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You are in the Subaru Legacy & Outback
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Subaru Legacy, Subaru Outback, Wagon
#260 of 8641 Rough, Vibrating Engine in 1999 Outback
Apr 26, 2002 (8:25 pm)
First time I've ever been at this forum so excuse me if this problem has been addressed before...
I own a 1999 Subaru Outback Legacy wagon. In early January I noticed a 'subtle' engine vibration - as if a cylinder was misfiring - whenever I accelerated between 30 and 35mph. The problem is slightly more pronounced in cold weather, but it exists at virtually all temperatures below 80 degrees, and remains even when the car is fully warmed up.
At first I thought it was an unbalanced tire, as it appeared as if the car vibrated slightly as well, but I had all of the tires checked and rebalanced.
I brought the car to my Subaru dealer and they claimed they could not duplicate the problem. I am near 100% positive that they did not bother to road-test the car, however.
I then brought the car to an independent mechanic who immediately noticed the problem when he roadtested it. He thought it was a broken ignition wire or a bad plug, and I gave him the OK to change all spark plugs and ignition wires. The vibration continued.
This mechanic contacted a national repair complaint reporting service to which he subscribed (they apparently maintain a database of car owner complaints for virtually every automobile make and model) to see if other Outback owners had reported this problem. The service bureau researched the complaint and stated that a relatively small number of 1999 Outbacks were plagued by 'loose engine valve seats' that manifested themselves with the same engine vibration symptom.
The bureau reported that the problem was eliminated only after the engine valve seats were overhauled.
The independent mechanic then offered to contact my local Subaru dealer and explain what he had been told by the service bureau. The Subaru service tech claimed he had never heard of this situation with 1999 Outbacks.
The engine vibration problem still persists and in fact has become slightly more pronounced - though it sometimes has disappeared on a couple of the 85 degree plus days that we've had here in New Jersey this spring.
Any insight or advice on this problem would be greatly appreciated.
#261 of 8641 check engine light/2002 Legacy Wagon
Apr 27, 2002 (10:11 pm)
The "check engine" light on my 2002 Legacy Wagon keeps coming on (purchased 10/01, less than 5000 miles). I've taken it into the dealer a couple of times. They "fix" it for awhile, but then it comes back on. After the last "fix, I heard a funny whirring noise seeming to come from under the center of my car. Took it back, the whirring noise is gone, but the "check engine" light came back on. I'm taking the car in Monday, the dealer is going to keep it for a couple of days (and take care of the cost of a rental car for me). The service manager said this is a difficult problem to solve because of ever increasing emission regulations. I'm very disappointed that a new car is taking up so much time. Working the drop-offs and pick-ups around a busy work schedule is inconvenient, and not something I expected with a new car. I've only ever owned Hondas and Toyotas, and never had an annoying problem like this.
#262 of 8641 Brake Pads Front & Rear 01 Ltd Auto Outback (Continuation of Msg #236 discussion)
Apr 28, 2002 (4:22 am)
I "peeked" at the pads and cleaned and waxed the insides of my alloy wheels yesterday. I have some thickness information as measured at the "flat" at the end of the pad. I also photographed the brake assembly in case my description of the "flat" is poor. Both front pads were 16/32" from the "flat" to the surface of the rotor. Similarly both of the rear pads measured 14/32". Based on visual observations I think the front and rear pads and assemblies are different. I suspect that is because more braking occurs in the front. I was able to see a "notch" in the pad surface on the front pads that, based on other brakes I have seen over the years, was at least 1/8" deep indicating to me I am not near the wear limit of the pads or down to my last 25% of useful pad.
Does anyone have a service manual that might indicate what the "new" and "worn out" or "wear limit" thicknesses might be?
Regarding the cleanup and waxing of the insides of the wheels, that was a tough job. Still looking for the "right" brush or tool to remove the corrosion or dirt on the backsides and holes of the spokes. It was fairly easy to clean the inside diameter of the wheels but the spokes were tough. I scrubbed the spokes with an old toothbrush and used a wax cleaner to remove most of the dirt. I guess I should of done it earlier, right after I took delivery of the car new.
Thanks in advance for the thickness information and any advice on round two of the wheel cleaning activity that I might attempt in the future. If any of the photos showing the "flat" are needed let me know.
#263 of 8641 cleaning tip, Alloy Wheels and the like
Apr 28, 2002 (9:32 am)
Secret weapon (well, not so secret)= SIMPLE GREEN! Simple Green is a powerful yet very safe degreaser/detergent which can be diluted to suit your needs. I would be careful using it at full concentration, for prolonged periods, on delicate paint and the like, but on alloy wheels it is unbeatable. Spray it on, let it sit for 30 seconds or so, hit it with a soft brush (worn out toothbrushes are ideal), and everything, including the tar, underbody goop, and bugs rinse right off. Hey, do I get a commission on this?
Apr 29, 2002 (7:19 am)
Steve: call your dealer and ask to schedule a ride-a-long with the service manager, then show them. Could be an injector, or the ECU, is my guess. If the dealer drags their feet, call 800-SUBARU3 and open a case number with them.
Emma: CELs are very common today, much more so than a few years ago because of much stricter OBDII regulations. Federal law requires that the light be triggered even for a single misfire - perhaps caused by water in the gas tank from condensation, or even a loose gas cap causing a vacuum leak in the fuel system.
I'd advise two things: don't run on empty, fill your tank once it's less than 1/4 full, especially in the winter. Also, tighten that gas cap until it clicks - a few times.
The good news? A solid lights means little or nothing. A more serious problem would have the CEL blinking. In that case I'd be more concerned.
Black: you may want to ask in the Subaru Crew - Modifications thread about the brake pad specs, I bet Colin knows and he hangs out there.
#265 of 8641 re: pads, since you sent me here Bob
Apr 29, 2002 (4:10 pm)
Paisan hit the nail on the head. btw, didn't see if you have an automatic or manual OB? Automatics almost always go through brakes faster due to a lack of engine braking.
Anyway, I don't know what the service limit is on pad thickness but 1/2" sounds like quite a lot of pad to me. You could call 1-800-SUBARU3 and ask what it is.
If you feel you're being taken advantage of after learning the service limit yourself, complain aobut it to the dealer and SOA via a professionally written snail mail. And even if your pads are nearly worn out-- which it sure doesn't sound like they are-- you can change them yourself in literally minutes. Buy a can of Brake-Kleen and give the pistons a squirt while you swap the pads, that's all it takes...at least the first time-- you may eventually want to have more thorough service done on the calipers.
#266 of 8641 Warranty Issues
Apr 29, 2002 (6:21 pm)
My 2000 GT wagon (automatic) is going in for its final check before the 36k warranty expires. I wanted to see if others have had some of these issues. I won't repost some of my problems that I've already seen on this list.
1. Body makes creaking noises when driving very slowly. It probably does it at higher speeds too but the road noise drowns it out.
2. Rear tailgate release lever won’t work when weather is very warm. Can’t open the tailgate under those conditions.
3. Front suspension feels loose when going over bumps. It makes rattling noises.
4. Transmission shifts hard before warmup.
5. On very cold startup it is slow to crank and the idle speed fluctuates (between 1800-1900 RPM?). If car is not completely warmed up it seems to run quite rough. NOTE: I live in MN--it gets really cold.
6. When braking from higher speeds there is a sound like the rotors are warped but I can’t feel anything in the brake pedal.
7. When accelerating (rapid) on slippery surfaces the rear drive is noticeably slammed. You can feel the car shake hard and a loud thud can be heard. Is this the LSD?
Thanks for any feedback you might have.
Apr 29, 2002 (6:30 pm)
4: Normal for these transmissions, also it won't shift to 4th before the ATF is above 32degrees
5: Probably need a new battery, and 1800-1900 is normal at startup when cold.
7: That is the power being shifted from the front (80% torque) to the rear due to slippage, normal on AT subies
#268 of 8641 re: Warranty Issues
Apr 30, 2002 (5:57 am)
I agree on 4,5, and 7. On #4 I think its just the torque converter not kicking in until its warm. I noticed this all winter. The RPMs are about 250 to 300 (3100? 70mph) higher for about the first 5 to 10 miles, then it drops down to normal (2800? 70mph).
#6 HOw long of a commute do you have? From what your discribing it might be similar to what our van had. Since my wife drives the van the most it has short trips and some days doesn't go anywhere. The brake rotors actually get surface rust on them which makes them have a rough grinding noise and some pulse feel.
Apr 30, 2002 (6:03 am)
My response was as per the manual, at least the one in my XT6s and I believe my dad's '97 Legacy as well.