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Subaru Crew Problems & Solutions



  • sgloonsgloon Posts: 323
    I had a stuck speedometer on my old subie. Turned out, the needle had gotten bent or warped over time with the heat. The needle was actually sticking on the plastic "glass" that you view it through.

    The mechanic just heated up the needle a little (after removing it),not too much or you could melt it. Then he reshaped it to straight. Put it back on and I never had another problem.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,572
    The needle on my van's tach got stuck on the faceplate of the gauge itself.

    Pics here fwiw.
  • pilot1226pilot1226 Posts: 165
    Ok. Having some trouble getting the black cosmetic bezel off from the bottom, investigating that, then trying the compressed air method described above. Still able to reset it and make it work by pushing odometer trip reset for 3 seconds, then letting go.
  • pilot1226pilot1226 Posts: 165
    Well, some good news. I managed to get the bezel off finally, slid the plastic outer cover off the instruments. The back was sealed up pretty good, so rather than popping that thing open, I elected to spray the compressed air through the dials of the trip odometer, the odometer, and the speedometer needle.

    Upon first startup, it looked good, no jumping, just 0 mph. I'll try again when I go to work in a few hours and we'll see if it holds.

    Thanks for your recommendation, hopefully this is it.
  • samiam_68samiam_68 Posts: 775
    Keep us posted - hopefully that will fix it.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    I'm thinking a CV joint/wheel bearing is trying to tell me something vs. (I hope it's not) the front transaxle.

    Sounds like classic CV joint issue. I'd start there and then possibly look at the bearing but you would here a more wop wop wop on the bearing rather than a clicking, although I have heard it clanking like a loose brake pad for the bearing before.

  • hammerheadhammerhead Posts: 907
    It's a whirring, buzzing thing. Definitely wheel-speed dependent. No clanks at all.
    I was thinking CV too... sigh. Time for another trip to my favorite yellow-sign white-shirt come-a-running store (fellow northwesterners and west coasters will know)! :)

  • steverstever Posts: 52,572
    Say hi to Les for me. :)
  • flyosflyos Posts: 8
    Hi everyone,

    I posted this on the Outback problems thread a few days ago but didn't get a reply, so I thought I'd try it here in this more-active thread. Any thoughts and/or advice would be greatly appreciated.

    First, the vitals: it's an '02 Outback 2.5 wagon, MT, 96K miles. As far as car maintenance goes, I'm pretty much a novice. I used to change my oil, air filter, plugs, etc on my previous cars, but have had the dealer do the work on the Subie.

    The issues:
    1) I tried to change the spark plugs yesterday and, after pulling #1 and #2, I saw a decent amt of oil on them. I've smelled some burning recently but I couldn't really tell if it was oil or something else - I guess it was oil. I did some quick searching on this thread and it's sounding like blown head gasket. It is critical that I replace it now, or can I wait about 10K when I have the timing belt replaced? For what it's worth, the car is running fine - normal acceleration, no CELs, etc.

    2) Given the tight spaces around the engine, how on earth do you pull the plugs on this car? I've had my dealer do it in the past, but decided to save some $$ this time and do it myself, but there was no way I could get a spark plug socket, extension bar and wrench near #3 and #4 (and #2 was really, really tight). Given that, I put the old plugs back in #1 and #2, rather than have mismatched plugs.

    3) I did manage to change the air filter - I'm not totally helpless! Added windshield washer fluid too (not to the air filter - I put the fluid in the right place)!

  • hypovhypov Posts: 3,068
    Sounds like symptom my WRX Wgn had.
    Clicking/Clacking like a playcard to bicycle spokes.

  • leo2633leo2633 Posts: 589
    We own a 2001 Forester and 2003 Outback, both with the 2.5 engine. I've found the same issue with oil on the spark plugs. It is due to the rubber o-rings that go around the spark plug tubes in the valve cover. I've had to change them on every other tune-up, or about 60K miles, on both cars. I don't do the work myself, but take it to my regular, trusted mechanic. Not that big a deal, but definitely extra work and some additional $$.

    Regarding access to the spark plugs, I've watched my mechanic change them. He removes the washer fluid bottle and some other things to gain access to them, and uses several different extensions and u-joints on the extension.

    Be careful with the air filter. Make sure the tabs on the back of the housing fit properly into the slots on the other half of the housing, or you'll have air leaking in past the filter. The housing will clip back together even if it's not seated properly, so make sure to check.

    I hope this helps.

  • pilot1226pilot1226 Posts: 165
    Ok, speedometer isn't working again. Just going to bring it to the Honda dealer near my house, fix it, and split the cost with my cousin I'm selling it to.

    On a happier note: Tuesday = New `09 Legacy hopefully!
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Didya get it?
  • pilot1226pilot1226 Posts: 165
    I went to one of the two dealers within about 20 minutes of my condo. They both are basically offering us the same exact price, so I'm at the point where I'm just letting the two of them fight with each other.

    I haven't been back to either dealership, but every day I call the "other" dealer and get a little bit better of a price (not by much, we're talking $50 increments here), but eventually what it's going to come down to is the financing.

    I noticed on the Subaru website there's going to be new national incentives starting August 4th, and right now there's absolutely nothing for the 2009 Legacy. (Unfortunately there's no more 2008's and the dealer we originally went to lied to us about searching for one and said there weren't any `08's within 250 miles, but the other dealer we saw on Tuesday located one about 50 miles away.)

    I know that I'd prefer the 2009 because of a few reasons... It's a 2009 so the trade-in/resale value will be a "year" better, the VDC is standard (though the dealers both alluded to VDC not being "as important" as other brands because AWD is first and foremost), the better sound system (which I actually did not bother listening to - I wanted to hear the infamous Subie rumble rather than the radio, though I didn't find the `08 audio weak by any means.), it's just a bummer that the `08's are a steal with the 1000 cash back and 0.0% financing (which I was told I can get)...

    So, we're hoping that on the 4th we have at least SOME type of incentive to buy an `09 Legacy. If not, we'll still probably get one anyway.

    With the Honda, I finally went to the dealer (Coast Honda in Wall, NJ - they do fantastic service) and although there's a TSB about the speedometer, the fix they tried didn't work, and I'm replacing the speedometer head at about a price of $300, they also fixed the A/C squeaking sound (I was right, it was the tension in the compressor belt...) so my cousin will have it in the best order it can be. Thanks for all the comments & suggestions for troubleshooting.

    Only 2% holdbacks? Yuck.

    I don't understand how dealers that have an MSRP only about 1,000 above the invoice price that come right out off the bat and offer invoice price can make any money if they're making about 400 per car. I mean, I understand the theory behind volume, but there's got to be some type of quota system for bonus incentives (IE, SoA gives an extra $50 holdback if you sell 1-49 Subes in a month, but it becomes $100 if you sell 50-99, etc, etc.). As far as I know when I was in a financial pinch about a year ago that's how Hyundais worked, they were trying to sell me a brand new Elantra fully loaded for 12,000 out the door... But alas, no Boxer Engine and no AWD. I thought that the Sub dealer would have similarly "better" offers towards the end of the month since they had a quota, but perhaps not.

    Funny, though, that the new Legacy would put out less emissions than my Honda Civic! PZEV is a nice thing (and from what I understand 3 more horsepower and a better warranty!)

    Uhoh, I'm a Subaru fanboy for life now.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Eh, pay a grand more now you'll get it back in resale anyway. Get the 09 that you prefer.

    Good luck, I hope those incentives do appear for you. It is a last year model, so let's keep our fingers crossed for you.
  • pilot1226pilot1226 Posts: 165
    Thanks! I just hope the dealer we go with actually has the Obsidian Black Pearl in stock so we don't have to go back again and get it. Either way - even if NO incentives come out, I'm no worse off by purchasing it next week.

    My Honda Civic is/was also the last of a major model design before an overhaul, and it's been extremely good to me. It seems like they get just about all the kinks out towards the end, then start the whole process again with a new look.

    Fingers crossed!

    Just bought some Subaru "gear' to go with the new car!
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    I see you are in NJ, I better see you at my shop in Kenilworth at some point! :) Even just to come hang and grab a slice of Buffalo Chicken Pizza and watch some road racing on the satellite dish!


  • pilot1226pilot1226 Posts: 165
    Where's Kenilworth? I'm near Clifton (Exit 153)
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    We are 2 min off exit 138 on the GSP.

    Kenilworth/Cranford/Rosell Park Area.

    We usually hang on Saturdays and Sundays and some evenings. Working on customers or our own cars, more shooting the breeze than work sometimes. :)

  • pilot1226pilot1226 Posts: 165
    Oh yeah. I've been around that way to visit inlaws, but not in a while. I used to live down by exit 90, but moved up north within the last year or two.

    I'll have to make the drive when I eventually need to do some brakes or something, I guess. I haven't changed motor oil in a few years, actually. Not since I owned a `90 Wrangler anyway, sold that in `00. Hopefully the Legacy will be more roomy inside than the Civic!
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    We have a few custys who stop by for oil changes too. Most move over to Amsoil after 7k miles.


  • pilot1226pilot1226 Posts: 165
    Yeah, I've never done the synthetic thing, mostly because there's no set "limit" on when to replace it and it's harder for me to justify the additional cost considering the way I drive my vehicles.

    One thing I'm reading up on now is the break-in period. I'm seeing some forum garbage floating around regarding different break-ins... Some say don't rev past 4,000, some say rev past 4,000 once you're 2/3 of the way through the break-in and this'll improve mileage, etc.

    First new car here, so, thoughts?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I like those but they resemble an Acura logo. :D
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Break-in is 1,000 miles, you can rev past 4,000 on occassion but not any hard accelerations. Don't use cruise control. Other than that you are good to go.

    For the Amsoil, I do 7500-10,000 mile oil changes on my cars or 1x a year whichever is first.

  • hypovhypov Posts: 3,068
    If you drive alot along 78 and 95, get the clearbra.
    paisan can set you up. Get tints while at it.
    That would buy some good times to hang out at the garage :)

  • Were you ever able to get this problem resolved? I have a 2001 Outback that is experiencing the same problem -- the dealer calls it "slamming". I did a complete fluid and filter change a few months ago and it seemed to go away. But it happened again this weekend.
  • This is a new vehicle with 8000km. My dealer has been unable to address a transmission problem. I have had it to him 5 times for this. I am told that Tribecas are like this and there is nothing that can be done.
    Here is the issue: At cruising speed in automatic mode, in top gear, at about 2000 to 2200 rpm, there are repeated sensations as though the vehicle were "missing". It feels like a skip in the firing of a cylinder. I have been assured that there is no evidence for this and that the problem is in the transmission. The transmission has been "reprogrammed" over and over again without any improvement.
    It is most annoying, and unlike any car I have ever driven, and I have had many!!
    Likely my FIRST AND LAST SUBARU!! :mad: :lemon:
    Any one experience anything like this?
  • My Subaru hasn't done this, but my Saturn station wagon did it. I was sure it was the automatic transmission, but it turned out that it needed a new oxygen sensor, a new cooling system thermostat, and new spark plugs. (I had just PUT new spark plugs in about 6 months earlier, but one of them was still burned to a crisp.)

    So it was a cheap fix, and it runs great now. Not sure if any of this could be your problem, but I hope so!
  • You also might try different grades of fuel to see if that affects the missing.

    Subaru modified the Tribecas' engine for 2008 so it could burn regular fuel. However, its earlier engine incarnation wanted premium.
  • I recently read on the net that there have been soldering problems with the clocks on the early Foresters. I have a 2000 and the clock stopped working about a year ago. I read that if you can repair a bad solder joint it works as good as new again. Since I have some experience soldering I would like to give it a try but I don't know how to get the clock out. Any suggestions?
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