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Subaru Crew Problems & Solutions



  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    You're in the right place.

    I haven't done pads on the Forester, even though it's 8 years old and has 80k miles. They're quiet, too. If it ain't broke...

    The pads are OK.

    I did the pads on the Miata, not too hard. The rear discs on that was tough because of the way the parking brake is set, but I think Subies are different.

    Subaru Bucks - you'd be surprised. We got hit, and used Subaru Bucks for the body shop, then kept the money the other person's insurance gave us. Ka-ching! $300.

    We have another $300 accumulated.

    Hopefully someone else can come up with a URL because I'll be right behind you, most likely.

  • miksmimiksmi Silver Spring, Maryland, USAPosts: 1,246
    Wow, and I thought we babied the brakes. Course, there was that FAT (Friday At the Track) at Summit Point, WV. I'm not a mechanic but maybe that affected the pad wear. :P

    I've got a hair under 1/8" on the front and a hair over 1/8" on the rear.

    You documented several procedures (cabin filter maybe?). Do you still have those pages?



  • p0926p0926 Posts: 4,423
    Hey Mike, good to hear from you! I was just wondering the other day what you'd been up to. Next time I'm in DC (which is fairly regularly), you, Juice, Bob, Loosh and whomever else is interested should plan a meeting one evening after work.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    The dot bombs kept crashing. First, I had that site on, they went out of business.

    Then I had photos with another host, I forget the name. It was free at first. Then they started charging. I actually paid, I was sick and tired of uploading 600 pics, but still they went out of business. I think that was PhotoPoint.

    Finally, I went to ImageStation, I figure Sony owns them so they'll stick around. But even they require registration and prevent hot-links to the pics. That limits the usefullness.

    Lots of bad luck, and I don't have the energy to re-create the exact same photo library for a 4th time. Instead I send pics to anyone working on a particular item. Tow hitches are a popular item, for instance.

    I haven't done brakes, though.

  • miksmimiksmi Silver Spring, Maryland, USAPosts: 1,246
    Hey Frank, thanks! Sounds good, drop me an email.

    I feel safer knowing you regularly defend DC. ;)



  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
    Hey Mike! Back for your annual post or two? ;) Seriously, good to hear from you again! I second Frank's request for another feast-get-together. Getting hungry just thinking about it. :)

  • c_hunterc_hunter Posts: 4,487
    Hey Mike,

    You can try putting some silicone grease on those plug wire connections (at both ends) to ward off corrosion. I have a tube of Honda Shin-etsu grease and have been using it for all kinds of stuff like that (it's actually recommended to conditions the seals on frameless windows like Subaru uses).

  • psfod3psfod3 Posts: 63
    I have a 03 Forester with the same problem. It started when the car had about 60,000 miles on it. It now has over 80,000 miles. If you find the cause of the hot oil smell lease let me know.
  • miksmimiksmi Silver Spring, Maryland, USAPosts: 1,246
    Thanks, Craig. Is dielectric grease the same thing as silicon grease?


  • miksmimiksmi Silver Spring, Maryland, USAPosts: 1,246
    Hehe, I wish I had time to check in more often, Bob.


  • jfljfl Posts: 1,385
    Scooby has brake pad change pix on his mods site.

    He also had pretty good instructions on changing spark plugs. Like don't forget the dielectric grease! (If you plan to change your own plugs a second time.) :P

  • c_hunterc_hunter Posts: 4,487
    Yep, same stuff (as Jim alluded to). I have only started using it recently, but wish I've been using it all along.

  • leo2633leo2633 Posts: 589
    A few months ago, I noticed the smell of burning oil in my 2001 Forester. It turned out to be a torn CV joint boot on my front right axle, allowing grease to be flung up onto the exhaust, causing the smell. It appeared that the boot had been torn by some piece of road debris being thrown into it. I'm glad it did smell, or I might not have noticed it until my next oil change. It may have been possible to replace just the boot, but I had the entire axle assembly replaced, since the CV joint can be damaged by dirt entering through the torn boot, and I didn't want to take that chance.

  • :confuse: OK, so I'm back again with yet another problem with my '99 Forester. I'm hoping for a little insight here. I'm driving from New York to Ohio today and when we stop for breakfast in the middle of Pennsylvania, I notice smoke coming from under the hood, the smell of burning oil and, of course, a lot of oil leaking on the ground. I look under the car and there's oil all over the bottom of the engine and also apparently parts of the exhaust system. Being in the middle of nowhere, I ask around and stop at the only place around. I'm told that not only was the oil filter loose, but that oil was leaking from the timing belt cover and that I run the risk of things catching fire on the last 3-1/2 hours of my trip. Forgive me if I'm not completely accurate in my descriptions, but I'm limited in my knowledge. So the mechanic says I need to replace the timing belt, water pump and oil and labor around $750. Anyone think this sound right, or am I being screwed? The guy seemed honest enough and showed me where the leak was coming from, but he could have told me anything and I wouldn't know any different.

    Thanks all.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Sounds like the front main seal gave way. It's not a bad idea to replace parts that are now 7+ years old and were probably covered in oil by the leak. If the oil pump ran dry that could have been damaged too.

    Sounds fair to me, at least.

  • I complained on the other Forester site about the CEL going on in my brand new 06 LLBean. Diagnosed as a ?? and yesterday after the part came in it took 2+ hours to replace it (valve cover had to be removed). Great. Light off, until today. Back on. This is very similar to the problem I had with my 99 Forester and it took at least 4+ service calls to have it fixed.
    What is wrong with Subaru in this area. My two previous (one current) cars -Mazda and Toyota did not have this probmlem. I like the car. I hate the CEL problem and Subaru's apparent inability to realize that there is a problem. Back to the dealer next week.
    Who do I complain to. Is there such a person as an area service representative who might be aware of a common problem?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Call them and log a complaint.

    FWIW, our Mazda 626 was riddled with CEL issues and they ripped us off for an oxygen sensor ($200+ just for the part!). :lemon:

    My dad took a Camry to Belize and it caught fire on the highway. I think he may have missed a recall since he was overseas, but still.

    Some times you're lucky, other times you're not.

  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,868
    Hmm..... if it WAS the main seal, then sure, not a bad idea to replace the water pump/oil pump while in there anyway, but I am not convinced this is the case. If your oil filter was not properly seated and oil was spraying from there, then the oil inside the timing assembly could have been forced in from a direct spray. As someone who had plenty of oil rummaging around in the timing belt assembly for more than 30K miles, I say it can be there and the belt does just fine. When is it due to replace? If you are due soon, just clean it all up when you replace the belt and replace the pumps as a matter of principle. If you are due far in the future, do it relatively soon anyway... say the next 6-9 months.

    I would not consider it an emergency repair unless a seal failed inside the timing housing. As for the oil that is already sprayed all over the place and the smoke.... either let it lie (if you must) or spray it down with brake cleaner (or other heavy duty oil solvent) to take off the majority of the residue. You can have a lot of smoke (again, been there done that) w/ no fire, but watch out for the unfriendly cigarette butt sauntering down the highway! Either way, you'll have some smoking until all the volatiles are gone - that is inevitable at this point. The most important thing is to nip the leak and not over react concerning the possible extent of the problem - it is better to isolate the real source(s).
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • I have had the rear wheel bearings replaced on my '99 Forester 4 times and it is currently in the shop for the fifth time. The dates and mileage of replacements are:
    8/00 - 21,496 mi
    2/01 - 30,209 mi
    4/01 - 33,260 mi
    10/01 - 40,977 mi
    and currently...
    11/05 - 102,000 mi

    My question is what is my recourse in regards to the lemon law or whatever. I think this is ridiculous that these bearings have to be replaced so much. I have had many vehicles with over 100,000 miles that never needed wheel bearings replaced. I would like any and all help and/or suggestions in this matter. thanks
  • lfdallfdal Posts: 679
    Sorry to say, but I believe you're way beyond any Lemon Law help in terms of mileage and /or time. FWIW it might be worth calling the Subaru at 1-800-SUBARU-3(I think - its been posted elsewhere), and ask them to kick in for part of the tab. 5 sets of wheel bearings in 100lK is ridiculous.


  • Thanks for the reply, I will attempt your suggestions

  • c_hunterc_hunter Posts: 4,487
    The first four instances indicate they did not install the bearings properly -- there is a bulletin on this. Unless they do it right, the bearings will keep failing. Bearings should go at least 80-100,000 miles if you're running wheels with the correct offset. I would also suggest a call to SOA.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Make sure they are using Legacy parts. They fit and are more durable.

    I would try to find that bulletin and print it out and take it to them. Or call 800-SUBARU3 and make sure they get the info to the dealer. This is pretty silly.

  • Thanks Craig
    I'm new to this message board (registered today)... not much of a computer/internet geek. Where do I find this bulletin you mentioned??

  • Stopped by my dealer this morning to get CEL light checked. Dealer says Catalytic Converter needs to be replaced and will be covered by 5year/80,000mile warranty. However, he is charging me $85.00 for diagnosis :surprise: . I have 100,000mile gold plus warranty with $0 deductible. Is it normal to charge for diagnosis? OR is the dealership screwing me? If so, I would like to report it to SOA. $85.00 is not a big amount but it defeats the purpose of buying $0 deductible extended warranty :mad: .
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    You should be reimbursed if it does end up being covered under warranty.

    In high school I remember a guy that used leaded gas in his car, and the cat choked (of course). A mistake like that is user error and would not be covered.

    But unless you put something besides unleaded gas in the tank, I don't see why it would not be covered. Call 800-SUBARU3 and ask them why they expect you to have to pay.

  • My "Check Engine" light came on this morning. Do any of you guys have ideas what might have caused this? And is this a major concern? The thing is, I just brought my car to the dealership for the 45,000 mile service a week ago. I wish it would have come on before I brought it in rather than 1 week after. It's just a hassle to make another trip to the dealer since their service is only open on weekdays. Not to mention, the extra $$$$ to have this checked. Oh well.
  • The brake fluid light on my rusty '90 Loyale came on months ago. I then added fluid and the light would go off temporarily. I haven't noticed signs of major leaking but some leaking is definitely possible/probable. After a few weeks of driving and keeping the fluid level high enough to keep the light off, I lost braking power in three corners. Ive been driving like this for months now. (I live and work in the woods and rarely encounter traffic) A friend of mine recently looked at my calipers, pads, rotors, etc. and told me all I needed was to bleed my brakes. Which is what I did. After doing so, my brake pedal is still very mushy. I do have some braking power in the three bad corners but not nearly enough for my trip to Chicago in a couple of weeks. My question that I hope some of you can help me with is "Do I need to replace my Master Cylinder, if so does anyone have a link to a good 'how-to' website?" (I have spare parts on another Loyale) If its not the master cylinder, what else could be causing my braking problems? Thank you all very much. This discussion has helped me in the past, so Im back with another problem.
  • locke2clocke2c Posts: 5,038
    it is probably the master cylinder, yes.

    as far as whether you can replace it yourself.. what DIY repairs have you done successfully in the past? if none, I wouldn't start right out with this particular job. it's not that expensive to have done by a shop-- I wouldn't use a dealer, though.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Could also be the slave cylinder. Basically that's the other side.

    That happened to my Miata. Mushy pedal, and I was losing fluid. The brake slave cylinder is a hollow cylinder, and a piston with a rubber seal is pushed in or out by the brake fluid sent by the master cylinder.

    My seals were worn, so they leaked. I got a slave cylinder rebuild kit for $10.74 from NAPA and bled the system, and it's been fine for 2 years. So let's *HOPE* that's all it is.

    I took photos, but of course a Miata might be a bit different, plus it doesn't even have ABS. Any how, take a look at this album, ImageStation requires registration but it's worth it:

    I have comments with each photo that explains what I was doing. You gotta be careful bleeding the system to not let air in it, that's why I use that little jar in the first pic.

    Pic 3 shows where it's mounted on the Miata, again yours could be totally different. 2 and 4 show the slave cylinder itself, so you know more or less what it looks like.

    Finally, pic 5 is the brake master cylinder reservoir. I used a turkey baster to remove the old fluid, added new, then bled it.

    Please be careful, your brakes are your lifeline. Test it more than once before you drive off on public roads.

    Good luck.

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