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Subaru Crew Problems & Solutions



  • fibber2fibber2 Mid Hudson Valley, NYPosts: 3,775
    And being a live rear axle, it probably ruined your drum brakes with a good bath of gear lube! At least that's what my old '72 Mercury did to me.

    Poor Phil. He made it to the moon, but only a portion of the way back! Marooned...
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    IIRC it's in the 2010 catalog, so I think so...
  • girlcarbuildergirlcarbuilder Baton Rouge, LAPosts: 218
    To answer someone else's comment first. Yes the rear axle is live on 4wd and awd, but no there will not be gear lube all over the bakes, because the assembly uses half shafts that do not contain gear oil compared to a housing unit.

    So far, these bearings begin to run low around 200K on grease. Being large bearings, the low does not really make them run hot for some time longer. I have seen most of them close to failure around 240K. It requires a press to change them out. If you run them too long, it will distort the hub assembly. If it is not replaced, it will cause the next set to fail early. Use a good quality synthetic grease such as Valvoline part number VV986. Make sure any grease it came with is carefully cleaned out and repacked with this. Bottom line, not enough grease equals failure.

    I am hoping to come up with a way to inject grease into the assemblies when ever the half shaft is being pulled. It is a pain to replace these bearings, front or rear.
  • phil2000phil2000 New JerseyPosts: 195
    I recalled something girlcarbuilder mentioned in post 18506.

    Over time fine metal particules accumulate in the lubricants around moving parts. This sludges acts like sandpaper and overtime wears down those parts swimming in the oils and greases. By changing these fluids you slow the wearing process down (but not eliminated it).

    Wheel bears were once removed from the vehicle, cleaned, and packed with fresh grease (I still have a tub in my garage). But now that bearings are sealed, that semi-abrasive sludge wears down the part until it fails (for me around 310K) and catastrophic failure (seizure) in another 5K.

    All bearings in a vehicle should be replaced periodically based on this line of thinking. For wheel bearings, I would say around 250K miles.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,925
    Phil, you definitely get a place of honor in Subaru lore. ;)

    I wouldn't mind doing a longevity test. The problem is that I keep starting at zero. I just passed a whopping 7,000 on my 2010, though! Maybe I will get the car to 300,000 by the time my daughter is eighteen. To put that into perspective, she is now two. ;)
    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

    There are a couple of reasons, I have not followed your foot steps.

    I do not like car payments. I got tired of driving the car for the bank. And when you have a major repair, you still have to make payments along with the cost of the repair. I took out the purchase price from the 401K and paid cash. Now that I am close to retirement, I can not do that now.

    With the size of my family, I would need a minivan. So another Forester would be out of the question right now.

    And finally since I keep adding up the miles, I want to be the guy with the most mileage as an original ower or any type for that matter. In five and a half years, I want to be able to post 500 thousand miles on this site.
  • fibber2fibber2 Mid Hudson Valley, NYPosts: 3,775
    For clarification I was referring to the axle assembly that was typically used on older American cars - prior to the extensive use of IRS. The 'live rear axle' is a one piece assembly in which differential lube can enter the axle tubes, especially if overfilled. If the bearings and seals fail, 80W-90 gear oil can make it's way to the (then typical) rear drum brakes. I went thru this twice before I got smart and replaced the entire axle rather than continue to try and rebuild it. A year later I came to find out that there was actually a recall on early build '72 Mercury Montego and Ford Torino models to replace these rears, but it was only good for 5 years and I was now late. It was a venting problem, IIRC. Even when properly filled, pressure buildup would force the lube out the ends of the tubes.

    Wes's Ford E-series might have suffered something similar.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,925
    Well, I hope - truly hope - that you need not follow my footsteps! I "got rid" of my 220,000-mile Outback the hard way. ;)

    While I also do not like car payments, this was a good time to become an original owner due to the electrical gremlins plaguing my van (which meant my wife would not use it due to not trusting it), interest rates, etc. Assuming no catastrophes, we look forward to getting many years of enjoyment out of the car. I really wasn't joking, though, when I said it will likely be 15-16 years before we hit the 300,000 mark! :P

    On a separate note, I just added a 1/2 quart of oil to the car last night after 4,500 miles since the last oil change. The dipstick read just a smidge under half-way between the "add" and "fill" marks. As the bit of oil I added was the last of a gallon bottle, I figured it was a good time to do it.
    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 dealer told an untruth?

    I asked them to loosen the transaxle drain and fill plugs.

    They did it on the manual transmission, I still can't change the rear transaxle fluid.

    I guess if I paid them to change it, they would have gotten the right one.
  • fibber2fibber2 Mid Hudson Valley, NYPosts: 3,775
    Phil, you might have confused them by what you asked for. The front assembly is a transaxle as it contains three elements - the transmission, the front differential and the center differential (in the tailshaft). The rear assembly is simply a differential, or 'rear end'.
  • mhooksmhooks Posts: 2
    A little embarassed to ask, but is there anything tricky to replaceing brakes on a 2005 Impreza 2.5 RS (Wagon)? Specifically I was conserned with the ABS, i.e. do I simply disconnect the negative lead on the battery, or is there more to it?.. Never done it before, and I just wanted to make sure I don't screw anything up.

  • fibber2fibber2 Mid Hudson Valley, NYPosts: 3,775
    Unless there is something new added that I'm not aware of, you really needn't worry about the ABS system. In addition to the normal hydraulic line going to the piston, there will be a single wire going to a speed sensor mounted on the hub. In a normal brake service, even if you are pulling the rotor for resurfacing or replacement, you won't be disturbing the hub & sensor setup itself.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I did my Forester and it was pretty standard.

    The only reason it was tougher than my Miata was that it had dual piston calipers, so it's a bit more effort to retract those.
  • mhooksmhooks Posts: 2
    Should I worry about bleeding the caliper? just don't want to mess anything up.

    I don't intend on changing the brake fluid quite yet......just need a fix for about a month or so

    Thanks again.
  • fibber2fibber2 Mid Hudson Valley, NYPosts: 3,775
    A full fluid change periodically is highly recommended. That said, I am guilty of occasionally just slowly and carefully pushing in the piston with a wood block and a C-clamp without opening the bleeders. I recently bought a tool from Harbor Freight that should get this done with less risk than the big C-clamp approach.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Same here, the tool was cheap and paid for itself in time and hassle the first time I used it.
  • It's been a long time since I've been on here which I think is a good thing! Anyway, my 02 Bugeye has about 103k miles on it (w/no problems other than the somewhat common: cold weather gas replaced some gas lines, etc.) and I've had the reverse gear pop out while reversing about 3 times in the last couple months. All times were under heavy load (deep snow or quick reversing.) I'm just wondering if there is any consensus as to what my future repair might involve?

    Moving through the gears going forward seems the slightest bit more clunky lately but it could be b/c I'm trying to pay attention to it.

    Thanks in advance.
  • jbur1jbur1 Posts: 14
    I finally got a decent day (around 40 degrees) to investigate the coolant leak further. I noticed some areas wet with coolant but did not see any hoses in the vicinity. I hate to think that it may be a head gasket based on the photos posted below.


  • fibber2fibber2 Mid Hudson Valley, NYPosts: 3,775
    I wish I could annotate your pictures and repost them, but I'm afraid that I don't know how. Your top image tells me a lot. You are looking down on a pair of hoses that go to your cabin heater, and right below that is the steering box. The box is wet. Do you see a philips head screw on the steering box to the left of the steering shaft? Move an inch to the left of the screw, dead center in the photo, about an inch off of the left margin. That is the back of the head, and it looks like there is a paper/plastic barcode tag glued to it. Just 'north' of that spot you can see a crease line - that's the edge of the head gasket, and beyond that the block. The tag area looks yellowish and wet. That is exactly where mine leaked from on both occasions.

    Below that spot, but above the steering box is a greyish curved heavy piece of metal that is part of the subframe. The cutout in this brace is what enables you to see down to the steering box. It looks coated in green and quite dirty as well - almost exactly as mine did. Guess what the 'green' is....

    Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but I think you already knew the score.
  • rebel71rebel71 Posts: 87
    Is it standard practice for the dealer to charge you a diagnostic fee, even if your vehicle is under warranty.
  • fibber2fibber2 Mid Hudson Valley, NYPosts: 3,775
    I've had this complaint for years, and talked to Service Managers about it. The net is that policies constantly change, but in general the manufacturers reimburse the dealer at a very low rate, or sometimes not at all for service visits that result in a "No Trouble Found" diagnosis. This means that the dealership, who is an independent business and essentially the middleman in this transaction ends up eating the cost of you coming in with a complaint that doesn't result in a repair that can be billed to the maker. Depending on the issue, they may eat it, or pass the cost on to you. It depends a lot on the nature of the complaint, how well you document and/or demonstrate it, etc.

    I don't like it, but I am coming to understand it.
  • my 06 with just 24K miles does a bad shift, hard with a bang, think it's 3rd to 4th, usually at 30-35 mph, when under 40F, often lightly loaded on the throttle.

    Tranny fluid on this auto was very yellow by 15K miles. I did a partial change (3 drains, fills), that helped, changed the $40 filter last week, that improved things too but still getting that hard clunk shift sometimes (but fluid-filter definitely helped).

    Is this typical in anyway or do I have a tranny failure coming? (under 6/60 warranty I hope). Thanks for any opinion or advice.
  • fibber2fibber2 Mid Hudson Valley, NYPosts: 3,775
    The sudden advent of 'shift shock' can mean that the clutches are burned/contaminted so that they grab too fast, or the fluid pressure on the actuator is suddenly too high (valve body issue?). Either way, it can signal coming major trouble. I'd get it looked at, especially if you are still under warranty coverage.

    However, see my post above yours for the possible outcome if the dealer doesn't agree that the tranny is bad! I went thru this exact same scenario on a Toyota for multiple visits until just beyond the 5/60 warranty. Amazingly at something like 62k, the tranny was now declared a total loss, and the district mgr denied the claim! I don't think Subaru would be so arrogant, but it's best to build your case carefully and methodically. Note that I don't presently own a Toyota....
  • jbur1jbur1 Posts: 14
    Thanks for the confirmation of my suspicion. Or should I say thanks -not! Since my vehicle (2003 Forester) was not included in the Subaru extended warranty I guess I need to make a decision since I have about 81,000 miles on the vehicle. Whether or not to purchase a new vehicle or to invest in this repair along with other service needs in the near future (i.e. timing belt, water pump, etc.). The other unknown is how long the head gasket repair would last since this seems to be an ongoing issue with this engine.
  • My 99 LGT wagon had both head gaskets replaced at about 119K (before I bought it, per the paperwork that came with the car). IIRC, the bill was about $2K. Car has 176K miles now, with absolutely no sign of HG issues.

  • lucien2lucien2 Posts: 2,984
    had to do ours at 130k, but the car only has 140ish on it now. So yea, no probs ;-)
  • fibber2fibber2 Mid Hudson Valley, NYPosts: 3,775
    Sorry to have been the bearer of bad news... Nice pixs, by the way.

    Unfortunately, I am on the unlucky end of the spectrum, and have had two failures - first at 15k, then again at 63k. Even though my car is an '02, my VIN was exempted from the extended warranty. Only '00 & '01 were covered in full, '02 partially, yet SOA picked up the full tab. I have a friend with a '99 that was also taken care of as a courtesy.

    My suggestion is that you call 1-800-Subaru3 and open a case prior to bringing it in for service. When you take it in, give the service mgr the case number, and ask them to call SOA and go to bat for you. If you have any kind of positive relationship at all with the dealer, you might get at least some of it covered.

    While mine was apart, I had them do the timing & accessory belts, paying only for these extra parts. It all has to come off anyhow, so it's the time to do it. Labor was already covered.

    See if you can turn your 'lemons' into lemonade and get to drive the car a while longer.
  • The other option is hose it down well, then drive it to the dealer on a rainy day and purchase a new vehicle without wheeling and dealing too much. You get a new vehicle; they get to fix or auction your old one. Save the hassle and go new if you can afford it. At the price they want for repairs, I'd prefer to put that into a new vehicle and knock on wood, hopefully be problem free.
  • Sorry to hear about your problem.I had my head gasket go at 63,000 just after warranty even after had it there earlier to check it out but of course they found nothing until had that nice over heating problems.I found every site I could find talking about bad head gasket on their 2.5 L which seem to be the case from 1999-2009.Oh make sure you copy all links to complaints about head gasket failure and send them too Subaru head quarters it's what I did and finally got them to cough up some money but still cost me a lot to fix it.A Subaru mechanic I know said they just finally change the head gaskets in the 2010 models.If you get the head fix then do rear end seal,serpentine belt,timing chain,water pump but these depend on if your over 60,000 if you are they have to take most of these off to get to them anyway so replace them so 10,000 down road don't have to pay for labor again.Oh yeah make sure change coolant sensor it's $15 and I had all kinds of problems still with temp gauge turns out the sensor wide open easy fix.Oh do not do not do not let them put any of their coolant conditioner in your coolant system.It's just Holts leak seal with their sticker from what I found out from talking to more them a few EX-Subaru mechanics.That stuff over time clogs the radiator and causes much of the over heating down the road.I learned the hard way.Get something called RMI25 that's the letter i not a one in the RMI25.It's a coolant system cleaner that removes all the build gunk over the years and puts it in your overflow which you have to empty out a lot until all gone.This stuff been around for about 30 years it causes the water to become akaline gets rid of electrolysis.My heater always took forever to warm up now it could cook eggs.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    It was a long time ago, but I'm pretty sure early Foresters had an issue with popping out of gear, not many of them but a few.

    Search for a TSB on that, though I don't think it was as recent as model year 2002.
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