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Subaru Legacy/Outback 2005+



  • flyinlowflyinlow Posts: 62
    My wife's 2.5i LTD wagon is 3 weeks old and I've only driven it a few times, but I think the brakes feel OK. Some vehicles, notably every GM truck I've ever driven and many of their cars, have a lot of slack (feels like 3") before you get any whoa. And all cars will develop more slack as the pads wear down, but that just makes them feel really great after you replace the pads. Try it on your Honda and see. If the Sube really feels too soft with the engine running, ask your dealer to check it. The brakes may not have been bled properly at the factory or there could be a leak.
  • flyinlowflyinlow Posts: 62
    The C/D car had the OPTIONAL short-throw shifter so they did everyone (except those who bought it) a favor by pointing out that you're probably better off without it. If I'd bought it and was unhappy I'd ask Subaru to refund the $700 and put the standard shifter in.

    Because of C/D I'll know to watch the wheel bearings carefully when the warranty period is about over. They also did us a favor by pointing out that both headlights were replaced under warranty at 29,000 miles! It wouldn't have occurred to me to ask. I have silently cursed Nissan every time I've changed those dang bulbs, at least five or six of them over the past five years. Yes, I know you can't touch them or get them dirty and have been scrupulous about it. The mounting system in my Maxima is really lame, so I think the bulbs are vibrating themselves to death or maybe even getting wet.

    I'm willing to cut Subaru some slack on the clutch, because you know it gets a lot more "exercise" than normal when the magazine is doing all its performance testing. An AWD car puts a lot more stress on its clutch than 2wd, since there's little or no wheelspin. Notice that they didn't wear out the tires? ;)
  • garandmangarandman Posts: 524
    Car & Driver published a long term test of the Legacy GT. The car was reported to be quite problematic as well as having aspects of poor design, some specific items being the usual Subaru weak points:

    - Wheel bearings
    - Rough idle
    - Weak clutch
    - Notchy shifter
    - Climate control
    - Seat comfort

    Why can't Subaru, after all these years and complaints, fix what seem to be very simple shortcomings?

    Which model do you own?

    What is very clear is that C&D beat the h#ll out of this car, as their apologetic introduction notes. And their concluding statement is "...the powerful and practical Legacy will not soon be forgotten."

    You can search forums like and others to see that wheel bearings seldom fail under 100,000 miles - pretty much like any other car, as the wheel bearings are pretty standard parts. Driving it like you stole it probably doesn't help, don't you think?

    Rough idle was due to a faulty fuel injector, misdiagnosed by the dealer although it ocurred before introduction of diesel fuel into the fuel tank!

    Weak clutch comes from trying to put 200+ whp through an AWD system that doesn't allow wheelspin. The loads are astronomical. Very few owners on not problems with transmissions - even those drag racing. Who needs a new flywheel after 40K miles? The 20 somethings who get to drive free cars at C&D.

    Seat comfort is very individual. I like mine. A telescopic steering wheel would be a plus.

    Notchy shifter after installing a short throw kit is a "duh."

    That the Legacy falls short of the inevitable comparison with something with a blue and white prop logo is unsurprising. Even though on most road courses the Subaru would distance itself from almost any 3-series.

    C&D should learn quickly that with the growth of internet forums, the automotive press is irrelevent. Why listen to 20 something interns writing about a car when you can read what real owners think?
  • robr2robr2 BostonPosts: 8,862
    What is very clear is that C&D beat the h#ll out of this car, as their apologetic introduction notes.

    But they do that to every car in their fleet so you can't blame that for what they perceive as shortcomings.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Their experience isn't typical, usually an owner will see 1 maybe 2 of those, not all. Strange.

  • samiam_68samiam_68 Posts: 775
    I own a Forester XT. I'd have to agree with every item with the exception of wheel bearings - I haven't had any problems with those yet (at 35K miles).

    - Rough idle - I get that periodically, sometimes it goes away.
    - Weak clutch - you bet! Every time I have to slip it a little, the thing burns like a three alarm fire.
    - Notchy shifter - wasn't bad initially, got worse after the 30K service.
    - Climate control - the design is pure stupidity on Subaru's part.
    - Seat comfort - a pain in the a$$ after long drives. Plus the seat belts are horrendous.

    Subaru should listen to customer's complaints and implement simple fixes. Just my $0.02.
  • rob_mrob_m Somewhere North of BostonPosts: 813
    My 2005 Legacy GT Limited sedan is now 13 months old and has 25k on the odometer.

    The only problems to date include a burnt out headlamp at 18k, and the poorly designed Automatic Climate Control. I did find that the ACC worked flawlessly all winter long. Once I set the temp on AUTO, it seemed to maintain a constant temperature.

    However, starting my second summer with the A/C is another story. This unit certainly has a mind of it's own. It doesn't cool down the car too quickly. Over 90 degrees, and you need to run it full blast for a very long time. AUTO mode switches the vents around, and occasionally starts to dump hot air into the car. A 2 degree change in the temp setting will either leave you freezing or baking.

    As for the long term, I expect the same as my other Subarus - 100k+ with minimal problems. Rob M.
  • gearhead4gearhead4 Posts: 122
    I think C&D report is the most credible of any auto magazine. You have to expect the C&D staff to push a 250 HP sport sedan a lot harder that other vehicles, and you know a sane owner who has to work for a living and pay all the bills would treat the car more carefully.
    My 05 Legacy (without the short throw kit) had a rubbery shifter that often times stymied my attempts for a quick shift.
    I had no clutch problems - in fact the clutch action was better that any other MT car I owned (Nissan, Mitsubishi, Honda, Dodge).
    My Legacy never idled roughly, but I am very particular about where I buy my gas (I prefer Shell, because all grades get a good detergent additive package).
    My 05 Legacy seats are okay, much better than the 03 Legacy wagon it replaced. I would think the power adjustments and adjustable lubar support would allow most drivers a comfortable position.
    Many people complain about the Subaru auto climate control. I find ALL autoclimate controls annoying. Give me an AC compressor off/on button and manual temperature control any day. I also dislike window defog controls settings that automatically activate the AC compressor and blow ice cold air on my face. (I have been tempted to unplug the AC compressor clutch in the winter!)Yes, I KNOW that the dehumidified air will defog the window faster, but let ME control it!!!
  • zman3zman3 Posts: 857
    C&D should learn quickly that with the growth of internet forums, the automotive press is irrelevent. Why listen to 20 something interns writing about a car when you can read what real owners think?

    You don't read C&D, do you? I would hardly call their staff 20 something interns. I think it is one of the better auto mags out there.
  • locke2clocke2c Posts: 5,038
    This one is absolutely a failing in Subaru. The clutch is weak because it has to be to protect an ancient 5 speed gearbox whose case, and thus engineering limits, was designed in 80s when Subaru's most powerful offering was a turbo pushrod 8 valve 1.8L making 110 horsepower.

    Regardless of upgrades inside the case, you can't overcome small gears and a weak transmission. Hence you make the clutch nice and soft so that it takes the hit, and hopefully prevents or at least delays gearbox problems.

    Guess what? The STi has absolutely no problems with its 6 speed transmission, which weighs almost 100 pounds more than the 5 speed and is much larger. Now-- you do have a point about AWD providing huge amounts of traction, something that your typical 2WD vehicle doesn't have to worry about. But with the six speed, something else always breaks before the clutch or gearbox gives out. It's often an axle.

  • Yes, your experience parallels mine. I was about ready to give up when I finally found the connector. I cannot imagine why Subaru wants to make this so difficult to find. You have a Legacy, right? I'm glad this is working out for you. The JCWhitney should be plug-n-play. Just make sure that there is a fuse installed (in the engine compartment fuse box) for the 12VDC supply. If you need I'll look up and supply the fuse location number.
  • How did you attach the picture to your message? I need to learn this.
  • My experience, 2005 OBXT, 25K miles:

    2. rough idle, sometimes. Don't know what causes it.
    3. weak cluth, yes I thing this thing smokes and stinks way too often. I expect to have to replace it in the future.
    5. auto climate control, sucks(blows) big time. Worst feature is that it blows hot air in vent-only mode. Wish I had a plain manual system.
    7. low beams burning out.
  • kmcleankmclean Posts: 173
    In the FWIW department, I'd always found the (leather, power) seat in my OB to get uncomfortable on long trips (more than 100 miles or so). After a lot of playing around with the adjusters, I found that reclining the seat "one notch" back from my around-town position and moving it back far enough (2-3 inches from normal?) so that I could stretch out my right leg (with toes under the pedals) pretty much solved the problem (typically while in cruise control mode). I haven't had to do this with other vehicles, but what the heck - it worked. I'm six feet and 185 - slightly long-waisted.

    Ken in Seattle
  • flyinlowflyinlow Posts: 62
    I'm pretty new to the forum and a little dense, I guess, but what is the Subaru Crew and why do the forums seem to be separate? :confuse:
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,925
    Eh, that crew. They're just a bunch of would-be know-it-all elitists who hang around day in and day out tossing out marginal advice to hapless victims that cross through. :P

    No.... They are a great bunch of Subaru owners (or ex-owners) who enjoy sharing their experiences and knowledge! Intuitively, that seems like an okay explanation, but good question! What does it take to be a "member" of the crew?
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • rkrurkru Posts: 16
    I had the same experience on a recent trip & I'm a similar build. Seats were much more comfortable once I moved it back & gave myself more leg room. I tend to like to sit higher & closer when driving in the city.
  • rkrurkru Posts: 16
    I've just completed a 2 week trip & put 4k miles on my 2005 Outback R3.0. Nothing like a good long trip to get to know your car. The 6 is really a smooth engine & likes to cruise in the mid 80's with quiet reasonable gas milage (almost 1/2 of what I get in the city). Exceeded the ton mark a couple of times without really noticing I was going that fast. So I used the cruise control to set semi legal speeds.

    When set at speeds under 70 mph the system doesn't really control the down hill speed very well often exceeding the set speed by almost 10 percent: this of course would put me well over the speed limit! Has anyone else noticed this? It also seemed to be more prone to this on 2 lane roads versus the interstate. The flip side of course is going up a hill where it wouldn't be able to hold the speed and needed to drop down a gear. When it did that, it would start accelerating and again exceed the set speed limit often by 10% before it backed off.
  • jorgeorgejorgeorge Posts: 22
    Ladies and Gentlemen, may I direct you to a thread that I started regarding my 4 month test/ownership of a 05 Legacy GT Wagon, affectionately known as 'Lemon Legacy':

    jorgeorge, "Lemon Legacy GT Wagon !?" #1, 30 Jun 2006 5:50 pm

    As of July 15th, it will be 4 months that I have had approximately 80 % ownership of this car. That is, for going over more than twenty (20+) something days now the car has been in for service problems, 3 times for the same issue and once for over 2 weeks to get part and fix.
    Please note, the car was purchased NEW!
    Am not happy about this experience and have sent my 'certified return 'lemon' letter.
    I traded in a 98 OB that really had no major problems for a new Legacy GT Wagon that has spent more time driving back and forth to the dealer than any roadtrip.
    I hope this is not indicative of the GT's in general.
    Even now I am still driving a loaner for over a week.... oh yay.
  • garandmangarandman Posts: 524
    You don't read C&D, do you? I would hardly call their staff 20 something interns. I think it is one of the better auto mags out there.

    I currently subscribe to C&D and Road & Track, and have off and on since the 70's.

    So, which noteworthy editor do you think put diesel fuel in the fuel tank?

    Here's a quote from the article, page 101.

    "...Think of it as your house, with a couple dozen teenagers anxious to get the keys for the weekend and you get the idea, although that comparison may be too kind....."

    Dave VanderWerp, the author of the article, is a 2001 graduate of UMich. I stand corrected, he's not a 20-something intern, he's a 20-something Technical Editor.
  • I am having the same creeks from the trim pieces on each side of the center console and from both ac vents closest to the driver and passenger doors. Could you advise me on how to remove the center trim pieces and on how to remove the vents if possible. I have a 2006 Legacy 2.5I


  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Join us here:

    ateixeira, "Subaru Crew - Meet The Members II" #27181, 10 Jul 2006 9:04 am

    We don't bite, promise.

    Basically the Subaru community tends to have a lot in common, as do Subaru's models. We found many Daves, Mac owners, pet lovers, basically we had a lot in common, more than you might think.

    So we created a community and it's been active ever since. Anything goes, the latest topic is water skiing.

    We try to meet up for auto shows and often manage to get free passes for the group (Philly Auto Show especially, since SoA HQ is there). Edmunds has tossed in some freebies like T-shirts that Mod_Bob brought last time, stuff like that.

    Hop on over.

  • luck11luck11 Posts: 425
    05 OB XT LTD.

    On a short road trip a few days ago, we stopped to get some gas. About 3 min after getting back on the highway, I notice that there are no lights coming from the radio or climate control. No response from buttons...dead. BUT, I notice that the A/C is on, still working at the low fan speed setting which I had set it to prior to stopping for gas. Thought it might be a fuse, but the radio is on the same fuse as the clock. The clock was working fine. Get home, park the car in the garage and turn off the ignition. Immediately turn it back on and all is OK. No problems since. What is up with that? Has anyone else experienced this strange event?
  • rob_mrob_m Somewhere North of BostonPosts: 813
    There have been reports of this happening to quite a few Legacys on another forum. It seems to happen just once and never again. Rob M.
  • mocatmocat Posts: 2
    I've got the click on my 05 LLBean. Started at about 16K miles. Dealer says it's "normal", aka they don't want to fix it. Also said it's the solenoid resetting to 1st gear. Doesn't affect the shifting at all, just annoying. Any others have this, and did you get it fixed?
  • zman3zman3 Posts: 857
    I wonder if this might be the same click I hear each morning when I put the car in reverse???? I have never noticed it any other time. Does yours do it when the car downshifts into first?

    I was just going to post a question regarding this.

  • smillersmiller Posts: 32
    I was very concerned about the shifter click (clicks every time the car is coming to a stop, and I sometimes hear it when I sit down on the drivers side)until I drove a loaner 05 Outback and it clicked too. I don't like it at all, I think it is a design flaw or maybe it has something to do with the sport shift. I hate driving the car in auto mode because sometimes it can't go fast enough to get up to speed on the highway when merging into traffic. I do not like my 2005
    Outback 2.5i. My 1999 model was much better. I did not have the click repaired. The dealers service dept. needs more training or better technicians. I am getting rid of the car soon.
  • kenskens Posts: 5,869
    I believe the click you're hearing is the shift interlock engaging as you come to a stop. There's a small plastic tab that prevents you from accidentaly shifting past neutral while the vehicle is in motion. You'll hear it engage/disenage as the car comes to a stop and starts moving again.

    I have it on my 05LGT wagon. I noticed it intially, had the dealer look at it and they even showed me the interlock mechanism with the center console cover off. They applied some lube on the part and it slightly muted it, but I don't even hear it now as I've grown used to it. You may be able to put in a piece of dense foam to help deaden the sound.

    The click going into reverse -- does that happen when the tranny is cold (ie. first thing in the morning?). It's probably a solenoid in the transmission firing to help circulate the fluid.

  • garandmangarandman Posts: 524
    The dealers service dept. needs more training or better technicians. I am getting rid of the car soon.

    Who is your dealer? They really do need training - you have a 4 speed, not 5.

    My 5EAT does not click other than shifting out of park.
  • skykingskyking Posts: 4
    My 06 Legacy GT automatic with 12,000 miles developed a shudder when shifting from second to third. Subaru is replacing the Tranny but the dealer says it will need the car for 8 - 10 days. Anyone else have problems with the 5 speed automatic. Wife drives car to work (40 highway miles each way).
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