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Discussion Starter #1
Howdy all, I'm new here, but not to the industry.. My wife and I are about to buy a 2000 Outback, 91,000 miles, clean VIN check.. ETC. The car is a 2.5 5 speed, light green, cloth interior rust bubbles on right quarter above the wheel, and behind the antenna.. minor dings, dents and whatnot... typical twelve year old cosmetic issues, in my mind. No service history whatsoever, the car was a gift to some folks who found what they really wanted instead. Interior is in nice shape, some checks in the door panels, but overall very clean. The car is advertised at $3500, we've agreed on $3000. I'm a mechanic, although I normally work on vintage sports cars and american land barges. I am familiar with newer systems, and here's what I found in the parking lot of the wawa where we met the guy. The right front tire is worn to the cords on the inside, and the wheel shakes above 65MPH.. many fittings on the car are rusty, but it doesn't look like it lived in the north.. (I've seen those cars... Iv'e walked out from under a lift more than once nervous for my own well being). at 91,000 miles, I think I'm getting a good deal taking into account that it probably needs a timing belt (assuming the 70,000 mile standard applies here as well), it needs four new tires, and at the very least an alignment. The car drives well, and it doesn't throw any red flags in my face, the steering is twitchy, but I'm not used to new cars, the tires are shot, and it needs an alignment, so that's understandable, and the brakes are a bit soft, but they don't pump up, and again.. I'm used to rock hard, unassisted pedals, usually with four wheel drums, so driving anything made during or after the Carter administration is always a bit strange at first...

I guess my question is, what should I look for. The way I see it is this
Subie: $3000
tires, $500 mounted and balanced
alignment $50, if nothing's busted
Timing set $200 or so and my time to install
so $3800 for a 91,000 mile Outback..

Am I missing something? There was a smell of burning oil, but the car was sitting for a while and it went away after a jaunt on the highway.. I'm chalking this one up to the inherent problems of engine parts and gaskets laying on their side.. Is there an achilles heel to these cars? I hear murmurs of head gaskets alot, but this drives well, and all fluids are clear.. What should I look for before handing over my hard-earned scratch?

thanks in advance,

Matt
 

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03 H6 OBW & 06 WRX Sportwagon
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18,121 Posts
timing belt is 105K

headgaskets are a concern - I can't reacll if 2000 has the internal leak or just coolant weeping externally. Someone will chime in with corrct info.

were all 4 tires at least the same model and wear? The center diff can be destroyed by running different sized tire - by even 3/32" of wear! (search on 'torque bind' )

you will find, generally, the soob is not too bad to work on. maybe not quite like a truck or crown vic, but easier than front engine FWD econoboxes.

Soobs can be picky about some things like thermostats, plug wires etc. But most everything else under there is not too bad - it's a car.

just dig around here, ask before re-working a system. Lots of knowledgeable folks. I learn something every week.
 

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'00 Legacy OBW Ltd
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306 Posts
2000+ Outback has the SOHC EJ25 (Phase 2) engine. These are prone to external head gasket leaks. They tend to start leaking on the back side of the driver's side bank of cylinders. Replace with Six-Star brand gaskets or Cometic. Refinish the head gasket mating surface to a smooth finish.

* Blog info about head gasket failures: Subaru Repair Seattle, Subaru Service Seattle - Seattle Subaru Repair
* Blog info about the refinishing of headgasket surface: Subaru Head Gasket Repair - Seattle Subaru Repair
* Six Star Head gaskets: Six Star Head Gaskets - Seattle Subaru Repair


Note: I don't work for AWD Auto.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Cool, thanks guys..

I'm leaving now to go and grab it, it gets new tires and an alignment tomorrow, I'm pretty sure all tires matched, but now that I think about it, I didn't find anywhere to "test" the AWD.. I was in the middle of the DC metro area.. is it obvious if it doesn't work? Clicking, thunking, grinding, etc... or does it just not work?
 

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'00 Legacy OBW Ltd
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306 Posts
Find a gravel parking lot in 1st gear and see if you can do a donut without using the hand brake? Might want to make sure there are no police around! :D
 

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2008 Ford Escape XLS - 2002 Subaru Outback
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When it's on the lift, just move the tires left and right, the other one should move aswell.
 

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03 H6 OBW & 06 WRX Sportwagon
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I would suggest you do ver tight turns, donuts, etc, on dry pavement/asphalt while atttenpting to feel any jerkiness.

If it's an automatic, look in the fuse box under the hood and make certain there's no fuse in the FWD slot. If there is, someone has disabled the AWD and perhaps taken the bulb out of the dash that tells you you're in FWD only.

not commonly done, but could happen.

search for 'torque bind'.
 

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2019 Subaru Outback Limited 3.6R; 2016 VW Jetta SEL 1.8T; 2002 VW Passat GLX V6 4Motion
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That burning smell you've got there may likely be a torn CV boot that's slinging grease onto the hot engine/exhaust manifold. Same thing happened when we picked up our 2003 w/70K miles. I kept smelling something burning, but couldn't see from the top of the engine bay that the passenger side boot was split wide open.

- Jeremy.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks guys,

The car made it back no problems, with one extra minor glitch.. It popped out of fifth twice on the highway, but I was coasting, and stomped on it, and the unit seems a bit loose anyway, I think it's a bad trans mount. This happened twice over 90 miles, I don't think its internal.. as for the awd, it wouldn't break loose when I gave it the beans on a u turn, so I think we're good. Now for the laundry list I'll get when it goes on the lift.

Thanks, guys.. due to the nature of my business, I'm on a lot of forums for cars, and so far I have to say that only this one, slantsix.org and the alfa bulletin board are worth their salt.. I usually get no reply or worthless information (blinker fluid)
 

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01 VDC, 05 R Sedan, 06 BAJA EJ257
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While you have it apart for a t-belt, may as well do the water pump and t-stat. Valve cover gaskets start to leak at 80k and up due to the hardening and cracking. The oil runs down to the manifold pipe and blows back. Oil pan check while its up. Total toe is 0.0 all around.

Otherwise, good price. You will love it.
 
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