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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, I got a car from a friend. Friend doesn't want to deal with it. It's Subaru Outback 2.5 XT. I can drive it approx 6-10 miles before engine gets warm. Once it gets warm friend says it will overheat and to not drive it anymore. I got the car yesterday and it had check engine light on. I didn't read the code :(. Now the CEL is off.

Any ideas where to start?

Coolant is full.
I'm in California and car passed SMOG check few days ago.
I don't have owners' record of repairs, but I searched car's VIN and found some logs from dealerships. There's no thermostat or head gasket service ever done.
I think the friend drove the car on 87 fuel.
The motor doesn't sound weird, there's no smoke or smell, no shaking.
Coolant is leaking from the reservoir, but I think the reason is that my friend added too much. It was about 8 inches above full yesterday and it's about 1-2 inch above full now.

I'm tempted to allow it to overheat and catch check engine light but at the same time, I don't want to cause any further damage.
 

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Meh.
I has wagons.
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Driving an XT on regular fuel is horrible. It sounds like they had no idea what/how to take care of their turbo ride. Hope you got it cheap.
 

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2020 Onyx
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It's not surprising that a turbo car will struggle when it's hot on low octane fuel, but there may be more to the story. Use the highest octane widely available, e.g. 93 or whatever your local gas stations carry. Where I am, 92 is what we have.

Considering that he wasn't taking care of the car, make sure you use good quality full synthetic oil, at least 0w-30. I used 5w-40 in my 2005 Legacy GT Turbo. Would recommend an oil filter like Wix 57055XP, Napa Gold or Platinum, Purolator PBL14615 or Tokyo Roki N3R1-14-302

The banjo bolt filters might be clogged - remove them (google the subject)

Remove the intercooler or at least inspect the hose leading to the intercooler and see if it's dripping with oil. Light oily residue is normal but if there's liquid oil in it then you might have a problem with the turbo.

Do you know if the car's ECU was ever "tuned" or an aftermarket ECU device used on it?

Clean the MAF with CRC MAF cleaner.

Don't use a K&N or other gauze type filters - go back to paper elements.

Is this one stick shift?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I got the car for free from a friend. I figured I can give it a shot with a free car. I like offroading / camping / wilderness trips so Outback seemed like it could handle it. I had 4Runner and Blazer before but life happened and don't have any offroading rig anymore.

Best widely available fuel here is 91 and that's what I think I will try to use. I will search for 93 though.

I can do oil & filter change, just not sure if I should do it right away. If I end up changing head gasket, changing oil and filter now will be waste of money and time. I know my friend did oil change recently, few weeks ago. They probably used cheap oil and cheap filter.

The banjo bolt filters - will google that.

Remove the intercooler or at least inspect the hose leading to the intercooler and see if it's dripping with oil - noted, will do.

Do you know if the car's ECU was ever "tuned" or an aftermarket ECU device used on it? - I doubt. Most likely not, most likely just standard interval services.

Clean the MAF with CRC MAF cleaner - noted, will do.

Don't use a K&N or other gauze type filters - go back to paper elements - noted, will do. We are talking about air filter I assume?

Is this one stick shift? - nope, it's automatic.

I will have the car at home tomorrow. Right now it's parked 11 miles away. I didn't want to drive it too much to avoid problems. I will take some pictures and make more notes. Will do standard checks too, will check fuses, any visible damage or clues etc.
 

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2020 Onyx
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Yes I meant the engine air filter - good luck - I miss my 2005 Legacy GT Wagon.
 

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Meh.
I has wagons.
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These cars are amazing when running well. They do not however tolerate neglect compared to the naturally aspirated or 6 cylinder siblings they had.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I got the car at my home now. I read the code - P0117. Drove 6 miles from cold and parked the car - motor was hot and got some smoke deep on the passenger side. Tomorrow morning with sunlight I will start assessing what's going on with the car.

When I drove it I also noticed that above 30mph I start hearing low tone humming from the back of the car. I think rear diff may need the service too.
 

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2008 Outback 2.5XT MT
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I got the car at my home now. I read the code - P0117. Drove 6 miles from cold and parked the car - motor was hot and got some smoke deep on the passenger side. Tomorrow morning with sunlight I will start assessing what's going on with the car.

When I drove it I also noticed that above 30mph I start hearing low tone humming from the back of the car. I think rear diff may need the service too.
Low tone hum for me was wheel bearings. Hard to describe but wheel bearings/hub assemblies seem like a common source for these cars. I did both my fronts at the same time 2 years ago? And instant cure to the noise.

Good luck on the cooling issue. I just popped in as I think my radiator just crapped its pants finally, (I'm assuming) after 14 plus years of faithful service. Just starting my own research.
 

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05 GT wagon, 09 Spec B, 18 3.6R Outback
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You may have a bad temp sensor ?

These cars don't normally have the same HG issues as NA cars.

The service manual may help.
Index of /ilh/vacation

You've come to the right place for help or over on that linked forum in the 4th Gen Legacy forum, basically the same car.

If you're not sure, I'd use some normal motor oil and good filter for the first, "short duration" oil change, until you know what you got.

These cars can be hard to get all the air out of the cooling system, there is a funnel with a self-burping set-up used to fill the system.

Check to make sure both engine to chassis ground wires are under the engine. Make up new ones using electrical wire.
 

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05 GT wagon, 09 Spec B, 18 3.6R Outback
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was that for me?

No, that's the P0117

Op should check the radiator cap too, I replaced mine just because I had a slight high temp last summer. NAPA has replacement caps.

For your radiator, don't get the thicker Mishimoto, I have it and there's not much room between the fans and drive belts. Any auto parts store will have a direct replacement.

For wheel bearings, I posted a thread yesterday with a link to one brand from *** in Germany.

I have Moog's in the rear of my wagon and older Timkens in the front.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
Here's update from me. The car starts to develop problems with starting, check the video:

I took the intercooler off - I found a bit of oil on the metal flange. Maybe 3-5 drops of oil. Certainly it's not soaking with oil. Not sure if any amount of oil is ok or not.

I haven't gotten yet to banjo bolt filters.

I haven't gotten yet to cleaning MAF.

Few more pictures below. To me it looks like passenger side is all wet with oil. Also the part with the ribs (torque converter?) between the motor and transmission is all wet with oil.

I jacked the car up, and started working on it. I drained coolant from radiator petcock - only about half a litter. I also drained oil. I removed alternator, battery, intercooler. Currently I'm traveling. When I get back on Monday, I'm planning on removing AC and steering pump. I'm pretty much following this video:

So far this is my list of things to do:
  • take the engine out and inspect everything I can
  • change head gasket and possibly valve gaskets too
  • send heads to the machine shop
  • see if spark plugs & coils need replacement, replace if needed
  • change air filter (current is very bad)
  • change oil filter, change oil
  • change parts of cooling system, cooling cap, maybe radiator, maybe heater core
  • inspect all ground loops
  • replace any cheap sensors that are reachable with motor out, consider replacing temp sensor and thermostat

Parts to buy:
  • Six Star gasket set
  • thermostat
  • temp sensor?
  • air & oil filters
  • radiator cap
  • all belts including timing belt
  • funnel tool for burping
  • potentially spark plugs / coils


This is free car and it looks like it's been neglected. I have capacity now to pull the engine and I think it's worth it. My goal is to pull the engine, fix everything I can and NEVER pull that engine again. That means I'm also fine spending extra cash and fixing parts that are okish but very difficult to access. That's especially true for any sensors that are usually pretty cheap, but some of them require a lot of labor to get to.

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That's one loud power steering pump. Your steering rack maybe leaking also, that's normal, I've had mine replaced twice. The recommended rack is made by Mavalgear, that's from my trusted mechanic.

The hard starting, how old are the spark plugs ?

A little oil vapor in tmic is normal.

IMO, I'd want to make sure the engine starts and runs well before you take everything apart, put it back in the car, and have issues trying to get it running. Oh, I see reading further, it's too late.

These engine are not known to have HG issues, but the passenger side valve cover is a leak place.

Here's my thread, on taking the engine out. https://legacygt.com/forums/showthread.php/got-some-new-stuff-engine-r-r-184106.html
Post #425 has updated pictures, after photobucket.

I pulled the fuel lines from the hose clamps at the left shock tower.
Lay the PS and AC to the side
Remove intake system as a whole from the long bolts at TGV's to heads.
Tighten fuel line clamps under intake manifold.
 

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The power steering fluid level looks high in the tank. Was the fluid warm/hot ?

Engine sounds flooded when trying to start. Or was that a cold start up ? sounds like it was on fast idle.


Parts to add, turbo inlet hose and oil return hose from turbo.
 

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2002 3.0 VDC Wag + 2018 2.5 Leg Ltd
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These cars are amazing when running well. They do not however tolerate neglect compared to the naturally aspirated or 6 cylinder siblings they had.
gen3 XT can make a good storage bin too, when previously owned by someone who should not touch them.
(it gives me the "whillies" to see one at a shop down the street that I would not take a electic golf cart to).
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I've got AC pump off, power steering pump off, belts off, radiator off, battery off, exhaust off. I got 2x 14mm nuts with washers off from motor crossmember. I got 2 or 3 ground loops off and 1 starter ground off.

Have a loot at the picture.
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What are my next steps? How do I take the intake off?
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I managed to get the intake off. I had to remove so many hoses, set of hook picks was very useful. I still have starter and turbo to be removed. Then I will start taking bell housing bolts off.
Vehicle Car Motor vehicle Automotive air manifold Automotive exterior
 

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Did you see my thread, you can pull the engine with the turbo and intake manifold in place. Much easier to work on those out of the car.

Make sure you install the turbo on the engine and line up the tmic before you install the new engine.

One other tip, for install, I found I had to jack up the rear of the car to get the tranny to line up in the crank shaft.

Just realized, I did that over 10 years ago.
 

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