Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Did you get a great deal? Let us know in the Values & Prices Paid section!
Meet your fellow owners in our Owners Clubs

Subaru Legacy/Outback Transmission Problems

caliberchiccaliberchic Posts: 402
Having transmission problems, post here?


  • vpekulasvpekulas Posts: 14
    Hi all,

    I have a very annoying problem with my 2001 H6 Outback. A few weeks ago the battery light and the exclamation point light came up on my dashboard and a few minutes later the car died - no power.

    I've waited an hour or so, started the car and drove to a garage. They took apart the alternator changed some chip on it and said all fixed.

    Three weeks later the same things happens. I take it back, they changed the battery for a brand new one and said all fixed.

    Now a week later the same thing again. I paid over $500 and was without a car for almost a week in total, just to have the same problem a month later. The guys who specialize in auto electro told me that they can't find anything wong with the car - everything has been checked.

    Any idea what I might be dealing with here and what's a good (any) way to find the cause ?
  • kenskens Posts: 5,869
    Have you had the 01 OB H6 all this time without this happening? It certainly sounds strange and I wonder if there's something simple, like a dome light left on or something that is causing the discharge.

    Also, what did the $500 cover? Most shops will warranty their work for 1 year so you shouldn't have to pay for the same problem in one month. Going out on a limb here, but are you sure they put in a new battery? Have you until this point been on the orignal battery?

  • vpekulasvpekulas Posts: 14
    The car was fine for the last 10,000 KM's that I have had it. This problem appeared out of nowhere. There were no lights left on at all - the strange thing is that it looks like the alternator isn't chairing up the battery all the time but only sometimes. The problem presents itself only after driving a bit, never right away after starting.

    The shop changed the chip in the alternator and put in a new battery (yes, brand new). I won't pay them again, the problem is that they will come back saying that the car is fine since the lights (and the battery dies) at random. I can be driving with everything on for 3 days with no problems and then I come back a day later be driving 20 minutes just for the battery to die.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Sounds like an intermittent problem, that's why they cannot duplicate it and troubleshoot it. This may be tough to fix. They have to see it while the problem is still occuring.

    If you have AAA, see if next time you can get it towed to the shop while the problem still exists, so they can see it.

    I work in tech support for PCs, and I'd swear all computers work perfectly the minute I get my hands on them. ;)

  • rpkoz1rpkoz1 Posts: 3
    I have a 1996 legacy wagon , it has been in storage for about 9 months . about once a month we would run the engine, this past weekend it would not even turnover ..When i connected the battery charger, the front right parking lamp ,the dome light and the right tail light started to flash ... Everything in the car was turned off.... Any thoughts to what it might be??
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    My Forester does that when I disconnect the battery and reconnect it. I cycle the keyless locks on and off a few times and it stops. Do you have a keyfob like that? If not try the power door locks.

  • rpkoz1rpkoz1 Posts: 3
    Thank you , That worked perfectly ....

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Schweet! Score one for the forums. :)

  • sandman52sandman52 Posts: 36
    My daughter called today and said her '95 Outback started stalling a couple months ago when she would have the clutch in while making a turn, or coming to a stop. Recently though she says it has started hesitating when she is accelerating, and sometimes she has a problem getting it up to speed when entering the freeway, which is making her a bit nervous about getting stranded especially with her 4 month old in the back seat. Also having an intermittent check engine light. She had it in to a local shop and they did a computer check that said she had an "airflow error" in the computer history, but that it was checking out OK now. They replaced her fuel and air filters along with a new air conditioner compressor since that wasn't working for the tune of $800 and she's running low on repair money. Any ideas on what we can check before she ends up bankrupt trying to diagnose the problem?
    Thanks in advance for any tips you can provide!
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 13,084
    I am surprised that the ECU recorded any code, but my bet is on the mass airflow sensor in relation to the stalling. I think that, new, the part is somewhere to the tune of $400, but you can find them used for less than half that. The hesitation might just be fuel injectors needing some assistance. Have her run a few bottles of injector cleaner through the fuel and see if it helps that part. It might take a few though, so run them on back-to-back tanks (one bottle per fill up).

    I replaced my MAS in response to a "ghost" stalling problem that would trip the CEL but record no code. After wasting several hundred dollars in fruitless diagnostics, a local indpendent Subaru mechanic suggested I try the MAS. I did - purchased a used one as my repair money was all but gone - and have had no problems with the stalling every since (5 years now).

    Best of luck to your daughter. -Wes-
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • Thanks Wes.
    I'll see if I can find a used MAFS for her, and see if that does the trick.

    Thanks again!
  • 2001 Outback H6 3.0, 205,000 KM's (=128K Mi)

    As it seems over the last few weeks I've been noticing that the car is getting lazier more and more when it comes to acceleration. Looks to me that the 1st and 2nd gear is not producing quite as good as it used to. In reality it really only kick in on the 3rd gear. What can be the possible causes ? Should I check the s.plugs (I don't think they have been ever changed).
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Tune-up time.

    I'd change the plugs, yes, but also the spark plug wires. The miles are very high, so if you haven't already I'd flush out the fluids (radiator, ATF or gear oil, rear diff oil, etc.).

  • Spark plug wires ? Never heard of that, is that recommended by the manufacturer and does it really need it ? I've done the flush about a month ago of everything but the rear diff which was still good from the last time.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I would definitely do the spark plug wires if they are original. On my Miata I only get 30k out of them.

    On my Subie, a chipmunk, of all things, chewed up my wires to I changed those a short while ago.

    Mine was misfiring, so I actually got a Check-Engine Light, but the tune-up fixed it.

  • OK I'm convinced :)
    Is there a guide available somewhere on the net that shows how to get to all 6 s. plugs and change the wires ? I'd like to do this one myself. Thanks.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Hmm, I don't think so.

    The wires are easy. Just replace one at a time, right after you remove the old one. There are 6 and I believe there will be different lengths, 2 short, 2 medium, and 2 long. One of each length for each side.

    Use the same path as the stock wires.

    Haven't done plugs on an H6, but it shouldn't be much different than any other boxer. Access may be a bit tight.

  • I had a similar problem: both brake (exclamation point) and battery lights went on, no power steering. Cause: the idler pulley had fell off so there was no tension in the serpentine belt. The ball bearings froze in the center of the pulley causing it to stop and the bolt just fell off dragging the pulley with it. Cost of repair: 10$ for a new ball bearing reinstalled in the pulley.
  • tjhmtjhm Posts: 1
    I have a 1996 Legacy Station wagon 2.5 4 cam
    I loved the car until 2 weeks ago
    Check engine light is intermittently flickering on and the car is stuttering.
    I can do 100 miles fine and then suddenly it all comes back.
    The dealer has replaced exhaust, oxygen sensor, fuel filter and run a diagnostic.
    Initial diagnostic showed oxygen sensor problem (replaced) and airflow sensor (not yet replaced)
    Furthur diagnostics have revealed nothing - I think that the dealers think I'm mad! The car runs fine for them (on their limited test drives)
    I am tearing my hair out!!! Please help
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I would get new spark plug wires (I'm sure they're due by now), new spark plugs, and if all those don't help, a new ignition coil (only about $80 or so).

    Power is stuttering so it's probably spark.

  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 13,084
    I agree that it is likely spark, but since the spark is electronically controlled it could be more than just the mechanicals themselves. Since your ECU coded an airflow sensor issue, you might consider replacement of it. The part is expensive, but extremely simple to replace. I had the problems noted above with the MAS (likely) and never was a code recorded, though the CEL did illuminate. So, at this point it is hard to say, but I concur with juice that it is likely either spark or something that controls the timing of it.

    Interesting that you say the CEL is "flickering" on. I have never observed that behavior and was not aware it was able to simply "flicker." I wonder if that is indicative of something in and of itself? How many tanks of fuel have you run through the car in the past two weeks? Perhaps there is/was a little water in the tank. A bottle of Heet would eliminate that possibility.
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • The same thing happened to me in July 2006. I was on the freeway and in slow moving traffic and my car died. I was able to get it to turn over and stay on long enough to get it to the shoulder while I waited for a tow truck. The Subaru dealership I took it to didn't find anything wrong with it after 2 days of testing. When I heard a similar noise in late August (a high pitched buzz - I heard it prior to the July breakdown), I drove it into another dealership and they ended up replacing the main electrical relay. I still don't have any confidence in my car, which is sad, since I bought a Subaru with the hopes of having it for years (and hundreds of thousands of miles). Now, I am thinking of trading it in for anything but another Subaru. :(
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Why? That's a very rare problem, what are the odds that it would happen again? And changing brands doesn't necessarily improve those odds. For MY2004 Subaru was Consumer Reports single most reliable brand, so switching to anything else might actually make your odds worse! :surprise:

  • That's so funny you should write that (re: changing brands doesn't necessarily improve the odds). I have been thinking about purchasing a 2004 or 2005 Chrysler Pacifica and in reading the boards have discovered that it has an electrical problem similar to the one I have experienced with my Subaru. Let's just say that I am going to be in research mode for a while before I make any rash decisions. :)
  • So the same thing just happened to my wife's '01 VDC. Where did you get the bearing???? :confuse: :(
  • Called the local Sube dealers. They had no clue. $50 for the idler. Only one in stock at one of the largest Sube dealers in the country, Dellenbach, Ft. Collins, CO.

    Fortunately, last night I ran across a posting in a Mazda forum. They use the same NSK 6203DUL1 bearing for the idler pulley in the Mazda 6. So I called the local Mazda dealer, Spradley-Barr, Ft. Collins also. They knew immediately what I was talking about and said they get the bearing from Carquest Auto Parts and the number is 203SS. I called Carquest, 4 in stock, and have a better bearing that is the 203FF which is sealed both sides with steel. ~$10.50 ea.

    BTW, they're easy to press out and in with a 6-inch vise and a set of impact sockets as the spacers. Loctite the bolts on re-installation. Now how to get the belt back on... :cry:

    Hope this helps someone!
  • terry92270terry92270 Posts: 1,247
    "Now how to get the belt back on... :cry: "

    In cartoons, that's when the lightening bolts are coming out of the guys head! :P
  • While tightening down the bolt on one of the idlers, I realized that it was the tensioner. So just a 14mm wrench on the idler bolt to move the tensioner arm to where it is not tensioning the belt. Viola!
  • All cars from '96 on will flicker the MIL when there is a misfire. The misfire could be from the ignition or the injectors though. I came over to this forum because I just picked up a '96 Outback with 134000 miles on it. I can't believe how good this thing runs, I work on Fords & most won't go that far! What kind of fuel mileage can I expect from this car, 2.5 dohc and auto trans?
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 13,084
    When I picked mine up 8/2000 with 83.5K, it averaged ~27. Now, at 220K, it is at more like ~22.5. However, in the past 3 weeks I have had the dreaded P0400 (EGR system) code, so I plan to run it through the paces come spring and will probably address old oxygen sensors, so it might kick up a few mpgs. At 130xxx I probably got an average of 25-26 out of it.

    Be wary of head gaskets and oil leaks from the camshaft seals and/or valve cover gaskets. Otherwise, quite a decent car.
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
Sign In or Register to comment.