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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi,

I've got a 2002 base model automatic Outback, with about 135k miles on it, which I puchased at 95k miles about 4 years ago . Head gaskets need replaced, private shop says they'll do it for $1200.

I'm looking for opinions from people knowledgeable about these generations of Outbacks for if the repair is worth it. I've read a few things about how these Outbacks were great cars until a certain high mileage range at which point they just became very expensive to maintain and get repaired all the time. What kind of mileage do these cars get? From what I understand this is kind of late for a head gasket issue.

Thanks,
Marc
 

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2008 Ford Escape XLS - 2002 Subaru Outback
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You're still low mileage. It becomes to much after the 200k milestone. Headgasket is totally worth it, if the body will last. I know a bunch of Outbacks that run amazing, just can't be driven due to rust.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Braap,

Thanks for your reply. Any specific parts of the body that I should be especially worried about?

Marc
 

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2008 Ford Escape XLS - 2002 Subaru Outback
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The whole thing. LOL

Take tires off, check all around the suspention componants for rust, then judge the rust if the metal is still soild, or close to creating a hole. Get below the rear of the car and do the same. Surface rust is perfectly fine, but when it gets "tender" and there is no metal, just rust is when you have to worry. Of course rust holes is a given. Check the rear door corners on the bottom for rust aswell.
 

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01 VDC, 05 R Sedan, 06 BAJA EJ257
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The whole thing. LOLQUOTE]

Yeah, right. I had a 99 Outback went 300k. No engine or transmission issues. No problems with the diffs or transfer case. Alt, belts, P/S pump reseal, t-belts and water pumps on schedule. Your regular maintenance. The AC compressor never gave me problems, just seal and service valve leaks. No problems with rust except the rear lateral arms' accetric bolt rusted to the bushings making it impossible to align the rear wheels. changed the arms, problem solved.

Do your Preventive Maintenance on these cars and they will last a long time. Keep it clean, waxed and perform a regular cleaning of the under carriage.

I have a lot of customers with Subies over 200k and still look and perform like under 100k.
 

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Ready for everything you need to know about this engine (from someone that's done this a lot)?

*** What exactly is wrong with the car? If it's leaking antifreeze externally then the first step is to change the antifreeze and add two bottles of Subaru's Coolant Conditioner. This has, on ocassion, stopped existing leaks and is well worth the $5 for two bottles from Subaru. If you just want to try it yourself and not bother with the coolant change, then buy two of the bottles from Subaru for $5 and follow the directions on the label, very easy - Shake and pour it in your radiator basically.

That conditioner is *Required* for your engine, make sure the new shop uses it if they do the work.

If you keep the coolant and oil levels full you don't have much urgency here, you can run these things 50,000 or more miles as long as you keep the fluids topped off it doesn't pose any threat really.

friend of mine had the same engine in his 2003 and had headgasket leaking externally. his was beat to snot, 200,000 miles, had been wrecked twice, so he didn't really want to dump the money into it - i told him to keep topping off the fluids - he drove it to like 280,000 and it was still running fine...leaked a lot!

Hi, Head gaskets need replaced, private shop says they'll do it for $1200.
that's a decent price. 3 important notes:

1. ask them to use the EJ25 TURBO headgasket from Subaru, part number is all over the internet. If you don't use the turbo gasket they'll just be installing the same headgasket prone to leakage in the first place and the turbo engines do not have headgasket issues.

2. have a new timing belt KIT installed. they're only $160 or so off ebay and you get all new pulleys and tensioner. at 10 years and wanting the car to make 230,000 miles the pulleys and tensioners have a risk of failure. the timing belt has to come off for the headgasket job so there's almost no additional work.

3. reseal the oil pump and tighten the backing plate screws (a few are usually loose) also while it's apart - the oil pump will be right in front of you after all that work for the headgaskets. it's an oring and some sealant, just a few minutes. again, not much extra work at all.

and they should adjust the valves, but that's actually really easy to do on that motor.

I'm looking for opinions from people knowledgeable about these generations of Outbacks for if the repair is worth it.
yes it's worth it - with some maintenance items you can easily expect another 100,000 miles out of that car. you can probably make it to 250,000 miles with another two or so repairs...but maybe none, who knows - like a wheel bearing or alternator for example....both give some warning and aren't that big of a deal.

until a certain high mileage range at which point they just became very expensive to maintain
any car will require maintenance to reach high mileages. struts, wheel bearings, alternators, and the like are consumables at high mileages. American cars (sorry) will never consistently reach those mileages and other cars that can aren't necessarily used like a Subaru - winter, salt, off road, higher ground clearance, towing, etc....a Subaru gets more of a work out than some German car owners who have garage queens...so you're not often comparing apples-to-apples when talking cars.

What kind of mileage do these cars get? From what I understand this is kind of late for a head gasket issue
don't overheat them, run them low on oil, and make sure you change the transmission fluid(s) and 200,000 is rather easy. i have 200,000 on two of mine and don't have a problem looking towards 300,000.

there are headgasket issues up to 2009...at least...maybe 2010's, only time will tell. 00-04 (and some 99's) have external coolant leaks usually, but can be oil as well, or both. they generally do not get bad very quickly - if you keep the fluids topped off you can literally run them 100,000 miles with externally leaking headgaskets.

05-09's (and some 10's) usually have external oil leaks that get worse much quicker than the 00-04 era.
 
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