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Subaru Crew Problems & Solutions



  • Leo,

    Be advised you are not buying 'HID' lights when you simply get blue bulbs. You are buying 'HID-look' lights and there's an important difference.

    The "look" bulbs merely restrict the spectrum of light put out on the road to the shorter (blue-er) end of the spectrum for a blue look currently considered trendy. From a vision perspective this is a no-no, denying your eyes the colors they normally process with. This causes eyestrain, slows recognition of objects, and annoys oncoming drivers.

    Of particular importance, the longer the lightwave, the less light scatter back at the driver when particles are present (dust, fog, rain). Since these "looks" only use the shorter lightwave frequencies you have more glare, which contributes to the eyestrain mentioned above.

    For all around performance, I suggest the Phillips WeatherVision bulbs which put out a natural light spread for less fatigue on long drives. They're tough to find but worth it - particularly if you drive in foul weather. As for bulb life, I've used several different PIAA bulbs over the years and have uniformly been disappointed. PIAA has good customer service though, and once sent me 4 bulbs in a good hearted attempt to keep me happy while they tried to resolve a short life issue on the pricey Ion Crystal bulbs.

  • mrk610mrk610 Posts: 378
    Just changed my o/f today and I must say it was very easy to do . It was so much harder to do the service on my old honda accord I just use to have the dealer do it . 02 outback base wagon 16k miles used mobil 1 5/w30 and subaru filter with new crush washer for drain plug.

    Mike k
  • It gets better... air filter and fuel filter are a breeze. Plugs really aren't so bad either. Rear dif fluid is easy if you can break the plug loose and the tranny (manual) is easy other than rigging a hose to make it to the filler hole.

  • My post was 5979 and just wanted to say Thanx! to those who gave me advice. ateixeira's 5988 post(clean the fuel injectors) did the trick. It seemed to be the simplest and cheapest solution so I had it done 10/31/02 at a local garage that specializes in fuel injection systems(they used a MOTORVAC CARBONCLEAN SERVICE). It cost me $100. My 93 legacy wagon is now driving like the day I drove it out of the showroom. 187998 miles and counting. Thanx again
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Mike: nice job, it gives you satisfaction, doesn't it?

    I used a hand pump for the tranny gear oil. They are purpose built. Just do it on a warm day so the oil is thin.

    bedsond: yahoo! Sweet, our 626 was the same way, except it needed it at much lower mileage. Keep on runnin', you'll soon be in the 1/4 million mile club. :-)

  • jfljfl Posts: 1,385
    bit - yeah, the filler hole for the manual tranny oil is deep in the engine compartment on the Legacy. A couple of bucks was money well spent for the funnel with the long flexible stem.

    juice- The hand pump also worked great when I had to remove gear oil from the tranny. (Followed the "service manual (incorrect @4.2L)" vs, the "owner's manual (correct @3.7L)" fill volume for manual tranny.)

  • subaru_teamsubaru_team Posts: 1,676
    Please ask your friend to call Customer Service anyway. Once a case is set up, please ask the Rep. to contact me at home to review it. If your friend has already had the work done, ask them to send the information in and contact me.


  • stevekstevek Posts: 362
    This is a copy of what I posted in the Legacy forum:

    I read something interesting the other day, for example Sunoco and Citgo does not import oil from the mid east. These are the two major ones. One theory is that try no to buy mid east oils the other is to buy so the sooner they run ou the better for us is.
  • bluesubiebluesubie Posts: 3,497
    That's interesting. Where did you read that?

    There was an article on gasoline brands and octane in this past Friday's NY Times. They were talking about consumer loyalty and whether or not one brand is better than the other.

    Someone from Consumer's Union said that CR was going to do a brand comparison, but found the differences were too small to do the article. He then went on to say that he mainly uses Sunoco 94.

  • otis123otis123 Posts: 430
    My low beam driver's side headlight went out over the weekend! 33K miles? Born 2/1/01? Seems really early?

    Oh well... trying to track down the Phillips Weathervision H1 (55W) IdahoDoug mentioned...

    Funny thing, I wrote down the bulb name Friday and put it away for when I would need it in a couple years and POOF, my bulb blows Saturday night...LOL!

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    That is sort of early for a stock bulb. But I had Hella H4+30s in there and both blew out in one year. Ouch. Went back to stock. They're still good after about 4 years of use.

  • bat1161bat1161 Posts: 1,784
    Just wanted to let you folks know, last week I brought my 2000 OB in for a check-up as I was approaching 36000 miles. They asked me if anything special should be looked at, so I said, as usual I still occasionaly have the clutch shudder in the morning. The service tech at Flemington said that's not supposed to happen. They took a look at it and said somethings wrong with the clutch and it has to be replaced. The good thing is it's under warranty, except for the disk.
    They also took a look at the brakes and rotors(they had told me I had to cut the rotors). This time they said they were bad enough to be replaced, again under warranty. Since they had everything up and off, I had them do the brakes (F&R) at the same time.
    I now have a new clutch, rotors, and brakes. When I aksed why the brakes and rotors went so early ~36k, they said the parts Subaru at that time was using were not up to par. Now supposedly they have been improved. Time will tell.


    PS: Hey Mike- I'm ready for the 48hrs 2 now!
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I'm glad they covered both under warranty. I bet a lot of places would consider the rotors a wear and tear item.

  • kenskens Posts: 5,869
    33K miles is kind of short for bulb, but I wonder if having DRLs is part of the cause.

    I think there were problems with the Hellas. I switched over to Philips Vision Plus pretty early on so I never got to experience the useful life of the Hella, but a friend of mine with them had one go out in about a year too. The Philips I've had have been great. I think I've lost one well after two years of use. The other one is still working fine.

  • THANKS to all who responded with their comments and help on my friend's concerns with air bag distance and gas pedal discomfort.

    The following is edited from a direct e-mail I got from Subaru Dealer rep, Patti Mickel. This was most helpful and is a great example of the dedication Subaru has for resolving owner's concerns (but you already knew that, right?)

    My friend is going to a local place to retrofit (add spacer blocks) to brake & gas pedals. She will file for the reimbursement. BTW, the spacer blocks will cost $400 installed.

    Thanks again,
    I saw your post on Edmunds. I'm sorry about your friends problem and please convey my concern.
    1st - please ask her to call 1-800-SUBARU3 and relay the information on how she was treated by the dealership. We take issues like this very seriously.

    2nd - there are places that can modify the vehicle though out the U. S. Please check the yellow pages. If that doesn't work, our Customer Service Representative can call the dealer for a recommendation. Subaru does offer a vehicle modification program for folks with a handicap or disability. If your friend can get a note from a Doctor stating that the change needs to be made to accommodate her for her stature or for her leg/back problem, she will be reimbursed for up to $500 for the change. It shouldn't cost more
    than that anyway. Once again, the Customer Service Rep. can help her with this.

    Patti Mickel
    Quality Control/Training Leader
    Customer Dealer Services
  • subaru_teamsubaru_team Posts: 1,676
    I'm glad they took care of it for you. Any reason the disc wasn't covered as resultant damage? Check with Diane at Flemington to see what she says.


  • otis123otis123 Posts: 430
    I thought 33K/22 months was rather quick too, but then I remembered the DRLs. So, it is more like 66K / 44 months... Acceptable...

    And I do like the DRLs - people stop and don't pull out in front of me as much as with my car w/out DRLs.

  • bluesubiebluesubie Posts: 3,497
    That's good news. Flemington is a dealer that doesn't give you the line that clutch shudder is normal.

  • I live in St. Paul, MN and I own (and love) a 2002 Subaru Forester luxury model with 8500 miles that I purchased brand new in December of 2001.

    Recently, my gas mileage, which was slowly but steadily improving from an abysmal 18 mpg city when I purchased it dropped from 22-23 mpg city to 12-14 mpg.

    The Subaru dealership in White Bear has told my fiance that this drop in mpg is due to the recent cold temperatures combined with city driving. Now, while I'm a vector biologist and not a mechanic, I don't believe that this would cause the mpg to drop by %50. Three or four mpg I'd buy but I'd like someone knowledgeable and independent of subaru to comment on this topic.

    The subaru dealership told us to record the gas mileage on 3 tanks of gas and return if the problem persisted (although we had recorded this problem on two previous tanks after we noticed it dropping).

    I'm curious if anyone else has had issues with gas mileage on 2002 foresters and if so, was the problem ever fixed and if it was fixed what was responsible for the trouble?

    My thanks to anyone who takes time to answer this problem, if it persists I'm going to have to consider buying another vehicle from a different company. I'm not at all happy about Subaru's service in this matter thus far.
  • kenskens Posts: 5,869

    Oxygenated fuel plus cold weather driving does affect gas milage, but 50% does seem extreme. I don't think I could get to 12mpg even if I tried! Sounds like the dealer is giving you a bit of a run-around.

    I'd give Subaru customer service a call to get a case started (1-800-SUBARU3) in conjunction to following up with your dealer.

    You're still within the 1st year mark where dealers should be very good about addressing concerns.

  • p0926p0926 Posts: 4,423
    Matthew- So I'm curious, does being a "Vector Biologist" make you an expert on mosquitoes?

    Regarding your mileage, I agree with Ken, the cold weather combined with oxygenated fuel will certainly cause your mileage to drop but 50% is an extreme amount. However, I've no other explanation for the fall-off.

    -Frank P.
  • p0926p0926 Posts: 4,423
    I intentionally ordered my Forester with the factory trailer hitch, mainly so I could use my hitch-mounted bike rack but also so I could have the flexibility to tow on occasion. Well I recently had a room full of stuff that I wanted to move into a storage unit so I went to the local Uhaul to get a small trailer. Trouble is when I hooked up the trailer's lights to the wiring harness, nothing happened. The problem wasn't with the trailer cause I tried several with the same negative result. Next I checked the fuses and everything appeared okay. So my question is: What's the problem? And yes I know I'm an idiot for waiting until I passed the 36k mark before bothering to check to see if the wiring works but who would have thought that there'd be a problem?

    -Frank P.
  • jay_24jay_24 Posts: 536

    I've seen my share of trailer light problems. However no experience with a subaru...

    Then is there corrosion on the contacts/plug to the car? How is the ground wire on the trailer and car? Sometimes you can't rely on the hitch to provide the grounding. Rust proofing can insulate the hitch from the car. Double check the connections for the wiring. Most cars its just a matter of following the wire back to a tee-connection. It could be near the spare tire? or maybe in or near the rear tail light? not sure with a subie.

  • While I know quite a bit about mosquito vectored diseases, biology etc.., I wouldn't dream of offending true mosquito disease experts by trying to pass myself off as one. It's an area I'd like to eventually get into but for now I'll stick to easily modeled systems.

    Thanks for all the feedback. We'll try to use a different fuel and see if that doesn't help. Otherwise I'll try the customer service number that was provided by KenS in the previous post.
  • subaru_teamsubaru_team Posts: 1,676
    with what Ken and Frank told you. That kind of drop is extreme. Trying a different fuel and keeping a log like the dealer advised will help isolate the cause. I know it is frustrating, but I'm sure we'll get to the root of the issue.


  • nine51nine51 Posts: 78
    Getting a good read on gas mileage in changing weather is like trying to nail Jello to a wall. You need to average it over several tankfulls of gas, and try to use the same pump. My 5 speed WRX has gone from a low of 18 mpg to a high of 27.4 mpg, sometimes from one tank to the other. Cold weather will always make the numbers drop. The best I could get last January was 26. This summer I regularly got 27 if I kept my foot out of the turbo. Fortunately we don't use oxygenated fuel here yet. That will make your mileage worse.

    If you think your mileage is bad with your Forester, try asking someone with another SUV.
  • I've been reading these boards and have seen a few remarks about short block failures. Does anyone know if this has happened to many others? I have a 1999 Outback wagon with 52,000 miles on it that has now had the short block replaced twice! The first time, I was told that the car threw a piston. The second time the dealer assumed (after consultation with SOA) that there was a microfacture in the block. The dealer indicated that he had replaced a few short blocks but not so many that it seemed like a trend.

    In addition, the radiator has been replaced twice (not because of external damage, but due to faulty construction according to the dealer). I'm not sure if the two are related.

    I haven't had any other problems, but feel like I need to sell the car before the warranty is gone. Subaru has worked with me and replaced everything under warranty, luckily, but I am nervous. Any information would be appreciated.


  • royallenroyallen Posts: 227
    Jay is on target. I would add that a $10 analog or $20 digital voltmeter will help see if the ground (usually white on trailer wires vs black on vehicle) is the problem which is the most likely reason for no light function on a trailer. Another problem could be fault in primary power wire from the battery to the trailer wiring control module. This wire is heavier than the other wires and not white, green, yellow or brown, the trailer wire colors for ground, right t, left t & tail lights.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Check to see if it's the ground (most likely) or that the wires didn't hit the exhaust and melt! I've had both situations over the years.

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