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Subaru Crew Problems & Solutions



  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,925
    edited November 2012
    The owner's manual (page 11-57) indicates that the metal tab shown in your photo is to allow removal of the wiring harness.

    1. Lift the tab and pull the harness straight back to remove it.
    2. Remove the bulb holder from the headlight assembly by turning it counter clockwise.
    3. Pull the bulb/holder from the headlight assembly.
    4. Install the new bulb/holder and turn clockwise to lock it in place.
    5. Reconnect the electrical harness and ensure the tab locks in place.

    They make it sound so easy, don't they?!

    If you cannot get the harness off first, you can probably turn the whole unit counter-clockwise (usually about a quarter-turn, but you can feel when it separates once it starts turning), remove it, then pull the harness once you have a better line of sight on it.

    If you need a copy of the manual, I referenced it here:

    Subaru Owners Resource Center - Manuals

    2002 Subaru Impreza Outback Sport
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • Wes: You win the day. I was reading OBS as Outback Sedan, not (Impreza)Sport.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,925
    edited November 2012
    Oh, gosh. I didn't even think about the abbreviation! Hopefully I interpreted it correctly. My mind recorded '02 Outback Sport when I read through the first time, but I just went back to see the original post when you wrote that (due to my confusion...) and sure enough it was listed as simply "OBS."

    Well, if the car *is* an 02 Impreza, that's the right info! :blush:
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • Thanks guys. I also appreciate that online manual! I had the original manual and it showed something else.

    PS. Yes it is an Outback Sport (Impreza) - seemed like OBS was running abbreviation :)
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,925
    Well, the important thing is.... Did you get the bulbs replaced?! :D
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • Yes - I did replace the bulb. The online manual was good.
    I took out the battery because it was impossible to get to, then:
    1. I pushed down on the black plastic right behind that rectangular tab in the middle of the photo and at the same time pulled on the electrical connector and it came off.
    2. I twisted the serrated outer ring - it came off
    3. Twisted the base of the bulb and it came off.

    Putting it back - obvious reverse - only tricky part is lining the three narrow slots on the bulb with the lamp holder.

    Thanks for the help everyone!

    By the way - I just bought the $11 baselne Sylvania 9007 bulb and it works fine - but am now wondering about those Sylvania blue lights - any opinions on those?
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,925
    edited November 2012
    Sylvania blue lights... are those the Silver Stars? I have two sets of those, one of which I gave away when I sold the last car I owned with 9007 bulb requirements, and the other I still have, but both sets were unopened. Before I bought the silver stars, I used Sylvania Xtravision, which were very nice and a marked improvement over the base bulbs (also much less expensive than the Silver Star!). They also lasted a long time (2+ years), which is why I never used the Silver Star bulbs. By the time I sold each of the vehicles, the Xtravision were still working fine!

    On my 2010 Forester, I replaced the stock bulbs with Wagner TruView bulbs. They aren't expensive, provide a more neutral (whitish) light, and are really nice in that they don't cause hardly any glare. Of course, I don't benefit nearly as much from that as all the other drivers on the road, but I have a sight problem that makes me very sensitive to glare, so I appreciate it nonetheless.

    For your car, that would be Wagner BP9007TV2 TruView Headlight Bulb (2-pack). I think they're about $12 for the pair on Amazon right now. I don't know about longevity yet (I just installed them this summer).

    I've been thinking about replacing the sealed beam lights on my '69 Econoline with a set of housings that use 9007 bulbs. If I do that, I'll put the Silver Star set I still have in that. It will be a great use for them, too, since I tend to drive that vehicle about 100 miles a year and only during the summer (it's never dark here in the summer!). :P
    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
    Can I use the generic blades from Pep Boys (Anco or ProLine) on my 2011 Outback?
  • fibber2fibber2 Mid Hudson Valley, NYPosts: 3,775
    Call me crazy (go ahead, everyone else does!!), but I still buy the imported EU spec premium bulbs from Daniel Stern Lighting (Candlepower, Inc.) for my OBW. Philips Extreme Vision H1. A little brighter, and a very carefully aligned filament to make the best use of the stock housing. Plus, I occasionally polish the exterior plastic housing to make sure it is as close to crystal clear as possible.

    When I look at the 'milk glass' lenses that many older cars sport, it makes me want to cry.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,925
    How long to those bulbs last, Steve?

    Also, what do you use to polish your 2001's housings?
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • fibber2fibber2 Mid Hudson Valley, NYPosts: 3,775
    Not long enough, Wes! I average around 2 years or so. 4th or 5th set over the life of the car. I don't keep spares, so end up putting in a basic bulb that I have lying around until I get around to ordering more. The difference is noticeable, so I keep going back for more.

    I looked into specific lens polishing kits, but on a lark I tried a microfiber cloth with some Meguires Cleaner Wax. It's a decent wax with a light duty polishing compound thrown it. It's a great general purpose product perfect for those of us who are lucky to find the time to wax their old cars once a year or so! It beads for half a year or more, comes off the rubber just fine (way better than their upscale Gold Class), and takes off the embedded crap that I should be going after with a clay bar but never get around to do.

    The mild abrasive cleans off the oxidized plastic haze, and the wax helps to seal the surface. I'm sure the purists will cry foul to what I'm doing, but for me it seems to work great. And it's cheap! 30 cents of the stuff (I think I paid $6 at Walmart for the last bottle) will keep the lenses clean for months.
  • sgloonsgloon Posts: 323
    Hey all,

    I've had an issue with the height of my headlights being too low on my 2010 Forester from day one. The dealer said "they are all like that" when I brought it to him. But...I had a 2009 and had no issues with seeing street signs, stop signs, etc. that I do with this 2010. Does anyone know how to adjust the height of the lights?
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    edited December 2012
    I've had good luck with toothpaste but I found an old bottle of polish around here that the former owners left and used that back in the summer. Was happy to see that it didn't dissolve the plastic; it probably dates back to the 80s.

    Hard to say if it did a better job than the toothpaste. Probably my imagination, but it seems to have stayed "clearer" longer.
  • fibber2fibber2 Mid Hudson Valley, NYPosts: 3,775
    Some toothpastes are indeed very good. I snatched a tube of Crest Extra Whitening with Tarter Protection - Clean Mint from the cabinet at home for use on coins and other metallic polishing. It's almost as aggressive as one of the Buehler pastes that we use at work (diamond) for metallographic cross-sections. That probably means it's hell on your enamel!
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,925
    Thanks, Steve. I'll have to try that Meguires. The wax I used on the Forester last summer was an awful choice! If it was a 1969 Chevy pickup, it probably would have been fine. But, with all the plastic trim on that car... ugh. I still can't get the stuff that touched the black trim pieces off. It looks like hell, and I wasn't even being particularly sloppy with it!

    After my attempts at exterior auto care last summer, that poor car, which is only three years old, looks heavily aged compared to the summer before. :sick:

    I don't have any problems with headlight housings right now, but I imagine that if you start caring for them early, you're less likely to have issues later on. :blush:

    As for the life span of your bulbs, that sounds pretty darn reasonable. Some of the bulbs, such as the Silver Stars, I've heard tend to last six months to a year. I use my lights all the time. Do you, or are yours used only "when necessary?"
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • fibber2fibber2 Mid Hudson Valley, NYPosts: 3,775
    Remember that early implementation of DRL's used the low beams at reduced power, so yes, those bulbs are on all the time. Fortunately, the reduced voltage really doesn't impact the filament life too badly, but it is a factor in total life.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,925
    Yes, I imagine so. That was the main rub for me when I decided to run lights all the time many years ago. The other was remembering to turn them off every time, as cars from the late sixties don't have auto-off functionality! I remember a time or two, fifteen years ago, getting up at 0530 for work and being greeted by a dead battery. It doesn't take too long to learn that lesson. :blush:
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I snatched a tube of Crest Extra Whitening with Tarter Protection - Clean Mint from the cabinet

    No tarter on the lens so it must be working! :D
  • fibber2fibber2 Mid Hudson Valley, NYPosts: 3,775
    And minty-fresh light!!!
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Plus it cured bad breath (emissions).
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    Just don't polish so hard you knock the lens out.

    Wouldn't want to root around trying to refill that cavity.
  • Wes - comments on Amazon suggest the blue ones for 9007 aren't that "blue".
    : ))

    The bulb I just replaced has lasted since I bought the car in Aug 2001 - so no complaints with the base brand but maybe I will give those Sylvania Xtravision a shot unless you suggest trying the Wagner's.

    I am one of those guys with cloudy lamps so I am going to use a 2000 grit sandpaper on them lightly before I clean (or maybe clean first, sand, clean again?)
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,925
    Often the inexpensive, "base" bulbs do last a long time. But, they do so by trading off intensity for life span. While I prefer not to have something that is ultra-bright (blinds oncoming traffic) and lasts only six months, I do like to maximize my visibility. That's what lead me to the TruView. They aren't expensive (no more so than the Xtravision), but have a far more neutral light that, for me, works better.

    We also have six months of snow, and the whiter light interacts really well with snow (in that it multiplies the lights' effect). After a fresh snowfall, I feel like I can see a mile ahead with those things.

    Unless they don't last at least a year, I plan to stick with them. Oddly enough, my new Fiesta uses the same bulbs as the Forester, so that's a nice bonus.

    Aside: I hate blue/purple headlights. They are the worse offenders for throwing glare at oncoming drivers. :mad:
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • I now have 163k trouble free miles. But the car has been steadily getting noisier, part of the noise is from the window/gasket seal. There is another noise though coming from something in the drivetrain, rear of the vehicle. It's a low humming noise that gets steadily louder with speed. Sounds like a muted version of the big off-road tires on pickups when they are run on paved roads.

    There's no play in the wheels, and since its AWD, detecting roughness in a bearing is a problem. I changed the rear diff oil, everything looked clean and good there, but the noise has persisted. Being doing it for about 10k miles now.

    Any ideas?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Playing the odds, it's very likely a wheel bearing.
  • tomspdrtomspdr Posts: 1
    My dealer, generally trustworthy, recommended as "preventive maintenance", that I have "fuel injector service with throttle body cleaning", estimated at $264. 2003 Forester with 50K miles, all in California, not driven hard. Comments, please, on price/necessity of this procedure?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    edited March 2013
    Seems a bit early, but that fixed a serious hesitation problem we had on a 1995 Mazda 626 V6. Do it if you feel you've lost any performance at all vs. new.
  • girlcarbuildergirlcarbuilder Baton Rouge, LAPosts: 218
    How about $0!!!!! I am assuming a cable throttle body and not electronic. Change brands of gasoline. The different additives in another brand will remove the trash another brand left behind! 2-3 tanks should be enough.

    In the electronic T bodies, they are servo motor controlled. Different issues there as well.

    As for everyone else.....the MO Subaru fleet seems to have caught a head gasket virius! One completed and returned to service. The other two have been caught failing in early stages at 250K miles or more of service. The best I have seen about this issue on web is the following web site. The most recent failure was on a replacement engine with an estimated mileage between 80-100 service. That estimate is based upon exam of cylinders and deposits found in the oil galley.

    Two very experienced mechanics, myself included, cheked this website out and found that this guy seems to be very much on target with the problem. He nailed the issue to a t on this 98 engine I serviced last!
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    I would just buy a bottle of Techron at Walmart, or get a few tanks of Chevron.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    Very interesting - my '97 Outback's battery has always generated more "chia pet hair" than any other car I've owned. Every time I read a post like this it makes me want to sell it so I won't have to deal with the inevitable head gasket failure. And winter is winding down....
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