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Subaru Crew Problems & Solutions



  • jholtanjholtan Posts: 8
    Searched the boards and couldn't find a close answer.

    My 99 forester, stick shift, has 135,000 miles on it. I had the head gasket replaced about 1500 miles ago (and hoped this would fix the issue, but it had zero effect).

    About 3k miles ago I started hearing a sound at high speeds (70 mph). It was barely noticeable, but sounded like knocking of a diesel. I know all about piston slap because I've had it since 10,000 miles and this is something different. The oddest thing about it is that it is unrelated to the engine RPM's, but directly correlated to the speed I am driving. (I tested it out last night coasting down a hill with the engine off in neutral - sound still there in spades) The sound seems like it is emanating from somewhere down below my radio. About 100 miles ago it became louder at lower speeds that I knew something was VERY wrong. I am afraid to drive it more than 2 miles at this point and hesitate to go over 35 MPH.

    At about the same time, I also noticed if I drove the car a distance of at least 10 miles, I found the front wheels start to stick if I turned them sharply when in a parking lot. Unsure if these two symptoms are related.

    I went and had my transmission fluid flushed at the dealer to see if that would solve it but it had no effect.

    Can anyone verify this is the center differential going out. I cannot afford another $1000+ repair job that doesn't solve the problem. I have been quoted $1300 to fix. If so, do I get the clutch replaced as well??? You're starting to approach $2k which is about what the vehicle is worth.

    The frustrating part about this is that I finally am able to take the bus and find a use for this second car about 1-2 times per month for local errands and the occasional weekend guys trip. If it weren't for this problem I might put maybe 2,000 miles/year on it. I just wanted it to last long enough for the new Diesel Outback . . . .
  • saedavesaedave Chicago, ILPosts: 694
    Is there a universal joint anywhere near that location? A bad U joint or slip coupling with little load is sometimes louder than with load.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Sounds like the symptoms of a bad wheel bearing. Have those inspected. It would certainly be cheaper to fix those.

    Plus that's a common issue with the 99s.
  • sgloonsgloon Posts: 323
    Does anyone have a link to the MSDS sheet for the Subaru Super Coolant?

    Would like MSDS for whatever they are using for the refrigerant, which is listed as HFC134a in the owners manual?

  • Thanks ... yes, I'm spoiled, the AC on my A6 is definitely set-and-forget and it cools really well. ... I love the leather seating but the SE definitely appears to be a better value.

  • sgloonsgloon Posts: 323
    Thanks, Graham!

    BTW, do you know if this applies to the Subaru Super Coolant as well? I haven't been able to find anything on that at all.
  • Hello
    I have a 2005 outback with 100k miles on it. There’s a loud “humming” noise coming from the back while driving a moderate to high speeds. The tires are at half/close to end, life. My ABS light is one. I winder if I need new bearings? Some times the ABS light will go off. Thanks. VL :confuse:
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Bearings must be creating a resistance that the ABS sensor is picking up on.

    Given that bearing issues are fairly common, that's likely.
  • clakeclake Posts: 1
    It sounds like they just reset the computer? This will make the lights go away untill you rack up some miles then what ever the situation is will retrigger the lights. The loss of the cruise is a real pain. This sounds very much like my situation with a failed cat. converter. What is your car doing? Does it run OK?
  • Rob M.
    did you ever get an answer to this problem? i have the exact same thing, on my wife's car no less. i have looked but cannot find a reply (i'm such a noob)
  • gregnw44gregnw44 Posts: 9
    Hi, I'm looking at approx. 1995 to 2000 model year Legacy and Outback wagons. Do you know the history of retractable antennas on Legacys and Outbacks? I've seen some Legacy and Outback models with their antenna on the L. rear quater panel, as opposed to the MUCH more common, on-the-roof-over-the-drivers-head position.

    I'm interested in one of these models, that DO NOT have the antenna on the roof. First - Do you know which models or years this was available? Second - DO you know of reliability... or practical problems with this feature? How about vulnerability to damage, or problems with ice/snow on it, while retracted? And cost to replace if there is a problem.

    Thanks a lot!
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    I have a '97 Outback Limited with the power antenna on the left rear fender.

    Sometimes it doesn't want to go completely up or down - when I notice that, I extend the antenna and wipe it down with a rag. Maybe I'll lube the rag lightly with a spritz of WD-40 or something, but just wiping the dirt off seems to do the trick.

    This was an Alaskan car for years before I brought it down to Idaho and it spends 30 days a winter sitting in the ski hill parking lot, so it seems to tolerate the cold fine (usually it's garaged and doesn't get much long term ice/snow on it).

    I have no idea which models have the side mounted antennas or how much it costs to fix them. The motor should be easy to get to through the trim, and it probably has one of those hook arrangements if you just need to replace the mast.
  • rob_mrob_m Somewhere North of BostonPosts: 813
    If this was the issue of only 1 speaker working in the 03 Outback, unfortunately, no. I have since traded this car for an 09 Outback with the 9 speaker Harman Kardon system. Rob M.
  • lilbluewgn02lilbluewgn02 PAPosts: 1,089
    Oil Seal 32X55X8.4 4
    Oil Seal 1
    Timing Belt 1
    Gasket Rocker Cover RH 1
    Gasket Rocker Cover LH 1
    Gasket Rocker Cover #20 4
    Washer Rocker Cover 16
    Spark Plug 4

    Quite a list...I need to replace leaking cam seals and valve since the mechanic is in there, he also suggested doing the timimg belt and plugs...lucky for me I owe the govt $650 in taxes!

    Oh, well, it's only money :-(
    Since I've been buying my own parts, the cost of parts should be more or less halved What kind of plugs should I get for the WRX?
  • grahampetersgrahampeters AustraliaPosts: 1,783

    In ten years of these boards, I cannot recall the aerial in glass ever being mentioned as a problem. It is remarkably effective at pulling in distant stations and never any mechanical issues.


  • gregnw44gregnw44 Posts: 9
    Yes thanks Graham, I'm sure that the aerial antenna in the glass, is a good feature. But I think that design must have started around 2000 or later. Because, I was asking about the mid to late 90's wagons... that I've been looking at. And none of them have that feature.

    Anyway, thanks Steve (host) for the info regarding your '97. I'm in Seattle, so not much snow here most the time... But like you, I'm up at the mountains a lot, and that's why the snow/ice question, regarding the electric retractable antenna. And I'm glad to hear that your experience has been good.

    Anybody else with info about reliability of these antennas, that Subaru put on some models... or which models came with these would be great. Thanks a lot !!
  • amsbearamsbear Posts: 147

    My 98 Outback Limited had the power antenna, and I'm pretty sure that this was a feature of the Limited package back then along with an upgraded stereo package, speakers, and leather heated seats.

    It did have the same issues of getting stuck in colder weather and required a wipe down w/WD40. I eventually replaced the mast which resolved the problem. The part was described as the "rod and nut" on many of the parts sites that I used and it cost around $30 or so.

    The replacement job wasn't bad at all. Let me know if you need more details on this.

    09 Outback
  • erics6erics6 Posts: 684
    I wouldn't worry about the antenna as much as head gaskets. 2.2 on the Legacy through 99 has less problems than the DOHC 2.5 on the 97+ Outback. If you don't need ground clearance, my favorite 90's Subaru is the 99 Legacy 30th Anniversary Wagon. It has sunroof and some extras. Last year for the 2.2 in the Legacy. The last year for the 2.2 in the Outback was 97, with the manual transmission. The SOHC 2.5 after 2003 seems to have less problems with head gaskets.

    FWIW, the in glass antenna works fine for me. I had a manual antenna on my 97 Outback, in-glass on my 2000 Outback (I think that was the 1st year) and in-glass on my current 05 Forester.
  • hammerheadhammerhead Posts: 907
    I'll second Steve's thoughts. Clean it, WD 40 it, and its usually good to go.
    I had to spray mine with windshield de-icer one time this winter to loosen accumulated ice over the top of the antenna while it was retracted.

    Hello over there on the 'Wet' (west) side!

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I agree. I replaced my Miata's power antennae with a rubber whip antennae for less than $10, and it worked fine.

    Don't worry about power antennaes or the replacement cost.
  • gregnw44gregnw44 Posts: 9
    Awesome! Thanks all for the info regarding the power antennas. That's just the stuff I was looking to learn.

    And also thanks for the engine and head gasket info. YES, I am aware of this issue. But am looking to learn more, and the differences between the 2.2 and the 2.5... and the different mid to late 90 wagons and what they came with.

    All this would be very helpful.

    Say, I'm looking at a '98 Outback with a 2.5... and a '98 Legacy wagon with a 2.2. What are the performance and function and maintenance/upkeep/cost issues and gas mileage differences, etc

    How about if someone tells me that they had the head gasket on their '98 Outback replaced at 100K... and now the car has 140K? Were there upgraded head gaskets that solved the problem? Is this a one-time fix... or will it keep coming up?

    Thanks a ton, Greg
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    The new gasket material should last as long as the heads were not warped from severe overheating.
  • zman3zman3 Posts: 857
    Weren't there a couple of attempts at a redesigned gasket? I thought, maybe incorrectly, that some of the early fixes did not necessarily take that well and failed a second time.

    Having said that my guess is that a 98 with 140K and the repair done at 100K would have a newer design.
  • samiam_68samiam_68 Posts: 775
    The 2.2 engine is bulletproof - it will run several hundred thousand miles without any problems. However, it is severely underpowered. The 2.5 has slightly more power. Very slightly.
  • morin2morin2 Posts: 399
    In an older FWD Legacy, the 130 hp 2.2 is not so "severely" underpowered. Try an older ('91) non-turbo 50hp VW diesel in a similar weight car - now that's underpowered! My son's college car is my old 94 Legacy FWD 2.2 and the power is fine if expectations are reasonable. For a FWD Legacy, I consider the power to be perfectly "adequate" - but it may be slightly less adequate for AWD. Bulletproof is always good for a young male's first car.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Not to mention you really don't want too much power in their first car. Let them go through their driving learning curve in something kinda slow.

    There's a reason insurance rates are high for teen males driving Mustang GTs.
  • pilot1226pilot1226 Posts: 165

    I have a `09 Legacy 2.5i Limited, just had the 7,500 mile service done including tire rotation... sidewall bubble on rear passenger side tire.

    I know the tire needs to be replaced, taking it to a shop tomorrow to see if it's a defect or if it was caused by a road hazard...

    I have Yokohamas that came with the car when I bought it about 8 months ago.

    How can I be sure the company is telling me the truth? What are the telltale signs of a "defect" compared to a "hazard" bulge?


  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 64,880
    You can possibly see the cause of a hazard. Dent in the wheel, gouge in the sidewall, etc..

    But, no tire company or dealer that I've ever had contact with has admitted to a tire defect... In their opinion, it just doesn't happen.. :surprise:

    Assuming no hazard evidence, and once they've decided that you have no claim, you can [non-permissible content removed] loud and long, and possibly they will cover it partially under some sort of "goodwill" claim. But, they won't likely ever admit to a defect..

    Just my personal experience..


    Prices Paid, Lease Questions, SUVs

  • hammerheadhammerhead Posts: 907
    My mileage numbers are a bit off compared to your request, but my '99 LGT wagon had the HG's done at 124K. Now at 170K, running great.

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