is noisier than my Explorer was - noise is relative.

    re #5 the roof rack: If it's the generic Subaru rack, it might be a #30 torx nut - try a torx driver with a real handle for a better twist.

    Welcome to the Subaru clan!

    Cheers!
    Paul
  • Mike,

    Thank you very much for your info on the topic.

    This is to Subaru Team's post # 1261. Does this apply to 2.5 phase II engine or to 2.5 phase I engine.
  • Realizing that I had yet to use the jack that came with my Legacy GT, I thought I would rotate the tires myself this time. The lug nut wrench that came with the vehicle is woefully inadequate-the handle is too short to get enough torque. By the time I got to the third tire my wrench actually broke apart. I have owned many cars in my life, both foreign and domestic, and I've never had a lug nut wrench brake on me.

    I recommend that anyone who owns a Subaru should go out and purchase a lug nut wrench that has a longer handle than what comes with a new Subaru. That being said, I hope you never have to use it in an emergency!
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    I usually pick up a X wrench for all my new vehicles, I can never get the lug nuts off with the stock ones. I also have no idea where the jack handle for my Trooper jack even is! I put a small floor-jack style into it as soon as I bought it. It makes life so much easier to jack up vehicles especially on a dark backroad.

    -mike
  • To Zoom: Moving the roof rack crossbar probably is a good idea. I've noticed myself that with the default position (as from the factory), the wind from the sunroof's deflector thingy (when the sunroof is opened) whacks right into the bottom of the crossbar, making a majorly racket.

    I've also noticed that my sunroof seems to whistle all the time at speeds > 50mph even when closed. I'm not sure why that's so. Closing the inside cover deadens the noise. In any event, it does appear that much of the wind noise is attributable to the sun roof. Oh well, that's the price we pay for having a huge portal over our heads :-).

    Just finished a 3000 mile road trip in my Forester (only four states, but one of them was Texas :-). Other than the above-mentioned racket, my Forester worked great. Handled the steep grades with aplomb -- that 2.5L engine pulls like a locomotive! The only problem I have is that my engine computer got used to running on "real" gasoline, and now that I'm back here in Phoenix with the funny "oxygenated" gasoline, I hear a light taptaptaptap -- a light knock -- when I hit the accelerator hard. I presume that eventually the computer will get things right again, though running on the knife's edge of detonation IS the most efficient way of doing things...

    Also, the computer apparently got accustomed to the demands of the cruise control, and is now reluctant to downshift the automatic transmission when I floor the accelerator. Takes about 3 seconds before it decides. I guess this helps avoid the annoying "hunting" behavior that afflicted older hydraulically-controlled automatics (where it couldn't decide what gear to use going up grades and up and downshifted dozens of times a minute), but in its own way this is just as annoying... or maybe this is the usual behavior? I don't know, since the car was not broken in before the trip and thus I never floored it (following owner's manual advice to not rev over 4,000 rpm during the first 1,000 miles).

    -- Eric
  • c_hunterc_hunter Posts: 4,487
    I have had one or two odd-ball experiences involving gas and driving habits in my OB (including the light detonation you mention), which I attribute to the ECM's learning cycle. Seems like the car usually "re-learns" within 1-2 tanks of gas or 50-100 miles of driving. While I don't have an auto-trans, I suspect that the transmission's control logic behaves much the same way. So, you should probably see better performance after the car has been sufficiently re-trained, especially since you went from break-in straight to highway driving. Just my guess. Go out and have some fun!

    Craig
  • That's a good idea, paisan. Never thought about it. Does anybody know whether it's a metric or SAE X wrench?
    Ron
  • bluesubiebluesubie Posts: 3,497
    Paul- While I don't have any experience with studless snow tires, I've read lots of good things about them in car magazines and other forums. I believe www.tirerack.com has info on them.
    Dr.zoom - 1) Try sticking a pin in the washer nozzle and move it around to change the direction.
    Dennis
  • Eric: before you blame you sunroof for any whistling noises, try removing all the rack crossbars completely. Go for a drive and see if you still hear the noise. Racks and crossbars are infamous for being noise generators.

    Cheers,
    -wdb
  • Most x tire wrenches have four different sizes sockets, so one of them should be good. I also use an electric drill to quickly spin the nuts off and loosely on and found that a 3/4" deep socket works fine.

    MikeF
  • Well, I went hiking in the Tonto National Forest. Have some pictures of my Forester in its natural environment. I'll try to get those developed and online.

    Anyhow, I found that, as I'd suspected, the Forester is no off-road vehicle. No big deal, I already knew that. It handled the forest roads okay though, including stretches that a regular car would have never gone through (such as fording a small stream and scrambling up the gravel bank on the other side, and waddling through a boulder-paved section of road). I did find out that the approach angles suck. Too long of a front overhang. Nothing to do about it other than hoisting the car further in the air, and I don't want to ruin its on-road handling by doing something like that. I did manage to bang the front "skid plate" a couple of times on washouts.

    Anyhow, afterwards I got the car into its garage and looked underneath to see if there was any damage. I didn't see anything, except for some scratches on the front plastic "skid plate". But I did notice that the exhaust pipe coming off of the second cat is crooked downwards, and is only maybe 6-7 inches off the ground in the middle of the car. It then veers back up and disappears over the suspension, until it comes back down to the muffler/tailpipe again.

    Question: Is this bend natural, or did I manage to bend something during my rough-road travels?

    In other news, I found that MRE's, much destested by military personnel, actually taste good if you're hungry because you've been hiking for several hours. Who woulda thunk it?
  • stevekstevek Posts: 362
    I used to disconnect my DRL's but not anymore. If you get into an accident and the DRL is found disconnected the insurance company can deny your claim.
    I also have a 2001 Legacy GT 5spd and I tried not to rev over 2800 rpm for the first 500-700 miles and then not over 3000 rpm for the next 1500 miles.
    Recently I also tryed high octane gas instead of regular and it did not make any difference.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    From what I've been told, they can never deny a claim, they can take away the $2/6months that they gave you as a DRL discount, but not deny claims. Perhaps someone in the Insurance industry can clairfy?

    -mike
    http://www.iace.com/ia/trooper
  • miksmimiksmi Silver Spring, Maryland, USAPosts: 1,246
    saxologist, Great recommendation! Funny you should mention rotating your tires <5</A>> as I did so this weekend. I agree Subaru's lug nut wrench is too short, as is every car's that I've owned :) I torque to 70 lb-ft; at this torque the nuts can be loosened with the vehicle's lug nut wrench (without too much strain -- that being said, my back hurts this morning). I also found a 5SAEClubs 3/4 inch socket fits (better than metric, so I assume it's a SAE nut).

    Obligatory URLs (I can't help myself):

    Michelin automotive tire glossary
    Michelin earthmover tire glossary (more detail & entries)

    70 lb-ft was recommended by an auto-crosser. I didn't see anything in the owner's manual. Anyone know the exact factory torque specification for the lug nuts on a 00 GT (wagon) (alloy wheels)?

    ..Mike

    ..Mike

  • hciaffahciaffa Posts: 454
    Juice if you get this I need the phone number for Qsubaru as I have to get in touch with Darlene. I understand that she was ill and was out for a couple of weeks. But today I tried to get on the Qsubaru web site to get the number and its down. Appreciate it if you can post the number.
  • Almost exactly, certainly close enough[1] for lug wrench purposes. The threads are still different - you can't use an English lug nut on a metric vehicle nor can the vice do the versa.

    Cheers,
    -wdb

    [1] 0.75 in = 19.05mm
    19.0 mm = 0.748 in
  • miksmimiksmi Silver Spring, Maryland, USAPosts: 1,246
    Thanks WDB. I swear the 0.75 in socket had less play than the metric; I'll have to check what size I had (might have only had a 20 mm).

    ..Mike

    PS - Metric/English converter (Java) and Interactive Units Converter.

    ..Mike

  • tlimatlima Posts: 124
    e l green: It supposed to be like that, as mine is the same way. I too noticed this when I first got it. It is probably like that for heat protection.

    -Tony
  • Thanks for the clarification, crew. I'm going to go out and get me an X wrench for the OB.
    Ron
  • I use this for conversions:
    http://www.jps.net/brettnkt/convert.html

    It helps to have a Palmilot but then you gain portablility ;-)

    Cheers,
    -wdb
  • Well, my Forester and I finally fell prey to the notorious loose-gas-cap/"Check Engine"-light glitch. Since the light was still on two days after I tightened the cap, I took it to the dealership, where they checked the code and cleared the light. No charge for it, but a fair bit of annoyance over having to worry over nothing and the inconvenience of taking the Forester in.
    Just wish the vehicle could have a little more useful feedback so the driver could easily differentiate between a potential major engine problem and a loose gas cap.
  • Well, I noticed that my rear wiper was at a weird angle. I went back there and jiggled it up and down and it moved several inches. "It ain't supposed to do that," I thought, so I popped the plastic cover off and sure enough, the nut that holds the wiper on was loose. No lock nut was installed (these things are supposed to have lock nuts, or at least that's been true on every other car I've owned). The insides of the wiper arm are stripped, so I'll need a new wiper arm. The car side motor shaft itself appears to be made of tougher stuff, so it appears that I won't need a new motor.

    So now I find out how Camelback Subaru handles warranty claims. I want a new wiper arm, I'm not going to let them get away with simply tightening it down so that the few remaining ridges inside the wiper arm make contact, because those will strip out soon enough (the wiper arm appears to be made of aluminum or very soft "pot metal").

    -E
  • subaru_teamsubaru_team Posts: 1,676
    I know this light is a pain in the, well you know. But, if the car is performing okay, try this. Tighten the cap and drive the car. It will go through it's emissions check again when you get to around 1/2 a tank of fuel. If all is well, the light will go out. The next time you go to the dealer, the code will be stored and they can confirm that it was the cap. But, if the light is flashing, pull over asap. BTW - the EPA requires this light whenever the system detects a lack of vacuum pressure in the emissions system.
  • subaru_teamsubaru_team Posts: 1,676
    I'd suggest a dealer checking the cross bars on the rack. No charge 12/12. If that doesn't solve it, they have access to our tech. line who can suggest some other things. It might save you some agg.
  • stevekstevek Posts: 362
    I think the high beam on my 2001 Legacy GT is just not bright and high enough. The dealer said it was aligned properly. I am used to driving a truck for the last 20 years, is this the way car high beams to be?
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    I find the subie lights to be pretty decent. The headlights on my Trooper are absolutely horrid. Even after upgrading to 80/100w bulbs the reflectors/lenses are so diffussed that you can't see anything.

    I'd suggest you upgrade to a higher wattage high beam bulb (although if you fry the wiring harness subaru will not cover it) I'm not sure how resistent the new wiring harnesses are to higher wattage bulbs. I have 80/100w H4s in my '88 XT6 with European lenses/reflectors and they are awsome.

    -mike
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Gas: just drove from DC to CT and back, and prices were best in MD just north of Baltimore ($1.459), though NJ turnpike was close ($1.489) and that's full serve!

    25mpg on the way up and 27mpg back, with more traffic. Go figure.

    PSI: I'm running 33psi. 29/26 was too soft and bouncy.

    For off roading, I tried 20psi and it was still too firm. 18psi worked best for me in the deep, soft sand. I'd try 20psi for off road and adjust it from there based on your needs.

    Paul: I bet those lug nuts were over-torqued, probably by far.

    Eric: your exhaust is fine. That's how mine is shaped. Believe me, I've spent at least a few hours under Sandy.

    The good news is that it can flex upward quite a bit, since they're on rubber hangers, so if you scrape it you should be fine. You'd really have to bang it up to do damage.

    tex: OBD2 is a pain. They actually designed it to give the driver less information so you'd have to go to a dealer for even minor problems.

    When I was shopping for a used Miata, several people advised that I go with a pre-ODB2 or even an older pre-OBD model. They're more tolerant of mods, too.

    -juice
  • tincup47tincup47 Posts: 1,508
    Was mandated by the Federal Government. It monitors more parameters than the non-obd2 vehicles. It was not designed to give more work to the dealers, but to more closely control emissions. Older systems could be out of spec and not throw a problem code, hence the added sensitivity.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I agree for the most part, but I'd add that they pretty much assumed all owners were complete blithering idiots and needed this idiot light that simply won't turn off until you visit a dealership.

    Seems excessive for a loose gas cap. Why not give specific codes if the owners can very easily fix it?

    -juice
  • tincup47tincup47 Posts: 1,508
    The car doesn't know why there is an air leak, it just senses the pressure drop. Also most people and some repair shops don't have the knowledge or equiptment to properly diagnose or repair emission related problems. Part of the reason for the OBD2 is that it will throw and retain codes to facilitate diagnosis of emission related problems.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Actually, it's smarter than you'd think. It can track a single engine misfire down to the exact cylinder in which it happened.

    I just wish the codes were more specific. "Check Engine" for a loose gas cap? C'mon...

    -juice
  • locke2clocke2c Posts: 5,038
    A little late, but...

    Mike, 70lb-ft is correct for alloy wheels. Try 80-85 for steel, but not more than that or you'll ruin the studs.

    By the way, a good way to break loose lugs without getting an aching back is to put the wrench on and sticking out parallel to the ground (9 o'clock). Now stand on the wrench.

    -Colin
  • tincup47tincup47 Posts: 1,508
    I realise it is very sophisticated, but how is the car going to determine if the cap is loose or there is a hole somewhere in the system? If there is a hole, that should be fixed at the dealer. The car will also throw the same code if you fill the car with gas with the engine running. The system does reset as Patti said.
  • bluesubiebluesubie Posts: 3,497
    It came on for me a few weeks ago. I've had the hesitation (97 OBS) for a few years now. The only thing the dealer found was a "loose vacuum hose". Sure enough the hesitation came back with a vengeance and the c.e. light even came on. Added some Sunoco 94 and disconnected the battery. No more c.e. light and no more hestitation (for now anyway).
    If a loose gas cap is the cause of the c.e. light, wouldn't an ECU reset after tightening the cap do the trick?
    Dennis
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I like Colin's idea. Just make sure you get the socket all the way in to the lug nut so it does not slip and strip it.

    tincup: actually, that's not quite correct. I've filled up with the engine running before and no light came on. I know this is not recommended but I had simply forgotten and it idles quietly.

    Anyhow, we could debate this to death, but it's not up to Subaru since it's federally mandated so I'll let you have the last word on the subject.

    -juice
  • I had 3 different occasions on my old '95 Blazer (OH MAN, what an awfull vehicle, but that's another story.) where the check engine light came on. Took it to my mechanic each time only to find that it "never stored a code". Like I said, awfull vehicle!
    I agree with Juice that OBD2 should provide more data.
    Ron
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    My dad's Legacy threw the CE light after a fuel stop. I had him disco the battery over night, bam probalem solved. He was ready to run to the dealer for a $90 rape me for diagnostic charge...

    -mike
  • royallenroyallen Posts: 227
    Darlene is back and she is apologetic that orders are delayed due to her illness. My order of mid October was ready for UPS pickup today.
  • Juice, full serve is the LAW in New Jersey. The pols there think we're too stupid to pump our own gas. Plus, of course you got better mileage on the way back - it's downhill! Just look at a map ;-)

    As for breaking lug nuts loose, I do the stand-on-a-pipe routine as a last resort. I've found that a "short, sharp shock"[1] with a decent breaker bar has a very good effect. I've amazed friends doing this in the past, even one guy who was heavy into body building (I'm not exactly a muscular guy); he was trying to get the lug nuts loose on his car, and couldn't. I walked up and, pop! Boy was he p*ssed .

    Use a long enough breaker bar; mine is an 18" long 1/2" drive model. Put it on the lug nut so that it is roughly parallel to the ground and so that an upward pull will loosen the nut. Lean over it with your back straight your arms cocked. Pull UP on it gently to remove all slack. Then give a hard, sharp yank up towards your chest, all motion with your arms and none with your back. Works for me, even when the wheels were last put on by the ham-fisted mechanic who has no idea what torque is. If I'm using one of those X-wrenches I do the same thing except with a push-pull on opposite ends of the X. It's not quite as effective but should get most of them. The key is to remove the slack first and then to make a quick, sharp motion.

    Cheers,
    -wdb

    [1] Okay, who am I quoting this time?
  • miksmimiksmi Silver Spring, Maryland, USAPosts: 1,246
    Colin, thanks for the torque for alloys in <36</A>>. In what manual is that located, or is that one of those things that's common knowledge?

    WDB, I was mistaken in <20-21</A>>. I tried 0.75 in and 19.0 mm sockets on the lug nut; both had equal play. Lo mismo, just as you said. Forgive my incredulousness, oh wise one. Oh, and thanks for the Palm conversion app, I'll dl it mañana.

    [1] I shan't hazard a guess.

    ..Mike

    ..Mike

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    As over-tightened as they get, my X-wrench has never let me down. You can apply twice the power.

    Some shops even apply some "yucky gooey stuff" (pardon the technical jargon) so the nuts don't slip, and it's never been a problem.

    -juice
  • ..who? Heh, no, I got it from the same place she probably did, Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon" LP.

    Cheers,
    -wdb
  • dark side of the moon?

    you blokes are starting to show some real potential!!!
  • subaru_teamsubaru_team Posts: 1,676
    I'm so impressed! One of my favorite albums!(hey, remember them??)
  • p0926p0926 Posts: 4,423
    Remember albums? Are you kidding? I've still got a collection of 45s including one of Tiny Tim tiptoeing thru the tulips. :o)
  • A couple of questions:

    Does anyone make a front protector (bra) for the 2001 Forester other than the Subaru-branded one?

    Why is it that there seems to be only one Subaru version? I thought that the lights and hood changed a bit in 2001; wouldn't that affect the fit?

    By the way, horror stories notwithstanding, bras can be used long term with perfect safety--the only possible exception being Vancouver/Seattle type weather. Wax the hell out the hood (etc.) before putting them on and make sure that they are not flapping about. I've had one almost continuously on my '92 Prelude, which has been outside the whole time. There's no way to distinguish the covered from the normally uncovered parts of the hood.

    But then, I probably wouldn't try this with GM or Ford paints...

    Norman
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