Subaru vehicles are more reliable than ever before. To assure their continued reliability, a schedule of inspection and maintenance (I & M) services is prescribed by Subaru of America for every Subaru vehicle sold. A copy of this schedule can be found in the Warranty and Maintenance Booklet located in the vehicle glove compartment.
Subaru vehicle maintenance inspections services are divided into recommended intervals beginning with three months or 3000 miles (whichever comes first). Each additional level in the maintenance schedule (7,500/15,000/ 30,000 miles) adds more maintenance and inspection steps to the process. The 15,000 (15 month) and 30,000 mile (30 month) services are ‘major’ services, and include the most comprehensive range of component checks, part replacements and adjustments.
If you are already familiar with Subaru vehicles, you may have developed a routine when performing a vehicle safety maintenance inspections. Following a set routine allows you to start at one end of the vehicle and end up at the other end, having performed all of the necessary safety inspection steps along the way.
Repetition of the safety inspection may also allow you to commit the steps to memory, but a checklist can be a helpful addition that leaves nothing to chance (or memory). Checking items off the checklist provides a written record that can be shared with the customer and retained for your service records as well.
Recommended steps in a Subaru Safety Maintenance Inspections are also spelled out in the owner’s Warranty and Maintenance Booklet. Some of the steps overlap services performed during the scheduled maintenance program. It could be argued that any scheduled maintenance should always include a Safety Inspection. Most of the Safety Maintenance Inspection steps are based on common sense, but it’s surprising how frequently these simple suggestions are ignored.
Wheel arch height (vehicle ride height) as well as front and rear wheel alignment should be inspected at 30 month/30,000 mile intervals. Winter driving and its attendant chuckholes may shorten that maintenance interval for some drivers
While inspecting wheel alignment, also check for obvious signs of damage to suspension components, tightness of bolts and nuts and the condition of other under car components.
Check, adjust and/or measure wheel alignment in accordance with the following procedures:
1.) Wheel arch height (front and rear)
2.) Camber (front and rear)
3.) Caster (front)
4.) Front toe-in
5.) Rear toe-in
6.) Thrust angle (rear)
7.) Wheel steering angle
1. Wheel Arch Height
1.) Adjust the tire pressures to specifications.
2.) Set the vehicle under “curb weight” conditions (empty luggage compartment, install spare tire, jack, service tools, and top off fuel tank).
3.) Set steering wheel in a wheel-forward position.
4.) Suspend a thread from the wheel arch (point “A” in figure above) to determine a point directly above the center of the spindle.
5.) Measure the distance between the measuring point and the center of the spindle.
6.) Consult the service manual for Wheel Arch Height specifications.
As we mentioned, it takes a special tool to work within the limited clearance area between the cylinder heads and the frame rails. The ST 498187 is a three part tool. One part wraps around the cam lobes, a second touches the outer edges of two shim buckets, and a third eccentric bolt exerts the necessary pressure to push a pair of shim buckets away from the cam lobe to make shim removal and replacement possible.
The tool installed in the three steps:
• Wrap the first half of the tool (part A) around the lobes.
• Attach the second half (part B) to part A by sliding its pins through the slotted holes in part A.
• Install the eccentric bolt (part C) into the hole in part A.
The eccentric bolt forces parts A and B away from one another. Because part A can’t move (it’s wedged against the cam lobes), the only thing that can move is part B. Part B moves by forcing the shim buckets downward, away from the camshaft.
The first versions of the 2.5 liter twin cam engines employed non-hydraulic valve actuation. Like the timing belt, the clearance between the engine valves and the shim and bucket valve actuators does not require inspection and/or adjustment until 105,000 miles have elapsed. However, various circumstances may require an adjustment before that milestone is reached.
Clearance is tight and there is little room to work between the cylinder heads and the left and right frame rails. A special tool (ST 49818700) is available for depressing the valves and removing the adjusting shims. Without this tool, the job is impossible to accomplish with the engine in the car. Once again, we had the benefit of working on an engine that had already been removed from the car. Before you can adjust the valves, the engine must be cold. Consult the service manual to determine the parts that will need to be moved or removed to make some room to work.
Unlike some overhead cam engines that require you to rotate the cam until each cam lobe is facing 180 degrees away from the adjustment shim, Subaru has very specific procedures for adjusting four valves at a time (a pair of intakes and a pair of exhausts). The pairs of intakes and exhausts are never for the same cylinder, which makes things rather interesting. This system requires you to turn the crankshaft a total of four times to complete the adjustment procedure.
SVX Power Steering Systems on Early Subarus Part 4:
There are two model-specific systems available on SVX vehicles:
• The engine speed sensitive, or conventional belt driven hydraulic pump and pinion type steering system is standard equipment on the SVX.
• An SVX equipped with the SVX Touring Package uses an optional vehicle speed-sensitive system. This system provides normal power assist at low vehicle speeds for reduced driver steering effort, and reduced steering assist at increased vehicle speeds for increased road feel and improved engine operating efficiency. Both systems have many similarities with the Legacy system.
Both systems share many similarities to existing Subaru steering systems. Both use a belt driven power steering pump, although the pump housings are different in appearance.
A conventional power assisted rack with the standard Subaru lines and hoses is used by the standard system.
An oil cooler pipe has been added to both SVX systems. It is located in front of the radiator on the return side of the system.
A steering shaft rubber coupler is used by both SVX systems to reduce road noise and vibration.
SVX Power Steering Pressure Switch
A power steering pressure switch is located on the outlet side of the pump. The switch monitors increased engine load during idle speed steering. The switch provides an input to the MPFI ECU, which prevents stalling by raising the engine idle speed. There is not an additional trouble code for the MPFI ECU.
The Cybrid Power Steering System was standard equipment on the XT6. It’s a computer controlled,
electric motor-driven hydraulic steering system, using a power-assisted rack and pinion assembly similar to the XT. This system provides improved steering feel and more precise power assist over a wider operating range. Fuel consumption is reduced because it requires less horsepower due to the electrically-driven hydraulic pump. The specific system used on the XT6 is quicker than other XT power steering systems, with just 3.2 turns lock-to-lock.
• The Motor and Pump assembly mounted on the front bulkhead (firewall).
• A Steering Sensor located inside the vehicle at the base of the steering column.
• A Signal Controller located in the left rear quarter panel.
• The Power Controller mounted on the front bulkhead (firewall) to the left of the Motor/Pump assembly.
The Motor/Pump assembly is similar to a starter motor, since it has an armature, fields, and brushes which are serviceable. The electric motor drives a pump which is very similar in design to an engine driven pump. This combination replaces the familiar belt driven P/S pump assembly. The Cybrid System requires special hydraulic fluid to retain stable viscosity during cold temperatures.
The Pump incorporates an electric heater to warm the hydraulic fluid in extremely cold operating conditions, improving the steering performance. A thermistor type switch located on a bracket above the Motor/Pump assembly, senses the underhood (ambient) temperature and sends an input to the Signal Controller.
The Heater operates for approximately five minutes after engine start-up. The Signal Controller grounds the heater relay, which passes battery voltage to the heater. The heater relay is located near the motor/ pump assembly.
Note: The Heater only works when the thermometer signals an extreme cold condition.
Subaru’s power steering system contains a pump, hydraulic line, and a gearbox (rack). The hydraulic pump is a vane-type pump driven by the engine. It provides pressurized fluid for the system.
Oil Pump Operation
The pump has two internal valves: a flow control valve and a relief valve. The flow control valve regulates the volume of power steering fluid delivered to the rack. During high engine rpm, the pressure in the pump overcomes the flow control valve spring. The control valve slides back to close off an oil passage to the rack and to open an oil return port to the pump inlet. This reduces the power assist to the rack during high speeds, improving the steering wheel feel and response.
ABS 5.3 Antilock Brake System for Early Subaru Part 5:
Beginning in approximately December of 1996, a new antilock braking system called ABS 5.3 was installed on Legacy vehicles equipped with ABS. This system uses a Bosch hydraulic control unit and a Nippon electronic control unit. ABS 5.3 is a four channel control design which can independently control the front wheels and utilize select low control to control the rear wheels (a system which provides the same fluid pressure control for the two rear wheels if either wheel starts to lock up).
Although similar to other Subaru ABS systems, there have been enhancements to component operation and location. Diagnosis has also improved because of the ability of the 5.3 ABS system to communicate with the Select Monitor. The hydraulic control unit or HCU is located under the hood on the right side of the engine compartment. The size of the HCU has decreased by approximately a third from that of the ABS-2E system, used on previous model year vehicles.
The HCU controls brake fluid flow by utilizing eight solenoid valves. There is an inlet solenoid valve and an outlet solenoid valve for each wheel. Mechanically, the inlet solenoid valve is open during normal braking, and the outlet solenoid valve is closed. The HCU also contains a motor and pump assembly, which operates only while ABS is actively controlling the brake fluid flow–preventing a wheel lock.
Externally the HCU of the ABS 5.3 has a relay box attached. This allows troubleshooting of the valve and motor relay area to be kept separate from the troubleshooting of the solenoid valves and pump motor. There are four modes of operation for the ABS 5.3 system. They are normal, pressure-drop, pressure-hold and pressure-increase. When wheel lockup is sensed, Mode Two, Mode Three and Mode Four may be activated. They are described as follows: