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2010 Outback Limited 3.6R, Satin Pearl White, 19mm STI rear sway bar, steering shake fix
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
We just finished a trip from southern California to Minnesota, North Dakota, and Wyoming in our 2010 Outback 3.6. To get there and back we went through 12 states! There were three of us: my wife and I and our 8-year-old granddaughter. Amazingly, all our luggage for a 17-day trip didn't even fill up the way-back of the OB!

Total miles was 4,907. Average MPG for the whole trip was 27, with some tanks as high as 31. It seemed to me that we got poorer MPG when there was a lot of ethanol in the gas - is that a known issue? By the time I noticed it, it was too late to actually keep track to see if that was the cause. I put in one quart of oil about halfway through the trip.

I wondered how the non-turbo OB would do at high altitude, but it did just great. The Beartooth Pass into Yellowstone tops out at about 11,000 feet, and we did not notice any loss of power. I've included a pic of the OB above the tree line - heck, above all the glaciers - on that pass. That is one really twisty road - see the pic of the nav display!

Another day, there was one 10% grade which slowed us down to about 45 MPH, but that was the steepness, not the altitude... had the other driver shifted down manually I'm sure it would have been fine. We were looking forward to driving Pike's Peak but were unable to squeeze that in. On the downside, it would be nice if 2nd and 3rd gear were a little lower so the engine braking would be more effective.

We had one mechanical problem: the Check Engine light came on, the cruise control abruptly shut off, and four lights lit up on the dash. We got to a Subaru dealer in Des Moines, IA and they diagnosed a worn gas cap and dirty gas fill pipe neck, which caused a vapor leak. They replaced the cap and we were on our way. The service manager said he has seen a rash of that problem lately. Actually, if you read the owner's manual carefully, that combo of lights does diagnose a gas cap problem, but it's not all that easy to find. Apparently it will light up a combination of solid and blinking lights which encodes the problem - the blinking brake system light made me think it was a parking brake problem. It would be nice if the owner's manual listed all those light combinations in a table instead of dispersed through many pages of the book!

Shortly before the trip we had the "steering wheel shake" repair installed, i.e. the wheel balancing and enhanced steering wheel and other parts. I'm happy to report that the shake is completely gone! In our case it usually showed up from 65-72 MPH. Utah and other places have speed limits of 75 and 80 MPH, and there was no shake at all at those speeds or a little above. Nice!
 

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2010 OB 3.6R limited
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3,289 Posts
beartooth hwy was really nice...It was burning when we were there so we just drive from cooke city (toward red lodge) maybe 20 miles and turn back... stop by a few overlook and that place is just amazing....
you did better than me in the mpg, mine was 26.7 mpg over 35xx miles.I was getting 28-30 mpg when the speed limit were slower (IL, WI, part if MN)... then mpg comes way down when we hit SD (75 mph) and we cruise at 85mph....
yes, ethanol always gives you lower mpg.... that;s why in the western states, ethanol gas are cheaper than gasoline.
Oh...don;t get me started on Yellowstone NP.. this place is just amazing....wish I can make a trip there every year!
 

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2003 Outback Sedan VDC
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28 Posts
Ethanol will lower your mpgs. I always try to fill up with ethanol-free if I can find it - pure-gas.org is a good place to look. On the highway my 2003 H6 with 110k miles averages about 28.
 
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