Subaru Legacy: Typical high-mileage repairs?



  • kameelekameele Member Posts: 29
    I got my car last year at the end of February and got a couple of good snow storms to try it out. even with the old tires, it was so pleasant (and fun) to be out and about. One of the storms shut down most everything around here (north of Boston) and I was about the only car out. There were a few 4x4's but they weren't making any better progress. I'm looking forward to winter even with just new all seasons.

    The tire size changes can be done on the stock wheels? I looked at the tire calculator. Pretty neat. I like the thought of a little lower and wider, but the tires are barely in my budget, so no new wheels. (as much as I would love to get some alloys.)

    Thanks again,

  • paisanpaisan Member Posts: 21,181
    What size rims are they? I run 205-55-14s on my XT6 rims which are 14x5.5 as well as my stock tires which are 205-60-14.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    Hmm, for 90k, I'd do:

    oil and filter
    air filter
    fuel filter
    spark plugs
    O2 sensor
    PCV valve
    trans or ATF oil
    rear diffy oil
    full alignment, rotate tires
    bleed brakes, replace pads if worn
    check rotors and drums
    check shocks, replace if necessary

    Can't think of anything else now. Those ought to keep her running for another 30k miles at least.

  • mrdetailermrdetailer Member Posts: 1,118
    especially if it smells burnt. I would also go to a radiator specialty shop and have them clean out the radiator.
  • mtnbobmtnbob Member Posts: 2
    I have a 1990 Legacy with 160,000 miles on it, and it runs great except when driving above 65-70 mph for more than 15-20 minutes. It acts as though the fuel filter is clogging and starts to slow down and hesitate. I downshift to regain speed and the problem seems to disappear after a few minutes. I have replaced the plugs, wires and fuel filter and hoses with no change. The compression was 190 in the back two cylinders and 170 in the front two. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated. Thank you
  • paisanpaisan Member Posts: 21,181
    Could be the catalytic? Just a thought.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    Your compression is great considering the age.

    Yeah, could be the cat. Something is choking the engine, so it's got to be the intake or exhaust. If you ever put regular gas in the tank, that could be clogging the cat.

    Just a thought, but my wife's 626 started hesitating, and the injectors needed to be cleaned. We did all the other stuff, but that service made the engine feel like new.

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Yep, I'd have the catalytic tested straight away.
  • paisanpaisan Member Posts: 21,181
    Get the injectors blown out. About $40 from a jiffy lube type place.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    That's what I meant. You put it more simply. :-)

  • mrdetailermrdetailer Member Posts: 1,118
    If you haven't done it before, do the expensive injection cleaner process where they actually hook up a machine. I have a 1988 that wouldn't even pass. Cost me a little over $100. Difference in passing was tremendous.
  • mrdetailermrdetailer Member Posts: 1,118
    in this situation. It's good for regular maintenence, but not when the injectors are seriously clogged. On my 1988 Dodge I did the Jiffy Lube Process in February. It cleaned it up some, but not as good as the dedicated machine which was done this month.
  • paisanpaisan Member Posts: 21,181
    Well mine wasn't a jiffy lube per se, it was a dedicated machine @ my lube place though, and it worked wonders.

  • mrdetailermrdetailer Member Posts: 1,118
    That's different than the one I had in February. Jiffy put something in the oil, ran a solution through the vacuum hose and put a fuel injector cleaner in the tank. If you had an actual machine then that would be the correct procedure.

    BTW, the other procedure has worked very well on my 2 other cars.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    I may go have that done on my Miata. It's a '93 and I'm not sure it's ever been done because I bought it used.

  • mrdetailermrdetailer Member Posts: 1,118
    It also passes inspection easier.
  • mtnbobmtnbob Member Posts: 2
    thanks for the advice i will try to get the injectors cleaned asap. question though, if it was the injectors would it happen only after driving for awhile at highway speeds, and then only last for a few minutes before it was fine again. that is what has me baffled.

    thanks again for any thoughts on this prob
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    When our 626 had the problem, it showed up as a hesitation from low speeds. But it just felt like it gained 20 horsepower after the cleaning.

    It can't hurt. Even if it's not the only problem, you'll probably gain a bit of pep.

    Funny, I'm talking myself into doing it on the Miata.

  • mrdetailermrdetailer Member Posts: 1,118
    MtnBob: On My Dodge that I just had the fuel injectors cleaned, it was very sporadic. I tried to track patterns for about three month, and it changed constantly. Slow initial acceleration is not so obvious because the change occurs over time. Like Shock Absorbers it is gradual and often not really noticed. After it's done the power difference is really noticible. Gas mileage improved on mine by about 5%.

    Suco: My Mazda mechanic recommends the big treatment at least every 50K.
  • twinrottstwinrotts Member Posts: 161
    The Check Engine Light illuminated this week in our 96 Legacy GT with 96K miles.
    I opened the hood and found the engine still there. What a relief!.
    Joking aside, does anyone know if this is a preprogramed pollution control warning that can be ignored, or do I need to have this checked out.
    Interesting enough, we are seeing the best fuel performace ever for the last several weeks.
    I'm almost afraid to have anyone tinker.
    Is there a way for me to adjust the headlight aim?
    We had some front end repairs after taking out a deer last year and the lights are aimed too high.
    I had both my body guy and the local Subie dealer look at these and they say they are in spec.
    Prior to the front end repair the lighting was exceptionally good. Now it is mediocre and we are being flashed by on-coming traffic with some regularity.
    Owners manual was of no help.
  • alcanalcan Member Posts: 2,550
    The check engine light means the powertrain control module has detected an anomaly in one of it's monitored systems/circuits and has stored a diagnostic trouble code. They're often (but not always) emission control related. 1996 and newer vehicles are OBD-II compliant and a scan tool will be required to retrieve the stored DTC. One of the more common causes, btw, is a loose or defective gas cap.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    A solid light is just a warning. A blinking light means trouble - park it.

    If yours is solid you can try an ECU reset. Make sure the engine is cool, and pull the negative battery terminal. Wait 30 minutes, then reconnect.

    Start her up and let her idle until she warms up, then drive off. That works a lot of the time because a CEL can be for a single misfire.

    If not, check all the vacuum hoses to make sure they are air tight. Tighten the gas cap several clicks, too.

    I can adjust my Forester's headlight aim from behind the unit itself, but I'm sure yours is different.

  • evilizardevilizard Member Posts: 195
    It can be adjusted. There are a couple of white tubes with knobs on the headlight assembly. Just tweek it like you want it.
  • hypovhypov Member Posts: 3,068
    he he Tom, when you said that I couldn't help chuckling about my experience with those knobs.
    Mine went like "thunk" "grind" and "@#$%" (that's me cursing), and ripped flesh.
    But,... I got it to like I want it. :-D

  • evilizardevilizard Member Posts: 195
    Glad it worked out for you. I used a cresecent wrench.
  • jaschonhjaschonh Member Posts: 2

    I heard a rumor and don't know whether it is true or not. I own a Subaru Legacy. Subaru's as you probably all know are all wheel drive. My front two tires are wearing down, the back two are okay. I could rotate them, but I guess the back two are worn badly because I needed an alignment, but failed to get one. News to me...the car seemed to be driving straight.

    Anyhow, here is the rumor/ I need to replace all of the tires on my car, or just the ones on the same axle?

    Do the tires I used to replace my current tires need to be the same brand/model as those that I currently have, or can they be different.

    My last car was front wheel drive. I rotated my tires often and would buy tires an axle at a time. No big deal. I feel, however, as though someone mentioned that since my car was now all wheel drive, I could no longer do that.

    Please let me know what to do for those of you out there that know.

  • robgrantrobgrant Member Posts: 5
    I posted this in the general M&R section with no response.
    We have a 90 Legacy Wagon with 250 000Km's. The rear struts are starting to rub on the inside of the strut towers when we hit a bump. The
    struts have been changed (20 000Km ago).

    Any idea of where I should start to look? Suspension bushings? Strut mount?

    Also have 00 Legacy wagon- love it.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    Judith: SoA recommend no more than 1/4 inch difference in circumference for all the tires.

    You could measure, but given the front are worn and the rears are uneven, I would definitely get 4 new tires. They are your only contact with the pavement.

    I would also get a full 4 wheel alignment from the same shop that balances and mounts the new tires.

    That's a lot of miles, Rob! :-)

    I don't have much experience with suspensions, but I would suspect the struts themselves. Maybe they are defective?

  • mrdetailermrdetailer Member Posts: 1,118
    I suspect strut mounts based on a recent repair that I had on one of my cars.
  • mrdetailermrdetailer Member Posts: 1,118
    AWD, and especially if you have the older 4wd, need all tires to be with 1/4 of an inch according to the owners manual. I found a place that willingly rotates the tires every 3,000 miles. In my view well worth paying a little extra.
  • cptpltcptplt Member Posts: 1,075
    I can't say I've ever actually measured the size difference between the tires but I've replaced 2 at a time with no obvious problems in 3 Legacys. Though I never let them run too low on tread. If its still got a mm or 2 more than the treadwear indicators, in my book its time to change.Whats still legal isn't necessarily whats wise.
    Strut mount problems on older legacies are common from what my mechanic says, I will probably need it done somepoint on my 92, one is gone for sure but he said to wait till both went or it sounded real bad!
  • hondafriekhondafriek Ottawa CanadaMember Posts: 2,984
    I have noticed a few posts here regarding buying high milage cars, It cannot be more important than to have the car checked by a mechanic that you trust, there are also services whose sole business is checking cars for sale or purchase.

    It also makes a large difference if the miles are city or highway, city driving means more wear and tear on everything,motor, brakes, suspension, tires,even bushings,it is better to avoid a car with a lot of city miles.

    In a previous post Juice outlined a list of things to have replaced and I am in total agreement, I cannot remember if he advised timing belt replacement if it has not been replaced recently I would advise replacement of the belt and water pump,also top and bottom radiator hoses.

    Finally if there is any doubt about the age of the battery IE: more than 3 years old replace that also, and allow a cushion of at least $1000 over your final purchase price for the inevitable repairs which you are going to encounter in your first year of ownership this applies to any high milage cars not just Subaru,s.

    This advice might seem to be in the extreme but believe me I speak with the experience of having bought and owned a lot of high milage cars in my life.

    Cheers Pat.
  • mrdetailermrdetailer Member Posts: 1,118
    This from Tom and Ray of and National Public Radio.

    Also alocate $100/month for maintenence and repairs. Any extra is saved up for the next down payment. It has certainly relieved a lot of pressurem, and has avoided racking up the credit cards.
  • paisanpaisan Member Posts: 21,181
    I've had my XT6 for just under 2 years. Bought it for $1000 off the bat with 52K miles 12 years old. Repairs to date:

    front axles and CVs @ purchase time $400
    fluids changed
    t-fluid changed again
    raidiator flush, T-stat $20
    Water Pump and T-belt $550
    air->nonair suspension conversion $600

    I've put on about 30K hard miles plus 2 seasons of auto-x. This car is un-beatable!

  • tocatoca Member Posts: 147
    "It also makes a large difference if the miles are city or highway, city driving means more wear and tear on everything,motor, brakes, suspension, tires,even bushings,it is better to avoid a car with a lot of city miles."

    You ever hear a seller say "oh, by the way, these were mostly city miles"? If you did, they are far and few between. So unless the owner is from a large city (which then raises the question of why his car HAS high mileage - unless its well along in years) most owners are going to say "my car has mostly highway mileage".
  • paisanpaisan Member Posts: 21,181
    Yep exactly.

    It's always "highway miles" :)

  • alcanalcan Member Posts: 2,550
    Look for 2 things; wear on the edge of the driver's seat back and cushion, and wear on the driver's door hinge pins. If minimal, they probably are highway miles.
  • hondafriekhondafriek Ottawa CanadaMember Posts: 2,984
    Al, you beat me to it, unless the seller has spent a lot of money reconditioning the vehicle you can always tell when a vehicle has had a lot of stop and start driving, and Alcan in post 238 has outlined two of the most obvious, there are others such as badly worn rubbers on the pedals or in the other instance brand new one,s on a car with high miles.

    Ther are many other ways to determine city and highway miles and that is the reason a professional inspection is the best money you will ever spend.

    Cheers Pat.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Miles are still miles, and a car has to wear out sooner or later. So if a car has 200K on it, it's pretty worthless since its predicted life is like ZILCH. It MAY run a long time yet, but statistically, it won't. Of course, if it has been rebuilt or reconditioned this may not apply
  • hondafriekhondafriek Ottawa CanadaMember Posts: 2,984
    I agree that a car with 200,000 miles is worth nothing and at that point it matters not how the miles were accumulated but you are missing the point here entirely.

    The advice asked for was in regard to buying cars that had anywhere between 70,000 and 100,000 thousand miles and in that instance miles are definitly not miles.

    A well maintained car with 100,000 highway miles has as much or more life left in it while a well maintained city car with the same milage is definitly well past its use by date, city miles are hard miles and no matter how well maintained it will wear out a lot sooner than a car that has mostly highway miles.

    Cheers Pat.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Yeah, I could buy that argument if one could verify these "highway" miles and if one could aslo verify that the car was maintained. I don't think that "highway miles" per se would make me jump at a high mileage car is what I'm saying. A big fat maintenance record would be more persuasive to me that the type of road the car ran on.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    I tend to prefer the opposite. An older car, perhaps a few extra years, with less mileage. That's where you find the well preserved gems, IMO. My 1993 Miata had just 27k miles when I bought it last year, for about 1/3 the cost when new.

  • paisanpaisan Member Posts: 21,181
    My XT6 was like 11 years old with 52K miles. And I got it for $1K

    It runs like a top, juice even drove it once (and that was before I tuned it up)

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    I didn't mean I preferred high mileage cars over low mileage ones! Hardly.......

    Of course, really really low miles on a ten year old car can be a problem too, but that's really another topic.
  • hondafriekhondafriek Ottawa CanadaMember Posts: 2,984
    Obviously the less miles the better I am not a fan of high milage cars and I agree I would also like to see a maintenance record.
    But some Folks are buying cars with a lot of miles and the best advice is still have any!!! prospective used purchase checked by a professional that you trust.

    This would not apply in the case where not a lot of money is involved.

    Juice I agree a deal like you got is the way to go little roadsters like the Miata are usually a summer toy and do not as a rule rack up a lot of miles, but methinks there are more rocks than gems out there concerning older cars and low miles.

    The xt6 that you found Mike is the exception rather than the rule.

    Cheers Pat.
  • nygregnygreg Member Posts: 1,936
    be an indicator? It's difficult to put 30K miles/year driving in the city. Just a thought.

  • paisanpaisan Member Posts: 21,181
    I dunno I put on a lot of city and hard miles on my Rodeo. 2.5years 120K miles. It still looked like new when I traded it in. Dealer couldn't believe it had 120K on the clock. So milage may be a good indicator, but not absolute.

  • rayfbairdrayfbaird Member Posts: 183
    Do these normally have to be replaced often?
  • cptpltcptplt Member Posts: 1,075
    not sure what the ? is, if you have it and don't replace it, you may end up one day replacing the whole engine.
    never heard of a Sube needing one but have had bad experiences with Acuras and Hondas and Fords needing them at "low" mileages - 50-70K!
  • lark6lark6 Member Posts: 2,565
    Wander over to Maintenance/Repair and Meet the Members. I had to have a leaky head gasket (water pump gasket, too) replaced this past week on a '00 Forester with 31,700 miles - much lower mileage than the cars you describe. My confidence in Subaru is shaken but the level of attention paid by the dealer and SoA have me hoping that the fix will hold for the duration of my ownership experience. I don't want to even try to pinpoint the root cause of the gasket failure. It didn't happen until about 4 weeks after my 30K maintenance and after I had driven from eastern PA to the NC mountains and back on vacation. I'll leave it at that.

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