Any problems with your Baja????

General talk about the Subaru Baja.

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jseabolt
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Re: Any problems with your Baja????

Post by jseabolt » Tue Mar 06, 2012 2:14 am

Followup issues:

2003 N/A 5 speed, 65K miles, original owner.

1) Bank 1 O2 sensor failed. $200 and <30 minutes to fix. I reset the code myself twice just to make sure it wasn't a dud code.

2) Inner CV joint boot busted. $20 part but took me 6 hours to pull the axle, replace the boot and reinstall. Odd, isn't it usually the outer boot that busts before the inner boot? I just got home from towing a lawnmower on a 4X8 trailer. I didn't have the car overloaded but the rear end usually squats an inch or two when I haul my riding mower. Could an 70 mile round trip have caused this to happen?

3) #2 Spark plug wire mysterious "crapped out" causing missfire noticably at idle. While installing new plug wires I discovered the plug wire was not seated on the spark plug and the arcing must have crapped it out. That was my fault because I had beadblasted the spark plugs around 60K miles and was the last person to touch it.

Engine still uses oil from day one.
http://s222.photobucket.com/albums/dd148/turbofiat/

2003 Subaru Baja
2006 Ford Explorer Limited V8
1968 Ford Fairlane 500
1980 Fiat Spider (turbocharged)
1987 Yugo GV (1500 turbocharged)
1981 Trabant 601 S

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Danfzzl
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Re: Any problems with your Baja????

Post by Danfzzl » Thu Mar 08, 2012 9:51 am

Well I've had my Baja since early 2009 and everything has been good for the most part. My rear sway arm linkages were both completely disconnected from wearing out and the sway bar was literally bouncing and clunking on the suspension. The Bank 1 Sensor 1 took a dump on me and I have yet to replace it. (I have the new sensor just gotta go at it.) Just put new pads and rotors on 2 days ago, the pads still had about half life left and I changed them in 2010. But my rotors were in pretty bad shape esp. on the inside. I do still have a mystery problem at my front right wheel though. This past summer I woke up at hopped in my car and when I got up to 60 mph there was a VERY noticeable shake in the steering wheel. and when I would turn the wheel slightly left the vibration would multiply by 5. This was very concerning as you might imagine so I got under the front end to check it out. The wheel bearing seems good, ball joints are tight, no play in the tie rod, sway arm linkages are still connected (they might be worn cuz there is still some small clunks when I hit small bumps going slow in a parking lot.) So I was kind of dumbfounded after that first check. when I recently changed my brakes I took a look at my tire wear on that front right tire... and I found a few telltale signs... the tire is SEVERELY unevenly worn! The outside tread on the tire is almost down to the wear indicator while the inside part of the tread still has a very healthy amount of tread left, as does all 3 other tires. (I have General Grabber AT2's) Also the outside part of the tread seems to be scalloped. meaning there is a flat spot then thicker tread, flat spot, thicker tread... all the way around the outside where the tread is worn. This would point to a few things... first off, when it comes to the uneven wear that could be worn ball joints, wheel bearing, worn tie rod or alignment. and the scalloping could be from a worn ball joint, worn strut, or the wheel is out of balance. when I had the wheel off I didn't check to see if the wheel weight is still there or not, but seeing as the bad vibration literally started overnight it could be the problem. I'm going to take one more good look at it this weekend when I replace that O2 sensor.
Dan
http://theravensedge.com/
Baja Mods: Class 1 hitch, Dash light conversion to blue, Ozzbros bed cover, 2 Hella 500 Fog lights Mounted on front bumped bracket

codioos
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Re: Any problems with your Baja????

Post by codioos » Fri Mar 09, 2012 1:33 pm

Bought my classic yellow 2003 Baja AT over one month ago, it has 113k. This is what I had to fix:

Complete brake job
New front & rear differential fluid
Trans fluid flush plus filter
Fixed wind noise from front doors
Replaced both head gaskets
Heads had to be decked and pressure tested
New timing belt
Timing belt tensioner
Water pump
Thermostat
New radiator fluid plus conditioner
Cam bearings
Intake gaskets
Exhaust gaskets
Replaced old exhaust manifolds because of uneven wear on flange
Replaced EGR tube because of exhaust leak
New valve cover gaskets plus plug wire gaskets
New spark plugs
New spark plug wires
New K&N air filter
New oem fog lights
Replaced cabin air filter (made my own)
Replaced interior door panel
Re-balanced tires

I also just made my own tonnaeu cover and installed brighter bulbs for all headlights and fog lights. I even added a ScanGauge to it. Just did a 600 mile fishing trip and averaged 31.5 mpg. I should get better once I modify the air box and use the Lexan sheeting to flush my fog light sockets.

The guy I bought it from had the idea of "if it ain't broke don't fix it". Well that works in some cases but proper maintainance will save you work in the long run. Luckily I work at a dealership and saved a ton of money on parts and zero labor cost.

I practically went from zero knowledge and experience with Subarus to the point where I am very familiar with their engineering. All the guys at my shop think I restored this car, and it basically feels that way.

asimmons04
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Re: Any problems with your Baja????

Post by asimmons04 » Fri Mar 16, 2012 7:09 pm

question.

i have an 03 non turbo SOHC Baja.
Are they prone to blow head gaskets and why? I have read of many of them doing so. Kinda scares me lol.

Also, there is some kind of burning smell when it gets hot. Not oil, not like anything i've ever dealt with (and I work at an auto parts store and have even built a few engines). COULD it be the catalytic converter? Everything runs great decent mileage but as to a power loss...i wouldnt know. I just got this thing. It runs smooth but very quiet and has no power mid-high. lol I dont know what its SUPPOSED to feel like though so its making my diagnosis a bit difficult lol. It seems to come from the exhaust but I cant be sure, and it does NOT smoke any whatsoever so Idk...

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Re: Any problems with your Baja????

Post by sfeather11 » Sun Mar 18, 2012 6:07 am

Sounds like you have a typical Baja...

Yes many of the 03s are prone to blow a gasket. Subaru had problems with a lot of their head gaskets (not just the Baja) for a while in the late 90s/early 2000s. The problem was with the gaskets themselves. They were supposed to be all fixed by 2003, but some bad ones did make their way into the Bajas. Typically the leaks show up around 100k miles. I have an 03 NA Baja myself, and currently have a small leak on the passenger side that will soon need addressing. Tons of info on this site and others (also try NASIOC.com)...

I also have the burning smell as well. It started when my passenger side, inboard CV joint boot ripped and spewed grease onto the catalytic converter (the joint is directly over the cat). This also is a common issue with Bajas as the heat from the cat makes the boot become "brittle" over time and tear. Again, plenty of info available. I've never really had the smell go away once the boot was repaired...

No mid-high power is normal. These cars are very fun, handy, and cool, but NA cars are just dogs when it comes to any type of performance...

Hope this helps,
Peace!

asimmons04
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Re: Any problems with your Baja????

Post by asimmons04 » Sun Mar 18, 2012 7:27 pm

o wow thanks man. so far no major leaks but did notice a tad of oil on engine underside. also gonna check the boots tomorrow and the cat. i guess also another question is this. my state does not check for emissions. I have had the Cat removed on every vehicle I've had from 91 up to 98 with no issues and actual increases in mileage. If I did it in this truck would it affect actual mixtures and important stuff? I am not worried about a possible engine light. I just want to know will it mess it up basically. And have you heard of any type of programmer/module we can get in these? JW :D

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baja_gernaut
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Re: Any problems with your Baja????

Post by baja_gernaut » Mon Mar 19, 2012 5:06 pm

if you remove the cat you will get the CEL. I believe that code can be removed only by tapping into the ECU to make that change or probably some plug that fools the ECU. Research is a pain

asimmons04
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Re: Any problems with your Baja????

Post by asimmons04 » Mon Mar 26, 2012 7:34 pm

So far so good. We removed the SECOND cat but left the first because I dont have a blank pipe with an o2 sensor bung hole. Never seen a sensor IN the rear of a cat. But anyways we took the second cat off with no light, and plus it sounds a little meaner. With windows up you cant hardly tell but if you let the windows down and open midgate it sounds pretty awesome. Seems to flow a little more but I still wanna change that drastically constrictive y spot where L and R banks meet the cat. Needs to go from 2-1 far more smoothly. Right now if you look at yours its a T instead of a Y. It looks like its a real seriously stupid design. And I wanted to either move cat away from CV joint a little or remove it completely. Leaving cat for now. But if it goes out, dont expect me to buy another. :D

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baja_gernaut
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Re: Any problems with your Baja????

Post by baja_gernaut » Mon Mar 26, 2012 8:31 pm

It seems like you constructed a Baja on your own. that's a long list but I'm close to it:)
codioos wrote:Bought my classic yellow 2003 Baja AT over one month ago, it has 113k. This is what I had to fix:

Complete brake job
New front & rear differential fluid
Trans fluid flush plus filter
Fixed wind noise from front doors
Replaced both head gaskets
Heads had to be decked and pressure tested
New timing belt
Timing belt tensioner
Water pump
Thermostat
New radiator fluid plus conditioner
Cam bearings
Intake gaskets
Exhaust gaskets
Replaced old exhaust manifolds because of uneven wear on flange
Replaced EGR tube because of exhaust leak
New valve cover gaskets plus plug wire gaskets
New spark plugs
New spark plug wires
New K&N air filter
New oem fog lights
Replaced cabin air filter (made my own)
Replaced interior door panel
Re-balanced tires

I also just made my own tonnaeu cover and installed brighter bulbs for all headlights and fog lights. I even added a ScanGauge to it. Just did a 600 mile fishing trip and averaged 31.5 mpg. I should get better once I modify the air box and use the Lexan sheeting to flush my fog light sockets.

The guy I bought it from had the idea of "if it ain't broke don't fix it". Well that works in some cases but proper maintainance will save you work in the long run. Luckily I work at a dealership and saved a ton of money on parts and zero labor cost.

I practically went from zero knowledge and experience with Subarus to the point where I am very familiar with their engineering. All the guys at my shop think I restored this car, and it basically feels that way.

SVO1
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Re: Any problems with your Baja????

Post by SVO1 » Tue Mar 27, 2012 2:20 pm

my 05 Sport:
Bought it at 110,974 miles.
Was badly abused (repo) and had a bad rod knock.
There were signs of the headgaskets leaking when I pulled the engine.
machined/rebuilt heads and added later AVCS valve springs as they have a higher rate, and I will be turbocharging it.
Put in a brand new Subaru '11 STI ej257 shortblock with STI headgaskets/ 10mm oil pump
Front and rear brakes were gone, front rotors badly warped, front sway bar was bent/inner tie rod end on driver's side was bent due to the previous idiots driving by sound.
l/r axle seal is leaking and I will be replacing it in the next few weeks.
Interior- door panels are all busted from the seat belts getting slammed in the doors. all 4 speakers were open circuit when I tested them.
Steering column lower shaft bushing had come loose and steering wheel/column moved all over the place.
Body- Lots of dents/scrapes because some people shouldn't be allowed to own cars.
Most of it's issues were not it's fault, and sadly happened in the year and 14k miles the previous owner had it for. It wa sin nice shape when they bought it.

All in all however, I have in it so far what a really nice set of wheels/tires would run, including the price of buying it :)

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theluckyone17
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Re: Any problems with your Baja????

Post by theluckyone17 » Tue Apr 03, 2012 7:06 pm

'06 Sport, 53k miles. Within the first hundred miles of driving on the ten day inspection sticker:

ECU Code 0301 consistent, 0302 intermittent (cylinder misfire). Resolved by replacing the coil pack with one off a '04 Legacy 2.5L ($50 used)
Reverse lights won't light. Resolved by replacing the backup light switch ($35 dealer).

The vents still only blow out the defrost, but I'm just gearing up to get under the dash and see if the actuator is popped or broken. Figured I'd clean her up first. There's a lot of spots where west coast winter sand has collected, and just screams to cause rust over the northeastern winters to come..
Onyx: 2006 Baja Sport

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jseabolt
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Re: Any problems with your Baja????

Post by jseabolt » Fri May 11, 2012 1:27 am

I've used Alumaseal many times on leaking headgaskets and it works great. The last vehicle I used it on was a 5.0 liter 96 Explorer with 100K miles on it. It would leak after I shut the engine off but didn't seem to leak while driving it. Then 20K miles later the intake manifold gasket started to leak from the rear (another common issue with 302/5 liter engines). I put yet another tube of Alumaseal in it and it fixed that leak. People claims this stuff will clog up radiators and heater cores but there is only trace amounts in it the tube. The rest of the material is just a carrier agent like pills.

My stepson has the vehicle now. I've heard Subaru makes a good stop leak product but I've never used it.

As far as the busted inner CV joint goes, the only thing I found to remove the high temperature grease is to soak a rag in kerosene and wipe it off. Engine degreaser won't touch it.

sfeather11 wrote:Sounds like you have a typical Baja...

Yes many of the 03s are prone to blow a gasket. Subaru had problems with a lot of their head gaskets (not just the Baja) for a while in the late 90s/early 2000s. The problem was with the gaskets themselves. They were supposed to be all fixed by 2003, but some bad ones did make their way into the Bajas. Typically the leaks show up around 100k miles. I have an 03 NA Baja myself, and currently have a small leak on the passenger side that will soon need addressing. Tons of info on this site and others (also try NASIOC.com)...

I also have the burning smell as well. It started when my passenger side, inboard CV joint boot ripped and spewed grease onto the catalytic converter (the joint is directly over the cat). This also is a common issue with Bajas as the heat from the cat makes the boot become "brittle" over time and tear. Again, plenty of info available. I've never really had the smell go away once the boot was repaired...

No mid-high power is normal. These cars are very fun, handy, and cool, but NA cars are just dogs when it comes to any type of performance...

Hope this helps,
Peace!
http://s222.photobucket.com/albums/dd148/turbofiat/

2003 Subaru Baja
2006 Ford Explorer Limited V8
1968 Ford Fairlane 500
1980 Fiat Spider (turbocharged)
1987 Yugo GV (1500 turbocharged)
1981 Trabant 601 S

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jseabolt
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Re: Any problems with your Baja????

Post by jseabolt » Fri May 11, 2012 1:33 am

baja_gernaut wrote:if you remove the cat you will get the CEL. I believe that code can be removed only by tapping into the ECU to make that change or probably some plug that fools the ECU. Research is a pain
I tried this no-foul insert trick on my Dad's 98 Chevy van. It didn't work. It's still flashing the "bad converter" code. He even took it to a muffler shop and they tested it and they said the conveter was functioning properly!

This "no foul" insert trick I found on some of the Honda forums involves enlarging the hole on one no foul insert, then screwing the O2 sensor into it then screw another no foul insert into the tailpipe and screw everything together. This pushes the O2 sensor away from the gas stream so it sends a different signal to the ECU. If the ECU detects the same reading from both sensors, is ASSuMEs the converter is bad and kicks the check engine light on.

So I have read...
http://s222.photobucket.com/albums/dd148/turbofiat/

2003 Subaru Baja
2006 Ford Explorer Limited V8
1968 Ford Fairlane 500
1980 Fiat Spider (turbocharged)
1987 Yugo GV (1500 turbocharged)
1981 Trabant 601 S

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Nonstop
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Re: Any problems with your Baja????

Post by Nonstop » Tue Jun 26, 2012 9:33 am

Hey everyone im new to this site as I just purchased my 05 Baja sport at Christmas time. Feel kind bad one of my first posts being about what’s wrong with my Baja but I figured I’d throw it out there. I’ve wanted a Baja since 2003 when they first came out and finally got a chance to purchase one December 2011. I’m 27 and this is my first car since the one my parents bought me back in high school.

I have family members with Subaru’s and I listened to all their advice and I frequented this website quite a bit doing research. There was only one Baja for sale within a 300 mile radius that seemed worth checking out and after test driving it I had to have it. My friends laugh at a 2005 Subaru Baja being my dream car but it truly is. I absolutely love it. A little background on the car.

2005 Baja Sport
Blue
Manual Trans
71,000 miles when I took it off the lot
$11,300

The price seemed great, miles looked good and i liked all the features of the Sport. My biggest concern was the head gaskets. My uncles WRX blew a head gasket at 90,000 miles and he warned me about it, and all you hear about on forums is that head gaskets are a Subaru’s Achilles heel so I’m not going to beat a dead horse here.
So anyway last week ive got the Baja at the dealership getting an oil change and guess what? The tech says he thinks there’s a leak in the head gasket. Ive got 81,000 miles on it now and I was just thinking sonofa%^%. To make things worse he also said both axel boots are also leaking. Anyway they put some die in it and told me to bring it back in a thousand miles to see how bad it is.

Benhart21
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Re: Any problems with your Baja????

Post by Benhart21 » Fri Jun 29, 2012 6:07 pm

So far in the 4 years and 40k miles I've owned my car, I haven't had to replace anything until recently(@ 95k miles). AC was always mediocre at best, which led to a bad expansion valve and a leaky hose. The drive belts decided to shred this week, so those are being replaced right now. Just need to replace the axle with the ripped boot that slings grease directly onto the downpipe and do the timing belt soon.

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