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Subaru Legacy/Outback 2005+



  • May I take the offer?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I don't think the manual was any more fun. Perhaps having the automatic allowed me to concentrate more on the track itself, and steering instead of shifting.

    The auto didn't give up anything to the manual in that situation, just MHO.

    I generally prefer manuals (all 3 of our cars are MT) but the well-broken in auto was just as fun at the Vegas Speedway.

    Bob: just for reference, a 205/60R15 tire does fit in the spare tire well of our 2002 Legacy. The new tires are bigger so let's see if those would fit. I bet they will for the 2.5i Legacy, likely not on any of the Outbacks, though.

  • kenskens Posts: 5,869

    I think others have reported that the trip computer is "optimistic" by about 1mpg. Either it's underestimating the amount of fuel the engine uses or it's overestimating the amount of ground covered.

    I haven't checked myself yet, though.

  • kenskens Posts: 5,869

    Craig here has connected his iPod to the head unit using a wired FM modulator. An even more braver soul over at has tapped into the CD changer and hardwired his iPod (pics too).

    Since I'm not as comfortable tinkering around the audio, I'm going to wait until the process is well documented and tested. It'll be only a matter of time until there's a relatively easy solution out there.

  • kenskens Posts: 5,869
    Without a doubt, the 5MT+turbo is much more responsive off the line. I test drove several and there is very little turbo lag and the responsiveness is addictive. If you want the most of the engine, the manual is for you.

    However, I'd like to shed some light on the 5EAT + turbo combination. Unfortunately, most test drives at dealers (and even on some reviews) are run on "green" vehicles with few miles. The 5EAT when not haven been driven much (<1000 miles)shifts rather conservatively at low RPMs further exacerbating turbo lag.

    Over time with a spirited driver, the 5EAT starts to delay shifts and holds RPMs higher (even in Sport mode). The Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde phenomenon is significantly reduced. I'd hardly say my GT wagon feels like an anemic 4-banger at low RPMs. It's too bad people rarely get to try out a fully broken in 5EAT.

    The H6+5EAT combo is a smooth and good choice. However in my test drives, I didn't find it had as useable a torque band as the H4 turbo + 5EAT combo. I think the lack of the turbo lag gives the impression of a broader torque curve when in reality, it has a narrower one.

  • kenskens Posts: 5,869

    I'll try it the next time I rotate my tires. Wasn't there some foam padding that needed to be removed with the previous model?

  • fandcfandc MinnesotaPosts: 51
    I too have a 3/36 coupon that I had hoped to use myself but now won't. It's a little crumpled 'cos it's been in my backpack with all of the other 2005 literature for the GT.

    Send me your snail mail address via kc0etl at yahoo dot com.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Yes, Ken, I removed a foam piece, basically "filler", above the old donut spare. The full-size spare occupies the whole space so you don't need the foam. It's all covered anyway.

    There is a chance even the GT's tires will fit, overall diameter is not that big, really. The Outback's tires have a bigger diamater, which is why I do not think those will fit.

  • luck11luck11 Posts: 425
    Thanks Ken. I too am hesitant about doing my own mods until the procedure has been well tested. I'll leave it to someone more mechanically inclined to test, and hopefully, they will be kind enough to share their experiences and knowledge with the rest of us.

    Thanks Juice. Just came back from inspecting and test driving my red OB XT LTD, and everything was perfect, except for a small, barely noticeable scratch on the silver ashtray cover. I am going nuts in anticipation of getting behind the wheel when it is officially my car!!

  • sdufordsduford Posts: 577
    Ken, thanks for the insight, I'll have to take your word for it.

    I would really like to see some actual torque curves for both engines. I doubt very much the Turbo has a flat torque curve, I think the torque only comes in when the turbo finally spools up and then it comes on with a vengeance. While the H6 certainly has less torque and it does peek at a slightly higher RPM, I would guess, from common sense and from my test drives, that the H6 produces significantly more torque in the 1000-2000 RPM band, perhaps even a bit higher than that. Now, that is based on my driving impressions, perhaps actual torque curves will prove me wrong.

    I also recently test-drove a Volvo S40 T5, and THAT engine does have a very broad torque band, producing full torque from 1500 RPM on up, and you can certainly feel it. But that engine uses much less turbo boost than the Subaru does, and the Turbo seems to spool up at a lower RPM.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    In tests the Legacy has been quicker. Oddly enough it's at very high speeds where the Volvo begins to catch up. Keep in mind it's only FWD, too.

    The turbo needs a load to spool up. At whatever rpm, you hit the throttle and the "lag" they refer to is that split second that it takes for it to spool up.

    The H6 will have more immediate throttle response, because it doesn't have to spool up. I has more displacement and a higher compression ratio than the turbo does off boost.

    So there are trade-offs, but it is interesting that there seems to be a preference for turbos.

  • c_hunterc_hunter Posts: 4,487
    To me, the most impressive feature of the 5EAT with the turbo is the way it upshifts under full throttle. It's pretty cool, I have never experienced anything like it (manual or auto).

  • c_hunterc_hunter Posts: 4,487
    Yeah, check the other LegacyGT forum where we have worked out a few good solutions. I'm at the point where I am almost ready to have some interface boards fabbed, which would allow us to insert RCA input jacks inline with the CD-changer connection. Play a blank CD and you can pipe anything you want into the radio -- iPod, DVD, etc...

    Right now, I am using an FM modulator with very good results. I also posted details on that.

  • kenskens Posts: 5,869
    Unfortuantely, there are no torque/HP graphs available for the USDM engines but below are the graphs for the JDM versions just to get an idea of how the two might differ:

    H6 ml

    Twin-scroll H4 turbo ml

    In both graphs, the blue line is the torque curve. The H6 torque grows gradually to it's peak at 4000RPM and then tapers down from that point.

    The H4 turbo at 1600 RPM is at about the same level as the H6, but by 2500 RPM, it's already making well past the H6 at it's peak.

    The larger displacement of the USDM H4 turbo (2.5L vs. 2.0) probably helps with low end grunt, but the peak torque may come later due to the fact that we get one big turbo vs. a dual-stage version. The USDM H6 is probably fairly close to the JDM version.

  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788

    Also check, assuming the full-size spare fits, if you can still store the cargo blind under the floor. You can't do that with the Forester, as the width of the full-size tire, when laid flat, is too tall. It begins to occupy some of that vertical space needed to store the cargo blind.

  • k2rmk2rm Posts: 205
    Why do you say that the VTD is better than the continuous in the MT? I thought both systems will transfer power to the tires with the most traction if slippage occurs? This issue could make it easier to be swayed to the 5EAT as I still am going back and forth between it and the MT.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    VTD can shift power more quickly than the viscous coupling in the manual tranny. It's also potentially proactive, while the VC is reactive.

    Both send power to each axle by default, so in that way they are both proactive.

  • sdufordsduford Posts: 577
    I didn't mean to compare the relative speeds of the Volvo vs the Subaru, I was just comparing the broadness of the torque curves. The on/off nature of the Subaru engine is much more pronounced than it is on the Volvo.

    Yes I think people prefer the Turbos for the sheer thrill of that rush of power that almost pulls your arms off the steering wheel! It is certainly a lot of fun. But since I am primarily concerned with having a practical and comfortable cruising machine, I think that on/off nature would actually get old in everyday driving, especially in city traffic.

    But I am not disputing the merits of the Turbo, I am just saying that the 5MT is a much better match for that engine, and if performance is what you are really after, then the 5MT makes more sense to me. But if you like automatics, by all means...
  • sdufordsduford Posts: 577
    Thanks for the graphs Ken, very informative.

    But how do they compare to our versions?

    I notice that the turbo's torque curve peaks at about 2400 RPM, whereas our is adervtised as peeking at 3600 RPM.
  • sdufordsduford Posts: 577
    "Keep in mind it's only FWD, too."

    Actually I tested the AWD version, which is obviously a tad slower than the FWD version, but it has no torque steer.

    Given where I live, I absolutely need AWD or I can't get home in the winter. Also, after the remnants of hurricane Floyd dumped 5.5" of rain on us in 12hours and wrecked our dirt road, I realized that I need high ground clearance, so the S40/V50 is now out of the running.

    I am left with only the Outback and the XC70, but I find the XC70 drives like a big Buick. While the VOlvo has a superb interior and is extremely comfortable, the Outback feels much more stable and nimble.
  • saedavesaedave Chicago, ILPosts: 694
    Note the different horizontal rpm scales. The H-6 is plotted down to about 1200 rpm and the H-4T to 1600 rpm. If idle rpm is around 750, off idle H-6 performance might be much better than the turbo. My own test drives of both produced a pronounced preference for the H-6, but it is a shame that the great brakes and handling of the GT are not included.
  • kenskens Posts: 5,869
    Continuous AWD on MT vehicles uses a viscous coupling (VC) to send power to the front and rear axles. The VC acts like a limited slip differential. When the front and rear axles start spinning at different rates (indicating slippage), the fluid in the VC starts the thicken and forces the front and rear axles to spin at the same rate.

    The entire process is completely passive with Continuous AWD. The unit is tuned to split power 50:50 and to allow some amount of slip before it starts to lock up to enable turning. Basically, you need some wheel spin to get the system to work. It's a very simple, yet effective system that's been in place for years. Since the power split is normally 50:50, you have less chance of ever encountering wheel spin vs. a FWD/RWD car.

    With VTD, power is normally split 45/55 (the rear bias is there for a better handling) using planetary gears instead of a viscous fluid. In addition, VTD uses an electronic clutch pack that can vary the power from that default bias (the exact amount escapes me).

    The main advantage of VTD is that because it is electronic, it can react faster and more efficiently with the vehicle. For example, sensors on the vehicle let it know when one is either accelerating or braking and can send more power to the necessary axle (ie. to the rears when accelerating). I believe it also requires less wheelspin to activate compared to Continuous AWD.

    Another advantage is better integration with the ABS system. ABS and AWD work in almost opposite ways: AWD sends power away from the wheels that are spinning faster where as ABS tries to clamp down on the same wheels. With Continuous AWD, the VC lockup needs to be relaxed so that it doesn't kick in too soon and compete with ABS (it's passive so the unit never knows if you're braking or accelerating). With VTD, the system can tell if you are braking or accelerating and can delay or engage the power transfer as necessary.

    One last interesting quirk about Continuous AWD. My previous Forester had Continuous AWD and while it worked amazingly well on snow, it did have a tendency to "oscillate". When driving in very slippery conditions, the unit starts to lock, releases, locks, etc. and can be felt as a front-to-back transfer of power. I've read that both Active AWD and VTD have a far less tendency to do this oscillation.

    Hope that helps!

  • kenskens Posts: 5,869
    Good question how the graphs would look like for the USDM turbos. Given that the USDM turbo has bigger displacement but a later peak torque, the slope of the first part of the torque curve (where the turbo is spooling) probably starts higher but has a slighlty lower slope. My guess is that initial throttle tip-in will be better with the USDM model.

    In any event, I think it's great that we can chose between two fantastic engines.

  • sdufordsduford Posts: 577
    "My own test drives of both produced a pronounced preference for the H-6, but it is a shame that the great brakes and handling of the GT are not included. "

    Well I think the Outback handles amazingly well for such a tall and off-road capable wagon. I agree about the weak brakes though, that is my number one concern with the Outback. I cannot fathom why Subaru didn't put their best brakes on the XT and VDC. It puts in doubt their supposedly "security conscious" image. I'm hoping that putting better tires on it will improve the breaking distance.

    But even the GT is not that great under breaking. The Volvo S40 smokes it big time.
  • kenskens Posts: 5,869
    Braking distance is greatly influenced by the tires as well. I don't think the OB models have poor brakes at all. It's the higher profile all-season rubber that hampers braking distance. The current brakes on the OB are strong enough to lock the wheels up and activate ABS. It's the tire grip that determines how much braking force can be applied before the tires lock.

    That phenomemon is clearly shown with the GT. It has oversized brakes that have been reported to be very fade resistant, yet the all-season rubber hurts it against the S40 (which can be optioned with summer tires).

    Hey, you can't give all the GT goodies to the OB models! :-)

  • Tom,
    Mine is the same way. I've tracked the difference on every tank but the very first and it's actually a bit more than 1 mpg high. I have no idea why it's this way.

    I am still loving the GT. Up to nearly 7100 miles now and it's all I could have wanted in a car.

    Now if I could just get my iPod to hook up to the stereo! I've been closely following the discussion over at and hope Craig and centerpunch come up with a fix I can do myself. Doing in myself would mean that anyone can because I have absolutely no electronic/audio experience. All I know is that if you let the smoke out of the wires that's a bad thing and you can't get it to go back in. ;-)

  • Craig,
    Let me know when you have some available I'll test them if you can help me (with lots of pics and detailed instructions) get it installed.

    Better yet would be something like what Dension has done with their iceLink product. I'd love to be able to control the iPod with the stereo controls and also avoid the "silence" CD.

  • c_hunterc_hunter Posts: 4,487
    Yeah, I agree with you, but I fear we have reached the end of the line without schematics or other engineering info about the radio. Finding the three audio pins in the 14-pin connector was a feat in itself, and I think centerpunch over on the LGT forum deserves a lot of credit for that. At this point, I see the remaining advances being how to hook up to the L/R audio lines and get everything integrated well.

    The circuit board will allow us to intercept the flat-flex cable (FFC) that runs from the CD changer to the radio. It basically just has two FFC connectors and some RCA cables. Unfortunately, it would require partial disassembly of the radio/HVAC unit to install the board, which makes it impractical for most people. Once you get the radio apart, plugging in the board is the easy part!

    All of the parts are available from DigiKey, but they require a custom board for integration and also, the pin spacing on the FFC connectors is so tight it precludes hand soldering. So, this has to be manufactured by a board shop.

  • c_hunterc_hunter Posts: 4,487
    Any of the crew that are EEs, this is a good time to jump in and wow us with your expertise! So far, a bunch of hacker MEs have done all the work, so you can guess what that means!

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