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Subaru Crew Problems & Solutions



  • pilot1226pilot1226 Posts: 165
    Thanks for the heads up. Sorry, was typing fast before since I'm on a quick break at work and wanted to try and get a few posts before I had to bring it in tomorrow.

    The shop I'm bringing it to is an authorized Yokohama dealer. I called Yokohama Customer Service as soon as I got home and they referred me to a place nearby, within 10 minutes of driving. The shop told me they'll take it off the rim and inspect it both inside and out and check it for any "hazards" that could have potentially caused it, and failing that, they may consider it a defect. The inspection is at no cost to me.

    The Subaru Dealer nearby quoted me with about $275 for the one tire's installation, balancing, including tax. I'm hoping this authorized dealer can do slightly better.

    Worst case scenario, I get new tires. Best case scenario, I get new tires for free or very low cost to myself. I'll call my insurance company and see if they can do anything with it.

    I don't think I saw any gouges in the sidewall when I did a brief inspection of it, I'll double check it again once it's light out tomorrow. I'm pretty sure the rim was clean, too.

    It's funny, when I left the service department, I swear my eye went right to that tire and I saw the bubble, it's like I never noticed it before hand. Part of me thinks that perhaps the service tech driving it into the shop pranged off something while putting it on the lift, but of course, I can't prove that. It just seems so *noticable* that I can't see how I missed it... I check the tire pressure once a week in my cars.

    Thanks again for the information. What do you think the best plan-of-action is tomorrow? Barter for a pro-rated tire and cut my losses?

  • machiusmachius Posts: 28
    Hi - Any insight appreciated: I have a 2000 Outback at about 90,000 miles. Recently, I started to detect a burnt smell from the engine compartment after driving the car. Occasionally, it gets very strong, particularly after a 1,000-mile ride ;) The smell is reminiscent of the additives found in camping gas, i.e., it's kind of a foul-ish smell. My Subaru service person thinks it's a small crack in the engine, releasing a tiny amount of oil that gets onto a very hot part of the engine. There is no noticeable drop in oil levels, so the released amount is small, and he says the crack is nothing to be worried about, but it should be fixed, best when the timing belt is going to be replaced, because the crack does not seem to be easily accessible. Well, I have that big service coming up anyway, but I want to go in prepared. I am not sure if I believe the thing about the crack.

    In an 'unrelated' incident, I also got the 'Check Engine' light recently. A read-out of the error code indicates problems with the oxygen sensor(s). I am almost tempted to think that the smell simply is a result of a faulty oxygen sensor and, therefore, an insufficient combustion of gasoline.

    Could it be something else? I was about to burn a small sample of every fluid in the car to see if I can find out which one the smell might come from. I don't know what the sweet-ish smell of coolant is that people with head-gasket problems report. Could it be that? Any other ideas?

    Thanks so much in advance! Cheers - MM
  • lilbluewgn02lilbluewgn02 PAPosts: 1,089
    My WRX recently had a smell also. It turned out to be leaks form the cam and crank seals and valve cover gaskets hitting the hot engine. I am waiting for the parts and it was also suggested I do the timing belt an spark plug change while they are in there. I am having a well recommended local Subaru mechanic do the work when the parts come in. This is on my 2002 WRX, which has approximately 71,000 miles on it.
  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Posts: 1,798
    Given some states love to throw Salt on roads,
    have Subaru owners noticed any particular place on the vehicle that seems prone to rust?

    I have anti-corrosion sprays but don't want to go wild spraying the stuff everywhere under the chassis. :blush:
  • jay_24jay_24 Posts: 536
    Wisconsin and Minnesota are the kings of salt throwing. There are days with more salt on the road than snow or ice. That said, the trusty little `01 outback I have has zero rust, even with a good number of paint chips on the hood. Granted the chips are only down to the primmer and not to bare metal. The other plus of the older subies is the plastic cladding, maybe not for looks, but for the rust proof. The lower rocker panels and door edges tend to be the rust zones on most vehicals in this area. Most cars/trucks in the last 10 years don't seem to rust nearly as bad as before.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    My 98 Forester did well as far as the panels went.

    I had the plasti-chrome lettering on the back hatch start to oxidize, though it was more a loss of shine. I'm not sure if they were coated metal or plastic.

    Certain parts of the exhaust - like hanger, were starting to rust also. Also some brake parts.

    Mostly surface rust. They salt the roads here big time. I also drove it on the beach several times, getting salt water on the undercarriage.

    Fun, but a mess to clean up later.
  • toboggantoboggan Posts: 283
    My '98 OBW Ltd 5 spd has been run through a car wash that sprays the bottom and wheel wells quite thoroughly. I do this religiously during the Minnesota winters. Also touched up any paint scratches as I found them.

    The only rust spot is on the top at the rear screw on the roof protector. When it finally gets warm enough up here, I'll unscrew the offending screw, lift the protector, scrape the rust off, put on rust stuff and repaint the silver dollar sized area.

    There is only 118,000 miles on the OBW (semi-retired since we bought a 2008 Tribeca for our main vehicle). Plus we tow it behind the motor home. But I'm now eyeing the 2010 Outbacks.
  • martijnhmartijnh Posts: 24
    Hi all,

    Greetings from our 2 Subaru family. Our 2000 OB Ltd has finally started to show its age after 9 years and 115k of faithful service. After 2 incidents of the CEL coming on (Cylinder 4 misfire), the dealer took a look. Here's the report:
    - Valve adjustment needed to avoid engine misfire ($500)
    - Headgasket leaking, apparently oil on one side, coolant on the other (I'm a little concerned about this diagnosis. ($2500, incl valve adjustment)
    - Front wheelbearings need to be replaced. It's been making a clunky noise for a long time, but never diagnosed properly. ($750)

    Of course, dealer quotes are usually generous. So I wanted to know if one of you has a suggestion for a more affordable, yet trustworthy,mechanic in the San Francisco Bay Area. We actually have a 3rd car (MINI!!), so I can easily drop the Subie off anywhere and leave it to be repaired.

    Then there is the 'Am I doing the right thing by spending up to $3000 on a car worth about double that' question. Should I trade in an pick up a 2009 as that model is on the way out? Or even a 2010?

    Would appreciate advice on a mechanic in the SF Bay area, and whether I can reasonably expect this car to have a number of worry-free years if I spend some big $$$ on it.


    Thank you for your responses
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    With that high mileage I think I'd cut my losses and just trade it in now, even if you don't get much for it.
  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Posts: 1,798
    At 9 years your vehicle has given long and faithful service.
    Most consumer mags I've reviewed saying that if repairs cost half the value of the device, it's time to get new one.

    Wrt new OB, if you want turbo, '09 is last year you can get one. '10 also appears to simplify the AWD system (planetary diff is gone in all in all but H-6 engine version).
    The '10 CVT, while impressive in design, is new. '10 has more interior room and is remarkably more like the Forester.

    You might try driving an '09 XT-L as well as an Outback.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,925
    Most consumer mags I've reviewed saying that if repairs cost half the value of the device, it's time to get new one.

    Haha; of course they will say that.... they want you to keep consuming! :P
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Posts: 1,798
    Consumer Reports has a fair bit of info on this subject.

    If you really like what you are driving, then it may be worth investing half the vehicle's value in repairs.
    But keep in mind there may be other problems lurking. Cars wear out.
    I had my '83 Toyota Camry until '92, and in '92 its paint was badly fading, engine was burning oil, suspension was nearly worn out, various parts rusting. Though it was maintained regularly, that car was done. However, other than two timing belts and disk rotors, it was a solid reliable piece of transportation.
  • phil2000phil2000 New JerseyPosts: 195
    I have a 2000 Forester (294,625 miles) and I have been blessed that despite my driving habit it has sevred me well. Yes, I had a problem, but that was because I opted out of replacing a part that came back and bit me big time in the butt. Right now I am getting 24 mpg. There are not many new SUVs that get that kind of mileage.

    I keep my cars until they are beyond my ability to repair or our family out grows them.

    I had a1985 Chrysler Laser the had 196,000 miles before it threw a rod. I overhauled that engine at 176,000. I also had a 1992 Nissan Sentra. I donated it to charity for the Forester. It had 229,000 miles and no engine work.

    Parts do wear out. As long as they can be replaced, you can keep a vehicle for decades. In 1975, I read an article in Popular Mechanics about a man who had an Internation Harvester truck that had 1.5 million miles.

    I am hoping to get the award for the Forester with the most miles. Maybe your Outback and my Forester can celebrate our 20th B-day together.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Sweet, let us know when you hit 300k.

    I think there is a quarter-million-mile club for Subarus.
  • sgloonsgloon Posts: 323
    My old '86 Subaru Hatchback had 285,000 before someone totaled it while it was parked last spring. So they can go a long time...

    However, I never had any of the mechanical issues you mentioned in your post. Only had to replace parts as they wore out, like tires, oil. Water pump finally went about 225k. Not much really wore out.

    Not sure how long the newer ones will last...
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,925
    Fun testimonials, and that was basically my point. Mechanical items wear out and require repair/replacement from time to time. But, as long as the vehicle itself remains solid and it meets the needs of the user, rarely will an already-owned vehicle be more expensive than opting for a new one.

    In this case, replacement of head gaskets, etc., is all normal maintenance. It is labor intensive (though not difficult) and therefore expensive if a shop performs the work, but with as few of miles as is on that car, I think it is short-sighted to consider replacing it at this juncture. That is assuming it continues to meet the needs of the owner.

    Far more than $3500 will be spent on a new car in the first year of ownership alone...
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,925
    I wonder if there is a quarter-million club for Dodge Caravans? I bet it is a lonely club if there is.... ;)
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    The guy who kept my '89 Voyager alive had a Caravan that had been a taxi and he had over 250,000 miles on it. Then he moved to Seattle and my Voyager barely got to 90,000 miles before I traded it in. :sick:
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Yeah but BOTH of those owners are very satisfied. ;)
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,925
    Hahahah, well said. I will keep my hopes at bay. I was looking forward to that mark with my '96 Outback, and look what happened there.... :cry: Admittedly, though, things could have gone much worse.
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • phil2000phil2000 New JerseyPosts: 195
    I hit 295,000 today. I have owned my Subaru for 3,479 days and averaged 84.79 miles a day. At this rate I will hit 300k on the 18th of July. And my Forester has consumed 12,348.472 gallons of gas.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    That's about 24 mpg lifetime average, not bad.

    I tracked my mileage for 9 years on my '98 model, and my average was 25.1mpg.
  • Good day everyone,

    I have a 2005 auto OB with 100k Miles. Several months ago I stare hearing a humming noise which appears to be coming form the back of the car. When I accelerate the car vibrates and the noise gets higher. I thought it was the tires so I rotated them, then I thou it was the back wheel bearing s and had them replaced. The noise is still there. I took to a mechanic friend of mine and he figure out a play or loose end of a back drive shaft. So to prove the point, he removed the drive shaft from the middle the car, and showed me the slack at the end tip of it. The car now operated at FWD. There is no noise no vibration. Has anyone experienced a similar experience? I think the car should not have a bad drive shaft at 100K and normal driving. What would case such of failure? Is there a problem in driving the car in FWD mode? Thanks.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    It's hard to say what would have caused the drive shaft to fail, but it could be as simple as uneven tire wear placing a constant stress on the driveline. Did you rotate your tires regularly?
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,925
    I had a bad bushing on the drive shaft in my '96 Outback. That caused a "thumping" noise under acceleration. It felt like someone was smacking the bottom of the car with a rubber mallet and sounded like it was coming from the rear, even though the bad part was actually located at about the junction between the front seats and the rear foot well. $250 and a couple hours of labor later, and the noise was gone for good. The car had 83,xxx miles on it when I replaced the shaft (I had just purchased it, and it came with the problem) and I owned it to 220,000 miles with no recurrence. I might also mention that I replaced the bad part with a used one, so I doubt it will be something likely to recur.

    That said, if your mechanic is wrong about it being the drive shaft then it could also be the rear differential. But, because it causes vibration in the car, I think he is right about it being the drive shaft. I do not think a problem in the differential would cause the vibration - that is caused by something spinning out of balance - though it could cause the noise.
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • phil2000phil2000 New JerseyPosts: 195
    Well, yesterday I took a look at the timing belt. The crank sprocket was off one (1) tooth. I changed the spark plugs to Bosch Platinum +2's and fixed the A/C tensioner (side problem). The compression was as follows: 1-200, 2-235, 3-195, and 4-220. Wiped out the codes (P301-4 & P420) and the now when I sit at idle, I can't tell if the engine is running. It runs real smooth. The CEL came back on after 75 miles. I bet it is P420. I need to get it inspected (18 months overdue) but I do not know what the garage will say with the CEL on. I think the Forester has two sensors, which do I replace?
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,925
    Bosch +2... I bet the car does run smooth! I put +4s in my '96, but the car would not run with them at idle. However, if I put it north of 2000 RPM, it would keep running and run amazingly smooth at that. Obviously, though, a car that does not idle is not getting you too far without serious frustration! I pulled them and returned them (had to argue with the sales rep, who had initially sold me on them, since they were now used), replacing with the standard NGK platinum plugs.

    As for the P0420, I could not say with certainty, but since the code is tripped as a result of a reading differential, and the gradual fouling of the sensors will result in decreased sensitivity, I suspect you will have more luck replacing the upstream sensor. If you clear the code with a handheld and it manages to stay off for a cycle or two, you can probably get the inspection without resolving the P0420 code right away. I had two successful inspections while the code was recurring, both times having reset it a day or two before the test. Interestingly, the tailpipe emissions were always spot on, so I have to think the cat was doing its job....
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • phil2000phil2000 New JerseyPosts: 195
    The garage would not inspect it with the CEL on. I looked under the car and saw only one (1) O2 sensor upstream (between the engine and converter). I will replace that and reset the codes again. You know, I thought all cars had two (2) sensors. Not that I am complaining, but does any one know why I have just one?

    The car runs well at idle and down the road with the +2's. The upgrade from regular plugs to +2's was as far as I was willing to go. For me the +4's were overkill and expensive.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,925
    No, they will not inspect with the light illuminated. I think it has to be off and in a "ready" state, meaning you cannot reset it with a handheld after you pull into their parking lot. ;) But, the P0420 tends to occur intermittently, so you can often get several cycles out of the car before it sets again. I certainly do not advocate doing that for selling purposes, but if the code is not affecting the emissions then there is no reason not to do it in order to simply renew registration.

    Oddly, the Bosch +4 plugs were actually less expensive than the NGK platinum plugs. I did not care too much one way or the other, considering how infrequently they need to be replaced. Again, though, they were "too hot" for the Subaru engine, and it would not run with them in it. Probably a good thing you did not opt for them. :D

    The car definitely has a downstream sensor, but I am not sure where. I want to say it is located somewhere near where the exhaust passes the transmission, on the top, and difficult to access.
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • phil2000phil2000 New JerseyPosts: 195
    You post hit me squarely in the gut. I went and check. Forester has two(2) converters as well as two O2 sensors. The converters are about three(3) feet apart connected by an 2" exhaust pipe. The sensors are mounted on the converter housing forward on the first and on the rear on the second.

    I can get to the downstream by disconnecting the flange behind the rear converter. The other is easy access (at least to me).

    In March of 2006 (@ about 205,000) I replaced the catalytic converter as well as an oxygen sensor.

    I will replace the upstream sensor. The converters should be okay since they have 42,000 miles of bent valve exhaust and 100 miles of burnt antifreeze running through it.

    What do you think of my approach?
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