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Subaru Crew Problems & Solutions



  • girlcarbuildergirlcarbuilder Baton Rouge, LAPosts: 218
    Okay, what is the mileage? The reason I ask this over and over again is because certain models have little things that go wrong at certain times. Makes targeting a problem that much more accurate the first time I write.

    Could be a power steering system problem, something in the transmission or the drive train. But I will start you off with, check your power steering fluid level. Make sure it is full and NOT over filled. If you have run it too low for too long, you may have damaged the sytem. I hear many a neglected power steering system going down the street at times making the beginning noises asking for assistance only to be ignored by the owner. After a while, the grinding starts.

    Get back to me either way, so we can get to the bottom of this one. That sounbds like one noise you need to know the source of pretty quick.
  • sangerboysangerboy Posts: 5
    My '95 Legacy Outback quit running today. Will turn over but not start. I'm about to start testing the various possible culprits but I'm very suspicious that it could be the ECU. When putting the code scanner on the OBD II terminal it wouldn't even trigger the scanner. What is the power source of the ECU? Is there a fuse or relay that could be cutting power to it? I don't mind replacing it but I want to make sure that that is what needs to be done as I know they are very expensive. The car has a lot of miles but still runs great so I'd like to keep it going. Thanks for any help, Greg
  • I went to the Store Today and my 09 Outback ran fine.
    When I went to back out of the parking Slot it sounded like I'd run over something.
    I stopped and looked behind and under the Car but there was nothing.

    I got back in and tried backing up again when the sound of something dragging started again.
    I pulled forward and the dragging sound continued so I stopped again.
    I looked all over but coudn't find anything hanging.
    I got my Wife to pull forward slowly and stood beside the Car to see where the sound was coming from.
    I figured out it was the Passenger side front Wheel.
    I jacked the Car up and removed the Wheel.
    When I looked down between the Dust Shield and Brake Rotor I noticed a small object wedged between the Two.
    I gently pried the Dust Shield and it fell to the Ground, it was a small Pea Gravel.

    After this incident I wonder why Subaru put the Shield so close to the Brake Rotor because I can see this causing damage to the Rotor if not taken care of immediately.
    I'd say it's a fluke but if I'm off Road driving on Gravel or somewhere Muddy I could see this really causing problems.

    Could someone explain why those Shield are there, if there's some way I could increase the spacing or if I could just remove them all together.
    I know the Shields are there for a reason but if it's not a big deal or a safety issue, would it be OK to remove them so this never happens again.
    I really don't feel like jacking my Car up and removing the Wheel every time I drive on Gravel or mud...
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    That happened to me in my '97 Outback about a year ago. Amazing how much racket a little pebble can cause in there. I managed to get mine out (after pulling over) by going a few feet in reverse, so try that next time.

    Maybe the shields are there to keep gravel away from the rotors lol. More likely they are to keep heat away from the brake lines.
  • I did try backing up but the little bugger wouldn't come out.
    Also, before I knew what was going on the sound was so disturbing I was afraid it was more serious like the CV Joints or something.

    The noise freaked me out so bad at first I slammed on the Brakes and jumped out thinking I'd find a Kid pinned under the Bumper with his Bike.
    The guy gathering shopping Carts looked at me like I was retarded, LOL!

    I'd say they're there to protect the Lines from heat like you said.
    I just wish they could have spaced them out a little more.
  • girlcarbuildergirlcarbuilder Baton Rouge, LAPosts: 218
    Never start with the ECU unless you have a CEL. What about spark? What about fuel pressure? What about timing? I noted no mileage listed in your report. So I could assume the timing belt has been neglected. Always in a no start or any problem start with the most simple possibilities and work to the more complex. Saves money in the long run as well just like preventive maintaince. Simply put for a no start, but cranks, check air, spark, fuel then timing in that order.

    I have seen many a timing belt break upon starting a car up....because that is when the most strain hits them other than putting a heavy foot into the gas. If it is broken, this is an interference engine. The real fun will begin if you decide to repair it!
  • girlcarbuildergirlcarbuilder Baton Rouge, LAPosts: 218
    Keep them in place! You have not seen brake problems until you do take them off! They help keep oil off from leaks & Stuff getting caught in the brakes. Wait how could that be.....get that rock stuck between the caliper in a way that it does not press on the rotor, you have a bigger brakes!

    I agree, it is a scary sound. You are correct to inspect and determine if the sound is a problem or not. Which it was. Excellent parking lot diagnostic skills. Once you have heard this sound, you will know it on any car!

    If you can, it is better to decrease the spacing without touching the rotor. Less space means less can get between the parts.

    Usually when a manufacter puts something on a car, they have a very good reason other than Uncle Sam! So always find out before you really have a bad screw up.
  • Ah ha ... yes, now that makes complete sense, LOL.

    ... yeah, I've been well trained over the past 17+ yrs. (and before by others) by my friend who runs his indep. shop (Porsche/Audi/VW specialists but they do it all) ... cutting corners rarely works out in the long run.

  • hammerheadhammerhead Posts: 907
    Don't feel too bad... (and Steve, you can relate to this too, since it was the Villager):

    My wife had the same thing happen, and the racket was so intense, I had the car towed to the dealer. I thought for sure it was a major drivetrain component!
    Boy, was I embarrassed... :blush:

  • girlcarbuildergirlcarbuilder Baton Rouge, LAPosts: 218
    Heard that! I get more amused about how some are to afraid to think out what the manufacturer is doing with their "new design." Like I told a guy years ago who hired me to work on electronic cash registers in response to his comment that digital electronics is different than working on TV's and radio's.....What, a resistor is not a resistor, a diode not a diode, a transistor not a on/off signal is not a high/ low signal?

    The more things change, as the old saying goes, the more they stay the same. I have gotten pretty tired over how some manufacters go out of they way to recreate the wheel. Guess in my older years, I just want to Keep It Simple Stupid, KISS.

    Just hope it is not the beginning of ALZ! Have enough trouble now figuring where I laid that last wrench I had in my hand! LOL Time for another cold one, it will look better then.

    How many times have we taken a stupid code reading to find it is not what the code said it was "so to speak?" I have found the extra info useful, but I still have to think out what is going on in the basics.

    Miss those old 70's bugs, we ran the heck out of those when I was going up.
  • sangerboysangerboy Posts: 5
    Thank you for the response. Timing belt is intact, car has 260K so it is on it's 5th one. I enjoy working on the car so I've done all the work myself. Fuel pressure is good. There is no spark, coil checks out fine. Could be the ignitor, going to check the relay to the ECU, I find it odd that there is no power to the OBD II connector. The speedometer and tach (both controlled by the ECU) dropped instantly to 0 when the engine quit, other gauges continue to function normally. I agree everything else should be checked before replacing a part that costs 600 to $700.00. I think the ECU is incapable of displaying the CEL (back to the OBD diagnostic port having no power) please continue to share thoughts, everything is helpful to make sure I'm not skipping anything.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Probably a freak occurence that won't likely happen again. I'd leave it be.

    If you wanted to file a complaint with NHTSA, use this link:

    If they see a pattern of lots of people having the same problem, they could force a recall.
  • Are there any known issues with the Subaru automatic tranny that destroy the fluid? Just did a drain on mine today (20K miles), what came out was clear but very brown/yellow, strong odor, not sure I'd say burned but it really stank. Car was never run low on fluid, but anytime I checked it the last couple years it was always brown on the stick, I never really ever saw red fluid (like Dexron red) in this car. I actually assumed that the non standard tranny fluid called for by Subaru was some new type juice and NOT red. WRONG, picked up my first quart at the dealer today, saw red juice and decided right away to do a plug drain. The tranny had started shifting a bit slushy, the fresh 3.75 qt add has fixed it for now. But why did my 20K miles Forester trash its fluid so soon? Car is driven easy, no abuse, great car overall. Thanks....
  • phil2000phil2000 New JerseyPosts: 195
    Does anyone know what purpose the plastic skirt/shield/shoud/cover that is underneath the front of the engine compartment? You have to remove it to change the oil. Can I get rid of it?

    Some years ago, one of the oil change shops cut a hole in it. And since then it has been falling apart.
  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Posts: 1,798
    It's probably to improve the aerodynamics and provide basic engine protection from road debris.

    The optional front and back guards do a similar thing, but are made out of either steel or aluminum depending on who the supplier is.
  • girlcarbuildergirlcarbuilder Baton Rouge, LAPosts: 218
    Very good. Your mileage tells me none of our fleet units have reached that....yet. Top one is 240K, The 03 is currently racking 5K a month, at 215K, won't be long. So there goes the historical help in that old brain. I always say, after 200K, anything goes and this is where the pros get separated from the real pros!

    Briefly back to timing, I am assuming all of the idlers and water pump have been changed at least once. If not, and still good, they need to be. That timing belt has a 105K service interval. Might want to save some money later! 1st change, belt and seals. 2nd one everything in front goes.

    Second thought. I have seen the coils, aka ignitors have cracks on the intake manifold side on them in junk yard units as low as 100K. I recall taking electrical resistance readings to be iffy in determining go, no go. I recall being able to read secondary, but primary readings for some reason read infinite on an operating unit. They are driven by the ECU.

    Your thinking on ECU seems sound from what I can see. Do you have a professional grade wiring diagram? Too many times in a Chilton's/Haynes have very limited or poor diagrams. Mitchell maybe at the library or All data on the web? The dirty dealer just might have a book up for sale still. If they do, and you plan to keep this car, get it! We have one on the 300K mazda 323. Has been handy a few times already. It has been worth the $50 for a few pages already!

    There must be something ahead supplying power to the ECU. Many leads to sort out. I would resolve this question first before I spent any money on the ECU. Which makes a good wiring diagram a must. I have seen fuse holders get weak and intermitant in high mileage units. Connectors fail in fuse boxes. Anywhere there is a mechanical connection there is potential for failure after a lot of miles.

    Good information seems to be your biggest service problem at this point.

    After you re-establish power to ECU and have no spark still, you have 2 options, change the coil out with a known good unit, or try to take a signal from the ECU with a good fast oscilloscope.

    keep me posted, you, I and 1 other out on Edmunds here are running these higher miles!

    If all else fails, there is a guy in Zachary, LA that repairs ECU's for a living. Know of him, but have not had to use him yet and hope to keep it that way!
  • Mileage clocks in at 244,705

    Power steering fluid levels are okay.

    Thanks for your help.
  • sangerboysangerboy Posts: 5
    Got it fixed, it ended up being the SBF-2 in the main fuse/relay box. That controls power from the battery to the ECU, main relay and fuel pump relay. It looked OK but on a more thorough eval proved to be faulty so it was not letting any power get through to the computer. All is good, shooting for 300K miles next. (You're exactly right, the Hayne's and Clymer manuals' electric diagrams were not very detailed, took a lot of old fashioned sleuthing to get it figured out)
  • saedavesaedave Chicago, ILPosts: 694
    All is good, shooting for 300K miles next.

    But something probably blew the fuse. I would certainly carry a spare. Does the fuel pump have a separate concatenated fuse in addition to the one that blew?

    Are there any signs of frayed insulation on wires that are near metal?

    While a fuse can fail on its own, it is quite unusual.
  • phil2000phil2000 New JerseyPosts: 195
    Behind the cranksprocket is something that looks like a bicycle gear plate. What is it? Mine was showing some wear on it. The points were shinny.
  • girlcarbuildergirlcarbuilder Baton Rouge, LAPosts: 218
    Coffee has not set in yet.....but I recall yours being new enough to be an OBD unit. You are looking at the beginnings of the signal generation for everything from ignition spark, fuel injection, air mixture control and so on. Look right above that and you will see the crankshaft sensor that picks up the magnetism from those points to make that signal.

    There is also another sensor on one or both of the camshafts. Be careful around them. They not cheap, $50 and up to priceless depending on year make and model. Priceless meaning if one can be found!
  • girlcarbuildergirlcarbuilder Baton Rouge, LAPosts: 218
    My compliments on your electrical tracing abilities. Getting into that fuse block requires a lot of care. Must be nice to keep that $700 in your pocket as well! I assume the SBF-2 to be some kind of terminal strip everything attaches to.

    Reminds me of an old tv I worked on years ago. Hard headed back then. Learned a lot as well. Screen kept going red every so often. Had the problem down to one circuit, but could not isolate the component. Must have spent 120 hours looking for it. Finally ripped the entire circuit putting in new parts one by one. Pulled one power resistor. On the back side, there it was, a small crack in the housing causing that thing to open up when it got hot enough. These "now you see it, now you don't's" will drive any good tech nuts. But a lot of good ole sleuthing over time and a few cold ones will always crack the case. Then again, I learned to finally trash a few sets back then! It just comes to a point of no return. Guess I turned to cars at that point where you can rip out the entire assembly and let someone else deal with it! Thank you A1 Cardone!

    Next tip for any one else following this post, mark your info that there is a failure possibility in that fuse panel. Will make your life easier when you see this come up!

    Getting ready to drop a lot of $$$$ on a new Toyota. Guess it is time to pay up after the last one, still here at almost 24 years. Something about parts availabilty!

    Happy 4th!
  • Just got a 2006 Impreza 2.5i. Manual tranny. Just lookin for some non bank breaking upgrades, any Ideas?
  • girlcarbuildergirlcarbuilder Baton Rouge, LAPosts: 218
    Yup, don't mess with her! Let me explain. The engines in these girls can put out a high rpm very quickly! But the cost is too high when things go breaking, like a flying clutch disc from racing.

    I am aware of one guy blowing a tranny. Had to get a new one from the dealer. If $ 4-5K is not a bank break for you, have fun! If it is, behave.

    All the Japanese girls I have dealt with during the years can give you grief right back if you give them too much hell. So I go easy on mine, until I really need her.

    Recently, while on LSU campus doing the speed limit, we got hit by a guy. Road rage. He ran in a late model GMC, we got most of the license plate. He had almost a whole block head start on me, when I realized he was not going to a parking lot to exchange info. At 240K, a 2.2 liter woke up and gave him hell to get those digits. He had to really get too dangerous crazy for me to break pursuit after 5 city blocks. I was not going to be the cause another accident, so we ceased. I doubt he will ever pick on another Subaru after that!

    JUnk yard sheet metal, grille and headlamps went for $100, bumper for another $40. still need a little paint. I doubt he will get by that cheap either when his gets fixed paying for late model parts, not to mention if they catch him, he has a felony charge to face.

    Why do I tell you this. Most traffic does not really need for you to get crazy. if you do, it will cost you somehow. A wise person uses the power they have carefully and knows when to use it. As for these American truck drivers who think they own the road, they better think again. One hard side hit into them with a 3000 pound car in a t bone, they are going to get rolled! See it everytime!

    Oh, if you have been reading, those of us who do behave are pushing way up to 300K so far in this forum. One trick is to keep those rpm's low!
  • phil2000phil2000 New JerseyPosts: 195
    I am beginning to think that is where my problem maybe. When I reset the timing belt (off on tooth), I notice that it had shinny end that was evidence that it was rubbing something(I think the belt tensioner with the piston). If it is worn down enough, the crankshaft sensor may not be picking up change in mag field under certain circumstances.

    Can I lower the sensor? I will check with Subaru for a replacement.
  • girlcarbuildergirlcarbuilder Baton Rouge, LAPosts: 218
    No. Leave the sensor as mounted. It is possible that the magnet may have lost some magnetism after lots of high mileage/heat, but no one has had that problem yet on any of these units. It has happen though on other models/brands. Not sure at this time what kind of problem we are dealing with? Misfire? Not likely from this part of the system. But like I always say, after 200K anything goes and this is where the pros get separated from the real pros. Some weird stuff happens also! Is the fit of the crank gear tight on the crankshaft?

    If you are still questioning signal pickup here, get a scope if you know how to use one and check it for signal.

    Timing off a tooth, on a crank, on cam? late or early? Not going to cause a misfire with that. Just like the old carb systems, you will see the problems in lack of performance. It will either run, lousy or not at all. Assuming no valves dancing on piston tops! One tooth will not do that.... usually.

    Shiny spot on tooth, it has too be clear that it has been hitting something? If so, it would have marks on it, what? Most dealers are totally lost before 200K in service. rare they see units with that kind of miles. The local dealer here gets info from me on those! Check the dealer exploded view to see if there is a missing spacer between gear and pump. I doubt there is one.

    Dang memory, trying to remember this car. Is this the same one with the compression readings that are uneven? Once in a blue moon misfire code? If so, pull that coil and check the underside of it for flash marks. If possible, try substituting it with another one with a known performance. Aging spark plugs go up in resistance which would aggravate a flash over problem on any coil. I had a weird occasional misfire on a 86 Toyota Tercel that drove me nuts a while back. Turned out to be a flash over problem on the coil on the back side of it. New coil made her purr nicely after that.

    If this is the same car, a valve would only have to hang up once in a blue moon to throw that stupid code out again. I have one in the fleet right now, a 97 that tosses a code once in a blue moon. It will slowly get worse, that is when I will deal with it. No sense chasing something until it really comes to a head. Monitor it, watch it to see what it is doing. When it gets bad enough, you have enough info to nail the problem. We call it a watch status. Not uncommon for the higher mileage units to have a couple of them at any given time.

    Just the nature of the mechanical beast as OBD II tries to make something old be perfect all of the time. Not realistic.
  • girlcarbuildergirlcarbuilder Baton Rouge, LAPosts: 218
    I notice that it had shinny end that was evidence that it was rubbing something(I think the belt tensioner with the piston).Are we speaking of the piston in the hydraulic tensioner?

    Not sure what this part above meant. BUT, An after thought came up, the timing belt hydraulic tensioners do become a problem after 2 belt changes or 210K miles. That could cause some slack in the timing belt. Which could create a fluctuation in operation. Doubt it to be enough to cause a code to toss out. But who knows? Just a thought, might be worth something.
  • phil2000phil2000 New JerseyPosts: 195
    Yes, we are talking about my 2000 Forester. It throws out a cyl. 1 misfire code, that prevents me from getting an inspections. I am still averaging 24 mpg. How bad can this car be. I wish the state would appreciate that my car is better on the environment that some cars rolling out of new car lots now.

    I checked the coil pack no flash marks of carbon scaring. Plugs are brand new, swapped cables, problem did not move. Tried Lucas additive, code P0301 still popped up. I do not know where to get a good coil pack to try out.

    The crankshaft sprocket has on the back something that looks like a bicycle gear. The tips are shiny, which tells me it was rubbing something. The teeth of the sprocket will be shiny (that is what the belt ride on). I think that the hydraulic tensioner pulley (which showed slight wear) was coming in contact with the gear spokes.
  • girlcarbuildergirlcarbuilder Baton Rouge, LAPosts: 218
    Okay, got me back on track, come to think of it I could have clicked on your user name and got the history of posts. Yesterday was one of those days.

    For starters, if that is the original tensioner, at almost 300K, it is past due for tossing knowing the few I have dealt with. Check for the best price.

    Get the gear to compare to a new one at an auto parts store. If it looks different, replace it. Keep the old one for now, tag it: not a confirmed defective part yet. Wish I could physically look at it. Could still have a magnetism problem with it, but I suspect problems from this area to be less likely. Usually it is go/no go.

    Now, lets return to the coil. No external flashovers visible. Being a multiple coil pack, I am wondering if it is breaking down internally. If it is original, I highly suspect it to be: Years ago, 100K was doing good. The Toy had 180K, but the misfire problem had been around since 150K. As you gather, you are almost twice that now. Maybe there is a wrecked unit in a junk yard. I am seeing them new available at Rockauto for about $150, ouch. which means people are buying them: does not mean they are failing though. Educated guess, based on working on too many during the years. I would say somewhere between 50- 75% of being right. That low, because Subaru quality has proved me wrong before, but the 2000 if made in USA is also most likely made in USA parts. Reason why the next new car is coming from Japan. This is what I would look at real hard.

    Hopefully, but not likely, a valve is sticking from gunk or beginning to burn/warp. This may have to be ruled out over time. Good oil and that valve job a while back should rule that out. Compression readings do not help the problem from way back then. I wonder what those readings are now.

    Another thought would be to see if you could lay your hands on a real time code reading system like has. You need to be able to see what else the computer might be able to tell you that is not tossing out a code.

    From what I recall, the code comes up within a 100 mile run, which forces it to be dealt with.

    Yup, I agree with you about emissions. I am still amused by the rebates placed out there. 86 Toy may run well, but I seriously doubt it would pass an OBD II computer pain in the butt.
  • jasvicjasvic Posts: 18
    Hi All,

    I'm leasing an 09 Impreza premium.... Since day one there has been a lot of vibration in the shift knob, even when stopped and idling. Is this normal for the model or is something up?

    Thanks in advance
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