Subaru SVX, Subaru, SVX, Pictures, FAQ, transmission, wheel bearings, Alcyone, Alcyone

Top 10 Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why does it have the strange windows?


There are a few reasons for the unusual windows:

  • Better Vision
    At first, you may think that the windows would hinder your view rather than help it. But the window design in the SVX allows for a very low sill plus a window that goes all the way to the roof. It also extends forward more than in most cars. It took me less than one day to get used to it.


  • Improved Aerodynamics
    The fixed glass is curved to improve aerodynamics. It also reduces wind noise whether the windows are up or down. Also, the curved shape of the glass directs rain away from the car so you can drive in the rain with the windows down (with varied success).

  • Styling Distinction
    Subaru liked to call it an "aircraft-inspired glass-to-glass canopy." They just wanted to make a car like no other on the road...and they succeeded.

2. How many Subaru SVXs were produced?

US Sales
1992 5,280
1993 3,859
1994 1,666
1995 1,801
1996 1,111
1997 640
Total 14,257

European Sales
Germany 854
Non-German 1,624
Total Europe 2,478

Worldwide Production (approx)
Lefthand Drive 18,000
Righthand Drive 7,000
Total 25,000


  • Production of the 1992 SVX started in January of 1991 and ended in June of 1991
  • 1,513 of the 1992 SVXs were sold in 1991; the remaining 3,667 of the 1992 model were sold in 1992
  • Of the 3,859 SVXs produced in 1993, approximately 600 were the 25th Anniversary Limited Edition model
  • Around 1,000 SVXs were sold in Canada

3. Transmission problems




The 4EAT transmission installed in the Subaru SVX (also in the Legacy, Nissan Pathfinder, and Mazda MPV) suffers from one fatal problem: HEAT.

  • Radiator-based transmission cooler can't keep the transmission fluid cool enough
  • Transmission is poorly designed and does not allow the lubricant to flow through it to keep parts lubricated (thus friction causing heat)
  • Unusually high overdrive places additional side loads on bearings generating heat
  • AWD system puts strain on the transmission causing even more heat
  A detailed analysis of the transmission problem, prevention, repair cost, and warranty coverage can be found on the Transmission FAQ page.

4. Wheel bearing failure




The wheel bearings on the SVX are prone to fail prematurely. The reason for the initial failure is that the original seals allowed water to get into the bearings (the seals have since been redesigned to prevent this). Subsequent failures occur because the proper grease is not used when repacking the bearings AND over tightening of the lateral link bolt and the axle nut.

  Preventative Measures

Don't drive your car like a maniac. Hard turns may stress the bearings.

    The symptom is a roar coming from the back of the car. It starts out barely noticeable and gets louder very gradually. You may wonder if it is just your tires making the noise (and it may be your tires). But if the noise makes you start to wonder, "Did somebody put snow tires on my back wheels?" or "Did I leave my back seat down?" then it's time to get the rear bearings replaced.

Parts, labor, and everything for one wheel is about $230.
You'll pay $75 for just the bearing itself.

  Repairing Your Bearings

This is not a job for a shade tree mechanic. They are sealed bearings and special tools, including a press that can exert 5 tons of pressure, are needed to correctly do this job.

Don't just take it to the dealer and drop the car off (unless you want to come back with the same problem in 10,000 miles). You need to make sure the mechanic knows how to properly install the wheel bearings. There are 4 technical service bulletins issued by Subaru on proper bearing installation for the SVX!

First, the bearings come packed in shipping grease. This grease is NOT to be used for packing the bearings. This grease is to be removed and, if you want your bearings to last a long time, a synthetic grease (usually green) should be used for packing.

Second, all the nuts and bolts must be tightened to exact specifications...over tighten them and you'll be back for more wheel bearings. The proper torque specs for the lug nuts is 72-87 ft/lbs. Most shop impact wrenches are set to around 120 ft/lbs. so this is important. I could not find specs on the lateral link bolt or the axle nut. If you have these figures, please e-mail me.

  Technical Service Bulletins (TSB)

A January 95 TSB discusses how to tighten the lug and axle nuts properly (I don't have this TSB).

A Subaru Service Helpline Update, SHNO495,April, 1995 states:

"When replacing rear wheel bearings on all-wheel drive SVX vehicles, be certain not to over torque the lateral link bolt that secures the two transverse suspension arms to the wheel bearing housing. DO NOT AIR GUN THE BOLT OFF.

Refer to appropriate manuals for the proper torque specs. If this bolt is over torqued, it can deform the housing and may lead to a repeat failure of the wheel bearing. If you encounter a repeat failure of a rear wheel bearing occurring in an unreasonably short amount of miles, the housing may have been deformed during the first repair. Replacement of the bearing and the housing may be required.

Other things to remember when working on wheel bearings. Never loosen or tighten the axle nut with the weight of the vehicle on the wheel. Vehicle should be in the air with the wheel removed prior to loosening or tightening the axle nut. If this precaution is not taken, damage to the wheel bearing may occur.

The axle nuts are NOT reusable. A new nut should be used with the new bearing. Always insure that the new bearing is properly packed with suitable wheel bearing grease. The grease that is shipped with the bearing is NOT sufficient. Always use the proper special tools to install the bearing and torque the the axle nut to correct specifications".

Also, Subaru Service Helpline, June 1993, states:

"Whenever wheel bearings are being replaced or serviced, always make sure they are properly packed with high temperature wheel bearing grease. The light grease found on the new wheel bearings is for storage to prevent the bearings from becoming oxidized".


Yet to come on the top 10 FAQs:

  • Brakes
  • Buzzing noise under acceleration
  • Reprogramming the remote keyless entry transmitter
  • The meaning of the 'POWER' light on the dash
  • Tires
  • Wheels

Many more FAQs will be added and categorized.