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I'm looking at a Subaru for my daughter and could use some advice. It's a '99 Legacy GT sedan, 5-speed, cloth, ABS from the original owner. I'm posting here because I understand the engine is the same Phase 1 version as in the Outback.

Good: She has every receipt from day 1, zero rust, clean, always garaged, no dents, dings, or accidents, one minor paint crack.

Bad: 185k miles and it's been overheating. Oil looked clean, water also, but crud in the overflow tank. Didn't see smoke, but it was getting dark. I'm assuming it needs head gaskets, clutch, shocks, brakes, and tires (and the sunroof doesn't close on its own).

I can get it for $1500, but I'm not sure it makes sense even at that price. I would pull the engine and do the work myself. I've never owned a Subaru, but have done most of my own work on many cars, including timing belt/heads on a 3.0 V6 Alfa 164, etc. I'd appreciate any advice/opinions/etc.
 

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Unless you truely want it, that is a money pit.

if you have all the tools already, including an engine lift i would personally only offer about $800. you should *at least* budget $700-800 for the replacement parts, and several weekends worth of work. good luck.
 

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$800 maybe - if the release bearing on the clutch has been failing for a while and ignored the input shaft could be damaged which means it could be a full transmission replacement pending how bad the shaft is scored. Very common with the 5spd MT in the subarus.

The HG issue and overheating - with any car when you fix a leaking HG right away no big deal engine is good no warped heads - or damaged bearings or scored parts etc. Ignored and driven your guess is as good as anyone's the engine could be one 3000rpm run away from a thrown rod due to bearing failure and the heads could be damaged from very hot overheating etc.

$800 is being kind
 
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