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Subaru Crew Problems & Solutions



  • samm43samm43 Posts: 195
    Yes. Post 19055 (fibber) elaborated for you on where I was going. These (and the others) are just tips for you for a stumped mechanic and yourself. Hopefully the mechanic won't take offense. Good ones always have an open mind and don't get offended if the car owner knows things also in an attempt to troubleshoot.

    Let us know what it was, ok?

  • gibbo91gibbo91 Posts: 1
    i have a subaru liberty 95 model
    and the immobilizer isnt flashing same deal?
    is there anything i can try to fix it? :confuse:
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,908
    Hard to say off the top, but technology changed quite a bit over 12 or so years.

    What is your car not doing (other than the light not flashing)? I am assuming that the light used to flash?
    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
    1. Is synthetic oil what Subaru uses for the front/back differentials? One dealer claimed yes, another said no.

    2. If one attempts running 87 octane, what will happen? I've heard everything from detonation to engine overheating/CHK Engine light on.

    FYI so far I only use Premium gas (92 octane), and the stock Subie diff oil.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,908
    Unless something changed recently, no, the differentials are not filled with synthetic from the factory.

    I don't know about the 87 octane.
    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 have a 2011 Outback now and use nothing but regular gas (87). And it runs fine averaging 26 miles per gallon. Matter of fact the manual states&

    Fuel requirements
    -Non-turbo models
    The non-turbo engine is designed to operate using unleaded gasoline with an octane rating of 87 AKI or higher.
  • colin_lcolin_l Posts: 591
    If you were to put 87 octane in your F-XT, there would likely be some detonation even if you attempted to drive moderately. I guarantee there would be detontation if you accelerated at wide-open throttle.

    Detonation isn't an on/off switch. Mild detonation you may not even hear, especially if you have the stereo up loud, windows down or a modified exhaust. The knock sensor hears it, though, and it pulls back ignition timing which generally solves the issue.

    Severe detonation is very serious. You should be able to hear and feel the sluggish response from the engine. The knock sensor will NOT stop severe detonation; by the time you notice it, the knock sensor has already tried to dial back timing and the detonation is still there. You MUST lift your foot to avoid damage to the engine. (Valves, cylinder head, piston, piston rings, connecting rod, rod bearings.)

    I would never, ever drive any car that requires premium fuel with anything less. The 15-25 cents per gallon savings will never be worth the risk.

    And I view cars that merely 'recommend' premium fuel but say they can run on 87 with 'some impact on performance and economy' with high suspicion.. I would run premium all the time.
  • aathertonaatherton Posts: 617
    Subaru fills the diffs with regular oil. I changed both diffs to synthetic at 10k, and the regular oil in the rear diff was already discolored.

    The manual says:
    "The 2.5-liter turbo engine is designed to
    operate using premium unleaded gasoline
    with an octane rating of 91 AKI or higher. If
    premium unleaded gasoline is not available,
    regular unleaded gasoline with an
    octane rating of 87 AKI or higher may be
    temporarily used. For optimum engine
    performance and driveability, it is required
    that you use premium grade unleaded
    Be sure to use premium unleaded
    gasoline of 91 AKI or higher for turbo
    models. If other gasoline (lower than 91 AKI)
    is used, knocking, reduced output
    and poor accelerator response will

    But several people on the Forester Forum have used regular gas in their XT, not noticed any problem, and asked why they should not do it. Evidently they drive so gently that they don't encounter knocking. One wonders why they have an XT.

    The management systems of some engines allow the unrestricted use of both regular and premium gas. The Subaru turbo does not, but the Toyota truck V-6 does:
    From the 2006 Toyota Tacoma truck Owners Manual:
    (2TR-FE is the 2.7L I-4 and 1GR-FE is the 4.0L V-6)
    2TR- FE engine - Select Octane Rating 87 (Research Octane Number 91) or higher.
    1GR- FE engine - Select Octane Rating 87 (Research Octane Number 91) or higher. For improved vehicle performance, use premium unleaded gasoline with an Octane Rating of 91 (Research Octane Number 96) or higher.
  • stackman1stackman1 Posts: 54
    Anyone with that diesel sound should insist on having them check the "timing belt tensioner". I have a 10 y/o 2002 OBS and have paid for numerous visits to the Subaru dealers in various states over the years to figure out why I have always had that horrible knocking sound. Well, turns out I suffered with the noise for 10 years (90K) for no good reason. I brought in my OBS to have my Timing Belt replaced. Turns out the Tensioner was defective all along!!!!!

    I can't tell you how this has changed my opinion of Subaru mechanics. I don't know what they were checking all the times I left it overnight so they "could hear it in the morning". I have no idea how much time and money this irritating noise has cost me. Totally unnecessary.

    So please if you have this 'clacking' sound in the front of the engine - have them check the Tensioner if all else fails. Especially if you are under warranty.

    Scrappy was right on when he replied:

    My dealer now has a stack of service bulletins copied about the cold start "diesel engine" sound that they just hand out to customers who complain--though they will check over the cars to make sure it isn't something else--like a bad timing belt tensioner.

    Unfortunately, after the mechanic changed the Belt and Tensioner - he informed me that my 'left subframe' is so rusted, it may not be safe!!!!! Beautiful....

    Anybody have any ideas about only has 91K on it.....bought it 8/2001 - it is a 2002 OBS Impreza?????
  • colin_lcolin_l Posts: 591
    The subframe comes right out and could be had cheaply from a lower mileage Impreza from the same generation, preferably with the same engine just to be sure. (I think they might be all the same in 2002, but don't quote me.)

    However it is a boatload of labor to replace.

    I would shrug and move on unless we're talking serious perforation. Even in that case, I'd be looking to sell rather than repair unless you're dead-set on driving this car another 100k.
  • girlcarbuildergirlcarbuilder Baton Rouge, LAPosts: 218
    Hmmm, get underneath and determine if that rust has eaten into the frame! Surface rust is not a problem, but I would at least clean it and slap some rustoleum or whatever on it to slow it down. Who is going to care what color it is down there anyway!

    Knock knock, have a few stories to pass there as well. When it comes to timing systems, if you are off the slightest bit in the wrong direction you will get that diesel noise. I had my 86 Toy Tercel do it to me about two years ago until the belt broke. Drove me nuts trying to figure it out. On went the new belt, set it all up correctly and noise was gone! Summation of the repair, belt had jumped time enough to cause a piston to tap a valve. Not good. Car still in service 10K miles later.

    Another tapping noise will result if you use an oil filter that does not have an anti-drain back valve. AKA check valve. I had a 94 Subie in MO the first time that had tapped for years on a rear driver side cylinder. A valve tap noise. Even tapped after putting the correct filter on. In went 8-16 ounces of Marvel Mystery oil. Few miles later, quiet as a mouse.

    As for Subie dealer mechanics in general, I give them a "c" at best for the ones I have followed. That same car had one bank off one tooth on the timing belt. But recently when I saw how that driver drives it, He may have caused it to jump. Heavy foot. I spent time explaining how you can make a belt jump time by putting your foot into it big time. Needless to say, I have gone back to looking for timing chains in cars now when buying new.

    So, in short. Knock knock who is there....if you have a heavy foot take a very good look at all timing components when that noise happens! Pray you just jumped time a little and have done no real damage! Keep the engine below 3-4K rpms and only that when absolutely needed. Much higher than that and you run the risk of jumping time.
  • stackman1stackman1 Posts: 54
    Thanks Guys. I have always tried to be very smooth with acceleration and shifting (got a manual). Plus this noise started pretty much right away and I made a point of taking it back repeatedly while under warranty. It is beyond me that they didn't catch it. When I realized the location of the tensioner - it was obvious to me and I am no mechanic.

    Today I took my car to a local guy to fix my exhaust. My temporary weld to the resonator gave up the ghost after three years so I'll probably need a new 'b' pipe. However, I asked him to tell me if he felt the left subframe rot was a safety hazard. I will let you know.

    Any other thoughts/questions I should ask, would be greatly appreciated. I really would like to drive this car another 10 yrs - that would only be 180k - supposedly doable by Subaru standards. But I certainly want to be safe.

    I thought I was home free after the Tensioner riddle was solved. :cry:

  • stackman1stackman1 Posts: 54
    Well just in case anyone is interested. I took my 2002 OBS in to a local mechanic and he verified that the subframe is in fact rotted. I can buy a new 2.5i 5 Hatch for 18k I suppose - but I am inclined to throw a couple of grand into the car and have him replace the subframe, rear rotors and my exhaust. I suppose once they start pulling things apart there is always the chance the price tag goes up but I know the guy and he fixes a lot of wrecks and is pretty good at subframes. The car is 10 y/o but only has 91k. I am old school and not into disposing of things that can be fixed.

    (As noted previously, I recently resolved my knocking by replacing the timing belt and the faulty tensioner - which began this whole thread.)

    I have had to replace the rear wheel bearings over time but nothing major comes to mind......

    Anyone and all advice would be greatly appreciated!

  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,908
    That's not very old to be having that sort of rust. In what part of the country do you live? There must be some major salting issues....
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • stackman1stackman1 Posts: 54
    The majority of the years were in St. Paul Minnesota.....
  • fibber2fibber2 Mid Hudson Valley, NYPosts: 3,775
    edited May 2011
    Unless the oil filter mounting was substantially different back then, I wouldn't think that the absence of an anti-drain back flap on the outer ring of ports would make any difference. On my EJ-25-2 engine, the threaded mount is straight vertical. Oil doesn't generally flow up hill.

    I haven't used Marvel (basically ATF) in 30 years. I remember it did have some benefit to loosening up stuck hydraulic valve lifters on an old Ford. But you found it useful on a modern engine? Cool!
  • girlcarbuildergirlcarbuilder Baton Rouge, LAPosts: 218
    I hate to be a doubting Thomas, but until I see it with my own eyes, I am not buying that diagnosis! Every unit from MO I have seen does not have that kind of rust on it. Years are '94, '97 and 03. All of them are very high mileage, 200K, 275K and 240k respectively and MO salts the roads in the winter!

    Jack it up yourself and look!
  • girlcarbuildergirlcarbuilder Baton Rouge, LAPosts: 218
    Some things never change.....I figured at the time what the heck, sure bets tearing it down if it works. Guess the age is making me either lazy or smarter! I also use it as an injector cleaner at times! I have talked with a few people over the years and they still swear by it.

    Sure beats turning a wrench when it fixes a problem.

    I had the same thinking about the filter as well back then when the local dealer had told me about the filter causing a valve tap. The after market filter in use at the time did not have that valve. I have not seen the lack of this valve lately.
  • stackman1stackman1 Posts: 54
    I too am surprised but it seems like 2002 might have been a bad year?

    Rust never sleeps
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    First model year, so v1.0.

    Still, those come from Japan so they are coated at the factory. Strange.
  • colin_lcolin_l Posts: 591
    It's possible that some/all of them lack proper galvanization or whatever form of rust-proofing was intended to be used.

    Wow. That is serious rust.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,908
    I would like to see a photo!
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • colin_lcolin_l Posts: 591
    You can't see pics on ClubWRX unless you are logged in there, and I don't want to create an account... but my comment was based on what several people wrote in the linked thread talking about rust perforation they could stick their finger through.

    However they also said the subframe was easy to replace. If they're right (and my previous comment is wrong), that's good.
  • girlcarbuildergirlcarbuilder Baton Rouge, LAPosts: 218
    Okay, I would look for a subframe in the system. To remove/replace, you will need to get the car about 2 feet in the air. All four wheels. You will need a engine crane to hold the engine from above. Once that is done, you will be basically disconnecting anything connectted to that subframe unit. Suspension, steering and engine mounts come to mind. After all of that you drop the subframe unit.

    Now for the headache if you thought that was too easy, you are correct. This is a northern vehicle! On the 94, I had a nut inside the main frame unit break its welds when dropping the rear axle. That car stayed up about 2 months while we debated how to best remedy that problem. So as you gather I raise concerns as well for yours. Not to mention the overall condition of the mainframe system. On the '94 we had to violate the main frame interigity by cutting into it to hold the nut in place with a wrench when we replaced the axle. That has left a watch item on the maintenance records. Car has been over 30K since then, no problems.

    Have at least a 1/2 drive socket set and a 2 foot breaker bar handy, you will need it. A lot of rust busting penetrant and patience. If it was mine, she would be in the air right now taking my time with her. One reason we keep and extra vehicle on hand, so we can deal slowly with headaches like this.

    Yup, the Japanese seem to do a better job rustproofing, but even they seem to be gettin lax in the past few years. The 2003 Impeza has a lot of surface rust on its undercarriage I noted last time.
  • Hi All,
    I couldn't pass the smog check. It is a weird thing. When the technician try to keep the RPM at 2750 for 30 seconds he couldn't - even using the special stick to push the pedal. He slowly pushed the accelerator pedal up to reach 2750 RPM. The RPM was increased nicely however when he try to hold it at 2750 it quickly jumped over 3000 RPM. When he pulled back the accelerator a tiny bit the RPM fall back to 1800 RPM. He tried several times and he couldn't keep the RPM in the required range. Anybody has any clue what is going on?
  • colin_lcolin_l Posts: 591
    Your profile says you have a 2005 LGT. Is this a rolling test, or stationary?
  • phil2000phil2000 New JerseyPosts: 195
    How well do Subaru's manufactured in the last three years handle bone crushing potholes?
  • It is stationary. As far as I know none of the smog stations here in SoCal have four wheel dyno. Yes, I have a 2005 Legacy GT. Also I checked the ECU - there is no error code. The idle is nice and stable.
  • More investigation...I swapped the accelerator pedal (I have two Subis) since some one suggested maybe the accelerator pedal is intermittent. That didn't help at all. Also reset the ECU - disconnected it for and hour - that didn't help either. So I played with the pedal more and I noticed as long as the RPM is low (below 2500) the RPM is very stable and can be modulated easily. However when the RPM hits around 2700 it became unstable. I am wondering it is the RPM when the turbo starts to kick in? If yes can be some kind of pressure issue, pressure leak, waste gate problem or boost regulator?
  • colin_lcolin_l Posts: 591
    That's exactly why I asked, but when the engine has no load-- like the car is stationary-- a turbocharger generates very little boost. In many cars it is under 4 psi which shouldn't be enough to cause the issue you're seeing.

    By 'unstable' what do you mean.. Does the rpm fluctuate, or rise evenly but at a much faster rate than below 2700 rpm?
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