Last post on Jul 23, 2013 at 1:03 PM
You are in the Subaru Legacy & Outback
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Subaru Legacy, Subaru Outback, Wagon
#4729 of 8657 coolant smell
Apr 28, 2005 (10:37 am)
I have a 2004 Legacy. About a week after I bought the car that only had 100 miles on it. I started to notice an antifreeze/coolant smell. I took the car back to the dealer only to be told they didn't smell anything. After a few more tries and negative reviews on the service questionnaire , they finally smelled the odor. The explanation I received was this was "NORMAL" and that there is a tiny hold in the coolant over flow reservoir to let out the vapors. I find it hard to believe that every Subaru owner puts up with this smell. Has anyone else had this problem?
#4730 of 8657 Subaru: Low Mileage & older car (98) vs High Mileage & new car ( 03)
Apr 28, 2005 (11:00 am)
I am looking to buy a Subaru OB wagon. They ares:
1. 98 OB 53K for $10,900
2. 03 OB 79K for $12,500
The 03 was a sales car w/ all highway miles and regular check ups 30 & 60, as well as oil change every 3.
Not much history on the 98- its being sold by a dealer so has had a through inspection.
The question is: Is it better to get an older car w/ lower mileage or a newer car w/ higher?
(Currently I drive a 93 Legacy Sedan w/ 140K...so high miles doesn't scare me as much.)
Your thoughts would be appreciated.
#4731 of 8657 Re: Subaru: Low Mileage & older car (98) vs High Mileage & new car ( 03) [jensreid]
Apr 28, 2005 (11:15 am)
I would recommene the newer 03 model for the higher price.
That said, there are some terrific deals right now, and I would try to get a new or newrly new one for almost the same money. For instance, I bought a new 2004 Outback (base) from McCurley in Pasco, WA for $17,340 on August 26, 2004. Seems like you could get an 05 for about that now, and there's a world of difference.......more than the $5000 difference just in warranty alone.
#4732 of 8657 Re: 2002 Engine Knock for 10 mins [digobw]
Apr 28, 2005 (12:16 pm)
Most likely what you are hearing is not a pre-ignition combustion type knock (ping), but something known as 'piston slap'. Many of us have it, and it has resulted in quite a lot of discussion here in the past. On warmer days, you might not notice it much, but the colder it is, the more irritating it is.
Basically, you are hearing oscillation within the cylinder bore of the tail end of the piston (known as the piston skirt). This is not a Subaru-only problem, although I wonder if the horizontal layout rather than more vertical arrangement of common engines might exacerbate the issue. In the quest for reduced mass (higher revving, reduced friction), the length of the piston below the wrist pin is trimmed. Until everything has expanded to equilibrium, it 'shakes' slightly, making the noise. A number of sources have reported that it does not appear to cause damage, but it sure does make a racket. Subaru issued a tech bulletin advising the service people to inform customers that all is well.
But just to be sure, take it in and have them listen to it. You are still in the powertrain warranty, so it is certainly worth the piece of mind to get an opinion. Let us know what you come up with.
#4733 of 8657 Re: Subaru: Low Mileage & older car (98) vs High Mileage & new car ( 03) [jensreid]
Apr 28, 2005 (12:24 pm)
Given the continuing head gasket problems of the older series phase 1 DOHC motors, I would opt for the '03 without question. Plus, you are getting a slightly larger, and more comfortable car for the money. I have driven in friends '98-'99 cars (1st gen OBW), own an '02 (year 3 of the 2nd gen OBW), and have rented several '03 & '04's on trips. Clearly, they get better each year as SoA adds and refines little things. For instance, after a set of feature enhancements added in '02 (over the '00 & '01), they went and gave the '03 a revised front suspension that improved ride and handling.
#4734 of 8657 Re: coolant smell [leg04]
Apr 28, 2005 (12:25 pm)
It could be that they overfilled it from new, or it could be the dreaded head gasket seepage. Do you smell it all the time, only when the car is hot, only when the car is cold? Where do you live, is the weather still cold there? How cold?
My '00 Legacy GT had a seeping head gasket. Coolant would leak out onto the exhaust where it would vaporize. It was a tiny leak but wow did it make a lot of smell. It only happened when the car was cold and the weather was cold. Any other conditions and it did not happen. The leak was so minor that I never even noticed the coolant level dropping.
Finally one very cold day the smell got *really* strong and I figured, enough. Took it to the dealer and they did the head gasket under warranty.
Let us know what it finally turns out to be.
#4735 of 8657 Re: coolant smell [francophile]
Apr 28, 2005 (12:40 pm)
From what I've noticed I smell it all the time. It is worse when the weather is warm. I live in PA and the temp is around 50-60.
I drive little less than 10 miles from work to home and when I get out of my car I smell it. There are no visible leaks, nor do I notice the coolant level dropping.
Last year we drove to Florida in mid Oct. and the smell was so strong that at a gas station, a section over someone made a comment about how strong the smell was.
Question is, how to get the dealers to do the head gasket work, when they like to put it off until it is no longer under warranty.
#4736 of 8657 Re: Subaru: Low Mileage & older car (98) vs High Mileage & new car ( 03) [fibber2]
Apr 28, 2005 (12:43 pm)
Thank you for the great information~
I had no idea about the head gasket problems. Good to know.
I am going to take the 03 into a mechanic tomorrow for a 'once over' and if all looks good, I'll likely buy it!
I appreciate your feedback. Very helpful.
#4737 of 8657 Re: Weird sounds and smell in my 2005 Legacy GT Limited [erickson00]
Apr 28, 2005 (4:03 pm)
Cross rotating the tires will sometimes fix drift if radial pull is the case. One other possibility is that front caster (a non adjustable setting) might be out of spec. Did the dealer provide you with the results of the alignment?
The clutch stink apparently has no solution. I've read about other owners complaining over at legacygt.com.
With regard to the gear whine, I don't recall hearing any when I test drove a 5MT LGT last summer (I bought an auto, however). Perhaps the dealer can let you try some other LGTs to see if you have a louder than normal gearset?
#4738 of 8657 Digobw 02 obw knocking
Apr 29, 2005 (5:34 pm)
Welcome to the Subaru Piston slap club. I also have a 02 obw with 54k miles . I have had the slap since 6k miles . I was able to get SOA to replace my #4and #2 pistons to combat the noise . That was at 42 k miles . Well the slap is back . I have done alot of investigating on this subject and there has never been a case of engine failure from piston slap in the subaru engine . Fibber2 has the best explanation of the noise . I have heard that some owners have had new short blocks installed and the slap has come back . I live with mine I just take it easy for the 1st 5-10 mins if driving . I have had my oil analysed every other oil change for the last 40k miles and I have no excessive wear in the engine . If anything my engine has very little wear for the miles . I only burn 1/2 quart of oil every 5k miles .I use sub filters and mobil1 10w30 . I have read that some owners have quieted the slap noise down by using a heavier oil or using a syn blend or straight dino oil. I,m thinking of trying a blend next change to see if there is any difference .