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Subaru Crew Problems & Solutions



  • I recently had the rubber boot on the axle split and had to have it replaced. The Subaru dealer alerted me to the fact that the flange connecting the catalytic converter to the muffler was shot and leaking. They wanted $1004 to repair it!

    I had been smelling a burnt oil smell but I attributed it to grease from the broken rubber boot)

    I went to a local garage who suggested cutting out the flange and replacing it with a flexi connector. They did the job for $125. While I was happy about the cost savings I now wonder if this will effect me getting the car through inspection. The car seems to run much better now. Your thoughts?
  • It shouldn't affect inspection.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    You should be fine.

    We had a 626 and the same thing happened, and I spent a similar amount.

    Later friends here told me about the solution you mentioned. I believe it's fairly common, mostly it saves a lot of labor on the job. I wish I'd done it.

    For the clock search for Peaty's instructions and photos on ScoobyMods.
  • could someone post a few pictures of how to put the retaining clips back onto the throw out bearing.
  • Thanks, I've been worried about inspection.
  • wade8wade8 Posts: 1
    Hello all,
    I own a 1999 Subaru Legacy Wagon (Brighton). Over a period of 2 to 3000Km a noise coming seamingly directly through the stick shift has gradually been getting louder. Sounds like a bearing noise to me. In neautral the sound is there but not as loud as when in gear even when clutch is disengaged. Same in all gears and reverse. Have taken it to mechanics to see about a diagnosis but they tell me what I already know. Is there a further specific diagnosis which could occur. I am very strapped for cash and need to run it for work. Checked Differential fluid and it looks perfect. Should I check drain plug magnet for a type of metal? Any advise would be appreciated. Thankyou for your time.
  • tanagertanager Posts: 16
    I have a 2004 Forester XT with 105K miles on it, and today I found out that my connecting rod is knocking into the block and that my engine is basically shot. I am devastated. I have had my share of problems with this car, but I love it, and this is disappointing beyond belief. I have been excessively diligent with the maintenance on this vehicle and I have all records to prove it. I bought it in 2006 and it had 58K miles on it then. I have put a lot of miles on this car in the last 2.5 years, but is there any reason why such an important component of the engine would go bad so soon when the car has been well taken care of? What on earth should I do? My mechanic estimates that a rebuilt engine will probably cost me about 3K.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Sorry to hear that.

    That's the first I've heard of that sort of problem. What a freak occurence. Odd. The pistons on the 04 XT were forged, I believe, not sure about the con rods. The block was also exceedingly strong - they used the STI semi-closed deck block in 04 and 05 IIRC. 04-05 owners tease 06+ owners for not getting the same robust engine block. It was an inside joke of sorts.

    I'm shocked. :confuse:
  • tanagertanager Posts: 16
    Yes I am shocked too. And I just found out that a rebuilt engine is going to run me more like $4600. I am at a loss. Does anyone think I have any recourse with Subaru over this? I am planning on bringing it to my local dealer to see if they can offer any assistance, but I fear that's going to end up costing me even more in the long run.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Depends on the cause they diagnose, but even then you're out of warranty for it.

    See if they can find a wreck in a junk yard that was hit in the back, and swap engines.
  • aathertonaatherton Posts: 617
    "... 2004 Forester XT with 105K miles... bought it in 2006 and it had 58K miles on it then... connecting rod is knocking into the block and that my engine is basically shot... I have been excessively diligent with the maintenance on this vehicle... Does anyone think I have any recourse with Subaru over this?"

    Maybe the first owner abused the engine or was not so diligent about maintenance. I would not think Subaru can do much about a second hand car with 105K miles.
  • A scrap yard might be good place to get new engine parts. You might contact those in the NorthWest part of the country as there are many more Subarus up here than most places.
  • toboggantoboggan Posts: 283
    The noise could be coming from the gearshift mechanism. My '98 OBW shift lever mechanism "rattles" in second and 4th gears. At first I couldn't hear it but it has slowly gotten noisier. But when I rest my hand on the shift lever, the noise "goes away".

  • tanagertanager Posts: 16
    Thanks for the suggestions. I will see what the dealer says tomorrow when I get my car towed there, and I'll report back with any relevant news.
  • phil2000phil2000 New JerseyPosts: 195
    I was told the reason for my check engine light was that I need fuel level sensors. Where can I get them on the internet? And do I need one or two? Thanks
  • tanagertanager Posts: 16
    Here are my latest (fairly somber) options: :cry:
    1) have my independent mechanic, who has taken great care of me in the past, put an '05 Forester engine in my car with 58K miles for $4600.
    2) authorize Subaru to do a tear-down and inspection, which will cost $850. Only then can they determine if there is damage to the cylinder heads and cam shaft, and only then can Subaru headquarters provide an answer on what type of assistance, if any, they can give me. If no damage is found to the above-mentioned components, I'm looking at a remanufactured shortblock with new engine gaskets for $4150. This price includes the $850 for tear-down. If I had a crystal ball and knew there would be no further damage found, this would be the way to go because Subaru's warranty on a remanufactured engine is better than what my independent mechanic will get at a scrap-yard. BUT....if there is damage to the heads and shaft, the total estimate for repair is $8000.
    Every day I am shocked by some new piece of news. If that's the case, I can't do it. I'll have to bring it back to my mechanic and cut my losses on the $850 for tear-down. This is getting ridiculous. I feel like every option I have is awful. I called Subaru headquarters again today (in tears) and someone is supposed to call me back later to further discuss my options. But I know they need that tear-down before they can guarantee me anything. At their request, I provided all of my records to my Subaru dealer so they can see that I have taken care of the car to an anal degree. Don't know if this will help.
    Is there a third option? Does anyone have any idea what I can get, if anything, for a Forester that---with the exception of the ENGINE--is in really good shape, with new, high-quality tires, new timing belt and pulleys, and new brakes? Would anyone give me anything for this car? At this point I would feel lucky to be able to just pay off my loan and start from scratch. :sick:
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 64,749
    That sucks... and, I'm sure.. it's the not knowing that makes it worse...

    Seem obvious that you are going to have to pay for that tear-down.. If everything else is as you describe, then I feel there is a good chance that Subaru will step up and help out with this. (At least, that is the healthful attitude to take). Try to stay positive with the Subaru reps, letting them know that you have no doubt that they will come through for you, even if you have major doubts..

    Because, I sure wouldn't want to have to pay $4600 for a used engine.... :surprise:

    Good luck.. and hang in there!


    Prices Paid, Lease Questions, SUVs

  • Your records should help. Subaru appears very stringent on proper maintanance for getting their cars fixed under warranty, or implied warranty. The fact you have done so should make a positive impression on them.

    My suggestion would be to give Subaru some time to respond, if possible.
    If they don't come through, it sounds like your independent mechanic is the way to go. An engine swap's a major piece of work, unfortunately.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,925
    That it is - a lot of work - but also a simple task. It certainly does not take the skill and finesse that rebuilding the engine would take. I'm curious to know how much that used engine will cost you, without the labor tacked on.
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • tanagertanager Posts: 16
    Thanks for your reply. I think the engine itself (the one from the '05 Forester) is about $3100.
  • I have a Subaru Outback that started overheating as many others in forums have written obout. Temperature guage buried on H, bubbles in the reserve tank with a light film of dark solution, and loss of antifreeze in the radiator regularly. I would assume it was the head gasket as I changed out the radiator as it blew out and replaced the top radiator hose as it continually collapsed. This is what I did to remedy MY problem and it may not work for everyone BUT if it works for you as it did for me, it is a whole lot cheaper than tearing into the engine. I removed the 2 bolts by the lower radiator hose at the thermostat and let it drain. Took out old thermostat and took a garden hose and flushed out radiator good. Then plugged radiator hose and engine outlet with rags and filled radiator full. Did this a few times to flush ALL antifreeze from engine and radiator. Then I cut the guts out of the old thermostat so it was free flowing . I installed it in the car and installed 2 bolts. Also remove overflow tank and drain. I put in about a quart of water and purchased a quart of BLUE DEVIL from Schucks Auto and poured all of it in radiator and filled with water. Need to make sure radiator is full and engine burped. Jack up front of car. Let car idle for 45 minutes then you can drive around if you want. Temp guage will fall to cold but that was ok, in all I let my car run constantly for 2 1/2 hours. Kept an eye on guages so it never got hot. Stayed in mid range where it should. Drain solution from thermostat area, let cool down for 2 hours or more, install new 170 thermostat, gallon antifreeze and water. It took me a half hour to burp system of air with front of car in air. I squeezed upper radiator hose and all to help it along. As this is going on have car running with heater on and blower on high. All should be well when HOT air comes out of heater. It fixed my problem and it could help you. I have been on the road for 3 months now and it cost $65
  • samiam_68samiam_68 Posts: 775
    That sounds very interesting, and thanks for sharing the detailed steps but I'm not sure I'm following - did you or did you not have a blown head gasket? If you did, I don't understand how your solution would have fixed the bad gasket.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Swapping a motor on a Subaru with the same year or compatible motor is a 10-12hr job MAX, even for a small operation like my shop's. $1500 to install it isn't outrageous, but a bit high IMHO.

    I'd go for the teardown and then if it needs more than the shortblock, go for the engine swap.

    Motorsports and Modifications Host
  • tanagertanager Posts: 16
    Thanks for the reply Mike. I would go for the teardown without a second thought if it didn't cost $850. If I go for the teardown and then find out the shortblock is not going to cut it & heads/cams are bad, I'm looking at a repair nearing $8000. That's what the dealer told me. If that's the case, I can't authorize that repair (unless Subaru pays for A LOT of it) and I'll have to take it to my independent mechanic. Herein lies the dilemma....go for the teardown and risk losing $850 if Subaru can't help me, or just give up on help from the dealer and take it to my mechanic where I know the repair cost won't exceed $4600.
    Sorry to the forum folks for carrying on about this issue.
    I am going to talk to Subaru headquarters again today, since they never called me back last week. If they can give me a glimmer of hope that they'll help, I'll probably go for the teardown.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,925
    Well, that's the thing, though. Once the $850 is spent, you know whether it needs more than the short block. At that point, you will not need to spend $8000 because you could just have the car towed back to your mechanic, where the added cost is "only" $4600. In fact, perhaps you should find out what work the dealership plans in order to diagnose the extent of the damage. At $850, you should request that they remove the engine from the car. Maybe then labor would be less through your independent mechanic, as part of the prep work is done. I might be dreaming, though, since the poor man would then have to deal with whatever mess is left by the dealership. :sick:

    $3100 for a complete engine seems on par.

    What a crummy situation. I cannot help but think this is a manifestation of something the previous owner may have done to it. If it was a manufacturing issue, it would surprise me that 100,000 miles passed before it caused failure. Possible, but tough to fathom.
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • tanagertanager Posts: 16
    Thanks, good point. It's a good idea to find out if they will remove the entire engine and perhaps save my mechanic some labor. My mechanic has done nothing but look out for my best interests in this situation, so I know he wouldn't mind...unless the engine is in shambles and I have to deliver it in pieces in a big cardboard box or something. :(
    I know with these crazy numbers flying around, $850 seems like peanuts. But I will find it hard to stomach the $850 on top of the $4600, if it's all for naught.
    Does anyone know if it's possible, or even worth it, to find out who the original owner of the car was? Then maybe I can contact them and find out if they were honest with the dealer about an engine issue, and then the dealer was dishonest. But if the original people abused the engine and didn't originally confess that to the dealer, then they're not going to admit it to me either.
    Also, I had a CarFax report done, and it didn't show any accidents or rebuilt anything. Can things be hidden from CarFax?
    :lemon: --This should be the symbol of my existence for now.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    I'm not so sure about the problem showing up initially. I have a customer who's LGT started burning 1Q/1K miles at about 45k miles, The dealers have been doing an oil consumption test for 6k miles after replacing his turbo, thinking the seals on the turbo were the issue. Now they are on his case about maintenance records, when he does his own maintenance and documented it in

    While they haven't denied the claim yet, they haven't said they'll pay for it either...

    Motorsports and Modifications Host
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,925
    Regarding the PO, yes, it is possible, but who knows if it is worth it. The added history might be interesting, though! I am not sure why the person would not want to be open and honest about it. If that person abused the car, you could not go back to seek damages from them. The phrase "caveat emptor" bears no better application than to used cars and real estate.

    The only thing that carfax will show is something that hits its DMV or, I think, insurance records. So, yes, there are many things that can happen to a car that would not show up there.
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • Pulsing in my brakes (06 Forester) suggests that the rotors may need to be resurfaced and I was told by the dealer that this is covered under the warrantee.
    Two months ago my local mechanic checked my brakes and said that the pads were ok.(worn about 40%) So if the rotors are resurfaced can I still use the old pads or should I replace with new pads? I do not want to spend unnecessary $$

  • samiam_68samiam_68 Posts: 775
    You can keep the old pads. That happened to my 04 Forester. The dealer just resurfaced the rotors, kept the old pads, and the vibration was gone.
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