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2000 Outback Limited wagon, 206K miles
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102 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
My 2000 OBL wagon, 209K miles, has developed a few problems I think are related:

1) My engine oil has started smelling like gasoline and getting thin.
2) I'm getting the smell of burning oil on hot manifold when I stop after driving a while.
3) My gas mileage has gone to ****, especially if I make short trips.

My gut tells me I'm dealing with a broken ring and blow-by. Am I right? What else could be causing this? I have a CHECK ENGINE light, but that's the usual P0420, with no other codes.

If that's the case, how dire is the situation? Should I think about a rebuild, or a replacement engine, or just junk the car?
 

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Premium Member
2001 VDC/SC One of a Kind
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14,436 Posts
The P0420 is most likely due to the engine's condition. Prior instances of the code were probably due to poor performance also.

Gas in the oil is generally bad rings. It will be coupled with lower compression. The gasoline dilutes the oil so you lose lubrication in the engine. Don't drive it with the oil/gas mix.

A lot of short driving is not good for any engine. You are experiencing high fuel consumption because the engine isn't warming up good. All cars need good long drives on occasion lasting 20-30 minutes.

Weigh your cost. What condition is the car in overall? What will it cost to rebuild? Replace? What would a replacement car cost you?

Car-Part.com--Used Auto Parts Market
JDM Engine Depot
Check with LKQ for availability of a used or rebuilt engine.
 

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Registered
2000 Outback Limited wagon, 206K miles
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102 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
My mileage is even worse than it has been in the past. When I first got the car, it would get 23 MPG or so driving around town; now for the same kind of trips it's down to about 18. On long trips (25 miles round trip) it's down to about 22 from 27 or 28.

The car's in decent shape, with little rust but the kinds of dings you'd expect to get over 13 years in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Most things on it work fine, though there are little details like the front sunroof doesn't open. The interior's in good condition plus or minus a couple of tears. The $3K I sunk into timing belt and such and head gaskets 19K miles ago looks like it's gone completely down the drain.

Looks like the going price for a used engine is a kilobuck. No JDM options are listed. I can't seem to check LKQ's inventory; I'll call them tomorrow.

Overall, I'm happy but not ecstatic with the car. It's always been underpowered to my way of thinking. I wouldn't mind keeping it, but I don't know if I want to keep it long enough to justify a couple thousand in repairs. (I have no idea what an engine swap involves; if it's not beyond my own abilities, it would certainly stretch them. I don't mind turning a wrench, but have no experience in anything that complex.)

I've been looking at other vehicles on and off on Craigslist, and options abound. Some, I'd even enjoy driving. If I do that, would I stand a chance of getting anything decent in the way of money for the Outback? I have no idea what they sell for in this condition.
 

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06 OBW 2.5, 05 Forester, had 03 H6 OBW
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5,936 Posts
Could be a leaking injector, would have to be fairly bad to dump a lot of gas into the oil, and it probably would have hydrolocked and bent a rod by now.
 
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