Author Archives: Mike Corbin

Mike Corbin

About Mike Corbin

Smart Service is a Subaru service repair and maintenance shop operated independently of Subaru of America or Fuji Heavy Industries. We are a family run business that combine high quality Subaru care, personal friendly atmosphere and a cost savings over the Subaru dealer. We have been supporting the Subaru community since 1999. Follow Mike on Google+.

Subaru Parts for Sale

onlinestore

Online Store

Did you know you can buy parts for your Subaru at either of our Subaru locations or at our online store? It’s true.  We stock a wide variety of fast moving genuine Subaru parts as well as a large selection of quality aftermarket and OEM parts for your Subaru.  We have Six-Star Subaru head gasket kits as well as other Six-Star offerings. Check us out at: www.Smart-Service.com

Cheers,

Mike Corbin
Smart Service – Your Independent Subaru Expert

Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid Discontinued

subaru-xv-crosstrek-hybridIt was an attempt at what Subaru owners have been wanting for years but unfortunately has fallen short of the mark. For years consumers have been pushing Subaru to offer us a hybrid. Pretty much everyone else in the market had been producing hybrids for quite some time so Subaru finally had to do something. Unfortunately they really weren’t ready in my opinion but they still came out with the 2014 Crosstrek XV Hybrid. The first thing I noticed upon reading  the new 2014 brochure for the Crosstrek Hybrid was that  the 2014 Impreza non-hybrid offering actually got better fuel mileage than the hybrid Crosstrek! I was floored.  I was hoping that this was just a quick hitter to appease the Subaru entheusiasts that had to have a hybrid but unfortunately after just a couple years of production and no significant improvements Subaru has decided to discontinue the model. They were certainly very well equipped zippy little cars if you judged them strictly on the fun and comfort factor but unfortunately I think that 90% of us wanted something that would get the best fuel mileage in all Subaru had to offer.

I hope they can learn from this and come back with a better offering to top the fuel mileage list. Whether it is a hybrid or diesel, they have to know that Subaru owners want to get better mileage while reducing their total carbon footprint. Good luck Subaru!

 

Cheers,

Mike Corbin
Smart Service – Your Independent Subaru Expert

 

Free Subaru Headlight Replacement!

2010-2012-legacy-outback-headlampIf you own a 2010-2012 Subaru Outback or Legacy you will be pleased to hear that Subaru has just issued extended warranty coverage on the low  beam headlight bulb extending to 10 years from the date of purchase.

Many of you may have received a letter from Subaru explaining this but if not you may still be covered. The letter states that the extended coverage applies to 2010-2012 Legacy through Aug 8, 2011 production and Outback through Aug 22,2011 production date. It’s coverage extends for 10 years from the purchase date of the vehicle regardless of mileage. If your headlights are OK there is no action needed. It is not a recall. The letter also stated that if you had to pay to have one of the headlights replaced in the past, that you may qualify for reimbursement if you can provide an invoice and proof of payment. To get reimbursement for any previously installed bulbs, you must submit your information by November 17, 2016 This is a great development considering how often some of the headlights were burning out as well as how hard they are to replace compared to prior Subarus.   If you have any questions for Subaru on how to submit a claim call 1-855-384-8926 and have your vehicle VIN # ready.

Click here to discover the services our experienced and certified technicians can perform on your Subaru

Cheers,

Mike Corbin
Smart Service – Your Independent Subaru Expert

 

 

 

2008 WRX Underhood Fire Alert-Secondary Air Pump?

This is more of a public service announcement than anything but I just wanted to share a story about a customer of ours with a 2008 WRX that nearly had his car burn to the ground.

He parked his 2008 stock WRX and went into his gym to work out. A person in the gym alerted him that smoke was coming out from under his hood. He immediately went to check it and  there were flames starting to come out the hood scoop. Upon opening the hood there were flames around the secondary air pump and other items nearby. Luckily someone had an extinguisher handy and was able to stop the spread of the fire. Since we’re not trained in fire forensics, I can’t say for sure what caused the fire but from our inspection it appears that the secondary air pump (made of plastic composite) somehow caught fire and then caused subsequent items to catch fire. That’s all we know at this point. The incident has been reported to the NHTSA (safecar.gov) and we just wanted to alert other Subaru owners that  have this same secondary air pump system about what happened. It may be an isolated incident but then again we don’t know. If you have experienced the same issue, I encourage you to report it to the NHTSA.  If we hear anything further from the NHTSA we’ll update this post.

Cheers,

Mike Corbin
Smart Service – Your Independent Subaru Expert

Click here to discover the services our experienced and certified technicians can perform on your Subaru

Seattle, WA

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Airbag recall for Takata now includes Subarus

airbag-check-650x400 (1)Well it seemed like Subaru owners may have dodged a bullet with this massive airbag recall by Takata but unfortunately news has just been released to add select model Subarus (and also some Saabarus) to the recall list.  Fortunately most Subarus will not be affected but if yours is, you should be receiving a letter from Subaru instructing you on how to proceed.
If you don’t get a letter you can still check for any outstanding recalls on your vehicle by visiting the safercar.gov recall page and enter your VIN number.
                                                                 Safercar.gov Recalls
Vehicles that may be included
03-04 Legacy,Baja
04 Impreza and WRX
04 Saab 92-X
From what I have read, it may be a while until replacement units are readily available.

Cheers,

Mike Corbin
Smart Service – Your Independent Subaru Expert

From Two time Zones away..

Hello All!

My Subie and i have made it about 2000 miles from lovely Western Washington. I have seen much along the road, and certainly met an innumerable amount of good people as i’ve strolled along.  It seems this country is full of them. Today i write to you from Elgin, a small suburb outside of Chicago. I plan to make my way into the big city this afternoon for a trip to the zoo. Perhaps even a deep dish pizza, if i make a few bucks street performing.

My glorious little car is running as strong as ever, the little four cylinder tackled  mountains of Yellowstone, and day long drives through the flatness of the west.  With any luck i’ll keep heading east and find the Atlantic ocean in the next few weeks.

This is the furthest east i’ve been, and i’ve still got a ways to go.

-Jack

A side shot of Washington at Mt. Rushmore, in the lovely Black Hills of South Dakota.

A side shot of Washington at Mt. Rushmore, in the lovely Black Hills of South Dakota.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cheers,

Mike Corbin
Smart Service – Your Independent Subaru Expert

 

 

Jack Johnson’s Travels

Hello there!

I’ve been on the road for a few days now, and couldn’t be happier with the state of my ‘ol reliable Subaru. Yesterday it got me through the Bitterroot National forest, and what a beautiful drive that is. If you’ve ever got an excuse to hop on US-12 towards Montana, the forest is gorgeous, and there are plenty of pull offs to stop and look at the nature.
Today i am in Missoula, and will be busking the streets near the University here to make some money for lunch. Couldn’t have gotten here without the Smart Service crew getting my Subie (and current home) ready for travel.  I’ll be updating regularly, so keep an eye out to see where i go next!

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Cheers,

Mike Corbin
Smart Service – Your Independent Subaru Expert

Jack Johnson’s Cross Country Subaru Adventure

Jack Johnson is a Subaru owner and a long time friend of the family that is taking an epic road trip around our wonderful nation in his 1996 Subaru Impreza with over 220 thousand miles on it.

We’ve prepped his car and now he’s ready to disembark. Jack will be posting regularly about his adventure on our blog so stay tuned!

 

Cheers,

Mike Corbin
Smart Service – Your Independent Subaru Expert

Impreza Broken Clutch Bracket woes.

If you have a 2008 Impreza or WRX and the clutch is starting to creak or pop be aware that it may be starting to have the spot welds break on the bracket that is affixed to the inner firewall.

If you google this symptom you’ll find that there have been more than a handful of complaints about this issue.  What happens is that over time and repeated use, the bracket that the clutch/brake pedal assembly bolts to pulls free from the firewall. It is held in place by spot welds and the spot welds pull away from the firewall literally breaking small holes in the firewall. It is seems more likely to happen when a clutch is allowed to get worn because as the clutch gets worn, the pedal assembly loses some of it’s leverage over the release forks and more effort is needed to release the clutch.  This is also true of some performance clutch applications. This puts more stress on the bracket and may cause it to break loose.

Once the bracket pulls the welds out, the pedal cannot move the release fork as far and it results in difficulty getting the car into gear.

View with dash out

View with dash out

Broken Clutch Spot Welds

View from inside car with dash removed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now to see the holes that were created in the windshield cowl area- a total of 6 broken welds

Additional spot broken spot welds

Additional spot broken spot welds

Windsheld Cowl Spot Welds

Windshield Cowl Spot Welds

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s the bracket removed from the car before drilling and bolting in place:

Pedal Bracket Drilled

Pedal Bracket Drilled

Backside of pedal bracket

Backside of clutch pedal bracket after drilling

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now we’re ready for re-assembly. 6mm bolts with loctite applied, self locking nuts on back side and large fender washers on front side to spread out the load. Also paintable body seam sealer applied under washers and bolts to make sure all is water tight.

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Now that we’re done, the repair is stronger than the original because it distributes the load over a much larger area than the original 6 spot welds (also a small 7th on an ear on the interior too).

Once it was sealed up we cleaned up the area and painted it with a metallic blue to match the rest of the car. Once the cowl trim is back in place it’s not even noticeable from the outside and will now stand up to the rigorous demands it was originally intended for.

I’ve seen posts of other people using sheet metal screws, rivets, welding etc. but in my opinion this is one of the best methods if not the best of insuring it will never happen again. It’s not for the faint of heard as it involves completely removing the dash, steering column, pedal assembly and windshield wiper cowl trim to access all 7 spot weld points.

The bottom line is if your clutch is getting worn and becoming stiff and you own a 2008 Impreza, WRX or STi, don’t let it go too long. It may not keep this issue from occurring but it may take longer to happen if the clutch doesn’t have to work as hard.

 

Cheers,

Mike Corbin
Smart Service – Your Independent Subaru Expert

Click here to discover the services our experienced and certified technicians can perform on your Subaru

 

Theftproof your Subaru

SPD Blotter | Seattle Police News and Events

According to the Seattle Police SPD Blotter, if you own a Subaru 2001 or older, you’re in the top 3 of the most stolen cars in Seattle.

I have a tip that could help slow down that would be thief from being able to start your Subaru. Although some of the older Subarus have became a target, with a little know how you may be able to confuse or slow down that would be thief into passing up your Subaru.

Most thieves will insert a screwdriver type device into a doorlock and just twist until it breaks open and unlocks. Once inside, they hammer out the ignition tumbler assembly and just twist the electrical portion of the ignition switch and off they go.

This tip will hopefully slow them down long enough that they’ll pass on your car and move on. It involves a simple method of disabling the ignition system. Since 1990 Subaru has used a coil pack instead of a distributor to fire the spark plugs. These coil packs can be disabled thus keeping the car from starting. It is located on the firewall toward the rear of the engine.

On a 1990-1999 Subaru model we accomplish this by disconnecting the ignitor assembly. The ignitor is responsible for triggering spark from the coil. If we disable this, the car will only crank over but it won’t start without spark.

Subaru Ignitor 1

Disconnecting the ignitor assembly is a simple process. There is a small tab that you need to squeeze down on while at the same time, wiggling the connector and pulling back on it.

Subaru Ignitor Release Tab

Removing Subaru ConnectorDisconnected Subaru Ignitor

Once the ignitor is disconnected, you may want to leave the connector partially plugged in to make it appear it’s connected just to make it less obvious.

If you own a 2000 or newer model Subaru you’ll have to disconnect the ignition coil pack itself.  It’s located on the top/center of the engine. It has the 4 spark plug wires connected to it as well as the connector that has the signal wires that tell it when to fire.

You’ll be disconnecting that connector as seen below:

Subaru Ignition CoilDisconnecting Subaru Ignition Coil

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hopefully you’ll never have your Subaru stolen but at least you have some good ammo to help prevent or at least slow that would be Subaru thief. Remember, criminals are lazy. If you make something more difficult for them, it’s likely they’ll move onto another car instead of risk being caught trying to figure out why the your Subaru won’t start.

Good luck and just remember to plug everything back in before you drive away!

Click here to discover the services our experienced and certified technicians can perform on your Subaru

Cheers,

Mike Corbin
Smart Service – Your Independent Subaru Expert