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Subaru Crew Problems & Solutions



  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Compact FWD japanese cars are tightly packed in the engine bay, no room to work.

  • bat1161bat1161 Posts: 1,784
    Quick question about pads:

    I went to Pep Boys and R&S Strauss looking for front brake pads. First, both places ask if it's 14" or 15" wheels. I told them it only comes in 15. When Mike tried using the ones they sold me(for the 15"), they were obviously wrong. I finally was able to get over to exchange, but the only other one's they had were for 14". Any ideas on what to do? Can I use the 14" ones? They look close, but I don't want to take any chances.

    Mark (one of the few working today)
  • Hi I just bought a 2003 Forester X, I recently noticed (500 mi) that the paint on the rear door near the gray trim panel that traverses it is flaking away. The paint is Pacifica Blue and I have seen it on other blue X's. It is on both the left and right sides of the door. Anyone else have this? It is hard to spot. You have to look for it. Other than that I have the wind noise and am not to impressed with the overall fit and finish( glove box alignment, coin tray) First tank 25 mpg mixed driving.
  • I also own a an '03 X (5spd) and though I'm not familiar with the paint flaking (haven't checked) I've had similar issues - wind noise and crooked glovebox. On top of that a shimmy that won't go away at 75+ mph that I'm too tired of attempting to fix after servicing it twice and talking to another dealership. My guess is it's tire-related and I can live with it until they wear out.

    Does the wind-noise sound like it could be a bad seal or are you writing about the over-all noise the vehicle transmits into the cabin? If it seams like a seal, it can be resolved like mine was (see post above.)

    The glovebox? At least one other post mentions it with no resolution. I've learned to live with it. It's not major but obviously you're disappointed as I was to some degree.

    My first tank of gas was close to 30mpg. All highway and flat. After that it's been closer to 27 mpg. Exactly what I expected. Frankly, the mileage you've reported seems reasonable.

    My expectation was to experience some minor issues with the vehicle. I've been reading the Subaru posts for over a year across all models and fit-and-finish issues are not uncommon. My expected offset is safer driving in inclement weather, comparable reliability to Honda/Toyota (with a bit more attention to maintenance) and utility (cargo).

    My suggestion is to go to the dealer and of course see if you can resolve these issues. The paint is obviously the priority, but my expectation is they'll tell you the glovebox, mileage and coin tray are all normal (in other words, no resolution). What I'd like is for you to surprise me and respond by writing there's at least a solution - the crooked glovebox.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Romy: here's another thought - you'll now have a brand new tranny, and it may even have the benefit of any improvements made for 2003 not published or visible.

    Mega: the paint on my '98 is still quite good. Go back to the dealer, maybe for your first oil change, and point it out. They'll probably repaint the whole door.

    Actually the new Camry was downgraded in reliability, and now the Forester and Legacy/Outbcak are actually rated higher. They're also higher than Civic (Accord is too new to be rated).

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    That's why you need a 3rd car. While I'm working on one, I have the other to fetch extra parts when needed.

    Don't know about the brakes, but why would wheel size matter? The rotors are 10-11" or so, not 14-15".

  • mrdetailermrdetailer Posts: 1,118
    Waterpump should not be changed out until 120K unless you are experiencing some problems. Cam and Crankshaft seals should be changed out whenever the timing belt is changed.

    I found out the hardway that you can save out a lot of money changing out the seals every 60K, and the waterpump every 120K.
  • I will be taking it to the dealer this week for the paint. Theory is that when the attach the trim piece, too much force is used and Subaru is damaging the paint so it may be on many 2003's.

    I have just looked at the glove box, it seems to me that the right hinge is loose. I see if I can tighten it up (not a loose screw but the hinge itself)
  • Took my 01 Legacy GT in for 30k service today.

    This after I did:
    air filter
    tranny/dif fluids

    They did:
    cooling system flush and replenish
    brake fluid change
    adjust parking brake
    4 wheel alignment

    Total charge was $193.00
    Labor for fluids was $104
    Labor for alignment $69
    Fluids were $20

    Couriously the alignment found the right front camber off wher I was seeing left front inside shoulder wear??? Also had them check the clutch as I (like many) get some first use chatter. They found nothing but want the car back left overnight. Seems reasonable.

  • So here's a little research on alignment.

    From my 01 manual:
    Front camber -0º05' +/- 30'
    Rear camber -0º20' +/-45'

    From my dealer's spec:
    Front camber -0º35' to 0º25'
    Rear camber -1º40' to -0º10'
    Front caster 2º05' to 4º05'
    Rear caster -0º10' to 0º10'

    After my alignment:
    Left Front camber -0º15'
    Right Front camber -0º15' (was -0º43')
    Left Rear camber -0º13'
    Right Rear camber -0º25'
    Front caster 2º53'
    Rear caster 2º50'

    I guess my only question is does this look like they got me in OCD spec?

  • i have had my '94 impreza for about 1/5 years now and i've had the three problems listed in the subject line during that period of time. i really thought subarus were supposed to be exceptional cars and i shouldn't have that many EXPENSIVE problems in this short of a time span.

    i am wondering if anyone else has had the same problems at similar mileage.

    approx 73k = oil and water pump started leaking onto the catalytic converter and consequently creating a lot of steam. $600
    approx 77k = AC compressor destroyed itself. $1000

    are there more problems that i should expect? should i bail on my subaru asap and get a toyota or honda?

    Thanks for any input!
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    has been in my experience some of the hardiest out there - it is pretty rare for the compressors to quit - this is based on several Subies I have owned personally.

    I had a '97 Impreza (outback sport) from new that I sold recently at 115K that had never had any repairs except the idler pulley when I replaced the timing belt. At that time I even skipped replacement of the water pump, which was doing fine.

    Oil pump is internal - are you sure that was what was leaking, and not just the crank seals? The crank seals seem to wear out on this model around 100K.

    BTW, the water pump is located on the front of the engine - you can see it if you lift the hood. There is no way it could leak on the catalytic converter. In fact, if it has excessive play, or if it is leaking, it would be the quickest thing in the world for you to pull it and check for yourself. You could also monitor the level of coolant in the little clear plastic overflow jug to see if it is leaking.

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    bit: maybe the left side was being overburdened.

    You gonna do the fuel filter, too? Plug wires? Those may wait until 60k.

    I did the fuel filter but not the plug wires.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    sheilin: those do seem like uncommon problems. That's the first A/C condensor failure I've heard of on a Subie.

    Oil pump? The front seals do sometimes leak, usually at 90k miles or later. The water pump and the seals can be changed when you do the timing belt at 60k. We were just discussing this in another topic.

    You probably had a coolant leak onto the hot exhaust. I doubt it leaked internally, or you'd have much bigger problems.

    Keep in mind your car is *nine* years old, problems will occur even if you maintain it. Wear and tear items made from materials like rubber will wear out even if they're on a Lexus. I'm talking about CV boots, axle boots, motor mounts, belts, hoses, suspension bushings, etc.

    New Honda Civics are just "average" in reliability, no better than the Impreza, and Subaru offers a 67% longer powertrain warranty.

  • lspivalspiva Posts: 49
    Hi. This message was posted for my vechicle on website. Be safe, apply parking brake.

    Subaru of America Announces Voluntary Recall of Certain 2001, 2002 and 2003 Model Year Vehicles with Automatic Transmission.

    On November 7, Subaru announced a forthcoming voluntary recall for a possible defect in the automatic transmission parking rod. Subaru is taking these prudent measures to ensure the safety of our owners, which is our top priority. The campaign was launched as a result of finding out-of-specification parts during quality assurance testing. There have been no reported injuries as a result of this condition.

    This recall affects 163,243 automatic transmissions that were installed in very late production 2001 Legacy vehicles, all 2002 Legacy, Outback, Forester and Impreza vehicles and some early production 2003 Legacy, Outback, Baja, Forester and Impreza vehicles. When the transmission selector lever of affected vehicles is placed in the "Park" position, the mechanism that is intended to hold the vehicle in "Park" may not fully engage, and the vehicle could move without prior warning. Properly applying the parking brake will prevent vehicle movement even if this condition exists.

    It is important to note that less than 0.5% of the 163,243 vehicles indicated are suspected to have this condition. However, all vehicles will have the new parts installed to ensure the safety of our owners.

    Repair parts should be available in January 2003. Subaru will soon mail a letter to all registered owners of the affected vehicles, advising them to always use their parking brake when the vehicle is in the "Park" position, as directed in the Owner's Manual. A second letter will be sent to owners when the repair parts are available early next year. Repairs will be made at authorized Subaru dealers at no charge to owners.

    Be safe. Leo
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Always use the parking brake anyway. And leave a manual tranny in 1st or reverse to park.

  • locke2clocke2c Posts: 5,038

    your alignment before & after is missing toe settings. your camber may have been off on the front right, but I'd bet you had excessive toe-out on the front left if you were seeing inner shoulder wear on that tire.

  • bat1161bat1161 Posts: 1,784
    If that's the case, why do the 14 & 15 pads look so different? The 15's had some sort of extra piece of metal on them, which no one could figure out.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    No idea. Those are aftermarket, right? Doesn't surprise me that they don't know Subies very well, given it's just 1% of the total market.

  • bat1161bat1161 Posts: 1,784
    Yeah, they're what the local place carries. Thanks for the help.

  • Sorry. Fogot those specs for Toe

    Before alignment
    Left front 0º00'
    Right front 0º03'
    Left rear 0º04'
    Right rear 0º02'

    After alignment
    Left front 0º05'
    Right front 0º07'
    Left rear 0º04'
    Right rear 0º02'

    I also have Cross Camber, Total Toe and Thrust Angle specs.

    Juice - doing the fuel filter today.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    OCD members never disappoint. ;-)

  • nine51nine51 Posts: 78
    I had a wind noise problem with the right front window on our 02 Legacy GT wagon. The dealer service dept. re-adjusted the window, and the noise went away. The track was mis-aligned and wasn't allowing the window to go up all the way.

    I used to get a lot of noise from the roof rack on my old Outback Sport. I removed the cross bars on my 02 WRX wagon, and it's much more quiet than the OBS. They re-install easily if I want to use them, but they are noisey. It's also easier to brush the snow off the roof with the cross bars removed.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Cool, glad the dealer fixed the noise.

    When you put the cross bars back on, make sure the rounded edge faces forward, like the wings on an airplane. Many people put it on backwards.

  • hondafriekhondafriek Ottawa CanadaPosts: 2,970
    Got some special deals in the mail today from Subaru, new front pads with a brake fluid flush and refill wheel rotation $99 CDN. Rad. flush and refill $49 CDN.

    Seems like a deal to me for anybody needing it any similar deals in the States?

    Cheers Pat.
  • Haven't received any deals in the mail but my dealer just did it (radiator and brake flush refill) for me for $124US

  • mrk610mrk610 Posts: 378
    Damn good price Bitman. I had to have the tranny flush on my auto outback and they charged me 140.00 just for the tranny .

    Mike k
  • is just being regurgitated from what the service guys at the dealership told me. they told me both my oil and water pumps were leaking on to my catalytic converter. so uh, i dunno!

    none of you know of any other problems i should be looking out for?l

  • nine51nine51 Posts: 78
    <<When you put the cross bars back on, make sure the rounded edge faces forward, like the wings on an airplane. Many people put it on backwards. >>

    Gee... do you think it would give me more downforce? ;)
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Probably, and a nice wind houl to go with it! :-)

    Sheilin: the next most common issue is the wheel bearings. But if they're still quiet at this age, they'll likely be fine. They would have failed by now.

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