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2003 Subaru Outback Wagon
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Discussion Starter #1
I have just inherited a 2003 Subaru Outback wagon from my son, I actually own it, to fix and sell. He has used it for several years and he has no concept of responsibility, which is probably my fault. Anyway, the reason I am posting here is I am looking for some advice from someone who knows these cars. I'm tired of learning the hard way :frown2:

The issue is this: The rear bumper is pulled back away, and down, from the car by from a quarter inch on one side to half an inch on the other. I have enclosed two images one from each side of the rear bumper. I can take others if they would help.

My question is, the car isn't worth much, and even less with this issue. Is it worth repairing. What are the chances it can be repaired without another bumper and bumper cover?

I am about to move the car into the garage so I can raise it and take a look. What should I look for to help me decide?
 

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I simply cannot abide useless people.
2006 2.5i and 2002 3.0 wagons.
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If it's been backed into something/lightly rear ended it could easily have torn the mounting points from bumper to body.

No real way to fix that. You could try to rebuild with JB Weld maybe, but I dunno if it'll hold long.

Not worth it for a 15 year old car, unless you can get a bumper for a song or wanna play around and try to fix it yourself.
 

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2003 Subaru Outback Wagon
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Discussion Starter #3
If it's been backed into something/lightly rear ended it could easily have torn the mounting points from bumper to body.
It is probably worse then that, it isn't loose, like moveable. So maybe the supports that hold the bumper in place are bent. If it's the bumper that is bent, it can be replaced, if it is where it is mounted that is bad, then it is time to give up.

Here is a picture of the middle of the bumper with the hatch opened.
 

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I simply cannot abide useless people.
2006 2.5i and 2002 3.0 wagons.
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Depends on HOW bent. Little gentle persuasion might halve the gap.
 

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'03 outback limited, '01 Outback Limited, '01 Legacy L wagon, '96 Legacy Brighton wagon
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The only way to know for sure will be to dive into it and unbolt it.
 

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2005 Outback 3.0R VDC/VTD/LSD 5eat , 2.8'' lift
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Is there some real problem here? Unbolt it pull out and look what there happened. Or jusy try to push it in place it might just stand into place. Those gaps are nothing.its just unclipped. Gap in middle is allways like that on mine
 

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2003 Subaru Outback Wagon
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Discussion Starter #7
Is there a known techniques to remove some of the bolts. I was easily able to remove the lower bolt and the plastic clip from each mud flap. I am unable to remove the upper bolt from the mud flaps and the bolt that holds the from of the bumper cover to the body of the car. They just turn and turn. I assume they have rusted and the first turn stripped them, or maybe not.

Is there a known technique to remove there bolts?

I just got a closer look, actually paying attention:

What the problem seems to be is the left side was pushed down below the fingers that hold it up, or are preventing it from moving up. If I could free the front of the bumper cover I could easily raise the cover. The problem is the bolt that is holding the front on. It keeps turning and turning. I guess I have to hammer and chisel it to break it if I can't find another way. There is no room, I tried to put vice grips to hold bolt down so it might catch the threads.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I figured out what the bolt problem was, they are plastic devices used to automate production, it suprises me noone here knew or was willing to tell me. Because of their age I was able to break the plastic and get right to the bolt and with some leverage I got it all apart.

I checked out the bumper and it looks good. The problem with both sides is there is a connector about 9" from the back on both sides that hold the bumper panel to the vehicle. It turns out that on both sides the connector came separated from the bumper cover and somehow got bent and will not go back in place. I have to remove the bumper cover.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
The only way to know for sure will be to dive into it and unbolt it.
OK, I got the bumper cover off and it looks like the driver side of the bumper is much lower, 11/22 inch maybe, then the other side. Is this repairable? I will continue to search.
 

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2002 3.0 VDC Wag + 2018 2.5 Leg Ltd
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is it the bumper mount? I mean that is some tough steel right there to be squashing down on, or getting caught on something to bend it.

someone here reported a catalogue that specializes in aftermarket plastic fasteners. (for subaru, gm, ford, kia, trabant ?? and everyone else).

like 25 ea for $10, vs. subaru OEM at a $1 each. I tried to find the link and gave up.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
is it the bumper mount? I mean that is some tough steel right there to be squashing down on, or getting caught on something to bend it.
I bought a bumper cover because the one on the car was all torn up. It won't go in place on the driver side. The junkyard where I got the bumper cover told me the rebar was probably bent, he could also just be wanting to sell another part. He said this happens often and that the part just needs to be replaced.

I am going to take it apart tomorrow and see if I can see how it is damaged.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I removed the bumper and can easily see from looking down on the bumper bolts that the driver side is deformed around the bolts that mount the bumper.

Maybe this is how it is supposed to work, but is this supposed to be repairable? It looks like the metal piece that is pulled out is part of the frame?
 

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Discussion Starter #13
is it the bumper mount? I mean that is some tough steel right there to be squashing down on, or getting caught on something to bend it.
Yes it is the bumper mount. There seems to have been some downward pressure on the rear bumper like it was rear ended by a truck, or at least a vehicle with a higher bumper.
The pressure caused the back bolt of the bumper to pull the bold downward causing a dimple in the mounting structure.

There is no other damage to the car. It runs fine. Is there any way to resolve this?
 

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On the Super Mod Squad
2002 3.0 VDC Wag + 2018 2.5 Leg Ltd
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Yes it is the bumper mount. There seems to have been some downward pressure on the rear bumper like it was rear ended by a truck, or at least a vehicle with a higher bumper.
The pressure caused the back bolt of the bumper to pull the bold downward causing a dimple in the mounting structure.

There is no other damage to the car. It runs fine. Is there any way to resolve this?
that is a bolt on part, they sell them new, and used.

the 2 mounts and the cross bar between them are all one piece.

if the car is rusted the crossbar will come off with the bumper cover. (along with the minor bits of metal brackets back there).
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I am having a hard time thinking the car is useless because of this problem. It seems small in comparrison to the engine.

I have looked from the top and from underneath and can't see how it bolts on. I will search for some parts breakdown. If you know of a reference, I would appreciate a reference.
 

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On the Super Mod Squad
2002 3.0 VDC Wag + 2018 2.5 Leg Ltd
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I am having a hard time thinking the car is useless because of this problem. It seems small in comparrison to the engine.

I have looked from the top and from underneath and can't see how it bolts on. I will search for some parts breakdown. If you know of a reference, I would appreciate a reference.
I was looking at it from new parts diagrams, and now I wonder if it welds in. :|
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I can't be the only person to have had this happen, argh! If it welds in, there is no way to cut it out. Everything is such a tight fit down there. I have searched high and low and can't find a reference to anyone who has a discussion about this. To me this implies bad news !
 

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Discussion Starter #18
The real problem is, there is no real visible damage to the bumper cover or the body of the car to see how it sustained this much damage. I guess I have no alternative but to go check out some repair shops to see if they have ever had to do something like this before.

In all of this I have become friends with the guy at the local dealer parts department, I think I will go ask him first tomorrow.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I was looking at it from new parts diagrams, and now I wonder if it welds in. :|
I went to two body collision shops today, one high end that will measure to see if the frame is out of alignment and will provide a bid that will be too high for the value of the car but I will know if the frame good, their words. The second will just do the work, $100 to $200 to straighten out the dimple and put the bumper back in.

The guy at the first shop told me to go find someone who can do it cheaper, he gets paid so his work is just for my knowledge. It is amazing what can happen when you are talk to people. I hope this helps someone else.
 
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