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Subaru Crew Problems & Solutions



  • dmanzidmanzi Posts: 12
    I was contacted by Subaru, and they have agreed to pay for my heter coil repair. For this, I am very grateful. Getting the part has been a problem, and the dealer still doesn't have it, but they hope to have it today. What I'm curious about is the cause of these problems. Another gentlemen mentioned that it might be an overpressurized cooling system. What could cause that? If the head gaskets are blown, then I can understand the blow-by into the cooling system, but what would cause premature failure of the head gaskets? Is it possible that some corrosive substance was present in the cooling system and has caused the damage? Anyway, with luck I'll have the car back in a few days.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Good to hear. Express those concerns to the service tech.

  • mrdetailermrdetailer Posts: 1,118
    At 85K I replaced the timing belt when it broke. At the same time I also repacked the CV boots and replaced the Cam and Crankshaft Seals.

    A mere 40K later I have to replace both the cam and crankshaft seals, and the outer CV boots. And it's )((*&^%#F%^&**( expensive. Now I also have to replace the oil pump seals as well. And of course I'm replacing the timing belt for the 3rd time in 40k because the heavy labor involves removing and replacing the belt. Both Subaru specialist mechanics in 2 separate independant shops say that replacing seals is a common thing, even with the newer models. What's with that?

    Other than these persistent issues the car is a dream.
  • locke2clocke2c Posts: 5,038
    I have strong doubts that the timing belt needs to be replaced again! Removed and reinstalled as part of the seal work, no doubt about that. Replaced-- no way. Look here to see my efforts and look at the timing belt after 41k miles (you can click on a pic to see it fullsize):

    it's in reverse chronological order, sorry. but yes, I've no idea what Subaru's hang up is but I would agree, the front crankshaft oil seal and the cam seals fail often on any EJ series motor at least through 1999 or so.


  • cliffy1cliffy1 Posts: 3,581
    While I am not a mechanic, nor a Subaru expert, I would assume that you are replacing the timing belt only because the front of the engine will already be open. The cost of the belt should be pretty low and since the labor is already being done for the other issues, you might as well replace it.
  • locke2clocke2c Posts: 5,038
    I doubt the timing belt is that cheap. If it were $50 and the existing one was in perfect condition doesn't that seem wasteful to you?

    I mean $50 versus the whole cost of the repairs he is faced with, no that's not a huge deal. But if you have the choice between $50 in your wallet and not, what would you pick?

  • ffsteveffsteve Posts: 243
    My $.02 worth.

    Well, if I had 40k on a 90k timing belt, I would replace it. Sure it still has life on it, but I could push out the replacement expense a couple of years farther down the road - assuming that nothing else requires disassembly again.

    But mrdetailer mentions this will be the third belt in 40k miles. If that's not a typo, he might only have 5k to 10k on the belt and the decision become a little more difficult. (And why have they been replaced so often?).

  • cptpltcptplt Posts: 1,075
    the material the oil seals gaskets are made of in the Sube engines was made of something which they found deteriorated with age and cuased leaks - they changed the material a few years ago - the new ones are a different color from the old ones. so any seal prior to this new one has this potential leak problem. My 92 had one replaced 3-4 years ago but before the new material and another but different one has just started to leak, the replaced one may be a problem eventually if I keep it long enough. it is a pain in the you know where.
    actually I think I will stop checking my oil, when this car dies I can get my WRX :-)!
  • subiemansubieman Posts: 10
    For all the critics of the belly pan, I've just had some real life usage of it. With my 2000 Subaru Forester (with brush guard) I crashed into a rock ledge at about 10 mph today.

    The brush guard was bowed inwards, belly pan torn, but engine and oil filter well protected. Only worry is the exhaust manifold pipe has a slight dent in it, at the area right after the belly pan (before the cat. converter). But I must say, even though the belly pan is plastic, it saved my engine.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    In the case above with 1/2 the life of the TB gone, I'd spring for the $50 for belt while the case is open. Just my 2 cents.

  • locke2clocke2c Posts: 5,038
    we're kicking a dead horse here, but the timing belt gets inspected at 30k and 60k miles, replacement at 90k.

    he said, erroneously or not, that it was his 3rd belt in 40k miles.

    that statement lead me to believe that replacement this time was frivilous. that's my last comment on it though.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Good to hear, Subieman. I'm sure mine helped keep the engine relatively dry in that water crossing I did at the Pine Barrens. :-)

    I'd still like to see an aluminum skid plate as a factory option.

  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 11,041
    I know you've got your own chat, but it looks like this Wednesday we'll have some participants from the Maintenance & Repair boards who are technicians.


    Our topic for Wednesday, March 13: Stump the Technicians!
    Join us with your maintenance & repair questions this Wednesday from 5-7pm PT/8-10pm ET.

    Roving Host


    Need help navigating? - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

    Share your vehicle reviews

  • outback165outback165 Posts: 108
    Internet connection has been down for a week - I think I need to take the day off today just to catch up on email and boards like this! But I've got chores, and for one of them, I need your help:

    Our other car is a 95 Taurus with 87K miles. Nice car in great shape. Just took it in for LOF and rotate and balance. They called back to say the car needs a complete rear brake job: calipers, rotors, pads, and bleed the system. $430 + tax. Sound about right? I went through my paper work and it doesn't look as though I've done any rear brake work on the car. Is that possible??? I called a local Ford dealership and he quoted me $600 + tax, but questioned whether the car would really need calipers.

    Anybody's opinion would be VERY MUCH appreciated. Look forward to catching up on the boards this afternoon.

    Thank you.

  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    I believe they are rear drums on the tarus. My dad went over 100K miles with his Acclaim before replacing the rear brakes.

  • locke2clocke2c Posts: 5,038

    as paisan says, first I'd be curious to know if you really have rear discs or not. if not, that sounds pretty high since your drums are probably fine and just need new shoes.

    if you do have rear discs, then I would advise you NOT to replace the calipers if that's what they were recommending. there should be no reason for that at 87k, cleaning and reassembling the caliper should be perfectly fine. I bet the rotors don't need replacement either, probably just turned LIGHTLY on the lathe to properly use the new pads.

    in short, I wouldn't pay that $400 and the ford dealer is truly nuts asking $600.

  • locke2clocke2c Posts: 5,038
    peter, stop hitting refresh in your browser window. you're reposting the same message over and over.

  • armac13armac13 Posts: 1,129
    has rear disc's.

  • subaru_teamsubaru_team Posts: 1,676
    Colin and the other folks would probably be best to respond to this, but I'd find it pretty questionable that BOTH calipers need to be replaced at the same time.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I'm not sure if I've ever heard of anyone needing new caliperes. Discs sure, but calipers?

    My rental Taurus in Florida had rear discs. You can check - peek through the rims - are the rear breaks a shiny thin disc, or is it a painted encased drum?


    PS You can delete duplicate posts by just hitting the delete button next to them
  • green_obgreen_ob Posts: 10
    I have a new 02 Outback (base, auto) and have just put on about 1k miles. The manual said not to drive at one speed for too long. How long is 'too long' ? I have a one-way drive to work of about 35 highway miles-about 65 mph a little under 3000rpm. That takes about 35 min. Is that 'too long' ?

    Also, do I really need to change the oil at 1000 miles ?

  • outback165outback165 Posts: 108
    Sorry guys about the duplicate messages- I've been out running errands and just got back to check the board. I did leave the Edmunds window open, I wonder whether somehow the computer refreshes itself. Anyhow, sorry and I think I got all the dupes out. Also, THANKS for the advice. Unfortunately they started on the job, but I'll get the facts and post them later.
    Also, my 01 OB started knocking this weekend. Bad tank of gas maybe? Should I put in a tank of 93?

    Thanks all.

    Chris - I think the idea is not to set the cruise control at 65 for a cross country drive, but to let your foot fluctuate the speed. Anyhow, I don't think 35 miles is that long, but let your foot fluctuate the speed between, say, 60 and 70 for the 35 miles.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Just take is easy for 1000 miles, try not to exceed 4000rpm and vary the revs (don't use cruise). I changed my oil at 1k miles, but Subaru actually says to do it at 3k. Oops.

    Pete: I wouldn't change the octane until I tried at least another tank or so.

  • outback165outback165 Posts: 108
    I think I will be a mechanic - either that, or not car crazy! Anyhow, just got back from the mechanic. The deal with the brakes is that apparantly one caliper froze up. As a result, the rotor warped from heat stress. He actually showed me the parts (not that I knew what I was looking at but he did the best he could to explain to me the way the brakes work and what happened.) What he explained is that he can't just replace one side, he has to do both. So the total "Brake Overhaul Rear Hydraulic Disc Brake Service" cost $390 which included rotars, pads, calipers, and bleeding the brake system. Comes with a 3 year 36K miles warranty on parts at all Tires Plus locations. The two Ford dealers I called wanted between $500 and $600 for supposedly the same work. Oh well, it's done. The car stops, so I guess all's good. Maybe we're done now with brakes for a couple of years! Thanks everyone for your input!

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    The last guy that worked on your brakes probably didn't put the anti-sieze grease on the pistons.

  • dmanzidmanzi Posts: 12
    OK, The Outback is fixed, and running fine, once again. But here's the question: Since the cause of failure for the head gaskets and heater coil *may* have been a corrosive in the coolant (I'm merely guessing), what else could be affected by it? I'm asking to I can watch those parts more closely and not get stuck with another breakdown. I can guess the radiator, engine block, hoses, water pump, and heater coil, but what else does the coolant touch?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Was the cooling system already flushed? And I mean with forced water, 'til it was clear?

    I would inspect the insides of the rubber hoses, to see if there is any sign of corrosion. This would be easy if you're also doing the flushing at the same time.

    The hoses should be smooth inside. Any gritty texture, cracking, or too-soft surfaces would be a red flag.

  • francophilefrancophile Posts: 667
    ...have you figured out yet that the brake job was on a Taurus with discs on the rear yet?


    Given the mileage and the fact that one caliper had siezed AND there were going to be two new rotors installed, adding the second caliper isn't really all that crazy sounding to me. (I do wonder though if anyone actually rebuilds them anymore, or if they just replace them.)

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