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Discussion Starter #1
Hi Folks,
I thought that after cajoling my local Service Department into actually taking my complaint of a ship-problem front end issue with driver-side looseness in the suspension and excessive vibration which also comes back to the steering wheel (and, makes trips beyond 20 minutes a chore), my problems would have been solved by a new tire balancing and check of the suspension/bushings/etc.

Not so - it still has a vibration which is not what I've experienced in prior test drives of other 2005 Outbacks, nor even in their loaner cars. Yet, they insist that their folks cannot detect what I've clearly and quite easily demonstrated to them as unacceptable - and possibly, indicative of something more serious from the manufacturing line - so, I've insisted that a regional Service Rep discuss this with me ASAP.

Meanwhile, I'm actually mulling over the dealership's 30-day, money-back guarantee - even though I like everything about the car except this one, insidious problem. Essentially, this Service experience is not only turning me off from the Outback which I otherwise want to enjoy, but especially from their dealership - and, we even bought a 2004 Forester from them earlier in the year.

This is Bill Kolb Jr. Subaru in Orangeburg, NY - I liked their Sales experience, and while Service has been listening to me, it's been both with obvious reluctance, unhidden disdain and even subtle put-downs concerning the fact that I drove a German car before this one (i.e., the implication being that I'm somehow making unfair comparisons between the Outback and Audi).

I have a history of finding something terribly wrong with every single one of my new cars, from 5 different manufacturers - and, I have yet to be proven wrong by them. Many times, it's taken numerous visits, various Service Departments and even some years to get traction, but I've had serious issues recognized and either fixed in my car or fixed in later model years for my Honda, Acura, Toyota, Ford and Audi.

From our very positive Forester experience (excepting the inaccurate Climate Control, which I have found - despite their protestations to the contrary - is likely due to a design problem), I was hoping that nothing major would hit with the Outback for many miles after delivery. Instead, I drove it from the lot and, although it kept a straight line, turns don't track very well and the front end would rumble and even vibrate - especially noticable on the driver's side. Even the steering wheel transmits this vibration, again, primarily on the driver's (i.e., left) side of the wheel.

Has anyone here experienced similar problems, and/or do you possibly have any Service center recommendations for the NY/NJ/CT tri-state area?

Thanks for your time,

- wader
 

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sounds to me like it's time you took the position that you're going to exercise the option, communicate this to them, and set up date and [procedures. you might be surprised how they get more receptive to trying to find/fix....

any possibility you might have a defective tire?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
cptoversteer said:
any possibility you might have a defective tire?
I was thinking of it - shifted belts or something, maybe? It's far from normal. It actually took my threat of returning the car to simply get a second, gratis appointment. They still have yet to get beyond a visual inspection and rebalancing of tires, acting as if I should be grateful.

- wader
 

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Discussion Starter #5
sduford said:
I have heard a lot of negative feedback about Kolb on Legacygt.com.
Hmm, good to know - I'll check it out, thanks.

Any recommendations for other Service places would be grand, too.

- wader
 

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Discussion Starter #7
sduford said:
You might want to find a place that has a Hunter GSP9700 balancing machine, they can do miracles with vibration and pulling problems.


GSP9700
Thanks for the recommendation: there's actually a number of places around me which have that device, it seems - including a couple other Subaru dealerships.

- wader
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I'm going to be making an appointment with another shop for checking on this vibration, but was also wondering on thoughts for this symptom, in case it's related:

On a long, tight on-ramp to the lower level of the George Washington Bridge (westbound) from the Henry Hudson (north), I recently had the rear end wagging and skipping out on me at numerous points while I tried to hold the curve rather evenly - once again, supporting my assertion in less severe situations that it doesn't feel as if the front and rear are tracking very well. Is that purely an alignment issue, or somehow related to what I'm feeling here? That is, if front and rear are generally not working well together, I could imagine the side-effects being the vibration as something of a progression towards the eventual rear-end wagging and skipping out on me that I've also experienced.

- wader
 

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if the vibration comes along with handling maledies, I would almost wonder if it wasn't the AWD system or ABS system going schitzo on you. A bad alignment can cause bad handling, but not vibration. The vibration problem is something that rotates or occilates suspension(tierods/steering), brakes/wheels/tires or engine/transmission/drivetrain.
 

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Did you notice this during test drive? It sounds like this should be noticed during the test drive itself. STil, a new car should not have this issue.

The only thing i can think of if you did everythign right was tire pressure -- it can affect how the car handles in a big way.
 

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I had a similar issue some years back with a brand new Mazda 626, dealership kept saying nothing was wrong, it took my father jacking the offside front wheel up and actually feeling the freeplay vertically in and out to convince them that there was a faulty suspension strut. Once that was fixed the car was perfect. Hope you find a solution asap.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Random said:
if the vibration comes along with handling maledies, I would almost wonder if it wasn't the AWD system or ABS system going schitzo on you. A bad alignment can cause bad handling, but not vibration. The vibration problem is something that rotates or occilates suspension(tierods/steering), brakes/wheels/tires or engine/transmission/drivetrain.
I noticed that the vibration - which is now feeling like a whole-car experience, btw - doesn't get worse with extra power, but it varies in noticeability with speed and turning. Turning even slightly on the highway feels like the sidewalls are ground into shards.

Yes, I'm not beyond thinking this is at least one bad tire (shifted belt or such) and possibly a lousy strut, but the AWD system being glitchy is not above possibility. It would explain the huge amount of drivetrain vibration at low revs while driving suburban roads at only 30MPH, possibly.

Hard acceleration pitches the car's suspension up and left, while letting off the gas dives and pitches the car slightly right - seems unusual for an AWD car.

The regional Service Rep is going to get an earful. As is the local paper, my insurance company and anyone else I can utilize to influence Subaru into recognizing this problem. I've driven 12-hour round trips between schools on weekends in the past in terrible conditions and extreme confidence in knowing my car's abilities vs. the conditions; this is the first driving experience in 25 years of automobile ownership which actually causes fatigue in my palms and resonance building in my cranium after just a 20 minute trip, in addition to cutting into my confidence of the car's abilities by unexpected diving of the nose and the entire vehicle jumping left or right over even minor bumps. Nothing at all like our 2004 Forester experience. Extremely disappointing.

- wader
 

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Sounds like there's something seriously amis with that car, I'd be sitting on the dealerships doorstep when they open and demanding to see the manager. Aren't there some sort of anti lemon laws over there?
 

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Ruges Subaru, Rhinebeck, NY

When we lived in NY (left this past August), I made many visits to Ruges Subaru of Rhinebeck just about two hours north of you across the river. The people there are incredible. Both my wife and I loved these guys and even got to know the mechanics and especially the services and parts staff by their first names. After buying a used OB unfortunately from another dealer, which I should mention here at some point, I got lots of free advise and help (and even a couple of parts) in installing something or another. I would rate Ruges with five stars.

My wife and I actually regretted leaving the area without really getting to know some of these guys and later wished I had bought my OB from them instead.

I am sure that Ruges Subaru might at least be able to give you good advise in your OB issues. You might even take your car to them.

Ruges Subaru/Olds
644 Montgomery Street
Rhinebeck, NY 12572
(845) 876-7075
Service Advisor: John Blakely

Good luck
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Re: Ruges Subaru, Rhinebeck, NY

Subhuman said:
When we lived in NY (left this past August), I made many visits to Ruges Subaru of Rhinebeck just about two hours north of you across the river. The people there are incredible. Both my wife and I loved these guys and even got to know the mechanics and especially the services and parts staff by their first names.

. . .Good luck
Thanks for your advice - I'll certainly give them a call, as I'm running out of patience with my dealership. Not sure why, but Bill Kolb Jr. Service has decided that if they can't feel a problem that I have noted as not only obvious but now a danger to my driving, they won't look at the car. Just disgraceful - one of their reps, a fellow named Chris, is an especially defensive and demeaning fellow.

That is, I've owned and driven cars for 26 years now and have even (illegally - oops) driven mid-sized rigs in a pinch for an HVAC company (summer job), among assorted other vehicles - I've *never* had these kind of vibration and sudden instability problems in a vehicle. I'm literally avoiding use of this car until this issue is reasonably resolved, which is not what I expected when purchasing my 6th new automobile. Considering how stellar our Forester has been, and how I was already looking for relief after fighting for the prior year with insurance and a criminally negligent mechanic who went out of business while working on my A4, my usual verve with the Reps has not really been there. So, any such recommendations are certainly welcome and appreciated.

Thanks,

- wader
 
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