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Subaru Legacy/Outback 2005+



  • beanboybeanboy Posts: 442

    Almost guarantee it is the evaporator drain line for the AC. A known issue with the 2005+ Legacy model, multiple folks have had the trouble, usually after a fall/spring cycle of parking outdoors. How close are trees/shrubs to the car where you park? Debris builds up in the line and clogs, letting water overflow and drip into the passenger footwell.

    Water should be coming from the top left corner of the passenger footwell. If you look you can see the black drain line in that corner, which runs through the firewall and dumps out the water near the front suspension lower arm/exhaust.

    No real solution, all the dealer does is run compressed air through the line to clean it out.

    Why a Subaru, which portrays an outdoor image, can flood the passenger footwell from parking outside is beyond me.

    It could be as others have suggested as well, but I'd say they are far less common than the evap drain line issue. Let us know what it was!

  • glenski01glenski01 Posts: 44
    what kind of add'l issues or comments on the 06 Outback do you have. I (with a slight reservation) getting very close to purchasing a new 2.5I Outback. Am spoiled, have had Honda, Nissan & Toyota products with ABSOLUTLY no issues. Do not have the time or desire to put up with a car with quality or mechanical problems, and hate rattles!!

    Thanks in advance for any info!
  • khallockkhallock Posts: 63
    Thanks! I always park outside because I dont have a garage. I live in rural VT. I dont really have many trees next to where I park, but they are around and the wind blows...

    My husband said there was a hole up under the dash and that the water was coming from that. So it sounds like its probably the AC line like you said.
  • smillersmiller Posts: 32
    Thanks for the advice, I will call SOA soon.
    I do like Subaru Outbacks, my wife and I bought our first one new in 1999 and we loved it, never had any problems in the five and a half years we owned it. After the car was totalled in an accident (no one was hurt) we decided to get another, safer
    Outback. I will give it more time.

  • kenskens Posts: 5,869
    Sorry to hear about the problems with a relatively new vehicle. What do you mean by slip/surge?

    The headlights shouldn't be burning out so soon. Mine have been fine for the last two years. I wonder if they are being installed properly (ie. not touching the glass). Was it two on the same side or one on each that went out?

    The gated shifter -- did you not get to try that on your test drive? I have the 5-speed auto but I like the gated pattern as I can find the gears without having to look down at the console unlike a straight pattern.

    Rotors -- do you park outside? If so, it could be overnight condenstation causing a very thin film of rust on the discs that get scuffed off after the first few stops. I get that every time I wash my car and get the discs wet. It's really harmless.

  • smillersmiller Posts: 32
    When I slow down from 30 to turn right to a side road, it happens after I make the turn and I accelerate back to 30.
    No response for a second then, a sudden surge,it's like someone gave you a push.

    Two headlights, both passenger side. I would not be surprised if it was installed the wrong way.

    I did get to try the gated shifter during the test drive and I didn't like it, which didn't matter because my wife is the main driver, she doesn't seem to mind.

    I don't park outside over night, it stays in the garage.
    I never see any rust build up on the rotors at all, they seem shiny.
    My old car would only do it in the morning after washing
    it the night before.
  • I checked with my dealer just today. They are still waiting to receive the electronics to re-program a car's ECU at their location. I guess that prior to this Subaru required the ECU to be sent off to the re-programming gods somewhere, with a several day turnaround. I'll be sure to post when this is resolved.
  • reliable2reliable2 Posts: 9
    I had similar issues a year ago at 16k after buying the same 2005 OB wagon in Nov 2004 and after 5 visits they replaced and adjusted the inhibitor/neutral switch "clockwise until switch was centered properly" and my cruise control, check engine light and no start problems ended and I have motored up to 35k miles with no more problems. I came from a Honda/Toyota background and share your frustration and listen to this - in the last year my other 2000 Outback had the head gasket replaced under Sube warranty, a tranny leak, two engine seal leaks and a front pinion gear replaced to the tune of $2500. I am glad to say that this warrior now has a clean bill of health and I am going to sell it and buy a 2006 OB at invoice, minus $2000 rebate and zero percent financing - all I have to say is get at least the classic extended warranty for the right mileage/year combo for $750 to $1250 as Subes are not cheap to fix but they provide outstanding safety, value and durability and the 2005/2006 2.5I has so much stuff included that you have to be a real motorhead or a big spender to buy anything else! I will keep the forum advised on the wisdom of owning this duo after my earlier frustrating experiences!Good Luck to all of you Fockers and give Sube a try for world class safety and performance at a reasonable price, but plan on the extended warranty if your dealer is charging $85 per hour like mine!
  • outbike1outbike1 Posts: 5

    Well, I drove the car 1000mi down to Florida, stayed there for a month, and am now in process of driving it back home. Did 400mi today, will do 600mi tomorrow. So, I now have about 3400mi on the car (4000 by the time I get back). So far the only issues I am having is the intermittent buzz in the dash behind the instrument panel that occurs around 1500rpm (not the fuel lines, it is immeidately behind the gauge cluster) and what appears to be ill-fitting window trim near the passenger side rear-view mirror that is allowing air in at speeds greater than 50mph (or slower if there is a strong head/crosswind). I am in the process of debating whether I want to have the dealer mess with these two issues - I am dubious of their repair efforts and fear that they may make matters worse.
    Other than that, the car (knock on wood) is fairly solid. Love the engine, much more refined and powerful when compared to my old 96. Like the transmission too, when compared to my old car - smoother and the additional gear (5 vs. 4) is nice plus. With the exception of the passenger window trim, the rest of the interior is flawless, as is the exterior fit and finish. I guess my one other minor gripe would be the Bridgestone Tires - seem to generate quite of bit of road noise. I used to run nothing but Michelins on my 96 - will definitely return to Michelin when the Bridgestones are shot.

    Overall, I really like Subarus - my 96 was a tank and I hope to have the same experience with the new one. The cars offer unbeatable versatility, safety, and value (6 air bags, ABS, AWD, comfortable ride, great handling and decent cargo room for less than 24K!).

    Let me know if you have any specific areas of concern. I too, appreciate the quality and craftmanship of Honda and Toyota - but until they offer a mid-sized wagon with AWD (the Matrix & RAV4 do not count) - it is Suabru for me.

  • kat95kat95 Posts: 49
    I am sorry to hear you are having issues with your vehicle. This is my second new car and both were Subaru's after much research. The 05 Legacy has been good so far.
    I did the research on " and edmunds" both have a wealth of information. I was considering the Civic or Corolla, however, there were too many issues. I've heard that they are good cars but that the quality has diminished
    over the last few years. Unfortunatly, even new cars come with problems too, which is frustrating after paying good money not have problems. The one thing I must say is that the original Subaru brakes aren't the best and sometimes feel like your stepping on mush. If you feel you've given
    the Subaru a chance over time and are truly not happy with it, trade it in. Sometimes, I get the urge for a vehicle with better gas mileage but can't take the hit on losing money right now trading it in. Best wishes. :)
  • khallockkhallock Posts: 63
    Well I picked my car up from Subaru yesterday and they DID NOT FIX THE LEAK! I am pissed about it. They said they "couldn't duplicate it". So now my passenger side floor is soaking wet. If it keeps leaking my car is going to smell and the floor is going to rot out. He said he didnt know what our next step would be, except to try to let it dry out as best I can (hello! I dont have indoor parking) and to bring it back if it happens again.

    They said they checked the AC thing and also the sunroof drains.

    My DH says we will try it 3 times and if they cant fix it we will ask for lemon paperwork. LOL. Then I can get a Tribeca instead since I could use more space in the car...
  • locke2clocke2c Posts: 5,038
    Kristin, are there any other Subaru dealers near you?

  • smillersmiller Posts: 32
    I had the same problem with my old 99 outback, it was caused by plugged drain holes under the door sill. I just poked a small screwdriver up into the holes to clean them out.
    Watch out for the water draining.LOL
    If the drain holes under the car get plugged you will see your floor flood, the sill fills up and spills over under the carpet.Hope this helps.

  • kmcleankmclean Posts: 173
    Kristen -

    Since Steve mentioned his "flooding" from water-logged door sills, it reminded me of an incident I had with my Outback wagon when it was a couple of years old. My wife reported a sloshing sound coming from the door when she made turns. I was a bit incredulous, but she was absolutely correct - it was actually the sills under the doors. I finally realized that the solution was to find the opening in the front mud flap, and hose the daylights out of it to free the drain channel of accumulated crud (and there was a lot - it drained out down behind the rear passenger door). I now do this every time I wash the car. I'd never had a car with front mud flaps before, so this was a novel problem for me. I don't know how your car is configured - or if it could somehow allow water to get into the passenger floor, but the hose solution is free and easy (take a flashlight and poke around with your finger on the front - inner - side of your mud flaps).

    I believe that leaking OEM windshields are pretty rare - more common with replacements. But rare doesn't mean impossible.

    Good luck - keep us informed.

    Ken in Seattle
  • kat95kat95 Posts: 49
    I have an 05 Legacy sedan,the driver's seat creaks. I have
    never experienced this with my other Subaru or other vehicles. The dealer says "haven't heard of this" looks at me like I have two heads and offers no solution. I think it's one of those mysterious sounds I'll have to deal with.
  • lilengineerboylilengineerboy Posts: 4,116
    So I picked up a HiddenHitch from JCWhitney for $120, and got the tail-light converter for $50, since Subaru decided only Outbacks want to tow a trailer, they didn't have a pug and play option for my car listed :mad:
    That said, from looking at the left tail-light, it looks like black is ground, green is brake, green/white is running lamp, and blue/green is turn. Does that sound right?
    I am thinking about cramming the module where the factory plug would be on the left side in the cargo bay. Does this seem reasonable? The tail-light converter requires direct power from the battery, I have no idea how to run this cable and am open to suggestions.
  • henryhhhenryhh Posts: 2
    My 2005 Legacy GT does the same thing. It was only
    80 degrees and the AC could not cool the car. It
    blows cold air when the compressor is running, but
    it only runs half the time! It blows warm air
    intermitently. There is no way I can live with this
    in a $30,000 car. I hope the dealer can fix it.
    Have you had any luck with yours?
  • henryhhhenryhh Posts: 2
    If you could check with your dealer and find out
    exactly what they replaced to get your AC working,
    I should would appreciate it. I don't want to sweat
    this summer in my 2005 GT limited wagon! Feel free
    to email me directly (
    Thanks for any help,
  • luck11luck11 Posts: 425

    Anything you can find out about the fix, when it happens, would be appreciated. ie. is there a specific SOA bulletin for it, or any details regarding what needs to be done.

    This would certainly help us (having this issue) when we go to our respective dealers.

  • luck11luck11 Posts: 425
    Folks, I was away for 3 days on travel, during which my 05 OB XTL sat in my garage. I was out this morning and backing into a parking space. Steering wheel was approximately half way between dead centre and fully cranked. There was a noticeable clicking sound coming from the front end....seemed like both sides as I was going in revers. I could swear I felt it slightly in the steering wheel. Only on turns, and only while moving in reverse (I think....didn't notice it going forward but will have to try on my way home tonight).

    Called the dealer and they are booked until Mon, but said that tech could at least test drive on Friday to tell me if it is driveable for a long road trip. Service guy said it might be the backing plates on the brakes sticking since the car sat for 3 days.

    Any ideas? Could this be a major prob with the drive system? I am supposed to go on a road trip early next week, and don't want to have deal with broken down vehicle.

  • kat95kat95 Posts: 49
    I've noticed that my 95 Impreza and 05 Legacy have brakes
    that feel mushy and the pedal travels from the day they were new. I drove a rental chevy cavalier, saab and their
    brakes stopped fast and held no pedal travel. I love the awd but am ready to trade it in.
  • I hear you on this one. Subaru brakes have always raised eyebrows for their longish stopping distances and poor pedal feel. I used to have an 1998 Impreza--the brake pedal feel in that car was absolutely awful. I'm still amazed I never rear-ended another car in my Impreza. I'm surprised I kept that car as long as I did.

    I now have a 2005 Legacy GT Limited 5MT wagon. Those brakes are a tremendous improvement over the old Impreza, but they still leave much to be desired--the Audi A4 Avant and the Volvo V50 brakes are definitely superior.

    I wouldn't ditch your car just yet, though. I've had thoughts about ditching my LGT but then I decided I'd rather spend a couple of thousand dollars on aftermarket modifications then have to spend even more money to replace my car with a new Audi or Volvo.

    The great thing about Subarus, the Legacy and the Impreza in particular, is that there is a wealth of high-performance aftermarket products available. Subarus are a tuners dream car. You might want to check out for information about ways to improve your brakes.

    Also, if you haven't already trashed the crappy OEM RE92 tires, replace them with a high performance tire--that will improve your stopping distances, too and dramatically change the vehicle's handling. I put Pirelli PZero Nero M+S tires on my car and would recommend them highly. For a little less money, I think the Toyo Proxes 4 is a good alternative. Both are all-season tires: passable in winter snow but not ideal for winter usage.
  • I had the driver side headlight burn out after 10-11 months (at about 30k miles). At that time, I ordered the Subaru dealer to replace both the burnt out headlight as well as the one that was still working. The service rep told me that Subaru had changed the lightbulbs it was using on the Legacy/Outback because it had been having issues with the original bulbs used. Since then (a couple of months ago) the bulbs have been fine--so far.
  • kat95kat95 Posts: 49
    When it comes time to replace the brakes,without spending
    a lot of money are there better brake parts, pads, disc etc. without completely modifying the current set-up?
    I knew the OEM tires were a disaster before I bought the car and replaced them the day I drove off the lot. It pays to research on tire rack. Thank you for your input :D
  • smillersmiller Posts: 32
    I think Subaru and the dealer should do a recall and change the defective lightbulbs without asking. LOL
  • locke2clocke2c Posts: 5,038

    Pretty much every Subaru since the 1999 model year has used a dual-stage brake booster which I believe they are doing to reduce pedal effort. Unfortunately, it also reduces feel, especially in the initial pedal travel which feels squishy.

    What can you do? Not much. A little bit of the squishy feeling is the rubber brake lines from the caliper to the chassis of the car. You can replace those with braided steel lines and it will help a little bit. I did that years ago on my (now long gone) '99 Impreza RS.

    BTW, I agree that the pedal feel is a little nasty but it can go the other way too-- most late model BMWs I've driven have extremely touchy and overboosted brakes. I want to apply at least 40lb of force for max-effort braking, not 10lb. And I don't want half braking at 5lb of force, I just want to gently apply them.

    Hope this helps. Your brakes are probably working fine, it's just that they weren't built to feel like the other vehicles you drove and you don't like it. Perfectly understandable.

  • bobny57bobny57 Posts: 30
    I too replaced my OEM Bridgestone RE-92s at 5,000 miles on my 2005 OBXT Wagon for Michelin Pilot Sport A/S tires. Braking and handling improved vastly, no more hydroplaning. Just a thought.
  • kat95kat95 Posts: 49
    I feel it mostly while waiting at a stop light,foot will be on the brake and then it starts to travel a bit and I push on the brake harder to keep the car from moving. Since
    I have experienced this with both Subaru's brand new,not worried but not inspiring confidence either. Thanks for the suggestion of braided steel lines will use that in the future. :)
  • babe915babe915 Posts: 34
    I like to change the coolant but the drain plug is covered by a plastic shield. there are two clips or plastic lugs
    that hold the cover on, do they snap off or is there a tool
    I need to remove them. before I break something I asking
    for your advice as some of you probably did the coolant change. Thanks
  • zowbudzowbud Posts: 1
    Read they same article and they indicated the problem was solved by having the dealer check the rpm sensor on the AC compressor. Didn't say if it was replaced or what.
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