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Subaru Crew Problems & Solutions



  • For the smog test the RPM have to be between 2750 and 3000 rpm for 30 seconds. So when I push the pedal very slowly the rpm goes up and when it is in range like 2800 I stop pushing the pedal however the rpm still increasing a little, just enough to go over 3000 at that moment I try compensate for the rpm going over 3000 to back off the pedal a little and that is when the weird things happens - it drops very suddenly to around 2500. Now I push the pedal again it goes up and the whole cycle starts. It is almost impossible to keep the rpm between 2750 and 3000. However keeping it rock solid steady example at 2200 is not a problem.
  • fibber2fibber2 Mid Hudson Valley, NYPosts: 3,775
    edited May 2011
    I'll need to see if I can find the notice, but sometime in '03 my '02 OBW went in for a rear subframe rust treatment under a TSB. That model was introduced in '00, so within 3 years they were already seeing some advanced decay for vehicles in the rust belt.

    I was under the car last month when swapping out the snow tires, and thinking that the rear third looks pretty awful for a sub 10 year old vehicle. I need to 'spray paint' the rear section with a full can of penetrating lube. By contrast, the front section looks great.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    With long-travel "heavy duty" (whatever that means) suspensions, I'd say better than average. Particularly the lifted ones, like the Outback and Forester.

    Just avoid the models with the ultra-low profile tires.
  • fibber2fibber2 Mid Hudson Valley, NYPosts: 3,775
    WWM-96 - Rear Subframe Corrosion - 2000-2003 Legacy & Outback models.
  • girlcarbuildergirlcarbuilder Baton Rouge, LAPosts: 218
    edited May 2011
    Much thanks for the info. Every maker has things go haywire and it is groups like these that help track that info. We have a 03 Impreza made in Japan running qround in MO land. I intend to alert them in MO and add this info to a watch list for maintenance. I know they hose out the undercarriage whenever possible, which may be why it is not as bad as some have seen. My last inspection raised concerns when I saw much of the paint replaced by surface rust on its undercarriage. Comparasion of this to the 94 and 97 has me concerned.

    Subaru could have very well got a bad batch of expoxy paint: maybe changed makers on that those years and we are seeing the end results. I imagine everyone recalls bad paint jobs of the late 80 and early 90's. That sold me right out of "American made?"

    To further highlight this point, I will tell you of the following. MY 86 Toyota Tercel has a recall on it right now! Federal Mogul replacement fuel pumps sold around 2005 have failures around the seal causing a nasty leak onto the manifolds system. Not good. Point of this example is not all OEM parts are made by whoever built the car and the same applies to aftermarket. Sadly, I am the one who has to change it. Never fails, the mechanics car is the last to hit the rack! When ever I do pull one off the road for major work, I fix everything I see in the tear down process. No sense in putting something back that is going to fail later when it is already removed!

    Case in point, a bolt in the clutch fork system broke causing the clutch not to work. Had to remove trans to fix. Cracks in bell housing where fixed by an aluminin welding specialist. Two steering rack boots were spotted failing or near failure at 45K service! Boots on one half shaft starting to crack. None of this is worth my time or effort to go and fix later especially since the car is in its off summer season. Our older cars get the summer off here. Newer ones catch the heat! I can only wonder about the quality/age of those steering rack boots on a reman rack with only 45K on them. O'Reilly's wanted $25 for one and $35 for the other. Found them at for $10 each. Gimme 2 of each atittude hit me right then and there! 2 install 2 for stock. Car is almost back together, but she has been in the air for a while with me taking my time. Should I say, a few months. Guys, take heart. Here the wife can not complain, because I am she! At least I have a car going no matter what! Keep those eyes open and know what you have on a watch list for each vehicle you have. It is well worth writing it down.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,913
    It is well worth writing it down.


    When one has old vehicles like mine, the "list" gets far too long to commit to memory.... :sick:
    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
    Thanks Fibber. Your message motivated me to call SOA. Got a nice person and they said to take it a dealer - give them the case # - put it on the rack. The earliest I can get is Friday at 10am.

    I had already had a local mechanic order the subframe parts and caught him before he was going to begin work on it. I will also have him do the exhaust and rear drum brakes - rotors rusted (big surprise).

    The local guy is very trustworthy and I don't want to give him the run around - and I would certainly pay for whatever expenses he has incurred - if Subaru miraculously is willing to underwrite it.

    It is not an inconvenience for me to wait till Friday. But I want to treat this local guy with respect. (GirlCarBuilder?).

    Here is the question for the board: what are the odds that Subaru will do anything for me. It is a 2002 OBS Impreza; used to live in Minnesota....... Has anyone ever heard of SOA paying part of a fix, like if I ultimately had my local guy do the work? He was expecting the part today......or do these dealers always want to perform the job?

    Thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks again Fibber and all the guys and gals on the board. Very helpful.
  • fibber2fibber2 Mid Hudson Valley, NYPosts: 3,775
    You are most welcome! Maybe, just maybe, you will luck out and SOA will at least cut you a deal. I'm sure that this isn't something they like to see happening.

    I also have a Toyota, and was driving thru the dealership's back lot the other day. They have a stack of (I think?) Tundra truck frames rusting in a heap. Looks like they are stripping the bodies off of frames and restoring them. Must be a lot of labor to do an entire vehicle, but apparently something is going on.
  • girlcarbuildergirlcarbuilder Baton Rouge, LAPosts: 218
    Most Definitely, if you have a good mechanic on hand, treat him like gold. They are a rare breed. I guarantee he will understand if SOA is going to fix for free. As you may have seen from my latest posts I have begun rethinking my thoughts on your problem as being very real. Still would like to see pics. Legacy, Outbacks and Impeza share undercarriage parts. The Toyota Tundra is a good example of problems from something not being done correctly. Not to mention my surprise of the condition on the 03 Impeza in service in MO fleet.

    I have an understanding with my jobbers that if I order something and decide later I do not need it, I will eat it before they do. Many times they can return the part, but sometimes they can not. Helps on the much older cars still in service like the 86 Toy and the 89 Mazda when it comes to ordering parts.
  • fibber2fibber2 Mid Hudson Valley, NYPosts: 3,775
    I was back at Toyota yesterday picking up some parts, and saw them working on a truck. It involves Tundra models of about the same time period (2000-2003) as our rust problems, and they strip everything off and move it all to the new frame. They have an outside contractor come it to do it, and it takes about 1.5 days per truck to do. They were doing one right out in the back parking lot! Wild!
  • stackman1stackman1 Posts: 54
    edited May 2011
    Here is a Pic of my left front Subframe. As you can see - it remains barely attached. In fact, not all of it is - note the long bottom piece that just hangs in the air.

    PS. Colin Thanks for Pics Tips

  • colin_lcolin_l Posts: 591

    You'll need to upload it to a photo hosting site such as Photobucket. (There are many, many others.)

    They you will have to link to it here. Photobucket and most other sites give you easy links to do that.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,913
    edited May 2011
    I can get mine to link from my Facebook albums, but it is a bit of a chore. In addition, the forum here can sometimes be finicky about actually displaying the photo, even if it works properly in the "preview" screen, so you might have to try a few times.

    I recommend that you fix the size using the following script after the image source itself (between the final " and greater-than symbol): height=420 width=540 (for landscape photos, the opposite for portrait). Otherwise, the width can cause readability issues for forum posts.
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • girlcarbuildergirlcarbuilder Baton Rouge, LAPosts: 218
    Okay.....agreed you do have a serious rust problem. Now for some good news. I recall seeing this same "new part" in the 03 Impreza design from MO land. My first question was "what is your purpose in life new part!" I think this is more of a bracing system in the frame system because it is not on the 94 or 97! I guess it may have been added to improve crash worthiness. Look and see if this is separate from the engine crossmember system. That is the main frame system in the front. I suspect it bolts to that.

    Check to see if that control arm bolts into the area above it separate from the rusted part. If so, like I suspect, that is your frame! The part above the rust piece is your frame and this part appears to run underneath it. I would be concerned about it falling and getting jammed under the car while traveling. Yes, they call it a subframe, but if nothing is bolted to it, it is more of a frame bracing system! Check this website and see it confirms the same part. Look at the drawings. This is for 03 Impreza.

    For everyone else, to get a good view of this pic, go to page on IE and select zoom and blow it up to 400%.

    Back to the website drawing, look at it carefully, if it is like the Impreza, it appears that this part bolts onto the main frame system more for bracing rather than support. Being flat, I can see how the salt water would collect on it. If all of this is correct, it appears to "just bolt up from underneath with nothing else hanging on it." $328 for the Impeza part. You may need some new bolts as well. You may be able to forget the new car idea for another day! If SOA pays, even better.

    Wish the 03 was here in LA so I could look at it and get a better idea about it for you.
  • girlcarbuildergirlcarbuilder Baton Rouge, LAPosts: 218
    You will need to do a part lookup since that link does not go directly to the page I posted. The brace system I saw goes from one side across the front and back to the other side in one piece and bolts up from the bottom.
  • stackman1stackman1 Posts: 54
    Sorry - tried to fix the resolution and deleted previous pic.....

  • colin_lcolin_l Posts: 591
    Holy cow, I've never seen anything like that on a modern car.
  • stackman1stackman1 Posts: 54
    Thanks GCB. I went to website and I agree the part in question is:

    PB000854 FRAME AY F - W/o wrx sti
    List Price : $388.83
    Your Price : $326.62

    I also agree it probably serves more as a crash device. I think it bolts into the frame but may not serve a supportive purpose?

    Here is where I stand. I took it to the first dealer that could put it up on the rack. He verified with the SOA Rep that it is rusted out.

    The Dealer said the fix would be $499 in parts (not $326 hmmm) and no more than $400 in Labor. The SOA Rep said they would pay for parts as a good will gesture. It would could be $400 or less to replace.

  • wired1wired1 Posts: 45
    I'm one month into my 2011 Outback with the navigation and voice recognition. Car's great. However the voice recognition works maybe 40% of the time. Doesn't reliably recognize basic numbers are incorrectly entered, or address book names not recognized.

    I'm assuming a microphone or software issue. Its presently in shop...any thoughts about what they'll have to say?
  • gph2gph2 Posts: 1
    My mechanic said they have an "open bearing design" rather than a sealed bearing design, which is ridiculous. He's looking for a bearing that can be used that is not an official Subaru part but I don't think he's found one.
  • phil2000phil2000 New JerseyPosts: 195
    Would you say the 201 or 2011 Outback would not suffer any damage from a 2 foot wide 1 foot deep pot hole? If not how bad?
  • samiam_68samiam_68 Posts: 775
    Depends on how jagged the edges are and what speed you hit it at.
  • phil2000phil2000 New JerseyPosts: 195
    The edges was as if someone took a hole saw and cutout the asphalt. I was at a light, maybe 20-30mph.
  • hammerheadhammerhead Posts: 907
    Best case scenario: you need an alignment, or at least an alignment check.
    Worst case: you've bent a rim or a suspension component. I'd get it checked.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,913
    I agree. That's pretty harsh, so I would at least get it checked.
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • girlcarbuildergirlcarbuilder Baton Rouge, LAPosts: 218
    edited May 2011
    Okay, everyone, bearings are made by NTN and Koyo only! Everyone including Subaru buys from them! The other brands reboxes them to make a dollar! EG, Timkens are either KOYO or NTN's! gph2, your mecahnic is correct. I will also add, we have test bearings in service to see which holds up better, OEM grease or the new synthetic by valvoline. I suggest you go to to buy bearings. On the rear, make very sure those seals are pressed in all the way and correctly or the new bearing will fail. For more info, click on my handle and search my posts on subie wheel bearings. I have written a lot on them.
  • girlcarbuildergirlcarbuilder Baton Rouge, LAPosts: 218
    One other note. On FWD the rear bearings are hubs. Technically non-serviceable. Pull it off, clean up. Slap on a new one.
  • pathtomaxpathtomax Posts: 215
    Back with my 2001 Outback :) Quick question, the spray nozzle on the driver's side windshield washer just comes out as a thick stream. I can't see that it is clogged, can you replace the actual black nozzle on the hood????

    Stupid question...I know!
  • colin_lcolin_l Posts: 591

    Your personal time value of money must be different than mine.. unless you're sure you can clean that thing and restore normal operation in less than 30 minutes?
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