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iron
getting old



Joined: 10 Aug 2008
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iron
getting old
PostSun Jan 26, 2014 9:49 pm 
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so, our '95 subaru legacy gt was stolen last week. if the car isn't found in a few weeks, we'll probably be purchasing another car and likely a subaru. i don't keep up on latest trends since i figured we'd have that car for another 10 years at least, so i need some knowledge.

we're probably in the market for a legacy or outback - basically a subaru wagon. we'll be buying used since full priced new cars don't make much sense in my book and we've had good success with our previous cars. so, can anyone(s) give me a basic breakdown of what's happened with the subaru lineup over the years? for example, was there one year where the model released was just completely awesome and a magnitude difference from the previous year? or, setbacks?

in short, we're looking for something with decent gas mileage (i suspect more modern subies are 25mpg, compared to our old subie with 30mpg), ~100k miles, no frills on the finishes, and ground clearance better that our '95 legacy. oh, ABS brakes that work (or non-ABS brakes) would be nice --- the '95 wasn't so great on downhill FS roads. we plan to use our new used car until it dies (or is stolen, i guess)

thanks.

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man, you go through life, you try to be nice to people, you struggle to resist the urge to punch 'em in the face, and for what?

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Opus
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Joined: 04 Mar 2006
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Opus
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PostSun Jan 26, 2014 10:15 pm 
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I've got an '06 Outback.  87,000 miles now with no real problems.  Had the brake rotors machined and new pads last spring, then just routine maintenance.  I think 2005-2010 are all pretty much the same, just cosmetic changes.

I'm averaging about 25mpg pretty reliably, higher if I'm doing highway driving not over a mountain pass.  I don't really drive in the city.  Lots of city driving brings me down to about 20mpg.  ABS brakes work well though do tend to chatter at odd times going downhill on rougher roads.  I have the automatic so can't really do much engine braking.  Very happy with the car, plan to drive it until it dies or gets stolen.

My uncle has one of the latest generation Outbacks.  It's really nice but huge.  I like the size of my car better.
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trail wiseguy
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PostSun Jan 26, 2014 10:28 pm 
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I know a lot of subarus get leaky heads around 100k so look around the motor for signs of build up, also ask about the timing belt( if it has been changed) a lot of times they will just not say any thing if you don't ask and that is big time important maintenance. im suprised you dont like the ABS on your 95, i love the ABS on my 96 legacy. any way, lots and lots of good luck to you guys.
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RichP
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PostSun Jan 26, 2014 11:03 pm 
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I recently purchased an '04 Forester from Roosales in Puyallup. They are an independent Subaru dealer and shop.
I was referred to them by a neighbor and had a good buying experience myself. Not your typical dealer at all and they will answer your questions.

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Without obsession, life is nothing. John Waters
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jackchinook
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PostSun Jan 26, 2014 11:31 pm 
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backpackingnut wrote:
I know a lot of subarus get leaky heads around 100k so look around the motor for signs of build up

I'll be dropping off my '03 Legacy Wagon (non-Outback) tomorrow morning for this very issue.  I expect it'll set me back about $1500.  Naturally, I'm not excited and would rather put that toward something else.

In the Methow, like Seattle, a huge proportion of people drive these cars, perhaps an even greater proportion here, given normal winters.  In talking with a number of friends/co-workers and mechanics (here and online), this problem seems VERY COMMON around 100K.  Mine made it to about 140K.

Bottom line on this car:
  • It's been very reliable and, until this event, very inexpensive in terms of maintenance.  We've kept up on oil changes/mntc pretty much as scheduled.
  • It is a SUPERB snow car with a few exceptions > 1) not good in deep snow for obvious reasons (but this is not a problem for normal folks) and 2) the wheel wells get packed with snow/ice in slushy conditions, which is an annoyance and 3) the alloy rims accumulations of snow/ice in certain snow conditions if it gets snow in there, then you park and it freezes, sending the whole vehicle into this insane wonky vibrating feeling that feels like your alignment is off until you get in there and chip it out (or park in a heated garage which I don't have)
  • It's fairly comfortable for trips over the mountains or the airport.
  • I drove it cross-country and back with an obscene amount of stuff packed into it and no problems
  • I've developed loud/windy windows that just don't want to seal.
  • The quality is sort chintzy compared to my previous vehicle (Toyota Tacoma) and my other current vehicle (Toyota Land Cruiser, which is really apples/oranges).
  • Overall gas mileage is 25-26mpg.  Given the car's size/power, I'd be pleased if I could get 30 but it's AWD so I guess it's gonna be somewhat inefficient.
With all that said, I'm not sure I'd buy another one.  My Toyota's quality is jus that much better.  My Land Cruiser has about 120K on it and it's tight as a drum and doesn't burn a hint of oil.
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HitTheTrail
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PostMon Jan 27, 2014 7:10 am 
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One of my main skiing and hiking buddies is the head Subaru salesman here at Cascade Auto in Wenatchee. I am going out on a hike with him in about an hour. I will ask him what he has in his inventory.
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DIYSteve
seeking hygge



Joined: 06 Mar 2007
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DIYSteve
seeking hygge
PostMon Jan 27, 2014 8:46 am 
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Anita has a 2012 Impreza hatchback.  EPA rated 30 combined/36 highway.  We regularly get >30MPG on ski trips, 33-34MPG highway trips in summer.  Anita gets high 20s in city.  XV Crosstrek is same car with more ground clearance/higher COG/ bit worse MPG.  Crosstrek will be (already is??) available with mild hybrid drivetrain which claws back most of the lost MPG, maybe a bit more for city driving.

If you're looking to buy used, do ample research re which engines (e.g., some of the 2.5Ls) have problems.
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Tomlike
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PostMon Jan 27, 2014 9:05 am 
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from what I've gathered, the only models that don't have head gasket issues are the 1996 and earlier 2.2L, although some argue that the phase II 2.2L HG will fail eventually.  I think it's generally known that almost all 2.5L are prone to HG failure.  My 1998 Legacy 2.5L with 135k is just starting to show signs of impending HG doom.  I intend to replace them and drive the thing for another 100k...
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trail wiseguy
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PostMon Jan 27, 2014 9:39 am 
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my last subaru made it to 230k before a oilcan henrys screwed up and blew the piston ring. it was a 2.2l and would have made it another 200k, was a strong runner with no problems.

jackchinook- did you check the window spacers. i had the same problem, the window spacer fell into the door and i have no idea how.
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Bogart
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PostMon Jan 27, 2014 9:42 am 
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I would skip the Gen 1 Outbacks.  Definite issue with the headgasket.  The good news on those is that they tend to leak exhaust into the cooling system, so it is pretty obvious when you have an issue.

At some point in the Gen 2 lifecycle a new headgasket material was introduced to mitigate earlier failures.  There is some debate on whether this was a fix, but the net on these is that they tend to leak fluid externally on the drivers side when they fail.  Look back towards the firewall for evidence of leaking.  Gen 2's and onward also have better headlights.

Regardless of which specific 2.5 engine, if you are buying a 100k+ vehicle and want to make it last:
Timing belt.  When was it last replaced?
Cam Shaft seals.  These tend to develop leaks eventually.  Generally recommended for replacement if you are doing the timing belt.
Cam belt idler, tension arm, etc.  Replace these 'while your in there'...
If touching timing belt, replace water pump (and maybe oil pump, too.)  Water pump is driven by the timing belt, so game over if it seizes.
Make sure you have a new PCV valve in there.  Very cheap part, and easy to replace.  They tend to get gunked up.
All of this stuff should run around $1200 to address, and only needs attention every 70k miles or so.

Things to look out for:
As mentioned, headgasket leaking.  If not already replaced, it is about $1500 worth of work sometime in the future.
CV boots/tears.  For whatever reason, several generations of the Outback place the CV boot near/over the exhaust.  This makes them prone to tear, and then lose their grease.  Clunking will ensue up front, with eventual failure of the joint.  This job is a pain, since you have to remove the wheel bearings to replace the boots.  I don't recall the labor on this, but the CV joint assembly is ~350 or less.  If you see cracking on the boots at time of purchase, budget for this.

Other stuff:
Brakes are easy to work on.  Make sure caliper pistons get greased.
Knock sensor sometimes flakes.  On top of the engine, it is easy to get to and cheap.
Beyond 100k plus, you might begin considering doing some suspension work.  Front struts, strut mounts, and ball joints are easy to replace and provide noticeable improvement.  Swaybar bushings and endlinks are similarly easy to swap out, and eliminate clunks.
Rear struts are a bit of a pain to replace, but possible with some patience.
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DIYSteve
seeking hygge



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DIYSteve
seeking hygge
PostMon Jan 27, 2014 9:53 am 
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Here's what I usually see in the subie HG internet forum discussions:

--Mid-1990s 2.2L had few HG issues
--1996-99 DOHC 2.5L engine: disaster, lots of blown HGs
--1999-2003 SOHC engines: not as disastrous as the DOHC but still lots of HG issues
--2005 -2010: no clear consensus; fewer HG issues reported
--2011-present: major engine redesign, including head redesign, timing chain instead of belt; too early to say whether the new engine will have HG problems

Clarifications/corrections/supplementations invited
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HitTheTrail
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PostMon Jan 27, 2014 10:33 am 
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Just got back from my hike with the Subaru guy. He says good late model Outbacks and Foresters are in high demand. They get a few in sometimes but they sell quickly. He also said that some of the older models were extremely easy to break into because the windows and doors were not very secure or tight. Just wedge in a rubber door stop and use a coat hanger.
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mike
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PostMon Jan 27, 2014 10:47 am 
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HitTheTrail wrote:
He says good late model Outbacks and Foresters are in high demand.

Yep, and getting top pesos too. Consider another brand? CRV?
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Steve
Phlogiston Purveyor



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Steve
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PostMon Jan 27, 2014 11:52 am 
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iron wrote:
we're probably in the market for a legacy or outback - basically a subaru wagon. we'll be buying used since full priced new cars don't make much sense in my book

That's what I thought when I started looking for used subarus. It did not take me long to figure out that new made more sense than used considering the asking price. I was able to get my 08 Outback 2.5i for less than invoice price.

A buddy of mine has a 2012 outback and they are known to have problems with cold weather starting. They issued a service bulletin to fix the problem, but it hasn't fixed it but did improve the problem.

Most, I believe, of the subarus have CVT now and I'm skeptical about the long term reliability of them. If I were to buy another Subaru it would probably be a Forrester with manual tranny, but as it is I will be looking for a used Toyota 4Runner 4x4 for my next trail vehicle. Subarus are great in the snow and mine has given me few problems, but in general the toyota is a better vehicle, unless you are talking about their engine sludge problem.

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Despair is only for those who see the end beyond all doubt.
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HitTheTrail
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PostMon Jan 27, 2014 12:26 pm 
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We have a well-known member here on NWHikers with a Subaru which has probably logged more off-pavement miles and THs than any in the state (if not country). Each time I have been in the car things seem to be holding up well considering all the punishment it has taken. And I know he has no plans to replace it soon. I wont mention any names but he goes by Wildernessed.
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