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Subaru Crew Problems & Solutions



  • Had check engine light come on, first steady (1+ days), and then flashing when going up a hill. Had it towed to dealer. (2000 GT sedan - 53K)

    They first replaced the plugs and coil assembly. When I called back the first day, they said it still wasn't working right - it was now backfiring.

    Ended up also replacing the fuel injector and ignition wire.

    Is 6 hours labor reasonable for that work?

    I'm asking this because the dealer (Toyota/Subaru) lost their key Subaru tech. a few months ago (he moved away). I don't mind paying for the actual labor (including diagnosis), but I'm leery about paying for learning time.

  • I believe that under union regulations, the dealer will only charge you what their guide states is the required/negotiated number of hours for specific services. I could be wrong though.
  • lucien2lucien2 Posts: 2,984
    *whispers* psst! That's "brake," not "break" *sneaks away*
  • hypovhypov Posts: 3,068
    I believe cost of labor time is computed against a set of time it will take to perform a certain task, i.e. Oil Change = 0.20hr. Your car may have spent 6hrs with the tech, but if the given time to accomplish the tusk [plug, coil, fuel injector, and ignition wire] totals to 3hrs, then labor cost shall be 3hrs.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Where's Mike Smith to correct our grammer. Grammur. Grammar? ;-)

  • I took Subie in for a tire rotate yesterday at the local Les Schwab. Yes, I am obsessive but sheesh! I asked for 32 psi all around and lug nut torque set to 70. I even asked the mechanic (who looked 17) if he set them at 32 after he handed me the keys. He said yes. I checked them this morning. Front two were at 36.5 and 38, back two both near 32. I had brought the rear tires up to 36psi when I had a heavy load last weekend for camping hence the front tires being high after rotating them from the back.

    If he lied about the psi, I don't trust the torque settings either. Why should I? It bugs that they do rotations for free. I'd rather they charged me $10.00 and did a legitimately good job like checking for correct air pressures and torque.

    I have a new digital air pressure gauge but no torque wrench. I looked on Sears.Com Craftsmans and they had about 30 or so up to $200.00. I have no idea what to get but I'd like to have one. I do have an assortment of sockets but don't know if they are the correct size nor how they adapt to a torque wrench.

    Care to educate a car maintenance novice? Thanks guys!


    P.S. I found this page which I found interesting. Even doesn't have torque wrenches in its library.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    Tell the manager. I had a flat fixed free at an older Schwab outlet a few hours north of here a few weeks ago, and was able to watch and chat with the tech. He hand started the nuts, used an air wrench, and then finished tightening them with a torque wrench. Pressure was right on too.

    Sounds like your tech hasn't got with the program.

    Steve, Host
  • once_for_allonce_for_all Posts: 1,640
    came on yesterday on my '03 XS Forester. I checked the gas cap, it was tight, I spun it in and clicked it again. Light still on, manual says it is some type of emissions problem and might go away after a few "drives". Still drives great, no hesitation, power loss, roughness, etc. Only the light stays on...

    Do I bug the dealer? If so, do I do it right away or give it a few days?

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Nah, Rebecca, they'd charge you $10 and still cut corners.

    If you already have sockets, just put them on your wheel lugs to see what size fits. For cars, it's usually anywhere from 19mm to 22mm.

    Then go buy a torque wrench that fits that socket (or get an adaptor so it fits).

    If you don't have a ratchet/socket set, then you can start from scratch.

  • jlemolejlemole Posts: 345
    Why would you be worried about "bugging" the dealer? If the light comes on, it's an indication that something may be wrong with the car. It's under warranty and any reputable dealer should not be bothered by your having it checked out. And, if it turns out to be something, you'll want a service history on it.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Access is pretty tough for the boxer, it's best to remove part of the intake and the windshield washer reservoir just to change the plugs.

    I'll do that at 60k, when I need to change the air filter again anyways.

    Take it in, John. If your O2 sensor fails later on, you have records that it might have been malfunctioning earlier. Mazda charged us $220 (!) just for parts to change ours on our 626.

  • kenskens Posts: 5,869

    Good for you for keeping up on details like that!

    You can find torque wrenches for a lot less money here: 239

    Typically, tools like that come in 1/2" or 3/8" drives. I'd even say that typical socket sets are more popular in 3/8" drive.

    You can either:
    - Figure out the drive size of your existing socket and match the torque wrench, or
    - Buy a torque wrench and buy the socket that matches the wrench and the lug nuts

    Most auto shops will sell individual sockets for a couple of bucks each.

  • stoner420stoner420 Posts: 165
    I've got a Craftsman $20 special ... not a ratchet type, it just has a bar that deflects and points to the torque that you are applying at any given moment. Typically I will use my ratchet to tighten most of the way, then use the torque wrench to finish off. Anyone used one of these? Are they terribly inaccurate?
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    I've been actually torquing mine to about 85lbs since a few times when I did it to the presecribed amount, they came loose a few days later. I've found temperature differences make a big difference with the chrome lugs on the steel wheel studs.

  • Thank you guys. Sounds like I need to figure the socket that fits my lug nuts, take it and my current adapters to the store. I have a couple adapters and I don't have the right size they aren't much cost to buy.

    If I am understanding correctly the 1/2" or 3/8" refers to the square part that sticks out the side of the end of the wrench handle and holds the socket on. So my socket would either fit the torque wrench as is or I need an adapter if it is the opposite size.

    Thank you again!

    Steve: I called Les Schwab's and told them I was disappointed. The manager was friendly and apologized but also mentioned they replace their gauges weekly and that maybe mine is off. But if mine is off wouldn't it be off the same on all wheels? Mine is anly a couple of weeks old.

    Juice: Yeah, you are probably right about them still not doing the job right even if they charged.

    Ken: I have picked up on a lot about the details reading here. I would like to do more maintenance but I cannot imagine getting under my car. Scares me. I am afraid I will cause more harm than good. I'll do other stuff though. I installed my own speakers and stereo!

  • locke2clocke2c Posts: 5,038
    That's a lame excuse the mgr gave you, Rebecca. An insult to your intelligence IMO.

    Personally, I'd find another servicer...

    Good job on the carfi install!

  • jfljfl Posts: 1,385
    I've found that most sockets from kits are not deep enough for lug bolts (at least not for the domed ones from the WRX wheels). Also, sometimes, you'll need to clear the fender while torquing the wheels so get deeper sockets. My new socket is about 2" long, which fits my needs perfectly. Longer ones are also available.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Yes, we are referring to that square section you mentioned.

    I have not needed deep sockets for any of my lugs, but it wouldn't hurt to have them, they are more flexible.

  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    We use deep sockets when we toruque down the lugs.

  • dcm61dcm61 Posts: 1,552

    Forester, Legacy, and Outback lug nuts are 19mm.

    Sears very often has Craftsman 3/8" drive deep well socket sets (Metric or SAE) on sale for half price. When it's on sale, you can get the set for a little more money than just buying the one 19mm socket ($5.49). Look for item #34443 on Regular price is $19.99 for the 9 piece set; often on sale for $9.99.

  • c_hunterc_hunter Posts: 4,487
    For many common automotive purposes, a 1/2" click-type torque wrench with 18" bar is just about perfect. I use a 3/4" (=19.05mm) regular depth socket for my lugs (fits Subarus and Hondas) and have a 3" extender. When you get a 1/2" socket, regular depth is actually about 1" deep. Make sure it's a hardened socket.

    Here's a pic of my rig.

    I believe it was about $60 at Sears. Goes from 20 to 150 ft-lb (I use 65 ft-lb for Subaru lugs). You'd probably want a smaller, shorter setup for engine work or work in tight spaces.

    One important thing -- when you torque anything, make sure the nut/bolt is not too tight already. The wrenches are not accurate when you attempt to torque an already tight bolt. If the wrench clicks right away, either the bolt/nut was overtorqued, or it's sticking and the torque load will not be accurate. I only trust the torque wrench when I get a smooth, stick-free turn up to the click.

  • once_for_allonce_for_all Posts: 1,640
    I will try to bring it in tomorrow. Maybe they will give me an XT for the weekend (yea right keep dreaming!).

  • rob999rob999 Posts: 233
    is that buying inexpensive imported tools is rarely the least costly in the long run. You'd be better off paying a bit more up front for a Craftsman (or Snap-On) than a cheap tool sold at the discount auto store that's made in Taiwan.

    My latest example:

    While working on an antique truck I needed to replace all the brake lines, so I bought an inexpensive, imported double-flare flaring tool set. I tried probably 20 times to get a decent flair made, without success. At this time the tubing was starting to slip thru the clamp, as the clamp grooves had worn out. Finally the casting of the flaring arbor just plain broke!

    Disgusted, I ordered a set made by RIDGID - a quality manufacturer. Yes, I spent 2x the cost of my original set, but it worked great the very first time and I finished all the other flares with one try each!
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I have aftermarket lugs, that I got with my rims. I think they're 20 or 22mm, I forget now.

    Also, the Miata's lugs are bigger than the Legacy's, which seems odd, but then it has a 4 bolt pattern, vs. 5x100mm for Subies.

    Ditto on the use of quality tools. The Right Tool for the Job, that's my motto.

  • #noname#noname Posts: 58
    Wow, now I feel well educated on torque wrenches. Thank you all for your patience and explanations. The posters on this board are the best I have had the pleasure of "knowing".

    I also tend to buy the best quality rather than the least expensive in most things I purchase. I would rather save time and frustration than money.

    Sears is having a big sale tomorrow. I will be there.

  • I was allowed to post but afterwards it showed me not logged in and my username isn't attached to the post.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    Yep, weird glitch this morning. At least you're back :-)

    Steve, Host
  • kenskens Posts: 5,869
    Rebecca: Don't be afraid of getting close and personal with your car. Just start with small steps and build your confidence. At the very minimum, make yourself familiar with the fluids in the engine bay and the tire pressures. Oil changes and tire rotations can follow.

    Here's a good link with pictures to get you started on some basic maintenance items:

    It's under "modifications" but they're really not modifications at all.

    Have fun.

  • once_for_allonce_for_all Posts: 1,640
    being the computer saying a "misfire" condition was occurring, but there was no misfire condition. The shop manager shipped the computer somewhere to get it reprogrammed. Lost three hours of time getting into a rental, which will be mine until Tuesday (it wasn't an XT :-(). Interesting, I saw them take out the computer, it is in a "false" floor underneath the passenger firewall.

  • jfljfl Posts: 1,385
    Another site with photos and descriptions of maintenance and modification information is

    None of this is rocket science. It's probably easier than cooking!

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