The Subaru SVX FAQ

This FAQ is several years old and not all the information may be accurate. A new FAQ is in the works and once it's available this one will be replaced.

This information has been compiled from many sources. It has been taken from SVX Owners Manuals, SVX Service Manuals, from Technical Service Bulletins (TSB's), from the many SVX club messages, and from various web pages and FAQ's.

If anyone sees any incorrect information here, please send me corrections and I will get them posted as quickly as possible. I would also like to thank John Shotsky for his help in updating this page. All content is the property of Terry McLane. Copyright 1998, 1999, 2000. Please feel free to link to this document, but please do not copy any of its content.

Terry McLane

Table of Contents

1 - Engine

1.1 - Specifications

  • Horizontally opposed 6-cylinder engine
  • 4 cam, 24 valve
  • 96.9mm x 75mm (3.815" x 2.95")
  • 230 HP @ 5400
  • 228 lbs/ft @ 4400
  • 10:1 compression ratio

1.2 - Overview

The SVX engine is a 3.3 liter flat 6 engine that is virtually bulletproof. Imagine, it has seven (yes, count 'em, seven) main bearings. All supporting a crankshaft that is only slightly longer than three cylinders. The main bearings are supported by a cross-bolted aluminum block. Although no one seems to be racing the SVX, IMHO, this engine has as much performance potential of any six-cylinder engine of a similar size that is currently available. The rods and crankshaft are forged steel and the pistons are forged aluminum. With a shorter intake port, a larger plenum, a longer exhaust header primary, and a higher rev limit, this engine is easily capable of making 300hp in a naturally aspirated state. Add a turbo to each bank of the engine, a pair of intercoolers, and lower the compression ratio and you could approach 550+ horsepower on pump gas.

1.3 - Modifications

1.3.1 - Exhaust

The first modification I recommend would be to create a complete dual exhaust from the individual cats to the rear of the car. This would eliminate the single secondary cat. The three cylinders on each bank of a flat-six engine fire evenly every 240 degrees of crankshaft travel. Since there is no overlap during this period, this eliminates the problem of one cylinder exhausting while another cylinder's exhaust valve is still open. So keep the two sides completely separate. This will result in the best flow with no reversal. Don't go too large on the pipe diameter, or you will slow the velocity of the exhaust and ruin the mid-range scavenge effect. I would recommend 2" exhaust as a maximum. Definitely do NOT use the 'most advanced new' method of using sewer pipe to conduct exhaust gas away from the vehicle. In some quest for the least amount of backpressure, these folk are missing the point that harnessing the velocity of the exhaust gases creates a scavenge affect that is better than zero backpressure.

The technically minded may be asking, "My V-8 Mustang runs a balance tube." or "Why not join the exhausts?". Remember that on a V-8, if you look at each bank as a separate engine, they don't fire evenly (well Ferrari does, but that's a different story). Anyway, in this case, the balance tube is presumed to have some 'balancing effect'. My personal opinion is that if the tube is doing anything dramatic, it's because it's connected before the cats or mufflers. (Although there may be a discernable pressure drop caused by the venturi effect). In this case, an outgoing exhaust pulse actually sees twice the cat and muffler area, so there is less restriction. If you are planning to join the SVX exhaust with a balance tube, don't. If you do it anyways, then do it before the cats or mufflers.

1.3.2 - Nitrous Oxide

This is the cheapest way to make horsepower in your SVX, and it has the benefit of being removable. You should upgrade the exhaust as mentioned earlier to handle the increased amount of exhaust volume that Nitrous will provide. Racers many times forget that while the intake capacity needn't change with nitrous, the exhaust side has to handle the additional air mass. A poor flowing exhaust combined with high cylinder pressures will cause your exhaust valves to glow in the dark. Do this for a few seconds and you will be buying another engine.

As far as kits, I like the NOS Sportsman Fogger. This is a complete port injection (not a spray bar) system. Use the 90 degree Soft Plume nozzles. They can easily be plumbed directly into the intake manifold plenum pointing directly at each port. This system, which costs less than $700 can easily produce over 150 extra horsepower. (I would NOT recommend this jet setting.) However, if you have done the gearing and exhaust, the lowest jetting will produce a reliable 65 HP. Combined with the gears, this should put an SVX in the mid 13 second range with 0-60 times well under 6 seconds. With all the money you saved over the Turbo or Supercharger system, you'll be able to afford the inevitable driveline parts failures.

1.3.3 - Turbo

I have extensively researched putting a turbo on my own car and have definitely proven that you can mount both a single and a dual turbo setup in the car. The real problem is getting enough space for a decent intercooler. I would probably mount a single or dual setup the same way Mitsubishi does- under the bumper supports in the front fenders in front of the wheels. You'd have to cut holes into the front side of the fender covers to provide a vent to the low-pressure area in the wheel well. Since I can write extensively on the subject of turbos, I won't.

1.3.4 - Throttle Body

I know every West Coast Honda racecar wannabe has had the throttle body bored out but forget it on the SVX. The twin throttle body flows over 900 CFM. That's enough for about 675HP, so it doesn't pose any restriction.

1.3.5 - Fuel

For modifications, the fuel pump is a monster (222lbs/hr) meaning it could support about 444 horsepower at .5 BSFC. Unfortunately, the injectors are a different story as they are 275cc jobs that are going to be maxed out at 250 HP. If you mount a turbo or do some other modification that would cause your injectors to be inadequate, you will need to upgrade the injectors. This also requires a re-tuning of the ECU. But, you can easily support nearly 500HP by using the following trick. Buy the Nissan Motorsports 555cc injectors. They are expensive, but they will bolt in. Replace the pipe from the air filter to the intake with two pipes; one for opening in the throttle body. Plumb the mass air sensor into one side so it only supplies one bank of the engine. You will have to supply a separate air filter to the other bank. You have now effectively halved the amount of air the ECU sees, while compensating by doubling the amount of fuel injected. This has the added benefit of reducing the intake pressure drop through both the meter and the (now) two air filters.

I have done this trick on two other cars with success. However, I have not done this with the SVX. Some ECUs will compare the A/F readings against a known map and decide the air sensor is bad. Others (particularly the Ford EEC-IV) have no problem at all. I also did this with a Subaru RX Turbo with no problems. Best to disconnect the battery overnight before trying this trick to force the ECU to reset.

If this sounds like too much work, buy the Infiniti Q-45 370cc injectors. They will also bolt in (and are cheaper). Add the very slick Apex-i Super AFC fuel computer and decrease the air meter readings by about 30%. This will allow you to support 350HP. This also provides you with control over the entire fuel map.

Of course, unless you do something more than exhaust and intake, you'll never need to do any of this.

1.3.6 - Air Filters

The amount of horsepower an engine makes is directly related to the mass airflow of the engine. Mass air flow is determined by volumetric efficiency VE, and the density (pressure-and-temperature) of the air. In turn, if you know the actual efficiency of the engine, and energy content of the fuel used, you can predict horsepower. The SVX service manual shows 97.5% VE at 5400. At standard temperature and pressure (77 degrees Fahrenheit, and 14.53 psi) this equals 22.56 lbs/hour air. Assuming 19000 Btus per gallon of gas and a 0.33 (mechanical x thermal) efficiency the SVX should produce 228 hp. That happens to be really close to what Subaru advertises. Converting the mass flow to CFM = 309CFM. Now, just for grins add a K&N cone filter into the picture. It may positively impact VE due to a lower pressure drop at 309 CFM than the stock filter. Let's say VE goes to 98%. Based on the same calculation, the mass airflow is now 22.68 lbs/hr or 230 HP. However, consider the temperature of the air. Under the hood, without any type of insulation, I am willing to bet the temperature is probably not far from the temp of the thermostat. To be conservative, let's say the new cone filter is breathing in 160 degree under hood air instead of 77 degree air. Using the previous formula, but adjusting the air temperature what is the mass flow rate? 19.64 lbs/hour. That amounts to 199 horsepower. Here are calculations for a couple other temps at 98% VE:

temp mass airflow predicted hp
40 24.36 247
77 22.68 230
100 21.75 220

120 21.0 213
140 20.3 206
160 19.64 199
180 19.03 193

Think about this before buying a cone filter that breathes hot engine air. Of course, they produce an extra 15hp. Why would the manufacturer lie?

1.3.7 - Intake Air Resonator

Leading to the air filter canister is a circuitous, plastic resonator housed in the right fender whose job is to quiet the induction system. Although I'm not convinced this causes any serious restriction to airflow, if you want a more aggressive intake sound, the resonator can be removed. If you do this, do NOT cut a hole in the bottom of the fender cover in the hopes that more air will fill the fender. A high-pressure area builds up in front of the radiator when the car is at speed. This air flows around the radiator into the fender cavities to create a source of high-pressure ambient air for induction. This is an old hot-rodder's trick and is done on purpose by Subaru and other manufacturers. Air passing over a surface creates a low pressure area on the surface, so if you then put a hole in the bottom fender, you are in fact creating a low pressure area. This will actually pull air OUT of the fender, not into it. If you don't believe the manufacturer knew what they were doing, go ahead and cut a hole, but fashion some sort of scoop facing the high-speed air stream.

1.3.8 - Chips

If you've read the earlier Air Filter mod, you should know that horsepower is made by increasing air, not fuel. A chip simply cannot increase the amount of air that the engine ingests. A chip MAY be able to find some horsepower in cases where the A/F ratio or timing is not optimal.

If you put your particular car on a dynamometer, and worked hard enough you might extract a few more horsepower from your car at WOT by playing with a more aggressive timing map. Since every engine is a little different, if the map was conservative, there is some horsepower to be had. The manufacturer has to make some compromises to ensure that the engine doesn't detonate and destroy itself. However, most late-model high performance engines use a knock sensor, so the maps are far more optimal now than they used to be.

Fuel is usually not a problem because most cars go quite rich under WOT, once again to help avoid detonation. Remember that extra fuel does NOT increase horsepower. Once you have a chemically stoichiometric ratio of 14.7:1, any more fuel remains unburned. Fuel is richened to help cool the intake charge, and to decrease any distribution problems that might result in mixtures leaner than stoichiometric.

Disreputable manufacturers will do nothing but put a nice sticker on your ECU or ROM chip and return it for $300. Even the reputable ones are only richening up the fuel mixture and adding a little timing. If the timing was a bit conservative for your vehicle, you might find a few HP with a chip. If not, you might find a little detonation. Paying $300 to spin a rod bearing or break a ring land is not my idea of a good investment. Subaru doesn't want to replace engines under warranty. The chipmaker does not have to worry about this. Ask yourself, "What does the chipmaker know that the manufacturer doesn't?" The way some people talk, you'd think the manufacturer went out of its way to detune its cars to create an aftermarket. Nevertheless, the chipmaker claims 15 HP, why would he lie?

On a final note, before you scream about the Supra Twin Turbo chip that adds 30 hp, remember that a chip for a turbo car is a different animal. In this case, by raising the boost level, they can affect the amount of air ingested. Unfortunately, the SVX isn't turbocharged.

1.4 - FAQ

1.4.1 - If the timing belt breaks, what will happen?

The engine will immediately stop running, but no damage will be done. The SVX is designed as a non-interference engine. The piston cannot contact the valve even at TDC with the valve wide open. Having said this, make sure to replace the timing belt every 60,000 miles.

1.4.2 - Can I change the sparkplugs myself?

Sure. Remove the battery and battery box. There is a small access panel in each wheel well. Removing these will allow access to the rear plugs.

For each cylinder, remove the bolt that holds the coil in place. Be very careful when removing the wiring and coil as they are expensive. Once the coil is removed, remove the spark plug. Before installing each plug, make sure the gap is correct and apply a bit of anti-seize on the threads. (They are aluminum heads after all). Do NOT over tighten with the ratchet.

Place the coils back into the plug holes and tighten the coil bolt. Do not over tighten.

Reinstall battery and access panel. Drive.

1.4.3 - Can I put the Japanese twin-turbo SVX engine into my car?

You can't. It doesn't exist.

1.4.4 - Yeah, but my friend's cousin was in Japan for awhile and saw them used as police cars. What do you say to that?

Tell him to lay off the sake. Ask yourself why Subaru would bother building a one-off twin turbo car for the Japanese two-door police car pursuit market when it already has sedans and wagons in Japan that make over 260 HP.

If he insists on his veracity, tell him to bring you back one of the exhaust manifolds as proof. Alternatively, instruct him that you don't need a turbo since Power mode magically adds 30HP to your car.

2 - Intake/Exhaust

2.1 - FAQ

2.1.1 - Under hard acceleration, I hear a buzzing noise, what is it?

This is a common complaint. Either a heat shield on the exhaust pipe has come loose, or the secondary catalyst has gone south. Either of these will cause a resonant vibration in the exhaust system.

3 - Fuel System

3.1 - FAQ

3.1.1 - What's with the pessimistic gas gauge?

There has been a lot of discussion regarding the pessimistic gas gauge on the early SVX models. The gauge would read empty when in fact it still contained 4-5 gallons of gas. The fact is, the SVX uses a 'saddle' tank, and uses a jet pump (venturi effect) driven by the return fuel from the pressure regulator to transfer gas to the pickup side of the tank. The tank uses two floats, so I surmise that the pickup sensor is off. You'll find that you can run on empty for a long, long time. The car is rated at 17mpg city, and 24 mpg highway, and has an 18.5 gallon tank, so you should be able to easily go 300 miles on a tank. When my car reads empty ('92), I normally can only get about 13 gallons in it. At least I've never run out of gas.

4 - Transmission

4.1 - Specifications

  • 4-speed automatic transmission
  • Microcomputer controller (TCU)
  • Wet Multiplate AWD transfer clutch
  • Lock-up torque converter
  • 2350-2750 RPM stall speed

4.2 - Gear Ratios

  • 1st 2.785
  • 2nd 1.545
  • 3rd 1.000
  • 4th 0.694
  • Reverse 2.272
  • Final 3.545

4.3 - Overview

The 4-EAT transmission is shared with the Legacy, the Nissan Pathfinder, and the Mazda MPV. Although there have been transmission problems, especially with the '92 and '93 model cars. In later years steps were taken to address the problems.

The transmission itself is not 'weak' as some people think. I have never heard of one grenading. It is not that the transmission cannot handle the torque output of the engine. The reality is that this is a well-designed transmission. It does, however suffer from two problems. The first is heat. The radiator based transmission cooler is insufficient to keep the fluid temperature down in hotter climates. In addition to the normal 4-speed automatic internal parts, this tranny also contains an AWD transfer clutch, a front differential and the equivalent of two mainshafts. All of these are sources of additional heat that would not be found in a two-wheel drive automatic. The heat situation is also made worse by the extremely high overdrive. This places additional side loads on the bearings and generates more heat.

The second problem lies with the oil passages throughout the transmission. These are small and easily clogged. As the transmission parts wear, the debris is circulated through the transmission, plugging up the passages. The resulting reduced fluid circulation exacerbates the heat and the wear. This cycle soon destroys the transmission.

The very first thing to save your transmission is to install an aftermarket transmission cooler. Ideally, the cooler should be placed in series AFTER the radiator heat sink. This allows the transmission fluid to warm up correctly, while allowing the aftermarket cooler to reduce the temperatures further. You should also invest in a high-quality external transmission filter. This will help collect any stray particles. Depending on the year, there may be two filters on the transmission. There is a small 'strainer' inside the case, and an external canister filter under the battery. This is the one to replace. Driving around town with the selector in 3rd rather than 'Drive' will reduce the gear load; helping the transmission to live longer. These steps will greatly extend the life of the transmission.

There have been reports of vehicles with four or five replacement transmissions. My own opinion is that the problem was made worse because the Subaru techs were not careful about the service. They would replace the transmission without flushing out the radiator heat sink and the cooling lines. Some of the worn material is still in the cooler and is then recirculated back to the new transmission resulting in a subsequent failure.

Keep in mind that many transmissions have gone well over 100K miles before they decided to stop shifting. The best course of action is to install the parts listed above and change the fluids regularly.

When the transmission does go out, you should replace all lines, and remove and completely flush out the radiator heat sink and any aftermarket transmission cooler. Install a new in-line filter to trap contaminants and use a synthetic transmission fluid.

4.4 - FAQ

4.4.1 - What is the Manual Button for?

The only thing the manual button seems to do is to stop the transmission from automatically downshifting from 2nd to 1st gear. I know that many G.M. RWD Police vehicles get the same treatment to help prevent spinouts during bad weather when the throttle is stomped. However, with AWD, I'm not sure why Subaru went to the trouble.

4.4.2 - Can I install a manual transmission?

This is probably the #1 FAQ. Easy answer, yes you can- but it will cost you. The 92-98 Subaru 5-speed gearboxes excluding Loyale and, God forbid, Justy will bolt up to the engine. The '99 and later trannys use an 8-bolt engine mount so they will not work. You will need to fabricate the tranny mount and add a different drive shaft, as the transmissions are a different length. Just any transmission will not do, you really want the '98 WRX tranny at is it fully capable of handling 300HP. The '93-'94 Legacy Turbo tranny is also a candidate, but is not as strong. The '98 Impreza 2.5 RS might also do the job. All of these are $3500 to $4500 new. You also need to fabricate a hydraulic clutch setup and shift linkage. You also need to change the rear gear to suit the transmission (none listed use 3.54). Figure a total turnkey cost of $7k. Still interested?

4.4.3 - What is the 'POWER' light on the dash?

The 'Power' light comes on when the transmission decides to use the higher-range shift map in the transmission control unit (TCU). This map allows the engine to run at a higher speed before shifting and allows the torque converter to slip resulting in more torque to the wheels for a given gear. Power mode is engaged when the TCU senses throttle opening quickly. The decision map also takes into account the current vehicle speed. The faster you're going and the faster you press the accelerator, the easier it is to engage the 'Power' mode. At slower speeds you have to really mash the accelerator down, FAST.

Contrary to any other B.S. you read about 'Power' mode somehow changing air/fuel ratios or affecting the engine's timing, forget it. It has nothing to do with the engine, only the transmission's shift map. This 'urban legend' refuses to die just because someone without a service manual posted an e-mail stating that 'Power' mode added 30HP to the engine. See the engine modification section on turbos for another example of an urban legend.

The Power light also blinks the transmission fault codes.

4.4.4 - My car won't shift into 4th gear.

The 4-EAT will not shift into overdrive until the fluid reaches 50 degrees Fahrenheit. On very cold mornings in Wisconsin, don't be surprised if you have to drive awhile before it will shift into 4th. Keep this in mind if you're thinking about adding a transmission cooler and eliminating the radiator-based cooler in colder climates.

4.4.5 - Engine RPMs increase between gear shifts - is the transmission beginning to fail?

Most likely the brake band needs to be adjusted. If the band is loose, you'll see engine RPMs increase between shifts. If it's too tight, you may feel a 'braking' effect between shifts. Luckily, the band can be adjusted. Locate a 7mm screw/bolt whose head is located on the left side of the tranny towards the top. It screws down into the transmission, right behind the front differential. It has a 17mm lock nut on it to secure it in place. Subaru techs have a special socket that fits it although you can improvise if you work hard enough. Loosen the lock nut, then you can tighten the adjusting screw. Don't turn more than 1/2-3/4 turn. If it's too tight, you'll feel a 'braking' between shifts. If it's really tight, you'll shift from 2nd right to 4th. If it's too loose, you'll see engine rpm increase between 1-2 and 3-4 gear, or a time lag between 3-2 kick down. Do NOT loosen excessively, as this may cause the band to fall off the servo piston, requiring the case to be opened to correct.

4.5 - Modifications

4.5.1 - Shift Kit

There is a shift kit available from TransGo. You can get it from Transmission Exchange Company in Portland (1803 N.E. MLK Blvd. Portland OR 97212). It comes with upgraded parts and firms up shifting. It supposedly helps the lubrication problems as well. They also sell an auxiliary cooler, but you can get them anywhere. If you have the transmission rebuilt you should definitely check out all the TSBs (technical service bulletins). The kit costs about $45 but due to the difficulty of installation, it should only be installed if you're rebuilding the tranny.

You can also check out and They seem to have some expertise in SVX transmissions and they have a bunch of the TSB's on their website.

4.5.2 - Gearing

The standard mathematical formula for quarter-mile times would have the SVX (3800 lbs, 230 hp) arriving at the end of the 1/4 in about 14.9 seconds. Unfortunately, in reality the SVX is closer to 16.0 seconds. The reality is that the car has too high a gear ratio. For the ideal quarter, the car should be at peak horsepower (or slightly above) in top gear at top quarter speed. To run a 14.9, the SVX would have to be geared to hit only 91 mph at 6700RPM. With no torque converter slippage, this would require a 5.0 final gear and only 1-3 gears (not overdrive).

The stock gearing for the SVX would enable it to hit 195 MPH at 6700RPM in 4th gear. Obviously, the gear ratio is far from optimal. I would suggest replacing the stock 3.54 gear set with the Legacy Outback ('97, '98) 4.44 gear ratio. You need both the front differential and the rear. The perfect time to do this is when you're replacing your transmission. This will provide 26% greater torque (to the pavement) in every gear, and will have a pronounced effect on vehicle acceleration. This should improve times to the low 15s.

4.5.3 - Forced Power Mode and Shift Tricks

The 'throttle position sensor' or TPS is used by the ECU and TCU to read the throttle opening angle. The sensor reads from +5 volts closed to 0 volts at WOT. There is a direct connector between the ECU and TCU for the circuit. You could wire a switch into the line so you could switch the circuit off. As long as the circuit is off, the TCU will stay in power mode since the transmission will assume you instantaneously floored the accelerator (and are keeping it there).

For firmer shifts, you could also do the same thing from the TCU to 'duty control solenoid' A to remove the signal. This would force full line pressure into up shifts. For 4-wheel drive 'lockup', you can disable (switch off) duty solenoid 'C', this will lock the car in 4 WD (50/50). You could probably wire all of these circuits into a single switch (say under the accelerator pedal, or tied to the 'Manual switch"). This would be great for racing.

4.5.4 - Diagnostics

The "Power" light indicates transmission codes. The following self diagnosis will show any fault codes for the transmission.

To perform the self diagnostic test for EXISTING problems:
  1. Warm up engine by driving at speeds greater than 12mph.
  2. Stop vehicle and turn ignition switch OFF.
  3. Turn ignition switch ON and make sure POWER indicator lamp comes on.
  4. Turn ignition switch OFF.
  5. Move selector lever to D and turn manual switch ON.
  6. Turn ignition switch ON.
  7. Move selector lever to "3" and turn manual switch OFF.
  8. Move selector level to "2" and turn manual switch ON.
  9. Move selector lever to "1" and turn manual switch OFF.
  10. Partially depress accelerator pedal (to turn idle switch off).
  11. Check code as displayed on POWER light. Blinking once every 1/4sec is normal.
To perform the self diagnostic test for PREVIOUS problems:
  1. Warm up engine by driving at speeds greater than 12mph.
  2. Stop vehicle and turn ignition switch OFF.
  3. Turn ignition switch ON and make sure POWER indicator lamp comes on.
  4. Turn ignition switch OFF.
  5. Move selector lever to "1" and turn manual switch ON.
  6. Turn ignition switch ON.
  7. Move selector lever to "2" and turn manual switch OFF.
  8. Move selector lever to "3" and turn manual switch ON.
  9. Move selector lever to "D" and turn manual switch OFF.
  10. Partially depress accelerator pedal (to turn idle switch off).
  11. Check code as displayed on POWER light. Blinking once every 1/4sec is normal.
Trouble codes:
  • 11 - Duty solenoid A
  • 12 - Duty solenoid B
  • 13 - Shift solenoid 3
  • 14 - Shift solenoid 2
  • 15 - Shift solenoid 1
  • 21 - ATF temp sensor
  • 22 - Atmospheric sensor
  • 23 - Engine revolution signal
  • 24 - Duty solenoid C
  • 25 - Engine torque control signal
  • 31 - Throttle sensor
  • 32 - Vehicle speed sensor 1
  • 33 - Vehicle speed sensor 2

5 - Differential

5.1 - FAQ

6 - Steering

6.1 - FAQ

6.1.1 - Why can't I adjust the tilt steering wheel position?

The knob on the side is a lock that allows you to lift the wheel out of the way when entering the vehicle - especially if you have a large lap. It is constantly mistaken for the adjustment control hidden under the steering wheel.

7 - Axles/Bearings

7.1 - Rear Wheel Bearings

The rear wheel bearings are prone to failure. Luckily, failure is generally gradual and easily diagnosed. The problem manifests itself as a droning sound coming from the rear of the car that eventually gets louder. It is important that the wheel bearings be replaced properly, otherwise the situation becomes worse. The bearings come to the dealer packed in a grease which is NOT suitable for installation. The bearings must be repacked or they will fail again. It is also imperative that a torque wrench be used when tightening the hub nut. Over tightening will cause the bearings to bind resulting in failure. I believe the real problem is that the bearings are undersized for the side loads. If you feel the need to slide around every corner and autocross on weekends, you'll probably replace a few sets.

7.2 - FAQ

8 - Wheels/Tires

8.1 - FAQ

8.1.1 - What aftermarket wheels will fit?

The stock SVX wheels are 16 X 7.5JJ with a 5 X 4.5" bolt pattern, which is used a lot in American automobiles. But it has an unusually large offset (55mm or 2.17"). Due to the known wheel bearing problems, I would suggest staying with at least a 50mm offset, but some people have reported that they installed 38mm offset rims successfully. Whether they used a hammer or 2 by 4 to massage the wheels wells was not reported.

9 - Brakes

9.1 - FAQ

9.1.1 - I feel a shudder through the brakes when lightly braking. What gives?

The SVX was Subaru's first car that weighed 3600 lbs. While they definitely gave it good size brakes, the rotors are a bit thin. A heavy stop at high speed will create enough heat to warp them. They can be resurfaced if they have enough material left, otherwise you'll need new ones. Because they take the bulk of the braking, the front discs are the ones that are affected. Some people have suggested that over-torquing the lug nuts can also cause warping, but I am not sure why this would be true.

10 - Suspension

10.1 - FAQ

11 - Electrical

11.1 - FAQ

12 - Instrumentation

12.1 - FAQ

12.1.1 - How do I make my climate controls read in Celsius?

  1. Remove the kick panel on the left side of the car. You may have to slide it up a bit to get it out of the door trim.
  2. Locate a white electrical connector with a SINGLE black wire going into both sides.
  3. Pull apart the white connector.
  4. Put the panel back on, start the car and turn on your air conditioning. The temperature is now in Celsius!

13 - Lighting

13.1 - FAQ

14 - Air Conditioning

14.1 - FAQ

14.1.1 - What is that little sensor on top of the driver's side dash?

That is the load sensor for the A/C. It senses the amount of light and adjusts the A/C duty cycle appropriately.

15 - Security

15.1 - FAQ

15.1.1 - How do you reprogram the remote keyless entry transmitter?

This procedure is used if you need to program a new transmitter or additional transmitters. Programming is done by pressing the button on the transmitter after entering the programming mode. To enter the programming mode, use the following procedure:

  1. Turn the security system off by pushing the security switch (light off).
  2. Turn the ignition switch on, then off.
  3. Immediately push the security switch on and off rapidly until the horn starts to beep; then stop pushing. The system is now in the programming mode and you are ready to program the transmitter. The programming mode is indicated by the parking lights flashing and a clicking noise emanating from the glove box.
  4. To program two transmitters slowly press the remote button two times on each transmitter.
  5. To program one transmitter slowly push the remote button four times.
  6. Note: The parking lights will turn on when the button is pushed and turn off when the button is released.
  7. To exit programming mode, turn the ignition switch on, then off. The parking lights will stop flashing and the system can be used normally.

15.1.2 - What battery fits in the remote keyless entry transmitter?

Radio Shack #27-279 GP27A. This is a single replacement for the multiple batteries required originally.

16 - Entertainment

16.1 - FAQ

17 - Interior

17.1 - FAQ

18 - Exterior

18.1 - FAQ

18.1.1 - Why don't the windshield wipers go all the way down?

Underneath the steering wheel near the bottom of the dash is a switch. This controls where the wipers park. It is used so that you can park the wipers higher on the windshield in the winter to help avoid locking them up during a freeze.

18.1.2 - The sunroof doesn't always close/open. Is there some way to adjust it?

The first thing is to make sure the tracks are clean and free of obstructions. If you still have problems, you can adjust the sunroof clutch. Locate the plastic cap covering the sunroof clutch. Open the sunroof all the way. Tighten the clutch nut (the big, gold-colored hexagonal shaped doughnut for those less technically inclined) just a bit. Don't try or expect the nut to turn more than 5-10 degrees. This will increase the amount of resistance required for the clutch to stall, and should help to close the roof. If this doesn't help, the sunroof has some serious obstacle, and needs to be realigned. (Thanks to KuoH for the tip)

19 - Specifications

19.1 - FAQ

20 - Maintenance

20.1 - FAQ

20.1.1 - How do I know if my car has had any recalls done on it?

For open recall info on your SVX call: 1-800-SUBARU3.
Give them your VIN number and ask if there are any open recalls on your SVX. If so, call a local dealership and explain that you've called Subaru and confirmed the recall. They should be willing to schedule you in for the recall service. Make sure the dealer knows you expect the service to be free.

21 - Technical Service Bulletins (TSB'S)

21.1 - FAQ

22 - Miscellaneous

22.1 - FAQ

22.1.1 - How many SVX's were sold/made?

Sold (USA)

Year # Sold
1991 1513
1992 3667
1993 3859
1994 1666
1995 1801
1996 1111
1997 640

Total: 14,257

These are the numbers of cars sold each year. They do not specify the number of cars built. For example, it is thought that only about 700 '93 anniversary models were made, although 3667 cars were sold that year. This was probably a mix of leftover '92s, '93s, and '94s. I have been told that roughly 25000 cars were made worldwide.

22.1.2 - Subaru Technicians

The SVX was a completely new car that shared very few parts with the other Subaru models. It also had a number of technical features that were very advanced. It was also sold in low numbers in most areas. These factors combined to ensure that most dealership technicians were not adequately trained to service the SVX, and seeing so few of them did not help the situation. Once a wheel bearing or transmission failed, it usually failed soon after due to the techs unfamiliarity with the correct procedures required to service the vehicle properly.