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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My 2005 Subaru Outback 2.5XT Limited 155K Owner Review...

Let me start off by saying that I really Love my Subaru's and wouldn't own anything else..!! Period.... No matter what anyone says, the fact is that these cars "Work" for my wife and I.. And that's all that needs to be known..

First a little background on why I became a dedicated Subaru owner and my 155K review of my Subaru Outback 2.5XT Limited.

I've owned some really nice cars over time and all of them were American with the exception of a 1969 BMW 2002 back in 1970. However in 2002, I purchased and owned a beautiful Chrysler Sebring LXI in Red Pearl with black leather interior, maxed out on every accessory available at the time.. Great looking car and I even went so far as to order it from the factory because no one had the red color with black leather.. For several years I doted on that car.. It was immaculate in every way..

This car was always serviced at 3,000 miles and virtually no issues until I got to 67,000 miles.. On the way home one day 50 miles from home, without warning the engine suffered a major problem and if not for the 7year/100,000mile power train warranty, I would have been stuck with a very large bill..

Well this was the beginning of the end of my pride with Chrysler and American Designed Automobiles..

Within hours of the engine being inspected by the local Chrysler dealer, I was accused of adding something in the oil to cause it to sludge which caused the oil pump to fail and cause a cascade event which severely damaged the engine.. Nothing in fact was ever added to the oil and Chrysler dealerships were always the ones to service the car in the first place.

Well I was told to produce all the records showing I had the oil changed at least every 6,000 miles.. No problem.. Came back the next day with the records showing every 3,000 miles or better and I said fix it.. After a bit of hemming & hawing the regional guy directed the dealership and they agreed to fix it.. One month later I got it back, they rebuilt the bottom half of the engine only.. I was $100.00 out of pocket for the warranty deductible, and $500.00 for a rental which still today say they wouldn't cover.

However, a few months after the first event with the engine, I was not going to be caught without a car again.. In August of 2005 days before the actual model year ended I took delivery of my first ever Subaru.. I was now a proud owner of a Subaru Outback 2.5XT Limited..

Even though I now had the Subaru, I continued to commute daily with the Sebring. Well the engine repair on the Sebring didn't last long.. At 72,000 miles the engine started knocking real bad on my way to the commuter parking lot in the morning.. In it went again.. Another month without that car.. They replaced the entire engine this time at no cost to me. But after the first repair on the Sebring I had lost nearly all of my enthusiasm and trust for Chrysler products.. And now with the 72,000 mile total failure of the engine lost all trust completely. Although I continued to use the Sebring to commute I was very wary.. I decided that I would keep it until just before the end of the power train warranty.. I didn't trust Chrysler or this car anymore.. Even today Chrysler still will not admit to the fact their two engines the 2.7 and 3.5 magnum were producing sludge on their own.. I finally had it with American designed products at that moment.. Although the car was 100% and sharp looking, I sold the car in very early 2007 with 96,500 miles locally for $8,000 which was considered a loss in Bluebook value due to the potential engine problems !! That 2002 Chrysler Sebring LXI was my last ever American Designed & Built Car.. !!!

So why do I like my 2005 Subaru Outback 2.5XT Limited 5 Speed AT?? Here are my thoughts..

I've now had my Subaru Outback 2.5XT Limited from the time I picked it up new in August 2005. It has currently 155K (Feb 2013) and is an all-in-all great car inside, outside, and mechanically.. And dam fun to drive..!!

For those of you who know what the XT is, you share with me the appreciation that this car is a "Sport Driver's" Wagon.. It's a "Sleeper" in every aspect and it's designed with performance and a Sport driver in mind and also can handle the person who needs some extra space in the cabin area to haul.. From day one I accepted the fact that there would be future costs associated with this type car and I have seen my share of those costs realized.. But am I sorry as I recount my costs ?? Not for a minute..!! When you accept a car for it's abilities, you know there is not much out there that can match the performance and overall reliability.. I will own Subaru's till "I" run out of breath.. LOL

Exterior:

The Gen3 Outback's have a very stylistic look, both functional and great looking.. I love the flat ground clearance of a full 9" inches.. The XT high stance and hood is signature in all ways.. Mine is the Atlantic Blue, Platinum combo and is even today in very good condition. The paint had held up very well and although a few nicks here and there no major damage ever on this particular one.. Two weeks after getting the car, I had a local old school guy apply hand painted acrylic pinstripes for $160 dollars and to date the they've never shown any signs of failing. Tape pinstripes in my view are look cheap, and feel cheap.. They also tend to peel on the ends too easily.. The 17" inch XT wheels have held up OK.. only a few nicks in one or two, but they still look great. Others should be careful with these type in tire changing machines as the edges get beat up easy. I have the factory hitch but never used it.. Maybe one day..??

Interior:

The XT was only available with the Limited level interior and mine has the black leather perforated seats.. Very plush, but I've noticed over time a slight hardening of the leather.. Although I use leather treatment once or twice a year, they still tend to feel that way.. I've been fortunate enough to not to have cracks show up in the seats. The rest of the interior has held up very well.. There is some noticeable paint blemish's on the painted shifter gate, but nothing else is an issue.. The Electroluminescence gauges are dynamite and look sharp in the dark.. The high output, 6 CD changer, entertainment package with it's 9+ speakers, is a very nice system to listen to. On delivery, I had the dealership install the optional subwoofer and motion security system under the seats. The subwoofer really makes for a nice effect..

One thing I still wished Subaru had incorporated into the car was auto dome lights up front. The car only has the dome lights over the passengers in the rear and the one dome light at the back hatch that come on when the door is opened (when selected).. The two up front only work if manually turned on.. I've adapted and managed to live with it. Note: Just don't forget to turn them off.. They don't go off on their own.. And of course the little parking light switch on the steering column.. Luckily I learned early what that does.. Since then I've rescued a few of my local Subaru owners from this dire of all little issue's. LOL

One thing that helped sell me on this car was how super large the moon roof is on this car!!! I've never seen one that not only covers the front passengers but the rear passengers as well.. I've never had any issues with the moon roof operation.. I've never had any leaks and it works flawlessly every time.. All in all I have no major complaints as far as the interior is concerned..

Performance:

As stated above, the XT is a sleeper..!! Although mine is a 5 speed auto, this car is making 250 Horsepower, and 250 foot pounds of torque from just above 2,300 RPM straight to redline..!!! To get pushed back in your seat by a Outback XT accelerating in full boost is amazing when you experience this for the first time.. The unique thing about an XT once in full boost is the continuing "Pull".. Try to keep your foot in one spot on the gas peddle and the car will continue to pull up speed..

The XT takes a bit to "Spool Up" the turbo and the 5 speed auto will tend have a more pronounced turbo lag than the 5 speed manual sibling, however, once past 2,300 RPM it's all power and pull from that point. I can tell you it's no WRX STI, but my car has taken anything in it's class and then some who have managed to get 25 feet or so ahead off the line..

Power comes on quickly. When in sport mode, (Auto) shifting is going to get a more performance set of shifts. I've tried Sport mode manual shifting, however, I found the Auto Sport Mode fit my needs better.. Manual is good for going up and down big hills when you need to let the engine do some of the braking.

Although not a strong point about the XT is the fuel economy. It can vary widely for an XT.. One, you need costly premium fuel no matter what. 92-93 octane is required.. Winter fuel with the ethanol content will get 1-5 mpg less overall. City driving is not really the mainstay of an XT.. You really need to be running on the highway and keeping the rev's up otherwise you can expect anything from 12-25 mpg winter, and 14-28 summer.

Many have commented on the handling characteristics of this car.. Let me say this.. This is not a sports car, it's a wagon, and a very fast wagon at that.. It just happens to have an ability to be a very agile car.. I have found it's very robust in curves, I don't get the harsh roll many complain about and I've only experienced the so called high speed "wobble" once.. That issue was corrected once I replaced the tires with ones designed to handle high roll rate cars like the outback.

Braking is very good and the ABS system works great. Although this car was produced Pre-VDC, it still can be managed. The ABS system still responds to steering guidance by the driver. It's not predictive like the VDC system. I've had to have the emergency brake adjusted a few times but never a issue holding the car in place.

The Outback and XT's are tough on tires.. There is a very high roll rate being a wagon and with AWD. I went through several sets of tire before I finally settled on the right tire for this car.. Hankook Ventus V4ES H105 225/55ZR17 101W XL. They are designed for high roll rate cars and don't suffer from wearing out the inner and outer edges of the tires. They have very stiff sidewalls and resist the rolling effect.. The car has a much more stable ride and it takes curves very well. Snow and ice ability is average to above average.

The Outback XT is a unique pure fun car, and I can say I've never had a car that was so profoundly cool.. Yes, there are some drawbacks, it uses premium fuel because of the turbocharger, it's tough on fuel mileage when just tooling around town, but on the highway and playing on some fantastic country back roads, it's too much fun to not to own and drive it for all it's worth.., The downsides are still not something that would sway me away from owning one of these powerhouses.. XT's are simply put.. Fun to drive... Period..!!!

Maintenance:

Overall as stated above, I expected a higher operating cost for this car. There are many high ticket items that will need to be serviced over the long run.. I have never had anyone other than my local Subaru dealership service this vehicle. I have amassed every service record to date and keep the package as reference at all times.. With 155K to date, this XT has gotten oil changes every 3,000 miles since I purchased it.. It received two initial oil change services at 1,500 & 3,000 miles at the end of the initial break in period, before going every 3,000 mile between oil changes thereafter.

For the first two years from delivery in August 2005, to the end of the 3year/36,000mile warranty period I had only a few minor issues all covered under warranty.

0-36,000 miles

For example, during the warranty period, I had a few headlight bulbs go, wiper blades needed replacing, brake pads wearing out, and a couple other issues like the the glove box door not latching correctly, and a couple CEL's, no issues.

36,000-155.000 miles (Current)

Although not all shown in the following service list, oil services were completed every 3,000 miles along with other minor repairs/replacements.

Please note, sometime after 115,000 miles we detected a large consumption of oil without finding a source.. The car still continued to perform well, however a close eye was kept on it and various tests were made to figure out what was going on. The issue went on for sometime until it was deemed that the oil wiper rings had worn out and the engine was actually "clean burning" the oil via the turbo system with no outward signs of oil residue anywhere. Just prior to finding out what was going we replaced the turbo with a new one and then within a short time decided to rebuild the engine from a factory short block at 122K miles. Details on the cost will are shown in the list below.

Here's a list of some of the significant work completed on the car spanning out to 155K

77,877 Oil Service, R&R Front brake pads, and resurfaced rotors. $372.00

90,370 R&R RF CV boot and seal, R&R RF sway bar link. $292.00

102,765 R&R RR Brake pads, Resurface rear rotors, Oil Service $290.00

103,371 New tires, wheel alignment, R&R spark plugs, fuel injection cleaning, battery service, flush cooling system, cam belt and seal, state inspection, all belts R&R $1,072.00

107,268 R&R LF CV Boot & seal, service A/C system, R&R wiper blades $408.00

112,151 R&R Front Brake Pads, R&R LF Rotor, Oil service $350.00

115,427 R&R battery, repaired small oil leak, Oil service. $450.00

115,607 R&R Pre-Catalytic Converter Pipe, R&R Turbo outlet Pipe, R&R Oil Cooler inlet hose $1,402.00

116,804 R&R Alternator with new $775.00

118,600 R&R all control arms & bushings on the front end. Alignment, Oil service $975.00

120,244 R&R Turbocharger (New) $2,086.00

121,308 R&R PCV Valve, R&R rear hub bearing $305.00

122,201 Remove engine. Oil wiper rings gone causing excessive oil burn. Installed new factory short block, heads sent out for factory spec reconditioning, various parts replaced, most if not all existing items reused and reinstalled. Engine rebuilt to spec by Subaru dealership mechanic and the engine was reinstalled. $5,278.00

127,082 R&R harmonic balancer & center timing cover, V-belt, pulley crankshaft bolt replaced $400.00

127,256 A/C unit went bad. Purchased replacement from Auto Salvage yard $133.00

127,256 R&R A/C unit with owner provided unit, A/C service $214.00

130,406 Replace RF Wheel bearing, Replace RF rotor with new Resurface LF rotor, R&R front brake pads $560.00

133,565 Power steering flush, Oil service $128.00

135,575 R&R both rear struts with new, alignment $940.00

141,015 R&R Rear brake pads, Resurface rotors $160.00

144,094 R&R upper and lower radiator hoses, replaced radiator (new), fluids $595.00

144,905 Repaired harness wires at hatch. Rear defroster and some lights were not working $140.00

150,136 R&R new tires $525.00

150,392 R&R RR wheel bearing, Replaced front Brake pads, State inspection, Alignment

154,119 R&R all belts $85.00

154,251 Clean throttle body assembly $55.00



Conclusion...

Given the many costly repairs over time, do I still consider this all worth it.. Yes.. Hands down.. Knock wood I've never had an issue with the AWD system, I expected things to wear out.. I knew from the beginning the Turbo system would be expensive to replace, however I can say it was all worth it..!!!

Consider this.. it's a 2005 Outback XT with 155K and it got a factory spec rebuilt engine at 122K.. Virtually all the major components have been replaced. And looks new, drives new, and is still fun to drive at any cost..

Here are a few shots of everything discussed here.. Thanks and I look forward to feedback.. FYI, just keep in mind, in the very near future, I just might be considering putting this "new car" up for sale..


My 2002 Chrysler Sebring LXI..



My 2005 Subaru Outback 2.5XT Limited..



My 2005 Subaru Outback 2.5XT Limited showing 154K on the odometer..




Steve Nordahl
Bethlehem, Pa.
 

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I'm kind of amazed by how much you've had to put into your XT... mine's certainly needed more maintenance dollars than my '98 2.5L, but nothing approaching the scale you've detailed.
 

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I just took my first road-trip since the 105K service.

About 172 miles each way. ~20.3mpg combined on my last tank. ~22mpg on the way down. Pretty much all Interstate. Haven't checked what I got on the way back yet.

I kind of thought I smelled something hot at the stoplight as I came off the Interstate. Haven't investigated it any further yet, but I sure hope there isn't a new problem.
 

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Wow thanks for that detail. I am in love with the XT. I am averaging 23 highway, no burning oil, and smooth shifting on my MT. I had a civic but this car is so much better for me, and way faster lol! I really love your color XT I unfortunately got the maroon one. Which, in general, wouldn't be too bad, but my mother had a 1985 Subaru wagon of the same color and now everyone says I just missed that car. Also I just think its an ugly color. LOVE the interior though. Heated seats, leather, moonroof! Also I love the winter package, very helpful on cold days when ice sits on the wipers. I hope to run it for another 100k miles and make it my transportation beater :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks guys for the initial comments and stories about your experiences..

I wanted to add a little to my overview.. I didn't mention much about the commute background. I'm since retired as of the middle of 2009, however during the period I was part of a car pool traveling about 100 miles roundtrip one week out of four in the cycle. After I purchased the 2005 XT as I mentioned originally, I used the Sebring to commute either 5 miles to the local park and ride, or the 100 mile one week cycle..

Once I sold the Sebring in 2007, the Subaru became my primary car.. At that time I left the car pool due to scheduling conflicts.. Now it was 100-175 mile roundtrips each day continuous. The travel was from eastern Pennsylvania over to New Jersey. Occasionally all the way to Newark to my office in downtown.

It was for the most part 65 mph highway/interstate rush hour driving to and from. I tend to believe it was a little more harsher on the XT than weekend trips.

One thing that was a little unexpected was the oil wiper rings heading south.. After 100K My Subaru mechanic & I both started noticing slight more oil use and we kept an eye on it. However, it really didn't present itself for another 15K.

In my opinion, one thing that can hurt an XT is lousy fuel.. I was buying fuel in Jersey rather than at home in Pennsylvania many times because it was cheaper in NJ. I always got premium, but even with name brands you still have to be careful.. You really never know what your getting, and if any contaminants are getting in.. The fuel filter was cleaned twice on this car and it no doubt was getting stuff from outside sources..

AWDBoost, I agree with what you mentioned about the little items on the car that sometimes go unreported or even unnoticed for their usefulness. The heated seats are most valued by my wife.. I use it every once in a while. I do use the wiper heaters. They have come in very handy.. The moonroof/vent feature works great and i use it quite often, however you have to remember to lower the rear windows to stop the booming/buffeting effect when the moonroof is open all the way..

Michael, One thing you will almost always smell is coolant after shutting down.. The Intercooler uses coolant to keep the turbo temps down, and you can also get coolant flowing back into the coolant overflow tank.. Also, one other thing that can be detected is a slight burning rubber smell. That's coming from the AWD system, boots etc.

So there you go.. A little more background..

Thanks again for the comments.. I hope this helps others to have the right take on an XT and what to expect down the pike..

Steve..
 

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HD, what kind of oil did you use in your XT for the motor transmission and rear diff?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Standard Subaru motor oil and Subaru filters.. I only used what the Subaru Dealership recommended.. Remember, Synthetic in 2005 XT's was not recommended by Subaru, even after the engine was rebuilt.. It would have void the new engine warranty.

Steve
 

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I went to synthetic at ~102K. I don't think any of the previous owners used it. Just had it changed with synthetic again at 105K.
 

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~20.6mpg driving back. I parked on a relatively flat spot so I can check my oil level later.

I haven't owned a vehicle in ~20yrs that burned any oil, so I'm not really in the habit of checking it.

How often do you guys check the oil-level in your Outback XT's?
--
 

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Every fill up if it's me driving. Every weekend when my wife is doing all the driving.

Good time to look over the coolant levels as well. And empty all the junk out that the kids have dragged in to the back...

Tom
 

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Glad you're so happy with your car.

HD, if you're smelling coolant, there's a leak. The intercooler doesn't touch any coolant. The turbo does share coolant though. The "hot" smell is usually a small oil leak or remnants of an axle boot spraying grease everywhere. The oil cooler gasket does tend to leak at high mileage as do the valve cover gaskets. Those are the most typical causes for oil smells and for oil "consumption".

I generally lose 1qt of oil every 1500 miles, so I check my oil every 500 miles or so. I've also confirmed that I'm not consuming any oil, it is just a couple of small leaks that I need to fix.

Checking your oil could easily save you thousands in repairs...our engines are known for leaking and consuming oil.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Seabass, my error.. I know one of them shared the coolant..

In reality, I actually don't have that smell much.. I've always attributed it to the overflow container.. the rubber gasket on the lid cover is getting old and hard and tends to radiate the smell.. The rubber smell is very light and infrequent.. Right now the engine is tight on all counts.. nothing showing and the engine broke in nicely.. Like others, I've been keeping tabs on the oil levels.. That's how we discovered the first issue.. It starts slowly and with only 3,000 miles you might only see a little drop on the stick..

Steve..
 

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I paid about $9600 (cash plus trade) for this 2005 Outback XT 5MT w/~102K back in November.

Then I've put ~$3500 (easy) into it already.

I'd like to think I'm done pouring money into it. At least for a while.

I'd be pretty bummed if it required another $2k-$5k all of a sudden.
 

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Crazy! I haven't come close to dumping that much into my car. I don't think I'd get to $3500 if I added up the oil changes, trans and diff fluid changes, catless up pipe etc. Although I've probably spent over $500 on f&^%ing headlights over the last 3 years. I guess I've just been lucky and OCD on maintenance. I know I've listed the parts I've had to replace somewhere on here, but for non-routine maintenance items, I've had to replace 2 radiators and some hoses (one was a defective replacement), two front axles and an axle boot, a front wheel bearing, rear struts...that's it.

Although I have literally spent as much on gas in the last 50k miles as I spent purchasing the car.
 

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I've had my car for 2 weeks now, almost 700 miles and 3 tanks of gas. No burning oil, no leaking fluids, got it for 10k even with 96,400ish miles on it. Going to take it in for the 105 month service at agile automotive in the next few weeks and see what they find on top of the maintenance and hopefully not spend more than $700-$800. I doubt anyone buying an XT would read this but I got them to drop the price by $1000 just by telling them I was going to drive the car over 20k miles a year and need to spend $1500 on the 105k mile tune up. I will be putting the bilstein suspension kit on it too. This car adds up quick but I don't mind as long as everything doesn't break at once.
 

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Crazy! I haven't come close to dumping that much into my car. I don't think I'd get to $3500 if I added up the oil changes, trans and diff fluid changes, catless up pipe etc. Although I've probably spent over $500 on f&^%ing headlights over the last 3 years. I guess I've just been lucky and OCD on maintenance. I know I've listed the parts I've had to replace somewhere on here, but for non-routine maintenance items, I've had to replace 2 radiators and some hoses (one was a defective replacement), two front axles and an axle boot, a front wheel bearing, rear struts...that's it.

Although I have literally spent as much on gas in the last 50k miles as I spent purchasing the car.
Headlights - I bought bulbs from this site many years ago, and they are still going strong (OSRAM H7 Rallye 65W for 2005 XT) : Candlepower Shopping Homepage

And a lot brighter! I did pull the DRL fuse.

I think everything Michael has spent money on is normal maintenance items. It's easy to spend $3500 if you have a lot all at once at 105kish and shops do all the work.

Timing belt, water pump, idlers, tensioner etc = $1000+
Tires = $600ish or mroe
Brakes = $800ish for pads and rotors
Shocks = $800-$1000
Banjo Bolt replacement = $??? 200
Transmission flush = $150
Front and Read Diff = $150ish
Ripped LCA bushings? = $400ish ea side
Ripped Axle boots = $300/side = $600


Car's aren't cheap these days. Any car would need most of these.
 

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Great thread.

I don't know if I'd have been jazzed with a short block at 122k after exemplary routine maintenance.

I don't drive my car much at this point since I use my motorcycle to get to work. But when I do I'm reminded of how much fun all that boost is.
 

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Great thread.

I don't know if I'd have been jazzed with a short block at 122k after exemplary routine maintenance.

I don't drive my car much at this point since I use my motorcycle to get to work. But when I do I'm reminded of how much fun all that boost is.
How do you like those rallitek springs?
 

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They rock. It doesn't change the way the car rides really, it just allows me to fill up the back of the car with dead bod-, er, camping gear.
 
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