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Subaru Crew Problems & Solutions



  • First off a big hello to all the old members... I haven't been on the board for some time.

    I am about to embark on a 5,500 mile road trip in my 2001 Legacy GT wagon. Everything has been great with the car.

    Should I go ahead and have the timing belt done now ahead of schedule?

    Brakes are original but pads amazingly still look okay. I do occasionally notice a little pulsing that likely means a warped rotor. Should I do brakes and if so all new rotors?

    Along with oil, filters, plugs, cooling flush is there any other maintenance I should do?

    What is the current thinking on plug brand and type?

    Thanks to all.

  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    I'd do pads and rotors, at least in the front.

    I'd also get the timing belt done too, can't hurt to get it done ahead of schedule, and it would suck to have to get it done on the trip.

    Motorsports and Modifications Host
  • Thanks Mike.

    My dealer is doing the timing belt and the mechanic says I should do water pump while I am at it. What's the life expectancy of the pump?
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Yup water pump yoo. Not sure of the life expectancy but I always get it with the TB.

    Motorsports and Modifications Host
  • pilot1226pilot1226 Posts: 165

    We have a 2009 Subaru Legacy Limited with just about 2500 miles on it. Recently, the TPMS light has been coming on. I figured that this is most likely due to the change in air temperature lately as the fall air turns from cool to cold, and we're starting to see frost.

    I took the Legacy to the gas station about a tenth of a mile away and filled the wheels to the specifications outlined in the Owner's Manual (we have the Yokohamas) and the light remained on. I didn't put more air into it - yet - because I didn't want to exceed the PSI listed on the sidewall.

    I called Subaru Service and they said that as you drive, the wheels will warm up, and the light should go out. They've mentioned if it does not go out after 3 days to schedule a service appointment.

    Has anyone else heard of any issues with the TPMS? My aunt had an issue with the sensor on her Nissan and she has told our family countless horror stories of having to go back to the Nissan dealer dozens of times before they'd actually fixed it.
  • There was a similar issue with the WRX STI Edmunds is driving as part of their long term fleet. In cold weather, they also had to add air to their tires to keep the TPMS light turned off. ld-tire-pressure.html
  • pilot1226pilot1226 Posts: 165
    Thanks. I don't keep the car in a garage, it's outside in a parking lot, but I will see if I could put a few more PSI into each tire, staying under the limit on the sidewall of course. It's unfortunate that the TPMS can't tell me WHICH tire is too low, as that would be an easy way to troubleshoot to see if the sensor's borked.
  • My 2007 OBW had the same issue when I drive it in the mountains. Eventhough the tire pressure is correct according to the recommended pressures, leaving the car outside at altitude and cold temperatures guarantees the light will come on.
    On a recent road trip back east, the TPMS light would start flashing after about 300 miles of driving in a day. The tire pressure was good. Since the light flashed and was not steady, according to the manual, it was a system problem not a pressure problem. When I got back, I took it to the dealer who found no codes and therefore no problems. I'm sure once the warranty is expired it will be a lot easier for the dealer to find and correct the problem.
    I feel the TPMS is a nice idea that doesn't work and is definitely more trouble than it's worth. Subaru knows about this problem and could care less.
  • jdljrjdljr Posts: 11
    I have a 2009 Legacy SE and yesterday the TPMS light came on for the first time while on my way to work. "Man, am I getting a flat tire, am I going to be able to make it to work?", I thought to myself (I live in the mountains of NC and there are NO services in the 20 miles from my house to work). I got to work fine and parked, thinking I'd check the tire pressure at lunchtime. When the time came for lunch, I drove to a gas station to check the tire pressure and it appeared all were ok, but I added a couple pounds to each of them since the light was still on. I drove the 1/4 mile back to work and within that distance the light did not go off. So I looked at the owner's manual and found out that it may take a few minutes to re-sense the pressure, and I may not have driven it long enough. So after work, and only 2-3 minutes after leaving, the light went out. Didn't come on today.

    But it makes me wonder...WHAT made the light come on? I guess I could have a slow leak, but I doubt it. It did not appear the pressure was low in any of the tires...and I completely agree with a previous poster that it would be nice to know WHICH tire was the culprit. It was cold the past few mornings (mid 20s) and I HOPE that it's not going to be a wintertime issue because of the frigid temperatures we experience. I'm not crazy about having this system on the car (I remember having it on a rental car years ago and I hated it then) and I am hoping that it won't prove to be an annoyance.

    I do have a question though, does the TPMS also sense the pressure in the spare tire in the trunk? I couldn't find anything in the owner's manual about that. My hunch is NO, since the manual talked about the TPMS not being able to monitor the pressure if one of the tires was removed and replaced, but I just wondered.
  • Should I buy a 1987 Subaru Legacy for $500?
    It has about 180k. Everything works well. Is it worth it?
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    If you have the light on when it gets cold, your tires are too low on air pressure.

    With the colder temperatures, the PSI COLD goes down. This will trigger the TPMS light to come on. You should inflate your tires to the proper tire pressure when COLD (in other words if you drive to the gas station and put air in, bump it up about 5psi or so because now the tires are "warm").

    Once you fill them you need to drive a few miles in order for the TPMS computer to register the new PSI.

    Motorsports and Modifications Host
  • I'd have a friendly competent mechanic look it over just to be sure: if he/she says ok, then sounds fine as a second car, etc.
    A vehicle that old could be difficult to get spare parts for, though. Usually manufacturers keep parts for 7 - 8 years from a vehicles' introduction. For one that old, I don't know.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,925
    Yeah, at $500, it would be tough to say it is not worth it, especially if the car runs. Depending on where you live, (used) parts could be plentiful or scarce, but there is somewhat of a cult following for them, so I am sure you could get parts from somewhere.

    The thing I notice most about old Subaru vehicles is lifter noise. If it does not have said noise, then you are probably ahead of the game. ;)
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • I'm having a terrible day! Our 2001 Outback with 150,000 miles, has been making a grinding sound when we shift into 1st or from 1st into 2nd. We thought probably a gear/transmission thing...we are definately not car mechanics can tell us anything. We've just moved here and don't know anyone to refer us to a good mechanic. Anyway, we took it to AAMCO in Manassas, Va.

    They just called and said it was probably the synchronizer and that to fix it the labor would be $1017.00. They couldn't say what the parts cost would be until they opened it up. We just had a new clutch installed last month--at a different shop. AAMCO told us that the flywheel should have been retooled when the clutch was done, but wasn't. AAMCO said they could do it for us while they had the car.

    Does their diagnosis of the grinding sound reasonable, and is the $1017 for labor sound reasonable. Could it be something else? We just had a new baby last week and this expense is the last thing we needed! We're going to have to borrow the money from my parents.

    Thank you--Lori
  • First thing I'd suggest is doing a BBB check on those folks. AAMCO has had a bad reputation in the past of overcharging for unneeded services. If they come up with clean bill of health, or you've done business with them before and had good service experiences, they may be ok.

    Grinding when shifting is often a Synchronizer issue (synchronizers match gear speeds to avoid grinding). Synchros do wear out over time.
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 64,780
    If someone had just repaired my clutch within the last month, and my gears are grinding, I'd want to go back there first, and see what they had to say..


    Prices Paid, Lease Questions, SUVs

  • The cause may sound reasonable, I can't speak to cost... for a reliable NoVA shop I can recommend RPM in Newington/Lorton, 703-550-8240 (near the Springfield Metro). I have no connection with them other than as a long time customer but they are honest and reliable and very competent.

    At 150k miles, it sure could be synchros but the fact that it follows on clutch work may or may not be related to that work and I agree that the 1st thing I'd do is go back to the shop that did the clutch work. Good luck
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    I agree with going back to the original shop. Having worked on subies, 150k for synchros is not out of the question at all. Heck I'm suprised they lasted that long!

    I'd also be very suprised if the shop that put in the clutch messed up the synchros, if anything you may have damaged them when the clutch was worn down, but even that isn't likely.

    I had a very bad experience with AAMCO, they had to buy back my 1991 Escort because they damaged it so badly.

    Motorsports and Modifications Host
  • I had a similar problem with my 2006 OBW. I asked for everybody's advice that I could find including the local radio car program. Most of the suggestions were expensive and wrong. It turned out that the transmission wasn't properly remounted after the repair and caused the grinding and difficulty shifting.
    As far as AAMCO goes, in my opinion based on my experience with a different car and problem, I would immediately remove my car from their shop and never set foot in an AAMCO store again. I wound up suing, winning and collecting but it wasn't easy.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    bit! Long time, no see my friend!

    Pop in and say hi to the Subaru Crew - Meet the Members II thread.
  • In 2009 Outback with Harmon Kardon (limited model and up) there is suppose to be feature that will increase the volume as the vehicle speed increases.

    I have seen it work in 2009 Legacy (same HK system), but does not work in an outback although the subaru brochure and site says it should (

    If you have a 2009 outback limited+ can you check and let me know.
  • This is called SCV, or Speed Compensated Volume. I had it on a `98 Chevy Malibu. It's mainly for when you're driving to compensate for air noise/road noise at higher speeds.

    I don't have the Outback, but as you mentioned, it's working on my Legacy.
  • I am having an issue with my '96 Subaru Legacy Outback. It is lacking acceleration power, especially at lower RPMs and when driving up a hill. I have just had the fuel injection system cleaned and fuel filter replaced, but still have an issue.

    Any ideas would be appreciated.
  • I am having an issue with my '96 Subaru Legacy Outback. It is lacking acceleration power, especially at lower RPMs and when driving up a hill. I have just had the fuel injection system cleaned and fuel filter replaced, but still have an issue.

    Any ideas would be appreciated.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    There is a setting for it. I have it on my Armada but you need to have it set to work properly.

  • could be many things....

    was power loss sudden or gradual?

    manual or auto trans?
    Air filter cleaned?
    Idle smooth or rough?
    Smoke coming from exhaust when accelerating or de-accelerating?
  • Hello,

    See below in response to your questions.
    I appreciate your help.


    was power loss sudden or gradual?
    Sudden - just happened 2 weeks ago.

    manual or auto trans?
    auto trans

    Air filter cleaned?
    air filter clean

    Idle smooth or rough?
    idle is smooth

    Smoke coming from exhaust when accelerating or de-accelerating?
    I have noticed some darker smoke coming from exhaust when accelerating.
  • saedavesaedave Chicago, ILPosts: 694
    Some years ago I had a Legacy with a bad knock sensor (as delivered new). Replacement sensor got rid of hesitation. I don't know if those sensors are still in use, but it might be worth checking.
  • Thank you for this feedback. This is helpful. I will check this out.
  • Just thought I'd follow up with the outcome of this situation. I ended up taking my car back to my independent mechanic. I gave up on having any work done at the Subaru dealership when the service manager told me, honestly, that I would probably get no help from Subaru with three things working against me: 1) not being the original owner, 2) not buying the car from Subaru dealer, and 3) having over 100K miles on the car. I decided risking $850 for the teardown was not worth it. So, my mechanic installed a used engine from another '04 Forester with 32K miles on it. I just got my car back a week ago. It seems OK but it has a "lifter tick". It's quite audible. My mechanic wants me to drive it a lot to see if the tick goes away. This weekend I put about 400 miles on the car and the tick is still there. The total for this job came to $4660 for the engine and labor. The engine has a 90 day warranty on parts, so I guess I'll keep driving it and see if the tick lessens.
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