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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have primarily owned BMWs (e30s, e46s, e91 and e60) and I do all of my own maintenance. We currently have:

  • 2008 Subaru Tribeca Premier (purchased a month ago for $6.5k - only 1200 miles since then)
  • 2007 BMW 328xi automatic wagon (paid $7k in 2015 - 60k miles since then)
  • 2007 BMW 530xi manual sedan (paid $5k in 2020 - 8k miles since then)
The Subaru will primarily be by wife's car but I have already used it a significant amount. Cosmetically it's in great shape, but it definitely needed some mechanical TLC. We were moving from South Lake Tahoe to the Bay Area and we needed to pull our trailer from Tahoe. Our wagon (our prior tow vehicle) had an issue that I was unable to identify in time, so I purchased the Subaru and immediately added a tow receiver. It's a great towing vehicle, and pulled our trailer etc up the mountain passes fairly effortlessly (I of course changed every fluid first).

This is the maintenance etc that I have done to date

My first repair was to replace the oil cooler gasket (which was leaking heavily) and the sway bar bushings. I also replaced the belt and both pulleys (tensioner / ideler), and swapped out every fluid (except for power steering) to get a baseline. I added the tow receiver and a tow lighting control box. I have purchased a fairly comprehensive set of suspension and brake parts (shocks/struts/strut bearings/bump stops/front control arms/front rotors/front pads) that I haven't installed yet but I think that they should make the already great ride quality even better.

I'm really happy with the Tribeca. It rides well on the freeway, the Michelin CrossClimate2 tires are awesome, it didn't burn/lose any oil on its first 400 mile trip that involved significant towing, it's comfortable, it drives nicely and I feel that it will be reliable.
  • Is there anything major that I am overlooking maintenance wise?
  • Do you think that $6.5k was a reasonable price for an 08 with 155k miles? (purchased in a hurry because we needed to get our trailer out of Tahoe before our renters moved in)

Matt
 

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Matt, Any ATF color change on the dip stick? Just wondering as the transmission control valve body is one of the weak points of this rig. I have 115k on mine and use it as a ski car, so twice a week it gets a good workout climbing to my ski area. Granted, i'm not pulling a 3000 lb trailer. That's why I asked the question. I am having my ATF replaced for the 3rd time with the OEM ATF product, sump screen and filter. i like to use all three transmission modes during my ski trips, regular, sport and manual to keep the performance and the 22.1 MPG going. Hopefully the shift points will continue to be smooth especially 5th gear.
Carfax Car Care gave me the entire service history of the pervious single owner who used the dealership for all her needs. This provided a great base for me so I do not repeat service already done. My local Subaru dealership would not even give me when the last service was done. They claimed giving out this information violated the HIPPA laws, this is a car not a human. I told him if they truely believe that, we as customers will find other facilities that fully participate in the maintenance history, so the user can actually see the data in the electronic record keeping of Carfax Car Care.
 

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I have primarily owned BMWs (e30s, e46s, e91 and e60) and I do all of my own maintenance. We currently have:

  • 2008 Subaru Tribeca Premier (purchased a month ago for $6.5k - only 1200 miles since then)
  • 2007 BMW 328xi automatic wagon (paid $7k in 2015 - 60k miles since then)
  • 2007 BMW 530xi manual sedan (paid $5k in 2020 - 8k miles since then)
The Subaru will primarily be by wife's car but I have already used it a significant amount. Cosmetically it's in great shape, but it definitely needed some mechanical TLC. We were moving from South Lake Tahoe to the Bay Area and we needed to pull our trailer from Tahoe. Our wagon (our prior tow vehicle) had an issue that I was unable to identify in time, so I purchased the Subaru and immediately added a tow receiver. It's a great towing vehicle, and pulled our trailer etc up the mountain passes fairly effortlessly (I of course changed every fluid first).

This is the maintenance etc that I have done to date

My first repair was to replace the oil cooler gasket (which was leaking heavily) and the sway bar bushings. I also replaced the belt and both pulleys (tensioner / ideler), and swapped out every fluid (except for power steering) to get a baseline. I added the tow receiver and a tow lighting control box. I have purchased a fairly comprehensive set of suspension and brake parts (shocks/struts/strut bearings/bump stops/front control arms/front rotors/front pads) that I haven't installed yet but I think that they should make the already great ride quality even better.

I'm really happy with the Tribeca. It rides well on the freeway, the Michelin CrossClimate2 tires are awesome, it didn't burn/lose any oil on its first 400 mile trip that involved significant towing, it's comfortable, it drives nicely and I feel that it will be reliable.
  • Is there anything major that I am overlooking maintenance wise?
  • Do you think that $6.5k was a reasonable price for an 08 with 155k miles? (purchased in a hurry because we needed to get our trailer out of Tahoe before our renters moved in)

Matt
6,5 k was a good deal
 
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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Matt, Any ATF color change on the dip stick? Just wondering as the transmission control valve body is one of the weak points of this rig. I have 115k on mine and use it as a ski car, so twice a week it gets a good workout climbing to my ski area. Granted, i'm not pulling a 3000 lb trailer. That's why I asked the question. I am having my ATF replaced for the 3rd time with the OEM ATF product, sump screen and filter. i like to use all three transmission modes during my ski trips, regular, sport and manual to keep the performance and the 22.1 MPG going. Hopefully the shift points will continue to be smooth especially 5th gear.
Carfax Car Care gave me the entire service history of the pervious single owner who used the dealership for all her needs. This provided a great base for me so I do not repeat service already done. My local Subaru dealership would not even give me when the last service was done. They claimed giving out this information violated the HIPPA laws, this is a car not a human. I told him if they truely believe that, we as customers will find other facilities that fully participate in the maintenance history, so the user can actually see the data in the electronic record keeping of Carfax Car Care.
I did order a carfax after the fact... not that it will keep me from doing services in that they are mostly already done, I am just curious -- I'll get the report on Monday.

Regarding fluid color, I don't really know. I did check it once or twice and it didn't look extremely dirty (but it wasn't perfect light). My wife has parked the Tribeca at the airport until Tuesday, I'll check the fluid with a white paper towel when it comes home and see if it still has the Dexron maroon color.

I don't know if my particular car has regular/sport settings. It has the selectable gear option which works decently and was helpful when towing to hold a gear for engine breaking or hill climbs. But I don't know if I can change the way it behaves when in drive (maybe I just haven't figured this out yet).
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
6,5 k was a good deal
Thanks, I'm glad to hear it. All in (purchase + tax + KYB suspension + EBC brakes + top of the line tires + all fluids + general stuff - filters/belts/pulleys) I'm into it for about $9k. There are a number of choices at that level, I knew the tires were needed prior to purchase, but not all of the other stuff.

I'd be doing at least fluids and belts with most used cars... the suspension added significant unexpected parts cost but they should last 50k+ so it seems worth it for the feeling that the wear part and common maintenance stuff is taken care of. With a bit of luck this car should hold up well for a number of years.
 

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For 9 k you have a real nice SUV. That’s a good deal in toddy’s world
 
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Mathew:
Last for a number of years [/QUOTE said:
Ahem…it’s going to take you a while to get to my 260k
 

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I use all three transmission modes, Manual, Sport and regular auto. Just depends on the traffic and the load on the car. I do use the auto transmission over 50% of the time to keep the rpm low in 5th gear lock up. If my MPG is above 22, then I know I am not over taxing the engine and longevity should be good. So far so good. No engine oil needed between oil changes. My transmission fluid is pink, last changed by Subaru at 87k miles. I now have 115k and still bright pink.
 

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1) which transmission filter you replaced - the one in front left fender or the one in transmission pan? either way - personally - I would replace both now.
2) did you do transmission adaptation (learning)?
3) what is fumoto valve?
4) I would add spark plugs, PCV valve and radiator cap, also - fuel filter and fuel pressure regulator and check fuel pump.
5) carfax does not mean anything. for example - what has been done while it is in my posession is not there (all the fluids, transmission rpm sensor, replaced leaking gaskets, spark plugs). what was in carfax was "bulls dinner after processing and leaving its body" - for example, tires were changed all the time, yet, when I got the car it had 7-10yrs old tires, cracked all around etc.
6) I would suggest get OpenPort tactrix cable or VAG KKL cable or elm327 and go over adaptations of sensors and equality of engines both sides (lambda/AF/oxygen sensors, AVCS symmetry, fuel trims, etc).
7) my favorite mod - replace low oil pressure sensor with higher pressure (subarus original is same crap as bulls diner - 0.15-0.3bar (when it lights - damage has been done)). I used mitsubishi one - with 1bar. and close to oil change, or after some fun I get flashing light on idle....
8) people suggest to raise idle rpm's and lower fan turn on temperatures (romraider + tactrix cable).
9) go over all grounding cables - in my car, few were torn etc.
10) brake fluid and coolant replaced too?
11) could you tell EBC part numbers and where you bought them?
12) you probably have crack in intake manifold box - top of it, right at throttle body - if you want the car to be perfect :D
13) if you are into heavy towing - check whether you have additional radiator for transmission. if not - add it (with thermostat, of course).
p.s. I wrote it from my perspective and some people consider me sick in matters related to cars - so, take it with grain of salt :D
p.p.s. suggestion: fill in profile information - so that techie details can be seen right away - like my profile, right at the avatar, for example.
 

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Big list, but manageable. The idea about CarFax Car Care is that you can actually see when certain fluids were replaced in the history. All my fluids have been replaced twice, @ 41k miles and again at 87K miles. So I figure I should change the fluids/transmission filter and screen at 125k or another 10k miles. I'm thinking about changing to Pennzoil Ultra Platinum 10W30 from Amazon. This oil should work well for my drain intervals. My tire shop does this work as I do not have the space for a lift in my two car garage but can see the oil when Its drained and I do check the oil color, smell and level after each mountain trip, In the mountain ski parking lot, the lowest temp is around 20 degrees a couple of times a year, while summer driving, very few days about 100 degrees here. The weight and viscosity should work in my temperate climate in the NW.
 

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idea of carfax is good, but since a lot of "subjects of USA" are so eager to "earn"(read - get) your money... it doesn't mean a squat. you can use it as your own notepad, though. it looked nice.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
So I checked the trans fluid color today... still red!!
After 1,000 miles the car has lost/burned about 3/4 of a quart of oil (I was hoping that I was the exception with no loss, but I guess not.... no big deal a quart every two months is easy)


1) which transmission filter you replaced - the one in front left fender or the one in transmission pan? either way - personally - I would replace both now.
Fender screw on only, I have not replaced the pan filter, maybe next year.
2>3 upshift are a bit jumpy (all other changes are very smooth) I'm guessing it's a sticky valve in the valve body and not anything in the actual clutch packs or gear sets


2) did you do transmission adaptation (learning)?
Nope

3) what is fumoto valve?
Little brass ball valve that replaces a drain plug on a transmission/engine oil pan etc. Makes is mess free and effortless to change a fluid, well worth the price (I use them on the trans/engine pan for all of our vehicles

4) I would add spark plugs, PCV valve and radiator cap, also - fuel filter and fuel pressure regulator and check fuel pump.
I do plan on swapping the plugs, I got a special pass through tiny/slim ratchet to do it
Prior owner said that he remembers replacing PCV recently, but I can take a look just in case
Radiator cap... why?
Fuel filter -- is it external? (if internal isn't that really worth it?)
How do I check the fuel pump? Attach a pressure gauge? Listen to it?


5) carfax does not mean anything. for example - what has been done while it is in my posession is not there (all the fluids, transmission rpm sensor, replaced leaking gaskets, spark plugs). what was in carfax was "bulls dinner after processing and leaving its body" - for example, tires were changed all the time, yet, when I got the car it had 7-10yrs old tires, cracked all around etc.
I consider it directional support instead of a guide

6) I would suggest get OpenPort tactrix cable or VAG KKL cable or elm327 and go over adaptations of sensors and equality of engines both sides (lambda/AF/oxygen sensors, AVCS symmetry, fuel trims, etc).
I have the OBDII Foxwell tool that does basic codes and maintenance - it does detail specifics for BMW and just normal generic stuff for other brands - probably not adaptations

7) my favorite mod - replace low oil pressure sensor with higher pressure (subarus original is same crap as bulls diner - 0.15-0.3bar (when it lights - damage has been done)). I used mitsubishi one - with 1bar. and close to oil change, or after some fun I get flashing light on idle....
I'll look into it - I am guessing low pressure can damage a boxer more easily than I6

8) people suggest to raise idle rpm's and lower fan turn on temperatures (romraider + tactrix cable).
Ahhh.... this is why I need the cable... why raise idle, to maintain oil pressure? isn't that going to add unnecessary heat to the torque converter at stoplights?

9) go over all grounding cables - in my car, few were torn etc.

10) brake fluid and coolant replaced too?
Radiator was replaced 18 months ago, so it has new coolant. I do plan to do brake fluid and possibly brake lines (pedal feedback is not as firm as I am used to... it might be the design --vs E60 BMW sedan-- but it could also be a little air in the system or older stretchy lines which are both easy and cheap to swap/bleed)

11) could you tell EBC part numbers and where you bought them?
EBC S12KF1266 Brake Kit - AMAZON $250
I haven't installed yet, but I have been using EBC brakes for about five years now with very good results (even in single digit temp they have been flawless on our other cars... surprising as they are made in the UK) I'll let you know if they fit.


12) you probably have crack in intake manifold box - top of it, right at throttle body - if you want the car to be perfect :D
Duct tape (kidding). I'm guessing JBweld plasticWeld would solve that (as long as I am very careful not to get any on the inside

13) if you are into heavy towing - check whether you have additional radiator for transmission. if not - add it (with thermostat, of course).
Nope- light towing on occasional basis, I didn't check but I believe it has the regular box heat exchanger trans cooler.

p.s. I wrote it from my perspective and some people consider me sick in matters related to cars - so, take it with grain of salt :D
p.p.s. suggestion: fill in profile information - so that techie details can be seen right away - like my profile, right at the avatar, for example.

Thanks for the suggestions.
 

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1) on mine (less than 100k) sump filter was dump. jumpy gearchanges might go away with adaptations (I had some issues 1-2(I think)).
3) aaah... nice :)
4) I haven't done it myself - but I remember some explanation about what is required to succesfully swap spark plugs - most important was extenders with specific length, but don't quote me on that :)
radiator cap - maintenance. there have been times when cooling system behaves erratic on some tribecas.
fuel filter is complicated issue - it is inside the tank, there are specific o-rings to be replaced. subaru parts are more expensive than toyotas etc :D
fuel pump - pressure gauge.
7) subarus original sensor lights the bulb when "everything is over". according to FSM -
Oil pressure (at oil temperature of 80°C
(176°F)):
Standard:
100 kPa (1.0 kgf/cm2, 15 psi) or more
(at 700 rpm)
500 kPa (5.1 kgf/cm2, 73 psi) or more
(at 5,000 rpm)
so - when in my Tribeca light flashes - I know it's below those 100kPa. when original sensor "flashes" - "you are sooooo dead" :D
8) long story short - it is good for engine(remember oil pressure we just discussed ;)
torque converter... can't really see the connection... transmission also has oil pump......;) plus - it has lockup ability...
11) thanks! btw - how did you find this sets part number?
12) I am thinking superglue with soda... on our nissan - I broke off some plastic resonance box fixture... fixed it with mentioned combination - still holds (2yrs?)
 

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I'm using the CarFax Car Care info as a guide as I trust the lady ex one owner, who did all the Subaru prescribed maintence through her dealer like clock work. My big obsession is to get a base line on most of the key failure items and then focus on those items. Like engine oil cycles of 4000 miles to make sure the rings/pistons/cylinder walls are in perfect condition with 0 oil usage. Same with the transmission of 40k between flush/refill/change filter/screen. Watch the coolant level carefully and refresh at 40K. Just trying to get this car to 200k without needing either a new motor or transmission. Currently at 115k miles.
 

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@apex1 well... piston rings, according to rumours, were defective by design up until about 2011-2012 - after that - they were far better... God knows is it true or not.
is that holes in piston in ring grooves too small? is that rings themselves... IDK.

what about monitoring inside of cylinders? carbon buildups and cleanups? what about air-oil separator? or you want to stay as much original design as possible?

goal seems very interesting. I would add advanced monitoring of everything. also - brake fluid, fuel filter/pump/pressure regulator... aaaaaand supercharger! :D

p.s. I think seals/gaskets will give up. especially head gaskets.
 

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What makes the head gaskets give up if you keep good coolant and pump going as prescribed. Does the block get old and torque or is it the head that moves around? If the pistons oil holes to the rings are too small, maybe a lighter weight oil with a higher base would work best like 10W30. I just read an articule from 540/rat that shows Quaker State Full Synthetic 5W30 has the top wear resistance of all motor oil tested. Maybe that is my direction to help keep those ring groves open and the land between ring grooves clean and smooth. Take a look at that web site , it will blow your mind about oil.
 

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head gaskets deteriorate(I am not sure did I spell it right). there was period in time when subaru did some kind of graphite based (?) head gaskets which did fail on all engines(either turbo or normally aspirated)... source -
also many people have experienced it on Tribecas from other side of world (not really loved right now......).

oil holes in pistons - most probably they already are half way closed... (old lady driving before, probably, not even higher than 3k rpm....) and there is nothing you can do to open them up. because - for cars where cylinders are not horizontal(at least at an angle) you can you DMSO or some other chemicals to get through to those locations... but in case of subaru opposite cylinders... just disassembly (to my knowledge).
as a preventive measure - just change oil often.

I am not big fan of "oil X is better than oil Y"... and I won't go finish PhD in chemistry to find out :D

not really sure - about what website are you talking about...? can you post a link?
 

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540ratblog, You can just scroll through it. What I am seeing here is that zinc is not all that good in large amounts. Better oil is best in this wear test. So if the piston ring holes need a light wt oil to pass through effectively, yet have good wear protection for the ring grove and the land, which is the side of the piston between the ring groves, then the Quaker State Full Synthetic 5w30 maybe the best oil. If changed every 4000 miles, I believe the cylinder walls, ring groves, rings, and piston skirts should be able to go 200K miles. That's my goal.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I finally got around to swapping the brakes and suspension.

The most frustrating thing was the rust... I ended up shearing off one of the bottom of spindle pinch bolts that holds the control arm ball joint 🙁
(I just drilled a hole all the way through and made the pinch be a through bolt instead of being threaded on one side)

Wood Road surface Natural material Asphalt Terrestrial animal


The rust was intense (I'm used to working on cars with all cast aluminum suspension so I don't typically see any rust).

The brakes were easy, I lubricated the pins and the new rotors/pads fit perfectly.
Wheel Tire Automotive tire Vehicle brake Motor vehicle


Control arms were not too difficult - although removal of the lower spindle ball joint was a massive pain (I actually broke the pin on an OTC high quality ball joint press tool on one of the sides. I used a lot of Kano Kroil and excessive heat from a plumbing torch to get the joints out... after they were out I used a wire wheel which effortlessly cleaned the rust out of the cups for the new joints to go in.

Struts were easy as well - very striaghtforward.

Bandsaws Nickel Gas Auto part Machine


Then I noticed that BOTH of the front axle boots were torn... I found a youtube that showed how to remove them and it wasn't hard to do, but it obviously makes a substantial mess. I am really impressed that the wear surfaces of the bearings in the axles are in amazing shape about 157k miles. There was no clicking yet... so I'm assuming new boots and grease should be all that is needed. Annoyingly I ordered knock-off boots from a non-prime amazon seller and they won't be here until this weekend.... so I have to leave this car on pegs for a few more days. Looking at the other boots I think that it's only a matter of time, I am going to clean them and treat them all with "303 Aerospace Protectant", I have never used the product but if it can help me get another year or two out of the remaining old boots it will be worth it. The boots that I removed are made in Japan and while they had a very impressive life they were pretty beaten up. I'm hoping to get the axles reassembled this weekend and get the rear shocks in so I can get an alignment and Subie can be back on the road.

Eyewear Wood Beige Silver Font
 
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