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Discussion Starter #1
I've owned couple Subaru's, but never one with a turbo. Always thought it would be ideal up here though.

I've found both a Legacy GT wagon and Outback XT at small dealerships. Liked the performance, but those vehicles had some issues.

Found a very clean Outback XT from a private-party today. Looks like a good deal.

I've read a lot of horror stories about turbo failures in the Outback XT.

Any comments before I jump on this one? I sure liked it, but now I'm wondering if I should skip it and look for a 6cyl instead?

My wife has a 2013 RDX and I have a 2003 Tundra. This would just be a "fun" car, grocery-getter, alternate vehicle for me.
 

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At 102k, it is due for timing belt, tensioner, idlers, water pump, thermostat and possibly more roughly next week. Ready for that? I'd budget $1100 if you're paying retail for all.

suspension ought to be well worn by now, and as far as the turbo goes... best case it's 50% used up by now. a complete maintenance history showing synthetic oil changes every 3750 would shore that up, can the seller provide docs?

They're awesome cars, love mine. Just be aware that at 102k, this one is on the cusp of needing a lot of work. Make sure that is priced in accordingly.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
At 102k, it is due for timing belt, tensioner, idlers, water pump and possibly more roughly next week. Ready for that? I'd budget $1100 if you're paying retail for all.
I haven't confirmed it, but I heard the major Subaru dealer here is currently running a $389 special on the timing belt, but yeah I've seen that $1100 number elsewhere also.

Private-party is ~$2k less than I've been seeing at dealerships and MUCH cleaner. Also maybe some piece of mind having it gone-through right away.

Just a little nervous about the turbo. Not really sure how a big a risk it really is.

We're thinking buying a nice used car should cost us less than over maybe 5yrs than buying a new $30k vehicle.
 

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To put it in perspective, a turbo catastrophe is when the turbo fails and takes out the whole engine. That's a $7k+ situation.

If the turbo fails but you shut down & tow in time, turbo-only replacement is $1200-1500.

Absolute best predictor of turbo health is by checking the shaft for play- that means dropping the downpipe, which is a couple of hours. Next best is seeing a perfect maintenance record.

For what it's worth, I bought mine at 100k needing the same stuff. TB service, banjo bolt, rear struts all done shortly after I got it. Maint record was about 95% of what I wanted to see.

23k miles later and I'm still smiling. Good luck!
 

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It's a **** of a risk if you don't know how the car was maintained. I wouldn't even think about a high mileage obxt without a decent extended warranty. You'll find a lot of horror stories!

Dropping the DP can be done in less than an hour. Everything is fairly easily accessible.
 

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Did you ask the guy about the Turbo health and the banjo filters? There is a good chance he knows all about it and pulled out the filters a long time ago. I got rid of mine at 125k this past spring and found the buyers very educated.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Told him I would take it. Plan to pick it up tomorrow. Seems nicer and about $2K less than I've found from dealers.

One local Subaru shop offers a 3yr/36 month warranty on repairs. Would it make sense to have them replace the turbo now even though it appears fine?
 

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Congrats!

Not an awful idea, but you want to be really proactive you should probably consider making some mods to safeguard the new turbo.

Specifically, do something about the oil supply line. Some people replace the oil screen in the feeder line. Some people remove it altogether, and some folks replace it with an aftermarket part that has a much better replaceable filter on it.

The other one is changing out the up-pipe. 05 & 06 cars have a catalyst in the up-pipe, and if the cat fragments, the chunks blow straight into the turbine. Subaru revised the design for 07 cars so that the cats were downstream of the turbo. You can get catless up-pipes that fit yours from Subaru or from several third parties.

I haven't had any turbo trouble (knock wood) but I have replaced the feeder oil line screen and am preparing to replace the up-pipe on my own car.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I've had a little time to pick through the maintenance records.

Looks like maybe an oil-change when he got it, then next one +3890mi.

Next one documented is +5908mi. I'm HOPING there was one in-between there that just didn't make it into the folder.

Next one is +2598mi, which included some other maintenance.
Then +5486mi, so again hoping there's one just not documented.

The sticker in the window indicates the dealer suggests every 3-months / 3500mi. Next one due in 747mi.
 

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Pull the banjo filter and look at it. We bought our 05 with 5k on it from the dealer (demo car). I changed oil every 5-7k until about 2 years ago (80k) when I became aware of the new recommended oil change interval. I also always used aftermarket oil filters (FRAM). Pulled the banjo bolt a month ago and it was pristine.

Now I'm older and wiser, using Rotella T6 5W-40, subaru oil filters, and 4k OCI. I count myself lucky, but as long as the banjo filter is good, you don't have an issue with the OCI.

Tom
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I'm just over 102K. Figured I would get an oil-change ASAP so it will be be due again for the 105K.

Would there be any value in waiting to have them replace the banjo-bolt / union screw @ 105K with the timing-belt instead of replacing it now?
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Just dropped it off at the dealer for an oil-change.

The "advisor" said they normally use regular oil every 3500 on these.

I upgraded to synthetic for an additional $28. I thought I had been seeing synthetic listed on the maintenance schedule, but not seeing it now.

Any thoughts on synthetic -vs- regular oil for these, especially since I plan on having the oil changed every 3750.

Are there any issues I should be aware of switching to synthetic now -- possibly for the first time -- at ~102K?
 

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You're going to hear many opinions on this, some of them directly contradicting others. But in general, if you've been doing something for the life of the car (non-synthetic), it is recommended you stay with that. The one thing everyone seems to agree on is the fact that synthetics don't break down as quickly.

Having said that, IMO you won't have a problem. The weight of the oil is a bigger issue for me, especially in a climate with extreme hots and extreme colds.

The only other "heads up" is if you've been using parafin-based oil, don't switch to non-parafin oil. The wax actually cements in engine. Other oils then come and "clean it out" leaving you with a big bill.
 

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Agreed, a lot of opinions on this. Some of them may not be educated on the unique requirements of the turbo.

Generally from my research, the consensus is that you should use synthetic for turbos because they cause the oil to shear down to a lower effective weight very quickly, especially Subaru's. Rotella T6 5W40 is a highly recommended oil for our car at $20 for 4 qts (note you will need slightly more than 4 qts to get it up to full).

I switched at 98k just a few k's ago after using dino up till now. I'd rather protect my turbo with higher weight oil throughout the OCI and live with the small chance something some deposits dissolve that was holding something together :)

Tom

The other option is just leave dino.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I just called and asked them if they could REPLACE the banjo-bolt / union-screw as well, since they're going to have the car all day.

Waiting to hear back as to whether they are able to.

ETA - they "forgot" about my inquiry, so they're checking on it...

ETA - First service advisor was very familiar with the issue and estimated roughly $250 off top of his head. Was transferred to another advisor who was not familiar with the issue. After several phone calls and consultation with the mechanic, they decided the turbo has to be removed and the cost jumped to $650. So I'm going to pass on replacing the banjo-bolt / union screw right now, or at least not have it done at the dealer.
--
 

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Just dropped it off at the dealer for an oil-change.

The "advisor" said they normally use regular oil every 3500 on these.

I upgraded to synthetic for an additional $28. I thought I had been seeing synthetic listed on the maintenance schedule, but not seeing it now.

Any thoughts on synthetic -vs- regular oil for these, especially since I plan on having the oil changed every 3750.

Are there any issues I should be aware of switching to synthetic now -- possibly for the first time -- at ~102K?
another maintenance schedule that addresses the synthetic/conventional question...


Subaru maintenance schedules and new car break-in period- 2000 through 2009, links for 2010, 2011...
 

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HA! Yeah, you might want to consider it there is another dealer near you. They don't know much about the car they are working on. Maybe in an indepenent Subaru repair place? Probably not in Florida. Plenty here in Colorado :)

I have the '05 XT. You absolutely do not need to remove the turbo. Some of the newer ones (07?) do require turbo removal IIRC.

You only want them to replace the on on the inlet side. THere is a 2nd one, but if the one upstream looks good no need to worry about the other one (ACVS?)

Make sure you have them save the old bolt and filter to give to you. The filter is buried inside the bolt, and you replace the whole bolt + filter. I think it was $15? Didn't take me more than an hour. There was a helpful tip using floss to get the rear washer in place.

Tom
 
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