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Two Gen 2 Outbax, Third on the way...maybe an '04 H6 Beanie OBW this week.
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Discussion Starter #1
Hi All, I Recently joined the forum and have two Gen 2 Outbax..both with 2.5 engines. Both were purchased in the last few years. First two Subies. Both had head gaskets done prior to purchasing. And BOTH were in the $2K range. So far so good. I'm just now getting the itch for #3 Subie and have been shopping around since January. More seriously the past month or so.

I keep finding Gen 2 LL Bean H6 powered machines in my area and am thinking of pulling the trigger on one. Perhaps as soon as this weekend. I've done a bit or research and for the most part like what I'm seeing.

Any of you care to share your insights on why I should or shouldn't get an H6 Subie? Yes, I understand the cost differences...but not so much the overall benefits, durability, reliability, major issues, etc.
and the title - Advantages or disadvantages with 2.5 vs H6 powered Outbacks?

Thanks,
Steve
 

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2003 Subaru Outback 2.5
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206 Posts
Main difference I know is the 2.5 is MUCH more common. Even in junkyards. Seems to be easier to find parts also.
 

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Two Gen 2 Outbax, Third on the way...maybe an '04 H6 Beanie OBW this week.
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Discussion Starter #3
Good point to consider. Thanks!

Seems Utah has a plethora of H6 Beanies right now. I've looked at 3 this week. Couple of decent ones...one Franken Soob....yeow! I've also sourced quite a bit of mechanical parts places for the 6 banger.

...and down below is Recommended Reading threads on this topic...will peruse and digest them.
 

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2002 Outback VDC
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236 Posts
There are probably about 7000 of these threads around here, but I'll add my two cents.

Around Portland, if you isolate to just the Gen 2, you will see more H6's around than 2.5s.

This is probably for a host of reasons. Some say the H6 is more reliable, and while you don't have to do timing chains, head gaskets etc, I feel like either car if well taken care of will go for a very long time. Of course there are little things on the H6 to fix (Valve cover gaskets, oil cooler gasket, fuel pump o-ring) but they're pretty easy to DIY.

I think you might see more H6's because they were quite a bit more expensive new, and they may have been purchased by a more "enthusiast" crowd who may have kept up with maintenance a little better. As a result they've managed to stick around on the used market as opposed to the 2.5 which may have not been as well taken care of on average and ended up in junkyards.

I would say the main overall benefit is comfort. The Gen 2 H6 almost always has leather, nicer interiors, and not to mention a LOT more get up and go. I ski northwest storms a lot (Often near freezing and heavy ice accumulation over the course of a day) and the heated seats, mirrors, and windshield are fantastic. If you can get a VDC trim, you have an unstoppable snow machine with regards to traction. The H6 also "feels" a lot more solid on the freeway.

To close, I'm thinking about picking up a 2018 and leaning towards a 2.5 because the advantages of the 3.6 aren't really as big as they used to be (CVT helps the 2.5 with power and they now use timing chains in both models).

I'm sure others on here will have more thoughts, and if you search around there's an endless amount of compare/contrasts between the two.
 

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Two Gen 2 Outbax, Third on the way...maybe an '04 H6 Beanie OBW this week.
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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Thanks much for the insight. I am seeing the threads in the Recommended Reading below so there's some more homework for me.

Getting a bit of real world intel is great to hear.

Driving the first H6 last week, I could definitely feel the weight and solidity of the extra pounds under the hood.

In the 70's I was into VW bugs and rebuilt the engines and cars from the ground up and had some fun burning the tires off and surprising the unprepared when a "hot VW" pulled up and was invited to "dance".

Then moved to American Iron and mostly late 60's and early 70's Chevy, Pontiac, Olds...stuff.

My last endeavor was late 40's and 50's iron. I was first on the planet to put a Duramax diesel and Allison tranny into a 50's car....right after another dude put one in a 67 impala. ( Oops...it was a '65 Impala ...back in '07 on Pimp My Ride. ) Did mine in '08-'09.

Then took a break from it all in 2009. Just the back history to say I've done a few cars in my time.

PS- little edit....my 1950 Chrysler Windsor with the Duramax under the hood. Price is my last name.
507778
 

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'04 Outback H6-3.0 L.L. Bean in Seamist Green, '00 Legacy L in Timberline Green
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I have a 2000 Legacy L with the 2.5 and a 2004 Outback LL Bean with the 3.0. The 3.0's acceleration is good compared to the 2.5's, but the 3.0 really shines at passing speed on the highway compared to the 2.5. I personally would recommend the 3.0 over the 2.5. All 3.0s will have automatic climate control which no 2.5 did and the h6 ll bean and VDC will have leather while the 35th-anniversary edition and base h6 will not. The VDC has the awesome McIntosh audio system and VDC + VTD which no other usdm gen 2 outback has (only the 03/04 legacy gt has just VTD). The VDC will be considerably more rare and expensive than LL Beans, and LL Beans tend to go for around $4500 or more where I live around 140k miles. The LL Bean and VDC's power driver seats also have more functions than the 2.5 Limited's does. All H6s will come standard with a rear LSD except for the VDC which has brake vectoring with open diffs which is better, whereas only 03/04 2.5s have the LSD standard and all 2.5 Limiteds have a standard LSD, although by now the viscous LSDs have probably turned themselves into open diffs because no one really changes the fluid in those.
 

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Two Gen 2 Outbax, Third on the way...maybe an '04 H6 Beanie OBW this week.
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Discussion Starter #7
Good stuff, slicknick924! Every leather Beanie I've looked at has the center split in the driver's seat. Lucky me has two sewing machines, a leather sewing awl and knows how to use them.

The differences you point out really help. The VDC thing is new to me...but not a foreign language. I know Posi trac, limited slip, live axle, etc...from American Iron....but not so much about viscous LSD or the VDC, VTD, TorSen, or TVD stuff. More homework. oh yeah.
 

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5, Gen 2 H6's: 2001 LLBean, 2002 LLBean, 2002 VDC, 2003 Plain H6, and 2004 LLBean...I love the H6's!
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384 Posts
I am a believer in the H6 cars, so I vote H6. I own 5 of them, though 1 of them was totaled 10 days ago I still technically own it :cautious: One of my other H6 cars is my current project. It has a bad head gasket on the driver side. I plan to get the engine out of the totaled car soon and plop it into my project later this spring/early summer.

I find the H6 easy and enjoyable, even therapeutic, to work on...Very straightforward, and I am able to find either salvage yard parts or someone locally parting one out so I can snag a few OEM parts, such as an alternator or a/c compressor, that would otherwise be difficult to find at a decent price.

Good luck with your decision.
 

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Two Gen 2 Outbax, Third on the way...maybe an '04 H6 Beanie OBW this week.
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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks, berto. Bummer to hear one of yours was totaled recently.

I made an appt. with the first H6 Beanie owner I looked at for a very serious consideration. Her local classified ad expired 2 days ago. Which meant one of two things - Sold! or expired ad. She had 34 favorites and nearly a thousand views on her ad. When I drove it she said another guy was coming over the next day to possibly buy it. I said good for you....if it sells, it sells, I'll check back in a week or so to see. I did, it didn't sell. Appointment Monday afternoon. Bringing the cash with me on this one. The others I looked at were in need of much more TLC than hers. She's moving, single, with two cars, driving to Jupiter....Florida...in her CRV, other vehicle. The decision might be a done deal Monday.
 

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Two Gen 2 Outbax, Third on the way...maybe an '04 H6 Beanie OBW this week.
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Discussion Starter #11
One more and I'm past the tipping point, right? Might happen Monday...then it's all down hill from there. Haven't had a car payment in decades...don't care to buy new either. Current daily driver is a 2008 Chevy Impala Undercover Police Car package. Only missing the strobes, siren and red and blues.

And in '06 I had a custom 50 Chevy Business Coupe, the Voodoo Coupe (sold to a guy in France ), and a 47 Windsor, 50 Windsor, and a 48 Buick Roadmaster all at the same time. That one went to Belgium of all places.

Kinda gives you an idea why I took a long break in 09 from most things cars. Drove a minivan a good while. Ha ha!

Three Subies will be just fine....
 

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Two Gen 2 Outbax, Third on the way...maybe an '04 H6 Beanie OBW this week.
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Discussion Starter #12
Well... I think I got enough responses and read enough threads here to assist the decision making process.


Pulled the trigger yesterday on the first one I drove a few weeks ago. I drove it again this week and gave it a second longer look, then looked at a few more H6 Beans...but those had some "concerns " which weren't apparent in the ads and online listings.

One funny one - I drove it at lunch yesterday - at a local Used dealership. Advertised as "Special AS-IS" @ $1995.00 2003 LL Bean H6. The guy said it has an oil leak... I say yeah, they do leak sometimes. I walk over to it where it was parked on clean concrete and see a puddle under it.....uuuhhh.....what!? I lean under and touch it....antifreeze....okay. Pop the hood and the overflow bottle is gurgling like a volcano...okay. Drove it anyway. It is missing a buncha parts here and there. The interior was the basic tan on tan for these creme, white or pearl Beans. This one was Black seating front and rear on tan everything else. Hmm... a little interior decorating I suppose. Air bag light is on. I came back and laid down under it. Two leaks...antifreeze and oil. Some quickie fixes and hose replacements were obvious. One oil hose had the OEM clamps on the steel ends plus screw tight clamps because the OEM wouldn't fit over the 3/4" hose which had a 90 degree kinked bend in it. Wheeee!

The guy said ...here's what we'll do for you right now... We'll take $200 off the top...so $1795...okay...and then there's the doc, sales tax, dealer fees of $400 added back on to $2250 out the door. ooooooh! I got a carfax copy and left.

I get my "new to me" 2004 LL Bean H6 this weekend. The girl is out of town a few days.

Thanks for the responses!
 

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'04 Outback H6-3.0 L.L. Bean in Seamist Green, '00 Legacy L in Timberline Green
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Well... I think I got enough responses and read enough threads here to assist the decision making process.


Pulled the trigger yesterday on the first one I drove a few weeks ago. I drove it again this week and gave it a second longer look, then looked at a few more H6 Beans...but those had some "concerns " which weren't apparent in the ads and online listings.

One funny one - I drove it at lunch yesterday - at a local Used dealership. Advertised as "Special AS-IS" @ $1995.00 2003 LL Bean H6. The guy said it has an oil leak... I say yeah, they do leak sometimes. I walk over to it where it was parked on clean concrete and see a puddle under it.....uuuhhh.....what!? I lean under and touch it....antifreeze....okay. Pop the hood and the overflow bottle is gurgling like a volcano...okay. Drove it anyway. It is missing a buncha parts here and there. The interior was the basic tan on tan for these creme, white or pearl Beans. This one was Black seating front and rear on tan everything else. Hmm... a little interior decorating I suppose. Air bag light is on. I came back and laid down under it. Two leaks...antifreeze and oil. Some quickie fixes and hose replacements were obvious. One oil hose had the OEM clamps on the steel ends plus screw tight clamps because the OEM wouldn't fit over the 3/4" hose which had a 90 degree kinked bend in it. Wheeee!

The guy said ...here's what we'll do for you right now... We'll take $200 off the top...so $1795...okay...and then there's the doc, sales tax, dealer fees of $400 added back on to $2250 out the door. ooooooh! I got a carfax copy and left.

I get my "new to me" 2004 LL Bean H6 this weekend. The girl is out of town a few days.

Thanks for the responses!
Lmao, interesting 2003. When I bought my 2004 Bean, the airbag light was on, but only because of a bad connection as diagnosed by my mechanic. It may have been because of an airbag recall for gen 2 outbacks and other Subarus in January of last year. Also, the front seats were black leather? That's weird lol, previous owner probably destroyed the original seats. Have any pictures tho? kinda want to see what an interior mix up would look like. Awesome to hear that you got an '04 LL Bean, they are awesome cars
 

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2011 Outback 3.6 Camellia Red Metallic, 2002 H6 Outback wagon VDC + 2001 2.5 VDC
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325 Posts
H6 all the way....
Find a well cared for, as rust free as poss example..
Bought a cheap 2002 H6 VDC (VDC, std on the H6 here).. it had a gearbox issue.. it ran 16k with the issue till it wouldnt shift up out of 2nd..
Dropped on another box for £50 and installed that did another 25k.
It was getting tired, suspension, corrosion, brakes and so I replaced it with a 2001 2.5 VDC (vdc was a costly option on the 2.5) which I found locally that was almost rust free.
The 2.5 drives better than the H6 (had a much easier life I suppose) but is a bit of a slug by comparison performance wise.. but it’s better now after 30k miles...
the 2.5 is no more economical than the H6 in my hands, so no advantage there.
When the vdc cuts in on the H6 it can still pull itself along, the 2.5 just drops dead really...

Since replaced them both with gen4 3.6. (Well, “replaced” isn’t really the word as I still have the other 2.... ha ha ha)
 

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Two Gen 2 Outbax, Third on the way...maybe an '04 H6 Beanie OBW this week.
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Discussion Starter #15
Here's the 03 Bean I test drove this week. I think they used a liter or two of 'liquid shine' detail spray. I got in to drive it and slid across the driver's seat over the console into the passenger seat....lol. The engine bay was power washed but the bling factor from the detail spray blinded me. Many fasteners were missing. Engine ran smooth enough. Tranny felt decent. I dogged it around the big city block hard. Doubling the speed limits where I could braked hard,etc. Enough fishy smell to call it a fish. 5 owners. Fleet vehicle at one time. Here's that two tone interior look. It was nice enough...just not for me.
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508260
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508263
 

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Two Gen 2 Outbax, Third on the way...maybe an '04 H6 Beanie OBW this week.
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Discussion Starter #16
Wish I had pics of the one I'm buying. Her ad expired so no pics. I get it Sunday. Today I bought a brand new set of tires on Subie rims for two Benjamin's ($200.00). He threw in a pair of rear struts NIB unopened. Fits 00-04. I tipped him an additional $50. The tires and rims are to swap out the rims and Blizzak tires for winter. Bought a bunch of tools, too. Ready to go to town with it....actually to the desert! Me and the fam in Moab, Utah at Mesa Arch
508264
 

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'04 Outback H6-3.0 L.L. Bean in Seamist Green, '00 Legacy L in Timberline Green
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Here's the 03 Bean I test drove this week. I think they used a liter or two of 'liquid shine' detail spray. I got in to drive it and slid across the driver's seat over the console into the passenger seat....lol. The engine bay was power washed but the bling factor from the detail spray blinded me. Many fasteners were missing. Engine ran smooth enough. Tranny felt decent. I dogged it around the big city block hard. Doubling the speed limits where I could braked hard,etc. Enough fishy smell to call it a fish. 5 owners. Fleet vehicle at one time. Here's that two tone interior look. It was nice enough...just not for me.
View attachment 508258 View attachment 508259 View attachment 508260 View attachment 508261 View attachment 508263
Here's the 03 Bean I test drove this week. I think they used a liter or two of 'liquid shine' detail spray. I got in to drive it and slid across the driver's seat over the console into the passenger seat....lol. The engine bay was power washed but the bling factor from the detail spray blinded me. Many fasteners were missing. Engine ran smooth enough. Tranny felt decent. I dogged it around the big city block hard. Doubling the speed limits where I could braked hard,etc. Enough fishy smell to call it a fish. 5 owners. Fleet vehicle at one time. Here's that two tone interior look. It was nice enough...just not for me.
View attachment 508258 View attachment 508259 View attachment 508260 View attachment 508261 View attachment 508263
You know what, even though you lose recline functionality, I like the black and tan combo, and those seats look like they're in ok condition and the black leather stuff is kinda rare. I wonder what black leather door panels and some dark interior trim would look like with tan leather seats lol. Also like how the driver side door panel has been replaced with a cloth one
 

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Two Gen 2 Outbax, Third on the way...maybe an '04 H6 Beanie OBW this week.
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Discussion Starter #18
I looked at the seat condition closely. Real Leather, very minor wear on the entry of the driver's seat. Otherwise pristine for its age. The gray carpet behind the rear seats clashes with the rest of the tan carpet, IMO.

Here's the the new set of tires and '03 stock 16's plus the one of the FREE! rear struts. It was such deal I tipped the seller and additional $50. He counted the cash and looked at me weird and said "did I count $250?" I said yes, you're way underpriced and two free struts NIB unopened?. You deserve more so ya an extra $50. He was happy. A very dire need for storage space is his reason for selling cheap. I believed him. Stuff was stacked and tight quarters.
I wish I had taken a pic of his rig. It's an 03 OB impreza I think. A shorty OB. Lifted 2" maybe 2.5 with springs and 15' rims sported Yoko Geolanders. Looked ready to rock off road.
508286
 

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'04 Outback H6-3.0 L.L. Bean in Seamist Green, '00 Legacy L in Timberline Green
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I looked at the seat condition closely. Real Leather, very minor wear on the entry of the driver's seat. Otherwise pristine for its age. The gray carpet behind the rear seats clashes with the rest of the tan carpet, IMO.

Here's the the new set of tires and '03 stock 16's plus the one of the FREE! rear struts. It was such deal I tipped the seller and additional $50. He counted the cash and looked at me weird and said "did I count $250?" I said yes, you're way underpriced and two free struts NIB unopened?. You deserve more so ya an extra $50. He was happy. A very dire need for storage space is his reason for selling cheap. I believed him. Stuff was stacked and tight quarters.
I wish I had taken a pic of his rig. It's an 03 OB impreza I think. A shorty OB. Lifted 2" maybe 2.5 with springs and 15' rims sported Yoko Geolanders. Looked ready to rock off road. View attachment 508286
Super good deal on the set of rims and the struts lol. Also those aren't stock rims for USDM Outbacks, they're slightly different. These look like EU Legacy GX or JDM Legacy touring wagon rims and I like them better lol. Stock Baja and Bean rims:
508288


Edit: I think they came from a gen 2 impreza actually
 
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