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'03 L L Bean - LOVE IT!!
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Yes, we did go on Saturday and looked at a 2005 in Vermont. Let's just say you all were right--it was AWFUL!!!

Instead, we found an '03 LL Bean in BEAUTIFUL condition in East Haven. Barely a scratch on it, 128k, and it drives like a dream!!

Now come the questions...please help!!

My husband drove it the 45 minute ride home. There's a shimmy in the front..an alignment needed?

Also, it hesitated when he hit the gas, didn't seem to have the power he thought it would for the H6. We don't know what kind of gas has been put in it, so we'll start using the premium....there was pinging.....

They got the oil changed yesterday--should we switch to synthetic? We're pretty anal about car maintenance, so if regular is fine, we'll stay with that!

I'll post some pictures soon....and one other thing. It's missing the lens cover on the driver's door on the inside....any idea where we can get one?

THANKS FOR YOUR HELP!!! You guys ROCK!! Oh--and this car has new tires, the engine is clean as a whistle, runs great and does hug the road! Just have to learn its likes and dislikes.......:29:
 

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2005 Legacy 2.5i Wagon 4EAT; 2005 Forester XS 4EAT
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672 Posts
Could be a sticking brake caliper piston or slide pin. I just rebuilt both of my front calipers because of the shimmy and sluggish feel.
 

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'14 Subi OBW, '18 Subi Forester
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Congrats!

Front end shimmy - all the time? Only above a certain speed? Does it go away if you go considerably faster (in other words is there a speed band where it is worse)? Or only when braking?

There are a number of reasons why you might have pinging, but if you are hearing it then performance is most likely suffering. If the knock sensor were to hear the pinging every time you attempt to accelerate, it will retard the timing, and that can be felt as a stumble or hesitation if it is abrupt enough. A temporary switch to premium to help get some relief and a data point on the possible triggers is a wise idea. There could be carbon buildup on valve stems or on piston crowns, there could be an issue with the knock sensor itself, etc. A treatment of Techron (or Seafoam) fuel system cleaner might also be wise along with the better grade of fuel.

I run Mobil 1 in my Outback (H4) because *I think* it makes a difference on cold starts in NY winters, and seems to reduce piston slap a little bit, but it could just as likely be my imagination and a waste of money. My annual mileage is also low (about 8-9k per year) and I only change oil every 6 months, so synthetics may offer a little better protection given these conditions. Any idea what the former Vermont owner ran?
 

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'03 L L Bean - LOVE IT!!
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
This car isn't the one in Vermont....it was actually owned by a lady here in Connecticut, who seemed to take pretty good care of it!

Now he tells me it doesn't ping, there's just a low growl.....we'll have to see. The shimmy appears at about 60, and disappeared when he got over 70.....I haven't driven the car yet myself on the highway, so I guess I'll see tomorrow...IF he lets me drive it! LOL

We're very excited about this--we can't believe how clean it is and in what good shape it is in!

Only thing that bothers me is that lens cover missing on the driver's door. May have to call the dealer and see how much that is to replace. THAT could be costly!!:(
 

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'14 Subi OBW, '18 Subi Forester
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Oops, missed the line about where you found the OB.

I had a car with a tire balance issue where a wheel actually developed a visible skip at highway speeds, but it settled down 10-15 miles faster once it got into a 'rhythm' - pretty much in line with what you are reporting. Find a stretch of highway where you can run near parallel and see if you can identify a tire that shows some extra activity.

Or, simply send it in for a balancing. In this case, a shop that has a 'road force balancing' unit might tell more than just a basic spin system. Road force balancing simulates the tire touching pavement, and can detect wheel or tire issues such as flat or high spots. Adding enough weights will make a square box 'balance', but a square still won't roll down the road!
 

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(formerly) 03 H6 OBW , (presently) 06 WRX Sportwagon & 2021 Honda CR-V
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that shimmy could be a bad tire, move them front to back ans see if the problem changes.
 

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2005 OBW 2.5L, 1989 Subaru Justy, RIP Blu
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When exactly does it shimmey:
braking
turns
acceleration
straight
specific mph?

hesitation can be as simple as a good tune up (filters plugs pcv valve)
 

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2013 Outback 2.5 Premium
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515 Posts
Had a shimmy that would come and go at around 60 mph and up. Ended up being a worn out steering rack - a $1700 repair. Went and bought my new 2013 Outback beginning of December instead of fixing it. Hope it's something simple for you, but this should be ruled out.
 

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'03 L L Bean - LOVE IT!!
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110 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Had a shimmy that would come and go at around 60 mph and up. Ended up being a worn out steering rack - a $1700 repair. Went and bought my new 2013 Outback beginning of December instead of fixing it. Hope it's something simple for you, but this should be ruled out.
OUCH!!! We do have a 90 day warranty that covers everything.....probably going to get that checked out before the warranty expires!!

We're thinking it's more a tire out of balance...but you never know...:(
 

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01 VDC, 05 R Sedan, 06 BAJA EJ257
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Get the alignment checked and corrected. Misalignment will cause shimmy/vibration.
Change the fuel filter unless you know it was done in the last couple thousand miles.
Clean the throttle body of carbon build up.
High octane = happy engine. If the filter and fuel change doesn't change the way the engine reacts, change the spark plugs.
Lens cover? Are you referring to the rear view mirror? If so, its a paint to match part that will need painting before installation. If you are referring to the headlight, try aftermarket or salvage before the dealer.
 

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2003 LL Bean Outback H6 and 2019 Outback Base
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Hey Elle !!!!!

Congrats on your purchase !!! We have the SAME CAR !!!!!

What color is it ?

Premium fuel is a MUST

And go to the Subaru dealer to get all parts !!! Its worth it....Trust me... I am anal about service to my subie as well...only the best !!!!
When people see the inside of my car.....they think its NEW !!!!!

I got REAL lucky. The original owner had it serviced at Subaru for EVERYTHING....even oil changes......Full carfax shows all !!!!
Here is my e-mail so you can send pics. I am not on the site everyday, but I am with e-mail.. So any questions...please feel free to contact me...michael

[email protected]
 

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2003 LL Bean Outback H6 and 2019 Outback Base
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I would not use synthetic oil...unless it has used this all its life...I use castrol 5w 30..........some believe the " older" car engines do not " like synthetic..........
 

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06 OBW 2.5, 05 Forester, had 03 H6 OBW
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The pinging is of more concern to me than anything else.
I have run mine on 87 under all types of conditions and never ever heard a single ping.
The knock sensor is probably not working.

When I was in CT I don't recall seeing any weird gas grades.

Pull the codes at the very least, but I assume a knock sensor could fail (or its performance be degraded) without a code.

Oh, and when running on 87, mine also would have a small hesitation.
 

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06 OBW 2.5, 05 Forester, had 03 H6 OBW
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Now, the shimmy- on mine there was very hard, black, glass-like corrosion on the wheels where they mount to the hub (against the brake rotor).

What resulted seemed like an unbalanced tire, with a bit more shimmy than just out-of-balance normally seemed.

Cleaned off the corrosion, cleaned the rotor face where the wheel mounted, and all was well.
 

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'14 Subi OBW, '18 Subi Forester
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Duh, I should have looked in the manual!

 3.0 Liter models
The 3.0 Liter engine is designed to operate using premium unleaded gasoline with an octane rating of 91 AKI or higher. Regular unleaded gasoline with an octane rating of 87 AKI may be used if necessary. For optimum engine performance and driveability, it is recommended that you use premium grade unleaded gasoline.

Premium is recommended. If you go with lower octane, you can expect to hear pinging if there is any carbon buildup at all. When this happens, the knock sensor severely retards the ignition timing, and you feel the sag in power.

Refer to my prior recommendations - premium and a fuel system cleaner / deposit remover.
 

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06 OBW 2.5, 05 Forester, had 03 H6 OBW
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If you can hear pinging either the knock sensor isn't working, or conditions are such that the full timing retard isn't sufficient (I assume there is some limit on how much retard can be applied).

Carbon build-up from long term use of 87 could cause the situation where the ecu can't sufficiently retard the timing.

If it runs fine on premium, my thought would be removing the carbon would be optional.
 

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2013 Outback 2.5 Premium
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OUCH!!! We do have a 90 day warranty that covers everything.....probably going to get that checked out before the warranty expires!!

We're thinking it's more a tire out of balance...but you never know...:(
Since it's such an expensive repair if needed, I'd consider getting a good independent shop to inspect the rack before your warranty is up.

It's true, it might just be something like a balance or alignment problem. However, it could have multiple sources, and the place you bought it from might prefer to only focus on the most inexpensive possible fixes.

One thing I noticed that caused me to check things out further was that my front tires were wearing excessively on the outside 1/4 of the tread - supposedly fixed by an alignment I had done, and then another one by another shop. It cost me only $50 to have a shop check out the front end that found the rack problem.

Keep your eyes on excessive outer edge wear, post alignment inspection. If your car had recently new tires, it might not be a tell.

Regards,
Jeff
 

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'03 L L Bean - LOVE IT!!
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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Michael, I will DEFINITELY contact you by email!! This car is all foreign to us! LOL

It's the light green color, tan on the bottom..I'll take some pics and post them!

I finally got to drive it home tonite, and it DEFINITELY needs an alignment! Steering wheel is not straight! That has to be checked. Also, when my husband was backing it up, and the steering wheel was turned, there is a clunk, clunk.....THAT needs to be checked too!

We put premium in it today, and it seems to run a bit better, but I'll give it some time. We know the car has been sitting since last July....might need to be run some. Oil changes we are anal about, so we'll stick with regular for now. Do you guys use high mileage oil?

The lens cover it needs is on the driver's door--the INSIDE COURTESY light cover is missing. Wonder if I should call Subaru and see how much it is?
 

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01 VDC, 05 R Sedan, 06 BAJA EJ257
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The 3.0 has two knock sensors. One on each side of the block. And yes, there is a limit to the knock retard. Low octane, carbon, restricted filter will cause pinging. Especially if the gas has high amounts of alcohol. Also, worn plugs if the spark is not hot enough to ignite the mix proper.
 
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