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Subaru Legacy: Typical high-mileage repairs?



  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 56,775
    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.

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  • ateixeiraateixeira 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.

  • 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.
  • 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 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?

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

  • swimgalswimgal 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 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
  • 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.

  • ateixeiraateixeira 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!


    PS Ford covered nothing. It was beyond the 3/36 warranty so I was SOL.
  • bluedevilsbluedevils 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 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 Posts: 2,554
    but I don't know of a Subaru-knowledgeable mechanic within a 50-mile radius of where I live.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Try any shop that specializes in imports.

  • howdohowdo 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"?

  • cptpltcptplt Posts: 1,075
    all sensors fail eventually! 69K would not be unreasonable for a sensor of some sort to go out of whack.
  • ateixeiraateixeira 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 for a wholesale price on that part. Or, check out a local junk yard to see if they have any Subies like yours.

  • 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 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.

  • mrdetailermrdetailer Posts: 1,118
    Consider a synthetic, they have much better flow characteristics, and perform better in the cold.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 56,775
    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.

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  • cptpltcptplt Posts: 1,075
    got the same problem in the cold, got 59K on my car now and running strong still
  • 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 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!!
  • 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
  • ateixeiraateixeira 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.

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