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Subaru Legacy/Outback Wagons Maintenance & Repair



  • rangnerrangner Posts: 336
    I've tried mid grade (89) but it didn't help. Do you think 93 would change anything? Eric
  • bkaiser1bkaiser1 Posts: 464
    After discovering that premium (91 octane) stopped the pinging, I tried mid grade (89) on the next tank and heard some pinging again with light acceleration (but it was not nearly as bad as with 87 in the tank). Since then, I've been using 91 gas and have not heard any pinging. The difference between low and high grades is about $3 (or less) per fillup, which is insignificant to me.

    I'll reiterate that the higher octane is only masking the real problem (dirty heads) but it's still cheaper than the alternative (taking the car into the shop for an expensive head cleaning). For your Subaru, it's worth a shot just to see if it cures your condition...if it does work, then you can decide if it's worth it to you to pay a shop to clean the gunk out or whether you'd rather just keep on putting in premium.

  • waltercatwaltercat Posts: 10
    Anyone have any bright ideas about the power locks in my wife's '96 Outback wagon? They had worked intermittently for the last couple of years, and now they have failed as follows: when the engine starts, all the doors lock, and when the engine is shut off, the doors unlock (so far, so good)- but the doors will not lock and unlock centrally when the outside driver's door lock is locked, or when the inside driver's door lock lever is moved between lock and unlock positions.

    Has anyone gotten this fixed, or better yer, has anyone actually fixed this themselves? Thanks, folks.
  • ssteveksstevek Posts: 45
    I'm going to try a tank of premium next time I around 1/4 tank.
  • ebony5ebony5 Posts: 142
    On my '96 OBW I have experienced intermittent malfunctions with the door locks. Strange as it sounds it seems to be related to the temperature; the system works on cold days and does not when the weather turns warmer . The locks work individually but cannot be centrally controlled by the drivers side lock either inside or out.. I just live with the situation.
  • rangnerrangner Posts: 336
    We don't drive our car very much (i.e. lots of short trips) that may be why the heads are dirty. Although we've driven it alot more recently and I haven't (knock on wood) heard the first ping since then. If I hear it again, I'll give 93 a shot. :)

  • goosegoggoosegog Posts: 206
    In my mis-spent youth I knew a fellow who ran a small car repair place. Every 6 mos or so a lady who only ever took her car shopping would bring in her Citroen DS19 for a tune up because of "rough running". He would blast it 50 miles and back along the M1 motorway at about 100 mph. Then he would do anything that remained to be done. According to him this high speed drive fixed the rough running problem.

    I think it's getting the engine up to sustained full operating temperature that makes it run better. My old Dodge 360 alway ran best after about an hour of driving. A modern car should get hot quickly, but it won't if the thermostat is a bit off or there's some other problem.
  • jajjaj Posts: 55
    I have made my third service appointment to address problem of the check engine light going on in my '05 Outback, accompanied by cruise control light flashing and cruise control disabled. There is no apparent correlation with gas fill-ups; light goes on and off periodically. Anyone else with this problem? Any suggestions would be appreciated.

  • What is going own?!!!!Was christen a subaru. I have a 97 Subaru Legacy/Outback. The check engine light came on. Autozone code reader indicated that it was missing on 2 cylinders. Replaced coil and ignition wires. Ran good for a few days then started missing again. Code again indicates missing. Replaced coil again, but no change this time. Since then it has been down hill. CEL flashes, remote stopped working, cruise stopped working, reverse lights stopped working, fuel gauge has a mind of it's own and it sounds like the power windows or locks keep trying to cycle when the key is on.
  • krzysskrzyss Posts: 848
    M1 is in England, isn't it?

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,470
    traditionally known as "the italian tune-up".

    Based on some science, actually. A strong fuel additive and a good blast for 200-300 miles will sometimes cure issues related to carbonization of valves or piston tops.

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  • goosegoggoosegog Posts: 206
    Yup. And in those days it was the only motorway and no speed limit.
  • ssteveksstevek Posts: 45
    I put in premium yesterday, I haven't heard any pinging. That tells me there's something wrong. My '98 Outback never had that trouble, nor did any of my other Subarus.
  • bkaiser1bkaiser1 Posts: 464
    Well, that's good news! At least it's quieted the engine down for now. Sure it means that you've got a dirty engine that probably needs a professional cleaning, but at least you've isolated the problem and don't necessarily HAVE to take it in to the shop right away. A few dollars extra at the pump is still much cheaper than my mechanic at $80/hr.

    I was quite surprised that my Frontier's engine was dirty enough to require premium with only 50k miles, but I was even more surprised that simply switching octane levels would quiet the thing down so quickly.

  • rhonda10rhonda10 Posts: 21
    I recently posted a question about my 2004 Outback that emits a strange sound [like paper in a fan] when I am traveling on the freeway between the speed of 70-75 [only] upon acceleration. If I go above or below that speed range and/or remove my foot from the accelerator, the noise stops. It is, however, an intermittent noise which is frustrating in itself. Since my purchase of the vehicle in March 2006, I have taken it to the dealer 4 times for this problem -- the first 2 times they claimed that although they heard the noise that they could not duplicate for long enough to diagnosis. The second and third time they adjusted the heatshield, replaced an exhaust bracket and replaced one of my Catalytic Converters. All of this and the noise still continues. My car only has 33,000 miles. The truly unfortunate thing is that although the dealers cannot figure out what is wrong, they have continually assured me that they do not believe the problem to be serious. Although I believe Subaru makes a good product, I truly believe that my vehicle has a problem that could potentially cost me in the long run. Because of this I have hired an attorney to pursue my Lemon Law rights. I wish you the best of luck in finding the answer to your similar problem.
  • kat95kat95 Posts: 49
    My wagon has 200 miles on it and have noticed when stopped and give it gas to move there is a slight hesitation as if the car might not be getting enough gas or wanting to stall but it's ever so slight I'm wondering if I should take it to the dealer. It's an auto non-turbo. Has anyone experienced this?

    Thank you
  • mrk610mrk610 Posts: 378
    Hey all .I got the ECM reflash because of the hesitation on acceleration .The car was still under warrenty so no pay from me . I have done some testing and have found that my car pings on shell gas. I now use the gas that WAWA sells and have not heard the pinging .I do try to run a can of seafoam every oil change.
  • ssteveksstevek Posts: 45
    Thanks, good luck with yours. Mine doesn't sound as severe. It definitely makes the noise only around 1800 rpm, but not when parked. It's interesting that you mention they adjusted the heat shield. That's kind of what I did, I bent it slightly in different spots to see if it would make a difference. Nothing changed. Both cases sound like resonance at that speed.
  • ssteveksstevek Posts: 45
    True, I may not buy premium each time as I fill at least twice a week since I use my car for field service. I wasn't going to bother trying premium since mid grade made no difference. I figured I'd try it after I saw your post. Sounds like a professional cleaning would be big bucks. At least a fill with premium is a 300+ mile fix. Maybe it's my imagination but it seems like there's very slight power increase as well. I just don't know how the engine would be effected over the long term by using premium intermittently.
  • I just got a used '05 outback. I have been experiencing the same exact thing!! I'm assuming the servicing on your outback is not fxing the problem. Did they tell you what is wrong? Is it covered under the warranty?

    Any input would be appreciated.
  • dsaindsain Posts: 17
    The timing belt remove/replace is a 4.5 hour job. If your replacing the pump, it's a good idea to replace the belt (especially if your are near 105K or 210K miles).
  • dsaindsain Posts: 17
    Pinging is also called knock or pre-ignition. The fuel is igniting before it is supposed to. Knock can be caused be incorrect timing or carbon build-up in your cylinders.

    If you are experiencing constant pinging you may consider changing your knock sensor. When engine knock is detected, the ECM retards timing (the spark happens a little later during the cycle) a bit to stop it.

    I experienced ocassional knock in my '00 OBW at throttle tip-in from idle, but it'd only do it once. This is not a bad thing, as the ECM takes care of it. I did notice that I do have slightly improved milage and no knock when I use 88 octane fuel.
  • rdh3trdh3t Posts: 1

    I have an automatic transmission 2002 Subaru Legacy L Wagon,in good shape, under 50,000 miles. Recently it has been making an odd humming sound when I shut the engine off. This is a low pitched sound, steady (not vibrating or oscillating), and it can last up to 45 seconds or so with the car shut off and key taken out, until it eventually fades off to silence. I've never heard anything like this before it started a week or so ago, and I haven't taken it for service or anything--I figured I'd start here. Anyone have any ideas?


  • dsaindsain Posts: 17
    The service manual for 2000-2003 lists the code as follows:
    P0171 : Fuel trim malfunction (A/F too lean) :

    There is no P0174 code in the manual or the H6 supplement.
  • tkanictkanic Posts: 78
    Sounds like the radiator fan. It started recently because the weather has warmed up, and the engine and cooling system is running a bit hotter as a result. The car wants to cool down the antifreeze to a acceptable level before it shuts off the fan.

    If this is the case, it is normal and many cars do this.
  • rangnerrangner Posts: 336
    Doesn't it need accessory power to do this? If I take my key out, I lose accessory power on my 00 outback.

  • goosegoggoosegog Posts: 206
    No, that's the whole idea. The fan runs with no key and no-one around if it has to. That is why you will frequently find an under-hood sticker warning that the fan can start at any time. Residual heat from the engine after shut-off still enters the cooling system, but your pump is not running any more, so the fan must turn on to avoid overpressure and excess heat.
  • goosegoggoosegog Posts: 206
    I think you will get a code for a defective knock sensor, as I did. I ordered one over the internet for about 1/4 of the Subaru price and while I was waiting for it to arrive I drove 1500 km across three mountain ranges with the light on from time to time. I didn't notice any pinging, but took care to not labour the engine (5 speed). I used regular gas as always but would have switched to premium if I heard pinging. The sensor is right on top of the engine and took about 10 minutes to replace.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 12,768
    Same here, though this year I have only had the "problem" crop up twice. The real annoyance with it is the rear hatch, as there is no latch mechanism or anything to open it from the inside (oddly, I find myself needing to do this fairly often since the hydraulics do not work on the door any longer)and the key lock on the outside argues with me every time I go to use it.

    I hear that the problem is the switch mechanism in the driver's door and the fix is to access it and adjust it (it wears with time/use). So far, if I really want to open all the doors from the driver, I just repeat the lock/unlock motion repeatedly until it works. That is the stubborn man's solution. ;) Darn old cars, anyway.
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 12,768
    How do you run your Seafoam? Just through the gas? I hear there is a "deep clean" you can do with it by allowing it to be sucked through the vacuum system.... anyone know if there is merit in that?
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
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