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Subaru Crew Problems & Solutions



  • cploegcploeg Posts: 6
    I went to pick up my Legacy from the dealer after they called and said "The only problem is that you don't drive it enough." After letting my husband drive off, the repair manager came and told me that they couldn't start my car. Dead battery. Ironic, huh?

    Anyway, they gave me a nice loaner and have had my car for the last week. Still nothing they can determine that is wrong. They assume it was dead when I came to pick it up because perhaps someone unplugged the charger. Hmmmmm, not a very satisfying explanation.

    Anyway, thanks for all the comments. Yes, I already have had the battery replaced. The second battery seems very underpowered. The car always seems to hesitate before starting, and often needs to crank several times. I did not have this problem with the first battery; it started or it didn't.

    Subaru has also put a meter on the car several times and said that the battery drainage is within expected specs (10 something), which is why they do not think it is an after-market problem. They have tested the alternator and the electrical system. Everything checks out.

    The service guy also said they have one other customer with the same problem ("short-charging"). He didn't say if this is a local customer, or someone in the database. He also said that other low-mileage customers have not had the same problem with their Foresters.

    I generally drive my car 50-100 miles a week, but it may sit for 3-4 days between trips. But this is a small town and those are mostly in-town miles. Let's face it, at this time of year, there just aren't too many places one CAN drive in Alaska.

    Wish me luck. Tomorrow I go to speak with the service manager and then I plan to escalate this. I really don't want to be plugging my car in every night . . .

  • cptpltcptplt Posts: 1,075
    I don't think they check if you purchased the tires from them, they asume you did, unless you actually tell them you didn't. If you have a brand and model totally foreign to them they might notice otherwise they just do it! At NTB they did free rotations for me for 2 years on several of my cars till finally one day someone actually checked and found out the tires I was rotating weren't the ones I had purchased from them several years previously, or even the same car! But since I was a "repeat" customer in the computer they just kept doing things for free!
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Here they ask for the reciept, also to get my tires rotated here would take like 2+hrs, at home it will take 15 min :)

  • mchinmchin Posts: 22
    I brought a 03 Impreza. My wife drives it and puts the car in the garage. It has been in the garage for the weekend. It's been cold here in the NE. She tried to start it but did not start until the fourth crank. Strange for a new car not to start up. Has anyone come across this?
  • kenskens Posts: 5,869
    Cheryl: Thanks for the update. It must be frustrating, but at least it appears the dealers are trying. What kind of battery was the second one? Did they test the new battery to see if it was good to begin with? Perhaps it's something as simple as a bad run on the OE battery. Keep us posted.

    mchin: The original equipment battery is fairly weak to begin with (low CCAs). Combine that with cold weather and you'll notice the starter needs to work hard to get the engine started. The best solution is to invest in $60-70 and buy an aftermarket battery with a higher CCA rating. The other less practical thing you can do is to keep the battery warmer either by heating your garage or by using a battery warmer.

  • Hello all -

    Long time since my last post. Just got 6"+ of snow here in Tennessee. The Subaru performed as advertised. The AWD and Michelin X-ones proved to be a great combination . . .

    Anyhow, I seemed to be plagued with engine-oil leaks. I just replaced both head-cover gaskets at 98K. I had to replace my rear engine and crank seal at 73K. I crawled under my car yesterday and discovered oil seeping from the underside of the timing belt cover. Last time I saw this it meant that the crank seal was bad (only 25K ago). Could it be one of the cam seals? Any thoughts? Anyone else seem to spring oil leaks as frequently as I do? With the exception of these leaks and a starter motor - the car has been great . . .

    Thanks for any advice!

    -Outbike I
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I agree 100%, mike.

  • jimmyp1jimmyp1 Posts: 640
    are you refering to my post a while back while you were on vacation? If so, thanks for the reply. Yes, $200 WOULD have been good, but I just dropped the car off an hour ago, and realized that that was just the parts price, and it's really closer to $400 with labor, which still sounds reasonable given what you've said. Oh, and they agreed to clean up the ABS sensor that got gunked up from the grease when the boot failed. It's the clutch and throw-out bearing that are really going to add up.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Yep, that's still much cheaper than mine, and it was only to replace the boot - the axle, bearing, CV, and all were OK.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    No, you get the record for oil leaks. Most I've heard before on a single car was just in one place.

    For that cold battery, try turning on the radio for just 10 seconds or so before you start it up. I've heard this can help warm up the battery so it's prepared to start more easily. Don't quote me on it, I have no idea the mechanical explanantion behind the idea, just sharing it.

  • In response to previous questions...
    I noticed the heating gauge more or less suddenly shoot up on several occasions after slowing down at a toll, or coming off of the highway and then pulled off the road.
    On two other occasions, I stopped for gas, and subsequently had an overheating engine, complete with steaming radiator fluid, antifreeze all over ground, and overflowing reservoir.
  • zman3zman3 Posts: 857
    FWIW, your vehicle is behaving exactly as mine did when I had a bad head gasket. The dealer did finally detect hydrocarbons in the coolant. When they tore it down they commented that they could barely see a streak on the gasket. The leak must not have been that bad yet, just enough to make it overheat occasionally when coming to a stop after driving for a while on the freeway.

    If you can have the coolant "sniffed" right after an overheating episode I suspect they will find hydrocarbons. Mine was subtle enough that it took two attempts to detect it. Fortunately mine was still under the powertrain warranty.

    Good luck.
  • joybelljoybell Posts: 275
    What is under that plastic lower body cladding on the Forester X? Is there steel under it or does it replace the steel that would normally be used in that location. I am concerned because I had a Chaser that had some cladding over the wheel wells and the rust got under there to the point where the cladding got loose. By the time I noticed it there was nothing I could do to save it by touching up rust spots!
  • joybelljoybell Posts: 275
    ..about the rust on the wheel wells. I meant that ALL the steel had rusted away under the cladding before I noticed that there was a problem!
  • I have had to replace head gaskets twice on a 2000 Outback Wagon. First time at 27k on the clock and the second at 38K less than a year later. Of course both were covered by the warranty. Has anyone else had this problem and what did Subaru do for you, if anything? Is my problem unusual? Thanks.
  • My 2001 Outback had an overheating problem at 21k miles, 500 miles from home - repair by dealer took 10 days. They told me that any kind of overheating usually results in head gasket and often cylinder head replacements ($3k bill!). My problem was supposedly caused by a radiator cap failure. So far Subaru has not reimbursed us for travel expenses.
  • hsubhsub Posts: 6
    I've had the Dunlop Sport A2s on our 2000 Outback for over a week now. They're definitely great in the snow (which we've had a lot of the last 2 weeks).

    Thanks to Paisan, fibber2, bat and the others for the advice.
  • fibber2fibber2 Mid Hudson Valley, NYPosts: 3,775
    Speaking for the 'crew', you are welcome! Glad we could help.

  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Glad we could help!

  • nygregnygreg Posts: 1,936
    the air pressure in my A2s. They were at 32 PSI at 10F. Bumped them up to 35. Big difference - a little harsher, but much better handling. Weeee. Thinking about putting a set on my Sienna (I know, it's only a minivan) :)

  • fibber2fibber2 Mid Hudson Valley, NYPosts: 3,775
  • bat1161bat1161 Posts: 1,784
    No prob. It's nice to know my input could help someone here, as I have been helped in the past.

  • locke2clocke2c Posts: 5,038
    nothing is "wrong" with a sporty minivan, but obviously the overall "sportiness" is going to be seriously limited by the minivan chassis.

    it's not like ordering a double quarter-pounder with supersize fries and a diet coke, no.

  • nygregnygreg Posts: 1,936
    I bought a cool pair of sunglasses to offset the image. Actually, being a Sienna it has the typical Toyota suspension (soft) so the tires should help. But the powertrain, oh the powertrain, is silk.

  • subearusubearu Posts: 3,613
    While I like our MPV (picture in my profile), I prefer to drive my Outback. Not that I get to drive the van much anyways. ;-)

  • kenskens Posts: 5,869
    Is "tan" a sporty minivan color? ;-)

  • lfdallfdal Posts: 679
    Cheryl, hope they've finally solved your problem, but it got me curious about the CCA (cold cranking amps) capacity of my 03 Forester, since I can't find it anywhere on the battery.

    Contacted SOA and their rep got back to me with a number of 356 CCA. Definitely anemic for just the metro-Boston area while we're having this long duration cold snap. Would have to think its rougher in Alaska. I notice my Forester drags a bit for the first 3 or 4 cranks in the morning then is fine the rest of the day. I would be worried if I had to leave it for a week in this weather.
    To another comment re: WalMart batteries, I just replaced the one in my-ex's car this week and it had 650 CCA for 39.95 after the core exchange. The Ford Motocraft battery lasted 5.5 years and wasn't entirely gone when I replaced it. Seems like Subaru could put in a beefier battery. Of course they do sell those battery warmer kits .....

    The one in my wife's 03 Outback looks to be the same per the owner's manuals. In the owner's manuals they specify Amp Hours which is great if you are running with a fully charged battery at 80 deg F. Not really applicable to frigid weather like this.

    Lastly a plug for the e-mail response for SOA. The person who must handle the e-mails for this area, John Mergen (since every response I've gotten from SOA has his name on it) has been really great.

    Another 0.02.
  • fibber2fibber2 Mid Hudson Valley, NYPosts: 3,775
    Colin - like many vehicle, you can get a wide variety of ride/handling qualities by suspension tuning (factory packages / aftermarket) and tire/wheel choices. Driving a minivan does not have to be a penalty box decision. No, it will never be a sports car, but you can make them 'more sporty'. And like Greg said, cool shades do help!!

    Ken - sorry, but tan does not qualify. ;-) Our three were Forest Green, a medium Grey, and Fire Engine Red.

  • subearusubearu Posts: 3,613
    When we shopped for a mini-van, we definitely wanted something with some color to it. Tan just wouldn't do. We settled on a dark blue. ;) I also like the white.

    FWIW, our MPV has 17" OEM wheels.

    I'll stop now since I'm way off topic

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