15th Jan 2005, 12:53

Sounds like you either had a bad car or did not drive/maintain it properly. The majority of owners including myself have never run into such major problems nor even minor problems. Subaru is typical of most Japanese cars; well engineered and bullet proof reliable.

22nd Jan 2005, 19:19

It is really unfortunate to have been landed with a lemon of ANY make. I've been a fan of Subaru's now for about 2 years having stayed clear of them for 20 years. A friend had a new one that gave a never-ending tale of woe from beginning to end.

Since beginning 2003, I have had a 1985 Touring Wagon, a 2.2 ltr Liberty (Legacy) and recently have bought a 2001 H6 Outback. The only major hassle has been with CV joints in the oldie, but it continues to chug along; and the inevitable clutch shudder in the 2.2 Liberty. So far so good with the H6. I can only say that Subaru's are mighty cars.

In Australia, Subaru's are mainly used for suburban and off-road dirt driving and they handle and perform superbly. I've noticed however that they are almost non-existent in Southern California and are in abundance in the Pacific Northwest. Aussies use them on beaches and outback very successfully. Certainly on outback roads and tracks, Subaru's, in my opinion, are much better than Landcruisers.

Whilst nothing can console the owner of a lemon, there are some issues that are worth bearing in mind:

1. VALUE. Subaru's are essentially a suburban/touring car that has flexibility of off-road driving. You are not driving a set of Reinforced Structural Joists on wheels; nor carting around 2 tonnes of heavy metal.

2. DURABILITY. Look at all the 1980-84's/1985-1990's that are still running around both in Australia and in the Pacific-Northwest. They are the cheapest 4 wheel drive available and have a massive following. Your current Outback/Legacy/Liberty will be the same.

3. DESIGN CHARACTERISTICS. All boxer engines have the same hassles. From Volkswagens, Porsches to your Subaru... all have the quirks of sounding like chaff-cutters and suffer from head gasket problems and oil leaks. If your Subaru service is charging you an arm and a leg, check VW and Porsche service charges... and then smile! (I had a $12,000 job on a 911 engine which decided to pull barrel studs from the crank-case).

4. HANDLING. Subaru's handle like they are on rails. Try the same handling on a Yank Tank and you will appreciate Subaru. Try Volvo service and you'll love Subaru. Clutch problems? Try Jeep diffs and you'll love Subaru's.

Yes, there will be problems of one sort or another. I've done over 300,000 klms (200,000 miles) of off-road driving in Australia in Landcruisers, VW's, Porsches, Range Rovers... and the best value all round? Subaru!

Good Luck.

31st Mar 2005, 22:02

Why put up with any of these problems..??? Honda makes 4 wheel drive vehicles!! all you have to do is service them. They never go wrong.!! no brainer really. Too bad they're just so boring.

9th Jan 2006, 01:04

I would have to agree with the original remarks. I thought I was buying a reliable car, then I took it in for scheduled maintenance. At 50,000 km this can run you upwards of $1000! I feel that any car could be reliable if you regularly spent htis kind of money on up keep. My driver side door is loose on the hinges and I have had clutch problems. Although I enjoy the ride and it looks great, I am disappointed in the cost to maintain a "reliable car".

16th Jan 2006, 19:01

Wow, that is a lot of problems. I am on my second Subaru Outback and have had very few problems. We currently have a 2003 with 50,000 on it and it has been a great car. I use valvoline Dura blend oil and the car seems to like it. With new oil about every 3500 and routine tune and maintenance These cars seem to do as well as any other Japanese car.

20th Feb 2006, 10:54

I fail to see why the poster of Jan 2005 is so concerned about safety. ALL SUVs are inherently dangerous and very unsafe, even Volvos, so the Subaru is light years ahead of them and competes with SUVs. And the 2006/2007 models are even safer, at least according the ads (backed up by independent testing) they are currently running.

Anytime someone mentions a concern for safety in the same breath as "I'm thinking of buying an SUV" I can't help, but double over in laughter.

20th Feb 2006, 15:55

There are tons of other vehicles that have a timing belt that if it fails, the engine is junk because the pistons hit the valves. Its not just subaru.

The reason for this being cost cutting and making a durable engine. Sure they could make it so the timing belt failure wouldn't cause engine damage, but you would need some other medium or intermediate to take the "force" or the brunt of whatever. Then you'd need to replace that... on and on and on...

Timing belts are not last forever parts. You should replace them about every 60,000 miles and also check them every once and awhile to make sure they aren't rubbing and causing abnormal wear.

27th Mar 2006, 16:22

Times have changed since the message from the "safety-conscious" poster from January 01. The Subaru Legacy is a "Top Safety Pick--Gold" car in the IIHS ratings--the only midpriced family car to earn this top rating.

8th Apr 2006, 02:06

The Subaru boxer 4 is a non-interference motor. If the timing belt slipped a cog/broke the motor should have stopped.

The design of the motor never allows valve contact with the piston - the head combustion chamber is raised above the piston therefore the valves at their most extended position should NEVER contact the piston no matter what the failure. Including timing-belt failure. This is confusing and yes, I have heard of this before on the boxer including the 2.2 liter version.

8th Jun 2006, 12:12

I could not agree with you more! I had a 2003 Outback Wagon, my first one ever owned, and it was the WORST car I have ever owned. Dealer service was VERY sloppy and incompetent. Engine head gaskets blew TWICE! I filed a Lemon Law court claim and Subaru refunded me 80% of the purchase price which I went an put down on a Toyota which has run flawlessely 100%. Subaru builds HIGH PRICED JUNK. Stay away from Subaru products at all costs people!!

10th Jul 2006, 20:50

I have had several Outbacks and a Forester. Subaru's are incredible handling cars, particularly on rough or dirt roads. The 5-speed with the 50-50 torque split is superior to about anything else on the road. However, my 2001 Outback failed today. The low-quality bolt holding the timing belt tensioner broke at 77,200 miles. The so-called non-interference engine requires an expensive valve job. The timing belt was recently replaced; Subaru has no recalls for their cheap poorly-performing parts, nor will they stand behind their product. As much as I love the cars, I will buy a Honda or Toyota which do not have these ridiculous shortcomings. My experience with 4-cylinder SAAB's with their chain-driven timing belts is better. My mothers 5 cylinder Volvo XC 70 had the same failure as the Subaru, and it cost close to $4000 to fix. I understand VW's new 5 cylinder Jetta has a chain-driven belt requiring no maintenance. The yellow journalism of the automotive press fails to warn consumers about these problems. I recently spoke to an ex-Subaru salesperson who mentioned that his dealer had replaced many boxer engines.