Subaru Legacy: Typical high-mileage repairs?

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Comments

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Ah, okay. I haven't had good luck with KYBs myself on a Porsche. Thought I could save money but they didn't hold up all that well.

    I don't think a strut by itself can provide both a smoother ride and firmer cornering. To get these two in combination requires some sophisticated suspension work and I don't believe just a set of struts are capable of delivering this combination of ride characteristics. Stiffer struts will cut down "wallowing" and brake dive but also make the ride harsher. As for cornering, you might cut down body roll a bit but really sway bars/bushings are what you want here.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    I agree with shifty. The springs are what absorb impacts and determine the amount of lean in turns (along with sway bars). The struts control the springs so you don't bounce up and down, i.e. the wallowing he's mentioned.

    So you can get better control.

    -juice
  • aquanomicsaquanomics Member Posts: 7
    My '95 Legacy L - 122,800 miles - had the exact same problem last year.

    It was not starter motor brushes, but starter contacts: little copper thingies I could have easily replaced had I known what was what.
  • suzysubarusuzysubaru Member Posts: 3
  • suzysubarusuzysubaru Member Posts: 3
    70K - over last 2 1/2 yrs. it won't start - not a sound anywhere. If I wait 15 or 20 minutes, then it starts. Have replaced neutral switch and now the starter. Wouldnt start today again after driving in town for maybe 45 minutes. Came out after an hour's meeting - it wouldn't start. Waited ten min. no change. Waited one hour, then it started! Anyone have any suggestions? I am at wits end.

    I've replaced struts, stabilizers (due to pot holes), full brakes, speedometer cables. Check engine light is on more than off. Tachometer came back on when speedometer was out. I need that tach! Fuel gauge doesn't work. $2300 this year already and $1200 last year.

    I think maybe the odometer was rolled back on this car. Bought in '94 with 43,000 miles.

    I still love my Subaru and pray for its return to reliable! I am unemployed so I can't even think of trading up!
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    You got me. I would have said starter, but you usually hear a clicking, and you've already replaced that. Could it be a brake interlock short circuit or something?

    -juice
  • nygregnygreg Member Posts: 1,936
    Tough problem. It seems that it might be heat related. After you drive, it takes an hour or two to cool down before you can use the starter again. Since you "hear nothing" it has to be with the starter system (not the fuel injectors, plugs, etc). So what is heat/time related in your starter circuit. The only thing I can think of is your battery. You drive and your alternator is charging your battery.....and heating it up. Perhaps there is a short internally that only shows up under certain conditions. I am really, really guessing here though. If you try jumping the car, will it jump start?? That might give you some insight.

    Good luck,
    Greg
  • nygregnygreg Member Posts: 1,936
    Try checking your ground wire to the engine block. Perhaps it is loose.

    Greg
  • swimgalswimgal Member Posts: 11
    The starter crapped out on my 90 legacy sedan at 155K miles. Mine had the same symptom: turn the key and only click. At first, a second turn of the key usually worked. Called my mechanic (a true Legacy guru) and he said that the starter was getting ready to go...make time to visit in the next few weeks. Well I blew it off a little too long and one morning the second and third and subsequent turns of the key didn't work... Another call to my mechanic and he said to do the tap the starter with a hammer trick and come on in. I actually had to wail on the starter, but then it started. The new starter works great. My point is: Yeah, the hammer thing works for a while, but if you plan to hang on to the car, you might consider a new starter when it is convenient to you...Cost me a couple hundred bucks, labor included.
  • runpitorunpito Member Posts: 1
    Does anyone know what part might be the culprit for the following problem I have been having with my 1993 Subaru Legacy. The passenger side auto seatbelt does not go open when the door is opened. It will go closed but will not go open.
    I think it might be the right front limit switch. Where exactly is this switch, if in fact it is causing the problem. Thanks
  • originalbitmanoriginalbitman Member Posts: 920
    Saw a post regarding seatbelt failer elsewhere on this board and suposedly SOA covers the cost of parts for repair. Honda and others cover parts and labor for life.

    bit
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    My Escort had motorized mice that would act up like that. Some times it would only open if you used the outside door handle. So getting out required lowering the window and opening the door from the outside!

    -juice

    PS Ford covered nothing. It was beyond the 3/36 warranty so I was SOL.
  • bluedevilsbluedevils Member Posts: 2,554
    Hi Subie enthusiasts. My brother wants to buy a Subaru Legacy wagon. Our family greatly respects Subarus-- parents have 95 LS sedan, 125k, no significant problems. I've like the Outback from day one. I'm doing the research on a particular car for my brother since he lives 2 hours away. What should I look out for, or what should I have a mechanic look for? Anybody have any recommended mechanics for Subarus or other Japanese makes in the Detroit area?

    Local dealer has a 97 GT Wgn, 75k miles, cloth, CD, cass, moon, good but not great shape, asking $11,900 but came down to $10,500 even though I wasn't negotiating. This seems like a pretty decent price, but it really depends on how much work may be needed on this unit and how much maintenance has been done up to this point. The latter is hard to tell b/c original owner is from Illinois and I presume dealer in Detroit bought vehicle at auction.

    Only problem I noticed is something the salesman pointed out to me first: something funny with the steering. Car seems to pull right - noticeable, but not a ton. Steering wheel seemed a little floaty/loose - I'm not sure how much 'play' is typical in these vehicles. I've driven my parents' 95 LS sedan several times, but not often enough for a good comparison. He thinks it's the tires (Mich Pilot 205-55-16), which are almost out of useful life, and said their service dept. would take a look at it once I showed enough interest in buying the car.

    Sorry I didn't search the boards first, but I don't have time-- my brother needs to buy something this week. Any help is greatly appreciated. My brother is anxious to get a Subaru wagon. Looking around for him has made me want one too!
  • mrdetailermrdetailer Member Posts: 1,118
    Check the car out with a mechanic who knows Subaru's steering. It could be as simple as an alignment, but I doubt it because an alighment wouldn't cause play in the wheel, could be control arm, or ball joint. Only a professional can tell. Don't trust a salesman, they are there to sell cars, not provide unbiased technical information.
  • bluedevilsbluedevils Member Posts: 2,554
    but I don't know of a Subaru-knowledgeable mechanic within a 50-mile radius of where I live.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    Try any shop that specializes in imports.

    -juice
  • howdohowdo Member Posts: 1
    I own a '92 AWD Legacy Wagon with around 125k on it.
    For the past few years it has had a nasty, intermittent pinging problem that is only partially cured by premium fuel. Worse in hot weather. New O2 Sensor did not help. Subaru dealer says "what problem?". Recent check by competant mechanic found a dirty connector to fuel pressure sensor and he adjusted fuel pressure up a bit, but this did not help.
    >>Anyone else have severe pinging that you were able to cure? What was the "fix"?
  • reedt4811reedt4811 Member Posts: 1
    I HAVE A 96'LEGACY-GT APPROX. 69K AND MY CHECK ENGINE LIGHT CAME ON AFTER I LEFT IT RUNNING FOR 1HOUR PLUS IN 95 DEGREE HEAT. THIS IS AFTER THE CAR REFUSED TO RE START. HAD TO GET A JUMP.. IT SEEMS TO RUN BETTER NOW THAN PRIOR TO INCIDENT. MORE POWER- MILEAGE HAS SUFFERED. A COMPUTER CHECK SAYS THAT THE ANTI KNOCK SENSOR NEEDS TO BE REPLACED. SERVICE PERSON QUOTED $200.00 SEEMS HIGH TO ME SO CONTACTED MY LOCAL DEALER HE SAID 150.00-175.00. IS THIS PART SUPPOSED TO FAIL AND /OR IS THERE A RECALL ON THIS ITEM>

    THANKS
    REEDT
  • cptpltcptplt Member Posts: 1,075
    all sensors fail eventually! 69K would not be unreasonable for a sensor of some sort to go out of whack.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    howdo: you may have carbon deposits built up in a cylinder, which effectively increase your compression ratio and can cause pinging.

    I'd try a bottle of Techron and then run the engine up to redline at least a couple of times to see if that cleans it out.

    REEDT: try subarparts.com for a wholesale price on that part. Or, check out a local junk yard to see if they have any Subies like yours.

    -juice
  • firstsubaru1firstsubaru1 Member Posts: 1
    I just purchased a 1998 Legacy GT LTD sedan and it has developed a noise in the valve train when it is cold. After the engine warms up it disappears. I talked to mechanic at local dealership and he said that in the 1998 2.5 motors they used solid lifters and they all have that problem. For this reason in 1999 they used hydraulic lifters. I drove this car to dealership but it is virtually impossible to hear noise once it warms up. The mechanic there said he could hear the noise and it was definitely in the valve train. He said to go ahead and drive it as it wouldn't hurt the engine. Has anyone else had this problem?? The car has 39000 miles on it and if there is a problem i would like to get it fixed while it is still under factory warranty for the engine.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    Yes, I have this problem in my Miata. I get what I call "valve clatter" until the engine warms up, or at least until normal oil pressure is established.

    I've had it for about a year and it hasn't had any other effect besides the noise. You may want to consider thinner oil unless you're in a very hot climate.

    -juice
  • mrdetailermrdetailer Member Posts: 1,118
    Consider a synthetic, they have much better flow characteristics, and perform better in the cold.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Yes, a synthetic oil might help in this case, but I wouldn't worry about it as long as it keeps going away when the engine warms up.

    I think at 169K an engine is pretty much a dead duck....oh, sure, you see engines that go further, but the last 1/4 of its life isn't necessarily the best (kind of like us!).

    If I bought a car with 169K on it, I would seek a severe discount off book price. Basically, an engine like that could give up the ghost at any time. That's a lot of miles.
  • cptpltcptplt Member Posts: 1,075
    got the same problem in the cold, got 59K on my car now and running strong still
  • tropicalaurstropicalaurs Member Posts: 5
    Bought a 98 Outback new. I complained about the "knock" on cold startup.

    Subaru head mechanic told me Subaru put NON-hydraulic lifters and the noise is normal. I live in Florida so it's not that the oil is really cold and thick when the car starts. Noise goes away as engine warms.

    approaching 60K with no problems. Still knocking.
  • deenydeeny Member Posts: 1
    95 Legacy Wagon LSI
    Is anyone having a problem with their fuel gauges sticking at 3/4 when it's full? My local dealer said it is quite common in Subaru's. They want to charge me 600.00 to fix 2 semi units. The service man seemed to know exactly what I was talking about. Does anyone know if there is a recall on this? I shouldn't have to pay for that if it's a common problem. HELP!!
  • ssnaakeessnaakee Member Posts: 4
    Am in the market for a new car. Honda crv, Toyota rav4 and Subie Legacy are contenders. Reading this forum one wonders about the problems subies have had in the past, is this true for newer models, say post outback introduction?
    Any comments regarding owner loyalty and repurchase of subies? Comments concerning subies vs. hondas etc? much thanks. email me if you want [email protected]
  • ssnaakeessnaakee Member Posts: 4
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    Prior to the Outback intro, Subaru sales were at their low point. They are far better now, as are their cars, IMO.

    There are a lot of repeat buyers, but I'd ask in the Subaru Crew - Meet the Members topic. Many have owned several, and currently own more than one.

    Our family has three. I bought the first, then my cousin, then my dad. Our next car (for the wife) will very likely be a Subie. I'm hoping the Legacy Blitzen will be out by then.

    -juice
  • nygregnygreg Member Posts: 1,936
    Is the Blitzen for your wife, or you?? :-)

    Greg
  • pattim3pattim3 Member Posts: 533
    Good Morning - I'm told this is normal as long as it clears up when the car is warm. So far, we haven't seen any long term detriment to the engine.

    Patti
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    The Blitzen would be for the wife. She likes sedans - I prefer wagons. Her car is older and will need to be replaced next.

    I drive hers too, though, so I wouldn't be missing out.

    -juice
  • 99gs99gs Member Posts: 109
    I have a Honda CRV with 60K on it. It's a '97 so it has the 120+ HP engine. It has run fine, no problems, I've just done maintenance by the book. After driving an Outback there was no comparison. The feel of the Subie is so solid and safe compared to the Honda. I currently have my CRV for sale. If you haven't driven a Subaru yet please do. My wife also couldn't believe the difference after driving one. Jack
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    Nice to hear, Jack. The 2001s have a $750 incentive in some regions, so it's not a bad time to look.

    Try an H6, too. The press was saying $32k was too much for a Subie, but you can actually get an LL Bean H6 wagon for $25,993. Fitzgerald Auto Mall in MD has several for that price, and it includes freight.

    -juice
  • nygregnygreg Member Posts: 1,936
    most people here talk about their car or their spouse's car. We have two "cars" (OB and Sienna), but don't consider one mine or my wife's. We just have two and use the one that suits the day's needs (who has kids, places to go, etc). Hmm, maybe I need a new WRX just for me. :) Off topic, I know.

    Greg
  • kazanskykazansky Member Posts: 9
    Dear all,

    I am currently considering a purchase of the 1999 Subaru Brighton with 92K. Auto. Mileage looks too high, but I am attracted by the age and modets price (seller asking 7500$). I will very appreciate any comments on what to look for in this Subaru with such a high mileage?
    I had an Imreza '95 2WD before with 120K and have experienced few electric problems (sensors) and changed CV joints 3 times along with fuel pump.

    Any comments on the subject are very welcome.

    Thanks!!!

    Dennis
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    Greg: the two of us share three cars. And I call two of them "mine" but the wife usually gets first dibs, so maybe I should call all three cars "hers"!

    All 99s were AWD, but there was no maintenance required on those. Just check that the timing belt and the 60k mile service was done, and ask for other regular service records. The Brigthon had the 2.2l engine, 137hp IIRC. Since it's auto, an ATF flush would be a good idea if it was not done already, for about $80-$100.

    Take a thorough test drive. Luckily, any problems tend to stand out and be obvious. Listen for pinging or drivetrain whine. Crawl underneath and look for any signs of fluid leaks, which are not that common.

    If it's quiet, smooth, and clean, odds are you're fine. You may want to have a mechanic give it a quick look-see.

    -juice
  • devans126devans126 Member Posts: 1
    Hello, I have a 1993 Subaru Impreza L with Front Wheel Drive with only 55,400 miles on it. The car had rattling sounds coming somewhere from the exhaust system so I took it to a local national muffler /brakes repair shop. They could only find that the exhaust shields that ran from the engine to the first catalytic converter were loose. They said it couldn't be repaired. So the only option was to leave it on as is or take the heat shields off.I opted and had the heat shields taken off. I would like to know if I don't have them replaced with new ones, what are the consequences and where can I get new heat shields at a discounted price?
  • cptpltcptplt Member Posts: 1,075
    unless you park on long dry grass a lot, losing a heat shield is no big deal, if you do then you may have you may have to worry about starting a fire under your car! I've lost heat shields off several cars, no big deal as I'm an urban person!
  • paisanpaisan Member Posts: 21,181
    I am pretty sure they protect the vehcile, not the grass, but I could be wrong.

    -mike
  • cptpltcptplt Member Posts: 1,075
    I can only tell you what various mechanics have told me starting with an Audi, then an Acura and now Subarus. All have had heat shields either fall off or removed for rattles as it woudl cost more to fix. Whenever I asked if its ok to be without one, they said the only important thing which mattered was what I related in the other post about it being a fire hazard to combustible material under the car.
    I can't see why you would want a shield to protect the engine from an external heat source under the car! I could see there is some dumb govt regulation which says you can't have the engine radiating so much heat to surfaces under it that it could be a fire hazard!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    I think it keeps heat from the interior of the car and possibly also prevents fire. The heat from a catalytic can be awesome.
  • cptpltcptplt Member Posts: 1,075
    I believe most cars have 2 shields, one on the undersurface of the cat convertors and one in between the cat and the car body. My experience has always been that the one nearest the road ends up coming off hence the caution from the mechanics about not parking in high dry grass!
  • paisanpaisan Member Posts: 21,181
    The Heat is extreme, you don't want that heat to heat up the floor of your car and the carpet etc. Not a good situation. I think you are correct there may be an upper and a lower, upper protecting the car from the heat, the lower preventing fire of grass.

    -mike
  • kameelekameele Member Posts: 29
    My 95 Legacy L is approaching 90K miles and I was wondering what if anything I might look forward to replacing in the near future. Are suspension parts more road related than mileage? The timing belt was replaced before I got it and the serpentine belt replaced by the dealer before I took possession. Everything else seems tight and quiet.

    Speaking of replacing, I'm looking at new tires before winter. My mechanic has recommended yokahama. Tirerack has some good reviews for wet, dry and snow. Any opinions? The stock size is 185/70R14. Can I change tire size without changing wheels? and is there any advantage in doing so?

    Thanks for any input,

    Kevin
  • mrdetailermrdetailer Member Posts: 1,118
    A car here without a heat sheild started a fire that cost 1.5 million to put out. So at least in the West not having one can be significant.
  • cptpltcptplt Member Posts: 1,075
    I used to have a 92 LS with 95K, still have a 92 L with 86K now. Start worrying about various sensors for the engine or ABS going out and a/c problems. If you haven't changed your water pump, it will probably need changing soon.There is an oil seal which tends to go on higher mileage Legacys of that period too.

    I've got Michelin X Ones ( I think they are the same as the Michelin Radial X (XSE) in places like Sams Club etc) on the 92 L now, works very well in most weathers including light snow, though I use my 98 GT with snowtires when its really bad so I can't really say how good the X ones are in bad snow. Had Pirelli 500s on the LS, not as good as the X ones.The X ones have incredible tread life, got almost 30K on them and they look slightly worn only.

    You can change the size a little, as long as its not so much bigger it doesn't hit anything when you turn the front wheel! Probably a 195/60/14 would fit fine. Tirerack are great for knowing what does and doesn't fit but sometimes its just trial and error.Your speedo may be out a little but not anything of significance.

    If you have lots of snow where you live, get some real snowtires, it really makes a difference. I still have a set of snowtires for the 92 L but since its my "spare" car, I have been lazy last 2 winter seasons and not put them on. But on the regular all season tires, it does not handle anywhere as well on ice/snow as when it had snowtires.
  • paisanpaisan Member Posts: 21,181
    I'd say you can got to 205 and get by. Here is a great tire calculator to see what will fit and not mess up your speedo. http://www.miata.net/garage/tirecalc.html


    -mike

  • paisanpaisan Member Posts: 21,181
    I'd go for 205-60-14. That is what I run on my XT6. Best summer tires to get are Yokohamma AVS Intermediates. Haven't found an "outstanding" all-season yet.

    -mike
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