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Subaru Crew Problems & Solutions



  • steverstever Posts: 52,572
    edited January 2014

    You could try some aerosol electrical switch and contact cleaner. I had a sticky power window switch in my non-Subaru car and squirted that stuff in there.

    Didn't work, but didn't hurt anything either. My switch was really carboned up. :'(

  • phil2000phil2000 New JerseyPosts: 195

    xwesx - - This is a recent problem. It occurred after getting new tires. I had 85K on the original tires. Changed the fronts, then 800 miles later changed the back. Then that is when the problem became noticeable. It was 50 degrees (F) over the weekend so any frozen water buildup melted. I did some additional testing. After reaching 65 mph I accelerated to 80 mph (won't say where for legal reasons :)) The problem did not get progressively worst. Matter of fact it stayed constant and even subsided some. Steering was fine, it seemed to track left slightly. MrShift... suggested something (see his post above). I will try going into neutral. I have an automatic with CVT will I damage anything doing that?

  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,865

    No, you won't damage anything by shifting to neutral. If you still have the problem, I definitely agree that it is a tire or wheel problem. And, if you have the same wheels as prior, I'd venture to guess that any "wheel problem" is actually a balancing problem.

    What tires did you buy? Maybe one of those rears is a dud.... ?

    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 don't understand if it is a balance problem. The dealer did a Road Force Balancing. Also shouldn't the vibration get worse the faster I go. I got up to 80 and put it in neutral vibration was still there. But at 80 it was not bone jarring. And at times it was not noticeable(still in the background though). P225/60R-17 Kumho Solus KR21 from

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 57,338

    Not always. Often with a balance problem you can 'drive through' the worst vibration levels.

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  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,865

    Perhaps talk to that dealer and ask them to spin those tires for you again to check for vibration when they're off the car... ? If one of the tires is defective, the balancing isn't necessarily going to be able to make up for it (and, it wasn't necessarily an issue that manifested when they first balanced them).

    It's a head-scratcher, for sure. A professional will likely be able to run through the list of possibilities more efficiently and, perhaps, even start off their search on a goodwill basis if they installed them in the first place (we could always hope, anyway). :)

    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • You could rotate the tires from the front to the back. If the vibration persists in the rear then your tires are good. I had the same problem in a Honda Accord but in that case the problem was in the car, not the tires.

  • grahampetersgrahampeters AustraliaPosts: 1,783


    Sounds like it might be something else unsprung beside the tyres. It can be hard to find a specialist shop which can do four wheel on- car balancing. Usually there will only be one or two in a city of 1m+ people who can do all four wheels at once. It needs a four wheel rolling road and some specialist equipment.

    Try chatting with a Subaru Dealer because your local WRX owners probably have obsessed about getting their balance and alignment perfect.



  • Hi everyone - planning on doing maintenance on my 2002 OBS. Been checking lots of sites to figure out the best way to jack my car. First I was thinking Rhino Ramps, then thinking good jack stands. (Left my scissor jack on side of road somewhere so then I thought maybe just buy a hydraulic but thought that was overkill). It appears most of the jack stand discussion has dealt with where to place the stands. Any convictions please share - with as much specifics as you have time for - much appreciated. Pete

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 57,338

    Your owner's manual should specify exactly where the "jacking points" are. Those are re-inforced areas that render the use of jackstands safe. That's where the jackstands need to be.

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  • Sorry - I was asking about opinions on the jack stands themselves. Suggestions about brands - 3 Ton / 6 Ton - whether rhino ramps are a better option. That kind of thing. Best website - been to Harbor Freight and JB Tools. Like to buy something American made if possible - although I doubt it.

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 57,338

    Here are some top rated jackstands from Amazon:

    By all means get the double-locking type.

    Don't buy jack stands from harbor freight if you value your life.

    Ramps are good but they do limit you when it comes to things like brakes--and they tilt the car so as to make oil changes tricky. Of course you could run the front of the car on ramps and the rear on jack stands I suppose.

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  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,865

    What sort of maintenance are you doing? If stuff like oil change, the ramps will work very well. I'm not sure what they're called, but there's a new-fangled HD plastic ramp, US-made, that is lightweight and has an excellent ramp slope for low-clearance vehicles (or, like the OBS, those with long noses). I have a set of steel ramps that I bought back in the mid-90s and use them for all my vehicles.

    If you need to get wheels off the ground, such as for tire rotations and brake work, a jack is really your only option. If you have a solid surface and are working on it at home, I'd go with a two or three ton floor jack. I doubt brand matters all that much. If you want a jack for roadside emergencies or aggregate surfaces, visit your local scrap dealer and get a couple of scissor jacks. I would not recommend a bottle jack for this car.

    Jack stands... my personal preference is that bigger is better. After all, I'd rather spend a few dollars more on a stand than increase the risk of getting crushed. On smaller cars like this, you can typically support them with the adjustable neck in the lowest position, so a small unit like a 3-ton is going to be just fine. If you need to use them on uneven ground or in a high position, go bigger. I haven't purchased stands in forever, though, so I don't have any suggestions on brand.

    Also, get a couple of wheel blocks if you don't have them already. They can sure come in handy and make your job less eventful. :)

    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • Thanks for the link MrShift. I was thinking about those Torins. Yeah I am not super mechanical but I will be changing my fluids and simply want to be able to investigate problems before turning over to a dealer etc. I think you were talking about those Rhino ramps Xwesx. But if I'm going to be pulling tires off - you're right - a jack stand is needed. Plus I was concerned about my Sport's front end even clearing the ramps....

  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,865
    edited February 2014

    My old steel ramps contact all my low clearance cars, but no so much as to prevent their use. The nice thing about those plastic parts is that they have some give to them. Hehehe. :)

    My stands look like those Hein-Warner ones, but they have the "double lock" sliding shaft on them. Sadly, I don't think to use that shaft most of the time.... As an aside, though, I would so love a product that basically combines a "ratcheting" jack stand with a Hi-Lift like jack. You slip it under, jack it up to where you want it, and set the pin. Done; no need for multiple products.

    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • Wow. It is really tough to be patriotic. Those American made Hein's look great but they are 3X the cost of Torin's :(

  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,865

    So, I took a look at my newest pair, and they are "Goodyear Racing" 6-ton jack stands. I don't recall when I bought them, but I'm sure it was over a decade ago. They're definitely more robust than my other set, which is really old (30+ years, for sure). While they look very similar to those Torin units (in terms of the safety pin and overall shape), a distinct benefit of the GR ones is that they have a flat piece of sheet metal welded to the bottom of each leg. That means they don't tend to dig down into aggregate surfaces. With my older set, I have to put a piece of 3/4" plywood under them or they will tend to sink into my driveway, which can spell bad news for both car and mechanic.

    That's why I mentioned that they more closely resemble the HW units. But, looking at the HW again, I think "foot" they have is not under the legs, but inside them... ???

    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • sgloonsgloon Posts: 323

    Hi, All,

    I've been off the boards for a while, but I have an issue I would love some help with.

    Someone rear ended me (2010 Forester) at a stop light the day before Thanksgiving. Other persons total fault and their insurance company is paying for it.

    It was in one shop, got it back with major exhaust fumes coming into the cabin. Went back for fix, they said fumes coming in thru upper seal, after I got it back 2nd time, I still had fumes in the cabin. This was when I noted the hatch does not sit properly on the door frame. It sticks out on the bottom (It was hit more on the left side, so it looks like the left side "frame" needs to be pulled out to make it fit). The Gaps Side to side all the way to the top of hatch vary, ie not uniform. And we can see that the space by the side doors is not straight. It is wider on the top on left side and wider on the bottom on the right side. BTW, I had asked the original shop for frame check and they gave me several different answers why they don't have a printout for me, anything from the insurance won't pay for it, to the dog ate it, to you don't get a print out from the "rack" if it is perfect, and yours was perfect. The new rear inside quarter panel they installed is deformed and the seam just above the left rear light does not look to be a match (they had to replace the L side panel, bumper, rear gate, internal plastic pieces, air lock and more).

    I brought it to second shop and they are finally here, 3 month later going to put it on the rack to check it. (Luckily, I have had rental car the whole time.)

    My questions for you experts is:
    1. Is it OK for them to re-bend the unibody after it was deformed(if this turns out to be the issue) and what will that do to the integrity of the car?
    2. Will the value of my car (marked excellent in the initial report, except for the hit) be affected?
    3. Will anyone want to buy it if they know the unibody was bent and then bent back?
    4. If the unibody is bent, should I accept the car back?

    Any help or additional comments would be appreciated. If you need further details, I can be more specific. Thanks!!!

  • Wow! Can't believe so many of the old crew still here. Hi guys. It's Bit.

    167k on my 2001 5 speed Legacy GT wagon and still loving it. Did a 6k cross country trip last year and averaged 30mpg. But it is getting time for a new Soob. Hard choice as no more Legacy wagons (and mine is sweet), don't really like the new bigger Outbacks, and can't find a moonroof with stick in any model. May just have to get an Impreza 5door or Forester with CVT.

    Couple of notes on the 2001 Legacy GT:

    Still running original cats without issue.

    Did have a bad front wheel bearing and was surprised at the repair cost due to press on bearing.

    Had head gaskets done under warranty at 100k miles. I had done the yearly cooling system additive. Unfortunately last summer I had another overheating issue. Turned out to be clogged radiator caused by that additive which I was told is basically Stop Leak. Dealer told me the radiator issue is very common with the additive so beware.

    Finally replaced front rotors at 150k after too many turnings and they start getting sticky.

    Beginning to have dash lights fail.

    Turn signal stalk switch started sticking and smoking. Easy fix by disassembling and cleaning out old grease.

    Still on original clutch with no problems.

    Double moonroof still working pretty good with only the rear interior cover getting sticky.


  • hammerheadhammerhead Posts: 907

    Hey Bit! Cheers to the LGT! my '99 is in the 217K range, and it's not going away until 'from my cold dead hands!' LOL. Next one will also be a stick, and I'm similarly disappointed that a MT limits other option choices.

  • fibber2fibber2 Mid Hudson Valley, NYPosts: 3,775
    edited March 2014

    Hey Bit! I'm still kicking too. My daughter is the primary driver of my '02 OBW, while I drive a 2014 OBW. Very different experience. When I want fun, I steal back my old car. When I want to stretch out and pretend it's a Mercedes, I drive the new car. The true spirit of the old car lives on in the sportier Impreza models.

    Concerning that leak stop.... If you are getting the genuine Coolant Conditioner (AKA Holts Radweld), it shouldn't promote radiator blockage. It's pretty slick stuff. Unlike the Bars or other meely polymer fillers, Holts is largely Borax. When it squeezes thru the head gasket and hits a super hot spot, it drives off the water (decahydrate) and crystallizes as a borate glass. Done right it's hammer hard. Two things come to mind in your case:

    1) I had one dealer try to pawn off some other crap on me claiming it was the 'new formulation'.
    2) I guess maybe too much of anything could cause adverse issue.

    Just had to rebuild all 4 calipers (sticking pins and pistons), replace rotors & pads. I also had an alternator go seriously bad in January. Otherwise all is well.

  • Hmmm.... Well, my radiator problem happened right after I had the hoses replaced. Who knows what happened.

    Off to look at an Impreza Sport Limited with CVT and moonroof this week.

  • jfljfl Posts: 1,385

    Hi Bit! Replaced my 2000 Legacy (273k miles) with a 2013 Impreza Sport Premium 5 spd. Enjoying it a bit too much as I've driven 10k miles in 5 months. It's a really fun car. (I typically average 20k miles/yr.)

    At 180k, as preventive maint, I replaced the shocks, rotors, and pads on the Legacy. Fortunately, didn't need to rebuild calipers.

  • fibber2fibber2 Mid Hudson Valley, NYPosts: 3,775

    Conditions are a bit more harsh here in NY than they are in sunny California, Jim! My entire brake system turned into a mass of rust. Everything needed descaling and replating. I had a local "Subaru only" shop do the job, and it came out quite well.

  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,865

    @fibber2 said:
    Conditions are a bit more harsh here in NY than they are in sunny California, Jim! My entire brake system turned into a mass of rust. Everything needed descaling and replating. I had a local "Subaru only" shop do the job, and it came out quite well.

    Steve, I've heard of subframe disintegration on Subaru cars of the G2 Outback period and older. How does the rest of your car's undercarriage look?

    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
    edited March 2014

    That, Wes, was one of the big questions I had as a gate to doing anything expensive on the car last fall. George put it on the lift and we poked around underneath. Other than the heat shields on the exhaust and the bad brakes, he was pretty impressed with the condition of the vehicle. I did have the subframe treated in the recall, and it's holding up well. So far, no body rust either.

    I was very reluctant, but eventually allowed him to cut off the exhaust shields. I had them tack welded two years earlier, but they were now pretty shot. They play a roll in helping to keep heat in the cats (important for burn-off efficiency) as well as protecting grass, etc. But they were rattling so badly that I think the knock sensor was even responding and retarding timing.

    I still have a slight HG leak, cyl 4. It's actually more oil than coolant. Last October I dumped the coolant and added fresh Coolant System Conditioner. That did help the leak. I've pretty much decided to not do a HG job and just let Em drive it for now. George advised me to go back to conventional oil and maybe even a grade thicker as a way to slow the oil leak. I've been running M1 since she was young.

  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,865

    That sounds like as good of a health report as one could expect on a car of this age and with year-round use! Your daughter benefits greatly from your meticulous ways. :)

    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
    edited April 2014

    @girlcarbuilder said:
    I would have to have a set of gauges on it to see what is really happening. But if your a/c has been working fine prior to the last trip to the dealer I can only wonder if someone contaminated it with some moisture intentionally. With too much moisture in the lines you will have ice slowly build up at the refrigerant control to the point that it will eventually block the flow. That will at that point shut down the system, hopefully. High side pressure will go up and should cause the high pressure switch to shut down. Low side will go down more than normal. If this is what is going on, then there will be a lack of lubrication to the compressor which will cause it to self destruct eventually.

    Been researching my a/c problem - Gary from WV has a lot of great info. Going to check the o-rings per gary in the valves etc. But I was reading another article about Subaru a/c's and found this quote: "2002 to 2003 Subaru Impreza, ( all models and trim levels) has an issue where the Evap core can ice over as a result of a design issue to the system, Subaru has issued a service bulletin about it. The fix is a new thermosensor (which is located in the Evap core). This requires taking the Evap core out of the vehicle which is partially removing the dash components on the passenger side. I usually suggest replacing the expansion valve at the same time."

    • Does having a service bulletin mean they will do work for free?
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,865
    edited March 2014

    @stackman1 said:

    • Does having a service bulletin mean they will do work for free?

    No, what it means is that this was commonly found to be the source of an issue reported by multiple customers (typically while these vehicles were still under warranty, so it was to the manufacturer's benefit to develop a bulletin). If your vehicle is out of warranty, any coverage provided by Subaru will be on a goodwill basis only. In other words, you can ask, but don't go into it with any expectations!

    If it were a recall, then it would be covered.

    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

    Screwed that quote and reply above. Second paragraph me not GirlCarBuilder

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