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Discussion Starter #1
Hey folks,

Looked at a 1996 Subaru Legacy Outback tonight.

It's the 2.2L 5 speed. 195K on the odometer. No apparent leaks.

Problems: Air conditioning is gone (belt is off the compressor too)
Undercarriage is solid, but the engine compartment and the body have good amounts of rust in the typical places. This is to be expected (near Syracuse, NY) and I'm looking at it as a winter rat.

It is inspected (recently). No CEL on.

No obvious signs of headgasket issues (2.2 so it wouldn't be a huge concern anyway)

I took it for a brief spin. Had a few questions...

First off-when I got it back and popped the hood, I pulled the oil dipstick again and heard a very apparent gurgling sound after it was out. It stops when I put it back in. I don't know what this is. I couldn't get a clear reading on the oil either.

Second-is there any problem running it without the AC compressor hooked up? I know the other pulley is just a tensioner and I know it's a separate belt, I just wondered in case I keep this car longer than I plan to.

I'm mostly concerned about that gurgling sound. The price of this car is in the triple digits, so it's definitely cheap...but I also work for a not-for-profit so money is constantly tight.

Anyone have any insight?

Thanks,
Huxley
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I'm mostly concerned about that gurgling sound. The price of this car is in the triple digits, so it's definitely cheap...but I also work for a not-for-profit so money is constantly tight.
Do you want to offer some actual help now? :rolleyes:
 

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I'd keep searching, got mine for 500$, way less miles and a 99.
Not sure how scarce subarus up there are though.
For the a/c just swap out a compressor and get it recharged, sure that's why the belts off.
Was the gurgling from the radiator?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Subaru's are rather popular up here, though they get eaten up pretty quick and people drive them into the ground before they tend to sell them. I'm in a low-mileage taurus right now but I just hate the **** thing and my fiance' has a '06 Forester that we both like and I enjoy working on it.

The gurgling was most definitely from the oil dipstick tube once I pulled it. Strange sound, definitely puzzled me, and I didn't want to hand over any cash until I figured out what it might be.
 

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Do you want to offer some actual help now? :rolleyes:
If you aren't strapped for a car at the moment, keep looking. I am sure being patient will tender a better deal. There are a lot of Subies in New England and the northeast.

The gurgling noise is the vacuum being pulled on the crankcase via the PCV system for reference in your future search.

The AC belt could be off because the compressor is locked up, the belt broke and the previous owner didn't bother with it, the tensioner pulley could have been making noise and the previous owner didn't bother with it. Lots of options. Did you ask the present owner about the AC?

Rust, and lots of it could be an issue when repairs come around. Bolts tend to break or when they come off remain attached to the part they held.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
hey cardoc-thank you.

I was wondering if it had to do with the PCV system but I don't ever remember hearing that on the 06 Forester so I was concerned.

As for the AC compressor-I spun it and it spun freely but the guy did forget to mention anything about that in the ad or otherwise before I got there. I'm not certain why the belt is off.

I've dealt with plenty of rust in my life and I work on old motorcycles pretty often now-it's not something I'm thrilled about of course, but I can deal.

He's offered it for $700. Here's the link 1996 subaru outback

The fiance' (and I) really want this other car gone, so in a way, I am strapped for a car and I do want something with AWD and I am familiar with Subaru's. The other issue is that people tend to pump the price up on Subaru's around here because of the generally crappy weather. It's not uncommon to see rust buckets with asking prices of $2500 or more from 1998. I'm just worried that if I don't find something and soon, I'll be out of luck.

I also greatly prefer a manual trans and would prefer an outback sport but would get any Subaru for a cheap enough price.
 

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if the gurgling is normal then i wouldn't worry about it, sounds like a reasonable deal otherwise, a running and drive car for triple digits is what it is. but they're wisdom is good - be somewhat discerning. i've had far better luck buying triple digit cars from stand up sellers than questionable ones. the doctor or retired couple come to mind...great cars, just wanted to move on and not mess with them...others from "less professional" people...far worse deals.

your 2006 Forester has the exact same oil pump, two timing pulleys, timing sprocket, the short blocks are interchangeable (though different sizes they are interchangeable)...very similar motors - pull it's dipstick and see if you hear the same sound under the same conditions. if you don't that really doesn't mean much but if you do then that would feel good.

folks do buy cars cheap on forums like this, i have many stories myself...but have to be careful suggesting that the few best deals i've ever gotten are the norm or a good target to shoot for for someone that actually needs a car at a given moment.
 

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you are fine to drive it as long as you want without A/C. it is most annoying when you can't get the windshield defrosted or unfogged due to high humidity depending where you live.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
i've had far better luck buying triple digit cars from stand up sellers than questionable ones. the doctor or retired couple come to mind...great cars, just wanted to move on and not mess with them...others from "less professional" people...far worse deals.
Thanks Gary. I didn't mean to insinuate (if I did) that the individual I met tonight wasn't straightforward. He was honest enough, we had a nice conversation, was straightforward about the car, he apologized about forgetting the A/C issue (looks like it's been that way for a while).

I guess I just need to sleep on it. I don't know if anything else will come along that'll be worthwhile. And every time I find a manual trans outback sport from the late 90's or early 00's, it's owned by some 19 year old that thought it was a formula racer and wants 25% over bluebook because they figured out how to put an air intake on it.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
One other thing I forgot to mention: the car was somewhat difficult to turn. I couldn't get a good read, but it seemed as though the PS fluid was low. Considering the amount of rust, I wouldn't be shocked to learn that there might be a leak somewhere or that the rack was going (or maybe the u-joint is binding?).

I need to tell this person whether or not I'm taking the car and I still haven't made a decision. I don't really know what to do.
 

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Usually how I go about buying cars is if I am unsure of it is I walk away. You could end up putting more money in it than it is worth. Just keep looking you will find another sometimes it just takes a few weeks, but the car you are looking for always pops up just when you need it the most. Don't buy this one just because you want a Subaru. I have bought cars just because I wanted one and then shortly realized it was a bad purchase (the car was not Subaru though it was a VW)
 
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