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SG5/SH5 known issues


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Looking at buying a facelift SG5 or an SH5 (if one is in budget) to replace the ol' SF.


What are common issues to keep an eye out for with the SG and SH chassis? Thinking along the lines of watery headlights, oil leaks, stuff that ALWAYS breaks. 

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Sorry for resurrecting this old post but I only login but I am not an active forum user, at the moment. This can still be helpful for someone looking for an SG or an SH.


I have an SG5 EJ203 and I am a member of those who do off-road touring with their Subarus and there are only a few things to note with the SG5:

  • The left-hand side headlight may harbour water. This is because the adhesive used when manufacturing is inadequate. Many would replace the headlight assembly with a 2nd hand one but there is a high chance that it may experience the same problem. The remedy is to open it up and use better adhesive like Selley's Windscreen Sealant  or use a proper headlamp butyl adhesive that can be bought from eBay.
  • You may hear rattling in the rear of the strut tower area and may freak out about it, especially if you try to assemble and disassemble the strut/springs, but the rattling is just the slight less-than-a-mm gap between the rear seat mounts and the lock. I just wrapped it with something resilient like Bear tape and the problem disappeared. I may redo it but with a silicone tube. It's just one of those things.

For the SH5, this is just 2nd hand info from one of those who tour with his SH, as well.:

  • The rattling for the rear seat lock may be present. See above for remedy.
  • Coming from the SF, you may experience that the car is a bit boaty at the rear. This is complained by other SH drivers, as well. This is due to the change in suspension type in the rear by Subaru. The spring rate may be on the softer side. Some of the people I know just used an upgraded sway bar system to reduce the swaying and it worked.

Also, some general pointers:

  • If you are going to get a turbo, every Subaruer knows that fresh oil a turbo engine's best friend so... oil changes
  • Heat shield rattles are common in modern cars but it can be much more pronounced in Subarus because of the need to have more heat shields for more parts. To remedy, either strap the rattly area with a hose clamp or remove the heat shield, especially if it is in the lower part behind the axle. For the front heat shields, I would only stuff steel wool between the metal and the heat shield and use a hose clamp.
  • JDM SGs have rear vLSD. Try to lift both the rear wheels to check. Sometimes, the viscous fluid wears out if the car is drifted a lot and there is a huge speed differential between the left and right rear wheels due to different wear rates and/or different tyre brands. Even the spare wheel, when used, can wear out the vLSD much more quickly.
  • For the centre diff, manual/4EAT/5EAT, make sure that the tyre brands are all the same and the maximum wear difference all across is 1.6mm. If not, transfer duty solenoid C can get too much strain with the autos and with manuals, the vLSD centre diff can wear out more quickly. Cheers.


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