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#454 of 19285 1998 Subaru Legacy Outback-Oil Leaks
Nov 07, 2002 (5:00 pm)
In the last year my Outback has had oil leaks repaired four times. It has 88,000 miles. Twice for camshaft seals, once for main seals, and once for the valve cover gasket. It is all under extended warranty but if this is going to be a continous problem, I may have to dump the car which I hate to do because I really like it. Is this an ongoing problem with this car and is there a permanent fix so I do not have to do this so often>
Nov 07, 2002 (7:22 pm)
just kind of an old car thing, IMO. The only one you have not yet done is the rear crankshaft seal, which is going to be expensive, and if you have a manual transmission, it would serve you well to have this seal replaced when you replace the clutch.
The camshaft seals are important, because oil can get on the timing belt, but the others you mentioned are not very important, worst that will happen is you will get some oil on your driveway.
Oil seals wear out on all engines in all cars - this is not a Subaru-specific problem.
Nov 08, 2002 (12:08 am)
I disagree with Nippon on that. For a 4 year old engine to have this many oil seal issues is not acceptable to me no matter what the brand. If I knew that an engine was going to suffer that much work before 100k, I wouldn't buy it.
I believe this engine and year is among the worst Subaru engines ever for oil seal integrity and from what I know your engine will continue to have this problem. It has been discussed on these boards a bit. Apparently, the 2.5 you have was fixed in subsequent model years.
Nov 08, 2002 (11:52 am)
Herman: I wonder if they improved the quality of the seals and gaskets. Ask your dealer if he put OE ones on there, or if there have been improvements.
That does occur on the Phase I DOHC 2.5l once in a while, though most are fine (including mine). The Phase II SOHC design arrived in 1999 on Foresters and Imprezas, and in 2000 on Outbacks and Legacys.
Keep your oil change intervals short - 3000 miles. Also, do NOT switch to synthetic at this point - it flows better and hence leaks sooner. Stick with dino oil, 10w30 or 10w40, nothing thinner than that.
With new seals and everything torqued down properly, the odds of it happening again are low. Generally I suggest that people change the seals when the timing belt is swapped, since labor is paid for.
Nov 08, 2002 (2:25 pm)
60,000 miles; whatever they do, I can not get proper alighment, left front tire rubs on the body by turns, steering "dances" if road is uneven; if the car gets in the pothole, it feels like hits it with the weight of the whole body. Struts are 7 month old, front and rear. Nobody can figure out what it is. Any ideas from Subaru team?
Nov 08, 2002 (3:01 pm)
My guess is the tires are out of round. You can balance a tire that is out of round, but it doesn't mean it's truly round.
If it only happened in snow/ice, I'd guess you were getting ice stuck in the wheels, increasing unsprung weight a lot, which affects handling and balance.
Did you get new OE struts? I wonder if they are too soft for your springs.
Beyond that, are you the original owner? If not, you may have a bent frame. Hope not, though.
#460 of 19285 Engine OIl seals.
Nov 08, 2002 (3:06 pm)
Mine's a '91, but I've replaced the camshaft and crankshaft seals 2 times, with one only lasting about 30K. Thank heavens the rear seal is still holding up OK. If I'd known, I would have replaced it when I did the Klutch, but no one told me.
When My 30K seal leaked, I had been using synthetic for about 18 months. Went all over. In your case I would avoid synthetic like a plague. Go with a High Mileage oil like Valvoline Maxlife. They are high quality oils and have special additives to maintain the seals better. Change frequently to keep the seal additive levels up. (Say 4 instead of every 5 thousand miles.)
Don't buy a seal sweller. That softens them too much.
Engine-RX has been known by some to stop small pinhole leaks.
And, Yes, at least in the older models, engine seals replacement is not unusual, according to my Subaru specialist mechanic. The only major weakness in the engine IMO.
#461 of 19285 Auto transmission problem
Nov 08, 2002 (5:12 pm)
I just had the first oil change done on my 2002 Outback. It only has 2400 miles, but I've had it since June. While at the dealer, I mentioned a noise and slipping sensation which ocurred several times when starting to accelerate slowly after having been in reverse. It has also seemed to lag a little on upshifting between second and third.
The service manager came out and told me that the transmission has a definite "glich" and that Subaru is going to replace the transmission. While I am happy they are going to do this, I am somewhat taken aback that my beautiful, new wintergreen wagon requires such a major operation!
I researched and test drove many SUVs and wagons and the decision came down to either a 2003 Forester or an Outback Wagon. I finally chose the Outback and am very happy with it overall. I just hope I didn't make a mistake. Does anyone know if Subaru puts in a new or remanufactured transmission in a case like this. I neglected to ask, and am hoping it is new and has the "park-rod" revision already addressed.
Nov 08, 2002 (5:15 pm)
Who put the struts in and what brand?
What size tires do you have on it?
Original Subaru wheels?
How long have you owned it?
#463 of 19285 Distance from steering wheel (air bag)
Nov 10, 2002 (6:46 am)
My friend just bought a 2003 Outback Wagon. She is 5'2" and must have seat fully forward in order to reach the gas/brake pedals.
She is very concerned with the min. distance she should be from steering wheel (internet posted is 10"; is that correct?).
She has owned a '97 Loyale wagon for 12 years and never had this problem on long trips. Likewise with rental cars prior to buying this new vehicle.
She contacted the dealership purchased from and the service manager was quite abrupt and rude to her bringing her to tears, and not listening to her problem. The service manager even insinuated that she was yelling at him (so others in the office would hear him say it such that they would attest to it) but she NEVER raised her voice, and was very polite, etc. She got the feeling that the service manager knew exactly what she was talking about and said she was handicapped and didn't know what she was talking about.
< She had researched and found on the internet that the newer Outback wagons were not suitable for SHORT people because they need to be right against steering wheel thus a safety hazard if airbag deployed. In addition, she has back problems and due to a slight bulge in the middle console nearest gas pedal, her right leg is slanted such that after long trips (1 hr +) she has extreme back pains. The dealership would not help her, despite the fact that she WAS a customer of this dealership for more than 12 years, doing all recommended service and spending 1000's of dollars in repairs on her '90 Suabru Loyale. They said the NEW car needed to be handicapped modified. She is reluctant to do this possibly spending $1000 or more, so she asked them to "buy back" the car and she would take the substantial loss in value depreciation. They never got back to her. She summizes that if they bought the car back they would be admitting guilt and the fact that they knew about this problem but never told her. Now, she either has to a.) Find an appropriate company in the Boston/north shore area to retrofit the gas and brake pedals, or b.) trade car in for a NON-SUBARU product. She insists on having a WHITE car for safety reasons, and the Forrester does not come in white. She also needs a wagon (she is considering a Saturn). If anyone in the community knows of a bonded/insured company that can quote retrofitting the vehicle for bringing brake and gas pedal closer to seat, please e-mail me at bchap5280aol.com. If a SUBARU representative can contact me with some help, that would be great. (I too am a Subaru Outback owner, purchased my car from the sale dealership, and will NOT take my car back to this dealer for service in protest of the dealership's rudeness and insensitivity to my friend). Very sorry for this long post, however it has been an extremely upsetting ordeal for my friend after spending $25K on a new car. Regards, Brad