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Old 08-26-2012, 02:48 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default First Car, First Subaru

Earlier this week I bought my first car and my first Subaru, a 2nd hand 2000 Legacy Outback.

While the car drives ok, I have an issue that I didn't notice while test driving the car, probably because I had my windows rolled up. With my window rolled down, I notice that there's what sounds like a periodic slapping at or near my rear wheel on the driver's side. It's only when the car is running between 10 and 40 mph and only when I'm pressing the gas pedal. The period of the slapping is proportional to the speed of the car when I have my foot on the gas pedal, but fades away within about 2 seconds after I release my foot from the gas pedal.

I checked the wheel for anything sticking around the wheel or else anything stuck in the wheel but didn't detect anything out of the ordinary. I'll have to drive it some more to see if I can get a better impression of the issue but maybe somebody has an idea of what this could be?

Thanks.
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Old 08-26-2012, 07:26 PM   #2 (permalink)
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That's odd... I just noticed something similar today while I was driving. I haven't investigated yet because of other issues with the vehicle but I thought it might be one of the panels (inside) in the back. If they have ever been taken off, they can be tricky to get back on. Also, the clips tend to break easily. They may not be on all the way. Just a guess.

Another thing that comes to mind is the plastic guards inside the wheel well. They are often secured with screws that break easily after years of being splashed. Maybe one is loose.
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Old 08-26-2012, 08:03 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by 7stars View Post
Earlier this week I bought my first car and my first Subaru, a 2nd hand 2000 Legacy Outback.

While the car drives ok, I have an issue that I didn't notice while test driving the car, probably because I had my windows rolled up. With my window rolled down, I notice that there's what sounds like a periodic slapping at or near my rear wheel on the driver's side. It's only when the car is running between 10 and 40 mph and only when I'm pressing the gas pedal. The period of the slapping is proportional to the speed of the car when I have my foot on the gas pedal, but fades away within about 2 seconds after I release my foot from the gas pedal.

I checked the wheel for anything sticking around the wheel or else anything stuck in the wheel but didn't detect anything out of the ordinary. I'll have to drive it some more to see if I can get a better impression of the issue but maybe somebody has an idea of what this could be?

Thanks.
We might be a little biased here, but good choice for a first car--and welcome!

The fact that you only hear it when you hit the gas pedal makes me think it's probably not something hitting the wheel. You say it's from the rear? Is the car automatic or manual? If it's automatic, try putting the FWD fuse in and take it for a ride to check for the noise. It could be something drivetrain related. Also check the heat shield between the exhaust and drive shaft (going to the rear differential). Though it's really toward the center, sound can travel strangely--mine accidentally got pushed up into the shaft once so it would hit it sometimes and made a similar noise...bending it down did the trick.
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Old 08-27-2012, 02:15 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Yes, the car is an automatic. Additionally, the car would make a low pitched creeping noise for 1 or 2 seconds every now and then. I first thought it was related to driving but it even makes the noise when standing still just after turning off the engine. Co-workers were suggesting the heat shield so the aforeposted noise could be related.

Someone else also suggested something fuel related with regards to the slapping noise when the gas pedal is pressed. He suggested adding some kind of fuel additive, especially since the car may have been standing still for a while prior to my purchase.

I'll check the heat shield and additionally add some of this 'fuel additive' (when I find out exactly what kind of additive he was referring to).

Thanks for the feedback.
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Old 08-27-2012, 02:33 PM   #5 (permalink)
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closely inspect the boots on the rear axles. inner and outer. If a band is loose and caught or if there's an odd cut/split, it may create a sound like that. Closely inspect the tires - especially the inside shoulder.

10 mph is a little fast for pacing, but maybe someone could CAREFULLY follow along on a bicycle and listen side-to-side and front, center and rear to help pinpoint the problem.

I'd say driveshaft/u-joint is a good possibility too as mentioned.


what city are you in and how many miles on the car?
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Old 08-27-2012, 04:06 PM   #6 (permalink)
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By the way not all subarus had the fuse that locked out the AWD turning the car into a temporary FWD car for the purpose of diagnosing issues.

check the CV boots make sure they are intact. Also the sound you hear could also just be a noisy shock or bushing on the suspension.

first thing would to make sure all fluids are done unless you have documented service receipts saying they were done recently.
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Old 08-27-2012, 04:07 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Of course timing belt at 105,000 miles is needed also
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Old 08-27-2012, 07:16 PM   #8 (permalink)
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By the way not all subarus had the fuse that locked out the AWD turning the car into a temporary FWD car for the purpose of diagnosing issues.
Of course not, but all 2000 Outbacks are four cylinders, and the OP said he had an automatic, so it will have the fuse. No VTD or anything to eliminate it for that model.
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Old 08-28-2012, 12:23 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Ok, I've already learned a whole lot from all your postings although I haven't yet inspected the car accordingly and this may take a couple of days.

The car has over 135,000 miles on it. I don't have any records on the car and will at least have the timing belt replaced asap. I'm currently doing more studying (of the car manuals and the postings in this forum) than driving.

I hope to report back soon on the issues and I'm looking forward to enjoying a long term relationship with this car and forum members. It's very exciting.
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Old 08-28-2012, 10:43 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Although I haven't been driving the car, I've gathered some additional information by understanding the VIN number. It seems like the car has AWD MPT without any slippage features. From what I understand this means that the torque defaults to a 90% front and 10% rear distribution. When the car accelerates, the torque may be transferred more to the rear. Given that;

a) an acceleration (foot on the pedal) generates the sound, and
b) the sound is seemingly coming from the rear

I'm wondering if the sound is thus related to or else initiated by the change in the torque distribution.

I'll be doing some actual testing later this week, hopefully with someone who can assist me with the checking of the heat shield, boots, driveshaft/u-joint, suspension and shocks. I also have to find out more about the FWD fuse. Back to the drawing board.

Thanks.
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