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New "New" Subaru owner


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#1 Uber Subaruber

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Posted 29 July 2013 - 06:17 PM

Hello all,

 

I am on my third Subaru. I had two others ('85 or '86 GL Wagon and '91 Loyale) which were essentially cheap 4x4 beater I drove into the ground with over 280K on each. The '85 was still running strong when she went to the boneyard- everything else was falling off!

 

I have had my 2002 OBW Limited 5sp for all of two weeks now. Bought it with 137K. I knew it might have some small issues being higher mileage and not knowing its service history 100%. (I did get a clean Carfax that showed some service history at the Subaru dealership) Clutch slips when I give it the beans at say 3-3500rpm, but that is partly why I got it at almost $2K less than Blue Book. In everyday "calm" driving, it works fine. Now that I am used to it, I can drive it without it bucking all over the place. Here are some other issues, in no particular order:

 

  • It seems to sometimes accelerate not-so-smoothly, and when engine-braking, it bucks/jerks a little bit from time to time. The dealer I bought it from replaced the serpentine belt (not the timing belt  :unsure:), so I wonder if something isn't just a little bit off, timing-wise. A tune up and timing check might solve that problem.
  • CEL was on when I test drove it. The dealer cleared and said it must have been some emissions thing. It has come on twice since then, but has gone off shortly after, once within a day or two, the second time within 3-4 hours. Any ideas? I has been HOT in Minnesota, and the A/C may have been in use on both occasions. No crazy driving (no high revs/Italian tune-up), the engine temp has been good. The last time it happened I was braking, the engine bogged down like I was braking without depressing the clutch (rpm went way down, almost killing the motor) and the light went on. Gas level was OK, so it wasn't a starvation issue, unless the fuel pump is going out.
  • Burning rubber smell from vents at start up. I am thinking the previous serp belt was fried and this is just residual smell, as it seems to have stopped, and when I had the car running and sniffed around under the hood, I didn't smell any burning rubber.
  • OUT TEMP display not changing: This just started today. It was cool this morning but warmed up to mid-70's. Display said 59-degrees all afternoon, until I drove on the freeway, where it sllowwwwly got up to 66 by the time I got home. The actual temp was 77. It has been pretty accurate up until now, quickly changing to the correct temp when driving from warm underground parking ramps into the cool morning air, dropping 10 degrees in a matter of minutes.
  • Clunking on deceleration: When completely lifting off the gas while driving, with the clutch engaged, it kind of "clunks". This might be the worn clutch, the timing a bit off, or it is just the way AWD Subarus are. I vaguely remember my other Subes doing this, but not sure. Should there be something else to look into, such as motor/tranny mounts, differential, axles?
  • Squeaking in rear corner: This is most likely a shock or spring issue, and it seems more pronounced when I have a passenger or two in the back. The car handles fine though, so I am not too concerned. Burned CDs skip over bumps sometimes, but not regular CDs, so it is the medium, not the car.
  • Rear defrost not working: Just noticed this this morning and haven't had a chance to look into it. If not a fuse, what might it be? The light on the switch goes on, but I know that doesn't mean jack.

Any other things I should be looking out for? This is the first "nice" car I have had in quite a few years and want to get the most out of it. I expect I will use this forum quite a bit during my ownership. But as I said, my previous two Subarus were older, basic transportation I didn't want to sink money into. I got my $5-600 out of them and moved on. This Outback is all "new" and "modern" and full of nuances I didn't need to worry about so much on my other cars. I am purchasing an extended service program for peace of mind, and will put up another post looking for opinions on that.

 

Thank you all for any advice/feedback you can give, and I am happy to be a part of your community!

 

Kurt

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#2 nickb21

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Posted 29 July 2013 - 07:00 PM

Congrats on moving up to the 'new gen'!

 

I think the first thing we need to do is figure out some of that service history. Timing belt most importantly, which should have been done at about 105k. In addition it would probably be worthwhile to do plugs/wires at that mileage if they haven't already been done.

 

If the CEL has come on since then and gone off, find someone with a code reader, or a parts store that will scan if for free. Even with the light off the code should still be in memory. (I'll try not to comment too much on the dealers behavior, oops).

 

Clunks may just be suspension related, I'm sure others will chime in.



#3 Uber Subaruber

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Posted 29 July 2013 - 07:26 PM

The guy who cleared the code was an idiot, yet he was in charge of evaluating incoming trades. When I told him the clutch was slipping, he said that due to a bum left leg, he may not have had the pedal pushed in all the way when he drove it, even though ANYONE who has driven a manual knows you release the pedal to engage the clutch. If he doesn't know how a clutch works, how can he evaluate a car?!?! Or tell me what the CEL might have been? I didn't feel bad at all when they gave me more for my trade because of the clutch, which actually barely slips at all.

 

Then they said they wouldn't replace the clutch because it was a Jeep dealer and they only wanted their guys working on Jeeps, since that is "what they know". Yet they changed the serpentine belt before putting it on the lot, according to CarFax.

 

To top it all off, he didn't really even put a value on my trade-in (1997 Accord coupe w/158K). He asked the finance guy what I "needed" to get approved for financing and gave me that price, which was $500. Blue Book on the Honda was $1100 in fair condition, with the A/C deleted, since it didn't work. Beyond that, the car was clean (zero rust, in MN) and ran well.

 

There is a reason they call them "stealerships."

 

Thanks for the feedback. I am sure I will 100 more questions, at least until I discover and fix any bugs in my new car.



#4 matt167

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Posted 29 July 2013 - 07:44 PM

At the $500 trade in value, I would have told them to have a nice day and walked out.. I recently did some work on a '99 GT that clunked on decel. In that cars case, it was likely transmission mounts as the shifter moved around accordingly..

 

My advice would be to take the car back and make them fix it. The problem is you bought a car with 137k miles from a shady dealer. They know that over 100k miles you can't make the lemon law stick, and it's pretty evident they needed it off the lot and found the first sucker to sign papers with so much wrong, ( no offense ) so they did not loose money on it.



#5 Fairtax4me

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Posted 29 July 2013 - 08:08 PM

Welcome to the board!

Sounds like you got a decent deal on the car. It looks clean enough in the pictures, hopefully the rust hasn't got to it too bad yet.

On to the issues, jerking/stumbling under acceleration often is due to old spark plugs.
Have the CEL scanned at the local auto parts store. Most do it for free. You may just have misfire codes, or something else that could be causing issues.
Typically misfire codes will clear themselves after one or two starts, most other codes will keep the light on for longer periods.

Some jerkiness is normal in these. But there are some bushings in the suspension that can cause issues with ierking around and clunking. The front bushings on the rear trailing arms wear out and can cause the rear end to move around a bit. The mount bushings on the rear differential can wear and allow the case to twist/flop around in the mount. The bushings on the ends of the diff mount outriggers wear and allow the mount to move around.
Engine and trans mounts are usually not bad but its worh checking them and the pitch stop mount above the trans.
Front control arm rear bushings, aka transverse arm bushings, are fluid filled and when they go bad will allow the arm to flop around some during cornering or hard acceleration or braking. When they go bad the dark grey heavy silicone fluid leaks out.

Squeaking from the rear. That model had some issues with the rear subframe and rear trailing arms rusting out bad. Check for rust first. If it looks OK start looking into worn bushings and such.

Burning rubber smell from the vents could be a ripped axle boot that has flung axle grease all over the catalytic converters. The passenger side axle is famous for that. Worth it to check tension on the belts anyway, since they did not have automatic adjusters yet on that engine.

Clutch slippage. If its original (good chance), then its just worn out. Daikin Exedy makes OE clutches for Subaru and makes very good replacements as well.
Funny thing, I just replaced the clutch in my 85 Ranger at 135k miles. Original parts (Ford emblem stamped on them) and right next to the Ford emblem was the Daikin shield emblem. Disc looked great, still had plenty of material on it. The pressure plate had just lost its clamping force after 28 years.

Anyway, back on topic, you're overdue for a timing belt change. Unless it has service history that says it was done recently, and even then I would be skeptical. The belts almost never fail, it's the idler pulleys and tensioner that fail and take out the belt with them, then you end up with bent valves.
TheRe are a few good sources for timing kits on eBay that include the tensioner, all idlers, water pump, and the belt (some even have cam and crank seals) for around $200.

#6 Cougar

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Posted 29 July 2013 - 08:36 PM

As others have mentioned the timing belt is the most critical thing you need to know about. Hopefully the Carfax report will give you some clues about that or a shop you can refer to for info about the service. There coud be a number of things causing the CEL to turn on. A common issue is the knock sensor goes bad. Hopefully it isn't related to the CAT operation.The outside temperature reading problem might be due to a bad connection. I think there is a connector in front of the radiator at the bottom of it that ties to the sensor. For the rear defroster problem see if you are getting voltage to the connection point of the heater grid. If you don't have there then suspect broken wires in the flexable tube running into the rear hatch door from the roof. 



#7 Uber Subaruber

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Posted 30 July 2013 - 01:02 AM

Thanks for all the feedback. It seems I have some investigating to do. As far as rust goes, some tiny spots from rock chips, and one 2x1 spot bubbling on the right rear quarter. That is it. Underside didn't look too bad, but haven't had it on a lift yet. Overall, it is in really good shape. I hope it wasn't just someone dumping it, whether the dealer or the PO. CarFax did say it was a one-owner trade, but I didn't see anything about the t-belt. That extended service plan I got may pay for itself right from the get-go. Is that a "recommended" service at a certain mileage?



#8 nickb21

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Posted 30 July 2013 - 02:02 AM

Timing belt is required at 105k miles OR 105 months. Definitely something you need to verify ASAP and get taken care of if need be. That's really the big one, everything else can be done as you get around to it.

 

Do you have the owners manual? If not you can find the maintenance schedule here: http://www.cars101.c...aintenance.html


Edited by nickb21, 30 July 2013 - 02:03 AM.


#9 Uber Subaruber

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Posted 30 July 2013 - 08:27 AM

I am guessing that even though the schedule you linked to only goes out to 10 years and 120K, the intervals for service remain the same (3,000 for oil, 30,000 for coolant, etc.) Common sense, right? I have a service contract that is contingent on making sure routine maintenance is performed. It won't cover repairs if I don't perform routine stuff on schedule. Kind of a bummer I can't do my own oil changes.

#10 Cougar

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Posted 30 July 2013 - 10:31 AM

The service items just keep repeating after 120k miles. Along with the timing belt, the tensioner and others things in that area should be changed out also.






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