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Subaru Legacy/Outback



  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Good job, Doug!

  • nine51nine51 Posts: 78
    FWIW, I had X-1's on my 96 Impreza Outback (Outback Sport) a few years ago. When they were new, they were GREAT in the rain. No problems with hydroplaning. They were marginal on snow, only slightly better than the original equipment Bridgestones. They were quiet, and had a nice ride, but were not a "performance " tire. After they had 25 to 30K miles on them, the winter performance deteriorated to poor. I got rid of them at around 40K miles, since winter was coming, and I didn't want to drive on them through another winter. I believe they have a 70 or 80K tread wear life, but only if you drive in a warm dry climate. If not, plan on replacing them at 1/2 their tread life. The small groves (sipes) that they use for tread began to wear and squeeze together and close up, leaving me with a tire that was almost a slick, and it became a hair raising experience to try to stop on snow. The construction of the tire was good. I always felt it was a safe tire from a construction perspective, but I wasn't to crazy about the tread design. The tires were rotated and balanced every 7500 miles and the alignment checked / adjusted every 15K.
  • cptpltcptplt Posts: 1,075
    sorry, can't say I really had them on ice too much, it was my "good weather" spare vehicle (it was a 92 L sedan). When it was bad I always took out my 98 GT wagon with Arctic Alpins.I probably had put maybe 25K on these tires before I sold it recently, but most winters it had Blizzak WS15s.I am definitely getting them for the wifes minivan though when the stock Goodyear tires need replacing.In good weather and rain I would say they are almost up to the Pilot XGT H4s on my 98 though I didn't drive it like a madman! They are both a thousand times better in rain/snow than the MXV garbage I have had on previous cars!
  • babaorileybabaoriley Posts: 74
    Why not rent a full vehicle trailer instead of a dolly? It just seems safer, less problematic. Unless you own the dolly.

  • hammersleyhammersley Posts: 684
    Mike: Another "duh" moment - sorry.

    Doug: Thanks for the confidence-builder post on those lights. May have to take the plunge.

  • idahodougidahodoug Posts: 537
    Thanks for the input in the X1's. It would be great to get through a single year without purchasing more than one set of new tires. I think I'm singlehandedly making the tire store owner's mortgage payment at this point. I've heard Michelin may make the Arctic Alpin Pilot available in 14" this year, but will try to make a winter with the X1's if they don't get it out before winter. You may have seen my other posts on wheel offsets - the hidden agenda there is that I may buy some used 15" steel Forester wheels and put the already available 15" Pilots on them. Call me strange, but I actually like that styled steel wheel - reminds me of the alloys on my '97 Audi Quattro Wagon a bit - plus they should be cheap.

    Paul - do the lights. The new ones you'll get from the dealer have replaced the ones you have in there and they shouldn't burn out for the life of the car. Plus you get to see those cool little green rubber socks on the bulbs, and clean dust out of the center vents. Let me know and I'll lead you through it, or come out to CDA and we'll do it together.


    Yes, a full size trailer would be a good call. I have a large enough flatbed trailer (carried my '71 Pontiac LeMans Convertible with it), but the way the Subaru is getting to Michigan is a bit circuitous. It's for my mother in Michigan, but I found it locally here in Idaho. My sister and her family are doing a Western loop in their motorhome a couple weeks from now, and hitting Yellowstone just before heading back to Michigan. So I'm renting a UHaul dolly one way from here. Then I'm towing the Subaru to Yellowstone with my LandCruiser to meet them for about 12 hours (the National Lampoon Summer Vacation equivalent to the Grand Canyon "OK Honey, let's go" tour). Then I get up and hustle back to Idaho and they pull the Subaru home to Michigan.

    The reason it needed to be able to move itself enroute is that they are not the best with backing the trailer and prefer to pull it off the dolly if things get dicey at a campground. Yes, I'm going to be chewing my fingernails until they get home on that one. The Subaru is a creampuff and I spent a methodical 3 months looking for it.

    That's why the tow dolly - the 1 way factor. I would have to go get my trailer back from Michigan if I use mine. And there are few more miserable tows than pulling an empty tandem trailer - jiggles the tow vehicle like mad with no weight on it.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Renting a flatbed? I've done it several times for my XT6s. Also the advantage is that if they whack anything it will be the trailer not the car! But the backing thing could be a problem, although I bet they could just disconnect the trailer in the parking lot and leave it til the left the campground?

  • hammersleyhammersley Posts: 684
    Doug: CDA? Jeez, you're right down the road from me... mom & the kids were there playing yesterday!
    I'm in the Valley, about 2.5 miles south of the mall... soon as things settle down a bit, I might take you up on that offer! I'll zip in to Appleway for the bulbs soon - at least I'll have that part done!

  • idahodougidahodoug Posts: 537
    Yesterday? Too funny. Yesterday my wife and I had date night - left the kids and went to Spokane to watch the Alaska thing on IMAX and have a picnic by the river. Perhaps we should consider a house swap since we play in each other's back yards??

    If Appleway doesn't have them, the CDA dealer has a box full - perhaps 30 of each bulb.

  • pica1pica1 Posts: 23
    I took a Legacy for a second test drive (this time with the wife and daughter). It's a 2002, and I like it a lot.

    The salesman also suggested the Forester. He said it had more passenger room than the Legacy, and the cargo room was about the same.

    I didn't have a tape measure with me, but to my eyes the Forester's cargo space looked TALLER than the Legacy's, but certainly not deeper. They look about the same width (wheel well to wheel well). the salesman right about this? I'm trying to plan ahead for two small kids, a stroller, portable crib, etc.

    I took the Forester (2003 model) for a test drive as well. I'm not too sure about the interior materials. The "golf ball" dash and upper door material looks like a dust/dirt magnet to me, and the center consol plastic looks like it was borrowed from a Nissan Xterra/Altima.

    Still, the Forester has more standard features than the Legacy (2002), and better ground clearance (I live in NE Ohio, so occasionally we get a little snow ;-) ).

    Decisions, decisions...
  • grahampetersgrahampeters AustraliaPosts: 1,785

    Sounds like a good sales pitch. The Legacy is larger on the interior. Rear seat space, in particular is wider and more legroom. Cargo space is also larger overall.

    Give him a prize though. What stock is he trying to shift?


  • subyaudidudesubyaudidude Posts: 136
    According to, the Legacy has more passenger volume (95.9 cu.ft. vs. 95.1 cu.ft) and more cargo volume (34.3 cu.ft vs. 33.2 cu.ft).
  • jay_24jay_24 Posts: 536
    The outback/legacy has more room but not by much. There is about 1 inch more legroom and 2 cubic feet cargo room in the outback/legacy. You can do a compare on Edmunds main page between the two models.

    Test drive both and go with the one you like best.

    I have the Outback with 2 small kids. It works fairly well for weekend trips. However kid #3 may push us over the edge and back into a bigger SUV or the mini van.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Also don't forget the #s that are given are volumetric, which means that although the forester has almost as much interior passenger space, some of it is wasted up high above your head. The legacy has more practical passenger space front to rear.

  • kenskens Posts: 5,869
    True, the height of the Forester does increase both passenger and cargo volume, but it's not necessarily "wasted" space.

    If you don't typically carry rear seat passengers, the Forester gives a much more sense of roominess for the front-riders due to the height and more vertical windshield slope. That's one of the reasons why I picked the Forester over the OB back in '98.

    Also, the vertical height can come in handy in the cargo area. For me, it can be the difference of being able to fit two mountain bikes side by side in the back.

    I do agree that the Legacy has more overall useable space, but just wanted to point out that being tall has it's advantages too. ;-)

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    That salesman has it reversed. The Legacy has more passenger room, especially rear leg room. It's also wider.

    The Forester's cargo area is IMO boxier and more usefully shaped, but the strut towers protrude and eat into the volume, as does the moonroof (still worth it IMO). Still, it'll fit a taller box more easily, like a freezer or a clothes washer.

    The Legacy's cargo floor is wider because of the multilink rear suspension. You have a much bigger floor area, wider and deeper. But it's not as tall, so bulky boxes may not fit as well. But baby gear does.

    I own both and recommend them. The Forester is better in the city, turns quicker, is lighter, more maneuverable. The Legacy is smoother, quieter, better on the highway and on trips. It's a tad more comfy for passengers. But the Forester is more fun for the driver.

    But 2 kids? I'd go with the Legacy. Remember, you get rear disc brakes, and it's a little cheaper.

  • peterson10peterson10 Posts: 116
    Actually, the Forester was suppose to be my wife's car, but its too much fun to drive so we have agreed to "own" both jointly. The Forester is for blasting around town and getting to the trailhead or streamside; the Outback is for long range cruising (incredibly smooth and quiet) and, believe it or not, hauling lumber. Lumber, you ask? Yes, fold down the rear seat, slide the front passenger seat fully foreward and then recline it, and you have over eight feet of cargo length. The guys at the lumber yard USED to laugh at me when I'd pull up to the contractor's shed in my Subaru. I'd just smile, slide all fifteen 2x8s in, CLOSE the back hatch and wave goodbye. The slightly shorter Forester is better suited to hauling crates and the like. Its also custom-made for organizing flyfishing gear, but I'll save that for another post.
  • viktoria_rviktoria_r Posts: 103
    Got hitch installed at local U-Haul - $150 total (I opted out of wires/ball/etc, need only for bike rack). I believe it's 2". The hitch is by Draw-tite, looks OK to me, price was OK IMO too.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Sounds good, that is cheaper than the OE hitch, which is a Class I and has only a 1.25" receiver.

  • donekodoneko Posts: 4
    From: "Doneko" <>

    Subject: How to remove fake wood panel from dash?

    Date: Saturday, June 15, 2002 9:37 AM


    I purchased a 1999 Subaru Legacy Outback Limited couple of months ago. The

    previous owner poured some coke in the dashboard, so all the climate control

    keys are sticky. I'd like to remove them as well as the CD player in order

    to clean them. This is how far I got (I removed the cup holders):

    How should I remove the fake wood panels? I tried to force them but I'm

    afraid to break them.

    Thanks for your help!

  • hypovhypov Posts: 3,068
    Hehe you're in luck... maybe.
    I just did what you're attempting to do.

    Sorry juice, I couldn't wait and did the install.

    Anyway Doneko, ok you got the cupholder unit out.
    With a sturdy blade/knife, try to pop the top panel housing the vent duct and control module. Start from the left, insert the blade/knife at about the middle and gentle pry to dislodge the catch. You'll hear a pop. Then prey the right middle. Once both sides a release, slowly lift from bottom. There are wires connected to the hazard button.
    To remove the vent control module, there are 4 screws (one at each corner). Use a magnetized phillip head screwdriver. Once you've got those screw out, slowly pull the control module out and disconnect the wiring behind. Just remember what goes where.
    Now, for the CD. It's a big PITA.
    I see you've got the ashtray removed. OK, now you got to get down and look at the top side of the ashtray's slot. There are 2 screws towards the opening of the slot. Use a 1" blade/stem phillip head screw driver to remove them.
    Oh, before you do that. Engage (pull) your hand brakes. Insert key into ignition and turn to accessory, and shift gear to First. That will give you room to move, and you'll need the shifter there later anyway.
    Realistically, you should be able to remove the section of the trim but it didn't work for me. So like me, if it does not come off, you will need to remove the panel encasing the shifter. But before you could remove that you'll have to remove the panel before that. Flip open the center storage compartment. You'll find 2 screws. Remove them and with a blade/knife inserted into the seam on the side, slowly pry away the panel. Once that is removed, do the same with the panel encasing the shifter. You'll have to rotate the panel 90 deg. so it will clear the shifter. Now slowly remove the trim from the top. You'll find that the power socket will come with it. You'll have to manuever the trim to get the bottom of the trim to clear the base and get the power socket out of it's interior slot. Once you've got the trim and power socket to clear, remove power socket wiring (remember which is which. use a tape to label).
    OK, the audio unit. It is fastened by 6 screws, 4 front 2 aft.
    Use a standard lenght phillip head screwdriver for the 4 front. Magnetized the screwdriver. It's no fun fishing for the screws if they drop. For the 2 aft, use an extra long phillip head screwdriver, again magnetized. Then slowly pull the unit out. There will be 2 set of wiring behind, one will dislodge on its own when you remove the unit whilst the other you'll have to depress and stub and pull.

    Caution. Just underneath the ashtray area is the SRS unit. So be careful if you have fish for dropped screw. Try not to drop screw in there. Like I'd said earlier, it is no fun.

    Oh, while you're at it. Please take pics of each step for juice. I couldn't cause I don't have a camera. Thanks :)

  • idahodougidahodoug Posts: 537
    A couple of tips from having just done this a week ago.

    I think the steps Dave mentioned are a bit out of order, though you may well be able to do it his way as well. Here's where we differ:

    After removing the cupholder (you've done this, though the pic looks like the R side screw is back in?), you should pull the ashtray (or storage cubby -whichever yours came with) by pressing down on the lid that pops up and pulling it out of the way. Then look in the vacant hole for two Phillips screws on the "roof" of this vacant hole. If you don't have a small enough screwdriver, you can use a Vise Grips or pliers holding a driver bit from a power drill set. You only need to turn them a full revolution before you can take them out with your fingers.

    NOW, you can grab the top edge of the wood trim piece that goes around the stereo and pull it toward you a few inches until you feel resistance. DON'T remove this panel or you'll have to pull the center console to get it back in.

    Next, you can push both vents all the way down, and insert 2-3 fingers to grip the bottom edge of the vent holes in the trim and pull back and down at a 45 degree angle while rocking the piece side to side. It takes quite a bit of force, so focus on spreading the load across all your fingers to avoid breaking the trim piece. It will come out with a pop, then disconnect the wiring to the hazard switch as indicated above and continue.

    The plastic clips you're trying to get to pop loose are at the vertical center of the vents. I chose not to pry as the trim seemed very easy to mar, so I quit and just pulled it out.

    Anyhow, the upper trim panel you're working on is held down by the lower panel, and you can't tilt it out of the way until you remove those pesky ashtray area screws FIRST. That's not clear in Dave's post, so thought I'd pop in on 'ya.

    I cleaned some coffee or Coke grundge out with a wet rag. I suggest disconnecting the battery lest you short something and cause yourself more problems. Good luck.

    Tip for the day: If you don't have a magnetic screwdriver, try a dab of thick grease to hold the screws onto the tip.
  • hypovhypov Posts: 3,068
    Thanks for chiming in.
    I'm never always good at explanation(s).
    That's why they never ask me to write procedure manuals at work :D

  • oregonmanoregonman Posts: 60
    Thanks for the hitch info everybody. I got the Hidden Hitch and installed it myself. It cost $130 including the drawbar, but not the ball. Installation was pretty easy with a helper - as others have noted, it is quite heavy.

    I got a wiring kit made by Reese for $24. I thought that was a pretty good price considering the place I bought my hitch charges $60 for the Hidden Hitch brand wiring kit.

    On the 2002 Outback the wiring connector is on the passenger side under the floor carpet panel. Anyone know the best way to route the wiring from there to the outside?
  • rob999rob999 Posts: 233
    I did buy the Hidden Hitch wiring adapter and trailer plug - I don't know if it's the same length as the one you got. I coiled my wiring up on top of the spare tire. When trailering, I just pull the wire extension out under the tailgate and close the gate again.

    Some folks may prefer a more permanent outside connection. However, I don't trailer all that much, and keeping it inside eliminates corrosion and road mung buildup on the connectors.
  • storytellerstoryteller Posts: 476
    Rob: Good point about keeping your plug in the car to keep all the contacts clean. Another trick I'll mention although it might be well known: get a dummy mating plug on a short (12 inches) section of wiring harness. Tape that wire to your trailer wire harness right near the end. Spray contacts on both sides with WD40 or something similar and then keep the two plugs mated when you aren't trailering. Nothing is exposed to the air this way. Taping the dummy wire to your real harness wire just makes sure you don't lose the dummy.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    oregonman: on my Forester, at the bottom of the spare tire well was a rubber plug (Grommet). You remove that, and the OE harness kit includes a new grommet that replaced it, with a hole in the middle for the wiring. If you don't have one I'd try some surgery on the original plug, maybe drill a hole into it. Start small and enlarge as needed, because you want it water tight (mine is).

    I used some grease to keep the contacts rust-free, but I forget if it was included with the kit or not.

  • rob999rob999 Posts: 233
    Be sure to use DIELECTRIC grease for lubricating contacts on wiring connections. Dielectric grease does not conduct electricity. It's usually available at RatShack or your local hardware or trailer supply store.

    Once upon a time I had a Chevy truck with a permanent 'outside' trailer connection. I thought it would be schmart to coat the inside of the connector with lith grease to prevent corrosion, and so I did. About a day later I noticed the turn signal and running lights operating erratically. While walking around the back of the truck I heard a sizzling sound, like bratwursts on a grill. I followed the sound to the trailer plug. Lo and behold, the inside of the plug was glowing cherry red- the whole plug melted together. The lith grease had shorted the circuit out. Had to get another plug and section of wiring harness. I don't know why, but the circuit breaker never blew out despite the wires melting.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Now I'm pretty sure a little tube came with the hitch kit, because I don't have that grease in my shed.

  • oregonmanoregonman Posts: 60
    Thanks again for the excellent info. I hooked the wiring adapter up and routed the wiring into the spare tire well. I found the grommet that juice refers to and that should work fine. Nice touch for Subaru to include a replacement grommet in the wiring kit.

    I think that I'll leave it in the tire well for now and try running it out the tailgate at first and if I find that to be a problem, I'll run it through the grommet. Thanks again for all the help.
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