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Subaru Crew Problems & Solutions



  • Went in yesterday for a slightly overdue tire rotation & balance check and left with the vibration from earlier this summer back with a vengeance!

    Good news still exists, however:
    - discovered a torn boot, thus the LF drive axle & CV joints got replaced before real damage could occur. I apparently missed the boot tear when I was underneath during my last oil change. Nothing bent underneath as a vibration cause.
    - the tech agrees there's an as yet unresolved issue - had trouble convincing them before that it wasn't my imagination. By a process of elimination, we've narrowed the suspect list down to two tire/wheel combos.
    - took the snow tire/wheels to them last night for comparison - they were right as rain (solid, smooth, and vibration-free) when they came off, so we'll see.

    I've contended all along that it's one of the wheels that's just enough out of true to cause problems at speed. If so, the tires we swapped out this spring weren't at fault. I've bet the tech a can of soda. :)

    Paul (carless in Spokane Valley, but with enough honey-do's on the menu that I won't miss it today) :)
  • kenskens Posts: 5,869
    I'd also stick to at least a xW-30 weight oil too. If you look in the owner's manual, Subaru recommends 5W-30 for climates up to something around 90 degrees (I don't remember what it was exactly). For warmer climates and heavier use (ie. towing), they recommend higher viscosity oils. Also, in Europe and other regions that don't have the same CAFE standards that we do, they even use xW-40 weight oils as factory fill.

    I wouldn't take a 1-2 mpg improvement for potential engine wear. Instead, try slightly higher tire pressures (vs. the door jamb recommendation) and most importantly, be gentle on the throttle.

  • bluesubiebluesubie Posts: 3,497
    How difficult would it be to change the valve cover gasket? Is it just removing the bolts, replacing the gasket (maybe some sealant) and making sure nothing falls out of the engine? :) My wife's 99 OB with 91k miles has a slight leak.

    Or maybe I'll just slightly retorque the bolts, then use some high mileage oil since it is thicker and should contain more additives. I'll try the easy way first. Wonder how hard those gaskets would be to remove? Nasty?

  • Brake systems aren't sealed from the air. The caps on master cylinders are vented. If they weren't the brakes would lock on & not release. ;) That vent also causes the fluid to accumulate water.

  • Did you ever find out what was the cause of your fuse blowing. I have a 95 Geo metro and it has started doing a similar thing. The ignition fuse keeps blowing. I have gone over the engine and found that it doesn't blow if I disconect the ground wire coming from the ignition coil.
  • fibber2fibber2 Mid Hudson Valley, NYPosts: 3,775

    I have not done it on a Subaru, but remember that you also have O-rings on the spark plug tubes as well to contend with.

  • Recently my '98 Forester has been stinking up the place. I suspected an oil leak but the driveway stains suggest some other fluid - never need to add oil. What other fluid should I be checking since the smell is getting worse?

  • jfljfl Posts: 1,385
    If it's a "sweet" kind of smell, it could be antifreeze.

    If it's oily and like "rotten eggs", then it's possibly gear oil from the tranny or diffys.

    If it's red in color, could be auto transmission fluid.

  • Our SUS wit the 2.5L, 4-speed automatic transmission is acting strange.

    It is slow to engage into "DRIVE" (or any forward gear) from any other position - "PARK", "REVERSE", or "NEUTRAL". It doesn't matter if he car is warm or hot. The transmission fluid & filter have been changed, without changing this condition.

    This does not happen when shifting into "REVERSE".

    Once engaged, the transmission operates flawlessly.

    While this doesn't happen 100% of the time, it happens very frequently. For instance, my wife & I drove the car for over 100 miles yesterday, & stopped for fuel. After restarting the car, it would not go into drive - at least for 10 seconds or so. My wife was driving; she actually put the car in Reverse & backed away from the pumps. Once she did that, the car went into Drive about 4 seconds or so after the selector was moved.

    Later in the afternoon, I moved the car in the driveway. It was slow to go into Drive when I first moved it; while positioning in the driveway & moving from Reverse to Drive to Reverse (etc.), it felt almost normal.

    I had my dealer look at it briefly while the car was in for other work about 1 month ago. I was advised to simply drive it until it really got bad or we just didn't want to deal with it any more, because they would probably just yank the tranny & install a different one (I'm assuming a rebuilt) & I'd be looking at about a $3000 repair bill. He did mention "slightly low pressure" at idle, but I'm not sure if that was an actual measurement or just an assumption.

    Anyone have anything similar happen, or any ideas? The car has ~75k miles & was purchased used with ~55k miles from a good friend whom I know maintained it well. I really don't need a $3k repair bill - we just had the A/C compressor replaced & that was over $800......
  • manamalmanamal Posts: 434
    I have an '05 Subaru Forester LLBean that seems to have an intermitant problem with the radio. The radio was replaced once, but continues to fail. I guess it is possible that the replacement radio is bad, but since the problem is intermittent, I have been unable to recreate it when at a subaru dealer.

    I fear that the problem may be in the electrical system of the car and not the radio itself.

    In 5300 miles, I have had the car in 5 times for (minor) warentee issues. Is this typical? Or am I unlucky?
  • locke2clocke2c Posts: 5,038
    the gasket is just a silicone rubber seal. I don't think it's meant to ever fail really, at least not like a tradition composite gasket.

    if you do try retorquing it, remember two things:

    #1, you should take it completely off and ensure the gasket is OK.

    #2, it doesn't take hardly any torque to install. I don't have my service manual any more but I believe that it's <15ft-lb and I know that if you overtorque it you will compromise the seal.

    it's very easy to change at the same time you drain the oil. a little bit messy, but not that bad if the engine has sat overnight. 1 rag job :)

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I've only ever done one, on an Acura Integra, helping out a friend. That one had a rubber gasket and he did use some sealant goo out of a tube. Sounds like Subaru's is different, though.

    Either way, it was easy on the Acura.

  • bluesubiebluesubie Posts: 3,497
    Thanks for the info. My service manager is telling me 3 hours labor if they replace the gasket. Does that sound about right? Doesn't sound very easy to get to.

  • fibber2fibber2 Mid Hudson Valley, NYPosts: 3,775
    Kevin (?)

    Ready for that 'hail Mary' pass before committing $3k? Find an independent shop that has transmission fluid flush/exchange equipment, and tell them to go heavy on the solvents. Sounds like a gum'ed up valve body. Varnish deposits slow the action, requiring higher pump pressure to make it all work. A conventional oil drain only gets about 1/3 of the contents. You have little to loose, other than about $75 for the experiment.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Seems like a lot. Space isn't much of an issue on that year Outback, on an Impreza or Forester it's much tighter in the area.

    Are they doing both sides or just that one?

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    No, not typical, we've never had any electrical issues with either of ours despite the fact that I swapped out both stereos by myself.

  • locke2clocke2c Posts: 5,038
    sounds high even for book rate on 2. did he quote you on a head gasket by chance? :surprise:

    like I said, it's very easy to do yourself during an oil change.

  • Hi everyone,

    A few weeks ago I wrote about a problem with our 04 Forester moonroof that turned into a "motor problem" our first visit to the dealer and turned into a "replace the tracks" problem on a subsequent visit. I suspected the dealer had bent the tracks while trying to install the motor.

    One of you suggested that the tracks were indeed bent and the problem was only showing itself now. Another suggested that the dealer was lying and that the moonroff was simply in "learning mode."

    I couldn't find any other info about this "learning mode" (and it was mentioned this appled to other Subaru models, not specifically the Forester), so I decided not to pursue that line and instead to take the car back to the dealer as they asked, to install the new tracks. I'm treating this as my final "test" of this dealer. If they screw this up, it's three strikes and I need to find someplace else for warranty work.

    Today when talking to them they explained that they needed to remove a LOT of parts to replace these tracks. The headliner, some of the interior panels, and so on. It makes me extremely nervous to have this (probably incompetent) dealership tearing apart my car which is barely 1 year old.

    My question: what things should I look for when the work is done to verify that it was done correctly? Should I be worried?

    My concerns range from the introduction of new noises since they couldn't fit thigns back together right to leaking water through the moonroof.

    Bonus question: I'd love to definitively verify if indeed ALL of this work was for nothing and it was just the "training mode" problem all along. Has anyone else heard of this or can provide a link to more information? If I find out the dealer has torn up large parts of my car because they didn't know it was a SETTING, I need to take further action.

  • bluesubiebluesubie Posts: 3,497
    No, she definitely quoted for the valve cover gasket. She says gaskets, but on the receipt they noted right valve cover gasket. Here's my email with the service manager:

    Yes the valve cover gaskets are leaking. It is not an easy repair. It takes about 3 hours.

    The gaskets run about 104.52. If we were to perform &#150; bottom line - $291.14
    The gasket is leaking &#150; more than a seep, but not a major leak &#150; in-between.
    I can provide you with part #&#146;s if you need.

    I could probably save $30-40 on the gasket ordering it on-line. I might be able to get some help from my local nabisco buddies.

  • bluesubiebluesubie Posts: 3,497
    I just remembered that RidinLow from nabisco has an EJ25 sitting in his garage. Maybe he'll let me practice on that one first. :)

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I'd help if you were in the area. But I'd fix it before it got any worse.

    Do you have Subaru Bucks? Those are great to have.

  • Since I visited the dealer's service department, and they recorded my sunroof problem and their estimate in their computer system, there isn't much chance that the sales guy or appraiser wouldn't figure out that it isn't working. But I visited a friend who owns a body shop yesterday. He said the motor needs to be replaced, and the cables should also be replaced (but I could try to get by without them). If I'm going to fix it, might as well do it right, so I told him to go ahead and order the cables, too. It still isn't a cheap repair, but will end up being about half the dealer's $1100 estimate.

    I was trying to hold off that new car itch, by putting the money I have saved up for a new one in a CD (matures in January, but I wouldn't buy a new car in January in Nebraska - it would drive me nuts to have it dirty all the time, in weather too cold to wash it often). I'm also considering joining IMBA or NGA just to get the "VIP discount" (invoice price without haggling). Have any of you used those programs? I don't really like to haggle.

  • fibber2fibber2 Mid Hudson Valley, NYPosts: 3,775
    Odd one. Went to replace the rubber insert on the rear wiper blade last night (yes, it is still the original after almost 4 years!), and found that it doesn't look like it is replaceable. The blade mounts for the steel stiffener strips are plastic at all 4 points, with fixed stops at either end. Unlike the fronts that slide out with a pull, it looks like the intent is that you replace the entire blade assembly. So being the stubborn fool that I am, I 're-engineered' it with an exacto knife (trimming off one end tab, widening the slots slightly) so that it now accepts standard American car Anco inserts. Is 'throwaway rears' standard Subaru practice?

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I think I replaced the whole arm. They lose their flexbility after 4 years anyway. CR recommends changing the whole thing each year.

    You lazy bum. ;)

  • c_hunterc_hunter Posts: 4,487
    You can replace just the insert (I did). Basically, flex the end of the insert just enough so that it clears one of the end stops, and then slide it out. You can feed-in a new one in the reverse fashion.

  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,868
    Hahahah! I don't blame him for trying!

    Usually it is the assembly that is bad on mine rather than the blades, so I just replace the entire unit by popping it off the arm each time. Darn my luck, but Fairbanks IS hard on windshield wipers......

    Speaking of luck, I am going to be tearing the engine out of the ol' Subie this next weekend (probably start on the 13th), so I hope luck is with me! I will try to remember to catalog the process with photos and post them online for anyone who's morbid enough to be interested.

    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • hondafriekhondafriek Ottawa CanadaPosts: 2,969
    104 bucks for valve cover gaskets sounds like a hell of a lot of money to me. Methinks they are trying to shaft you coming and going, both on parts and labour.

    Cheers Pat.
  • hondafriekhondafriek Ottawa CanadaPosts: 2,969
    Great, what was the cure? pray tell.

    Cheers Pat.
  • The saga continues...

    The tire shop found out about a bad lot of wheels - centers were too big, or off center, either way sufficiently that hub rings wouldn't compensate. Many other customers in similar straits, although why it took this long to find that out is anyone's guess.

    At the moment, I have 4 new tires of the original flavor mounted on my snow (OEM) wheels. Smooth as glass at least up to 80mph. Replacement wheels will be here next week, then we can swap everything back where they should be. In the meantime, at least I can get to Seattle & back this weekend without shredding the snows.

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