Howdy, Stranger!

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

Subaru Legacy: Typical high-mileage repairs?



  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Mine are MB Motoring MB6 rims, 16"x7" with a 55mm offset and 5 bolts with 100mm spacing.

    Stock was 40mm, IIRC, so they sit 15mm further away from the rear spring base, which was closest to rubbing (but does not).

  • tailwind19tailwind19 Posts: 6
    I have a Legacy L. Wagon with 139,000.
    When the 4WD is engaged the rear end thumps, especially when moving slowly and turning. The problem has gotten progressively worse. No I cannot use 4WD.
    I replaced the differential (with a friend), that did not solve the problem.
    I was told by a transmission guy that the problem is caused by fluid flow. He said something about restricting fluid flow somehow solves the problem. He said it takes less than an hour.
    The car has original transmission fluid in it. It is still clear and looks fine.
    Any information would be appreciated.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Isn't that type of binding normal on 4WD when the axles are locked at the same speed and you turn?

    In other words, aren't you only supposed to use that 4WD on slippery surfaces?

    Sorry if I'm way off base here.

    Other ideas - are the tires worn evenly? I've heard you can have no more than 1/2" difference in tread wear.

  • gslevegsleve Posts: 183
    Mr tailwind it appears that if there is restrictive fulid flow that perhaps its time to change the fluid over to synthetic gerar oil both in the tranny and diff and central diff, I've seen a lot of cars and trucks with 4wd having these particular problems and 9 times of 10 changing the fluid to a synthetic helped immensly, however not changing fluid and leaving it in for as long as you have probably didn't help and has exacerbated the problem
  • rayfbairdrayfbaird Posts: 183
    I have a 1991 Legacy Wagon with 120,000 miles. My struts seem to be fine, but when I replaced some on my Mazda the ride is SOLO much better. Does anyone know how long they will last? Is there a maintenence schedule for replacement?
  • blaneblane Posts: 2,017

    Your struts don't need replacing as long as they are still working properly. There is no maintenance replacement schedule.

    You should try "bouncing" the suspension by placing all of your weight on, and then releasing, each of the four corners of your vehicle one after the other. If one or more corner continues the up/down bouncing for more than a couple of strokes, or if the strut looks like it has leaked fluid (exterior stains) you should consider replacement. Normally you would replace either both fronts or both rears, but at your mileage you might as well do all four corners.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    How much did you pay for the service? Were they gas?

    Just curious.

  • subaru_teamsubaru_team Posts: 1,676
    you might want to try a couple of figure 8's in a parking lot with the 4WD engaged. A wet surface is best.

    With the 4WD in your vehicle, you should not really use the 4WD unless you need it (ala Juice's post).

    What year is your Subaru? Does it have 4WD High and Low? Does it do this at both settings?

    It may save you a lot of time and agg. if you go into a dealer to see what they think. Probably a lot less than putting in a new differential.

    Just my thoughts

  • tailwind19tailwind19 Posts: 6
    I'll try the figure 8's in a lot. I dont have high and low settings.
    I have a 1991 legacy wagon, 139,000 miles.
    I've always operated the car in 4wd. I thought you were supposed to! I started using front wheel drive when the problem started. Runs xk in 2wd, but I like 4wd, especially when its raining.
    Went to a dealer, they said it would cost $1,100.00 to repair. They said it was the differential and charged me $35.
    I am going to try a tarns fluid change.
    I'll post results.
    Juice, tires are evenly worn and still have good tread.

  • mrdetailermrdetailer Posts: 1,118
    I have a 1991 Loyale 4WD and I noticed that this small 1.8 engine worked at least 33% harder than my other vehicles at the same speed. I have used a synthetic blend (Quaker State 4 X 4 10W-30) for years. I used to use about 2 quarts every 3000 miles. I would add a quart, and it would be a quart low at the time I changed the oil. I am a strong believer in following the SEVERE schedule for maintenence, and changing tranny, brake, and power steering fluids every 30,000 miles.

    Last November I changed to a full synthetic 5W-50. I have gone 6,000 miles since then, and changed the oil filter at 3,000 miles. I have been amazed at how clean the oil was. I couldn't even see soot for 3,000 miles, and it is as clean as the conventional was for half the distance.

    I am also amazed at how much less oil was consumed. When it was changed out it was not low at all, and I only added a pint during the entire time.

    Winter starts were fabulous, and I haven't not noticed a substantial difference in gas milege. My valve covers are not leaking at all.

    Are there any known problems with continuing to use the heavier weight synthetic?
  • I'm test driving a 1991 Subaru 4wd legacy wagon with 222,000 miles on it. The owner has replaced the timing belt, water pump, and muffler. I have never owned a Subaru and was wondering if there are any major repair problems I should be aware of. He wants $2500 for it. What would be a good price with this high of mileage? He serviced it regularly and the the engine and car looks clean and well taken care of. One of the service records recommends a cross member bolt to be repaired- what is it and cost to repair. Any info would be appreciated. I have till Monday to make my decision. Thanks
  • williaeawilliaea Posts: 1
    Well I'm sure this isn't a complete list, but I just bought a '90 2wd wagon and it is going to need struts ($500-$1000 depending on where you get them done). I have heard that the Automatic Transmissions on the '90 and '91's may be touchy and they are big bucks to replace or repair (I've heard $1500-2500). Not sure how you check them out though other than listening for slippage or sluggish shifts (especially between 2nd and 3rd gears). If the one you are looking at is an LS, then the Air Suspension is a LOT more than the struts I mentioned above. I would do a quick visual on the CV joints too to see if they were torn. There are a number of seals (cam seals and valve covers) that typically leak on these cars, but I 've heard they aren't too bad to get repaired. No idea on the cross member bolt repair, but that sounds like it may have taken some damage from below. Crossmember supports the engine and transmission in the front. YOu would have to have a mechanic check it out. Never heard of it in the "standard" Legacy issues. You may want to do some reading on the Ultimate Subaru Message Board

    It's a very good and thorough board. As to price, doesn't sound too bad if it doesn't have any major issues.

    Good luck


  • hammersleyhammersley Posts: 684
    If I understand the ratings correctly, the 15W-50 oil may actually be better. Both flavors of oil are multi-viscosity - they adjust their flow properties as they warm & cool.. the 5W-50 will flow more freely at colder engine temps, such as at start-up, than will the 10W-30. Synthetic oils already have better flow characteristics than mineral oil, all other things being equal.

    I'm a little surprised that your oil consumption is down... sometimes switching to full synthetic in a high mileage engine can cause leaks to show up. Your engine may be in better shape than you thought! I've been told by my service dept. that 1 quart per 1000 miles is considered normal consumption in my 97 OB 2.5l.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    222k miles itself is a great achievement. Expecting it to last any longer is wishful thinking, no matter how reliable it is.

    Just my 2 cents.

  • artiewoodartiewood Posts: 2
    I am considering purchasing a 1995 Subaru L AWD. After about 10 miles the CHECK ENGINE light comes on. I paid the dealer $26 to read the code(I), and it is a P0740 -Torque Converter Clutch System Malfunction.

    The Subaru dealer pointed out this was a "junk yard" transmission, and that it may be installed incorrectly, or at least one of the sensors is not picking up. He says he has never seen that problem before, and that it would cost me a considerable amount to trouble shoot the problem.

    He said if the transmission works, don't worry about it. It shifts great, the car runs great.

    The used car dealer is willing to sell as is for black book average wholesale price, which is about $2500 below NADA retail.

    Anyone familiar with this problem, or got a clue what I should do?
  • I had the transmission fluid, pan gasket, and filter changed. The transmission shifts great! I can use 4wd without that bumping in the rear. I would recommend to anyone who has the problem to have this done 1st. I was really surprised with the improvement.
    Don't go 139,000 without doing it like I did!
    The site mentioned in post #133 is great! Alot of good information. It was particularly interesting to read about common problems; i.e. dim headlights, broken sun visor, transmission problems.
  • mrdetailermrdetailer Posts: 1,118
    I would do it every 30,000 miles or 2 years. I also add Lubegard and it shifts smoother than when I bought it.
  • elpnjcelpnjc Posts: 1

    I'm looking into buying a used Legacy sedan, and I've found a very nice '95 LS. The only question is the mileage - 132,000. I know that Subaru makes a reliable car, but how many more miles can I expect to get out of this one, assuming that it's in good shape and hasn't gone through any major incidents? Any info or advice would be great. Thanks
  • robh14robh14 Posts: 2
    I have a 94 Legacy LS Wagon with just under 100,000 miles. I just had to replace an oxygen sensor and an idle speed motor. I'm wondering whether this is that start of an expensive year? Any thoughts would be appreciated!!!

    (In the past, we have had to do nothing but typical maintenance on the car, so this kind of took us by surprise. But we also realize that any car is going to require new parts at some point...) We love Subarus (this is our second one), just waiting for Subaru to make a minivan.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    IMHO, any car over 100k miles is going to require more maintenance and repair than a new one. But look at it this way - the average new car payment is over $400, so even a seemigly devastating $700 repair bill is less than you would spend in 2 months.

    The engine will probably last forever, it's the accessories that will give out, like the water pump, the belts, hoses, the A/C. Stuff like that. Just replace the water pump whenever you do the timing belt, and do all the belts/hoses each 60k miles or so (ASAP if you do not know the full service history of the vehicle).

  • pinkertopinkerto Posts: 3
    I recently replaced the power steering pump in my 1990 Subaru Legacy. Since I had power steering fluid all over my engine from when the old pump failed I decided I would put engine degreaser on the engine and hose it off. The next morning it started up and I drove to work. I did notice that the engine was a bit sluggish. When I went back out start my car to go to lunch it would not start. When I would turn the key, I would just get a "Click" and I noticed that the Power Indicator light was lit on my dashboard. The owners manual says, "if the Power light flashes for eight seconds or more after the ignition switch has been turned "ON" when starting the engine, it may indicate a problem with the automatic transmission control system." It also says that I should be sure to have it checked at a nearby Subaru dealer immediately.

    Does anyone have any idea what the problem might be?

  • evilizardevilizard Posts: 195
    You washed away some of that dirt that was holding your engine together!

    No seriously I would guess some type of electrical short. probably with the starter, maybe starter motor or something. Probably related to the work done to replace the PS pump, just manifested itself after the wash. Its amazing how many Totally unrelated mechnical failures happen right after getting some work done. I had an old Tempo, got the heater core replaced. The next day the distributor cap disintegrated into 18 pieces (I counted em.) I'd check my batter/connections and then try to take some power staight to the starter motor if you can.
  • pattim3pattim3 Posts: 533
    You may also want to check your spark plug wires.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Check the distributor cap and rotor, too. I think your car has them.

    Even a little water in there can keep it from starting up. My wife's old Mirage would stall when it rained, and I found out part of the distributor cap had cracked and was letting water in.

  • pinkertopinkerto Posts: 3
    After a visit to the local auto supply store, and explaining the situation about my car not starting, the manager told me to try tapping on the starter lightly with a hammer as my Bendix (sp) might be stuck. Willing to try anything, I tapped it with my tire iron,

    Wouldn't you know, it started right up. That was the cheapest repair I ever had!!

    Thanks for everyones suggestions.
  • alcanalcan Posts: 2,550
    It usually isn't the bendix (starter drive) that sticks, it's the starter brushes. Sounds like your starter's living on borrowed time.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I was going to say the same thing - time to replace that starter, even though it worked this time.

    That same shop may even have a remanufactured one, but I'd check on the price of an OE starter first at your dealer or

  • rayfbairdrayfbaird Posts: 183
    After 120,000 my wagon wallows when fully loaded. I am going to replace the struts? I want to use performance ones, but the Subaru OEM costs over $100 apeice, and I'm not sure they are performance.

    Are KYB, or Tokico struts better than Monroe or Gabriel?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 58,496
    I'm not sure what you mean by "performance" struts exactly...if your original OEMs lasted this long, that's pretty darn good--I wouldn't imagine a KYB or Monroe or Gabriel doing that well. When it comes to struts, you do get what you pay for; however, you should check into the Subaru Owner's Club at Edmunds for some owner feedback. There's a hot link right at the top of this page. They may have had good luck with some aftermarket brands.

    MODERATOR --Need help with anything? Click on my name!

    Share Your Vehicle Reviews Here

  • rayfbairdrayfbaird Posts: 183
    I read about performancae struts such as Tokico, KYB, and Eidelberg on the aftermarket springs ansd shock absorber site. They are supposed to deliver a smoother ride, and allow firmer cornerning.

    Checking with dealers here, the KYB is available for half the price of the Subaru one, and has a permanent guarantee of replacement unlike Subaru's.

    I'll check the owner's club.
This discussion has been closed.