Huge win for car owners! All TSBs to be made public. The Center for Auto Safety just made the NHTSA (US Government) make public the full text of all TSBs from now on. They are the same organization that has petitioned the NHTSA & filed lawsuits to protect car owners over exploding gas tanks & other major safety issues. Whenever you drive in your car, you are safer thanks in part to a lot of work over the years by this small but very effective consumer advocacy group.

Please take a moment & say thank you by donating $5 or whatever you can to the Center for Auto Safety. Notes: A relatively dependable vehicle that handles well in bad weather, but increasing concerns about turbo failure in the GT probably means you should look elsewhere if you want a car with a little pep in its step.


hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
51,320 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2005 Subaru Legacy engine problems

engine problem

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2005 Subaru Legacy Owner Comments

problem #13

Jun 102011


  • 123,000 miles


This is the second well maintained Subaru Legacy that the engine has blown in under 150,000 miles. First a 1999 and now a 2005. Research online shows that this is an ongoing problem and has also been confirmed by independent mechanics. Please advise what recourse I can take legally as Subaru has not offered to have the car towed for an inspection. The last time they offered a $500 credit towards a proposed repair that was estimated at thousands of dollars over the closest independent. I would like to find out if the government has had any success in getting Subaru to admit the problem and do something meaningful to address it, or if there is a class action suit I can join to get some satisfaction. Thanks you.

- Katonah, NY, USA

problem #12

Mar 042010


  • 64,448 miles
Check engine light came on, pulled over immediately and checked oil on the side of the road also looked through owners manual. The oil was a quart low, turbo making suction noises, pick up from a stop or quick throttle to pass on high way was gone. Added a quart of oil and had an oil change & check engine light diag done the next day ( drove maybe 60 mile with light on). After the oil change metallic noise from passenger side of engine could be heard and exhaust was pouring out thick smoke. The code was P011 timing issue, turbo banjo (oil line filter) clogged. Car has 64K on it oil changed every 4000. Found this is a very common issue that is a very hot topic on many Subaru forums. Subaru will not cover under this issue warranty sighting that consumer maintenance caused sludge to build up on the banjo bolt filter. Yet Subaru has no mention of cleaning or maintenance of the turbo banjo bolt filter in the owners manual. This issue caused my car and others to have engine damage requiring the customer to fit a 4 to 11 thousand dollar bill to fix. Subaru should issue a recall and refund customers that had to pay out of pocket.

- Rochester, NH, USA

problem #11

Nov 202009


  • 62,000 miles
To nhsta three turbos have failed within a 2 month span on a 2005 Subaru Legacy GT sedan. Leading up to each failure the vehicle was being driven consistently at ~60 mph for 15 to 20 miles. The consequence of these failures has been loss of power on the highway which could have caused a wreck (but luckily did not). To correct this failure the turbo was replaced by an independent mechanic under an extended warranty. It failed again the same day due to the nut holding the turbo together falling off. Subaru replaced that turbo but it failed again after 2 weeks. I took it to a Subaru dealership this time where they said it failed because a small mesh screen become blocked by sludge and would not honor their mechanical fault warranty. I paid to have it replaced but I have not yet picked up the vehicle since I cannot trust it not to break (nor will Subaru warranty the part if the screen becomes blocked again, this sludge could be caused by the initial turbo failure, since the broken turbos throw metal through the oil system.) this is a safety issue instead of a maintenance issue because of the consistent failures under the same condition which is normal highway driving conditions. The failure rate for this specific Subaru vehicle is much greater than normal with an epa report (ref #GR08-054C epa # 3595) showing "unscreened warranty claims" (minimal failure rate?) of 4.55% as of Sep 12, 2008. This rate is on average 3 times higher than other turbo vehicles produced by Subaru at the time. (incidently Mazda has just recalled their new 2010 turbo mazda3's due to turbo failure from periods of idle or limited acceleration due to oil pooling in the turbo, these are the circumstances under which the Subaru turbo's have failed)

- Loveland, OH, USA

problem #10

Nov 282009


  • 104,000 miles


The turbo in my 2005 Subaru Legacy GT split in half when I was driving home from work. It made a squealing noise, with no warning lights prior to the turbo going, however exactly when it happened the check engine light came on with the cruise light blinking. I was told by a certified Subaru technician that the turbos in these cars do not just split in half and rarely have problems. However, I was told about the banjo bolt oil filter located under the turbo, unseeable when getting a routine oil change, however this filter needs to be cleaned otherwise it clogs and starves the turbo of any oil. I was never aware when purchasing this car of that problem, and nowhere in my vehicles manual does it say anything about the banjo bolt oil filter and how it needs to be cleaned on a regular basis. The turbo in my car is the only part that needs to be replaced, however finding a turbo for the 05 Legacy GT is pretty expensive, and the used turbos are even harder to locate than any of the other 05 Subaru models. I am currently still without a car and I believe the turbos in the 05 Legacy GT's are defective due to the banjo bolt oil filter clogging excessively.

- Willimantic, CT, USA

problem #9

Mar 172009


  • 67,000 miles
Turbo failure with no warning. Drastic loss of power immediately upon failure. Temperature gauge read normal. No indicating/warning lights showed up.

- Belmont, MI, USA

problem #8

Dec 232008


  • 74,000 miles
At 74,000 miles the turbo blew in my 2005 Subaru Legacy turbo wagon. Upon request of the company I handed in as many maintenance records as I could find. The company repaired the turbo, splitting the cost with me, 50/50 ($900 each). They failed to change the oil, as I asked them to do, and to fix whatever they had to fix to make the car right again. Once repaired, after driving my car about 15 miles, the turbo blew again. After admitting they didn't change the oil, the dealer repaired the turbo again, under warranty this time, with the exception of the 2 oil changes they charged me. When I finally went to pick up the car and I was unable to drive the car, as there was obviously something wrong with the motor. The engine was making a loud noise and the car was shaking. They failed to tell me the car was still broken, or that there was a new problem with the engine. Now they tell me the motor needs to be replaced, to the cost of $4,800. They are willing to pay for the parts, $3,000, and want to charge me for the labor, $1,800. I feel like I've been lied to, cheated and the integrity of my car has been compromised. I don't feel satisfied with the quality of service and security of this vehicle since it's been in the hands of the ramsey Subaru, since December 23, 2008.

- Pine Bush, NY, USA

problem #7

Aug 052008


  • 74,000 miles


The letter I sent to Subaru of America (edited): I am the owner of a 2005 Legacy GT. On August 5th, 2008 my family and I were headed to boise, Idaho from bend, Oregon. About an hour and a half from home I noticed that the engine was revving abnormally high to maintain speed. I called the shop back in bend (thomas sales and service) and they recommended that I have the car towed back to them. When we arrived back in bend the tech at the dealer inspected the car and determined that it was a turbo issue, as I had suspected. The service manager at the dealer who informed me the issue would be covered under warranty. Parts were ordered and service was scheduled. Several days later I was contacted again by the service manager who informed me that since my car was at 74K miles (but still inside the 5 year warranty period) it would not be covered and that the repair costs would be right around $2000. Naturally I was upset with this news. I am a member of the website and started looking around for information regarding my problem and found a service bulletin regarding the banjo bolt screen in the turbo getting clogged. At no time was I ever contacted by Subaru or my dealer regarding this potential problem or I would have had it checked out. I am also a member of and was not informed there either. I have had regular oil changes performed and have performed several myself (I have no record of this in the form of receipts, see attached copies) and the night before we left for boise I checked all the fluids and the air pressure in the tires and found everything was good. I was planning on having the oil changed again in boise. I have always used high quality synthetic oil since after the first couple of changes. What is really troubling is that at no time did I ever get a warning from a check engine light or error code, yet I seemed to have had a catastrophic failure.

- Bend, OR, USA

problem #6

May 172008


  • 51,000 miles
Subaru Legacy GT wagon - turbo failure due to oil starvation at 51,000 miles. Oil always changed at 3,000 miles/ 3 months. Explanation from mechanic is that Subaru installed oil screen in line leading to turbo, but this is not checked or changed according to manufacturer maintenance recommendations. Over time, screen clogs and leads to oil starvation and turbo failure. Turbo replaced by Subaru under powertrain warranty. No remedy for screen which will eventually clog again.

- Oreland, PA, USA

problem #5

Jun 202008


  • 47,600 miles
Wife was driving the car on the freeway and the power steering went out. We thought that a belt had broken or something. She was on her way to the mechanic when it seemed as though the car would not accelerate and was making a loud clunking noise in the engine bay, all of the gauges stopped working. The ABS, sport shift and E-brake lights on the dash all turned on each time she stopped. The car died just past an intersection and was pushed into the open area of a parking lot. Since it was hot she, my daughter and my dog all got out and went into the shade of some nearby trees. Within 5 minutes a bystander pointed out that there was a fire underneath the car and the fire department was called. They arrived within the next 10 minutes and the car was completely engulfed in flames. The fire chief said that it was a complete loss and that they have no idea what might have caused it.

- Phoenix, AZ, USA

problem #4

Feb 102007

Legacy 4WD 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • miles
At different throttle inputs there is an engine stutter/stumble. This happens mostly during (2000-3000 rpms) and is worse during cold and rainy weather, as well as driving up hill. This failure is dangerous because if it happens at the wrong time especially in Vermont, someone could get killed. Subaru should take care of the problem. There are at least 40 other people that I know of, that have the same problem. I as all these other people did not get what I paid for. Subaru should admit that there is a problem tell us what it is and fix it before it is to late.

- Burlington, VT, USA

problem #3

Jul 012005

Legacy 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 100 miles


Every time I drive my car, it stutters. In any gear ( speaking specifically of a 5 speed transmission) no matter conditions nor driving style. Spoken to all local dealers and S.O.a. official response is "turbo lag" the symptoms are not that of turbo lag, nor can S.O.a. provide a definition of turbo lag. May be turbo surge, which is detrimental to a turbo chargers life. This draws serious concerns from Legacy GT owners. I think Subaru may have a "serious" issue. They have been throwing money at customers to avoid lemon law's. this car is not enjoyable to drive with this issue. Press throttle, stutter, stutter, stutter, go. Subaru provided no resolution to the problem other than a new model. S.O.a. provided $6000 towards the purchase of a new Subaru. Mind you that resolution was easy to get, but did me no good, as that offer was made six months after I purchased that vehicle. Leaving a difference out of pocket of $3,200 not a proper solution. But it was better than nothing. I assume Subaru os covering up a large and expensive repair for this issue. Only time, or the NHTSA will tell.

- Liverpool, NY, USA

problem #2

Oct 172005

Legacy 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • miles
Vehicle engine stutters with very little throttle when cruising below 3K rpms and will also stutter with moderate acceleration from low rpms. Subaru dealer sent ECU to soa (Subaru of America) to be reflashed with updated program. Stuttering seemed to go away after a few days but has come back just as bad as before.

- Irmo, SC, USA

problem #1

Jul 222005

Legacy 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 15 miles
Vehicle 'stutters' on partial acceleration between 2000 and 3000 RPM. Vehicle has done this consistantly from the first day I purchased it. There is currently nothing the dealer can do to fix the problem.

- Austin, TX, USA

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