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
#5065 of 8657 Re: head gasket failure [ribbons]
Aug 05, 2005 (4:39 am)
My 99 Outback Legacy Wagon started doing the exact same thing very early this year (overheating randomly, coolant backing up into reservoir). After 3 mechanics, a change in radiator, plugs, thermostat, etc, they opened her up looking for a head gasket and found a tiny hairline crack in a cylinder.
After speaking with a parts guy at a Subaru dealership, the 1996-1999 dual overhead cam motors all have problems with overheating. In fact, he told me I wouldn't have much luck looking for a used engine because everyone in the world has sort of used them up replacing engines just like mine. He stressed that the 2000 (onward) engines were changed by the manufacturer because Subaru had no idea what was causing the overheating and probably didn't want to take the risk of a major recall.
A mechanic I used to date has advised us to find an attorney and to contact Subaru HQ directly (they deny everything of course). Thus, I pass that information on to you.
PS: If anyone else has had this problem, I would like hearing from you. It's taken us almost 5 months to figure this all out!
I wrote Subaru a letter after replacing the head gaskets on my 1997 at 140K miles (before there was a major failure) telling them I didn't like the fact that they officially were denying any problem with the 96-99 engines while all the mechanics and service managers are well aware of it. Toyota fessed up to their head gasket problems, and even Ford replaced a ton of 3.8l engines at little or no charge for overheating problems. Subaru offered me a $1,000 discount on a new Subaru within six months, but I didn't take them up after driving the 05's. My '97 has 161K miles now and I think the new gaskets will hold up through next winter, which is what I'm looking for.
If you go to Subaru enthusiast sites like UltimateSubaru, you will find many threads reporting head gasket problems. At one point a guy had a registry of cars with head gasket problems, but ut's gone off-line and my suspicion is he settled with someone and shut it down.
By contrast, reports of problems with headgaskets here seem under-reported. Some owner forums here are rant-fests, while others are feel-good.
#5066 of 8657 Clutch Slave Cylinder
Aug 05, 2005 (6:12 am)
I had to to this on my Miata, wasn't too hard.
In fact I got a rebuild kit for under $11, and some brake fluid, and bled the system myself.
It's about as hard as doing a brake job.
#5067 of 8657 Re: Replies [xwesx]
Aug 05, 2005 (7:37 am)
Re. the fan motor, the sound like spokes in a bicycle wheel made me wonder: have you looked at the possibility of some sort of debris blocking the fan? We have lots of trees in our yard, and spring and fall we get tons of leaves on the car's cabin air intake. We occasionally used to get a leaf or twig come all the way through to the interior air vents and blow into our faces (different cars - the Subie air filter would catch them now).
Just a thought. After 190k miles, there could be all sorts of stuff in there, and the effect might be intermittent. A leaf wouldn't stop the fan motor, but a twig certainly could. If you pull the glove box, can you get a hand in to spin the blower and see if it is free?
My point is that an intermittent problem can be hard to find, and I would not go into it assuming the problem is electrical.
#5068 of 8657 Re: head gasket failure [garandman]
Aug 05, 2005 (8:13 am)
Actually, Scott McGerick's weblog is still up and running, and still getting new cases logged. It makes for some interesting (and worrisome) reading. FWIW, my '98 Forester is at 155K km (~95K miles) and no signs of cooling or headgasket problems. I hope I didn't just jinx myself
Aug 05, 2005 (8:20 am)
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#5070 of 8657 Re: [ateixeira]
Aug 07, 2005 (5:15 pm)
My wife has a 99 Subaru Legacy L wagon, which is displaying the cursed Check engine light. We had the codes pulled, and found 3 problems...faulty knock sensor,Front O2 sensor with a slow response time, and rear O2 sensor pre-heater failure. I replaced both sensors with Walker brand 4 wire universal sensors (this car happens to have 4 wire O2 sensors on front and back of catalyst, unlike many of that year, that had a 3 wire and a 4 wire sensor). Also, I replaced the knock sensor.
We were told by a Subaru dealer, and a tire distributor that does inspections, that we would have to drive the car 70 to 100 miles for the ECU to reset the Check engine light, after repairs are made of course, which makes sense to me, since the OBD II ecu needs to take averages that fall within a pre-determined specifacation for emissions. Problem is, it won't turn off, after 100 miles of long drives. Any ideas anybody? Before I changed the sensors, or knock sensor, I disconnected the battery for about 20 minutes, which reset the computer, for about 5 to 7 miles. That was before we had the codes pulled.
Now, disconnecting the battery doesn't do anything for the light. It comes right on upon starting, and stays on steady, as always. Very frustated! Doug Brown
#5071 of 8657 Re: [doug900]
Aug 07, 2005 (7:06 pm)
ODBII will not turn off the light if the condition (or some condition) still exists. So, you might need to check some wires or at least the code that it's throwing to figure out what next to check.
Most OBDII scanners can clear the codes, my OBD-2.com one does.
#5072 of 8657 Re: [subearu]
Aug 08, 2005 (3:58 am)
Thanks Brian, but the only 3 codes that came up, front and rear O2 sensor, and knock sensor, I replaced, within the last week. could these be codes that have to be manually reset with an OBD II scanner? Codes that the ECU can't reset?
Is there a way to reset them with the diagnostics connectors under the dash below the steering wheel? I read something about that a couple of weeks ago,somewhere.
Also, I found an OBD II analyser for $200, that interfaces with a laptop. As soon as I get the cash, I buying one! I don't like going to dealers, and have done my own machanical work for years, succesfully.
In addition to my wife's Subaru, I own a 1999 Saab 9-3, and, that scanner will work on that also, since it comes with an ISO interface, if I choose, amongst others available. Doug
Aug 08, 2005 (7:28 am)
Is it still throwing the same exact codes as it was before?
At one point Patti told us it took something like 9 cycles for a code to reset itself once it was fixed, but I would have expected the ECU reset to fix that right away.
#5074 of 8657 Re: Codes [ateixeira]
Aug 08, 2005 (8:55 am)
I did call a dealer that sells only subaru (in fact it was were we purchased this car several years ago), and the lady that answered said that 70 to 100 miles for the ECU to be happy with everything and reset the check engine light, is not etched in stone. She said that she has seen as much as 500 miles before the check engine light was reset. She said that one option is to reset it manually, with a OBD II reader and start from ground zero, but then everything would have to reset itself (another 50 to 60 miles or so, give or take).
Also, I wondered about aftermarket O2 sensors (which is what I purchased), and she said that they use them all of the time at there dealership, without any problems.
Bottom line...Keep driving it to see if it will reset, says she. I may stop at autozone to see what codes come up, just for laughs. Autozone said that they will not reset the ECU because of liability, but they can read it and give you the codes. Doug Brown