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Subaru Crew Problems & Solutions



  • bluesubiebluesubie Posts: 3,497
    I praise Flemington so much I guess it was inevitable it would come around and bite me in the rear. :-)
    About 3K miles after the 60K svc. on my wife's OB, she complained her car was smoking after driving 20 miles to work. I poked around and put it up on ramps and discovered ATF all over the exhaust (everything past the trans. pan). I thought maybe it was spilled from the service and still burning off, so I just wiped it up.

    A few days later my wife said the car was still smoking. I decided to check if the bolts were tighten and started to turn one with gentle pressure. It only loosened so I thought I was going the wrong way. Went the opposite way and the bolt just broke in half. I discovered a few other bolts were not tight enough either. I'm taking the car back this Saturday to have them check it out.

    Anyone have an idea how long a tranny pan reseal will take? I haven't called them back with my latest discovery and just curious if it can be done within the four hours the car will be there Saturday. I'm guessing a couple of hours since the exact problem is obvious.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    The bolt broke? Wow, aren't those beefy 17mm plugs?

  • What bolts are you specifically referring to? I'm assuming tranny pan bolts but you don't make this clear. The tranny pan should take the same as a normal tranny service as to do it correctly they should remove the pan, renew the gasket or the sealant, and put it back up. I'd want them to use all new bolts and explain how someone applied enough torque to a bolt that screws into an aluminum part to nearly shear it off.

    If they're not going to do this, then they'll be doing nothing you couldn't do at home in 10 minutes - merely going from bolt to bolt tightening them up and replacing one....

    Also, be sure you've got enough fluid in the tranny to drive it. If you arrive there with it low, they'll note "customer drove vehicle with underfilled tranny knowing he had a leak" and any tranny issues in the future will be all yours. Be sure you tell them you checked the level or filled it or they'll simply assume it was low and note this without ever showing you the note.

  • bluesubiebluesubie Posts: 3,497
    I was yapping too much and left out facts.

    Yes, it was a bolt that actually fastens the pan to the car (not the drain bolt). There are about a dozen or more that hold the pan on.
    I had tranny service done at the 60K and I can see the sealant is new.
    I'm not sure if was over-torqued or it was just old and rusty and snapped. I'll have a closer look at it.

    Btw, I did add a couple of quarts of ATF as a precaution. Thanks for the tips!

  • mrdetailermrdetailer Posts: 1,118
    It's always been immediate, and I do a drain, refill, filter and new seal every other year with a specialty shop. Never had a bolt break either.
  • The purpose fo the dual stage booster is to allow a consistant pedal pressure on the brake; no matter how hard you press on the brake, the pressure remains the same. For more performance oriented driving (where control of the brake is important), people switch a single stage booster into the car. I drove one and you can really feel the difference.

    As for my own gripes, I wish the cars had thicker paint, 205-50-16 tires instead of 55, and that there had been a WRX in the previous body style (yes, I own a 2000 2.5RS) since the rest of the world had one.

    On the other hand, the new Impreza front end (at the Paris show today) end looks much nicer to me, and it will get to the US eventually. Who knows, by then we may even have an STI available.
  • Nice juice. Been watching things develop on rexilla.

    So 2 questions:

    1. Any pictures of the revised wagon?

    2. When does it get to the US!?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Check out the WRX topics, I did see the wagon. The front looked the same, minus the fender flares, but the rear is different. There is a subtle round light that protrudes beyond the bottom of the taillight. On the sedan it's subtle, on the wagon it's more visible.

  • jfljfl Posts: 1,385
    That bolt is not in a high stress location. It could've easily (and safely) been installed with a nut driver. I wouldn't expect the threads to be rusty, at most the bolt head might rust and I think even that's unlikely.

    Someone must have used an awfully big wrench to break it.

  • When I went to remove the drain plug for my 99 OB Auto trans, I noticed there is an oil filter directly above the drain plug.

    This "oil filter" as it reads on the side is not located in any of my repair manuals. What is it for? Should it be changed?


  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I heard that automatics had them. IIRC they are sort of pricey.

  • David,

    Have you had this since new? A previous owner may have added an external filter if it's not stock. Is there a brand name or part number on it? Does is screw directly into the tranny or is it attached with rubber hoses? Got my curiousity aroused.

  • So aroused that I went out and crawled under my '97 after lifting it a bit with the floor jack. I believe my drivetrain (also auto) is identical to yours and if so there is not only no filter there, but also no physical room for anything larger than a film canister. The driver's footwell protrudes right up against the wall of the transmission housing above the transmission drain plug.

    Are you sure you're not referring to the oil pan drain plug? Hanging "above" it in plain sight is, of course, the engine oil filter. If the 2.5/Outback auto tranny is different than mine, then I'm still curious what it is on yours.


  • I found a page with a photo of the filter. It is a tranny filter, but no local parts dealer have a cross reference to it. Guess I'll have to call the closest Subaru parts house. I also change the oil frequently so I'm positive it isn't the crank case filter or any drain plug.

    Anyway, here is the URL containing a photo of the filter.

    Thanks for your input Juice and IdahoDoug



  • I had the steering rack replaced on my 97 Impreza and when I got it back from the shop the airbag light was on and the cruise control, horn, and hazard lights no longer worked.

    It seems like they just forgot to plug something back in.

    Could it be that simple? If it is, is it something I can do myself without the hassle of bringing it back?
  • I see the picture of the filter on the front of the engine, but you reported it as above the transmission drain plug 3 feet farther back on your vehicle. Is that where you see it on your vehicle (front of engine), or are we talking about something completely different here?

  • I'd check the fuse box first. If you find blown fuses, be a little assertive in asking exactly why somebody accidentally started a major disassembly without disconnecting the battery. Then be a little pissed that they caused an electrical arc that blew a bunch of fuses and did other unknown things.

    I'd replace the fuses myself to see if the lights all go off and that everything works correctly. If the Airbag light stays on with new fuses, then they've damaged the airbag computer. This way, if they tell you after their second try "We just replaced a couple fuses and everything's fine" and you find the airbag light is not on, you would be suspicous that they'd done something else to turn off the airbag light without fessing up, since you also did that with different results. I've heard horror stories about mechanics (not Sube mechs) removing the airbag bulbs from the warning light to "fix" this issue.

  • Ooooops! I did not inspect the pic at the URL I put on my last posting. You are correct IdahoDoug, this is not close to where I stated.

    I just checked once again to give a better indication of its location. From under the car, the filter is about five inches from the tranny drain plug towards the front of the car and two inches up from there. It is also veiwable if you look from above directly below the fire wall, behind and below the starter, just forward of where the tranny dipe stick exits the tranny.

    Definitly not after market stuff.

    Next week, when I have the time, I'll remove it and check the numbers on it and see if it has a cross reference with Fram etc. I'll let you know my findings at that time. If you are still interested.

    Thanks again!!

  • At least some models of Subaru's definately have external filters. I have a 2001 VDC which has a filter can attached to the right side of the transmission. Owners manual states that they only need to be replaced if damaged. My dealer however chose to replace mine during the 30,000 mile service. If I remember correctly the price for the filter was around $40. Apparently these transmissions no longer have a filter in the transmission pan like some others do.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    They went to external filters in ~93 after the first round of SVXs had problems with filings messing up their trannies.

    Apparently metal filings would clog up the cooling lines of the AT and then would cause the AT to overheat thus rendering your AT useless.

    On the SVX the filter is located under the battery box. I'm in the process of replacing it with an aftermarket filter so that I can get std. filters and have more filtration.

  • bluesubiebluesubie Posts: 3,497
    I'll try to make this somewhat short. :-)
    Went to the dealer today with my broken tranny pan bolt.
    While the car was on the lift, on of the techs nearby (he wasn't working on my car) asked if I had just taken it to an independent shop. I said the last place that worked on this car was you guys 3k miles ago.

    A little while later, the service advisor proceeded to ask the same question. Before he finished his sentence I said, "Absolutely not".
    He told me the filter itself was damaged like someone was trying to remove it. As for the bolt, he said that when they do the tranny service, they simply drain and fill the tranny fluid. They don't drop the pan and reseal it. If there aren't any leaks, a tech wouldn't notice a bad bolt (there wasn't any rust on it either).

    Then I remembered prior tranny filter problems and told him. At 30k, my wife had to get towed to our previous dealer because of a tranny leak (car now has 63K). They accused ME of trying to remove the filter and I said no way (they knew I did the 3K oil changes). The only time a non Subaru shop did anything to the car (other than tires) was Wal-Mart at 9,470 miles (possible place of damage ??).
    The advisor said, "And nothing was done elsewhere after the 30K service at the other dealer"? I said no.
    The advisor will speak to the service manager Monday to figure out if I should be charged for the filter. I thought that was pretty nice, instead of just charging me straight away. Now I'm wondering if the previous dealer actually changed the filter. I still have the receipt for that one. The service manager and advisor were replaced at that dealership.

    Back to the bolt. He said it wasn't leaking and to repair it would require another day. They would have to drop the pan and tap out the bolt.

    Oh and just before this, the advisor was talking to a tech and I heard "bad head gasket". They told me it wasn't mine. I asked if it was a 99 or 98 Legacy and it was a 98 (gee, I must be psychic :) ). It told the tech I'm nervous about it happening to my wife's car and he didn't say anything. I wanted to tell the lady to open a case and check Edmunds, but I forgot. :-(

    Sorry for the length and thanks to everyone for your input. Anymore comments or theories are welcome. :-)

  • I have a 2001 Subaru outback wagon and have brought it to the dealer many times because of a vibration I feel in the steering wheel, sometimes upon braking and at about 65-70 mph. They said the braking was due to a bad rotor, & replaced that but the speed vibration remained. then they balanced the tires several times and it would last for a few weeks to months,then return . This last time the service fellow said it needed new tires( I have 18,800 miles on the car), it was the fault of the tires & therefore not under warranty. So I got new tires, had the front & rear end aligned, and it now still has the vibration, both upon braking and at speed. I live 2 hrs from the dealer, have found no service bulletins in my search. Can anybody help?? Joayn
  • I suggest u take a longer trip to another dealer. Or call SOA to find out the reason. You had better fix that early because it is your last year's warranty. Good luck.
  • I own a 2001 Outback VDC and I find myself taking frequent, and sometimes un-neccessary, use of the power available in this fantastic engine just for the heck of it. My primary concern is whether or not this engine has a RPM limiter or "cut out" before reaching the red line? I'd appreciate any info on this question. Also...does it hurt to take it to the red line on occasions as long as I don't hold it there? Thanks, Don-Pa.
  • Don,

    I haven't driven a car in recent memory without an electronic rev limiter, so I'd say you have one on it. Personally, I'd drive it for 10 minutes or more to warm it up, then put it in 1st and see if the engine cuts out at the RPM limit, but I'm not recommending you do this.

    It does not hurt the engine to hit red line once in a while, but this will increase wear obviously and shorten component life. I don't know if this is true about Subaru, but many vehicles store things like # times the rev limiter cuts in, max RPM, and other variables to alert them to customer abuse.

    I once drove a new Porsche 944 Turbo to the vehicle crusher when I worked for GM and assuaged my curiousity about red line operation as I drove this magnificent car to her death. It was about a 15 minute trip on the freeway, and I put it in 1st gear (manual) and simply drove it bouncing off the rev limiter the entire way - something like 60mph as I recall. The temp gauge went up a bit, the oil pressure dropped a bit and that was the extent of it for the entire abuse session. Your mileage may vary.

  • mrk610mrk610 Posts: 378
    I have a my02 outback with auto tranny. Mine also has the canister like filter on the transmission case. I asked the tech at my dealer and he said the is extends the life of the tranny to have an externial filter.He said the way the filter is sitting on the side of the case it acually not only filters the fliud but at highway speeds it acts kinda like a cooler too. Paisan you were right they started because of the tranny problems with the svx .

    mike k
  • For those of you putting off the 30k brake bleed, here's what I found on my '97 with 27,000 on the clock today. There were grey green deposits like small drifts in the corner of the reservoir when I drained it. The fluid also came out dark amber at each caliper before changing to a light amber and finally the clear of my fresh synthetic fluid. Calipers are where the fluid is routinely heat cycled and the fluid takes the most abuse.

    So, don't put it off. A brake bleed is cheap (fluid cost me $7) but replacing a corroded ABS controller (brake fluid absorbs water over time) or caliper costs hundreds. Took me 20 minutes with my wife pushing the brake pedal as I needed it.

  • hypovhypov Posts: 3,068
    bluesubie Sep 28, 2002 11:59am

    I'm kinda late on this but, I thought the tranny filters for the MY99s were in the tranny pan like my '98 OB. It was only MY00 on the filters are external.

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