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Subaru Crew Problems & Solutions



  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    If the car isn't warmed up yet wouldn't blowing the fan on the heater core do nothing at all? I thought the thermostat stayed closed til it hit that temp and then opens to allow the coolant to flow. If so then blowing the fan wouldn't hurt the warm-up process, just it wouldn't warm you up at all til the warm water flows through the radiator.

    I agree an overheating car can be kept cooler by running the heat.

  • locke2clocke2c Posts: 5,038
    the thermostat opens flow to the radiator, not the heater core. the temperature knob inside the car on the console opens flow to the heater core-- remember?

  • dudedude Posts: 123
    A trick that I've learned from my friends about faster warmup was select recirculating air and crank the blower all the way on cold and open windows. It worked on my Geo, but it doesn't work on Subie. I wonder why
  • amsbearamsbear Posts: 147
    My heat selector will not stay in place at the hottest position while the ambient temperature is still cold. Once the car gets toasty, I can push it over to the right more and it will stay, but at that point I don't need to crank the heat. My first guess is that it has to do with the expansion of the plastics but I was wondering if there is any adjustment that can be made to the linkage behind the slide switch. Anyone else experience this or have a fix/advice?

    98 OB Ltd
  • idahodougidahodoug Posts: 537
    With morning temps in the 30s, it takes about 2 miles of easy driving to get the temp guage to normal on my 97 2.2. This did not seem to change a bit after I flushed and put a new thermostat in. Just another data point.

    Amsbear, funny you should bring this up. My '97 does the same thing. When I push the temp full hot, it springs back a quarter inch, and the temp lever moves toward cold easily but with resistance in the warm direction. I was going to get under there to see if I have a cable binding, but sounds like it's a "feature" of this HVAC system. Mine also stays full hot after it's warmed up - must be a temp expansion related quirk as you surmise.

  • bsvollerbsvoller Posts: 528
    I've noticed that our temperature gauge responds within a few minutes of driving even on a cold day, and that we start getting warm air about the same time. On a cold day, I know that's what concerns my wife most -how quick can she get warm air on her feet !

    However, if we define "warmed-up" as meaning when the engine has reached it's normal operating range, then I think the temp gauge can be misleading. It takes considerably longer for the oil temp gauge, which is measuring the oil temp in the pan, to reach normal operating temperatures. I found this a bit surprising when we first had the oil temp gauge installed.

    Also, I remember reading a post somewhere from someone with access to the appropriate service manual volume, that the engine coolant temp gauge is engineered with a "flat spot" in the middle of the response curve, to keep the needle from "floating" due to normal temperature fluctuations while driving.

    I've noticed that our engine temp gauge very rarely moves off of dead center, while in other cars we've had, you could tell when the thermostat opened and closed.

    -brianV (trying to keep one eye on the road while watching his temp gauges.... lol)
  • idahodougidahodoug Posts: 537

    That's an interesting observation and I'd be curious to get an estimate from you how long it takes after the water temp is normal to see a normal oil temp.

    On the flat spot thing, I'd be skeptical of that source. If a manufacturer could be shown to have engineered a false reading into their temp guage, or even an area of lesser sensitivity, they'd be liable for every overheated engine that took place with that guage. I think it's more a matter that most modern cooling systems are pretty well engineered and matched to the vehicle's needs.

  • Everything going OK????

  • In order for my driver's side window to open, I have to hit the button a few times. It is annoying at most. It has too be some sort of sensor.My keyless entry system wasn't working properly and after going to the Subaru dealer who could find nothing wrong, my wife suggested I use her remote. It worked without a problem. I then changed the batterties and now it works perfectly. I wonder why Lacey Subaru in Catskill couldn't tell me that.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Just make sure that your guages are not idiot lights. I believe the oil pressur guages in some models of the miata were actually idiot lights where they would pop up to a specific spot and if the pressure was too low, would drop to 0. Not sure if it was oil pressur or if it was temp, but it was quite funny hearing the miata guys changing out the guages because they were merely fancy looking idiot lights.

  • mrk610mrk610 Posts: 378
    Ok I rotated my wheels the other day and I set the torque wrench at 61 lbs ft .Is this wrong . I heard that if yon tighten to much you could warp the wheels . Does any body know the right torque for the wheels .

    thanks mike k
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    the subie alloys were ~72lbs

  • mrk610mrk610 Posts: 378
    that makes 2 with the same reply . I'll tighten them up tonight .

    thanks mike k
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    paisan is correct - 1990-1994 Miatas had a true oil pressure guage. 1995 and later got a dummy guage that reads only the presence or lack of *some* pressure, not an actual reading.

    One owner had his oil filter clog up, and guess what? The gauge read fine, there was pressure - way too much pressure. Ka-boom.

    I use 70 lbs for alloys, 75 for steel. But there's little realy difference. You basically don't want someone to have their torque settings set for an ML320 (120 ft-lbs), then do your Subaru at that setting. You'd end up with warped rotors, most likely.

  • bluesubiebluesubie Posts: 3,497
    My wife's 99 OB Ltd. does the same thing. Never had problems with not enough heat in the cabin or anything, but it's kind of quirky.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Show them the receipt for the battery and ask to be reimbursed for it. It's not the money, it's the principal - they should cover it. Plus, your feedback will hopefully help the next customer with the same problem.

    That's assuming it's still under warranty, is it? You didn't mention what year/mileage.

  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Same thing on my dad's '97 legacy L. Heat works fine though.

  • idahodougidahodoug Posts: 537
    Sorry I hadn't noticed the coolant loss thread before. Any time you have a coolant loss that cannot be found, it is the first order of business to find out where it's going. I'm incredulous that this is not being done routinely by dealers facing this issue. Large semi trucks with expensive engines routinely have their coolant tested for the presence of oil/combustion byproducts, and the oil tested for the presence of coolant, metals, etc.

    If I had an engine that was using coolant, I'd call the nearest Caterpillar dealer (or other semi-truck service center) and ask about their engine fluid testing service. It's probably going to cost $75 or so, but if I liked the car I would be upset at the expense, but do it anyway so I could sleep at night.

    It takes a week or more to get the test results back, but it will tell you unequivocally if you have an internal coolant leak or not.

    Continuing in the "If it were my car vein", I'd next have the cooling system drained and refilled by a competent mechanic (me, in this case) to be sure that all air was purged. My 97 2.2 is inordinately prone to developing internal air pockets and has an air purge valve located atop the radiator specifically for this purpose. The only other Subaru I've worked on - an identical engined '96 also had issues with air pockets when I also drained and refilled it.

    If these fast and relatively cheap steps do not take care of the problem, I'd develop that "coolant recovery tank too small" issue a bit.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    You're supposed to do that every year or two anyway, right?

  • bluesubiebluesubie Posts: 3,497
    Didn't someone order 2.5 filters from them recently? How much were they?

  • Hi folks,

    New here, so I have a few topics. Thanks in advance for any help!!

    I bought a 2002 LL Bean Wagon in June and love it! A couple problems though...anybody else encountering?

    1) Acrid 'exhaust' smell since new, intermitent, especially on hot days. Not really an exhaust smell, but similar. Much worse, actually. Live at 9,000 ft in CO...after 30 minute drive home into the mtns, the smell would occur. Could not even open the windows while driving. Very noxious smell that is different than exhaust, much more 'chemically' Dealer found exhaust leaks, has replaced different exhaust parts 4 times (finally the whole system at the request of the local SoA rep., last week). So far so good, but have not had hot days.

    2) Warped brakes 3 times. I have lived in the mtns for 7 years and am very aware of the need to drop into 2nd gear when coming down steep mtn. roads and not riding brakes. I do this 100% of the time in my daily commute, no exceptions. No problem with much heavier Eurovan or old Pathfinder. Subaru says brakes are overheating, but has no sympathy (my fault as rotors are blue). I don't agree as I am doing all they ask (down shifting) and this is suppose to be a mtn capable vehicle. Ideas??


    Our friend hit a small patch of gravel in her '99 Outback Wagon on Saturday, going the speedlimit (55 MPH). She ended up going backwards, into the other lane, and rolled the car 3 times. Not hurt. On another occasion we say a '99 style Outback going less than 20 MPH suddenly do a 180 in 2 inches of snow, right in front us. Very spooky.

    Wondering, could all wheel drive make this worse? Is this a known problem? Should my family be concerned? My wife wants to upgrade to VDC, but my car in only 4 months old!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,579
    I flush coolant and brake fluid every two years, yes!

    Have any of these mysterious level drops in coolant been checked with a cooling system pressure test?

    And yes, an oil analysis would be a good idea. I don't like the idea of coolant disappearing. That's very troubling if it isn't an air pocket issue.

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  • bsvollerbsvoller Posts: 528
    doug, paisan, juice - The gauges I have came with the OEM performance gauge pack. We had Subaru MC credits, so we had it installed for next to nothing out of pocket (thought the quoted price was absurd, frankly, you can almost get an AT for what they were asking - it was over $500 in parts). Anyway, so no, these are "real" gauges, and as far as I know, reasonably accurate. Look nice too.

    mrk610 - Our '01 Forester owner's manual calls for 58-72 ft. lbs for the alloys. I always set mine to 70, and specify that number to my tire and brake shops when necessary. Seems kinda low to me - my wife's car calls for 85.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Eau de Subaru is what I like to call "Subaru New Car Stench". Some undercoating overspray will burn off the exhaust. It takes a few months to burn off completely, at least mine did.

    But you got a new exhaust, so I'd consider that problem resolved.

    Why are the brakes warping? Well, first thing I'd check are the torque of the lug nuts. You should have them torqued to about 70 lb-ft. If the guy who mounted them had just done, say, a Mercedes ML320, he used 120 ft-lbs for that, and that is WAY too much for your Subie.

    What I'd suggest is you specify the torque specs and then ask the installer how much they used when you pick it up. This is every time the wheels come off the car (tire rotation, any brake work, etc).

    AWD certainly improves your traction, but it does not break the laws of physics. Furthermore, in steady-state cornering and braking, AWD doesn't matter much (except on long down hills with engine braking going to all 4 wheels).

    My guess is those drivers became overconfident. VDC is a nice safety net if you think you'd need it, but even that won't do miracles.

  • idahodougidahodoug Posts: 537
    Since you're smelling it while underway, it is not coming out of the exhaust pipe tip. Cars these days are carefully designed so the exhaust cannot backflow into any open window - one of the many reasons few cars have opening back cargo windows anymore. Barring any exhaust leak, it would then have to be something on the exhaust itself as this is really the only component that gets hot enough underway to create fumes like that.

    If it were my car, I'd have the car put up on a lift (or crawl under it at home) and I'd want to look at the entire exhaust system with a very bright light. Something is likely melting onto the exhaust - likely the undercoating as mentioned. If so, a new exhaust system would leave things unchanged as it would simply drip onto the new exhaust. Since it's heat related, I think this is your answer. Now it's too cold for the heat radiated to the coating to cause it to flow and burn. Perhaps that particular day the guy at the plant got a bit carried away with the undercoating sprayer?

    On the sliding, reams of evidence and study show that AWD is more stable under any conditions of transition or traction than FWD or RWD. I can only assume you happened to see a Subaru spin on a slippery spot due to a driver input that others drove over without that driver input. And unless your friend's rolled Subaru came to rest against several other vehicles that met the same fate at that spot that day, I think it's safe to say she also provided some improper driver input to cause the accident. I'd imagine it's a public road where this 'gravel patch' was and that hundreds or thousands of other motorists safely negotiated it before her on that very day. I've read research on single vehicle accidents, and drivers of these vehicles invariably find something that "caused" it to happen that was beyond their control. Nothing personal against your friend, but rarely will a driver in these circumstances say something like "I guess I was running a little fast and didn't see that turn/gravel/ice/deer/parked car/pedestrian in time". This psycho-social phenomenon is what produced the Audi sudden acceleration sensation. A father who's just run over his own son in the garage with the Audi is unlikely to say "Whoops, guess I pressed the wrong pedal, folks". It's human nature, I guess.

    So, to answer your question, Subarus are not known for being unstable on slippery surfaces.

  • With the low center of gravity, I can't envision a Subaru Outback rolling over.

    A 180...sounds like ice under that snow.
  • kevin111kevin111 Posts: 991
    Thanks Doug for your input on this board even if you are not directly helping me. Your insight is helpful.

    BTW, I have beaten the Outback's 180 before on snow in an integra. Did a 720 before coming to a stop along a stone wall when I was in high school. Luckily for me there was only minor damage to the car, and none to myself.

    Maybe if the Outback was another car without the AWD, it would have been a much worse situation.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    In the static NHTSA ratings, the previous Forester got 3 stars for rollover resistance. Most SUVs get 2 stars, one (Aztek) got 4. The new Forester has a wider track, and they made the roof rails lighter (now aluminum), so it could only be as good or better.

    And of course the Outback is shorter, heavier, and has a wider track, all making it even harder to roll. But if it's tripped by a curb, any car could roll. I've seen pics of Golfs and NX2000s that did.

  • nygregnygreg Posts: 1,936
    I ordered the filters. If you buy a case (12), they are $4 each. You need to purchase the gaskets seperately.

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