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Engine Vibration '99 Outback

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11 replies to this topic

#1 Masterton


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Posted 18 October 2004 - 10:30 AM

I bought my first Subaru back in July. I've had my eye on one for years but never had the money for a new car. I had (still have) an '88 Volvo 240 which someone wanted to junk b/c they couldnt get it running. I got a hold of it and nursed her back to health and have been driving her ever since. Anyway I now own a '99 outback with 102k miles. It drives, idles, accellerates fine but there is an excessive vibration from the engine. its not a noise or a rattle from an exhaust flange or something loose. It vibrates the whole car. I'm not familiar with Subarus at all and not sure if the engines just rumble or could this be something wrong with the engine. I'm the second owner and bought it from the original dealer. They claim the 1st owner always had the service done with them and recently had the whole 60k tune-up done. I recently had it in for some brake work and mentioned the engine vibration but they didnt seem to pay it any attention. Is this kind of vibraion normal or could there be timing issues, or maybe it needs a tuneup? I'm not sure what to steps to take to check this out. any advice is greatly appreciated.



#2 Adnan


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Posted 18 October 2004 - 12:14 PM


Could be a few things. Starting with your question - no, these engines run very smooth. At idle there may be a bit of vibration, at least with an automatic in Drive. The flat-4 is a pretty balanced design, intrinsically so unless there's mechanical damage inside caused by a bent valve, it's an external problem.

Check the engine/tranny mounts, they may be worn. Next, check that all spark plugs are fully tight (I've had them loosen on me, causing a slight roughness).

If there are any doubts about the valves, run a compression check to be sure.

Lastly, check the alignment of the timing belt. You don't mention whether it was replaced uring the 60k maintenance but if it's off by a tooth or two, it'll happily shake.


#3 Setright


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Posted 18 October 2004 - 12:49 PM

Careful with the plug tightening! The alloy heads will strip the threads all too easily. No more than 15Nm on the spark plugs please!

Is the vibration constant? Front driveshafts have been known to be out of balance.

What about wheels? Are they balanced? All five lug nuts torqued evenly (95-100Nm)?

#4 Masterton


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Posted 18 October 2004 - 02:28 PM

They implied the timing belt was included in the tune up but I'm a bit skeptical about all that was done.

The vibration is mostly on Idle or going slow. It is not so bad at speed so I dont think its the tires. I'm under the impression something is out of balance, or out of round or else its with the timing of the engine. I've only done simple maintenence on this car and dont know much about it. Is the timing something I can fix pretty easily or is it worth spending the cash for a shop to check out? What might it cost for a timing belt change?

#5 Lesbaru


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Posted 18 October 2004 - 02:33 PM

A long shot...

Could your cats be clogged? My Subie got the shakes at 2500-2000 rpm when I was slowing down, which went away when I got new cats. I didn't anticipate that so it was a nice plus.

#6 pwoens


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Posted 19 October 2004 - 09:15 AM

My 88 did this and it was a u-joint going bad.

#7 uletek


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Posted 25 October 2004 - 10:20 PM

I have a similar vibration.

Is it only at idle? Does it get worse if the lights and/or A/C are on?

I know mine isn't the timing belt.. checked and double checked. Wires and plugs replaced and still a vibration. It's smooth once you get going.. but at a stop it feels like it's missing a cylinder.. yours?

Here are my guesses:

  • Cat or O2 sensors
  • possible adjustment of IAC or TPS (search the board)
  • vacuum leak (try some carb cleaner around the intake)
  • I'm even thinking mine is the torque converter???
  • dirty injectors
I'm still working on mine, so if I figure it out I'll let you know.

#8 New2XTs


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Posted 03 November 2004 - 07:46 PM

My 99 outback vibrates at aroudn 2200 rpm at idle or when moving. Dealer said older engine just gets carbonized and unless you rebuild just live with it. They said it wasn't motor mounts.

Is this usual?

#9 New2XTs


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Posted 03 November 2004 - 07:47 PM

I meant to say it vibrates when moving or not moving at around 2200 rpm. Is this usual?

#10 f15xxx


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Posted 03 November 2004 - 09:54 PM

mine gets a good harmonic at about 2400 rpm too. i decided the most cost effective way to deal with it was to turn up the stereo and ignore it. these cars all have the same glitches, like the vertical scratches on the outsides of the windows etc.

#11 elmwood22


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Posted 30 January 2006 - 02:08 AM

My 99 outback has the same issue- it vibrated when it had 28,500 miles on it and it still vibrates with 80,000. I have brought it to a dealership, they said most likely it was a misfire- it didn't notice any lack of power or decreased gas mileage. I said the hell with it, and drive it. I am beginning to think this year engine just does this. My friends 99 outback does the same thing also.

#12 2X2KOB


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Posted 30 January 2006 - 12:42 PM

I doubt that it's really a misfire. If it were, you'd probably have a CEL and one of the P030X codes. You could try pulling a plug wire to see what a REAL misfire feels like.

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