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2000 Outback - Needs work, decent deal, round 2!

3617 Views 30 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  Newsboy
Well, the last one didn't pan out, so let's try again!

I went and looked at this car tonight. It's a 2000 Outback, Green on Tan cloth, 185k miles.

The Good:
  • The head gaskets, water pump, timing belt, etc were done at 109k.
  • Everything works, including the A/C.
  • Body is straight, hand sized dent on the left rear hatch, but the panel edges line up with the door opening and it opens and closes fine, purely cosmetic.
  • No accidents, no body repairs. Paint and panels match and line up.
  • No rust.
  • Good tires.
  • Has original spare tire and accessories tray, never used.

The Bad:
  • Interior needs a deep cleaning, plenty of carpet stains.
  • Interior is okay, a few small cracked plastic pieces here and there.
  • Needs a new right front CV joint, it goes "whup whup whup" around corners, but only at 90-100% of full lock
  • Needs new brakes within 10k miles, pedal travel is long and slightly soft, but not unsafe. Stops sure and straight.
  • Timing belt was has 75k miles on it, will need to be replaced soon.

The Ugly:
  • Check Engine light is on, owner says cat was replaced a year ago, his mechanic says it needs a new rear 02 sensor.
  • Owner is a smoker, we are not.

He's asking $2500. I don't think it's worth that. It would clean up nicely, and should run reliably for years to come, if maintained, but it needs at least $1000 worth of work in the next six months.

So here are my questions:
  • What's would you pay, taking into account the $200-300 it will take to get the smoking smell out?
  • Has anyone had experience removing smoke odors from a car? I have done a bit of research, and apparently ozone treatment will take care of it, but it has to be professionally done.
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Also, regarding the timing belt, I know this is an interference engine and if the belt fails it's catastrophic, but how prone are they to failure? The service interval is 100k, do they tend to go sooner or later than that?

For reference the current timing belt is 4 years old, 75k miles.
Regarding the smoke smell, think replacing the cabin air filters would help?
my gut feeling is, this could be a keeper.

I'd think the real issues come down to - what codes are causing the CEL (or, actaully, is there a serious issue creating a solid problem indicated by the CEL)

and, how intolerant are you of the cigarette smell. The fact that the interior is in bad shape may mean a lot of the smell will be removed with replacement/cleaning of interior stuff - BUT how much tar/stink is in the headliner and the heating ducts. Is the foam in the seats going to puff out tobacco stink every time you sit down?

all the issues you've spotted can be used to negotiate the price down. If you are a DIYer, folks here and elsewhere on the 'Net will be able to walk you through many repairs.

tough call
My Outback (same exact thing, color and all) was a smokers car, 3 weeks of normal driving/use it was pretty much out. I did do a light "spray can shampoo" when I got it and that did numbers. Leaving a bowl of vinegar in the back seat over night will asorb some of the smell. I didn't do it for my Outback as it didn't need to, I have done it with other cars in the past.

Get the code checked out, most likely is an 02 sensor, as my CEL is on because of one, I won't replace the O2 sensor as there is no dire need to. Timing belt and brakes I assume you'll do together in 10k miles. Figure 6/8 months? Income tax time! (for most of us anyway) and is a good time to get those repairs done! I'd shoot him the offer of $2,100, but $2,500 you'll still be fine on buying it.
Yeah, tough call between the work it needs, and the fact that's been smoked in. I'd need to get the CEL code fixed immediately, it won't pass inspection with a check engine light on due to NYS emissions. Still debating if I truly want it, or if it's worth waiting for a better example to come along.

I think I'm going to offer him $1750, max. He's been trying to sell it for a couple of weeks, and has only had one other buyer look at it. That guy took it to a mechanic who quoted him $1000 for repairs, and he said no thanks. The seller is unemployed, just moved to the city, needs to get rid of the car, so he may be willing to come down substantially on the price.

If he'll take $1750...I'll have to think long and hard.
If the previous owners ran the recirculated cabin air while smoking with the windows up, I wonder how much smoke is permanently embedded into the air duct work. Can that smell be gotten out of there? You may be able to live with the lingering smell at first, but be honest with yourself, and ask if you'll be able to live with it every single day, wishing you had bought a different one.

On the other hand, this thing is so ridiculously cheap that it may not matter.
Well bringing the car into a detail shop will take out a tremendous amount of the smell out of the car for a good $200-300. The timing belt and maintenance should'nt be more than about $1200-1500 and yes check out the CEL as if its the rear O2 sensor they are only about $100 but the front one is your a/f mixture sensor and they range about $280+. Then you have to consider the cost of the axle.. have that priced out. I know that on the subaru when the transfer gear starts to go it make the thump thump noise doing the same thing that the axle will do but the axle will click rapidly when turning not thump thump. An axle is probably going to be around $300+ but the transfer gear set will be tons more. Do some homework prior as you may end up kicking yourself and spending possibly twice what they are asking for it. (which is probably why they still have it, at that price)

Just my thoughts though.. not much there but food for thought.

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you're looking at another 2 grand for it to be a descent runner....(timing belts, water pumps, axle, drive belts,etc) and looking at the pic you still gotta pass an inspection of some sort... i would tell him $1250, but maybe pay 1500 if i needed to...
After looking a little further south then VT, a rust free Subaru isn't worth much. I take back what I said earlier.! $1,800 max.. $2,500 up here where it's rare to find a 08 with no rust! (my 08 has major rust issues even know it's cleaned weekly)
I offered $1600 cash on the hood, he's going to keep trying to sell it for $2500. Says if he can't find a buyer at that price, he'll contact me.

Odds are I'll find another one first! still gotta pass an inspection of some sort...
The inspection is gonna be the costliest part of this process, so I'm focusing on Outbacks being sold in NY, with a NY inspection sticker valid for 6-12 months. If it has recently passed, that drastically lowers the odds I'll have a problem with the car.
2000 Subaru Outback Wagon

Might be something to look further into, I've seen some people state high mileage at 130k. That bumper is in too good of shape to be super high.

Get it inspected and reg. in VT. You can live in any state and get it legally plated and all for VT. $30 inspections and they pretty much pass anything that moves and stops. Tax title and reg is $250 or so.
Ha! Everything in my price range is "high mileage!" Thanks for the tip, I'll call about it tomorrow. :)
I paid $1,250 for my OB at 160k. It runs better then my 60k Escape. :p
Actually.. I paid $1,150 forgot I talked him down $100 haha
2000 outback need gone asap

Worth getting a picture for, that motor alone is worth it if it's legit.
2000 Subaru Legacy L Wagon
You can tell that was old woman/man owned. It's an L, but i'd trade you the L struts and springs for my Outback ones so it'd be Outback ride height.
Some of these CL postings look like dealership sellers. I don't know how you feel with buying from a used car lot, but its been my experience that they generally don't have good documented service history with the cars. But at these prices, it might not matter.

Is $2K your budget, Newsboy?
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