Last post on Dec 06, 2011 at 11:51 AM
You are in the Subaru Legacy & Outback
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Subaru Legacy, Subaru Outback, Wagon
#3959 of 11746 1997 OB Legacy Engine Failure
Jan 02, 2002 (8:29 am)
My 1997 OB Legacy 2.5 L engine ceased in December with only 97000 miles on it. We faithfully had the oil changed every 3000 miles and had all the services done. It had overheated twice since October and we had the dealership look at it but they said they could find nothing wrong. This time the engine ceased after about 1 1/2 hours of driving. Does anybody know of any technical service bulletins from Subaru that may help us out or know of any other similar problems? This is a Subaru - it's not supposed to have these problems!
#3960 of 11746 Need more info...
Jan 02, 2002 (8:38 am)
... what caused the engine to fail? Did you ever have the timing belt replaced as scheduled? That wouldn't have anything to do with over heating, however.
Jan 02, 2002 (8:54 am)
My Bean is an 02 and has the Potenzas and the old car (now my dad's) is an 00 with the Wilderness tires. The Potenza tread is different than the RE92s I had on a few Hondas. The E920Z model number Bob (subiefan) mentioned must indeed be a different tire than the RE92.
If you look at the 02 Outback brochure, you can see that they airbrushed "Bridgestone Potenza" on the 00-01 product photos which had the Firestone Wilderness tires. Very sneaky. For a while, I was wondering if they just re-badged the Wilderness tires, but the new Potenzas are in fact different than the Wilderness tire, and they drive/handle much better.
Which reminds me -- I drove to work this morning after my Bean had been resting in the garage for about 5 days. With the old Wilderness tires, I would have expected some vibration for the first 5-10 minutes of driving as the flat spots worked out. Not an issue with the Potenzas -- seems they did not take a set while parked.
Jan 02, 2002 (8:59 am)
A broken timing belt could be the cause, because IIRC yours is an interference engine. Subaru scheduled an "inspection" of the belt at 90k, change at 105k, but if it broke the 90k inspection would likely have revealed cracks, and it should have been replaced.
But the overheating problem hints at a bad water pump. Some mechanics recommend you change this when the timing belt is done, and that's at 60k miles for most cars.
Are all the accessory belts OK? If belt tension was bad, it's possible that they were slipping and not providing the needed power to the water and oil pumps.
Another thing to check is the rubber hoses for the radiator coolant. Any small leak would cause a loss in pressure, and that basically kills the effectiveness of the cooling system.
97k is certainly an early death, but parts like belts and hoses are items that wear and need replacement, whether it's a Honda, Mercedes, or Subaru. A malfunction is these wear-and-tear systems could have caused your more serious problem.
Jan 02, 2002 (9:39 am)
IIRC, with earlier 2.5 (and 2.2) engines, the timing belt replacement was around 60,000 miles. The schedule you mentioned is for newer 2.5 Phase II engines.
Jan 02, 2002 (9:45 am)
I dunno, Darlene told me it was 90k inspection/105k replacement for my Phase I engine, too.
I'm sure it's in the owner's manual.
Jan 02, 2002 (9:57 am)
The Tire Rack shows a Potenza RE92 in the 225/60HR16-OWL size/style that would match the new Outbacks. Here's a photo of the tread:
and here's a photo of my tires:
The tread looks the same to me. So maybe these Potenzas are RE92s after all.
Jan 02, 2002 (10:07 am)
but that Bridgstone tire doesn't appear to a OWL version...
Jan 02, 2002 (10:07 am)
Interesting, because most RE92s are V-rated and are a much more expensive tire.
Maybe they copied the tread design, but went with a more durable rubber.
#3968 of 11746 Engine Failure
Jan 02, 2002 (10:34 am)
The timing belt was changed at 60K miles. The car was just at the dealership 2 weeks before it died; but maybe they don't check the belts and hoses.