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Subaru Crew Problems & Solutions



  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    How was the delivery time from

    I need to get the tie-rods for the SVX so I'm pricing around and getting shipping times.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    It came within a week. I ordered a rubber cargo liner for the wife's Legacy, and a leather shift knob. Both arrived with no damage, too.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    The window angle can be adjusted, let the dealer have a look at it.

    Also, try lowering the window and then raising it again, see if you get a better seal when you do that.

    Yep, the cross bars are like airplane wings, the sharp edges should face back.

  • Thanks for the help. I gave them both an email.

  • I'm reading with great interest the experiences of others with head gasket problems. I am now the unhappy owner with a '98 Outback Ltd 30th Anniv Edition(92M miles) AND a '01 Legacy GT (51M miles), both with leaky head gaskets. In the case of the GT, it is under warranty and goes to the dealer tomorrow for repair. The '01 is leaking coolant from the cylinder head near the exhaust port. I started smelling it ever so slightly last week, but saw definite smoke and an empty reserve coolant tank today, after filling it a couple of days ago. It still has coolant in the radiator, but it will be dropped off at the dealer's now for them to repair. For the '98 Outback, the problem started a month ago with the slight smell, then a severe overheating problem, but no detectable leak as there is with the GT. So I parked it until my auto mechanic husband could find time to diagnose it and start the repair. The '98 Outback has a definite compression leak from the head gaskets with possible damage to the cylinder heads. I am fortunate that the family mechanic will be able to do the repairs himself and am prepared to pay around $300-$500 in parts from Subaru, but will save with his labor. We have written to Subaru asking their opinion. I thought it unusual to have head gasket problems under normal driving conditions, especially with the newer model. Neither car is used for towing. Both cars are well-maintained.
  • lucien2lucien2 Posts: 2,984
    Mike what pressures are you running in the SP500s? I've got 35 all around right now (32/30 is the OEM rec) but turn in still feels soft compared to the S-03. I am thinking of bumping up to 38-40 but I don't want to cause excessive wear either. Have any input?
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    I feel horrible, I have no idea what pressure i'm running! I guess I have whatever pep-boys put in it when I had em mounted! My guess is they set em for stock pressure so I'm actually running a bit lower now with the temps being about 50 degrees less than when they set them.

    My guess is that you could safely run em up at 38-40. Just see how they are bulging. Mine are pretty flat right now. I should actually go and put some more air in them, probably do that after I get the tie rods done, I don't want to put more pressure on the tie rods than I have to.

  • Hello Juice and all:

    I've not visited the thread in quite a while, but in the past you've been very helpful to me when buying a new Outback Sport and mourning my totalled Forester. The Outback is now 16 months old, has 24,000 miles and in general runs and handles great. Incidentally, I too have too much wind noise and need to get the window seals checked - although last time I was at the dealer they fobbed me off with "We test drove it and we don't hear anything," etc. But when it rains there is always moisture under that seal!

    Anyway, the last 10 days the car has developed a rattle on the passenger side which sounds like a snare drum - it's pretty loud -and seems to be connected to the vent/air system, as when i shut off the vents i can't hear it. A little more worrying is that when I steer to the right it gets louder, and when I steer to the left it goes away. I suspect it's something loose in the air system but when i remembered I could ask those of you in this forum, I thought I'd take that opportunity.

    Thanks very much for your thoughts.

  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    steering affects it, then it is more likely something in the steering system, like the CV on the right side, maybe? The car is pretty new for that, though, unless you have been doing off-roading and going up high curbs fast and stuff like that...

    ...are you sure the changes in sound when turning aren't just coincidental with something else?

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

  • shad12shad12 Posts: 14
    3subeowner: I would be interested in the response you receive from subaru. The head gaskets went out on my '98 outback with 94000 miles on it. The dealer response is that it is not particularly unusual. The aluminum heads and block does tend to be heat sensitive and warps after a while. I was told better the gasket for $2200 than the engine for $8000. So, apparently this is normal.
  • krzysskrzyss Posts: 848
    that Chrysler helped Neon owners (like me) with leaky head gaskets well after warranty (51000 in my case).
    And Chrysler is infamous and Subaru not. Life is not fair.
    Maybe it is because Subaru has 2 head gaskets (the boxer feature) ?


    PS I hope to buy WRX some day and its engine seems to be quite bulletproof. People are complaining about transmission (clutch shudder ?) but not about engine.
  • To shad12: I am also posting on the Subaru Crew message board in Wagons-Problems & Solutions. I was definitely struck with the similarity between our cars, same problem, year & mileage. In spite of what your dealer said, failed head gaskets should not be considered normal. For anyone who faces a $2,000 & up repair job, it is a big deal. And yes the $8,000 engine rebuild is worse, but these cars should not be facing these kind of repair issues if they've been well taken care of. Mine has always been garaged, synthetic oil changes, etc. I really debated buying the 100M mile warranty insurance, but was talked out of it. I am lucky that I have the in-house professional auto mechanic to pull the engine and repair heads, replace the clutch, whatever problems come up. But for everyone else, your better off to pay the $800-$900 for warranty protection. Meanwhile, see below, call Subaru and add your saga to their list. If they hear from enough owners, they can issue a Voluntary Campaign bulletin.
    I spoke with Subaru (1/28) about the 2 Subes with head gasket problems. They are interested, but don't have anything pending as far as a recall or a voluntary campaign. The bitter cold is probably a factor (CT has been bone-chilling cold most of January), but these cars & head gaskets should survive much worse. I do have a case # for the '98 Outback (the engine was built 3/14/98) and will be getting information back to them on what we find, if the heads are warped and need machining, etc. They also took info on the '01 Legacy 2.5L GT Sedan but will see reports on that from the dealer with the repair. I recommend to everyone with coolant leaking and head gasket problems get in touch with Subaru on the web-site or the Customer/Dealer Services Department at 1-800-SUBARU-3 (1-800-782-2783). They could do a Voluntary Campaign bulletin if there is enough of an issue.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I immediately thought CV joint, too. But also have them inspect the wheel bearings and the axle boots. Those are rubber so road debris can tear them and make the grease leak, eventually causing noise. It happened to our 626.

    It could also be something stuck in the HVAC hoses, like dry leaves. Maybe crank the vent to full blast and use a strong vacuum to see if you can suck anything out of those vents.

    Maybe visit the dealer when it's raining to show him where the seal isn't tight.

    krzyss: I did some in-depth research into that tranny/clutch issue, and here's what I found.

    First off, every case of tranny failure I could find had modified powertrains, most producing in excees of 280hp (claimed), and were power shifting into 2nd gear and proceeded to shave some teeth off 2nd gear. Noone with the stock 227hp had that problem.

    This is just my opinion, but if you invest that kind of money into the engine, you should be getting the STi's 6 speed tranny while you're at it, plus an ACT or Ludespeed clutch. It's just plain dumb to dump the clutch and power shift ANY tranny, let along a stock one.

    The other thing is that all were 2002 models. The 2003s got a force limiting valve in the clutch mechanism, and while that may limit the fun you might have with wild burnouts, it also saves the tranny and the clutch. I've seen no failures.

    The "chatter" does occur on the clutches, mostly the 2002s once again, but it doesn't seem to affect longevity.

    I followed a thread on NASIOC and some folks were even recommending owners not discuss their mods in public. Shame on them, those liars might make a claim and cost Subaru dearly, then the costs get passed on to loyal customers.

  • Thanks juice and nippon,
    No offroading, treat the car real nice. Hopefully not the CV joint... Leaves are a possibility. Gonna check with the Sube tech on Saturday. Thanks for your ideas. I'll let you know the outcome. Rachel
  • shad12shad12 Posts: 14
    3subeowner:I just picked up my outback today. The service dept said they have 3 more subaru's sitting there waiting for head gaskets. I live in western wa which has a mild climate. Dealer changed oil at the regular intervals and performed the scheduled maintenance. I also used synthetic oil. My drive to work each day was 50 miles round trip on the highway at 55 to 65 mph. No traffic jams. I did email subaru tonite. To Krzyss: Sorry if it seems like I am doing too much whining or crying about this issue. Life is neither fair nor unfair. Before my purchase of a subaru, I spoke with as many subaru owners as possible and tried to research the reliability of subaru's. I am just trying to determine if there is an inherent problem or not. I was just taken by surprise with the head gaskets. No, I would not expect chrysler to build a better neon. I purchased two GM lemons. One a late '70s chevy sedan and then an '81 1/2 ton chev pickup. Even though brand new I never was able to get every mechanical problem fixed. Then I got lucky and purchased a Nissan pickup that was driven to 248,000 miles with very few problems. All mechanical things fail. Even subaru's. Just happens.
  • celica115celica115 Posts: 169
    I pickup up my WRX this morning. Happy driving on the road again. It took the dealer three days to finish the job. The service manager was not happy at me when I picked it up. He said that SOA called him for my car's problem. I am happy that SOA followed up the case. Anyway, as long as my WRX is running good, I don't care he likes it or not. hehehe ...

    Back to the subject, they found the leaks R and R transmission to access leaks from oil seperator co verseal leaking. I am not sure what is that mean, can somebody tell? On the reciept, I can see all of the part#. They replaced 4 seals and 1 belt. Oil seal, oilseal - 32 X 45 X 8, Oil separator cover sealer, cam seal both side and cam belt. They told me that they took out the entire transmission in order to replace those seals. One thing I was suprise, they washed my car.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Remove and replace = R and R. "co verseal" is a typo, it's "cover seal".

    The important thing is they covered it and you got it back. Watch the oil level carefully, just to be safe (we all should anyway).

  • kenskens Posts: 5,869
    This morning, during my routine air pressure check, I found a nail stuck in my driver's side front tire. I'm having that patched for now, but it's time for new tires.

    I'm thinking of going with the SP5000 or, maybe the Sport A2s.

    Is there anything one trades off by going from the Sport A2 to SP5000? I'm sure dry grip is better with the SP5000, but how about wet, snow, tire noise, ride?

    I want to order these soon!

  • lark6lark6 Posts: 2,565
    I've had the SP5000s on for a month. Let's compare them to the Geolandars rather than the 17" Pilot Sport A/S. They have better wet grip in the rain, better dry grip, better handling, and are quieter. Ride is about even. Pressures currently at 34/32 front/rear.

    We had 3" of slushy wet snow here yesterday, which turned to sleet late. They went well most of the time but I did hit an icy patch not far from home where they didn't grip and I slid a bit at about 25-30 mph. Last week we had 2-3" of dry powder and they were fine. They're no worse than the Geos in snow but I can't say they're substantially better either, at least not yet.

  • c_hunterc_hunter Posts: 4,487
    I'm kind of late to this discussion, but thought I would refer to the following link which has some good info:

    A key point: 10w-30 synthetic has a much lower pouring point than 5w-30 dino, and pumps easier when cold (this is slightly different than viscosity). So, you will probably experience quieter startups going from 5w-30 dino to 10w-30 synthetic just because the oil pumps better in spite of its higher viscosity. Note that 5w-30 synthetic pumps only marginally better than 10w-30 synthetic. I think 10w-30 synthetic is a really good choice -- gives you good low temp pumping performance AND better lubrication (higher viscosity) at low temps. Best of both worlds, so to speak.

  • bsvollerbsvoller Posts: 528
    I've reported recently on the Sport A2's in the snow. A definite improvement over the stock Geo's, very well balanced IMHO.

    I run 32 psi all around.

  • fibber2fibber2 Mid Hudson Valley, NYPosts: 3,777

    On face value, this makes sense. I am just having a problem understanding how PP and V differ.

    Also, as 'weight' is a time-distance test (fluid travel down a tube at low temp), what is the new Mobil 1 grade 0w-30 ??? And can there be anything below this 0 grade?

    Confused in oil land,

  • bluesubiebluesubie Posts: 3,497
    Excellent and informative article by Ed Hackett, although the spec. data is getting a little old.

    Example: The gap between the Mobil 1 10W30 and 5W30 Mobil Drive Clean (conventional oil) is narrowing. Mobil 1 10W30 now has a pour point of -49F and the 5W30 conventional has a pour point of -38F (from and

    By that chart, M1 10W30 used to have a pour point of -65F! Hmmm, basestock changes? Hello ExxonMobil!

  • kenskens Posts: 5,869
    Ed, brianV:

    Thanks for your replies. I do remember reading your updates on the tires before.

    The price difference between the SP5000 and Sport A2 is about $10/tire at the local Discount Tire shop. It's small enough that I would cross shop them.

    Ed -- I don't think any all-season tire is going to do well on ice. I remember a scary moment when I was gliding over a patch of black ice with my Geolandars. I don't think anything short of a dedicated winter tire could have made a difference then.

  • hypovhypov Posts: 3,068
    PP = measures ease of flow
    V = measures its ability to maintain lubrication properties.

    ???? My guess ????

  • lark6lark6 Posts: 2,565
    Ken: understood re all-seasons. This winter in the Northeast has been more severe than last. More snowfalls though with less accumulation in each, and definitely much colder. Thank goodness for that Cold Weather Package!

  • c_hunterc_hunter Posts: 4,487
    I have to tell you, I am a mech. engineer who works in fluid dynamics, and I am confused by the concept of pouring point as well. No doubt it is related to viscosity somehow, but clearly it involves other effects. Viscosity is an intrinsic bulk property of a fluid (fluids include gasses and liquids), while pouring point is a application-based "test" as best as I can tell. It likely involves other properties of the fluid such as density, surface tension, internal stresses, etc... in a flowing scenario.

    A jar of oil at a certain temperature has a certain viscosity no matter what you do with it. even if it just sits on the shelf. If you pour the jar out in a specific standardized test, you get a measure of its pouring point. That's my best understanding of the concept.

    Regarding 0W oils, my understanding is that it's a bit less viscous than 5W oils. I found a chart on the AMSOIL website that rates 0W at 57.2 cSt viscosity, while 5W is 59.5 cSt. I have heard about the "timing" of oils to get 5W, 10W, etc.., but have never seen that referenced, so I can't say if it's correct or not (please let me know otherwise). Clearly, zero seconds is not possible for a viscous fluid, but perhaps that's the nomenclature used for a timing less than 1.

  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
    Those heated seats have been bun-savers this winter! It's funny, there have been several times this winter that I opted for the Forester to drive, simply because it has heated seats and no leather. :)

  • I'm not sure which tires to run... last week there was 4-6 inches of snow on the ground here... tomorrow's forecasted high is 51!

    Soon as I put the Spectrums back on, though... winter will make a grand re-appearance! Sheesh!

  • When our 2001 OBW overheated at 21k miles, the dealership's first guess was gasket failure and implied it was pretty common. Now I'm getting really concerned at the thought of a $3000 repair repair bill or more out of warranty. Seem's like the aluminum heads warp at the hint of overheating and that this problem came with the 2.5L increase in displacement and power. Does anyone know if this is a weakness that can be fixed or do we all need to think about trading in?
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