4th Apr 2006, 22:18

We have been having the same problem with a horrible exhaust smell inside the car. The problem is usually when the car is idling or at a stoplight. The dealership has checked it out, but stated no leaks. It is starting to make me sick and I have to roll down the windows. Help!

8th Apr 2006, 14:08

2000 Legacy Outback wagon with manual transmission - 128,000 miles.

So far, clutch shudder fixed at 100K with new clutch & plate, brake job done at the same time. Had a stuck thermostat at around 105K. Looks like the start of a head gasket coolant leak occurring now. Very minor, may live with it for a while trying some of the 'gum-it-up' additives. Overall, a great vehicle. Also tow it behind the motor home and it has approx another 30K on it in tow mode. On third set of tires.


8th Jun 2006, 08:05

Subaru Forester 2001.

Same problem, antifreeze smell, both of the head gaskets (Subaru have two) had to be replaced at 63000. Subaru paid for it though. But that leak started to develop a while ago it seems. I remember the smell of antifreeze back in 2004 when that "famous" recall was issued. What they did was they just added a coolant conditioner and said that it should take care of the problem. It kind of did... for a while... but it's like treating the arthritis patient with pain killers, yes they will not have pain, but it doesn't do anything to address the root of the problem. And I presume that the root here is the faulty engine design... As the result of the leak the CV joint boot on the right hand side (the antifreeze was leaking right on it) was destroyed, and Subaru refused to pay for it ($332.50). And I can still smell antifreeze (it may be the old spill though)...

4th Oct 2006, 16:38

Wow, are we all driving the same vehicle? My mother drives a 2000 Subaru Outback Limited that has many of the exact same issues, especially the funny smell when warm and the check engine light coming on and off. They say it is the catalytic converter, but the light went off and it passed inspection just fine. Then it came on again so we ignored it. Just had a tune up and the car runs just great, so I think it is worth keeping for now.

If you have the money, $2000 in repairs is probably better than a bank loan, but many of these things could happen again. Just drive them until something big breaks and then donate it to charity.

14th Dec 2006, 16:38

I have a 2001 Outback wagon with 84,000 miles on it. I had to have the knock sensor replaced (which would cause my check engine light to stay on most of the time) and my clutch replaced. My car also makes the exhaust noise because of the heat shield design. My mechanic told me that my head gaskets are starting to leak. I did have the coolant additive put in by the dealer a while ago as part of their recall - I'm wondering how long my car will run before having to replace the head gaskets, which I was quoted $1100 to fix. Overall I'm very happy with the performance of the vehicle - especially in snow with studded tires on.

15th Dec 2006, 08:36

I wish that all of these comments had been available before I purchased my 4-cylinder Subaru Outback new in 2001. I experienced clutch shudder starting early-on, and like another writer, put it down to my clumsiness with the clutch in this particular car. My "check engine" light came on-and stayed on, at about 50,000 miles. It was determined to be the O2 sensor. I was told that performance might be impacted a little, but no lasting harm would be done, so I continued to drive it that way.

At about 65,000 miles I noticed that the car was becoming slow in accelerating after a gear change. At that time the problem was "bearable," and in my ignorance put it down to the faulty oxygen sensor. However, by this November, at 71,000 miles the problem had become much worse, so I took the car in to get the sensor replaced. When I went to pick up the car I was told that I needed a new clutch and flywheel, and also that a CV boot was torn. My Internet searches now revealed that these problems are commonplace with certain Subarus. I talked to the service manager at the dealership who suggested I contact Subaru. I did so by email. After about ten days I received neither an acknowledgement nor a response to my correspondence. I called, and was told that there had been a response, to the effect that the car was out of warranty, and there was nothing they could or would do to help me. The representative did not seem in the least concerned with my situation, or that fact that I would not be able to recommend this car to my friends. Basically I was just brushed off.

Having finished paying for the car in July, I had been looking forward to being able to start saving for another car-maybe ten years down the road. I now find that it is probably going to be more expensive keeping this car than it would be buying a new (non-Subaru) vehicle.

The seats in this car are not built for larger people. I have a somewhat overweight friend who has to sit in the back when I take her anywhere, as I am unable to maneuver the gear shift when she is in the front. Also, there is a significant amount of wind noise at speeds over 50 mph. Removing the cross-bar on the luggage rack did nothing to alleviate this.

I am presently driving my other car, a 1987 Toyota Camry 4 cylinder wagon with 303,000 original miles on it. My second clutch has over 200,000 miles on it without a problem. The car is comfortable, has roomy seats, rides smoothly and quietly, and gets great gas mileage. I am seriously considering replacing the Outback with a 2007 Toyota RAV-4. First, however, I need to come up with the money to repair the Subaru so I can sell it or trade it in.

21st Dec 2006, 14:00

2000 Outback Limited, automatic, bought used in 2003. Currently have 150,000 miles (mostly highway). Same issues as other folks. In 2005 transmission would not engage occasionally... lived with it until I sat one day for 30 minutes and nothing happened.. transmission rebuilt for a pretty penny. Currently need new catalytic converters, but ignoring for now (1-1/2 years so far). Slight oil leak at oil pump... ignored this too, as I only go thru about 1 quart every 2-3 months. Antifreeze smell and overheating going uphill started in August this year. Called my mechanic and without hesitation he said blown head gasket. Had it checked out today... confirmed leak, but not major at this time. Worst-case scenario $3200. This includes head gasket, oil pump replacement if needed, timing belt (I missed 105K change) ; water pump replacement, & major service. I really don't think the oil pump would need to be replace other than the o-ring or seals. Reading the other comments is the first time I've heard of the coolant additive. Seems to work OK for a while... any comments?

Santa Rosa CA.