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Subaru Crew Problems & Solutions



  • subearusubearu Posts: 3,613
    Yeah, I pictured the damager worse on your GT.

    Do you know how fast rolling down your driveway is? 5mph by the time it hit the truck?

  • jlemolejlemole Posts: 345
    Based on past discussions it seems that everyone has the ticking sound when the engine is cold. If it goes away once the engine is warm, I wouldn't worry about it. If you still hear it when the engine is warm, you might have a piston slap issue, though this is uncommon on the Phase II SOHC engine.

  • Forget the technobabble.
    If all 4 wheels are on a slippery surface(ice, leaves) at the same time without at least one wheel having considerably more traction, the ABS will continue to adjust until it stops the car. Meanwhile, your still moving.
    We own subarus, were confident, sometimes overconfident. we expect more. Perhaps your car was performing perfectly but needed more room to stop.
    You can't change the laws of physics.
    Seconds feel like minutes - that's the scary part.

    I had an experience of my own. About 10 years ago
    one January morning all of N. Jersey was covered with black ice. I had a Jeep Cherokee at the time-4wd,ABS. accelerating was not a problem, however breaking was a different story. I took some back roads to avoid traffic - big mistake. I was doing about 10-15mph(it was that bad)and a dog ran out in front of me. I applied the breaks,not hard, and continued to slide past at least 4 houses until I came to a stop.(300ft!) All the while the ABS was working just fine.

    I think you get my point.

    P.S - the dog is fine.
  • gaia1gaia1 Posts: 1
    1999 Subaru Outback, Limited Edition. Bought the car used, no accidents. Since I've owned the car, Subaru has had to fix the oil (?) seals and put in a new timing belt at 38,000. The driver and passenger windows had to be replaced because they were already marred and scratched. The windows are still 'squeaking' and last winter, I had a problem getting the window to close! The Windows are still not working the best, the driver bottom heat seater is broken and the light which lights up the gear shifter is broken. Should this happen to a 1999 vehicle? I've was told that to fix the heat seater and the light in the gear shifter, all of the parts had to be removed to see where the problem is. 75,000 miles, heavily maintained and this car is acting like it's 10 years old.
  • I did a few rolling tests and the best I can guess it was between 5 and 10mph. Now that is if my brake was not set at all but there is the possibility it was partially set. In my haste to get the car out of the street I didn't take time to notice if the brake was set at all. The funny thing is that this is a GT with relatively low ride height. It must have it the truck just right... riding up and over the rocker panel and dissipating energy as it pushed into the softer structure of the door.

    As for more damage... yeah, I am still concerned. But I checked under the car and pulled out the spare and all the cargo area trim but found no indication of any damage. No buckles in the metal or cracked paint. I measured the car (OCD!) and could find no discrepancies side to side. I even checked the connecting points of the bumper assembly and could see no indication of movement. All panel gaps look good. The only indication of anything more than the bumper is the tailight slight misalignment and the back edge of the right rear fender where it meets the tailgate is maybe an 1/8" off. But the bumper cover is pushing up on it and may be holding it in that position. Given the tailgate was open at the time of impact it shows no damage... hinges and mounting points look perfect and alignment is right on. Closes just like new. The gate did impact the top of the truck either with the interior trim or more likely the latch on the gate.

    I'm either very lucky or more will show up during repairs. If it ends up the fender is deformed I would rather leave it as is (not really noticeable) than have it messed with.

  • mrk610mrk610 Posts: 378
    I just got my oil analysis back for my car . I have a 02 outback base wagon with 32 k miles on it . I have had the car diagnosed with piston slap at 6k miles . I use mobil 1 5w40 in the winter and 10w40 in the summer I change the oil at 5 k intervals . My oil came back normal for my engine . No abnormal wear due to the slap problem . So I guess SOA is right that it does no damage to the engine . I sent the oil to Blackstone labs . It cost 20 bucks and they supply the shipping container .
    Well I felt so good about my car that I gave it a good detailing to day at work .
    I now feel alot better and I'll just have to learn to live with the noise .

  • jfljfl Posts: 1,385
    Valid point.

    The effect net would probably have been the same w/o ABS. (Except that the wheels would have been locked unless you pumped the brakes.)

  • hondafriekhondafriek Ottawa CanadaPosts: 2,969
    Chevy says built tough to stay tough, well I guess the Subie is tougher:-).

      I guess you learned from your sunroof experience if you are going to leave the lttle crease alone, see what they say it just might need a little nudge from a porta power, thats the hydraulic ram that they use to push out creases.

      Cheers Pat.
  • lfdallfdal Posts: 679
    Three down, one to go. Pulled the glove compartment, the drivers side under dash panel, the radio panel, the spare tire well styrofoam and the gearshift panel today.

    Rattles / squeaks gone:
    1) padded the styrofoam in the rear where there was any chance of styrofoam to styrofoam contact. Seems to have been successful.

    2) loose bolt on drivers side tightened - don't know what connectors were mounted to it, but the whole assy was loose.

    3) air filter cover lower snap fitting was wedged in on one side vs. being snapped over tab. This is almost forgivable considering that they've made removing that cover even worse that the 03's. The trick is going to be convincing the dealer I didn't break it. A $23.00 part. Talk about ridiculous markup - must be all of 1.5" by 6.0" piece of plastic.

    4) harness rattle on drivers side - used a couple of ty-wraps. Seems to be gone.

    Unsure about the snapping / popping sound. Didn't locate a specific cause and the weather was too warm today to be sure if anything I did had an effect. BTW - the snapping popping noise is so loud that cranking the radio up to drown it out would not only make me deaf, but would also guarantee I'd never hear a police/fire/ambulance siren. Yes, Virginia, it is that loud.

    Lot's of things I'd rather have done on a Boston area day in the 70's at this time of year.

  • The sound system suddenly went missing in my '01 Forester Friday. The radio was playing when I parked, and then wasn't working when I started the car a couple of hours later. It seems to *think* it's working - the display works as usual, showing the radio station selected, or volume level. I loaded a CD, and the display showed the track and the time within the track. But there's no sound . . .

    This happened to me once before, a couple of years ago. But it only lasted until I started the car again - after sitting overnight, the sound system worked fine, so I didn't bother taking it to the dealer. Now, of course, the b-to-b warranty is up. Any ideas before I call the dealer?

    Faye (long-time lurker)
  • We have had nasty driving for a week now (as I'm sure subkid has up north), and the Forester has been terrific to drive. I actually have only had the ABS kick in once - the 4 disk brakes do a great job of slowing the vehicle, and the AWD just gives so much control. I don't know what a traction-control system would add, but I can't believe it could get much better than this.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Cool, Mike. Someone else did an oil analysis and it also came out normal, was it hypov IIRC?

    Faye: I'd suspect a loose harness. I kind of doubt the speakers are on a seperate fuse, but check that just in case.

    The Forester's radio is very easy to access, much more so than the Legacy's. If you feel up to doing it yourself, let me know and I'll try to find some pics.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Yes, I agree with your point. Zero friction equals zero braking, no matter the technology.

    Christine: sounds like you've had more than your share of problems. But I'll tell you...our 626 has a lot more costly problems by that mileage, so it could be worse.

    The seat heater failure is rare, maybe the first I've heard of that. The O-ring seal failure on the oil pump is not exactly common, but I've seen it. Bulbs blow, that's normal for any brand. I'm sure Sylvania or some other company makes them universally, for several manufacturers. Window seals were replaced - their angle can be adjusted. See if that repair is warranteed.

    Larry: thanks for the update.

  • I had a strange problem with my '04 XS this weekend. I went to put my new license plate on the back of the car, and the plastic housings that the screws screw into started turning with the screws so that I could neither tighten nor loosen the screws beyond that point. There is still a good 1/4" of play between the screws and the license plate.

    I tried everything I could think of to no avail, and I finally called the service dept. and they told me that this was a fairly common problem with Subarus for some reason and that if I brought it by, they'd fix it. I'll probably do that since I only have 700 miles on my car and don't want to risk breaking something this early (I'm a novice with car work at best), but I figured you guys would want to know and I'm interested to hear what you have to say.

    Any ideas? I think that if I was able to remove the hard plastic casing on the back door under the window, I could probably get to those plastic housings from that side.

    I still can't believe I ran into this problem.
  • bluesubiebluesubie Posts: 3,497
    I did one on the OB and the WRX. The WRX UAO was very good at 5,400 miles on Mobil 1 10W30 (life still left in the oil). The OB's was also good with 10W30 GTX at 3,800 miles. I used Blackstone as well.

  • subkidsubkid Posts: 94
    Hi frying,

    yes, I had a very nice experience over the last couple of days. You wouldn't believe it, but that very morning when we woke up with the snow and icy streets, I got up a half an hour earlier, just to take a car for a spin out there before going to work. On streets, I couldn't tell there were anything troubling. ABS didn't go off because I was soft on brakes. Actually, I figured out how bad it was only after I took my small FWD car to work (wife gets to drive Forester :( ). Then, I took it to the empty parking lot and started pushing it until I brought it into a skid. It was a plain ice sheet covered with 10 cm of snow. Acceleration - no problem. ABS kicks in all the time with the feeling that would be best described as a plastic gear where teeth are constantly breaking under the pressure of one's foot. I can't tell I was impressed with the stopping distance, but I was able to steer all the time. I liked the fact that after being brought into a skid, car was easy to bring back under control. Didn't feel any shifting of torque between front and real wheels or jerkiness often described by CRV owners. Over all, I was impressed with its snow/ice handling ability and a little concerned how fast I had to go to feel I'm in (controlled) trouble. There's no way I would ever, under the circumstances, go that fast in my other car. Forester successfully masks bad driving conditions, so that can cause a problems if one isn't careful.

    Over couple of days, I tried to push it a little on the streets, just to get comfortable with the car before real winter starts (FYI - real winter in Canada means 50 cm of snow, -20 most of the time, black ice on highways and on top of that everybody drives like it's summer time because everybody had it enough and nobody cares any more :)). It's my impression that, when pushed too fast into a turn or sharp curve, car initially under steers, then over steers and finally gets it right. But it is controlled all the time and easily corrected with only slight move of steering wheel without taking a foot from the gas pedal. And once used to it, it's very predictable.

    I'll post more, once real thing kicks in.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Note: try this at your own risk...

    If it were me, I'd yank it out with pliers, then get a slightly fatter self-tapping screw to replace it.

    But go to your dealer, yours is so new.

  • I filled up my 2003 Forester 2.5X with 87 octane, then didn't drive it for one day. Upon return, it took quite a bit of cranking to start up, then ran so roughly it sounded like only 3 cylinders firing.
     I then let it sit for ten minutes, and it started up and ran fine.
      Subaru tech guy told me Foresters need 89 octane to run right.. I've never used anything but 87 octane and never had a problem til this one instance of leaving the car sit for a day. Have always bought gas at this same place.
  • ballisticballistic Posts: 1,687
    As your long experience shows, 87 octane is fine. The technician was blowing smoke with the 89-octane comment.

    From your description, I'm guessing your last fill-up might have included a small amount of water in the gas. By any chance was the last service station a low-volume seller?

    Try putting an inexpensive can of gas-line anti-freeze into your fuel tank. It is mainly alcohol, which binds with any water in the bottom of your fuel tank so that the engine can eliminate it. It also lowers the freezing point of the water so that it can't freeze in the fuel line, leaving you stranded.

    I'm not big on additives, but I typically run a can of gas-line antifreeze through my cars about once every other year.
  • cptpltcptplt Posts: 1,075
    hey, if you live in the midwest or anywhere where gasohol is standard, you'd be running 10% ethanol through your fuel lines everday!
    I will have to admit it beats putting the isoheet in the tank in winter!
  • subaru_teamsubaru_team Posts: 1,676
    in States where they use summer and winter blends of fuel, spring and fall always seem to bring complaints about vehicle performance - in such States. I think the transition is difficult for the systems to adjust too. After a few fills with the "fuel of the season" the problems abate. Just to be sure, you should always have a dealer check it out. From what I have read/learned, it isn't just a Subaru issue. I think most newer vehicles experience this to some degree.

    I think there were a bunch of post here about fuels awhile ago. We do have some fuel experts here at Edmunds that were very helpful in explaining all of this.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Let the fuel pump prime, also. Turn the key to the on position, but give it a couple of seconds. You'll hear a "whirr" sound, that's the fuel pump. Then start her up.

    Another thing is have your battery inspected. At a minimum check the fluid level and top off with distilled water.

  • hi guys,

    I need the experience of the crew to diagnose a possible problem. my 98L started to make a whirling noise when I take a left hand turn at speed or a curve that lean the car to the right. The noise only occurs if the car is leaned toward the passenger side, once I come out of the curve the whirling noise is gone. I had the bearings replaced not more than 10K miles ago, I don't know if they have gone bad all over again or if its something else.

    Any help is appreciated.

    Thank you in advance

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    This is a Forester L, did they replaced both rear bearings?

    Do a quick visual inspection of the right side suspension. Check the boots, look for leaking grease. While you're at it, spray some lithium grease on the sway bar bushings, those can squeek.

    Maybe the shocks are due for replacement.

  • "At a minimum check the fluid level and top off with distilled water."

    Why do you use distilled water? Does it make a difference if you use regular tap water? If it does, I will start using distilled water instead.
  • lfdallfdal Posts: 679
    You want water with the lowest possible mineral content - hence distilled - the minerals tend to degrade the plates inside the battery and reduce its ability to hold a charge.

  • otis123otis123 Posts: 432
    My LLBean just turned 50K. I noticed a strange sound coming (I think) from the rear right of the car. When I turn the steering wheel to the left - over a 1/2 turn - I get a scraping sound like metal on metal. Once I straighten the car, sound goes away. Doesn't happen when I turn right and doesn't happen when standing still - need to be going over 5 mph.

    So, not power steering? Wheel bearing - but sounds like metal scraping on a rotor? Happens when not braking.

    Anyone with similar experience???

    Thanks in advance,

  • ozman62ozman62 Posts: 229
    Check out my reply to your post in Legacy Problems.
  • grugrugrugru Posts: 20
    44k on my 01 S; vibrations at high speed, heavy braking. Expecting new rotors. Typical for this mileage? What are folks typically paying?

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Yep, what Larry said. :-)

    99 cents at Wal Mart or Target.

    Ralph: debris in the brakes? Though a wheel bearing can make a scrunching sound, our 626's did when it was failing.

    grugru: check the lug nut torque. Though if it's warped it may already be too late.

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