Subaru Outback Forums banner
  • Hey everyone! Enter your ride HERE to be a part of September's Outback of the Month Challenge!
1 - 20 of 23 Posts

·
Registered
2008 Subaru Outback Limited
Joined
·
9 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 2008 Subaru which just broke 100k miles. I bought the Subie in 2010 as a reliable car that I would have for many years and miles. That has not been the case. I am not sure if this is normal for a Subaru.

Over the past two years I have had the following issues:

- Both CV boots Replaced
- Head Gasket leak and replacement (90K miles, very early timing belt replacement)
- Coil Pack Replacement
- Crank Position Sensor Failure
- The most annoying exhaust shield rattle that has me tightening pipe clamps over it every other month.
- Radio replaced due to failure

In the past three weeks, I have had:
- Both rear struts replaced
- Front Wheel Bearing Replaced
- Just found a leak in the power steering rack.

And some future issues that I still need to fix and investigate:
- Rear hatch latch gets stuck and doesn't actually catch (found this out when I accelerated, oops)
- Drivers Side power window is failing (need to investigate further)



This is all on top of doing all the normal maintenance (tires, brakes, fluids.. etc)

I drive cars as long as I can as I hate car payments. However, I have never had a car in the shop this often. I keep saying this has to be it for awhile, but I eat my words every 6 months. Anyone else have these many issues, or did I just get a bad Subaru?
 

·
Registered
2006 Outback 2.5i Auto
Joined
·
418 Posts
My impressions from reading here and a couple of years with a 2006 NA 2.5i:

CV boots, struts, and wheel bearings are all wear items, and age, and storage and driving environment are as important as mileage for when they will need to be done.

Head gaskets are unfortunately normal on the NA 2.5i. Exhaust shield rattles are also normal.

The others are somewhat unlucky, but may be age/environment related. Diverse electrical issues make me wonder if there's something about the storage (possibly from before you had the car) that means that the electrics generally are damp or otherwise at higher risk, or if there's been some electrical work done that has had knock-on effects. Or it could just be bad luck/Friday afternoon car.

Did the crank position sensor fail before or after the HG/timing belt was done? If after, it could be a knock-on from that work. Possibly the coil pack as well if the engine was removed?
 

·
Registered
Fresh Out of Outbacks!
Joined
·
14,495 Posts
Other than the crank sensor, everything you listed is a problem that 3rd generation Outbacks tend to get more often than other cars.

What's weird is that you got so many of them on the same car.

For your upcoming list- look at the door handle itself. Age & weather exposure can lead to the handle and its hinge pin binding up, which prevents it from relaxing to its normal position after you actuate it. Then the door may not latch the next time it drops. Usually needs nothing more than a bit of lube, but unfortunately may require some disassembly to get the lube into the right spot.

Driver power window switch is the weak link. Generally the window, track, motor, wiring etc outlast the switch.

100k miles is unusually low for that age. The bad news is that age-related effects are now hitting you harder than mileage-related effects.
 

·
Registered
Fresh Out of Outbacks!
Joined
·
14,495 Posts
Did the crank position sensor fail before or after the HG/timing belt was done? If after, it could be a knock-on from that work. Possibly the coil pack as well if the engine was removed?
Yeah I wondered about combination effects too. Maybe they were diagnosing an ignition problem, and they changed a coil pack, but that doesn't fix it. Then they go back and change the crank sensor and that fixes it. Great, glad it's fixed but unfortunately the owner had to pay for the wrong fix along the way to the right one. That happens.
 

·
Meh.
I has wagons.
Joined
·
12,371 Posts
Cv boots- Normal.

HG- Did they actually NEED replacing? Was there an overheat or severe oil/coolant loss?

Heat shields- normal.

Struts and wheel bearing- I consider normal in 10 year/100k mile cars.

Rear hatch- common issue fixed with lubrication, normal in rust best.

Others do not seem common issues.
 

·
Registered
2008 Subaru Outback Limited
Joined
·
9 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Did the crank position sensor fail before or after the HG/timing belt was done? If after, it could be a knock-on from that work. Possibly the coil pack as well if the engine was removed?
The crank shaft position sensor failed about a year before the HG/Timing belt. My car kept randomly stalling and finally was able to get the error code.

I always expect to replace some components. Maybe CV boots or a Bearing and others spread out over the years.

I have looked at repair costs and maintenance for the past three years on this car and it comes out to almost a car payment. At this point I think whats next, not, well thats done.

I never expected this from a Subaru. I always expected to get another Subaru for my next car, but not so sure anymore.
 

·
On the Super Mod Squad
2002 3.0 VDC Wag + 2018 2.5 Leg Ltd
Joined
·
27,048 Posts
struts: replace all 4 at the same time with KYB (the brand subaru relabels, and the last good name in the world, vs. chinese junk).
changing 2 at a time may give some odd handling, so monitor the situation.

timing belt: I hope that was a timing belt kit. the rubber belt might outlast the idlers/ tensioners/ pulleys.

here is a maint. schedule for anything that may have been missed / forgotten :

Subaru maintenance schedules and new car break-in period- 2000 through 2009, links for 2010, 2011...

____

hatch use your thumb to put the latch handle back where it belongs and then close it,
the condition is dust, and this has been the case with all subaru hatches going back to ....like 1986 (or at least as far as I remember),...yeah this can be fixed by accessing the inside of the the latch and cleaning and spraying it, ...but a thumb is always there.


____

coil packs rarely get replaced on such young low miles cars,...lots of junk aftermarket ones out there though.


and other then that most looks pretty normal,
... if you had a 120,000 mile bloated toyota camry = venza the list of repairs outside of the head gasket work, would probably be longer and more expensive.
 

·
Registered
OBW H6 VDC, Tribeca, XT6
Joined
·
12,385 Posts
That's a long and unusual list. You definitely have a mixture of a below average vehicle and maybe some maintenance slips along the way.

The crank sensor and coil pack - I would guess the coil pack was replaced for an issue that ended up being the crank sensor. Also - if it wasn't a confirmed diagnosis, should have been a used unit since they don't fail and are a dime a dozen. So maybe it didn't need it and if it did a used unit is a reasonable solution if new is pricey, although I don't think new ones are that bad, but I wouldn't want an aftermarket one myself.

Steering rack is odd for that age and no mention of a cracked steering boot (that allows dirt to compromise the seals) - Subaru racks are robust and rarely fail. For that reason and the lack of integrity in aftermarket racks - they can leak and feel sloppy, I would install a used, low mileage, clean steering rack over any new one. They fail so rarely, there's zero demand, and they're really cheap. I wouldn't expect to pay more than $100 for a nice clean, low mileage used one: Car-Part.com--Used Auto Parts Market and sort by zipcode.

Heat shield - that's thanks to rust and unfortunately common once you start hitting 5+ years on any vehicle that's actually used in the winter rust belt. Buicks don't have that problem - but they're never bought by people that need to drive in the nasties.

CV boots - wear items, if you get a lower vehicle like a sedan or wagon then the axle angles are less and they last longer. that's kind of a "pay to play" item having 4WD and being lifted like an Outback. lower the angles down and you'll have fewer issues. Subaru's do have the exhaust run close to one of the boots so that tends to wear those more than other Subaru's (with more clearance there) or vehicles. I like using OEM boots - i think there are other good brands, but i've seen some aftermarkets only last a couple years so I don't waste time researchign which are good or better or best, I just go with OEM.

i think drivers side 05-09 driver side switches do fail frequently for some reason and the motors as well for some reason. they're not hard at all to replace, i think it took an hour. there's a great write up on legacygt.com but clearly your mechanic is doing it so it doesn't matter. you'll just want to figure out whether it's the switch or the motor...or the mechanic can do that easily enough. make sure he knows both of those fail in that car - so don't guess - test the motor first.
 

·
Registered
Fresh Out of Outbacks!
Joined
·
14,495 Posts
I never expected this from a Subaru. I always expected to get another Subaru for my next car, but not so sure anymore.
Expectations can be a drag.

If you put an Outback into a cost-of-ownership contest against (for example) a Camry or an Accord, Subaru will lose every time. Subaru is a much smaller company. They build fewer cars and have thus had less practice in perfecting it.

All AWD cars are more sophisticated than their FWD cousins, and their capabilities often invite harsher usage.

Add it up and it's wrong to expect an Outback to be as cheap to keep as a Camry.

If you aren't taking advantage of the Outback's unique suite of capabilities, it's fair to question why you're paying extra to maintain them.
 

·
Super Moderator
2008 OB Limited 2.5i, Portland OR USA
Joined
·
8,050 Posts
One-on-one against many makes, Subaru will stand out for longevity. That's what is often cited as the long-term reward for their initial cost, quirky failures like head gaskets, and AWD maintenance premium.

Against Toyota and Honda, however, it's not so much an advantage. Both of these makes are known to be very durable, and like Subaru, often go 200k-300k miles if well maintained.
 

·
Registered
06 OBW 2.5, 05 Forester, had 03 H6 OBW
Joined
·
5,962 Posts
We have an '06 OBW with under 30,000 miles on it.
Have done 1 wheel bearing, will need exhaust soon.
And the heat shields rattle, of course!
 

·
On the Super Mod Squad
2002 3.0 VDC Wag + 2018 2.5 Leg Ltd
Joined
·
27,048 Posts
We have an '06 OBW with under 30,000 miles on it.
Have done 1 wheel bearing, will need exhaust soon.
And the heat shields rattle, of course!
step 1: go to dollar store,

step 2: buy bailing wire,

step 3: install bailing wire so as to stop heat shield rattle.

step 4: put remaining bailing wire in hatch on spare tire,...just in case a exhaust pipe actually breaks loose and lays sparks on the pavement.

(I actually have made use metal cloths hangers for such sparking exhaust, and have left them on the spare tire since like when I started driving,).
 

·
Meh.
I has wagons.
Joined
·
12,371 Posts
At this point more of Kaylee's exhaust is hose clamps, exhaust tape, and bailing wire than any original parts. Missing half the heat shields entirely.

Rust belt cars are lost causes after 10 years methinks, outside of beater status.
 

·
Registered
Outback 2.0XT, Audi TTq, Ducati M750
Joined
·
333 Posts
Honestly, I think you might be making to much of this. As mentioned, several of the issues you've had have been typical for the Outback, especially considering the age/mileage. The rest of the things are small and uncommon, but that doesn't mean any of the issues are that weird, and overall those failures are pretty common for older, higher-mile cars. Sure, you've had to do some maintenance so that sucks for shop costs, but at the same time its far cheaper than a regular $200-$300 payment monthly. If you drive an older car you're basically invested in it, so the fact you don't have a payment is balanced by having to give it attention here and there, and the upside to your maintenance is that those parts will be good for a long time. Cars seems to go through waves of needing stuff, so considering you've already invested in it you might as well keep it for at least a little longer to make sure you don't get rid of it right after everything was fixed.

Consider doing some of the work yourself, some of your issues would be a PITA, but for the others you would've saved the cost of labor ($80+/hr). Subaru parts are also quite cheap with a little digging - I got two new OEM front inner CV boot kits for $46 shipped on eBay, whereas the dealer wanted over $100. Sure, the job will be a pain, but if you spend an afternoon on it you'll save half the parts cost and hundreds in labor. This is also the preferred method over just getting a new halfshaft since aftermarket and remanufactured ones tend to have problems.
 

·
Registered
2008 Outback 2.5
Joined
·
992 Posts
Get ready for leaking spark plug tube seals unless the valve cover gaskets have been replaced and the tube seals were done. The power steering inlet gasket gets hard and leaks so get ready to replace that. (both of these can be replace for less than $10 total).

Get ready for suspension parts to get replaced (lower control arms, sway bar end links, bushings). These are all $10-$30 parts (the LCA is $65-$120), but if you have to go through a mechanic each job can cost double for the parts and a couple hundred for labor.

I think you are slightly unlucky. I could have dumped my problem free 08 OB base last year or this year @ 130k+ miles and started over with payments. Instead, I learned how to fix and replace parts (mostly preemptively replace them) and hopefully double the life and mileage of the car.

Timing belt, water pump and all accessory parts
Valve cover gaskets and spark plug seals
Head gaskets <- needed to be fixed, I paid a garage $800 and supplied the parts
Shocks
Control arms, sway bar end links, bushings
Power steering pump <- first the seal, then I had to replace the entire pump, took me < 1 hour
Both front Axles <- torn boots, 45 minutes for both $120 total for parts.
Little annoying knick-knack things like the broken antenna amplifier wire near the rear hatch.

Except for the head gaskets, which can go on any car, many of these parts (especially suspension and rubber parts) will wear out on any car and will have to be replaced. The average life is probably a little over 100,000 miles, but there are some that go longer and some that fail sooner. If you know what is likely to fail and what failure can be catastrophic (need a tow from a broken timing belt as well as a new engine) or what can be put off until you save up for it (torn CV boots can sometimes go for a year without being a problem but a neglected and dried out CV joint could end your trip instantly), you can budget your savings to either prepare for a repair bill or replace parts that look worn out or are showing evidence of being worn out such as a wheel bearing.

Our other "older" car is an 09 Chrysler PT Cruiser which is for my son and that's a car that was definitely expected to last 100,000 miles and not much more. Even though it is a year newer than the Outback, it has worn out more parts and would have been a candidate for the donation tow truck had I not learned how to replace parts and was at the mercy of repair shops.
 

·
Registered
2008 Subaru Outback Limited
Joined
·
9 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
The crank sensor and coil pack - I would guess the coil pack was replaced for an issue that ended up being the crank sensor.
These were actually completely separate. The crank sensor did immediately fix my stalling issues. The coil pack was a direct short to ground firing of the spark plugs that could be seen while engine was on. That was a rough ride home.

As I have said before, I expect to replace comments as they fail, but the amount of work I have had done and the rate of failures seems abnormal. Ever since I paid off this car I am averaging close to a car payment a month if I add up all the maintenance and the component failures. (Oil changes, brake, tires, maintenance schedule costa + the failed components).

I have owned a 1998 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4x4 for longer than this Subaru, and it has had significantly less cost related to it. With the only component failure being an O2 Sensor. I have also had plenty of other cars with greater than 100K miles including Hyundai's that didn't need repair nearly as often.

I don't think it is normal for any car to have a major repair cost every 6 months. Specially since I followed the maintenance schedule exactly with it being serviced at a dealership. My aunt and uncle had the exact same Subaru model and year, and they can't believe how many times I've had it in the shop. I guess I will just except I got one of the bad ones.
 

·
Registered
2008 Outback 2.5
Joined
·
992 Posts
This is general car care philosophy 101 - soap box warning

Ever since I paid off this car I am averaging close to a car payment a month if I add up all the maintenance and the component failures. (Oil changes, brake, tires, maintenance schedule costa + the failed components).
Please don't think I'm ranting on you in particular

You clearly can't include the cost of oil changes, brakes and tires because you need to do that with a "perfect" car that "never needs repair". Scheduled maintenance costs are a scam because you are paying for someone to "inspect (??!!)" something. As I've said elsewhere, unless you are infirm or so un-educatable that you can't learn how to do basic maintenance, you should be able to do the regular and simple things like brakes and oil changes and inspections (OK some people don't like to get their hands dirty so they would rather pay someone else to do it).

Honestly, replacing brake pads takes 15 minutes per side and costs $30-$40 one time for the pads (replacements are free). If you are paying more than $100 and getting scammed into having the rotors turned every time and being extorted to replace those $30 rotors every other time you need to get educated.

It's interesting to see kids learning how to disassemble an iPhone to replace a broken screen themselves but their parents not willing to loosen 5 lug nuts and 2 bolts to replace disc brake pads and would rather pay $350 for a brake service.
 

·
Registered
OBW H6 VDC, Tribeca, XT6
Joined
·
12,385 Posts
Got it. Even if I was right it wouldn't matter, clearly it's still a long list. But glad it was properly done.

I'd make sure you're getting the best Subaru specific brake and cv boot service to help mitigate as much of the bleeding as you can. At least this is all unrelated so aside from it being a national drunken holiday the day it was assembled the unrelated systems should be random and unconnected and give no ominous data for future questioning. Though anyone would be repair shy after all that you e been through.

What youve experienced is well above average issues for one of those vehicles to experience.

since I only work on cars for free as a rule I've worked on countless Subarus, the same ones over many years, and been around Subaru communities for 20+ years, so I've seen a good bit more than the 30 or 40 Subarus ive owned.

So I'm not just suggesting this is nad luck because I owned one and know a couple others that did too. It is an absolute fact you're seeing far more than average issues.

Cue the beastie boys sabotage and start some conspiracy theories. A neighbor doesn't like your dog. You cut some passive aggressive heehaw off in traffic,, someone at work is jealous of your hipster Starbucks look....hahaha

Good luck moving forward, totally get your reservations towards that car and Subaru. I won't try to talk you out of it, but that's excessive and anecdotal.
 

·
Registered
Fresh Out of Outbacks!
Joined
·
14,495 Posts
Ever since I paid off this car I am averaging close to a car payment a month if I add up all the maintenance and the component failures.
1) You can't count periodic maintenance (tires, oil etc) in that calculation

2) The old classic advice about dumping a car when the repairs came up to be the same as a car payment on a new car? Consider that back then, there were no loans beyond 48 months.

A new basic Outback on a 48 month deal would have payments around $540, just for reference.

And if the repairs really are that much? Yeah, I'd get out too.
 

·
Registered
2008 Subaru Outback 2.5i
Joined
·
17 Posts
2008 Subaru Outback 2.5i owner here. Let me run the list for you to verify what others are saying:

CV boots: completely common, happened to me once already. My mechanic did me for parts only since the labor was only 20 minutes of his life (this job is helped immensely by having a lift for the car)

Head Gasket Leak: Let me guess, drivers side head right? I know 90k sounds really early, and you're not necessarily wrong, but I got tagged for mine at 80,500 miles! Heard that "sloshing" behind the firewall, refilled the coolant using a burp funnel, and sure enough......oil under the car. Broke my heart to do it as early as I did, but she needed it and was worth it.

Driver side window: had this happen to my passenger side, but I got lucky. There is a small white plastic clip just below the trigger in the cabin when you press forward to lower the window. I thought I was going to have to replace the window motor, turns out my guy just re-set the clip and she was fine. If your window problem is intermittent, this may be the case for you as well.

Struts: I'm actually running the RalliTEK raised overload springs for the entire vehicle, but on the rears in particular I've had a curious problem. Once a year, one hat on top of the shock will tear loose, causing the spring to clunk around inside the body of the car. I've replaced both rear hats but if it does it ever again, I'm going to be looking down the barrel of replacing all 4 struts just to never worry about it again. Long story short, strut-related complications manifest in different ways, but they are quite common on the 3rd gens.

Beyond that, your other issues aren't common to the vehicle as near as I can tell, or at least not without the parts having been replaced with non-OEM equipment or improperly (such as the coil pack issue). I did have one sensor failure, a CAD/O2 that went bad causing the vehicle to incorrectly mix the fuel-to-air ratio, meaning I couldn't start the car without a ritualistic sacrifice to the gods and the rubbing of several rabbits feet.

On the other hand, I have the luxury of a mechanic that is not only a friend, but works exclusively on Subaru-made vehicles (well, ok, maybe other projects if they're insane enough, but his shop is Subaru only). That level of expertise has saved my a** more times than I can count.
 
1 - 20 of 23 Posts
Top