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Subaru Crew Problems & Solutions



  • fibber2fibber2 Mid Hudson Valley, NYPosts: 3,775
    I appreciate your addition to this discussion.

    We electrical engineer types only have to worry about electrons flowing thru wires and across junctions!! Of course for the last 10 years or so I have also had to deal with how ions in a vacuum are influenced by electrostatic fields, and the phonon induced chemical reactions they can cause.... God, do I hate this stuff!

  • To pavery99:Instead of taking the dealer's word that failed head gaskets are common, please call or e-mail (phone info below) and tell them about your experience. If this is a common problem, then they should be doing something more about it. My family made two brand new car purchases & chose Subaru because we thought they were good value and would last for well over 100M+ miles without major failures & $$ expense. If Subaru dealers think that $2,000 and $3,000 expenses are no big deal, then they definitely will lose customers. A lot of non-Sube owners are very surprised to hear that I have 2 Sube's with head gasket problems right now. It's not helping the Subaru reputation.

    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. A recall gets done by federal action, so this probably won't fit in that category.
  • hypovhypov Posts: 3,068
    Your field(s) of knowledge intrigues me. :)
    Thanks for the better understanding of PP vs V Craig.
    Electricity? I do know if you ground yourself and hold the hot wire... you get a good buzz. ;)

  • c_hunterc_hunter Posts: 4,487
    By the way, know anything about IBM's PPC970 CPU? Us Mac users in science/engineering are drooling over it.... Looks to have some of the capabilities of the Power4 plus a vector unit.

  • fibber2fibber2 Mid Hudson Valley, NYPosts: 3,775
    Unfortunately, wrong guy to ask. Our job is to develop the semiconductor technology to make those designs work (gate speed, manufacturability, and the like). We sometimes get involved in the intracacies of why an individual ckt block doesn't work, but few of us really know what the chip does, per se.

  • shad12shad12 Posts: 14
    "We are sorry to learn of the circumstances that prompted your contact. No technical bulletins have been issued in reference to the condition you have described. Therefore, we must rely on the expertise of an authorized subaru dealeship to handle this matter. Because they have the advantage of a hands-on inspection, your local subaru dealership is in the best position to inspect the vehicle to address your concerns."
    "Unfortunately, the life expectancy of any mechanical component is indefinite. As a result, we issue the subaru powertrain warranty with the hopes that any problems you may experience will be taken care of without expense to you. However, as you may be aware, the warranty expired at 60,000 miles. Beyond the warranty period, we are not in a position to offer financial assistance with repairs unless there is a recall on the component. There are no open recalls pertaining to your vehicle at this time. Should a recall ever be issued on this, or any other vehicle component, we will contact you by mail."
  • I received my parts from yesterday. They rock. Good prices and service. Now I'll be able to make my car whole again this weekend.

    As for tires... I've had the Sport A2s for about a month now and I am very happy with them. No comparison to the OE tires. For the money they are hard to beat.

  • Great. I finally spring for a new car and a month later the horror stories start...
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    No heated seats here, I'm freezing my buns!

  • lfdallfdal Posts: 679
    I know. Bad enough I got myself an 03 Forester in July, but I talked my wife into ditching her 97 Accord wagon to move up to an 03 Outback wagon. We both bought the extended warranty for 6yrs/80k. Bet I/we don't keep it/them long enough for the warranty to expire, unless this dies down or Subaru makes a general recall.
    Are those of us on a group like this just a very minor subset of all Subaru owners, such that the statistics are biased?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Well, people with a problem seek out boards such as these to get help, so yeah, I think you see a higher proportion of complaints. We have 3 of the 2.5l engines in our family and every one has been flawless.

    There are about a million 2.5l engines out there, remember.

    If you want your engine to run cooler, you can get a bottle of Water Wetter by Redline, it's about $7 or so from any good speed shop.

    If you have a gasket leak, odds are you'll know before any damage is done to the heads, at least I would hope so. The temp gauge would also register so you would have time to shut off the engine.

  • Took the car into the dealer for routine oil change etc. and mentioned the antifreeze smell reported earlier. Small weapage found by them on the left side. Parts are on order for the replacement next week.
    Should I request both heads be repaired? What other work (parts replacement) should be done that could save me disassemble costs later. The car has ~28K miles, put into service July 2001
  • Just had the head gaskets replaced on my 99 Forester .. drivers side. My impression is that most of the reported leaks are external. Mine was a slow seepage that was very difficult to find - just occasional odor of coolant as small drop would fall on the exhaust pipe running under engine. Car has 47000 miles - never overheated. I doubt Subaru would do a general recall on so many head gaskets - My hope is that its a one time fix since I do like this car.
    Larry in Alabama
  • Sorry if these have already been posted, but I found these links about oil to be interesting and informative: - m
    Both of these address pour point.

    My question is for new car purchasers: We just bought an '03 TS wagon, and are wondering about the timeframe of the 1st oil change. Old school thinking is that it should be done @ 1000 to 1500 miles to remove metal bits and such that are inherent in breaking in a brand new engine. Our dealer says change at 3000 because it has "break-in" oil that needs to stay in that long before changing. However, this is the same service dept. that told me to only replace one strut on another vehicle at 90000 miles and one was leaking badly. You could say I lack confidence in their information.

    I called Subaru, and they said 3000, based on the normal service oil change interval of 7500... BUT, in "severe" environments, which in reality apply to many drivers, the interval is half, so 7500 becomes about 3000 and 3000 becomes 1500. So, any other opinions, as I probably can only get less confused from here. Any info from someone who has gone down this road before would be great, as this is my 1st new car purchase. Thanks.

    (yet another) Steve
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Actually, Subaru uses plain old Havoline conventional oil from the factory, no special additives. Change it when you're ready and don't worry.

    I changed mine at 1k the first time, and I have 49k miles now and average 25mpg, so it couldn't have been wrong.

  • nygregnygreg Posts: 1,936
    Had my gasket done over the holidays with 33K on the car. I asked about the right side. They said they are only seeing left gaskets fail and Subaru would not authorize the right side. They did a "leak down" test after the installation to make sure the new one was on correctly. They will replace your antifreeze and oil (2 items you need to do in 2K miles anyway). They changed my plugs for an extra $20 bucks or so with Bosch plugs. I also had them change fluids on both diffys and the auto tranny. Since I use Mobil 1, I gave them the oil to use. Total out of bocket was $144. Oh, and they replaced my front rotors and all pads under warranty too. They took care of me.

  • leo2633leo2633 Posts: 589
    Just an observation on the bun warmers: The ones in my '01 Forester S heat up quicker and get much warmer than the ones on my wife's '02 Outback. Maybe there is more padding on the OB cushions? I know I much prefer the Forester on the more frigid mornings. Those heaters are NICE!!! Anyone else have one of each to compare?

    Thanks in advance,
  • c_hunterc_hunter Posts: 4,487
    I'd have to agree -- the heaters on my wife's 03 Forester get warmer faster than the ones on my 02 Outback. Which is good, because she is always cold!

  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
    Could it be the seat material? Do cloth seats warm up quicker than leather seats? I know leather seats seem to feel much colder in the winter than cloth seats, when you first climb in.

  • c_hunterc_hunter Posts: 4,487
    Both are leather in our case, though we would prefer cloth. I bet leather warms up quicker, but feels colder at first so it's probably a wash.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Depends on where they put the heaters, but I would think cloth breathes easier, so it should warm up quicker. I dunno.

    Wish I had seat heaters to find out!

  • nygregnygreg Posts: 1,936
    on the thermal mass of leather vs. cloth. Anyone have a calibrated bunn?

  • nygregnygreg Posts: 1,936
    My experience is the same as Larry's. At 33k, the left gasket went. Subaru could extend the warranty to, say, 100k for head gaskets. Toyota did the same concerning sludge (increased to 8 years, unlimited mileage!) even though the % of sludged engines is very small.

  • Same here. The wife's 02 Forester bun warmers heat faster than my 00 Outback.
  • leo2633leo2633 Posts: 589
    We have cloth seats in both vehicles (base Outback and Forester S) so we're not comparing the leather to cloth seating surfaces. Thanks for all the input. I guess it's the design of the seat and/or heater in the Forester that lets it warm up faster. FWIW, a friend has a Mercedes E320 wagon, and the heated seats (leather, of course) in that vehicle don't get as warm as the Forester, either.

  • When my gasket/head replacement event happened at 21k miles, there was no smell and the temp gage was never in the red. I had been driving on an interstate for 2 hours at 75mph in cold weather - temp looked normal until we slowed down to exit. My experience with the SOA dealer service people has not been good and I feel pretty bitter about the whole thing. Even if 1% of cars have this happen it's still a large number of victims.
  • I'm a Michelin fanatic and put these on my Subaru Legacy Wagon this winter. I drove them on glare ice for a half mile at freeway speeds before noticing the other lane (a quarter mile away out West here) had a flare every few hundred yards and getting suspicious. It was dark and the rain suddenly began freezing. At any rate, they were incredible in terms of stability - I didn't even know the ice was under me. It was so slick, I could barely generate any braking force without the ABS detecting slippage so I simply coasted from 75 down to a safer 30.

    Another glare ice event a few days later showed the same results, though I also added excellent slide recovery to my assessment by playing a bit in the streets.

    Packed snow, they're amazing - idiot proof.

    Other than the ice/packed snow performance though, they've been kind of disappointing. On a few inches of snow, or slush they do not track well - constantly threatening to ease you off the road. They also broke loose easily on wet on ramps. Oh, also the braking performance on ice was not as strong as the cornering and acceleration ability.

    They're quiet and ride far better than the winter tires I've typically used (steel studs, aggressive tread), but lack directional stability - a trait I attribute to the soft compound and heavy siping.

    We have the 4X4 Alpin version on the LandCruiser, which has been excellent in all conditions. The tread pattern is more like the Alpin Pilot, which I'd have gotten were it available in a 15".

    Would I buy them again? Definitely not. They're not a well rounded winter tire - too specifically for ice and packed stuff for my taste.

  • leo2633leo2633 Posts: 589

    Interesting review of the Michelin's. I have a set of Blizzak's mounted on steel wheels for my Forester and the wife's Outback (both 5 speeds). Although we've had several snow "events" this winter season, only the December 5th storm was significant, dropping around 9-10 inches. Anyway, I mounted the Blizzaks on the Forester that day and was quite amazed at how well they did, in deep, loose and packed snow. I started, stopped and turned in every manner I could on the roads I drove on, and never once slipped or got stuck. The ABS hardly ever kicked in either, leading me to believe the traction was so good that ABS wasn't triggered. Because our roads were cleared by the next day, I removed the Blizzak's and put the Geos back on.

    I didn't have the opportunity to try the Blizzak's on ice, so that review will have to wait for another day. However, I can honestly say that the Forester with the Blizzak's did better in every situation in that particular storm than my '87 Montero (also a 5 speed) used to do with it's Goodyear Wrangler AT's. I realize that the Montero's higher ground clearance and part time 4WD with low range would do better in really deep snow, but the Forester did great in the conditions I've encountered so far.

  • hondafriekhondafriek Ottawa CanadaPosts: 2,970
    I live in Ottawa Canada where snow is a given for at least 5 months of every year, this year I put BF Goodrich winter slaloms on my GT wagon, in the twenty nine winters that I have lived here these are by far the best winter tires I have ever had on any car.

    They grip like hell in any condition,and try as I might I have only been able to get the ABS to kick in once, on dry pavement they are much quieter than the eagle RSAs that I run in the summer.

     I would have no hesitation recommending the winter Slaloms.

     Cheers Pat.
  • toboggantoboggan Posts: 283
    Normally Minnesota (Twin Cities) has a snowy winter starting in November. The Blizzaks WS-50s (mounted on take-off OB rims) then stay in place until early April. These tires have performed in 16" snows plus plowing through the pile at the end of the driveway. Ice has not been a problem either. But this dry year has caused the sticky part of the tread to wear more rapidly.

    Plus the wife's '95 Jeep Cherokee (Selec-Trac transfer case) has a set. That goes in full time 4-wheel in November 'til April (normally).

    Steve in Minnesota
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