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2005 3L LL Bean Outback
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Discussion Starter #1
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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2001 H6 OBW
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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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2011 Tacoma TRD Sport Double Cab Long Box
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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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2005 3L LL Bean Outback
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Discussion Starter #4
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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03 H6 OBW & 06 WRX Sportwagon
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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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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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2011 Tacoma TRD Sport Double Cab Long Box
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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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2005 3L LL Bean Outback
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Discussion Starter #9
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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2005 3L LL Bean Outback
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Discussion Starter #10
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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2011 Tacoma TRD Sport Double Cab Long Box
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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.
You do have the standard "active torque split" AWD without a LSD in the front or rear. The whole 90/10 thing is a huge myth though...it's never been in any real literature from Subaru anywhere, nor is it anywhere close to true. According to Fuji Heavy Industries, it's "usually" 60/40, but that doesn't even describe it well since it varies so much all the time. On the FreeSSM thread here, it's found that from a stop it's almost always very close to 50/50, and it also hits that whenever there's a slip or you floor it. Even when cruising down the highway at a steady speed, it never goes as low as 90/10.

...and the FWD fuse should be under the hood in the box near the driver's side fender. If it's not there, some of the older cars had it in its own holder on the passenger's side near the firewall, but I think for 2000 up they moved it.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I visited my parents these last 4 weeks which involved a plane trip so I hadn't been driving the Outback for some time.

The active torque split is interesting to understand. I had noticed from the VIN and from the fact that it's not a Limited edition that there's no LSD. The proportion of torque between the front and rear wheels I had quoted is from a (non-Subaru) web site that I can't find at the moment.

With regards to the squeaking/slapping sound; I drove with 4 people (including myself) and we didn't hear the noise. My co-worker (who drives a 98 Impreza) said that the noise is probably affected by the load. With a total of 2 people in the car, I notice the sound, especially when passing parked cars on my left which apparently echoes the sound towards me. Strangely, my passenger doesn't hear the noise.

When I got back from parents, I drove the car for about 20 miles with no issues whatsoever. The following day, I noticed for the first time that the car wouldn't start immediately. When turning the ignition key on, a rather strange squeaking noise came from the engine, but the car wouldn't start. I estimate that I had turned the ignition on for less than 2 seconds. Up until that moment the car had always started straight away. When I tried to turn on the ignition for the 2nd time, the engine started accompanied by the same squeaking noise. I kept the engine running while parked and the noise stopped about 20-25 seconds after starting. I then drove for about 30 miles (combination of city and highway) with no issues whatsoever.

Looking in the manual under the section "Engine Noise" there's 3 entries under "Type of sound" which I believe could correspond with the noise I heard. "Squeaky sound", "Rubbing sound" and "Timing belt noise". The term "Timing belt noise" is not a very descriptive sound but it could well be the noise I heard.

When the car didn't start on the first try, I had an immediate feeling that it was somehow caused by a lack of power although the battery looks like it has been recently installed.

In any case, I'll be having the timing belt (and closely related parts) replaced very soon. From what I'm reading, it seems like a failing timing belt can be disastrous for this model's engine (post '96 SOHC). I'll see if I can reproduce the sound tomorrow with my Impreza co-worker.
 

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2002 Outback Sedan H6 3.0 VDC
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For the rear noise, check the axle boots as mentioned, although the rear axles rarely fail. Also, check the rear sway bar. It's a steal bar that runs from one rear wheel hub to the other. It should be connected at both ends and not touching anywhere besides a rubber bushing on each side that it runs through.

When I first got my Subaru there was a clunk in the rear of the car. I later discovered it was the jack that wasn't properly secured. You can twist the knob on it by hand it expand it and snug it into it's spot. (My car is a Sedan, I'm not sure if the wagons are different.

As for the engine noise. If the timing belt was slipping your engine wouldn't be running and would probably be damaged. The timing belt has teeth on it to lock into the cam sprockets. It's more likely to be the serpentine belt which is the main "fan" belt you see under the hood.

-Tim
 

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2005 3L LL Bean Outback
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Discussion Starter #14
I had someone (friend of a friend) look at the car and the following issues were observed:

- the front sway bar was broken. Not the connectors wherein the sway bar hangs, rather, the bar itself was broken off on the driver's side.
- the front tie rod on the passenger's side was not ok.
- the brakes were fairly worn, especially on the front.

The sway bar, both tie rods on the front, all 4 brake rotors and brake pads have now been replaced. I also had the timing belt, tensioners, pulleys and water pump replaced.

Now, the car suddenly handles like it should. I hadn't realized how bad it was handling until now. The braking is very nice. Previously they produced a very bad noise upon coming to a complete stop. This could probably be due to the fact that the front brake pads on the driver's side were completely worn down. I also had some issues where braking on the highway would slightly affect the car's direction. Those issues are now gone.

Apparently, the timing belt seems to have been in reasonable shape, but the tensioners and pulleys did need replacing.

With regards to the slapping noise I had previously observed; it's hard to say whether the noise is there or not because now I have a new noise going on. It sounds like the front shocks are a bit springy. Depending on the road conditions, it sounds like there's springs in the front that are going up and down. I otherwise don't notice much up and down movement, it's just the sound. I've also observed a light thump which came from under the car. I've observed this only once.

As if this isn't enough, I got a check engine light and autozone's computer reported that the catalytic converter needs replacing. I've already discovered that this reporting may be due to the o2 sensors (notably on the front?), but at the same time I can imagine that the converter itself is almost done for.

In any case, I'm getting an alignment done tomorrow. We'll see what the mechanic discovers.

Thanks everybody.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Thanks for the link. I do notice that I consistently get an electric shock when closing my door after getting out of the car. This was happening before and continues after the repairs. I believe there may be an issue with the grounding.

We'll see what the mechanic has to say tomorrow.

Thanks
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
So I took the Outback in for an alignment but I ended up postponing this.

The mechanic mentioned that the steering rack boot is severely torn and requires replacement. I'm not even sure what his exact quote was but it was well over $ 300. I didn't go along with this, and as the replacement is going to require an alignment, I postponed the alignment for now.

I'll have to see if I can get the boot replaced some other (cheaper) way.

I'm not sure what they call it, but the bar that the steering rack boot covers is attached to the wheel. Is it difficult to remove this bar from the wheel? Some people say you need a pickle fork, others say there's a special clamp to remove it, and still others say that both a pickle fork and clamp are going to bust or else damage the boots and say you just need a large hammer to hit the thing at the right spot.

I'm not really planning on doing this myself, but I'm just curious to know whether it's a big job or not.

The mechanic also stated that the catalytic converter situation can often be resolved by a thorough cleaning. The cleaning costs ~ $ 150. Replacing the converter was quoted at $ 1100.

Thanks
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I replaced the pinion bellows (if that's what they call them) together with a friend of mine who has more experience with this stuff. Looks like the older bellows were pretty worn/torn.

There was a single leak coming from a tearing upper radiator hose. We replaced both the upper and lower hoses and there are currently no engine leaks whatsoever.

I'm going to get the alignment tomorrow.

Thanks
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I finally got my alignment done and I'm happy with the result.

I also purchased an OBD adaptor from Amazon. It comes with a blue tooth interface and it was cheap as dirt. I was able to reset the Check Engine codes from my phone. After some grace period when there are no codes being reported, the code reporting is now "complete" and the P0420 code hasn't come back (yet).

The car still makes some squeaking noises, apparently coming from around the wheels or suspension. I mentioned this to my friend who helped me with the replacement of the bellows. He inspected the suspension and shocks and said they look fine, at least for their age. He greased some areas around the suspension and told me it may take some time (days to weeks) for the grease to settle in such that it may reduce the squeaking. I'll see how this develops.

I'm currently very happy with the car and do appreciate all the feedback provided.
 
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