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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi
I have just joined the forum and just got back from looking at the first Outback for my son and hoping you could give a clue.

2001 Outback (H4). 300,000 Kms (180,000 miles) on the clock.
Exhaust pipe is black, but does not appear to burn oil, though it was on the min mark. Coolant appeared clear and green. the inside of the reservoir had a dark tinge and I wondered if had blown the head gasket at some stage
MT can't find 3rd gear and throws out of 5th.
I have driven the car and you can find 3rd and 5th and 4th was REALLY iffy. Once in 3 or 5 you had to really hold the stick and as you applied more throttle, the stick pushed harder and harder against you. There is a rough, whining gravelley sound as you drive - almost like a truck diff that is shot.
The seller has been open about the gearbox probs and is selling it at a price that allows the gearbox to be repaired and still end up with a potentially reliable car.
1st & 2nd are strong and good, changing between them is not a problem. Clutch feels like a Subaru (close to the floor and little take-up).
CVs are fine and the car drives and stops in a straight line.

Service Book is diligent for the first 240,000km of long, country trips from the first owner and non-existent for this owner who lives in outer suburbs.
The engine bay is clean and tidy and the inside of the car presented quite well for a car of that distance. The panels are a bit sandblasted form country driving, but the paintwork is overall quite clean (from a distance of 5 feet).

We have had a mechanic check it but he has not emailed the report last night like he promised,
I have a couple of questions:
Does anyone have a diagnosis for the gearbox and what are the extra things to look for that are associated with a gearbox rebuild?
Is there anything else in the dark corners of the engine bay and other tell tale signs of a much greater expense than just the gearbox I should look for?
Kind regards from Melbourne, Australia
Rod
 

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Fresh Out of Outbacks!
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Popping out of gear can be a lousy shift linkage- just a few cheap bits of metal & rubber. But taking into account the miles, service record and whining sound? Personally I would estimate that its curtains for the gearbox. Don't know about there, but in my local market it is always quickest, cheapest & most effective to have a good used gearbox transplanted in rather than rebuilding the existing. Sometimes it makes sense to transplant the rear diff as well. It nearly always makes sense to replace the clutch assembly when doing this swap.

I wouldn't be at all surprised if the car is burning oil- most do at this distance, but often it is quite manageable and teaches good dipstick discipline for young drivers. On a test drive, look for blue smoke in the rearview mirror. It would be most noticeable on hard acceleration, or immediately after you take your foot off the throttle completely.

The gravelly whining sound could also be wheel bearings- this distinction should be made clear by your mechanic's report.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for that - still a day away from the mechanics report - will let you know the results. Can a secondhand gearbox be checked visually to determine its "goodness", or is there work required with a partial disassembly, measurement or similar?
We had planned to do the clutch, but what about the pressure-plate? Is that a worthwhile thing to do at the same time?
 

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2000 Outback Limited, Dual Range 5 Speed
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There is a place in Queensland that sells checked s/h gearboxes with new center differential for around $2000 dollars change over. Haven't used them but seem quite genuine and professional.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Gearbox Problems - throwing 3rd to 5th

Thanks - any clues regarding a name? I am heading that way in a couple of months, so could drop off and pick up at the same time - though I know I wouldn't drive a car with only 1st and 2nd 1500km to do it! :D
 

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I've always felt that you had to drive the trans to know if it was good. No external inspection is worthwhile. So that meant buying from people you trust, or having the risk priced into the deal.
 

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I'm pretty sure these are the guys. Subaru Gearboxes Australia

They say they dismantle the box replace anything that needs replacing and for an extra. Our of hundred will put in a new coupling.
 
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