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Subaru Crew Problems & Solutions



  • girlcarbuildergirlcarbuilder Baton Rouge, LAPosts: 218
    Somethings up! Everything I have driven new, excluding Subaru's never had that problem.

    I suspect the clutch assembly or something is out of balance if the engine is running fine. No codes being tossed out? Like a misfire code?
  • smudgejetsmudgejet Posts: 11
    Is replacing a (passenger side) seat belt a do-it-yourself project?

    My 2-yr old lab/mix decided it was better than his chew toy.
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 63,306
    My '08 has a pretty pronounced vibration in the gearshift... at idle.. in neutral..

    I chalk it up to the flat-four engine... which isn't the smoothest thing going..


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  • girlcarbuildergirlcarbuilder Baton Rouge, LAPosts: 218
    Yes it is in most cases. generally the retractor assembly is located inside the door trim. You may not like the price though from the dealer though. You may wish to check the junk yards. seat belts tend to be something that does not change much during the years. Be ready to compare what is left of yours with any donor prospects. Make sure you bolt back to the same spots the OEM unit came from.

    Also, there is JC Whitney you can google. One of our units has belts from there and they have worked just fine for the past 150K.
  • girlcarbuildergirlcarbuilder Baton Rouge, LAPosts: 218
    I thought I would shed a bit more light into this topic. I agree it is most likely something clutch assembly forward. When H-4 engines were smaller, the differences in piston weights were much closer together. the tolerances in weights even though allowed in percentage of weight of what is accepted versus what is rejected being the same. Hang on while I speak Greek. You get two opposing pistons with one weighing in on the upper tolerance scale and the other on the lower end....vibration. Now for some simple numbers, but not very realistic. Lets say the acceptable ideal weight is 10 ounces. The acceptable tolerance is +/- 10 percent. Now you could have a piston weighing in on high side at 11 ounces and the low at 9! You got it, shake, rattle or roll.

    Generally this does not happen often, but it does. H-4's are more prone to problems with this especially if someone was sleeping on the job when they were supposed to be balancing! Why? The opposing piston is the counter weight. Where as in another configuation, crankshaft throws and sometimes additional counterweight shafts deal with this problem more. You still have to balance them as needed.

    So far, there are 3 Subaru's currently in service that have not had this problem. 1 at 170K, another 215K and the last at 240K. Engine sizes 2.2, 2.5L. Neither have any in the past service/ownership. But when it comes to any engine being assembled, it can happen.

    My biggest concern about an engine like this is overall lifespan reduction of the engine and when that heaviest piston begins to toss out a misfire code with the addition of any other varibles that become a problem.

    Not sure what you could do to resolve this issue. dealer would probably blow it off as being "normal.' I would not buy that answer, but recourse is hard to prove short of a complete teardown. That is not worth it.
  • smudgejetsmudgejet Posts: 11

    I'll check around at the junkyards and with JC Whitney for the best price.
  • samiam_68samiam_68 Posts: 775
    A new seat belt is about $300-$350. Be careful replacing it - newer models have explosive pre-tensioners built into the assembly. I would disconnect the battery just to be on the safe side.
  • picachupicachu Posts: 7
    Just purchased the car two weeks ago. This week I noticed the A/C cycles between real cold and lukewarm every 20 to 30 seconds. Real annoying to say the least. The cycling occurs while driving at all speeds and while parked. No automatic climate control and the system is set to recirculate at the max cold setting. Just hit 700 miles today.

    Just wondering if anyone with an 09 has had the same experience. Will be taking the car to the dealer as soon as I can make an appointment.

    Thanks in advance for any information.
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 63,306
    Interesting.... Considering that I'm half-way through a 24-month lease on the car, not too worried.. ;)

    Actually, the more irritating thing is the throttle.. It hangs on to revs way too long, making smooth shifts difficult... If you wind it out to 4000-4500 rpms before shifting, then no problem... But, otherwise, it's pretty jerky... There was a TSB, but it made only a minimal improvement to the problem..

    I won't be sad to give this car back, next year... :)


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  • danielldaniell Posts: 128

    I have a 2002 Forester S (bought August 2001), auto, 71k miles, original owner. For a while I have been noticing drops of fluid between the front wheels, so today when I had the car at the dealer for an oil change, I asked them to look into it. Apparently the motor needs new head gaskets and is leaking oil. They said since it's not leaking coolant, the repair is not covered by the Subaru 100k warranty for head gaskets. They also want to replace the timing belt, at this time, and the total cost is $1850. The car has been maintained regularly at the dealer, never towed anything, never abused it, and the head gasket problem is known. Is there any way I can get Subaru to cover this, at least partially? Which number should I call?

  • girlcarbuildergirlcarbuilder Baton Rouge, LAPosts: 218
    Get away from that dealer!!!! Last time I checked the service interval for that belt is 105K miles. Second, if the car runs well, you do not have a head gasket problem. The known problem is the valve cover gaskets! Just clean the area up and re torque the valve cover gaskets. Use a torque wrench. H-4 engines have always had this problem. Be it Volkswagen, Porsche or Subies.

    We have been doing that for some time on all of ours and we are pushing 250K on one unit and more than that on another by the end of the year.

    Too many dealers do not give it to you straight. Ask questions if in doubt. Get a repair manual and learn how to fix or be ready to pay lots of money for a simple repair job.

    Exactly why I like to buy a car and factory manuals, and the dealer never sees it again!
  • danielldaniell Posts: 128
    girlcarbuilder - thank you for your response. The mileage replacement for timing belt is indeed 105K miles, but i think the manual specifies that or 7 years, whichever comes first (manual is in the car at the dealer so i can't check). Mine will be 8 years old at the end of this month. Dealer is Beechmont Subaru in Cincinnati.


    Edit - I checked online and it's 105 months or 105k miles, whichever comes first.
  • mr_jmtmr_jmt Posts: 9
    Hi all, I am a new Subaru owner and new to the Subie forum. I just bought an 09 Outback 3 weeks ago. I find when I use the A/C on recirculate (or fresh air), that the compressor cycles on/off too much for my liking. When the compressor is engaged, the air is plenty cold. Since my car is dark gray, it never really gets cold inside. Is the 'cycling' of the compressor normal? On my Chevy truck, it stays on and gets plenty cold. I am hoping that there is a simple fix. Just wanted to ask those who own Subies before I take it in for service.
  • samiam_68samiam_68 Posts: 775
    It's common with Subarus - the A/C systems on them are kind of crappy - some parts freeze up and the compressor has to shut off for a few seconds so that the whole system doesn't self-destruct. Poor design, but it's common.

    The cycling is usually very noticeable in the first 5-10 minutes of driving on hot days, after that, the system should equalize and the cutting out of the compressor will be virtually unnoticeable.

    If it keeps doing it on long drives, then have the dealer check it out - could be low charge also.
  • mr_jmtmr_jmt Posts: 9
    I have the same issue (see post 18222 and response to it in post 18223). My car has the same mileage as yours and I too find it annoying. All of the GMs I have ever owned have ACs cold enough on even the hottest of days.
  • tim3tim3 Posts: 28
    The car: 04 Forester X, 5-speed manual, 97K miles. I’ve owned the car since new and taken excellent care of it. Except for this, the car has been excellent. The only repairs have been the thermostat and the catalytic converter.

    Starting somewhere around 40K, the car started to lurch and buck immediately after filling it up with gas. I found that if I stopped the car and restarted it immediately, the problem went away. This worked for a long time. Eventually, it would only go away once the car was stopped for a long time. I used to regularly overfill the tank a little (must get every drop possible!). But when I stopped doing this and stopped pumping on the first shut off. The problem mostly went away except for the occasional hiccup or two or three as I drove away from the station.

    But now it’s bucking and lurching again. Only this time, it seems to happen after I’ve been driving for a while and has nothing to do with fill ups. A few days ago I drove maybe 80 miles – all of them in the city – and toward the end the car started bucking badly. It’s been doing this off and on for a month or so. It seems to get worse in really hot weather. I’m in Tucson, AZ.

    Other times it just feels like I'm constantly letting my foot off the gas abruptly. But….I took it on a 150-mile drive on the highway earlier this week and it didn't do it all. Basically, I’ve tried really hard to pin down when the symptoms occur most, but they just seem really random.

    I think I've got a good dealer, but they can never replicate the problem, which I can I believe because it's pretty random. We're leaving on a 3,000-mile round trip road trip this week, although, as I mentioned, the problem doesn’t seem to happen on the highway nearly as much, I’d like to get this addressed before we leave, if possible.

    No CEL.

    Possible ideas I’ve gotten from other forums, include: fuel filter, coil pack, charcoal canister, vacuum leak.

    Any ideas?

    Thank you.
  • markk1markk1 Posts: 30
    A couple of weeks ago we had torrential downpours here is upstate NY. On my home from work I encountered a deep puddle, maybe just below the bottom of the car door on my 2000 Outback. Some cars turned around some went through it. I figured with the high ground clearance I would have no problem I went through it ok, but then started having what transmission problems. Basically at low speeds it felt like i were popping the clutch (but the car is an automatic), it seemed like the clutch (if there is one in an automatic) was slipping and then catching both on acceleration and decelleration, once I got above 10-15mph everything seemed ok. A couple of times I put it in reverse and it did not engage at all. The symptoms slowly went away over the next few days. Any idea what happened? is this a sign of future trouble? The car has 125k on it, but the original transmission was replaced at 75k. My mechanic checked the car out and believes i may have a real problem-(. Evidently he replicated the instance when it did not engage at all-(. Since I got the car back i have not had any problem with the transmission. If the transmission is gone it is time for a new car.
  • picachupicachu Posts: 7
    mr_jmt. Thanks for the response.

    I took the car into the dealer last night and went on a test drive with the technician who was able to confirm the issue. The tech checked the A/C temp on the coldest setting and the digital thermometer read 48 deg. and then the compressor shut-off. Once the air temp reached 52 deg. the compressor turned back on.

    The tech said the coldest A/C setting should be below 40 deg so the next step is to hook the car up to his A/C test machine and check the system pressures. Of course his A/C machine was being serviced so I had to make another appointment.
    The tech figures the cycling may be caused by low freon in the system which I don't understand since the car only has 1,000 miles on it to date.

    What a pain....
  • mr_jmtmr_jmt Posts: 9
    picachu, mine has 915 miles on it to date. The a/c seems to have gotten a little better. When I take it in for the first oil change (free for life), I will have the dealer address my list. Latest issue is that it idles rough and doesn't find a smooth idle for at least 60 seconds. Though, if I tap the accelerator pedal, it idles down nicely. Also, I've twice heard a noise from underneath after backing out of my driveway and shifting into drive. Probably nothing, but I want to only go once for the minor stuff.
  • How about: You sucked some water into the tranny, maybe through a breather somewhere. Tranny didn't really care for a fluid - water mix, BUT it kept chugging along. After a few days the water boiled off from the normal engine / tranny heat. Should have checked the tranny fluid asap when problem appeared, check it now for signs of moisture.

    Now, why did my 2006 Forester, auto, just 21K miles, turn its tranny fluid into nasty yellowed glob so quickly?
  • JHJJJHJJ Posts: 4
    While I was driving, all of sudden AT Oil Temp light started to flash and both ABS and VDC light came on.

    Tech did completed testing and diagnosis, found no code in memory...even did road test for 43 miles...found nothing
  • w8ifiw8ifi Posts: 78
    If I recall correctly it states in your owners manual and on the gas fill up door not to overfill. Your practice of "topping it off" may have done some damage to the canister or fuel anti pollution system.
    One possibility and cheap to fix is that you might have gotten some fuel with water in it. Put in a can of fuel line de-icer in the tank. Won't hurt and cheap fix if water is the problem.

  • tim3tim3 Posts: 28
    I've often wondered if I didn't do some damage to the EVAP canister or some other part of the anti-pollution system. It hadn't occurred to me, however, that de-icer could be a possible fix. Thanks!
  • tubbs14tubbs14 Posts: 8
    We have a 2007 Outback with 25,000 miles. Starting at 10,000 miles, the rear driver side weatherstripping came detached (about six inches of it where it bends in direction). Since then, we've had it fixed three times for the same problem. It was finally replaced completely two days ago, and lo and behold today we see it is coming apart again. Is this a common problem on Subarus, and if not, does anyone have suggestions as to what to do next? I'm concerned that this is going to become a problem beyond the warranty period and am exasperated with the dealership. Thanks!
  • sloanesqsloanesq Posts: 60
    Hi all,

    I hope someone out there may have some insight into the problem I am experiencing with my 2006 Legacy SE.

    I recently had my compressor replaced. Since then, I have had problems with the cooling fan. Apparently, the A/C won't go on unless the cooling fan goes on. When I first start driving, this is never a problem. However, if I start going slowly (like in stop & go traffic) or idling, the A/C and the fan (not sure which comes first - like the chicken or the egg) shut off.

    The problem, aside from the lack of A/C, is that the cooling fan is no longer cooling the engine and my car starts to overheat. The problem solves itself once I start going faster again - the A/C (and the fan presumably) come back on and the temperature gauge returns to normal. However, if I am in slow moving traffic for more than a few minutes, I need to pull over and let the engine cool off.

    Any ideas what is causing this and how to solve it?
  • colin_lcolin_l Posts: 591
    If it's lurching and bucking now, unrelated to fill-ups, I would check / replace the following:

    - Fuel filter-- used to be a very easy-to-reach silver canister under the hood, don't know about your 2004
    - Fuel injectors - buy a bottle of Chevron fuel injector cleaner, Techron is the best product on the market
    - Ignition: changing plugs is a relatively easy DIY job, ignition coil(s) are on top of the intake manifold, plug wires are easy to change as well.
    - Fuel pump -- it's in the tank and possible to change yourself, but by this point you probably want/need a mechanic to be involved.

    After all that's done, you've either fixed it or you've created a very short of list of what else could possibly be wrong.

    Evaporative systems will cause a check engine light (P0452 & P0453) but I don't think they can cause any driveability problems.. that I know of.

    Hope this helps,
  • colin_lcolin_l Posts: 591

    The first thing to check would be that the fans are actually plugged in. There are two fans behind the radiator and they have wiring plugs on the lower side. If you have a slim build, you *might* be able to slide under your Legacy for a look. (Put a piece of cardboard on the ground first.) Otherwise, you will have to jack up the front of the car or use ramps.


    P.S. I am actually pained to admit that I once forgot to plug in the fans after working on my '99 Impreza RS. :blush: If you are overheating enough to have the car pulled over, that's not good. From my personal experience, it didn't seem like the all-alloy Subaru motor was too durable for stuff like that. :(
  • sloanesqsloanesq Posts: 60
    The fans definitely go on. I can see them spinning. The problem is, they shut off when they shouldn't - when engine speed is low for more than a few minutes.
  • colin_lcolin_l Posts: 591
    That's rather odd. Are you completely certain that your AC condenser fan isn't cycling on and off? It makes quite a bit of noise.

    If the main radiator fans come on at all, ever, then it could be a sensor, relay, loose / burnt wiring, etc. But it would really strange.

  • sloanesqsloanesq Posts: 60
    I'm pretty sure that it is the radiator fans that are going off - that wold explain the overheating. Also, my mechanic looked at it, said the fans weren't going on, and "solved" the problem by whacking the housing with a hammer. It actually seemed like it was fixed for a while.
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