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Subaru Crew Problems & Solutions



  • vince14vince14 Posts: 55
    I just had a limited 30K service on my 2kOB. Dealer full service, which included all fluid change and alignment, was close to $500. I just had my 7500 mile tire rotation, oil and filter, brake fluid, air filter and gas filter for about $180.
    Gee, Juice, aren't you glad you do so much of this yourself?
    I have notice, however, since the service,a drop in my gas mileage, from 25 mpg to 24 mpg. Coincidence? Can anything they've done impact that?
    I installed (and I use the term loosely) the Donnely ECT mirror myself, after ridiculous quotes from 2 subie dealers, that treated it as some accessory form another planet, even though even the regular stock mirror on a Subie says Donnely right on it!
    I have grown mechanically inept over the years, but it is easy to install. The OB mirror pops off easily, the new one pops on easily, the plug to run the temp probe through the firewall is real easy to find and trace on the other side and the probe has a clip right on it.
    I do have a problem hiding the wires running down the drivers side column, the wires fit under the plastic but don't stay, and no way could I find a wire to clip on to for power, so I just cut it, wrapped it around the radio fuse and shoved it in. I did try to follow the instructions posted here and from Donnely's web site but they didn't always apply.
    comments and suggestions are welcome Vince
  • locke2clocke2c Posts: 5,038
    Vince, 1 MPG is too small of a change to be anything worthy of research-- it could be anomaly in my opinion.

  • subaru_teamsubaru_team Posts: 1,676
    The information here is correct. There can be over 120 reasons for the CEL. As long as the light is not flashing, it's letting you know that it is emissions related.

    From what I understand, the folks at our customer service center are aware of your case and they are jumping in (I let them know that it was back on again). I'm sure they'll get it resolved.

    Thanks for your patience and I'm really sorry your going through this. Hopefully you'll be happy in the end. If not, let us know?


  • I am looking at a high miles 1998 Outback Legacy wagon(72,000) and I had a mechanic at a quick lube type place do a pre purchase inspection on it and they said there is a leak in the cam seal area.
    The seller is having his mechanic look at it and give his opionion, but I have a feeling he will be less than impartial in his diagnosis. Should I insist on the timing belt being changed as well? I have always heard that a leaky cam seal may mean it's time for a new timing belt.

    I wish I could afford to buy a new car, I hate dealing with used car salesmen. I am starting to regret putting down the $200 deposit.
    Does anyone know if my deposit would be refundable(NY state)if I wanted to back out of the deal ?
  • hondafriekhondafriek Ottawa CanadaPosts: 2,970
    I would insist on a new timing belt if the cam seal leaks,oil and rubber do not mix, they will probably have to remove the belt in order to replace the seal anyway so it will only cost the price of the belt to replace it at that point.
    About your deposit I don;t see you getting it back unless the vendor is unwilling to carry out the necessary repairs but I may be wrong in this respect.
    Cheers Pat.
  • On my 2001 Forester S+, I notice that when I slide the shifter from reverse to drive, it will pass D and stop at 3. Is this normal? I would prefer if stop at D. Also, when it is really cold, ie, 10 or below, and when there are a few people in the car, the moisture freezes to the inside of the windows. I put the air conditioner on with the defrost on high, but, it barely takes it off. Comments?
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    NYS Deposits are refundable! At least on new cars. My dealer just ordered a 2001 GT wagon for a guy, who after it came in decided he wanted a forester, and they went and got the forester, then he wanted $300 off the price (to match some other dealer) so they told him to go to the other dealer. They gave him his $500 deposit back.

  • Thanks for you quick responses to my questions, your input helps alot. I'm sure when he realizes that I am not willing to settle for cutting corners he will do the right thing, if not I will just keep looking.
    It makes me nervous paying 13G for a car with 72,000 miles, even if it is a Subaru.

    I love this message board and I have been doing my best to soak up all the info I can.
    Thanks everybody
  • rob999rob999 Posts: 233
    On auto-trans equipped OB's, there's an option for an auxiliary power outlet in the console. I'd like to add one on my 5-spd OB. I assume though, that the 5-spd version doesn't have a branch on the wiring harness in the console area to attach this. The auto probably has wiring for the backlight or a solenoid of some sort. Can anyone confirm?

    Thank you, JAYMOOSE, for your Dec 22 post on the location of the trailer wiring. I found it helpful and appreciate your work on this.

    For those of you who installed the Hidden Hitch on your OB Wagons, can you recommend an online/catalog dealer? I know J.C. Whitney has them - anyone else?
  • I think I got mine right from Hidden Hitch ( You might also check

    Let us know how your installation goes!

  • mjs504mjs504 Posts: 18
    My 'check engine light' just went on for the 3rd time on my Y2K forester S. I purchased the car on 11/99 and have 16k miles. The oxygen sensor needed to be replaced for the first two times. I am assuming that this is the case the 3rd time. Does anybody know what my rights are regarding New York lemon law? Would I qualify, and if yes, what are the steps to start the process.

    I also replaced the two rear wheel bearings and the rear windshield wiper. Do I have a lemon or am I just overreacting?
  • royallenroyallen Posts: 227
    rob999: For factory parts, Darlene at is hard to beat. For aftermarket vendors, has options including Drawtite.
    mjs504: Your case seems like a frustrating case between happiness and lemon law remediation. Of course that's easy for me to say with an older Subaru and few problems: a broken fog light, a shattered window on a back door and a CD player that needs manual extraction of CDs.
  • c_hunterc_hunter Posts: 4,487
    I think there are other subtle differences in the center console on 5-spd and auto-trans models -- for instance, the armrest/bin-lid is about twice as thick on the auto-trans models. It may be that the power outlet is not "sanctioned" for 5-spd models for non-electrical reasons, possibly a matter of space or even safety (since a plugged in accessory could certainly interfere with shifting).

    I have thought about installing the outlet on my 5-spd OB, but decided not too, with all the unknown factors. Having it get in the way of shifting would limit its use too. Wiring would be the least important issue, since it would be cake to run a 12V line into the console if needed.

    If anybody has more details, I'd love to know.

  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Most state lemon laws need to be invoked in the first 12 months of ownership. Also Lemon laws only count if they cannot fix a problem after 3 or 4 attempts. They did in fact fix your car (replaced the oxygen sensor) so each instance starts the clock over. If they tried to fix it, but the O2 sensor blew one time right after each other, and the CE light stayed on, then it would have been (in the first year) a case of Lemon Law. Are you sure it isn't just a case of the gas cap not being tightened? The subarus are very prone to having the CE light come on after a re-fueling. As for the bearings, I believe that the problem is that most dealers don't replace them properly. Darlene from Q Subaru has a detailed writeup of the proper procedure IIRC.

  • logger2logger2 Posts: 31
    Anybody else here have any dealing with Subaru of Canada? I sent them a letter about 2 weeks ago detailing the problems I have had with my 98 Forester including clutch replacement, wheel bearing replacement, timing belt tensioner problems (almost lead to engine failure) and other things and included full documents - all receipts etc. Since purchasing the vehicle, I have spent almost $2000 on it to try and get it working right. I have not heard back from the customer service guy at head office. I dont want to be a pain in the [non-permissible content removed] but I would like to know what is going on with my claim. Any suggestions?
  • vince14vince14 Posts: 55
    mjs504- I have had some experience with the NYS lemon law (a personal claim and a family members) though it was over 10 years ago. Simply put, you should exhaust all avenues within Subaru to have the problem solved. (has regional tech support , or whatever they call it, been involved yet?) and I believe they need at least one more crack at it, but (I hate to disagree with a paisan) the clock does not start over after each attempt. If you have a problem, it should be resolved. Replacing a part and having it fail over and over just counts as a failure to resolve the original problem. It's still a pain in the butt process and you have a great car worth keeping , so it makes sense to get the problem resolved through Subaru. But, if they can't, (or preferably in advance, for information and a full explanation of the current law) call the NYS attorney generals office. Good luck, hope SOA comes through for you. Vince14
  • rob999rob999 Posts: 233
    Thanks again, JAYMOOSE, for the lead on - I ordered my hitch and wiring kit from them this morning. If anyone else is interested, they are currently providing a 10% discount on Hidden Hitch products.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Vince, you are probably right. I just thought that once a part was repaired, and it worked for X # of months, it was considered repaired. I am pretty certain that either the claim or the problem needs to be within the first 12months and documented (which Subaru has documented for the original O2 sensor in your case)

  • vince14vince14 Posts: 55
    Mike - Like I said, it was a long time ago, so as I continue to age, the details sure are getting fuzzier. That's why I suggested a call to the AG's office. Or you can go the the following website:

    vince14 ( I think)
  • Is there a way to keep the windshield wiper fluid ducts from freezing and getting clogged on my 2001 Forester? There was some ice and slush covering one (the driver's side...!), but even after I cleaned it, nothing was coming out. I opened the hood to see if something was disconnected, but it seemed fine.

    It happened to work after that. Maybe something was loose, but it has been OK until this storm today. Just thought I'd ask to see if anyone else has trouble keeping the ducts clear. Or if it did come loose, if that's something that happens often.

    I never had this problem with my Corolla, which lived through several snow and ice storms. I thought it was strange that this would happen from just a little slush, and want to be prepared if this will be a regular thing.

  • bluesubiebluesubie Posts: 3,497
    Prestone makes a great additive to add to your existing fluid. It boosts whatever is already
    in there by an additional 20 deg.F colder.
    It's in a clear bottle and the fluid is clear. I've never had this problem with my OB Sport, but it happens to my wife's OB. The Prestone eliminated the problem. Be careful though. It's strong and smelly. You're supposed to add the full bottle, but maybe try half and then gradually increase it.
    It's called Prestone Windshield Melt.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I was going to make a similar suggestion.

    The blue stuff that is so common only protects to a certain temperature. There are better ones for extreme cold. They come in odd colors just to stand out, like yellow or pink. Check the temperature rating on the container.

    I've seen these at WalMart, but I'm sure places like Target, Pep Boys, Trak Auto, AutoZone, etc. would have them.

    mjs504: how is the dealer treating you? If you feel like you're being pushed around, I'd escalate it. E-mail me and I can put you in touch with someone at SoA if you'd like.

    CEL are common. If it's not flashing then usually no big deal. OBDII requires that it lights up for all kinds of reasons. Ask them to see if it's more than just the O2 sensor, though.

    Also, the rear wheel bearings are not uncommon. The trick is they are using TOO MUCH TORQUE, and that's exactly what causes them to wear. Ask specifically for them to check the torque specs and insist they follow those guidelines.

    It just seems to me these are relatively simple things a good mechanic could fix. You may even want to try another dealership.

  • sibbaldsibbald Posts: 106
    Can anyone tell me why Subaru went from platinum tipped plugs (which my first Outback had in 1997) to conventional plugs in the 2000. The dealer is already talking about replacing them in my upcoming service (24000 Kilometers). Could they be replaced with platinum tipped plugs to give longer service and is one make better then the other? Thanks.

  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Hey guys, just something I picked up from a recent repair on my trooper which has an electronic AWD system like the 4eat ones on the Subarus... Below is a copy of the message...

    Well guess what folks... I learned a valuable lesson today...

    Replace all 4 tires at the same time....

    If you all remember I've had a whine on my Trooper from around 10,000 miles to now (16,000) that could be heard from 30mph->10mph, but only when the TOD or 4wd Lo was engaged. Also had the TOD check engine light come on 2x over the past 6K miles. The 3rd problem was that after being in 4wd Lo, then going into neutral, and disengaging the 4wd Lo, TOD would not re-engage properly until I backed up 30 feet or more.

    We thought it was either the TOD unit, or the front Differential.

    Turns out, around 10K miles, I had gotten an ir-repairable flat on the right rear tire. I had replace the Bridgestone 684 tires of the same size on my Rodeo about 15K before my lease was up, so when I returned it I saved the relatively new tires from it for the Trooper. When I got the ir-repairable flat on the Trooper I threw on one of the saved rodeo tires and didn't think anything of it. Apparently the tire that I put on was 1/2" smaller than the diameter of the other tires on the truck. Either through wear or the fact that it was a "Made in USA" tire instead of a "Made in Japan" tire that the ones that came on the Trooper were.

    This tire diameter problem apparently caused the TOD system to become confused and caused the noise. The re-mounted the spare tire onto the aluminum wheel for me, and bam, problem gone. All of the problems actually.

    On this visit they also did the Fuel line recall, and cleaned out the nozzles of the windshield washer that I had jammed up with wax for me.

    They whacked me $75 for the mounting of the tires and the balancing of them. Which isn't bad all things considered. I have to take my hat off for Open Road Honda/Isuzu in Edison, NJ for doing a great job diagnosing the problem with the least evasive procedure. Most other dealers would have ripped out the T-case and/or the front differentials and just back charged Isuzu, and in the end, never fix the problem.

    So now, my baby is back!

  • c_hunterc_hunter Posts: 4,487
    Very interesting -- thanks for the info. Hard to believe that 1/2" could make such a big difference, but I guess it adds up over a few rotations! I guess that wheel was spinning faster than the others, and must have appeared to be slipping.

  • subaru_teamsubaru_team Posts: 1,676
    Good Morning! Do we have a case for you and your CEL situation? Please call us and ask the Rep. you speak with to contact me to review your file.

    We always want to rectify situations without going the LL route. No sense in putting you or us through that when we both have the same goal...a car that does not have repeat problems.

    I'll keep my ears out for your case/situation. If you are not satisfied, ask to speak to me directly.

    Call us at 1-800-SUBARU3. Thanks!

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    paisan: thanks for the heads up. My spare tire is smaller than my new Plus-One-and-then-some, so I'll keep that in mind. At least I have open front and rear diffys, and any use of the spare would be short-term.

    Tom: not sure why they swapped. I wasn't even aware of that. Maybe they wanted more frequent plug swap intervals to allow them to see how the engine is running (plugs tell a lot if you look at their color and condition).

    I'm sure you could use platinums. Bosch makes them, so does Autolite. There are also fancy ones like the Bosch Platinum+4 and the SplitFires, but the claims seem not so believable.

  • lark6lark6 Posts: 2,565
    I just read juice's post re the wheel bearings and I can attest to what he says. My '00 Forester's rear bearings went out @ 8K miles; replaced by a mechanic with an overzealous torque wrench, they failed again at 12K miles. Thanks to Patti and the SoA team, as well as Darlene from Qsubaru (who faxed me a copy of the service bulletin re this), the bearings were replaced again. I assume they were torqued properly this time, as I just passed 17K on the odo this AM and the problem hasn't recurred.

    Tomorrow will be 1 year to the day that I bought the Forester. I know 17K is a lot in 1 year but I've asked the car to do a lot - and outside the bearing incident, I'm very happy with it.

    Good luck,
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I've got about 34k trouble-free miles, on the original wheel bearings! :-)

    Guess mine were torqued properly from the get-go.

  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    on my Trooper since June 10th :)

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