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My 2006 Outback 2.5i maintenance and build thread.

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Hi everyone. Recently picked up a 2006 Subaru outback 2.5i, 5spd. It has leather seats and a sunroof. I've had 2 other older beater Subaru's in the past, so I'm fairly comfortable working on this car. I sold my last car, which was a brand new 2019 Genesis G70 Sport, so it was a drastic change to get rid of that and come to this car. The Subaru will act as my daily driver/beater/mild offroader/winter driver. While I work on this I'll be saving up money for another sport luxury car. I figure this thing will keep me busy and happy in the meantime!

Here it is... I figure Arnold is a good name for it.

491917


491918


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I've got a number of things I need to do to get it up to the standards I want. The center console is pretty dang janky, a couple of the overhead lights are burned out, the headlights are relatively foggy and aimed WAY too high. The brakes, while they grab well, they feel too spongy. The shocks are definitely blown, as it's really floaty and springy. Also, the interior is pretty messy and needs a good deep clean and detail. New fluids will be put in, and a big tune up will be in order. All of which I'll be doing myself, and I'll post my progress.

Once I get everything nice and buttoned up, I'll most likely lift it. Debating on between 2" or 4", then I'll put on slightly bigger all terrain tires, with 15" or....if I can find some that fit, even 14" rims.


Excited to start working on things!
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Discussion Starter · #221 ·
Okay, got some more done today!

Replaced transmission axle seals. Pried the old ones out with a big flat head screwdriver, being careful not to damage the mating surface. Then I wiped down any bits of debris, then pushed in the new seals with my hands, not too deep, not too shallow.

Passenger side, new seal in place.

Automotive tire Automotive design Motor vehicle Rim Alloy wheel



Driver's side, new seal in place.

Automotive tire Motor vehicle Alloy wheel Sculpture Rim



Pulled the prop shaft oil seal, wiped it all down, then pushed in the new seal. This one was definitely tougher than the axle seals. But, it turned out great just like the others.

Cameras & optics Camera accessory Camera lens Automotive lighting Bicycle part



And honestly, the old seals probably would have been okay to re-use. But, we all know the saying, "while I'm in there...."


Next up, I removed the cut shifter cables, then cleaned up some things. Also removed the old, cut ground cable and replaced with a nicer one.

Before...

Gas Auto part Wood Metal Composite material



After....

Motor vehicle Electrical wiring Gas Automotive exterior Machine




This was all easier than I anticipated. So, with my extra time I figured I'd clean up the differential even more, and paint it so it's nice and smooth.

Wire brushed down all the loose rust...

Bicycle part Wood Metal Auto part Steel



Brushed off all the dust from scrubbing with the wire wheel. Then I wiped it all down with denatured alcohol. Taped it, hung it on my engine lift, then primed and painted with Rust-Oleum professional flat black.

I think it's looking pretty good. I was regretting buying flat, as I really wanted gloss (they were out of stock), but now I think flat was the way to go!!

Gas Human leg Auto part Machine Boot



We'll see how it looks tomorrow after it's had some time to cure.


Looks like things are lining up for the tranny swap to go down this weekend! I'm so pumped.
 

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Discussion Starter · #222 · (Edited)
Alright! The diff looks pretty good now that all is said and done.

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Automotive tire Motor vehicle Bumper Automotive exterior Automotive design


I'm liking the flat sheen of the black. Now I kinda want to clean up the cover even more and make it stand out - but I don't have the time for it. Oh well.

Anyway, when I was cleaning up the tranny I found a leak! There was a bunch of grime all over and around this sensor...

This pic is after I wiped it all up. I think the copper o-ring isn't centered properly. Maybe the cause of the leak?

Wheel Automotive tire Motor vehicle Vehicle brake Automotive design



Just picked up a new o-ring/gasket/washer from the dealership. Since I'm using a l wrench to tighten it I put a mark on there to know how tight it should be.


Removed...

Automotive tire Motor vehicle Automotive exterior Rim Automotive wheel system




Installed with new o-ring.

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Tried to get it as centered as I could. I think it should be good.
 

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Discussion Starter · #223 ·
So with my work and home life schedule I only have a few hours at night to do work, so I'm gonna be dividing all of this up in small chunks.

Today, we take the first step of the transmission swap.

Skid Plate removed...

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Next up, we removed all of this...

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So that we can isolate the shifter...

Hood Vehicle Motor vehicle Car Automotive design



That's about all I could do tonight, hopefully tomorrow night I can get almost everything off so that the tranny is ready to be pulled. Got a big weekend ahead of us.
 

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Discussion Starter · #225 ·
Next, removed the transmission mounts, hooked up my transmission jack, and then unbolted the tranny.

It actually came out pretty easy. Nice!

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Here are the old vs new...

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Transferred over my clutch fork. Fits like a glove.

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Now to mount the new tranny. Onto the jack, then plug in those shifter cables. Ready to go.

Motor vehicle Automotive tire Automotive exterior Gas Machine




One thing I found when installing the transmission while the engine is still in - it's all about angles and alignment, very much like when mating the engine to the tranny. But, when the tranny is unplugged from the engine, the engine seems to tilt forward toward the radiator. This creates a very difficult angle to work with, as the clutch is angled upward now. So to fix this, I used my normal jack with a few blocks of wood and put it under the front of the exhaust manifold, then gently tilted the engine back towards the firewall. Once I got it all aligned and the angles were virtually dead on, I have it a few wiggles and a push - then "click" it just went right in!!!

Automotive fuel system Motor vehicle Automotive design Vehicle Car



Perfect!

After this, of course, I went ahead and torqued down all the bellhousing bolts and nuts, removed my tranny jack, and then reinstalled the transmission mount. Yes, the stock tranny mount bolts right up with out any modification.

I made sure the shifter cables are routed correctly, then got to work on modifying the new shifter assembly and drilling some holes onto the chassis (and old shift assembly bracket) to make it all fit correctly. I'll show this process later as I'm not 100% done just yet (almost there, though).


Anyway, with the front end mostly done, I went to swap out the rear diff. Let me tell you, some of those mounting nuts are on there TIGHT. But, we were able to get them off.

Out with the old...

Wheel Tire Automotive tire Hood Tread



In with the new!

Automotive tire Motor vehicle Hood Automotive design Vehicle

Car Automotive tire Hood Motor vehicle Vehicle



Good thing about the 4.44 VLSD is that it's still using an R160 case, and the LSD is so similar to the standard open diff that the same axles plug right in. Nice.

Last, but not least for the night, I reinstalled my front axles.

Tire Wheel Car Automotive tire Light



But, man, what a pain in the butt it is to line up the LCA's with the ball joint! Negative things like this you never hear about from people with lifted Subaru's.

This is what I ended up doing to get the LCA low enough to line up with the ball joint....

Tire Wheel Bicycle tire Automotive tire Motor vehicle



Lol. Oh well, it works!

I'm really hoping to have the swap all finished up tomorrow night. Fingers crossed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #226 ·
So last night I finally got the shifter assembly set up properly, and figured out the exhaust hanger.

For the shifter, I decided to keep the original mounting bracket as it has the mounting points for the center console. I had to remove some bits off it and also drill some holes.


Wood Bicycle part Composite material Rectangle Auto part



Originally I was planning on using the old rubber lower cover as a gasket, but it turned out to be too thick so the shifter housing bolts weren't long enough. This is how it looks mated up to the upper half of the shifter assembly...

Hood Motor vehicle Bumper Automotive tire Automotive exterior



I then used the modified mounting bracket to act as a template to drill into the chassis.

Hood Automotive tire Motor vehicle Bumper Automotive design



I also needed to cut out some material from the shifter.

Before...

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After....

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I also needed longer mounting bolts. I believe I got M8 1.25 35mm bolts. Here it is with the upper half mounted.

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After the upper clamshell was installed, I went ahead and lined up the bottom half and bolted her in, and plugged in the cables! A look from the bottom...

Automotive tire Motor vehicle Tread Automotive design Automotive lighting



Here is a custom shield I made, as my shifter didn't come with the factory shield (and new ones aren't available, nor do I have access to a junkyard that has any manual Crosstrek's). I just used part of the original shifter rubber to make this gasket.

Bumper Finger Automotive exterior Gas Wood

Automotive tire Bumper Automotive exterior Rim Motor vehicle



Not too bad! And 6 gears!!! So pumped!

Continued...
 

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Discussion Starter · #227 ·
Now it's time to turn to the transmission exhaust hanger. The new tranny has the same bolt holes for the exhaust bracket as the old one, but they're used for a shield to protect one of the shifter cables, take a look...

Automotive tire Hood Automotive fuel system Motor vehicle Automotive design




So, this is what I did. I grinded down the old bracket so it looks like this.

Automotive tire Finger Bicycle part Gesture Nail


And with it installed it just covers the back end of the cable...

Motor vehicle Automotive tire Hood Tire Tread



Now, here is my modified exhaust hanger bracket. Had to cut off some material from the top.

Automotive tire Bicycle part Rim Gas Auto part



And then to protect the front part of the shift cable, I cut and formed a new shield with aluminum sheeting, like this...

Motor vehicle Automotive tire Bumper Automotive exterior Gas



And here it is all installed!!

Motor vehicle Automotive tire Hood Automotive design Automotive fuel system



Nice and protected!

Before calling it a night I put the prop shaft back on.

Automotive tire Tire Motor vehicle Bumper Hood




Hoping to finish buttoning things up today.

Thanks for looking!
 

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Discussion Starter · #230 ·
Okay, yesterday I finished everything up. The exhaust hanger/bracket works, though it doesn't line up exactly the way it did before. Still, I'm happy it's working!

Tire Wheel Automotive tire Vehicle Tread



Put everything else back together. Now, it's time for a new boot for the shifter, as the stick itself is too thick to reuse the old boot.

Bought a random, generic boot from Amazon.

Triangle Tints and shades Font Symmetry Cone




Pulled apart the old boot, and installing the new one was actually relatively easy. Didn't use any adhesive or zip ties, just made a few small cuts to stick the bracket clips through.

Hand Sleeve Finger Eyewear Bag

Bag Luggage and bags Finger Triangle Automotive design



Just pulled the boot down below the shifter collar and the natural tension of the top of the boot holds it all in place nicely. It turned out fantastic!

Automotive design Car Motor vehicle Steering wheel Personal luxury car



Full the tranny and rear diff with the cheapest gear oil I could find from AutoZone. Drove around a little while then drained it all to clear out any major debris from inside the gearbox and diff, then refilled with Valvoline gear oil. I'll drive this for a bit then drain and finally fill both with Amsoil.

But, for the time being, I'm happy with it. 1st gear is noticeably shorter, and it makes it easier to start from a standstill. Makes up for the lightweight flywheel!
 

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Discussion Starter · #231 · (Edited)
Ready to fill with Amsoil. Also, I bought new tranny mounts, with the rear mount being the newer, more solid style from the 2nd gen Crosstrek.

Bottle Automotive tire Drink Glass bottle Alcoholic beverage


I went with the 75w-90 Severe gear because the owners manual for the 2018 Crosstrek states that the manual transmission uses GL-5 gear oil, whereas the Amsoil Manual transmission oil (75w-90) is only designed for GL-4...

Rectangle Font Material property Parallel Number


Also, after looking more closely at the above page from the owner's manual, I found that Subaru Extra MT is actually a 75w-80 GL-5 type gear oil. Stuff like that is hard to come by, but RedLine has 75w-85. Perhaps I should have gotten that instead? Oh well. I'm already committed!

Hopefully I can get this done tonight.
 

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Discussion Starter · #232 · (Edited)
Okay, I got the tranny mounts swapped over.

Out with the old...

Bicycle part Auto part Tool Nickel Metal



Then I cleaned up the girdle...

Downhill ski binding Bicycle part Auto part Human leg Carmine



And here's an old vs new comparison. Definitely a lot more rubber on the newer one! Supposedly Subaru switched to this more substantial style with the Crosstrek.

Motor vehicle Automotive design Automotive tire Grey Automotive exterior



Bolts right up to the girdle. And it bolts right up to the tranny, as it should, because this is a Crosstrek transmission. Hah.

Hood Automotive fuel system Automotive tire Automotive lighting Bumper




Next, I decided to do some tidying up on the lower shifter box. The aluminum plate I used is pretty thin, so it doesn't press against the rubber gasket so well. So, I put a few layers of aluminum tape on there. Sloppy, yes. Effective? Also yes.

Hood Automotive tire Automotive lighting Automotive exhaust Bumper



No moisture will be getting in there!


On to the front. Out with the old...

Automotive tire Light Motor vehicle Automotive fuel system Automotive lighting



Old vs new...

Hand tool Tool Wrench Bicycle part Metal




And here's that new guy installed.

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Cont'd...
 

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Discussion Starter · #233 ·
Now, a little while back I wrapped my intake piping with some heat reflective and insulating tape.

Bicycle handlebar Bumper Automotive exterior Bicycle part Bicycle fork



It was tough to get it around the bends because this tape is so thick. It is actually based on a fiberglass matt.

Hand Textile Finger Font Wool



Anyway, so I ended up cutting it into smaller strips and pieced them on one at a time with some overlap. After waiting a few minutes, you could see it was beginning to peel up...

Motor vehicle Automotive air manifold Hood Automotive fuel system Automotive design




So I got some zip ties and went to town!!!

Motor vehicle Automotive design Automotive fuel system Vehicle Automotive air manifold

Automotive fuel system Automotive tire Motor vehicle Gas Rim



Lol. Hopefully it stays! Anyway, I am too tired to do the gear oil change tonight. It will come soon.


Thanks for looking.
 

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Discussion Starter · #234 ·
Tied up a couple loose ends.

First, the Crosstrek tranny has a breather hose. Up until now the hose has just been hanging there. But I figured I'd clean it up and put a breather filter on it just for fun.


Automotive tire Wood Bicycle part Grey Rim

Vision care Bicycle handlebar Gesture Eyewear Finger

Automotive tire Bicycle tire Rim Automotive wheel system Motor vehicle



Bought a generic Spector filter, along with a vacuum adapter nipple.

Automotive lighting Font Gas Automotive tire Bumper

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Plugged it in and then zip tied the filter so it's out of the way, hanging out on the middle of the firewall.

Automotive tire Sleeve Water Grey Style

Motor vehicle Vehicle Automotive design Hood Automotive fuel system




Next, I wanted to fix up my differential bushings. They're old and definitely need to be replaced, but I really don't want to go to the effort to replace them. So I resorted to an old trick I've used in the past with great success.

Cram a fuel hose in the gaps.

Motor vehicle Automotive lighting Automotive tire Automotive exterior Hood

Automotive tire Tread Hood Automotive lighting Automotive exterior

Motor vehicle Automotive tire Rim Automotive exterior Gas



I'll tell ya, the hose I was using is a tiny bit too big. It was very difficult to squeeze it in there. Haha. But it should be very beneficial, seeing how torn up the bushings look. Kinda makes me want to put in some poly bushings....and that's saying something, because I hate poly bushings.


Thanks for looking.
 

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Discussion Starter · #235 · (Edited)
So, I ended up returning my Amsoil order. The reason why is that I found that Subaru Extra MT is actually a 75w-80 weight gear oil. Of course the Extra MT is expensive and difficult to find, but it supposedly gives the best gas mileage and shifter feel. While I've heard good things about the Amsoil Severe Gear 75w-90 oil for Subaru manual transmissions, I figured I'd give another type a try.

Motul makes a semi-synthetic 75w-80 gear oil that is designed for manual transmissions. I figure this might be the closest to Extra MT, with the potential for it to be even better in some regards (ie offering better protection over a wider range of temperatures). That said, I ordered some and I'll give it a try.

Liquid Bottle cap Bottle Fluid Automotive tire



I was going to use Amsoil SG for the rear differential, but I saw that I had these laying around. Both are half full....so, eh, may as well use them now. Next rear differential fluid change I'll just put in the severe gear. But, for now this will offer plenty of protection, and honestly, if I were to switch to only 75w-85 in the rear diff it would only help with gas mileage (though the difference, I'm sure, would be insignificant).

Liquid Bottle Fluid Plastic bottle Automotive tire


Should be able to get on this tomorrow night.
 

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Discussion Starter · #236 ·
Drained and filled the rear diff with a mix of Redline 75w-85, and Mobil 1 75w-90...

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Wheel Tire Motor vehicle Automotive tire Vehicle



Drained and filled the tranny with the Motul 75w-80....

Hood Automotive tire Motor vehicle Tread Automotive exterior

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Took it for a really short spin and noticed a difference in shifter feel already. Gonna give it some more time to give a proper review of any lasting differences (if any).
 

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Discussion Starter · #237 · (Edited)
Update: Tranny feels a little better and smoother with the new fluid. Improved shifter gear engagement, ie it goes into each gear with a little less effort. The difference isn't ground breaking by any means, but it's definitely an improvement. Nice!

So, Motul 75w-80 seems pretty good so far. At the very least it seems like an upgrade over Valvoline high performance, non-synthetic 75w-90. But is the Motul oil as good as Subaru Extra MT? No clue. Haha.

Next project: I've noticed my brakes dragging and squeaking after they've heated up from moderate braking. Initially I figured this was just the pads, but I took a closer peek at the calipers themselves and noticed that the slider pin dust boots are cracked and falling apart. Almost seems like the boots are made out of plastic.... Wtf?? New boots and slider pins have been ordered. I also ordered new seals for the pistons just in case they're also showing major signs of wear. Unfortunately I couldn't get any OEM replacements for any of the boots and/or seals, as the local dealerships don't have them in stock and they're all saying they are on national back order. So, I just bought aftermarket sets. I wouldn't doubt that the new ones are just as junky as the current ones I have.

Automotive tire Electric blue Packaging and labeling Box Bumper


Anyway, the Raybestos calipers have a lifetime warranty, but all they'll do is replace them after I send them back. But I don't want to do that, as I'll get the same garbage seals all over again and have to do the same thing again and again. Fingers crossed that the new seals are better than what came with the calipers. If not, I'll just order OEM seals and wait the 1-3 months for them to arrive.
 

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Discussion Starter · #238 ·
Well....bad news on the calipers. Not only are the slider pin boots ruined, but the piston boots are as well.

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Went to work replacing both the slider pins and their boots.

Writing implement Red Cosmetics Automotive tire Material property

Motor vehicle Automotive tire Asphalt Yellow Road surface



The piston seal and boot, however, didn't go so smoothly... Turns out that they're the wrong style. I was able to get the new seal in, barely, but the boot was totally wrong and impossible to get in as the lip was TOTALLY different than what came with the caliper...

Automotive tire Gas Rim Safety glove Nut

Automotive tire Tire Motor vehicle Rim Gas



Sigh... So I couldn't finish the project. I checked at local parts stores and they have the exact same non-fitting garbage. I checked on RockAuto, and they have a different brand that appears to be the same as the original, so I went ahead and ordered them. Gotta wait a week or so to try them out. In the meantime I just left the boot on, as it seats onto the piston fine, but not the caliper housing. It should be safe to last for a few weeks.

If this other new seal doesn't fit, then I may have to get the entire caliper replaced... Ugh.
 

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Discussion Starter · #239 ·
Good news everyone!

I picked up a set of calipers seals from O'Reilly's and they are PERFECT. As in, they seem even better quality than the brand I got from RockAuto. The inner lining of the piston seal is polished instead of just smooth like the Dorman brand. Take a look....

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Overall the rubber feels like it's higher quality in general. Nice.

Popped out the old stuff and cleaned out the piston housing...

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Piston seal fits perfectly - yes, even better than the other one did.

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Piston is lightly lubed, boot is on and ready to be seated onto the caliper body.

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Smeared some more grease around the new seal inside the housing. Probably put too much, but, oh well.

Gas Wood Machine Auto part Automotive wheel system




Slipped/seated in very very nicely. I used a small flathead screwdriver to gently seat the last little bit of lip that was bulging out. Once seated, just give the boot a little twist to make sure all 360° are fully seated. Perfect.

Fluid Finger Liquid Gas Household hardware

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Now just gently push the piston in and let the boot seat itself onto the piston. Nice.

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These pistons actually move smoother and easier than the old seals, which is saying something because those old ones weren't even 2 years old! The old ones almost felt like the piston was seized in comparison.

Gonna be doing the fronts tomorrow night!
 

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Discussion Starter · #240 ·
Finished rebuilding the front calipers. I think things went smoothly...

Brackets done. Pins move nice and smooth.

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Pistons done. Again, fits great, they move nicely.

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Gonna have to bleed the whole system, as I've seemed to have gotten air in it. Otherwise they're working great!
 
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