Last post on Dec 06, 2011 at 12:51 PM
You are in the Subaru Legacy & Outback
What is this discussion about?
Subaru Legacy, Subaru Outback, Wagon
#1266 of 11746 Questions about the older wagons, I'm shopping for one
May 03, 2001 (8:50 am)
After 20+ years of driving Volvo 245 DLs (IMHO, the world's finest car) I'm beginning to shop for a Subaru wagon, probably used, probably a Legacy, with a manual transmission. Existing 240s are too old, new Volvos are not what they used to be and Volvo mechanics are scarce in Vermont, where I hope to spend much more of my time. Dirt roads, road conditions and weather create big car-buying and car-maintenance issues. So I've been browsing web sites, reading boards, anything to avoid a dealership and salespeople. And you all seem to be a well-informed group, so ...
1. What's the difference between a "viscous limited-slip differential" (OB) and a "viscous coupling locking center differential" (Legacy) ? Is one significantly better than the other?
2. What's a "rear differential protector" and what are the consequences of not buying it? Since I drive on a lot of dirt roads the word "protector" seems significant.
3. For the repeat Subaru buyers on this board, is there anything about 1997-98-99 wagon models that I should watch out for? Any repair/maintenance issues that I should be aware of?
4. When the posts talk about "float" with respect to tires and tire pressure and handling, what does that mean? Is this sluggish response on corners, or bad-weather handling problems, or something else?
One more thing: does the rear seat in these older wagons fold down to expand the cargo space ?
Thanks for the words of wisdom on the Check Engine light which I would never have thought about prior to letting panic set in, and about early rotor wear. Thanks also for all the info on tires, tire pressure and alignment. Take comfort in the fact that the new Volvos are ENGINEERED to be extremely sensitive to balance and alignment, much to the irritation of many customers (says my son the Volvo mechanic), who pay a pretty penny to correct these probems as they regularly occur. Volvo has forgotten that there may be computer-aided-design justification for these constraints, but computers don't pay for the consequences.
May 03, 2001 (9:12 am)
All I changed was the filter. I think there was a slight increase in power in the lower gears, but it wasn't worth the extra noise so I removed the K&N filter and went back to the paper filter.
Thanks for the input
May 03, 2001 (9:23 am)
1. The "viscous limited-slip differential" (LSD) shifts the power from the left rear wheel to the right rear wheel. If it senses slippage at either one of those wheels, it send power to other wheel which has more traction.
The "viscous coupling locking center differential" (all manual transmission Subarus) send power to either the front wheels or the rear wheels. This occurs when slippage is sensed, under power or under braking (weight transfer). Under heavy braking, more weight is shifted to the front of the vehicle, when that happens Subaru sends more power to those wheels. Conversely, under heavy acceleration, the weight shifts rearward, again with the power shifting to those wheels.
With automatic Subarus, an electronic/computer-controlled coupling replaces the viscous center coupling. It does the same thing in terms of power transfer.
Also, all manual transmission Subarus normally have a 50/50 power split between the front and rear wheels. Again, that is constantly changing as the driving conditions dictate. With automatic transmission Subarus (except the new Outback VDC and Impreza WRX) the power split is normally 90/10, front-to-rear.
2. If you do a lot of gravel road driving the rear differential would be a good idea. It's a "skid plate" for extra protection.
3. None that I'm aware of.
4. I'm not sure. It has been reported many times that Subarus are quite sensitive to having the correct tire pressure.
Yes, the rear seat does fold in older wagons.
#1269 of 11746 Thanks - hood deflector
May 03, 2001 (11:28 am)
Thanks for all the good info and opinions on hood deflectors. I decided to have the invisible hood and headlight protectors installed by a local window tinting company that uses the 3M product. My friend has a 1 year old Audi and she's already got rock chips on the hood and lost one headlight which is costing more than 300 bucks to replace.
May 03, 2001 (12:10 pm)
Elizabeth: Bob did a good job addressing your questions, so I'll just add my 2 cents' worth.
For the type of driving you describe, an Outback or Forester would be best. I have the rear diffy protector and I do recommend it for your type of trails.
I recommend a '97 or later Outback, since it got 165hp and runs on 87 octane (earlier ones needed premium). The seats do fold, and they are fine cars. My cousin has one, and even with 3 kids she refuses to get rid of it.
An alternative would be the '98 or newer Forester. They were cheaper when new, so prices would be lower than the same year Outback. They have the same 2.5l engine with 165hp running on 87 octane, averaging 25.1mpg in my case. The seats recline back and split to fold flat, without having to mess with the bottom cushion. It's lighter and so a bit quicker, too, but slightly shorter and has less passenger room.
My cousin bought her '99 Outback after I bought my '98 Forester. Then my dad joined the club and bought a 2001 Outback Limited. As you can see, these are fine vehicles with lots of repeat buyers.
#1271 of 11746 Dog Guard & hood deflector
May 03, 2001 (12:47 pm)
Anyone have a Subaru dog guard? Any trouble with it loosening on bumpy roads? Someone reported that problem on carReview.com by a Kevin Adams. Wondering how widespread the problem was or if he just didn't put it in right. Here in Colorado we have more than our share of bumpy roads :-o
We had the hood deflector put on at the factory. Driving up to the ski areas around here is like driving in a gravel storm. :-o Chose the deflector because it's relatively easily removed/replaced, doesn't rub on the paint, deflects a little bit of the bugs off the windshield, etc.
#1272 of 11746 More Elizabeth...
May 03, 2001 (12:51 pm)
Subaru owners are not unlike many owners of Swedish vehicles. That is, they tend to hold on to them until it's just not worth repairing anymore. I sense you're like that, given that you've been driving an ancient Volvo.
Having said that, and especially since you live in Vermont where many of the roads are less than ideal, I would have a good mechanic go over your prospective purchase with a fine tooth comb.
I also agree with juice, in that I would recommend either an Outback or Forester (given your history) over a Legacy. Why? Larger and beefier tires, more ground clearance, and a HD suspension.
One more thing: the 2.5L vehicles have a longer life-cycle for replacing the timing belt, at 105,000 miles. 2.2L vehicles need to have it done every 60,000 miles.
#1273 of 11746 hitch problems
May 03, 2001 (1:49 pm)
I recently purchased an LL Bean outback and had a trailer hitch installed at the time of delivery. The car subsequently developed a loud metallic vibration noise when turning. I was on vacation and had another dealer inspect the car and found they had not installed a subaru hitch. The aftermarket hitch makes contact with the exhaust system and causes the noise. I wanted to know if anyone has had problems with subaru's hitch or if it is just the aftermarket one that the dealer installed.Thanks.
#1274 of 11746 Accessory power outlets
May 03, 2001 (1:54 pm)
I just picked up up an Outback Ltd Wagon, and was quite surprised to find multiple warnings in the owner's manual against using the cigarette lighter plug as a power outlet for items such as cell phones. Since I have the seat warmers, there is no outlet in the center console, and I don't think it's reasonable to crawl into the cargo area to access the only other outlet, which is well hidden behind the jack storage compartment cover.
Has anyone ever heard of any real problems with using the lighter socket, or is this some sort of strange liability issue created by the Subaru legal department? Since this car is built in Indiana, you would think that some minor concessions would be made to accommodate American driving habits.
#1275 of 11746 Power outlets & cell phone
May 03, 2001 (2:12 pm)
I'm very curious about this too. What could happen if a cell phone is plugged into the cig. lighter? This is a big concern to me. I carry a cell phone in the car for emergencies and want to be able to plug it into the cig lighter on long road trips.