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2001 Outback Wagon 3.0 VDC
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390 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi folks, my name is Graham, just joined as I recently acquired my first subaru.
The previous owner had named it "Maroon Five" for obvious reasons, but because of the wheels I put on it, my co-workers decided to name it "Mrs Out-fire" haha.
Reason being i managed to find a set of incredibly cheap Pontiac Sunfire wheels which bolt right on with 5x100 bolt pattern!

I'm also gonna put it out there that I am a Certified Subaru technician, have been with Subaru for about 7 years now so I know a thing or two, not totally familiar with the older cars but now I have one so its gonna be a fun journey of ownership!

500426
 

Registered
2001 Outback Wagon 3.0 VDC
Joined
390 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Little bit of a story here too, so my financial situation was not great, my wife and I ended up giving up the cars we had so we were left with no cars, I opened up to a friend at work and he offered the use of a forester that has, this is not a permanent solution but an incredible gesture none the less!

Word gets out about our situation and another guy at work has this outback, its in bad shape but offers me the car for FREE if I can do the work to fix it, which I definitely can!
Not only did he donate this car to me but also had a 2003 with salvage title but in better shape that the 2001, so he then allows me to rob all the good parts from the 2003 to swap onto the 2001!
Incredible generosity for which we are super grateful for!

So this I've done so far include:
Replaced front brake rotors pads calipers and brackets (because the 2003 calipers won't fit onto 2001 brackets).
The 2001 suffered the notorious rear subframe rot so swapped the entire rear subframe from the 2003 including both rear struts, all the rear brakes and a slightly thicker sway bar, but keeping the rear diff and axles as the 2003 was non VDC and part numbers are different.
Swapped over the steering rack as the tie rods were shot.
Replaced both front axles with new ones.
Swapped over the exhaust middle pipe, the rear muffler was shot, just so happened that I had the middle resonator from a BRZ which I welded in as a muffler (sounds amazing!!).
I have also replaced all the dash bulbs so it lights up blue instead of green, same with the centre console lights but I may end up changing back to green eventually, blue was all I had available for now.
Check engine light was on so I ended up replacing both the left side A/F sensor and the rear O2 sensor.
Filled the tank with premium and slowly the car seems to be getting better to drive.
I managed to also get a set of winter tires which were on completely rusted steel wheels, so as you see now, I have Pontiac Sunfire wheels for the winter tires.
And just the other day I discovered a fuel leak at the hose from the filter to the engine so thats next on the list!
The body work is not the best but I'm not complaining! So far the cost of this daily driver project to date is still under $500!

I love it more each day! 馃榿
 

Super Moderator
2008 OB Limited 2.5i, Portland OR USA
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Welcome Graham! I'm sure we'll be accessing some of your knowledge about both new and old Subarus, given your Certified Subaru Tech training.

And that's quite a deal (or deals?) you found there - I do hope this marks the start of better financial times for both of you.
 

Registered
2001 Outback Wagon 3.0 VDC
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390 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Little to update on this so far but I finally gave the car a wash after over a month ownership! And installed some 1 inch spacers all around which definitely gives it a more aggressive stance!

The wider track also makes the car feel marginally more stable! 馃榿

This was the clearance I had before adding spacers!! 馃槼

502307
 

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2001 Outback Wagon 3.0 VDC
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390 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Well today was productive!

  • I finished replacing my valve cover gaskets and spark plug tube seals.
  • Replaced the PCV valve while I was there.
  • Also replaced the battery positive terminal as the old was terribly corroded.
  • Replaced my oil cooler O ring.
  • Cleaned under the engine from all the oil leaks.
  • Replaced all my carpet mats with new ones from a 2020 outback since they were old stock removed from inventory lol, they don't really fit that great but they are still pretty close and have "Outback" stiched in them.
  • And finally I had a chrome tail pipe tip from a Forester Sport that fits directly onto my custom exhaust!

馃榿

Vehicle Hood Car Motor vehicle Automotive design
Motor vehicle Nail Jewellery Electric blue Metal
 

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2001 Outback Wagon 3.0 VDC
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390 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Some more progress on Mrs Outfire going on.

So for a while I had the "VDC off" light come on randomly, had read on the forum that it was sometimes related to overheating cooling system, I confirmed this on occasion when I would see the temp Guage go slightly over half.

So on the weekend I replaced the thermostat and completed a coolant flush, struggled a bit with bleeding all the air out but eventually I managed to bleed it fully by lifting the front of the car so the radiator cap was the highest possible fill point, this worked a charm!
Now my heaters inside the car are better than ever, and the VDC off light has not come back on!

That is until I flip the switch to turn VDC off! 馃榿

So I removed the remains of a dead remote starter system and found in it, a switch that still works, so I wired up the switch to the VDC fuse spot under the hood, just used some speaker wire and kept it simple.

Arthropod Asphalt Road surface Insect Pest


 

Registered
2001 Outback Wagon 3.0 VDC
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390 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
So major update time, long over due repairs going on!

After replacing the thermostat, rad cap and coolant flush and bleed, the car ran great for a couple weeks then I noticed coolant still dripping from under the car, very seldom but depends on how I drive and how long, after some diagnosis and discussions with fellow mechanics at work it seems clear that the cooling system is being pressurized by a leaking head gasket, its a very small leak so happens over time.

In the warmer Temps recently it doesn't take too long for the temperature gauge to climb! I can't keep driving like this!

So today the engine comes out, most likely gonna do some cleaning while it's out to tidy up the engine bay.

514010


Going to be fixing some oil leaks along the way, as well as cleaning up things like rusty brackets and tie downs etc.

514011
 

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2001 Outback Wagon 3.0 VDC
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390 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Yuk!

514012


514013


You can see the mess from the coolant spilling out of the overflow reservoir.

Also, sorry mousey but my engine is not the best place to stash your food 馃槀

514014
 

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2001 Outback Wagon 3.0 VDC
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390 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Decided that instead of unbolting and pushing aside the A/C compressor I would just drain the system and make it easy to disconnect the hoses. I wasn't surprised that barely any freon came out 馃槀

514015


I also removed the intake manifold before removing the engine, this just made things a whole lot easier to access the flex plate bolts.

514016


Engine is ready to come out!

514017
 

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2001 Outback Wagon 3.0 VDC
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390 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
AAAAAND it's OUT!

514018


Oh boy that subframe is looking a little worse for wear, but at least the oil leaking onto it has helped preserve it a little longer 馃槅

514019


Stay tuned for more updates as the head gasket job continues!

Thanks for reading!! 馃榿
 

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2001 Outback Wagon 3.0 VDC
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390 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Time to pull up a chair and get down to business!!
First things first, cleaning all the dirt out of these bolts so I can actually take them out 馃ぎ

514073


514074


514075
 

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2001 Outback Wagon 3.0 VDC
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
So if anyone is fortunate enough to experience the removal of these bolts, you may as well save yourself some time from the guarantee of stripping the hex out and go straight to the 12 point 9mm socket hammered onto the outer edge of the bolts 馃槀

514076
 

Registered
2001 Outback Wagon 3.0 VDC
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390 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Last update for today, the joys of working on a 20 year old car that has probably never been apart before! Finally got the timing cover off.

514091


Word to the wise, don't throw out your wife's old cookie sheets! 馃槈

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With the chains removed, time to tackle the water pump, but unfortunately, it's being extremely stubborn! It didn't turn out to well... 鈽

514094


Well at this point it there was no choice, it had to come any way possible, even if that means going to war! Lol, that was not easy, the water pump put up a **** of a fight!!

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Well with that out the way I went on to remove the oil pump and any remaining bolts hidden by dirt, and the rear cover is finally off!! Yay! Haha

514097



This is what 20 years of dirt topped off with oil leaks looks like! 馃あ

514098
 

Premium Member
2020 Onyx
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15,451 Posts
Is the extensive varnishing the result of conventional oil?
 

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2001 Outback Wagon 3.0 VDC
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390 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Is the extensive varnishing the result of conventional oil?
It's quite possible.

I haven't had the car that long, so not sure on history but the car does have over 250k kilometers.

This is most likely due to extended time between oil changes.
I've seen inside engines with very frequent oil changes and it looked great!
I've also seen engines with more mileage between oil changes and it looked like mine, even FB engines with 0w20 synthetic.

With extended time between oil changes the oil just becomes more and more degraded, more contaminated and more likely to stain the inside of the engine.
 

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2001 Outback Wagon 3.0 VDC
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390 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·
So got to spend another few hours on this bad boy, got the engine down to short block, cleaned up a little and cleaned up the manifold gasket areas on the heads.

514547


I'm quite pleased with the overall condition inside the engine! No real issues mechanically, no scoring on the cams, lobes look good, very pleased!

514550


If anyone else is doing this then be sure to keep everything organized so it goes back to where it came off! Especially the valve shims! If not them valve clearances will be out of spec and the engine could end up with running problems.

514551


As always with any old engine, it never goes as easy as you want it to! I managed to snap the tips off of two injectors!! See that crusty hole!? That's what I'm up against lol.

514552


Anyway, with that to add to my list of what I need, I carry on and finally get the heads off! Woo-hoo! :giggle:

514553


Got started on cleaning up the block too, looked gross before!

514556


And so far I'm at this point.

514557


514558
 

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2001 Outback Wagon 3.0 VDC
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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
And the reason for all this, started with some slight overheating issue and the "VDC OFF" light coming on...

One of these combustion chambers is not like the others!!

514559


You can see the clean area at the bottom of the left cylinder, that's because the small amount of coolant getting into the cylinder was "steam cleaning".

You can see the small trace of carbon deposits too as the combustion pressure was escaping and pressurizing the cooling system, pushing coolant out, overheating etc...

514560


It was evident on the gasket too

514561


Look at the bottom of the left cylinder on the gasket.

;)
 
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