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Subaru Legacy/Outback Engine Issues



  • I have a related question -

    I have a 1992 Legacy, this past winter (in northern MN) it was pretty rough and the battery went out, along w/ a mouse getting into my air filter. wouldn't start for a number of months (tried jumping it, tried engine block heater overnight followed by a jump, tried to jump on a warm day). finally when spring came and things have thawed, i was able to get it jumped (plus had to pump the gas a few times to get it running) and it was barely running so went to get the battery replaced. new interstate MT battery, plus new air filter and had the oil checked and changed because the light came on when driving to the shop (about 8 blocks).

    everything was fine driving in town etc, no lights or anything, until today drove about 250 miles. first time i stopped to get gas (after 100 miles) the oil light came on while i was stopping. i checked it right away, was full, checked it a second time about 15 min later, still F. started it again and the light went off

    drove another 120 miles, decided to stop for gas again, again as i stopped the light came on. checked the oil again, was still fine, started driving again.

    this time after 30 min or so the light came on and was fading in and about for about my last 10 miles or so. no bad sounds from the engine and the level seems fine, i plan on checking it in the morning when it's cold, but if it has plenty of oil should i still be concerned?
  • triniluvtriniluv Posts: 3
    hey grumpy i have a 2000 legacy outback with 71,000 on it i was wondering if u had similar problems like i have now eg. overheating rough idle hesitation. i took it to a mechanic an i have low compression in cyl #2 he is advising me 2 change the engine. any advise i will really appreciate it wanna know it what u did would help me thank,s triniluv
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Most likely head gasket.
  • geoguy09geoguy09 Posts: 1
    I just purchased a 1995 Legacy AWD with 2.2L engine & 5spd. It has 167,000 miles on it the previous owner reported always using conventional oil. I had used 10W30 synthetic on my previous car that had 279K on it when I drove it to the auto wrecker today. I would like to use synthetic on the Legacy but am not sure what weight to buy or if it is not recommended. Can offer some suggestions, as this car did not come with the owner's manual, thanks.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    With a car of that age and that many miles I would stick with 5w-30 or 10w-30 or even 10w-40 in non synthetic format since you can actually cause leaks by changing so late in the game.

  • 2003 Subaru Outback power steering keep getting tight to a point my wife cant drive it. we previously replaced hoses which was frayed on the inside. we just flushed out system again
  • awrenchawrench Posts: 2
    I have a 96 Suburu Legacy Outback. Due to age and usage 250000+ I had to replace the engine in 2005. Last year the transmission died. I had it removed and replaced. Recently, after changing my oil from regular to sythetic oil a ticking sound appeared somewhere inside and around the bell housing. I changed back to regular oil and the ticking remains. The ticking grows louder and faster only during acceleration between 2000-2500 (from stand still). It also appears when I rev the engine during idle and while the A/C is on. I checked and replaced spark-plugs, replaced spark plug wires, replaced coil pack, checked wiring, and the ticking remains. I've taken it to a local Suburu Dealership who said it may be a flywheel or torque converter? They said it would take some time and labor to reach the root cause of the ticking. My transmission is still under warranty but the auto shop warned it may not be a transmission issue. My question is whether anyone has heard of a similar sound and what to do? Also, whether I should use the warranty playing card to do exploratory surgery on my Suburu to find this recent annoying ticking sound.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Sounds like a torque converter or flywheel issue to me.

  • Ok, so, I am no gear head by any means... But I have a 2000 legacy sedan. It has been over heating as of late. I replaced the thermostat, but it is still overheating. One garage says they think its the head gasket... Here are my symptoms...

    1) when I am driving, it over heats if I am doing less than 50mph.
    2) I have periodically pulled over while over heating and sometimes the radiator fan is not running
    3) it will spike on occasion and then level off at about half way. If doing over 50.
    4)Over heats while sitting in traffic.

    It has 105,000 miles. The coolant level is good.

    I am thinking its the coolant fan inter connect, heat sensor for the radiator fan, or the water pump... any thoughts?
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    I would suspect the Fan or associated Fan sensor, or the water pump. If it were the HG you'd see coolant in the oil and/or oil in the coolant.

  • Hi

    I have a 1996 Subaru Legacy 2l with about 180k miles on it. It has been slightly undermaintained, and recently went into the shop with a leaking water hose, having had overheating and the engine mis-behaving - losing power erratically under acceleration. The shop checked for a blown head gasket and found this was not the problem, replaced the hose and did an oil change and gave it back to me with the air intake hose not re-tightened, so I quickly noticed a problem and took it back - they tightened this up and sent me on my way. I was still getting this problem with the dead spot so I took it back and they checked the computer codes (finding 23 and 32, oxygen sensor and air flow meter I think). They put a different air flow meter on it and sent me on my way again. Still not fixed, I took it back and they got an electrician to test both air flow meters - they both had problems, so one was overhauled and put in the car. Now the problem was improved, but not fixed. Which is where we are now.

    Current state is that the car runs fine, at normal temperatures. However, at operating temperature (and not while it is heating up) when you go to accelerate it has a spot between 2000 and 2500rpm where the engine stutters, if you use more than about 1/3rd throttle. As soon as you get over 2500rpm, it runs fine. It still has error codes 23 and 32.

    Anyone have any suggestions on what the problem might be? The shop is stumped, and have told me to take it back again later in the week so they can poke around a bit more... I am getting very concerned - from the start I told them if it was going to be too expensive it was close to the point where I might as well get a new car and the bills keep adding up. Each time has been more $s with the promise of "this will fix it".
  • gindamaligindamali Posts: 1
    1st the heat went; I put in a new thermostat. Temp gauge goes to High in 50 yrds,there's heat only sometimes. There is no steam coming out the tailpipe/ no water in the oil .
    Mechanic says it's the headgasket. Help
  • charliebobcharliebob Posts: 2
    Our 2003 Outback engine pings. Local dealer had car for 2 weeks and was unable to solve this problem. EGR valve replaced, knock sensor tested and found to be OK, plugs looked at, no fluids leaking, gas tank drained. Fresh gas put in tank and it still pinged. Problem really is noticeable when engine heats up now in springtime whereas it was not too noticeable during the winter with the windows rolled up. Any suggestions?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Sadly I think the mechanic is right.
  • charliebobcharliebob Posts: 2
    I neglected to mention in 1st post that the engine has 40K miles on it. I use name brand regular fuel and upon moving up to the next octane level(89), it still pings.
    Initial report of this to S.O.A. produced a case# but 2nd and 3rd follow up reports have not been answered.
  • pneugpneug Posts: 2
    I replaced the timing belt and the LH and RH camshafts were turned. I want to be sure all is in order prior to cranking. Any ideas?
  • pneugpneug Posts: 2
    I have a compression gage and noticed the # 1 and #2 cylinders are not hitting at the same time. The #2 is compressing 180 degrees out as we manualy rotated the crankshaft. The firing order is 1,3,2,4 so the #1 and #2 should be compressing at the same time, right? If this is true then how do I make it so?
  • wyomr2wyomr2 Posts: 1
    I recently purchased a 95 Legacy with the 2.2 engine and 175k miles. In the last 3-4 weeks it started making a ticking sound which has turned into more of a knocking sound. This only happens under load starting around 2500 RPM until around 4000 RPM. I took it to two different mechanics. The first thought it was just a stuck lifter and did an oil change and added some Sea Foam, which has made no difference. The next mechanic looked it over and said he though that the wrist pins are starting to go. Has anybody had similar problems with this engine. I've never really heard of anyone else having this problem?
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    1st the heat went; I put in a new thermostat. Temp gauge goes to High in 50 yrds,there's heat only sometimes. There is no steam coming out the tailpipe/ no water in the oil .
    Mechanic says it's the headgasket. Help

    Sounds like water pump actually.

    Is the radiator ice-cold when this happens?

  • bones238bones238 Posts: 2
    Car has new radiator and antifreese. I can be traveling down the roar and with in one mile the temp will shoot up to "H". Back off gas pedal and the car will cool down.

    Any ideas?

    Thanks in advance

  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Was the radiator put in recently? Is the coolant in the radiator ice cold when this happens (more importantly the upper radiator hose)? It could be an air-bubble in the top of the engine/radiator or it could be a water-pump.

  • ben5536ben5536 Posts: 3
    Hello, I have a 96 outback automatic. I need to order head gaskets and can't figure out what model engine it has. Any ideas as to where to look?.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Should be the DOHC 2.5L engine.

  • ben5536ben5536 Posts: 3
    Thank you Mike. Is it cast on the motor anywhere?
  • pilot1226pilot1226 Posts: 165
    Hey, Question regarding the timing belt used in the 2008 Legacy.

    If the timing belt were to fail, is the Boxer Engine in the 2.5i model (170 hp H4 Boxer), is the engine interference, or non-interference?

    In other words, some engines just fail with no damage to protect the engine when the belt breaks, but if it's like my Civic, a failed timing belt would mean bent pistons and rods. Which would ruin my day.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587

    The good news, though, is that the interval for timing belt changes is 105,000 miles.

    So you may not have to change it, unless you keep it longer than that.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Should have a plate that says EJXXXXXXXXXX on it.

  • dgarleppdgarlepp Posts: 4
    The car starts and runs for 15 seconds and stalls. If the car sits for a while it will start and then stall again. Do you think it's the fuel pump?
    Any help would be great.
  • famof3kidsfamof3kids Posts: 160

    I have a 2003. Bought it new. I think this knock you describe is inherient to the engine. Mine sounds like a diesel in the winter when cold. Once the engine warms, it goes away.
    Now, after its warm, if I run 87 octane in it, the valves ping when the auto tranny is lugging the engine. If I run 91 or 93 octane, I don't get the valve ping.
    I've got 60k on mine now, so, its probably ok.
    Only had to have the headgasket repaired at 40k due to leak. Otherwise, no warranty work.

    2003 Subaru Legacy L (spec edt)
  • My 1997 Outback has 122,000 miles and has run pretty good, but in the last six months, it has serious hesitation problems when starting off from a dead stop. At times, you wonder if it will make it. (It acts like the old carburetor engines that load up with gasoline...then take off as if nothing had happened.) Once you get going, the car runs pretty good, but taking off is a hazard.
    I took it to my mechanic and he said that not only was the harmonic balancer loose on the crankshaft and that may be contributing to the problem, BUT, that the car could not maintain a consistent vacuum...therefore, the info going into the computer was not good and it would probably require a valve job.
    I was surprised with this diagnosis, but its the only one I've got. Is there anything else I can check? Is this expected with only this many miles on this model?
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