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Subaru Crew Problems & Solutions



  • sten2sten2 Posts: 31
    To clarify my post above: I have a Legacy L wagon, 2000. The place where air is flowing through without being filtered is the area just behind the access panel and resistor (where the wire harness is connected.) It is the area below the upper filter and in-between the lower filter and the access panel.

    Does anyone have any plastic pieces on the sides of this area to stop airflow?

    The area is about 3" long and 4 1/4" high, or about 13 sq inches. The filters are about 50 sq. inches together. So about 21% of the air duct's area is unfiltered. And of course the air would rather flow through an unobstructed path.

  • kenskens Posts: 5,869
    Jim, Joe:

    I believe some shops out there have misinformation. All Subarus with the 2.5L SOHC Phase II engine use regular spark-plugs (non Platinum) that require 30K change intervals. The 2000+ Legacys all come with this engine.

    Platinum plugs were used in the previous 2.5L DOHC Phase I engine because the layout of this model made it difficult to remove the plugs. The 60K change interval associated with platinum plugs helped to reduce the amount of maintenance labor.

    You can use platinum plugs in your SOHC engine without any problems. In fact, many performance-oriented Impreza 2.5RS owners with the Phase II engine have found a marginal increase in engine performance by making the switch.

  • jfljfl Posts: 1,385
    Ken - Finally, I hear an answer that makes sense. Seeing the cost difference between copper and platinum-tipped, I can do two or three changes w/ copper plugs for one platinum change. I'll stick w/copper.

    Some time ago I told the story of my VW GTI. Factory specified Bosch silver plugs. Paid a fortune for 4 plugs and when I changed then, the OE was plain ol' Champions. 8~O

  • oclvframeoclvframe Posts: 121
    First about the plugs:
    I believe that starting in '01, with the advent of the new H-6 engines, the platinum plugs were OEM on the H-6s since they will be incredibly hard to replace (very little space between the fender well and the heads.

    Now about the cabin air filters:
    I have 01 Bean. When I first replaced the filters (which come stock on this model) I was very annoyed to find one of the filters' media was pulled aside where it had 'snagged' as it was being installed. I was even more annoyed when I saw that there was a huge gap behind the smaller (or lower) of the two filters. This is a horrendous design based on what these filters are supposed to accomplish. First of all, if 90% filtration is what they are trying to accomplish, then both the filter media and the filters should be sealed all the way around (no way for air to bypass). Unfortunately, due to poor design, there is lots of bypass around both the filter housing on the lower side and between the filter media and its housing. Done correctly, the filters would slide into a custom rack that has foam or rubber gasketing all around it and the filter media would be glued all the way around to the frame it sits in. As it is designed, the filtration is better than nothing, but as compared to what it should be, it is pathetic and not worth the premium they charge for these filters.

    Sorry but I had to vent (again....I vented just after replacing the filters the first time!)

  • tomd17tomd17 Posts: 2
    I have a 2001 Forester question. Is there a special method for removing spark plug boots and spark plugs?
  • kenskens Posts: 5,869

    Your question should probably go under the Maintenance and Repair topic, but check this link out:


  • Thanks Ken. Superb link!

  • I purchased a 2000 Forester L new. After 5 months it started having hesitation/idling problems when the vehicle would slow down during a stop. While idling at a light the engine runs rough and causes the car to vibrate. While trying to accelerate from a stop, the car will not move (the engine seems to be stalling),or if it starts to move, it hesitates and then accelerates very slowly. This has almost caused me to be rear ended several times. I took the car to the dealer. They insisted there was no problem because the check-engine light did not come on. After 2 months of this problem and several trips to the dealer, the check-engine light came on. The dealer decided to replace the oxygen a/f sensor. This seemed to take of the hesitation, but the car never has had the same power that it orginally had. Let me state that the hesitation problem was intermittent but there was no pattern as to when the problem would occur.
    This week the check engine light came on again. The car is hesitating/stalling. The dealer insists that it is a fuel problem. The dealer called Subaru tech support who said to replace the oxygen a/f sensor again. This is my third a/f sensor and the car is still not right. Who do I contact at Subaru to get this problem resolved. As stated earlier, this problem has almost caused me to be in several accidents. I am quite frustrated that the dealer has such a indifferent attitude about my safety. They almost seem like they do not want to take care of the issue because the vehicle is still under factory warranty. Please help.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    In these repeated failure cases with the bearings, it must be the housing Patti mentioned. I'd bring that up with the dealer to make sure that also gets replaced, then.

    Carl: check out and read about the SPG mod (single-point ground). It's someething even a novice can do and it tends to resolve problems like yours. Good luck.

  • dudedude Posts: 123
    Well I got my first breakage on my 98 GT Wagon. Sunroof stopped operating. I was opening it one day and heard some noise. Couldn't close it with the motor until I manualy did it. Now it's totally stuck. I took it to the dealer and I told them that the warranty does cover the motor and the switch but they said that there's nothing wrong with the motor but everything else needs replacement. THey said something to the point of $1800 for the whole thing which is ridiculous. Anyway, anybody else had this problem and what's my best solution on fixing it? THanks a bunch.
  • dry_flydry_fly Posts: 12

    If I understand correctly the things people have said, I need the following for the 30K checkup:
    replace spark plugs, bleed and replace brake fluid, check brakes, replace fuel filters, drain and replace antifreeze, replace air filter, and replace PCV (I have no idea what this is) thing.
    Are there any more procedures I need to take into account.


  • kenskens Posts: 5,869
    dude: What did the dealer say needed replacement? You might want to find a local mechanic that might be able to do it for less.

    Don: The list you mention sounds about right but check your owner's manual -- that will give you a minimum list of things to check at 30K for your particular vehicle. Most dealers will often add on top of that for extra business. You should be able to negotiate what you want.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    dude: that pricing sounds absurd. I had a complete aftermarket moonroof installed from scratch for $895. Call 800-SUBARU3 and ask the rep for some help.

    Don: change the wiper blades while you're at it, and lube the sway bar bushings (the rubber things that hold them in place). I'll assume you already did a tire rotation and an oil/filter change.

  • dudedude Posts: 123
    Just hung up from talking to subaru. They said that the only way for the dealer to find out what's wrong is to tear it apart which would be an hour or so -- which is out of my pocket. If the damage was caused by motor, they would replace the whole thing for free -deductible, if not, then I'm SOL
  • outback_97outback_97 Posts: 130
    89 GL was failing NOx emissions, badly. Here's why, if anyone is interested:

    The EGR valve was good, but the hose to actuate it was clogged, so it was gerring no vacuum to open up and do it's job. After replacing the hose, NOx levels went from 4000 to less than 400.

    What was the hose clogged with? A 1/4" ball bearing intentionally put there by someone. Weird. Presumably they hoped to increase power by doing this, or maybe they just wanted more smog in the air. Or, a dishonest mechanic put it there to get some repair business? I'm just glad we figured it out and now it passes w/ flying colors.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Bizarre. I guess you bought it used? Shame on the seller if they knew about it.

    dude: your call, then. You could go to an outside shop, but then you'd pay even if it was the motor. Maybe they'd agree to do an assessment for a pre-determined amount.

  • dudedude Posts: 123
    Yup, bought it used. Previous owner did have classic plan on it though. He bought the warranty for 2 grand and it was the only subaru warranty available.

    I just talked to another subaru dealer they said that they'd diagnose it for no more than $75 bucks, so I'll probably do that.
  • locke2clocke2c Posts: 5,038
    I'm sure it was a "performance" thing, desiring to keep those nasty hot exhaust gasses out of the intake stream.

    EGR when equipped wasn't even used at wide-open throttle, so I'm not sure what someone was thinking.

  • jmulholljmulholl Posts: 29
    Thanks for the feedback. Here's what appened after my last post.
    I took it to Kimmel, who said he would put in platinum plugs for $60. But after he had the car, he called to say that it would be $90, because the subaru motor I had was "more complicated" than the one his estimate was based on. I sighed and said to go ahead.

    But he called back an hour later saying that the spark plug wire had to be replaced ($125)because he couldn't get to the plugs without breaking the wires(the wire cap was frozen onto the plug).

    This was too much and I told him to forget it. I took it to my regular mechanic (felt bad for not going to him in the first place). He had no trouble replacing the plugs, and charged me $65. He also replaced the fuel filter for $45, which seemed very reasonable.
    My Kimmel experience fits with dealings I've had with other chain tire and brake shops. They tease you with cheap deals, but then manage to add on extra charges. This is not to say that "you always get what you pay for," because my experience with dealer service shops is almost uniformly terrible.
  • outback_97outback_97 Posts: 130
    89 GL was bought used from a dealer, a trade in that wasn't detailed or prepped. It's been a great little car for around town. Interesting note on emissions tests (at least as they're done in Salt Lake City): If it's all time AWD, they can't dyno it and don't check for NOx. This is how the car was tested (incorrectly) last year, and it passed. This year, it was tested in FWD (it's selectable in this car) and was dyno'd and failed. Probably the EGR disabling was a misguided attempt at coaxing tire shredding raw power out of the mighty 1.8l. Didn't work.

    Dealer experiences: mostly bad. If you show mine exactly what needs to be done, ok. When it comes to diagnosis, forget it. Couldn't diagnose a flat tire. Why do I tolerate it? Service contract hasn't expired yet, and unless I want to pay for stuff that's covered, I must rely on them. 30k / 60k / etc. service: overpriced at dealer, in my opinion. Another dealer quoted me $58 (part only!) for the little hose going to the EGR, from the solenoid, that was blocked on the aforementioned GL. Laughed so hard I dropped the phone. They also wanted $80 to "diagnose" it. No air moving thru a hose = pretty obvious problem. Subaru makes good cars, but has some poor dealers, in my opinion.
  • jfljfl Posts: 1,385
    Thanks for the update. May I ask what year your Legacy is and were the OE plugs platinum?

    BTW I saw on your profile you're shopping for a FIAT? In a past life I had a '71 124 Spider modified to the European version with dual IDF Weber carbs. A really fun car.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    dude: sounds fair, keep us posted?

    Joe: how'd you drive it with a broken spark plug wire? Firing on 3 cylinders?

  • locke2clocke2c Posts: 5,038

    I'd inferred that he didn't drive on 3 cylinders because the servicer was actually lying and there was nothing wrong with the car. They were shamelessly attempting to bilk him out of money.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Tsk, tsk. JD Power still puts Subaru dealers below average, though as they say YMMV. We have about 7 in this area so we're lucky to have choices.

  • stevekstevek Posts: 362
    That maybe a bit high, the filter cost about $20 and you can do it in less than 5 minutes, don't even has to bend over it is right on top of the strutt tower on the driver's side. The only tool you need is a screwdriver.
    On the other hand the plugs were cheap since pulling those wires is a b...tch and you need some special tools (swiwel and long attachements) to reach it.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    $20 for the part and $25 to install it isn't that bad. I mean when labor is $50-$75/hr that's about right.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    It's just 3 bolts if you want to DIY. You can see the two at the top, then there's one more that secures the filter in place. Use a clamp to pinch the fuel lines so they don't leak, and remove the gas cap to de-pressurize the fuel system.

  • kenskens Posts: 5,869

    Sounds like your dealer was up to something. I thought it was fishy that they couldn't correctly identify your engine to begin with. Glad you had your plugs replaced for a good deal.

  • lucien2lucien2 Posts: 2,984
    My keyless entry fob for the GT is a POS. The Outback responds from much longer distances than the GT does. So I wonder if I can get a new one somehow. Anyone know about this? Like what if your original got crushed or stolen?

    (um, WebX blows today BTW.)
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