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Subaru Crew Problems & Solutions



  • When the compressor cycles on my 03 LL Bean Wagon I hear a hissing sound in the passenger compartment.

    Is this normal?

  • My 98 Forester makes louder and louder noise recently (about half year ago). The sound seems coming from back and the pitch is related to the speed, it's louder around 30-40m/h, on freeways, since background noise is bigger, the sound is not clearly louder. Anyone can suggest what it wrong? Is it normal wear and tear? Shall I bring it to the dealer for checkup/repair? First time owner, please be patient. Thanks.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    the hissing sound from the A/C is normal as long as you hear it for a second, then it goes away. Mine always did that even when new.

    If the thing is just hissing and hissing like a snake, I would take that to the dealer to have it looked at!

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

  • fibber2fibber2 Mid Hudson Valley, NYPosts: 3,775
    I also had the neutral safety switch fail on my '90 Camry 4EAT (v6), but all I lost was the backup lights and the shift cluster display on the dash. The actual tranny performance was unaffected.

    And you are right - I think the quote for the switch was in excess of $300. I took it off myself (one connector, one screw - mounted to the shift lever arm on the transmission), used a dremel to cut thru the potting compound, and rebuilt the corroded internal contacts.

    Most likely the problem is in the internal valve body or shift linkage, as he described it will sometimes engage when fiddled with.

  • mgkmgk Posts: 2
    The engine of my Subaru o/b ltd recently broke down. The rods started knocking. I was on a road trip (500 miles from home) and had to get my car towed a 100 miles to the nearest subie dlr and get onto a rental car. The car has 36.5K miles.

    I have been told by the dlr that the engine is covered unter power terrain warranty.

    Does any one know :-

    1. Will subaru will pay for the towing charges (300$)
    2. Will Subaru pay for the rental car cost
    3. Will Subaru get the car delivered from the dealership to my home (about 500 miles away)

    Never knew that a subie engine could break down in 36K. The car has been serviced and very recently had the 30K service. The servicing dlr had commented that the car was in gr8 condition.

  • I have a 93 subaru legacy, 4dr sedan with auto tranny. miles =130k. The car runs fine in all aspects except for when you shift into reverse. Sometimes it goes into reverse just fine, other times it will not engage, and still other times it will engage if you wiggle the shift mechanism.
    Anyone have this experience or have suggestions?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    For the clutch, call 800-SUBARU3 and ask them to look up your records. Ask for assistance from the regional tech, they can work with your dealer to solve that problem. No way is a "groaning" normal operation.

    Jesse: wheel bearings. I'd be willing to bet on it.

    mgk: I'd also call 800-SUBARU3 to see if they can reimburse you for the tow. I know they do for customers that have Subaru Gold, and you might want to ask about buying that now if they'll make it retroactive to cover that towing. It also covers a loaner.

    The loaner might be up to the dealership, but I'd certainly ask. I doubt they'll deliver, though.

    mike: I noticed you asked the same question in another topic, there were some suggestions there, check it out.

  • Like a few others I have beeen experiencing clutch chatter the first few shifts when my 01 GT is cold. I am at 30k miles and just had the car in for service. At that time the dealer could not duplicate the problem as the car was not cold and had not sat all night. I am about to leave on a 6k+ road trip which will put me over 36k by the time I return. I have started a case with SOA regarding the clutch. They say the flywheel is covered under the 60k warranty but the clutch is not. So today I took the car back in to the dealer just to open a repair case with them. Interestingly the service manager told me the regional Subaru rep has told him that SOA will be issuing a service bulletin regarding the clutch chatter issue in the next month (I think someone here mentioned this)and that depending what the bulletin says "don't worry about the 36k warranty". And if I run past 36k by the time I return he inferred that SOA will likely handle the fix. I have had nothing but good experiences with them so I figure this should work out the same.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    It'll be interesting to read that TSB.

  • mrdetailermrdetailer Posts: 1,118
    Sorry, I reversed the discussion. What I meant to say was that synthetic will give 1--3 MORE miles per gallon.
  • Hi, I'm relatively new to the Town Hall. I'm hoping that some of you can help me with a potential used car purchase.

    I'm looking at a 2002 base Outback w/ approx 9K miles and a 2001 Legacy L wagon w/ approx 19K miles, both are 5 speeds. The sellers (both are dealers) are asking $19K for the Outback (but I'm sure I can get it for less, since they've had it for a while) and $16K for the Legacy.

    Are there particular problems I should be looking for with either of these, or is there a reason why I should avoid either of them altogether?

    Also, if I bought the Legacy, I'd want to add the CD player and remote entry/alarm. Does anyone have experience installing either of them? How hard is it (I've installed aftermarket stereos before, but never an alarm system. I'd get the Subaru version, so I'd think that would make it easier)?

    Thanks for your help.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Both are CR "Good Bets" (reference: page 175, 2003 Buying Guide).

    I'd be curious as to why the Outback was sold so quickly. And $19k is close to the price for a new one. For that much, I'd buy new for about $20.5k, or even buy a new Legacy L Special Edition, which even has a moonroof for under $20 grand.

    Since both are 5 speeds, take a thorough test drive on a cold day. Try the clutch to see if it's smooth. Turn off the radio and listen for any strange driveline noises, i.e. bad differentials or wheel bearings.

    The good news is any flaws stand out like a sore thumb, so you'll likely notice them. A smooth running, quiet car is very likely a good buy.

    You can call 800-SUBARU3 and ask if recalls were completed. I'm not sure how much of the car's service history they'll share, but ask.

    Good luck and stick with us, we'll help you in case any problems do creep up in the future. Both are still under the B2B warranty, too.

    You can E-Bay a 6CD changer from a WRX for $250 or less. I bought two. Installation on a 2002 Legacy was not easy, but not hard either. If you end up doing this I'll share some tips later. I installed one on a 1998 Forester, too, and that was much easier. You can do a Legacy in under 2 hours. The WRX radio is plug-and-play, the harness fits perfectly. It's a double DIN unit and bolts right in, you just lose the storage pocket under the stock stereo.

  • kenskens Posts: 5,869
    I agree with juice that the prices the dealer is asking for a quite high considering that you can get a brand new Legacy for a similar price.

    I'd use Edmund's TMV tool and price out a 2003 Legacy for your area. If it's close, bring it with you and bargain with the dealer. Since they make way more profit on used cars, they should be willing to drop the prices to be competitive.

    As far as I know there aren't any major problems with the two vehicles. At one model year, I think 2002, the OB got bigger disc brakes. Subaru tends to upgrade features year over year so make sure you've captured that difference.

  • kenskens Posts: 5,869
    Yeah, I'd like to know what the "fix" is. Perhaps they finally found a material that won't chatter.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I think the 2002 Outback got the AWP standard, on a 2001 it was an option. That means it should have heated seats. Be sure to try them out.

  • locke2clocke2c Posts: 5,038
    doubt it. I bet they spec a stiffer pressure plate and call it good.

  • kenskens Posts: 5,869
    Didn't they already do that with the non-WRX 5MT? I wonder if it is possible to derive a 5-speed version of their 6MT...

  • The AWP was not standard on the '02 Base. $500.00 add in my area. If the seats work well, it is definately worth it.
  • stevekstevek Posts: 362
    I also have the chatter on my '01 GT and form the first day I drove the car, was surprised how weak the clutch is in those cars. A small 4 cylinder engine with lots of torque and 4wd should have a much storenger clutch. So I am very carefull when cold in first gear (ususaly roll the car never a full stop if I can help it) and shift quick into other gears between 3-3.5K RPM. So far almost 60K miles and the clutch is stull fine along with the brakes.
    Wondering if I should open a case at the dealer just in case.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Colin: to change that, they have to remove and replace the entire clutch assembly, right?

    Steve: FWIW, it doesn't seem to affect durability, just the smoothness of operation.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Maybe that was changed for '03, then.

    I think the '02 got the rear LSD standard, that was it. The AWP was still an option with the same price, but it no longer included the viscous rear limited slip differential because that became standard in 2002.

    OK, got it straight now.

  • locke2clocke2c Posts: 5,038
    quote: A small 4 cylinder engine with lots of torque and 4wd should have a much stronger clutch.

    it should, I agree. but it can't, due to the traction AWD offers and the strength of the 5 speed gearbox. (read: lack thereof) something needs to be engineered to give, and it's the clutch. the only problem is balancing the line between a clutch that is stout enough to not chatter for normal users, but limp enough to lay down and die when someone tries a 4WD burnout or speed-shifting into 2nd gear...

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I'd like to see a more elegant solution for future models. Maybe that force-limiting valve that the WRX got for all Subaru clutches, along with a stiff pressure plate.

    In other words, go to the root of the problem - speed shifting and burn outs that eat trannies.

    Just seems like a more intelligent solution that doesn't make the masses pay for a few teens who take too many joy rides.

  • lspivalspiva Posts: 49
    Guys. Have any of you ever replaced the standard light bulbs on a Forester with an Xtreme Blue from PIAA or equivalent from Sylvenia. I want to do that for the headlights and fog lights. Just not sure if I can do that alone or should I let dealer do that. By the way, have anybody had any comparission between stock headlights and Xtreme Blue (or Xtreme White). Thanks in advance. Leo
  • The light bulbs are easy to replace. You can do it in 3 minutes.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    A torque COnverter! :) Welcome to the 21st century! If you want 1900s shifters, then live with the chatter! hee hee j/k but couldn't help myself..

  • otis123otis123 Posts: 438
    LSD was standard on 2001 models. I think it became standard in response to Consumer Reports review of the 2000MY Outback. They commented that the rear end was tricky and prone to fishtailing in bad weather cornering.
  • kenskens Posts: 5,869
    juice -- what's this force-limiting valve you're talking about?

    How about a system that ejects the driver from their seat when they try and do stupid things like 5000RPM clutch drops. ;-)

    mike -- I had a feeling we'd hear from you. :-)

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Leo: the headlights are H4 type. Pop the hood, then find the rubber grommet that seals the back of the headlight enclosure. You have to sort of "pinch" the grommet and pull it back, outward, to get it out. A pin secures the bulb in the grommet, that's easy 'cause you can see it.

    I tried Hella H4+30 bulbs, marketed as "Xenon" because they supposedly have a trace of Xenon gas in the filament. They also market them as being 30% brighter. While that was true, they also lasted less than a year. Both burned within weeks of each other. The stock bulbs last for 5-10 times as long.

    So I went back to stock. Not worth it if you keep having to change bulbs, or worse, get caught out on a road trip far from home with one burned out. 50% less light!

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I like your suggestion better.

    Someone in another topic was claiming that 6000 WRX trannies had fried, which sounded like nonsense so I did some research. I found only a handful, almost all very heavily modified cars, too.

    Any how, I also found an article that claimed the 2003 clutch had some sort of force-limiting valve on it, so that the clutch would only absorb so much force even in high-rpm launches.

    Supposedly the 2004s will get an entirely new clutch.

    Maybe someone else knows more about this?

    I did find something interesting - every single one of the tranny failures I found was for a 2002, before the clutch valve. 2003s are newer of course, but I thought that was worth mentioning.

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