How To Repair
  2018 Subaru Outback Premium 4-cylinder 2.5L

© 2019 Brian Mork


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Introduction

This web page contains a narrative log and pictorial essay to maintain a fifth-generation (2015-2019) 2018 Subaur Outback with the 2.5L FB25 engine. 

See my other pages about the 1989 Dodge B250 Ram Van with 5.2L engine with 154,000 miles, or the
230,000 mile 1994 Suburu Legacy with 2.2L, 154,000 mile 2003 VW Jetta wagon 1.9L diesel, and 220,000 Toyota Camry.  I always appreciate your link back to this page so Google thinks what I say is important!

At the bottom, I also have some simple graphs aggregating lots of data on costs.   Before you start work on a car project that may take several weeks, consider canceling insurance or doing "storage" insurance. My insurer used to provide a "storage" option that provides only comprehensive coverage and drops the cost of a newer vehicle from $52.50/mo down to $5.00/mo.  More recently, they've changed the definition of "storage" to mean "state mandated minimum insurance," and for the Dodge van in this article that change drops cost from from $27.17/mo to $6.70/mo. Or, if you can handle the risk, you could remove ALL coverage including comprensive and save a boatload of money.

Purchase

Keys
Luggage Rack


Testimonies


Purchase

We wanted a 2-3 year old car, and Subaru has a pretty good Certified Pre-Owned program.  We went through 5 dealers before we found one with what we wanted at a pricepoint we could afford.  

December 2019 - Keys

The Subaru CPO ensures we got two remote-head keys (no fobs because it's a key-start ignition).  We'd like another key for backup. We have 4-button remote-head keys, stamped "G" on the key stem.   The tiny sticker says FCC: CWTB1G077, IC: 1788F-FB1G077, Model: TB1G077. Most notably, this is not the CWTWB1U811 key that works on Outbacks/Legacies older than 2018 for which blanks are available all over Amazon and eBay.

There are three types of keys for the 2018 Outback/Legacy with normal key ignition (not push-button start).
  1. Metal key with a 4-button remote-head keys.  Price ranges $150-$210 plus $30-$35 to pair to the car.
  2. Metal key with RFID transponder embedded in the top of the key so it can work in the ignition.  Price ranges from $30-$60 and another $30-$35 to pair to the car.  You can get blanks for $7 from one vendor if you show you're a locksmith or auto mechanic company.  This type of key is useful if you are okay using the mechanical car locks and the lock/unlock button on the driver door instead of an RF remote to do the doors and a panic button.
  3. Metal key with no electronics can unlock the door (and tailgate?) only.  $3 cut and no cost to pair to the car.  However, if you try to use in the ignition, the auto-theft system of your car will be activated and you'll have to pull the battery negative terminal for a while (?) or use a computer DTC reader (?) to reset the dashboard warning light.  This would be good to get into your car and grab another transponder key or remote key you have hidden in the car.
Ace Hardware said they were able to cut a mechanical key using an ILCO #B110 or #P1114 key blank or #TOY43R blank, out the door for $2.49 but they were not on my commute route home, so I stopped at Home Depot to check what they can do.

I asked at Home Depot and they had some fancy new laser key scanning machine.  Their machine scanned my key and determined that it was a blank number #B29 from their supply carousel .  With my key removed from the machine, the scan data was used by the machine to cut the new key with the original not even in the machine.  I think there's a way for them to scan the key and send the data file to you by email, too.  That way you could at any time, give your "virtual key data" to someone to go to their local Home Depot and have a key cut for your lock.  $2.19 was an acceptable price for a mechanical-only, non-transponder key.

Of course, opening the car door with it sets off the alarm if the car is armed, and it won't work in the ignition because it doesn't have a paired transponder.  But it's still useful to store a few of these at work/home/friend's house and then keep a transponder ignition key hidden inside the car.  It's a lot cheaper to take the mechanical keys on a hiking trip, too, so that if you lose one it's no big price loss.  You could even hide a mechanical key on the outside of the car and it would still be hard for someone to steal your car since they don't know where the transponder ignition key is hidden.

You could use the mechanical key without causing an alarm if you deactivate the alarm (manual page 2-30).  Alarm status can be toggled by sitting in the car, all doors and tailgate closed and ignition on.  Press and hold the door unlock button, open the door within 1 second, then keep holding the switch for a total of more than 10 seconds.  See the alarm status change by seeing "ALOFF" or "ALON" on the odometer screen.

Here are my price surveys so far of the 3 kinds of keys you can buy:

clksupplies.com has mechanical key blanks for $0.99 ea + $7.95 s/h, or $1.14 ea if you want a plastic grip head.
clksupplies.com has 4-button remote key blanks for $41.  Have to trust someone to cut the key or you risk losing your $41 investment!

 Internationalkeysupply.com has RFID (80-bit G-chip) transponder keys for $9.00 ($7.20) on sale + __ s/h.
Keyless2Go Transponder Key TEX 4D-60 80-bit Subaru "G" key  Part 57497-FJ090, 57497FJ090 / B110 / 80-bit G-Chip Internationalkeysupply.com has remote-head key $139.00 + __ s/h.
(Website for locksmiths and auto professionals.  If not a locksmith, order will be canceled and refunded.  Perhaps you have a friend.)

Local Subaru dealer parts dept RFID key $70 + $40 for Subaru to cut from your VIN + $30 for dealer to program car.
Local Subaru dealer parts dept remote-head key $170 + $40 for Subaru to cut from VIN + $30 for dealer to program car.

Subarupartsdeal.com shows 57497FJ090 transponder key "KEY PLATE" for $49.10 instead of $70.

BulbsBatteries remote-head key $150 + $35 to program car.

Ace Hardware has transponder keys, cut & programming included for $80
Ace Hardware has remote-head keys, cut & programming included for $185

carkeysexpress.com, transponder key, $31.92, $3 HomeDepot cut, $30 to program car (doesn't have a 8-number code to DIY?). $65 total.

Ebay ezautoremote sells transponder keys 57497FJ090 4D-60 80 bit G chip TOY43R Blade for $28.68+$7s/h.


January 2020 - Luggage Rack

The luggage rack on my prior (small) Jetta Wagon did everything I needed it to.  It ran fore/aft on both sides, so I tied down 2x2 cross member wood pieces and it was good for carrying a canoe, or full 4x8 sheels of house siding.  The Subaru has flip-out cross members and the fore/aft parts are solid so there is no way to loop a rope around them. 

Fore and aft stability is also an issue.  The jetta cross members were up to 60" apart (because I put them wherever I wanted on the length of the racks).  The Outback cross-members are fixed at 30" apart front-to-back, so any load is a lot more "tippy".  Fortunately, there are nice tie-down metal loops under the car by the front wheels that will work with rope if a get a small shackle.  For the reare, I'll get some nylon straps to pinch in the tailgate to hold down the back of things.

Looks like I'd design wooden cross members that give a flat lay-down surface.  I think I can lay 2x2s across the existing fore/aft rails, and secure them into the hard-point pockets using J-bolts.  This should give me 38" of span fore/aft and arbitrary width to get out beyond a 4' wide panel.


Click on any picture to see a close-up view.


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Financial Finale:

After the the costs incurred above, I began to wonder what the vehicles actually cost me and if it's worth my time to fix them.

1) I work on cars because I want to understand them and see preventative issues and manage the ownership of the vehicle rather than letting it manage me by breaking unexpectedly. This management process probably saves money.

2) The big dollar issue, however, is depreciation cost.  You can stop depreciation cost by being comfortable with older vehicles and being willing to handle the repair costs.  This would happen even if you preventively did nothing.  To replace the capability of this older van with a 2-year old model would cost about $30,000.  Figure if you keep a vehicle for 10 years, that's $125 month in depreciation.

Click on the little graph here to download a pdf document.

vehicle-cost-comparison


Additional Resources:



© 2010-2018 Brian Mork. Please contact me using the copyright link prior to commercial use, or reproducing for distribution in a commercial context.