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Discussion Starter #1
New guy here looking to pull the trigger on an Outback in the coming months. I have a question about 4 vs. 6 cylinders. Yes I've searched and didn't find the answer I was looking for, and I also saw how questions about 4 vs. 6 are usually received, so bear with me. I'm wondering if both engines on fifth gens have timing chains, or if H4s still have a timing belt. Most of the info I've found on this was for fourth gens so I'm not sure if they changed since then. My logic here is that if I'm going to have to spend $1,500 to change the belt in a few years it would be worth it to invest in the 6 instead.
Thanks!
 

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2016 Outback 3.6R LBP "Dingo"
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There are - IMHO - many reasons to prefer the 3.6 over the 2.5. This ain't one of them. Both have chains.
 
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Current models use permanent chains in both 4 and 6 cylinder engines.

The 6-cylinder has always used a chain, and 4-cylinder Outbacks switched to the FB chain-synchronized engine in 2013.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
There are - IMHO - many reasons to prefer the 3.6 over the 2.5. This ain't one of them. Both have chains.
As a perspective buyer, I'd like to hear your other reasons.

I'm torn because I think the H4 is underpowered, but I commute for work on the highway and could really use the mpgs, assuming they can actually pull 33s.
 

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2018 2.5i Limited w/EyeSight
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As a perspective buyer, I'd like to hear your other reasons.

I'm torn because I think the H4 is underpowered, but I commute for work on the highway and could really use the mpgs, assuming they can actually pull 33s.
I doubt you'll get 33 unless you never drive over 60ish. 31 is a lot more realistic for favorable driving (more like 28 here in the northeast in winter)

If you want 33-35, get a CR-V. Similar power level with the turbo, 35 mpg on the highway easy.
 

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2015 Outback 2.5i Limited, Ice Silver/Black
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As a perspective buyer, I'd like to hear your other reasons.

I'm torn because I think the H4 is underpowered, but I commute for work on the highway and could really use the mpgs, assuming they can actually pull 33s.
FWIW, I got 33 with 4 adults and luggage at 75. I also find it economical in town with 25, which is why I bought it in the first place. The V6 I traded in was fine at 22 when I was working and commuting 60 miles per day, but fell way back to 16 when I retired and just putted around town. But it also had 200K+ miles on it, so gas mileage wasn't the only reason I traded it. I don't find the 4 underpowered. Also, much less expensive, topside oil filter and uses 2 less quarts per change. Depends on your needs.
 

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I have never seen 33 with my 2.5. On trips up and down I95 I routinely get 31. Around town I average 27.

Some will post the 2.5 is a potential death trap when merging into traffic due to it's lack of acceleration. Don't find that the case with either the OB or my wife's Forester.

Only a small percentage are equipped with the 3.6. Most likely why all the auto pundits have it going away with the next generations of Subarus.

I have my own opinions why most waste money on getting the 3.6.

Interesting screen name Ls1BadBird. Can I assume you have some sort of TransAm?
 

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2016 2.5i Limited, 2013 Tesla Model S 85
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As a perspective buyer, I'd like to hear your other reasons.

I'm torn because I think the H4 is underpowered, but I commute for work on the highway and could really use the mpgs, assuming they can actually pull 33s.
60 MPH cross country for 60 miles I can get 37+ MPG on the display. Thought this worthy of a photograph cutting cross country from IN to IL through little towns. By the time we stopped for gas the miles/gallon with calculator was 35-36.

Make no claims this is typical of a 2.5i, only that it is possible without extreme effort.

This past Christmas I got 32.1 real MPG for 509 miles, miles divided by gallons at the pump. One tank for 509 miles, interstate. Return trip did not like gas, wind, temperature, something, as I only got 25.5 with calculator. Dash display claimed better. In 35 years I have never gotten as good of MPG going south as north. AL gas better than IN gas.

 

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2018 Touring 3.6R
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As a perspective buyer, I'd like to hear your other reasons.

I'm torn because I think the H4 is underpowered, but I commute for work on the highway and could really use the mpgs, assuming they can actually pull 33s.
Prospective buyer here as well. We honestly never even considered an Outback until we had one as a rental awhile back. Besides being very underwhelmed with the performance and noise of the 2.5, we were otherwise quite pleased with the vehicle itself. After test driving the 3.6R, we were much more impressed overall with the vehicle. It actually feels like a much more substantial vehicle.

Regarding fuel economy, there's a $200-$300/year difference between hwy/combined for someone driving 12k mile per year. We will be driving this car 20k+ mostly highway miles a year, which adds up to a whopping $300-$400 difference. Not really a big deal if it means you enjoy the car substantially more and may even keep it longer. If a car feels underpowered and noisy when brand new, just imagine once the miles pile up and all those shiny new higher power and higher fuel economy cars are blowing by you!
 

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2015 Outback 2.5i Limited, Ice Silver/Black
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Regarding fuel economy, there's a $200-$300/year difference between hwy/combined for someone driving 12k mile per year.
Plus, of course the ~$3K price difference between a Limited 2.5 and Limited 3.6, or $10K between a Base 2.5 and a Limited 3.6. And 2 more quarts per oil change. Just depends what you need I guess.
 

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2016 Outback Premium 2.5 CVT w/EyeSight+SRVD
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... could really use the mpgs, assuming they can actually pull 33s.
Here's a real-world data point. Summer vacation last year in our 2016 Outback 2.5 totaled 3,171 miles, at elevations ranging from 1,000 feet to over 12,000 feet, and our overall fuel mileage (hand calculated) for the trip was 33.2 mpg. Individual fill-ups ranged from 29.5 mpg to 38.4 mpg, varying primarily with road speed, terrain (flat vs. mountainous), elevation, and wind speed/direction.
 

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Another prospective 2018 or 19 Outback buyer here. I’m glad to hear that both 2018 Outback engines use a timing chain instead of a timing belt. I will never buy another car that has a timing belt again. It costs about $1300 to replace it on my old car and it’s recommended every 60,000 miles.

I have two other questions that are closely related to the original poster’s question:

1. Does the timing chain ever need to be replaced and what is the frequency?

2. Is the 2.5L engine an interference engine or a non-interference engine?
 

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2016 Outback Premium 2.5 CVT w/EyeSight+SRVD
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1. Does the timing chain ever need to be replaced and what is the frequency?

2. Is the 2.5L engine an interference engine or a non-interference engine?
Timing chains (there are two, one for each cylinder bank) are "replace on condition" ... which effectively means "inspect/replace at engine overhaul."

The 2.5 (FB25) is an interference engine, as are virtually all modern 4-valve engine designs.
 

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I simply cannot abide useless people.
2006 2.5i and 2002 3.0 wagons.
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1- No.
2- Interference.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I have never seen 33 with my 2.5. On trips up and down I95 I routinely get 31. Around town I average 27.

Some will post the 2.5 is a potential death trap when merging into traffic due to it's lack of acceleration. Don't find that the case with either the OB or my wife's Forester.

Only a small percentage are equipped with the 3.6. Most likely why all the auto pundits have it going away with the next generations of Subarus.

I have my own opinions why most waste money on getting the 3.6.

Interesting screen name Ls1BadBird. Can I assume you have some sort of TransAm?
I sure do! That's my baby. A much younger version of myself thought it was a cool forum handle when I bought the car, and I just keep on using it. Was gonna post pics... but don't have enough posts to do that :(
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I'm kind of trying to work through a few variables here. I currently have the previously mentioned T/A which I just look at, a Silverado and a Mazda 3 I daily drive 35 miles to work. The reason I'm looking to change things up is because I just had a kid and out of three vehicles, none are spacious. The truck is especially horrible. It's an extended cab and with a car seat in the back, there's basically no passenger front seat. Looking at two options:

1) Get an H4 Outback, and assuming it can actually pull 30+ mpgs sell both the truck and 3 and DD the outback. It would be a hit on gas compared to DDing the Mazda, but between what I would get for selling it and the savings of not having to license/insure it still come out way ahead.

2) Get an H6 Outback, sell the truck and basically just keep the Outback for snowy days and keep DDing the 3. Not the most economical option.
 
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