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Subaru Crew Problems & Solutions



  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    It looks like it's deteriorated quite a bit, but also it may have taken some extra stress from the bad strut. Likely both.

  • bluesubiebluesubie Posts: 3,497
    Whatever you do, don't go to Meineke.
    I went there because I waited around too long and the brakes were nearly metal to metal. The dealer couldn't squeeze me in for two weeks and I was paranoid.

    I got the lifetime pads and they were noisy as heck. A couple months after their warranty expired, my rotors became warped.

    An odd thing with my brakes was the pads wore very unevenly. The left pad was still 50% there, and the right one was nearly gone. Some speculated here, IIRC, that there could have been dirt or something stuck in a caliper.

  • stevekstevek Posts: 362
    I have 55K on my '01 Legacy GT and the brakes are just fine, maybe half way worn, front pads should last at least 30K IMHO.
    Someone asked me in an e-mail (I lost it) how much the Magnacore wires cost for my GT: it was $105.00, the car runs better and get 2 more MPG, up to 29 in combined driving. For some reason it runs much better then the original wires, maybe they were arching?
  • locke2clocke2c Posts: 5,038
    brakes are easy to keep in good shape, with a little TLC.

    changing the pad is quite easy, you remove one bolt holding the caliper halves together and swing it like a door away from the rotor. spray the piston liberally with Brake-Kleen (or other cleaner) and push the piston in by hand. if the piston moves anything less than smoothly, consider a more thorough cleaning with disassembly OR having your brakes checked at the next service.

    remove old pad. insert new pad. push in piston by hand and close caliper. replace bolt and torque appropriately (not sure what that is anymore!).

    easy-peasy. btw Caroline, 8k miles for a set of pads does sound pretty quick! you're really enjoying that OBS aren't you? :-D

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Your old wires must've been letting some sparks leak.

  • dan_s1dan_s1 Posts: 8
    Hello All,
    I have a 2001 H6 Outback and have noticed some that over time I loose a little coolant. I asked my dealer to top off it off during my 15,000 service and he said that would cost me $. I said I would do it myself. (though I really think that should be under warrenty work)

    What coolant should I buy? I hear that it is important not to mix different brands.

    Thanks, Dan
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    You should not mix different types, actually.

    You can use the regular green stuff, i.e. Prestone or Peak, just mix it 50/50 with water.

  • First, as a newbie I apologize for treading on such a well-worn topic. I did some searches on this topic in this discussion, but didn't find anything that was quite on point. So, anyway, here's my question...

    I am using Mobil 1 5W-30 in my 2002 WRX wagon. I drive about 30% highway, 70% "city". Most of the time, I drive fairly sanely, though a WRX does demand that you hammer it every once in a while... ;-). Based on those facts and the owner's manual, it appears that Subaru recommends that the oil be changed every 3,750 miles (half of the regular 7,500 mile interval because of "severe conditions").

    However, when I took the car to the dealer today for the change after 3,750 miles had passed, the service manager advised me only to change the oil every 7,500 miles, regardless of the driving conditions, "because it was synthetic oil." Anything more often than that, he said, was "throwing your money away." Of course, it's not his car.

    The Mobil 1 web site says this, which I found unhelpful: "While Mobil 1 has given excellent results in extended oil drain tests, ExxonMobil prefers to remain conservative with oil drain recommendations. ExxonMobil engineers recommend that you can go all the way to the maximum mileage or time frame shown in your owner's manual for oil changes when using Mobil 1 with SuperSyn™. This allows the reserve protection capabilities of Mobil 1 with SuperSyn™ to cover unusual or unexpected driving conditions.

    "Oil change intervals can be as short as 3,000 miles or as long as 15,000 miles on some new cars. Mobil 1 with SuperSyn™'s high-performance reserves can give you the confidence to go the full mileage or time frame recommended by the vehicle manufacturer. Mobil 1 with SuperSyn™ is especially suitable for the latest vehicles with extended drain intervals or vehicles with oil monitoring systems that vary oil drain intervals."

    Anyway, what are everyone's thoughts on this topic? Should I stick to 3,750 mile intervals with the Mobil 1, or would it be wiser to extend them further out?
  • jfljfl Posts: 1,385
    That is an upright service manager! Some people do oil changes at 3000 mi with dino oil. If you're paying extra for synthetic, what's the benefit if you can't extend the oil change at least to the factory recommended interval?

    I'd follow the service manager's advice. If anything happens to your engine, I'd bet that changing oil at 3,750 mi intervals would NOT have prevented it. My $0.02.

    FWIW - I use dino oil and change at 7500 mi intervals. Zero problems @ 53k miles.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    You'll be more than safe with a 7500 mile interval, IMO. Synthetic won't sludge up.

    Heck, I used dino oil with those intervals for a long time and never had problems with my Subie, and with excellent gas mileage to boot.

    Besides, 3750 intervals requires some really odd arithmetic. Does 26,350 miles ring a bell, i.e. remind you to change your oil when you hit that mileage?

    I'd go with a round number, 3000, 5000, or 7500.

  • It's time for a 60K service and I need some advice. I have a 1998 Sub Legacy that I bought in October of 2001 with about 30K miles on it. Now I have 60K miles and I've experienced a huge range in fuel efficiency. It seems to be related to ambient temperature. In outdoor temperatures above 70 degrees F my gas mileage will be over 300 miles on an 11-gallon fillup (I am a slave to routine). Once it's below 70 degrees, the mileage drops to about 250 miles per fillup, even on long drives (VT to NJ) at highway speed.

    I buy Mobil or Shell gas because that's what's available. This is not a hard-starting car, it seems to warm up "normally", it seems not to make unusual noises, doesn't have clouds of blue or white smoke from the exhaust. I have a 20-minute stop-and-go daily commute, but I have a 65-mile highway drive (one way) to the country every weekend. And there are those occasional trips to NJ.

    Is this kind of mileage difference unusual? My dealer's service department is not filled with energetic, enthusiastic problem-solvers. I need to spell things out for them in grim detail.

    My son the Volvo mechanic said if this were a Volvo they'd check a temperature sensor. What should I tell the Subaru mechanics?

    Thanks for the help.

    Elizabeth near Burlington, VT
  • mrdetailermrdetailer Posts: 1,118
    But the only time I've seriously noticed it is late-fall to winter. Combustion is lower when heat is lower. Remember last summer when firefighters would pray for colder weather to keep flames down? Same thing happens with a vehicle.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Trivia tidbit for you: VT is the state in which Subaru has its highest market share. :-)

    What oil are you using? My guess is they put in 10w40. I would use a thinner oil, 10w30 or even 5w20, when it's really cold out.

    Another thing to consider is an engine block heater. You'd leave it plugged in so that it's already warm when you start it.

    At really cold temps, you'll get approximatley zero miles per gallon until the engine warms up. ;-)

  • In some states the gas itself is different in winter than in summer. More corn-brewed alcohol in the mix. So summer and winter gas mileage could be different because the gas itself is not the same. Or so someone told me.

  • I'll second what Steve said regarding "winter blend" (oxygenated) gas. The blends used here in the Midwest decrease my mpg in winter by 2-3 mpg.
  • mrdetailermrdetailer Posts: 1,118
    I try to drive out of area to at least get a blend in during the winter because it drops so low. Average regular fuel mileage 26-28. Average oxygenated 19-22.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Now that I think about it, my mileage drops by about 2mpg in the winter as well.

    Still, try the suggestions above, maybe change brands of gas and track your mileage to see what helps.

    Then share the results with us, of course! :-)

  • idahodougidahodoug Posts: 537
    The synthetic oil's base stock, additive packages and viscosity can handle the full length interval (7500), but you might consider the suspended particulate levels. These are a natural consequence of any engine operation, but increased with severe conditions (stop and go traffic, hot climate, cold climate, towing, mountain use, etc). The only way to control this is by improving filtration.

    I'm a synthetic junkie and have a few similar minded buddies. A few of them use incredibly long intervals by replacing the filter at 5000 miles and adding oil to replace that removed with the filter. You don't seem like the type to do this yourself since you have the dealer involved in your oil changes, but this would be the best of all worlds - top filtration and top oil.

    That service manager is a rare bird, indeed. Also, to the post above reporting 53k miles and no problems. Generally, oil neglect will surface later than this unless it's severe. I've personally seen cars run to 50,000 miles on the original crankcase of oil it left the factory with that only began showing symptoms in the mid 40k mile range. If you keep a car into the 150k mile range and beyond, that's when you'll see the benefits of a synthetic or early change oil strategy.
  • Thanks, all. Yes, VT has zillions of Subarus on the road. Not around Burlington, though - more in the central and Eastern part of the state where dirt roads and steep hills make AWD a blessing if not a necessity. Volvos, Saabs and Toyotas plus the domestic makers still abound in Burlington. There's one Subaru dealer here and no independent mechanics (that I've found) that work on Subes. Sigh.

    We also have oxygenated gas in the winter. I know I get lower gas mileage at temps below 40 (winter range temps). My question came from wondering why gas mileage changes at the 70-degree F outside temperature point, because I'm getting "winter" gas mileage most of spring and fall. Well, I shall try a little of everything and see if I get a different result. If I have any news to report (in the spring, I guess) I'll let you know.

  • fibber2fibber2 Mid Hudson Valley, NYPosts: 3,775
    I fell a few hundred posts behind on this and several other Subaru forums, and am fighting valiantly to catch up. I have an '02 OBW (2.5EJ series II single cam H4 w/automatic), so a few late observations, and my $.02 worth with this engine in mind:

    1) This automatic does have the external cartridge filter (looks like a spin-on engine oil filter).

    2) Radiator cap appears to be the highest point of the cooling system. I cannot find a bleed valve anywhere on the cooling system. I remember reading here and on i-club last year about the need to lift the front end to ensure air removal from the heater core and engine internal passages. Otherwise hot spots and blown head gaskets are a risk.

    Also, any clue (just curious) where the thermostat is? The upper radiator hose connects to a housing on the RHS head/block area, but the same casting seems to bridge over to the LHS head/block, all under the intact tract. Typical thermostat location would be here, but it looks impossible to get to....

    3) I have thought a lot about the 'single point ground' issue first raised on i-club, but have yet to get out the DVM and do some dynamic tests. I traced the battery-block-body wiring, and it certainly looks adequate and with sufficient number of points. I have some minor concern about the proper use of star washers and paint removal, though, so it is possible that some vehicles may respond differently under load (ground levels elevate unevenly). I do have some hesitation coming off the line, so I will let you all know if I find anything from my tests.

    4) The cold air intake plastic tract has three different boxes/protrusions hanging off of it - two on the fender, one just before the filter box. Interesting! People who study 'fluid mechanics' treat air much like liquids in their flow characteristics. Although compressible, they do have start/stop momentum, create standing waves, etc. These 'reservoirs' help to smooth turbulance created during rapid throttle changes, and can even help 'pack' air into the engine when needed for peak HP, or improved low end torque. I would not suggest removing them in an effort to gain power - some engineer spent late nights already trying to maximize flow for your driving enjoyment!

    5) I still hate the front differential dip stick location - nearly impossible to pull out amid the wires and hoses crossing over it along the firewall....

  • jfljfl Posts: 1,385
    Welcome back. Actually, you're lucky as the boards have not been that active recently.

    1) The 2000 Legacy/Outback Service manual (volume 1)states that the auto transmission filter is a zero maintenance part. It only needs to be replaced if damaged.

    2) No mention of bleeding the cooling system I'll re-read the section and see what else I can find out. I recall that it does mention warming-up the engine and adding more coolant after it cools. Think the thermostat replacement is in a different volume...which I didn't buy.

    5) I agree. That's the same location as the manual gearbox dipstick. The first time I looked, I didn't see anything yellow at all.

  • bluesubiebluesubie Posts: 3,497
    I don't know about the OB's, but Subaru/FHI has addressed the issue on the new Impreza's.

    I was shocked when I saw that the dipstick was in easy reach, above all of the wiring and hoses.

  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    For the fluid, my factory manual on the SVX says to run the car with the heat on for 5 min @ 3K RPMS, let it cool and top it off. The Thermostat on the SVX is also on the engine side of the lower rad. hose. The upper hose disappears under the intake manifold.

  • bsvollerbsvoller Posts: 528
    The EJ25 phase II thermostat is located on the engine side of the lower radiator hose.

    How do I know ? I replaced the thermostat housing cover on my '01 Forester MT when I installed the OEM engine oil cooler. The engine oil cooler is standard on Foresters with AT, but not on MT models. Not sure about the OBS.

    With the oil cooler, there's a hose coupling leading off of the thermostat housing cover that connects to a metal tube running across the front of the engine, parallel to the radiator. This is connected to a heat exchanger mounted between the block and the oil filter. The other side of the heat exchanger is connected to the engine block drain on the passenger side of the vehicle.

    You might want to see if you've got one of these. If not, it's a great mod for moderate dollars. I got mine from Teague's in NC. About 30-45 minutes for peace of mind, especially if you drive enthusiastically or tow. You don't even need to lift the vehicle (at least not on the Forester).

  • jfljfl Posts: 1,385
    The Service Manual is wrong, it's not 4.2 qts. The MT takes 3.7 qts of gear oil as the Owner's Manual states.

    Fortunately, pumping it out wasn't that hard.

  • hypovhypov Posts: 3,068
    Ok, since my OB is totalled, and I've still got a year and a half/34k miles left on it. Y'all think I could get a refund on it?

  • Hello, we bought a six cylinder Outback a few months ago and my husband has to add water to the car every time our daughter returns home from school. The dealer has checked it out, tested the cap? and says nothing is wrong. As winter is coming we are getting nervous, don't want her to get stranded on the side of the road somewhere, suggestions or information would be greatly apprecaited.
  • cptpltcptplt Posts: 1,075
    I think you can always get your money back if you haven't actually used it yet.
  • I have a 2002 Impreza Outback Sport. On a rainy day after I left work and had driven about6 miles I came to an intersection when the traffic light turned yellow. I applied the brakes normal not hard and the ABS went into action and locked. My speed was about 30 mph when approaching. The car lurched into the intersection in several separate jumps. I was afraid it wouldn't stop at all. I drive through that intersection all the time nothing ever happened before. The brakes reacted the same again after 56 more miles on the interstate and about 8 more miles in to town at another red light. This time I almost jumped into the car in front of me. I was on my way to the dealer for an oil change. When I described what happened he told me that's normal for ABS brakes. I hope that's not true. Any suggestions?
  • idahodougidahodoug Posts: 537

    You didn't note the car's year or mileage? Also, if winter's coming and your husband is continuously adding plain water to a cooling system then your antifreeze (what SHOULD be added) may be insufficient to prevent freezing the engine. Clarify that with him. You also don't note how MUCH water is being added?

    On the braking thing, I suspect you are having your first ABS brake experiences here? If you are unfamiliar with ABS braking feel, you should go into a large empty parking lot on a rainy day and get a feel for how they work and feel. Your comment that the car is "lurching" forward indicates that you are actually saying the car accelerates forward with your foot on the brake ("almost jumped into the car in front of me..."). Either you don't mean to say that, or you really need to get familiar with the feel of ABS brakes. My feeling on it is that you were not aware of just how slick it happened to be that rainy day and that without the ABS brakes you might have locked your brakes and spun while applying what you thought was safe braking on unexpectedly slick pavement.
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