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2003 Subaru Outback LL Bean H6 3.0
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6 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hi All,

I have had my subaru since last April and it now has 68k miles as it is a commuter car, 70 miles/day in Kansas. I have removed the cross bars on the roof rack to improve mpg and want to take off mudflaps but I am unsure if it will look bad. Does anyone have experience with that? Also, what's the max psi for tires. I want to try 35 on all 4 to see of it helps with mpg, can I go higher? Will it help? And what are the dangers of doing that? I'm averaging 22 mpg and I'm trying to just save some gas. Has anyone made a grill block and can you use it year round or just in the winter?

Also, wanted to know of the following maintenance someone can do themselves with average common sense. Suggestions in addition to these?

Brake pads
Brake fluid flush
Coolant flush
Spark plugs
Cabin filter


Thanks,
Jess
 

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2004 Outback Wagon, 2.5, 4EAT, All weather package.
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1,036 Posts
Your maximum tire pressure is indicated by the sidewall of the tire. DO NOT EXCEED THIS PRESSURE. Be warned, you will experience a firmer, bouncier ride, and the car will likely handle differently, and not be quite as sure footed. You may also experience uneven tire wear (in the center of the tread) from this.

You may also consider picking up some low rolling resistance tires. I run Yokohama AVID Ascends in the summer and I love them, and they are a LRR tire.
 

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03 H6 OBW & 06 WRX Sportwagon
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18,122 Posts
you must be in some bad traffic.

we get 24-25mpg on road trips. fairly high speed driving. never better than 26 (one time)

but only about 20 mpg stop-n-go, neighborhood use.
 

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OBW H6 VDC, Tribeca, XT6
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12,385 Posts
yes you can increase tire pressure, stock pressures are rather low, you'll get better tire wear too. fairly common to run a few pounds over the recommended. doubt you'll notice much difference, but maybe.

not mpg related but you should be doing the serpentine bearings now, they fail on a regular basis. there's a stick about it on the forum, check it out. very easy job and the most common issue on an EZ engine.
 

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01 VDC, 05 R Sedan, 06 BAJA EJ257
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15,483 Posts
Do not block the radiator air flow. That is an expensive engine to blow.

Proper tire pressure for the tires, 91 or higher octane, keep the weight load down, use cruise control (the state is flat enough you won't have to worry about sudden downshifts because of a hill), and keep your foot off the floor.
 

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2003 LL Bean Outback H6 and 2019 Outback Base
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514 Posts
I would not remove the mudflaps. They are there for a reason.....let alone the look of the car. I have the same one. Its a great car...........You can add a FEW more pounds to the tires.............35 should be ok.......just keep an " eye" on them. As stated above......you might get a stiffer ride.
Serpentine bearings a MUST to be replaced...................I would have the DEALER change the spark plugs. Very hard to get to...and make sure platinum tip..Its well worth it
 

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2003 Subaru Outback LL Bean H6 3.0
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6 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Thank you for all the replies.

I drive 70 miles every day and most are highway miles but I would say 20 of 70 miles are city driving. Over the last 2000 miles I've gotten 22.5 mpg avg. I drive with cruise control at 70 mph. Should I be getting better mpg and if so is there something wrong with my car?

Per your advice I will leave the mud flaps and not cover grill. I increased my pressure to 35 on all tires and will see if. My tires have half life left and upon needing new ones I will get the special low resistant ones to help as well.

I've noticed a lot of wind noise around side windows. Is there a permanent fix to solve this or just the temporary fixes I have read on here previously?

I also notice a clicking type sound when I start the car, just started. It is minimized after driving for a bit. Any thoughts?

Last, when I pull out of driveway in reverse, no brake applied I hear a high pitch squealing kind of noise. Could this mean I need new brake pads on front wheels?

Thanks again for all you help!
 

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01 VDC, 05 R Sedan, 06 BAJA EJ257
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15,483 Posts
Thank you for all the replies.

I drive 70 miles every day and most are highway miles but I would say 20 of 70 miles are city driving. Over the last 2000 miles I've gotten 22.5 mpg avg. I drive with cruise control at 70 mph. Should I be getting better mpg and if so is there something wrong with my car?

No idling. Start the car, 2 minutes, move it. It will warm up faster driving it. Put a full can of Sea Foam in the tank to clean out any carbon and varnish the next time you fill up. Now Murphy station gasolines, i.e. Wal Mart, Costco, Sam's, etc..

Per your advice I will leave the mud flaps and not cover grill. I increased my pressure to 35 on all tires and will see if. My tires have half life left and upon needing new ones I will get the special low resistant ones to help as well.

I've noticed a lot of wind noise around side windows. Is there a permanent fix to solve this or just the temporary fixes I have read on here previously?

The window seal is allowing air in. Clean it with WD-40 but don't saturate it.

I also notice a clicking type sound when I start the car, just started. It is minimized after driving for a bit. Any thoughts?

Injectors clicking or check your oil and condition.

Last, when I pull out of driveway in reverse, no brake applied I hear a high pitch squealing kind of noise. Could this mean I need new brake pads on front wheels?

Rear brake repair. Get it before it grinds. Its the wear indicator rubbing on the rotor.

Thanks again for all you help!
And again, 91 octane or higher in the tank. Your mileage will change as will the way the engine performs.
 

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2003 LL Bean Outback H6 and 2019 Outback Base
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514 Posts
MPG is VERY good ( 22.5) for this car... I get 20 mpg with premium fuel only.....city/highway.................

There was a TSB ( technical service bulletin ) on the noise ( oiutside mirror) on 2000 thru 2004 Outbacks. They claim to have " bolts" to help. I have not pursued this " fix" yet... Too cold......too busy.............will check it out in Spring........I just turn up the music !!!.....The squealing noise sounds like a " frozen" brake, caliper, pin.
I would bring to a dealer you TRUST for a complete diagnosis. I would do this ASAP..........The brakes ( you could argue)....are the most important function of the car......they stop you from crashing into things..... clicking could be a serpentine bearing............they are a common issue with the H6...as stated by owners of them...not an expensive repair...about 30 minutes
 

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2003 Subaru Outback LL Bean H6 3.0
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6 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
So it looks like I should address the brakes first and then do the other maintenance items. For brake pads, do you recommend going to one of those Brakes Plus, Meineke places or dealer or local subaru machanic? I will try the wd40 on the gussets and see if the wind noise is reduced. I always use 91 octane as I know it can cause issues. I never idle unless at a light, nor do i sit and let my car warmup before going to school. I have never filled up at any big chain box store gas stations, usually QT or a local place called Caseys. I got a quote for a tuneup from dealer. Your thoughts? Should I just go to the local guy or is the dealer worth the extra $120. Also, are these prices normal? When I asked the dealer mechanic about the clicking in the engine upon cold start, he didn't seem too concerned unless the clicking gets much louder. Suggested chevron techron additive to clean fuel injectors to see if that helps with the noise. Of the following other than oil changes and spark plugs, can I do myself? I took auto shop in high school some 15 years ago and I'm not afraid to try things but I am a girl that doesn't have anyone else to show these things to her. I have basic tools and above average common sense. I will be changing the cabin air filter myself this week, so I will post progress on that. I added a video of the noise i am experiencing from ac that i noticed when i turned it on by accident, so your thoughts on that also. Will take a video of the engine clicking the next time i start it. Thank you again for all of your thoughts and suggestions everyone!

Subaru Dealer $575 includes:
Spark plugs
Brake fluid replaced
Front & rear diff fluid changed
Transmission fluid changed
Coolant flush
Oil change and rotate tires

Local subaru machanic $225 includes:
Spark Plugs
Fuel filter
Air filter
$60 coolant flush
$35 brake fluid
$100 transmission
$35 front and rear diff
$120-130 brake pads
 

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Registered
'03 Outback H6-3.0 Black Granite Pearl, base model with cold weather package and cloth seats.
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1,072 Posts
How you drive the car gives a bigger effect than any of these other enhancements. Can you drop that 70 mph down to 60? Over 60, and the mileage goes down fast. Acceleration is also a big gas waster. Easy acceleration will help mileage. Constant speed vs speeding up to pass, etc., are all things to watch for.

I typically get 24-26 on my daily 45 mile commute (each way) across Minneapolis/St. Paul, in the winter. (Summer is 25-28, depending on how much time stuck in road construction traffic.....) You can run mid-grade with no significant mileage difference, but it will affect the way the car feels like it performs. Much snappier on premium.

Minimize how much weight you are dragging along in the car. Last suggestion is lighter aluminum wheels vs steel wheels. Accelerating the heavier rotating mass eats gas, too.

And, believe it or not, I've found that the easier driving style makes no statistical difference in the time it takes you to arrive, if there is any stop/go driving at all in the commute.

Enjoy the ride!
 

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Premium Member
03 H6 OBW & 06 WRX Sportwagon
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18,122 Posts
Lower the windows, squeeze the rubber seals together that are near the mirror at the front of the door. The noise should be greatly diminished.

train yourself to avoid pushing the glass when shutting the door. Expect to repeat the squeeze-fix occasionally.
 

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Premium Member
01 VDC, 05 R Sedan, 06 BAJA EJ257
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15,483 Posts
Subaru Dealer $575 includes:
Spark plugs
Brake fluid replaced
Front & rear diff fluid changed
Transmission fluid changed
Coolant flush
Oil change and rotate tires

Local subaru machanic $225 includes:
Spark Plugs
Fuel filter
Air filter
$60 coolant flush
$35 brake fluid
$100 transmission
$35 front and rear diff
$120-130 brake pads
Quik Trip gasolines are good. They don't "water" the fuel, they have their own fuel truck line to save cost of shipping, plus with the traffic they all have, the tanks get turned regularly.

The prices you have are pretty close together. I would inquire of the mechanic what materials he would use for the brakes and which plugs he intends to install. The plugs for the H6 are specific. There are other plugs that will fit, but won't fire proper. Also, brake pad blends do make a difference in stopping power, noise and overall life of the pads, so be sure he won't install cheap crap from Auto Zone.
 
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