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2003 Outback LL Bean Wagon
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209 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I need to replace the exhaust system on my 2003 Outback LL Bean. I fugure the whole thing needs replacing as I'm throwing O2 codes, my mileage is down, and the volume has increased.

Does anybody have suggestions? I'm looking for a place to buy the parts and for a diagram of what I will need.

I'm looking to do this as inexpensively as possible. I prefer quiet over performance, and ideally some longevity.
 

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Premium Member
(formerly) 03 H6 OBW , (presently) 06 WRX Sportwagon & 2021 Honda CR-V
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18,647 Posts
ouch - to do it 'right' is gonna require that muffler and, I think it's still dealer only (?) and very pricey. make SURE the muffler is really bad.

but, I'm sure people have used a regular muffler just fine.
 

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Premium Member
(formerly) 03 H6 OBW , (presently) 06 WRX Sportwagon & 2021 Honda CR-V
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18,647 Posts
just get one or 2 opinions on repair - you may just have a bad gasket or crack somewhere.

the cats may not be bad.

maybe someone can suggest a shop in your area.
 

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OBW H6 VDC, Tribeca, XT6
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12,385 Posts
Subaru catalytic converter failure is almost unheard of - it's far more rare than how loosely the term is thrown around. just because a shop said it was bad and replaced it doesn't mean it was actually bad. pre-P0420 code converters never get replaced on Subaru's....because they fail. It's only newer ones, since the advent of the P0420 code, that get replaced often - usually erroneously.

That being said - if it's leaking, why and where?

If it's just the gasket, replace it.

If it's rusted - you can have it welded together and repair it. The dealer parts are thousands of dollars, so it is worth some effort to repair. If a shop welds in a new pipe section and flange for $300 (very expensive), you're still much to the good over new parts or dealer parts and retain most of the original robust metal OEM parts.

Two friends just had leaking/sheared off rusty exhaust fixed in the past few months - both also 03 H6 wagons - $45 to weld in a new section of pipe in place of the rusty rear flange. The rest of the pipe was in decent shape and likely to last a long time so it was worth it.

The Subaru OEM pipe is actually very high quality metal that takes a long time to rust. Aftermarket stuff will get surface rust quickly and I've seen them in poor shape in just a year or two in the rust belt. I'm not sure how to tell which aftermarket are the most grievous in that regard, i'm sure some are better than others.

So by replacing your exhaust...you might be replacing a large portion of perfectly good metal for weaker/less robust stuff over just a small section of rust....hard to say without seeing it.

Another option is to order exhaust from non-rusty parts of the country if you can find someone to ship or some way to get it.

Rockauto has decent prices on new parts from Bosal - you can get two sections for about $100 each - for under $250 shipped.
 

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2001, European Outback, H6
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150 Posts
Rockauto has decent prices on new parts from Bosal - you can get two sections for about $100 each - for under $250 shipped.
I found the Bosal parts for the H6. Did anyone order these? Are they really for the H6 or do they have an error on their side? Because I coudn't not find any other aftermarket exhaust parts for the H6.

RockAuto Parts Catalog

I do need a new rear muffler and the dealer (in Germany) said it is 485 € which is 667$ for the part without putting it on.

Rockauto only wants 67€ or around 100$ for the part. but shipping and import tax would add up to 270€ or 366$.

So I would really like to hear some opinions about this part.

Edit: Here is why I need a new rear muffler:
 

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OBW H6 VDC, Tribeca, XT6
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12,385 Posts
The Subaru units are actually robust and high quality - if you can find a used one that's not rusty, go with it.
 

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01 VDC, 05 R Sedan, 06 BAJA EJ257
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16,260 Posts
That's not good. That's the bypass.


It looks like the right parts in the part listing. But the Bosal part will not have the bypass. It will just be a muffler that fits the car.
 

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'03 L.L. Bean OBW 162,000 mi Dad: 2012 3.6 Limited 90,000 mi Mom- 2015 Impreza 5MT
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1,205 Posts
I'm sorry if this was mentioned before, but how does one know of the bypass is bad?
 

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On the Super Mod Squad
2002 3.0 VDC Wag + 2018 2.5 Leg Ltd
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27,104 Posts
I'm sorry if this was mentioned before, but how does one know of the bypass is bad?
If you can reach up on top of the bypass with a gloved hand and or a pair of pliers and grab the top of the bypass bolt, and turn it hard everything is fine.

If it don't turn no more then it is not fine. Springs should be surprisingly strong to you turning them with a gloved hand,

when you are stopped it should be closed, and with a little back pressure from engine it will open up. (so like if you look at it with your pop revving the engine you should hear the difference.

CNY Dave has put in weaker springs in his so it opens easier, but he thinks his was rusted shut before. Mine on the other hand appears to work fine despite the surface of the muffler not looking new anymore.

see his thread: http://www.subaruoutback.org/forums/66-problems-maintenance/146369-removed-my-h6-muffler-bypass-valve.html
 

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'03 L.L. Bean OBW 162,000 mi Dad: 2012 3.6 Limited 90,000 mi Mom- 2015 Impreza 5MT
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1,205 Posts
It revs pretty willingly all the way up to 5000 (I've never tried to rev it higher) and there is a nice power surge around 3000 rpm, so I'm thinking it's probably okay, but I'll check.
Thanks again for your help!
 

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On the Super Mod Squad
2002 3.0 VDC Wag + 2018 2.5 Leg Ltd
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It revs pretty willingly all the way up to 5000 (I've never tried to rev it higher) and there is a nice power surge around 3000 rpm, so I'm thinking it's probably okay, but I'll check.
Thanks again for your help!
In pictures I have seen some with a metal cap, ...I guess those are later models.

the piece to grab is the flat piece of metal on top of the spring, based on where it is I would think some people might have a case of rust eating into the bypass due to caked on road salt.
 

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06 OBW 2.5, 05 Forester, had 03 H6 OBW
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I didn't weaken my spring, I just ripped the whole valve out.

On mine the shaft was frozen where it passes through the thick metal bottom plate that you see when you take the cap off. Severely frozen. After I decided it was not fixable (rare for me) it took significant beating with a hammer to get it to move at all.

My mention of weaker springs was the springs I use to pull the ex pipe forwards onto the cat donut gasket. The bolt flange on the converter is gone for good so I just have springs going from the pipe to the frame.
 

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2002 3.0 VDC Wag + 2018 2.5 Leg Ltd
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I didn't weaken my spring, I just ripped the whole valve out.

On mine the shaft was frozen where it passes through the thick metal bottom plate that you see when you take the cap off. Severely frozen. After I decided it was not fixable (rare for me) it took significant beating with a hammer to get it to move at all.

My mention of weaker springs was the springs I use to pull the ex pipe forwards onto the cat donut gasket. The bolt flange on the converter is gone for good so I just have springs going from the pipe to the frame.
Thanks for clarifying, my exhaust on both cars is actually becoming one long set of married pipes. The flanges rusted out, cut off, and then a union welded into the gap. Outside of the flange the pipes were really solid and when this started happening, they kind of looked new..] Now they don't look nice anymore. (a OEM muffler for a EZ30D car is quite a bundle, I don't want to toss the old one before its time).
 

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'03 L.L. Bean OBW 162,000 mi Dad: 2012 3.6 Limited 90,000 mi Mom- 2015 Impreza 5MT
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Now my exhauaust is getting a little rumbly at idle and when taking off.
I'll visually check if there are any leaks. If not, is it possible the muffler's going?
It doesn't sound bad at all, it's actually a nice growl, but if it continues to get worse I'll need to fix it before I sound like a ricer.
I have noticed a slight drop in fuel economy, but I'd attributed it to the weather. Maybe not. . .
 

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OBW H6 VDC, Tribeca, XT6
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exhaust leak as seemingly minor as yours sounds shouldn't cause a drop in mileage.
 

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'03 L.L. Bean OBW 162,000 mi Dad: 2012 3.6 Limited 90,000 mi Mom- 2015 Impreza 5MT
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It's probably just conditions then. I had the car idling for several minutes to check trans fluid level, stop and go traffic, cold weather, hard acceleration, etc. And it was a slight drop.
So is it an exhaust leak- not something in the muffler's internals? If so, maybe I could just patch it.
 

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06 OBW 2.5, 05 Forester, had 03 H6 OBW
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They may have switched over to 'winter gas' which has less energy content (gas mileage goes down)
 

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'03 L.L. Bean OBW 162,000 mi Dad: 2012 3.6 Limited 90,000 mi Mom- 2015 Impreza 5MT
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The muffler is most definitely going. You're probably right about that having nothing to do with fuel economy.
It's not bad at all yet. I think it's been slowly getting worse for a month or so. I would like to choose and acquire a replacement before it's urgent.
I hope to keep this car for a long time, so I want something good quality. I looked at the Bosal muffler, but I heard it's inferior to the Subaru one and rusts a lot faster.
What are some good aftermarket options if I want something that'll last? Magnaflow maybe?
What's the diameter of the stock pipes, and just to clarify, can I put a stainless steel muffler on a normal steel exhaust?
Thanks!
 

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2002 3.0 VDC Wag + 2018 2.5 Leg Ltd
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The muffler is most definitely going. You're probably right about that having nothing to do with fuel economy.
It's not bad at all yet. I think it's been slowly getting worse for a month or so. I would like to choose and acquire a replacement before it's urgent.
I hope to keep this car for a long time, so I want something good quality. I looked at the Bosal muffler, but I heard it's inferior to the Subaru one and rusts a lot faster.
What are some good aftermarket options if I want something that'll last? Magnaflow maybe?
What's the diameter of the stock pipes, and just to clarify, can I put a stainless steel muffler on a normal steel exhaust?
Thanks!
I got something going on in my muffler too, so I am forced to enjoy some "subaru rumble", from the car that up until 2 months ago was as quiet as a brand new Bentley.

Here and there, I have looked at aftermarket alternatives, but I see nothing good or viable yet.

Oh well, 03LLBean, for now just pull up next to the WRX people and rev it, without racing them. So they think you put a custom exhaust on the big dog.
 
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