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2002 VDC Outback sedan
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A local Honda dealer took an 02 Outback VDC sedan in trade. It has 168000 miles, they want $6k.

I drove it last night, couldn't see much but I didn't see any rust in the low light. I will look at it again in better light.

Being a Honda dealer, they don't know anything about the car and don.t have a service history. They showed me a carfax which says its a one owner car. The owner took it in for service pretty regularly in the beginning. Then a 4 year span of nothing. Maybe the owner started using an oil change shop? Then it started showing dealer service again.

I listened to the motor, the only noise is a light ticking on the right. Very light. Is that normal? I have a few other cars and the only one that ticks like that is my 4.6l tbird. In that car the ticking is the fuel injectors. It sounded kind of like that except the injectors aren't in that location.

Are these things supposed to ride so firm? Almost rough. Like a wrx sti, you feel everything. It's quiet though. I took it over railroad tracks, manhole covers, cracks, etc. It took everything very quietly. No rattles or thumps. It's very tight. The salesman said they serviced the engine, trans, suspension, and tires. The tires are coopers and very noisy. It's hard to tell if its tire noise or wheel bearings!. I hate cooper tires.

Anyway it rides like a truck. Quiet, tight, yet you wouldnt dare try to drink anything. I don't know if the dealer or previous owner put new suspension bits but it sure is firm and tight riding.

The only problems I could find are the cruise doesn't work, drivers door seal lets air whistle through, and drivers seat back doesn't heat.

So is the price reasonable, considering dealer markup?
 

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(formerly) 03 H6 OBW , (presently) 06 WRX Sportwagon & 2021 Honda CR-V
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serviced the suspension?

good candidate for a pre-purchase inspection. (maybe your mechanic can confirm they installed the correct struts for instance)

post your city and maybe someone can suggest a shop. You do not want to pay good money for any used car with problems, including a Subaru with torque bind.
 

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Cruise control not working is standard protocol for some type of code in the ECU. The firm ride is probably due to very very old Cooper tires which are harder than concrete. Tire rubber continues to cure tires that are really old can be rock hard and impact the ride quality of the car.

Get the codes pulled from the car given no Cruise control it should have a few.
 

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2002 VDC Outback sedan
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173 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I'm in Davenport Iowa.

I'll look at it again sometime this week and try to see how old the tires are.

If they don't pull the codes for me ill take it for another drive and pull the codes with my phone.

Obd2 under the steering column? Or passenger side?

If there are no significant issues what do you guys think of their asking price?
 

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2004 Outback Wagon, 2.5, 4EAT, All weather package.
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1,036 Posts
OBD2 port is on the driver's side, under the hush panel near the hood release.
 

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2005 Legacy 2.5i Wagon 4EAT; 2005 Forester XS 4EAT
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I'd say the price sounds about right, at least for around here.

Outback sedans and Bajas hold very high value in some areas.

They do tend to ride somewhat firm, but I agree it could be the tires.

As for the heated seats, mine don't work right, so I can't really say. It could take 20 minutes before you even notice they're on. They'll get good and warm at some point for about 5 minutes, then you might not feel anything for another half hour. I've owned many cars with heated seats, and I KNOW this isn't "normal" for heated seats.

If you hook up an OBD scanner and it shows no codes, check the Emissions Status. If it's anything but green (good), then the codes were recently reset. Probably nothing to get overly worried about, but it's a good bargaining tool.
 

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(formerly) 03 H6 OBW , (presently) 06 WRX Sportwagon & 2021 Honda CR-V
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as it stands, it's a little pricey to me.

but, there's a ticking sound unidentified, cruise doesn't work, possible wheel bearing noise or bad tires - I'd have it checked by a soob-experienced mechanic. It may be fine, if so, 80-125$ is worht it to KNOW. If a mech DOES find a list of problems, have a discussion with him, negotiate a better price, start doing the repairs on a priority basis. If he finds torque bind, or a sticking valve, you may be better off shopping elsewhere.

used cars all trend towards being the same risk regardless of brand. A specific 11 year old Honda could be a much worse purchase than some 11 year old Fiats. It depends on prior maintenance (in you case, seems OK) AND PRESENT CONDITION.
 

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01 VDC, 05 R Sedan, 06 BAJA EJ257
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The H6 is a dependable engine. Its virtually trouble free.

The VDC has a VTD which makes it AWD all the time and therefore does not experience torque bind.

The ticking could be injectors or a coil has a bad boot that is allowing for an arc to the head which may also cause a misfire. Could be time for an oil change also.

The cruise control not working is generally a fuse or the switch in the dash is bad. The switch has to be turned on when the key is turned on since it automatically turns off the switch with the key off. If it lights up when the button is pushed, it could be the dash switch or the steering wheel control. I have yet to replace a cruise control switch on the steering wheel. Lots of switches on the dash. I've got a post up on this forum on how to check the switch with a link to a video, http://www.subaruoutback.org/forums...on-cruise-control-not-working.html#post473301 The last and least likely would be the cruise control module.

Rough ride could be the tires or its got a fresh set of struts on it. If they are KYB or Billstein, you'll feel the road. The suspension is set up for on and off road use, so it will be stiffer than your normal sedan. It should ride smooth on the highway and handle tight regardless of where you drive.

As for the price, I paid 3k for my 01 wagon then rebuilt the transmission, resealed the windshield, the McIntosh didn't work nor the AC when I bought it. AC was a couple bad seals and the Mc was typical Mc. It just quit. Had 10k on the Michelins but needed an alignment and struts. So, I would say 6k is a good price if all you can find is minor needs.
 

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2013 Legacy Lim CVT Car: 2011 OB Prem 6MT Car: 2006 Miata GT 6MT mc: 2003 Honda GL1800A * Reunite Gondwanaland *
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New car dealer's "asking price" for a used car is always WAY MORE
than they'd be willing to accept. Offer them $4000, for starters, and
dicker from there. Also be sure to negotiate a decent warranty --
it costs them next to nothing.

Looby
 

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2002 Outback 4cyl/AT, 2003 Outback limited 4 cyl/AT, 2015 Outback Limited 4 cyl
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All good information, I'll add to this with my newbie Subie experience: I played with the cruise control lever to the lower right of the steering wheel the whole way home with my 2002 Outback before I realized that you had to have the "cruise" button on to the left of the steering wheel. You probably already know that but I was cussing the "non-working" cruise control until I discovered that I'm an idiot. Live and learn!
 

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2002 VDC Outback sedan
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks for all the tips. Definitely gives me more bargaining power.

From reading on here it sounds like the engines and trans last a long time with regular maintenance.

But I don't see too many posts regarding the awd, good or bad. Is it as reliable as the engine?
And does the Subaru awd power all 4 wheels, or one in front and one in back?

I think its pretty telling that no one has batted an eye at the mileage lol.
 

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'02 Bean H6, AWP & ORP, factory hitch
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I have a 02 OBW with 168k mi. on it. I have the LL Bean and offroad deal on it as well. Heated seat issues are normal, they take a little time to get going. The dealer is using the book value in the "excellent" category. I have a hard time believing that anything with that many miles on it can be considered excellent. You have room to bargain, at least you live in a state where people know what a Subaru is. My H6 is probably the most dependable engine I have ever had, and I've been through many different cars in 30 years of driving. Talk the dealer down, you have wiggle room to play with. Like posted previously, offer $4k and go from there. I have the factory sticker and mine listed for $35k new
 

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'02 Bean H6, AWP & ORP, factory hitch
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Limited-slip AWD is how it was explained to me. That's where the VDC comes in. No point in all 4 wheels pulling equally, say, cruising down the interstate in July. But on a snowy road, going downhill for example, even the tranny helps by not sticking you in OD while coasting. It will keep you in 2nd or 3rd, depending on how fast you are going, to give you more control without relying on braking or manually working the trans (if you have AT, like me). I think you would be glad you bought it if you do.
 

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2005 Legacy 2.5i Wagon 4EAT; 2005 Forester XS 4EAT
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VDC splits power 45/55% rear biased in general normal conditions, and will split up to 50/50. Add traction and stability control to the mix, as well as Variable Torque Distribution (VTD). It's essentially the AWD platform the WRX is built upon. It's a very solid system.

@boxterfan67: That's pretty much the typical Subaru AWD system, which the VDC does not have - for Gen 2 Outbacks. Example: the transmission from your LL Bean won't work in a VDC because the built-in front differential is different.
 

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01 VDC, 05 R Sedan, 06 BAJA EJ257
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VDC splits power 45/55% rear biased in general normal conditions, and will split up to 50/50. Add traction and stability control to the mix, as well as Variable Torque Distribution (VTD). It's essentially the AWD platform the WRX is built upon. It's a very solid system.

@boxterfan67: That's pretty much the typical Subaru AWD system, which the VDC does not have - for Gen 2 Outbacks. Example: the transmission from your LL Bean won't work in a VDC because the built-in front differential is different.
And the LL Bean is like all other Subs of the generation, MPC which makes it predominantly FWD.

The VDC editions have extra programming capabilities over all the other Subs also. Engine, trans and brakes system work in conjunction to control the stability and traction of the car. It makes for a good launch off the line with the VDC off. :D
 

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2002 VDC Outback sedan
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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Thanks for the information!

So I went to the dealer today so I could look it over in the daylight. No rust anywhere, not even the bottoms of the doors. The ticking noise in the engine bay is fuel injectors. Nothing to worry about.

I asked the salesguy to pull the codes so he drove it into the service center. These two young techs literally appeared out of nowhere demanding the salesguy get out of the car. Turns out although they work at a Honda dealership, they live and breathe subarus and any time one comes through the service bay they are all over it. It was comical.

Anyway, none of their code readers can read the 'deep' codes of a Subaru, they said it would need to go to a Subaru dealership. They offered to let me take the car home overnight if I wanted to have it checked at a Sub dealer. I was like, **** yeah!

While at the Honda dealer, I noticed almost all their lifts were empty (guess honda makes a pretty good car lol) so they put the Outback on a lift so I could look at it.

Original owner apparently had it undercoated. Not a fleck of rust ANYWHERE under the car. It is SO clean. Also turns out they replaced both sway bars, stabilizer links, front half shafts (due to cracked boots), 2 of the 3 O2 sensors are brand new. The only drop of oil on the whole car was next to the drain plug. We shined lights all over. The car is so clean you can literally see the head gaskets between the head and the block.

It's on the original exhaust even, so obviously the owner didn't do too many short trips. BTW, what's that giant handle like thing welded to the side of the muffler? Even the subaru guys had never seen that before.

I misread the tires the other night, they are brand new Goodyear Assurance. Noisy, and terrible feel. I'd toss them for Michelin Symmetries if they make them in that size.

So lets see. No rust, runs great, new expensive parts, AND they dropped it another grand due to it sitting there for 60 days. It is now $4993.

I think I'm going to grab it.

Also, dang cruise started working. And I still have an appt at the sub dealer for codes. Ill take it anyway.

For a brief moment when the car was idling (hadn't been driven that say yet) the "AT TEMP" light came on. Drove to the service center and the light went out. Stayed off rest of the night.

The trans isn't even working when it's in Park. Can a trans overheat sitting after 10 minutes of the car idling? Or do the temp sensors go bad on these cars? The trans fluid is a very nice blood red.

Thanks for all the information, this car is looking better and better to me.
 

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2004 Outback Wagon, 2.5, 4EAT, All weather package.
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Thanks for the information!

So I went to the dealer today so I could look it over in the daylight. No rust anywhere, not even the bottoms of the doors. The ticking noise in the engine bay is fuel injectors. Nothing to worry about.

I asked the salesguy to pull the codes so he drove it into the service center. These two young techs literally appeared out of nowhere demanding the salesguy get out of the car. Turns out although they work at a Honda dealership, they live and breathe subarus and any time one comes through the service bay they are all over it. It was comical.

Anyway, none of their code readers can read the 'deep' codes of a Subaru, they said it would need to go to a Subaru dealership. They offered to let me take the car home overnight if I wanted to have it checked at a Sub dealer. I was like, **** yeah!

While at the Honda dealer, I noticed almost all their lifts were empty (guess honda makes a pretty good car lol) so they put the Outback on a lift so I could look at it.

Original owner apparently had it undercoated. Not a fleck of rust ANYWHERE under the car. It is SO clean. Also turns out they replaced both sway bars, stabilizer links, front half shafts (due to cracked boots), 2 of the 3 O2 sensors are brand new. The only drop of oil on the whole car was next to the drain plug. We shined lights all over. The car is so clean you can literally see the head gaskets between the head and the block.

It's on the original exhaust even, so obviously the owner didn't do too many short trips. BTW, what's that giant handle like thing welded to the side of the muffler? Even the subaru guys had never seen that before.

I misread the tires the other night, they are brand new Goodyear Assurance. Noisy, and terrible feel. I'd toss them for Michelin Symmetries if they make them in that size.

So lets see. No rust, runs great, new expensive parts, AND they dropped it another grand due to it sitting there for 60 days. It is now $4993.

I think I'm going to grab it.

Also, dang cruise started working. And I still have an appt at the sub dealer for codes. Ill take it anyway.

For a brief moment when the car was idling (hadn't been driven that say yet) the "AT TEMP" light came on. Drove to the service center and the light went out. Stayed off rest of the night.

The trans isn't even working when it's in Park. Can a trans overheat sitting after 10 minutes of the car idling? Or do the temp sensors go bad on these cars? The trans fluid is a very nice blood red.

Thanks for all the information, this car is looking better and better to me.

Sounds like a pretty good deal, although that transmission thing would scare the **** out of me. Definitely get that checked out before you get your hopes up.

Also, Goodyear Assurance... what? If it is JUST the Goodyear Assurance then they are probably 7 or 8 years old now. Goodyear has an entire line of tires now called the Assurance: TripleTred All Season, Comfort Tred Touring, and FuelMax. There is also a Goodyear Assurance Touring out there, but that is a club tire (can't remember which... either Sam's Club, Costco or Sears) and shouldn't be compared to an actual Goodyear, since they are known knock-offs that happen to still carry the Goodyear name.
 

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(formerly) 03 H6 OBW , (presently) 06 WRX Sportwagon & 2021 Honda CR-V
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that muffler has a high rpm bypass valve. Better scavenging at low rpm, better flow at high rpm. expensive to replace too so, glad there's minimal rust!

if it gets a thumbs up at the mechanic's, I say grab it.
 
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