2004 LLBean Outback

my engine has been hitching, usually when it is shifting into a higher gear. I have brought it in to service and the techs cant find anything. The hitching is getting worse almost a buck. But it doesnt do it all the time. My car has 107,000 miles. I bring it in to the Suburu dealer for service and do all the maintenance. I would love to keep it this car for a while, but I dont feel safe driving it. Any thoughts?

Elizabeth, Has The “Check Engine” Light Come On ? Do You Know If You’ve Got A 3.0L Engine ?

Whether or not the light has illuminated, have the technicians consulted Subaru Technical Service Bulletins, specifically #11-80-06 for 2001 - 2004 Legacy and Outback models with the 3.0 engine ?

The bulletin discusses a newly designed TPS (throttle position sensor) and a flow chart for help in their diagnosing vehicles with poor driving performance including engine hesitation and transmission shift shock.

The bulletin helps technicians decide if the problem relates to a faulty TPS and whether or not the vehicle is a candidate for the newly designed replacement TPS (#22633AA240).


Yes, that model has the 3.0 H-6 engine.

Yes, they did this last time and couldn’t find anything. They are taking it for the weekend to see if they can duplicate the problem, as hitching happens once in a while and not consistantly. Gave me a 2011 Loaner to use…sneaky!
Thanks for your reply.

drive the heck out of that loaner and tell us how you rate it.


You’re Welcome. That’s A Good Idea For Them To Drive It And Try And Catch It Acting Up And Very Nice (Or $neaky) For Them To Give You A New Loaner To Use.


Its a 4 clynder and I am used to my 6! The engine sings and is noisier than my 2004 LLBean Outback. Great news: it is so solid! I went over a construction road, gravel and dirt, and did not feel the slighest bump. I know this would be a great car in the upcoming Maine Winters. It is BIGGER! almost like a SUV. My 6’4" husband has plenty of room. However the back hatch is smaller and my yellow lab would need more room in the back. I will be purchasing this car next year…love it! in White. The cherry color in this loaner is beautiful but shows the road dust right away. Bells and whistles: too much stuff on the stearing wheel. I need my glasses to read what the buttons are for. Love to see more simple controls back on the side panel. More test driving today!


Actually, the increase in size of the new Outback is not as much as you might think that it is.
Mostly, this is the result of some smart repackaging in this clean-sheet design.

The tale of the tape:
The new Outback, as compared to your '04 model, is just .8 inches longer–less than 1 inch.

However, the new model is 3 inches wider, and the wheelbase (the distance between the front axle and the rear axle) is 3.6 inches longer. The result is much improved hip and shoulder room, greatly improved legroom–especially in the rear seat area–and an even smoother ride.
The new model is also 2.4 inches higher.

The net result of all of this repackaging is an increase in cargo room of 2.7 cubic feet, and an increase in passenger volume of 9.5 cubic feet. The most obvious difference is in legroom. On the new model, when I move the driver’s seat back as far as it will go, I literally cannot reach the pedals, and I stand 5’11". And, with the driver’s seat in its rear-most position, there is still more legroom for the rear seat passenger than previously!

The size of the six-cylinder engine has increased from 3 liters to 3.6 liters, with a slight increase in horsepower and torque, but with only a regular gas requirement, rather than premium as is recommended for your '04 model. Most owners are reporting slightly better highway gas mileage on the new model as a result of a 5-speed automatic, instead of the old 4-speed transmission.

The reason for the increased engine noise on that 4-cylinder model is twofold:
The 4-cylinder engine has to work harder than the 6 in order to achieve the same speed, thus the higher revs increase the noise level. And, since the 4-cylinder model has a CVT instead of a “conventional” automatic transmission, the engine is frequently revving higher than previously when it accelerates.

That is why I opted for the six on my 2011 Outback. Even though the high fuel economy rating of the 4 cylinder model was appealing, I just had a hard time accepting the higher noise level and the slower acceleration of the 4-cylinder model after driving my six-cylinder Outback for the past 9 years.

Incidentally, my Yellow Lab has no problem with room in the back of the new model. The distance from the back of the rear seat to the tailgate is about an inch shorter, but the wider body and the higher roof make up for the slightly shorter length of the cargo area.

Thanks for the stats! Its a great car. Love how solid it feels. Can’t wait till I can buy my own but it WILL be the 3.6. Just can’t drive a 4 cylinder. In the meantime, hope they fix my trusted 2004 LLBean Outback! I owned a 2003 for a short time. Had a head on collision in an ice storm. Not me…but the old guy in the little red truck spun out and bam! My husband and I got out of the totaled car without a scratch. I wouldn’t buy or drive anything else but a Subaru. Have a great Sunday and thanks for all the info.

And, you will be happy to know that the Outback’s new six cylinder engine uses a timing chain, just like your '04 model’s six cylinder engine. The 4-cylinder engine continues to use a timing belt, and I believe that it is better to avoid timing belts.

Additionally, the 4-cylinder uses a CVT, whereas the 6-cylinder models use a “conventional” 5-speed automatic trans. The conventional trans is likely to be more durable than the new CVT.

I think the days of the 4 cylinder 2.5L with timing belt are limited. The writing is on the wall. For 2011 the Forester (built in Japan) uses a 2.5L with a timing chain. I think it will trickle over to all other models(Impreza, Outback, Legacy) very soon.

That is true.
But, for the present time, the 4-cylinder engine on the Outback uses a timing belt, and if the buyer doesn’t want a manual transmission, the only automatic is a CVT. Two good reasons for avoiding the 4-cylinder model, IMHO.

I drive a 6 for the way the power…no need for all the details, its obvious when you drive it. haha! They flushed my transmission, it is running just fine. The manager said he would drive my car to California and back…dont need a new one. Thanks for all the comments…learne a lot