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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Actually my last Subaru was a 1978, and I am looking to buy another. (Seattle area.)

I have pretty much owned older Mercedes through the years, but want to go back to Subaru.

My question is, what sort of advice would you give to someone who is looking for an older model, probably 2000-2004? (I have only about a $5k budget)

So far I have seen that the head gaskets and water pumps go bad, and it looks like worst-case is a valve job might be needed? Should I look for a car that has already had this done?
 

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Actually my last Subaru was a 1978, and I am looking to buy another.

I have pretty much owned older Mercedes through the years, but want to go back to Subaru.

My question is, what sort of advice would you give to someone who is looking for an older model, probably 2000-2004?

So far I have seen that the head gaskets and water pumps go bad, and it looks like worst-case is a valve job might be needed? Should I look for a car that has already had this done?
Head gaskets on H4s in those years, but once they are fixed by a knowledgeable shop they stay fixed.

Water pumps last more then 180,000 miles some say,...and valves only go bad if someone lets a timing belt break on them, so like most cars then you might be looking for a replacement engine vs. tearing it down for a valve job. The maint. book says to change a timing belt only every 105,000 miles, but when I bought a H4 car I was happy it was done at 65,000 a the time of me purchasing it.

Interested in the H6 engines,....a lot more quality,
no timing belt as it has a chain, and no plague of weak head gaskets.


and 40 more HP and torque?

If you can find a H6 VDC car in those years then you got something that has the similar computerized stability control as a modern car.


Personally I have both of these cars made in 2002, and I like both of them....the only thing I wish they had was curtain airbags which did not appear until the 2005 model year,...although they have shoulder air bags and tested pretty great without the curtains.

2005-2009 cars are obviously more expensive in the used market, but yet another quantum leap in design.

Subarus are for the most part pretty safe to buy in the used market vs. say a VW/Audi, BMW, or a Mercedes,...although any of them could have had a abusive previous owner, there is less to watch out for.

If you see a car with a internet ad that you are going to look at you can even post it up on this forum for experienced owners to critique for you.

Oh and no need to double post, if you were going to, mods get grumpy.
 

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Hmm. You are looking at rather old cars. The H6 Outbacks would be about the only reasonable choice from that period, providing the vehicle is not too rusty.

What is your budget? Could you go 2006+?

How do you intend to use the car?

Recently, Tribeca prices came down, almost crashing as the model was discontinued.

Except for niche models (H6 VDC Outbacks and FXTs), the Tribeca was by far the best utility Subaru until its technologies were adopted across the board starting around 2008.
 

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saw your 3rd post,....how many mpg does that big Benz get,...I guess it is not a happy frugal Diesel?

and this is a world wide board. So maybe someone in pago pago will see it and want to trade their 2004 VDC outback H6 wagon with 40,000 loved miles on it.,....and have zero way to get your Mercedes.


A location like a "in this state or province helps" I am in upstate NY. 27 degrees F and getting another set of studded snow tires.
 

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Oh well, eegleeye beat me to this, no surprise there :)

I think our two posts more or less cover the ground, given the broadly phrased question.
 

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Oh my Arizona buddy thinks a Forest turbo is worth while.

Turbo Foresters and Turbo Outbacks are for people looking for more room than the WRX turbo they already have. However they suck premium gas more then the similarly powered H6 engine, ....and they break down unexpectedly even if taken care of. = $3000 to $8000 if the turbo breaks or blows through the engine at any time.:surprise:

But turbo people are willing to absorb such costs, and usually fix them at home.
...or along side the road, or supermarket parking lot.
 

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Oh well, eegleeye beat me to this, no surprise there :)

I think our two posts more or less cover the ground, given the broadly phrased question.
Hey MiddleAge, I will trade you all my subarus for all your subarus.

I am sure once they reach the happy Phoenix >:) valley they will stop rusting.
 

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The water pumps never fail. I still routinely replace them with timing belts simply because it's easy and wise, but failure is nearly unheard of.

Late 90's Impreza OBS or legacy's with the 2.2 are the most reliable platform Subaru has made in decades. If you're in a rust free area and okay with older cars - they'd actually be more reliable and cheaper/easier to maintain than the 00-04 models.

Best option in my opinion is to find one that already had a failing headgasket but hasn't overheated due to it - and have it repaired your way.

Buying one already repaired is a little uneasy as most places, even Subaru, does a sub-par job.

Resurface the heads and use Six Star or MLS Subaru headgaskets. If you can verify that was done - then you're golden, but usually it's not done that way.

Cars now are interference and have timing belts for the 4 cylinders in the year range you're looking at. A broken belt means bent valves most of the time on those. That means for reliability/longevity/protection you'll want a complete timing belt kit installed - belt, tensioner, pulleys.
 

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Hey MiddleAge, I will trade you all my subarus for all your subarus.

I am sure once they reach the happy Phoenix >:) valley they will stop rusting.
Pay the difference cash and we may get somewhere:grin2: I love my cars but they are just things. I sell things at the moment it makes sense>:)

I only mentioned some FXT and XT/H6 OBs as examples of outstanding non-Tribeca pre-2008 Subarus. I did not mention them in the context of reliability :grin2:

Can't wait to take the kids to Flagstaff as soon as it snows there and my time allows.
 

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Pay the difference cash and we may get somewhere:grin2: I love my cars but they are just things. I sell things at the moment it makes sense>:)

I only mentioned some FXT and XT/H6 OBs as examples of outstanding non-Tribeca pre-2008 Subarus. I did not mention them in the context of reliability :grin2:

Can't wait to take the kids to Flagstaff as soon as it snows there and my time allows.
You will have to pay the difference.:grin2: Mine have provenance,...Angelina Jolie and our 8? kids ride in mine all the time,...she always wants to adopt more kids so I am interested in your subaru fleet,...before she makes me start walking.


Oh and if going as far as Flagstaff, maybe you get up the Grand Canyon Rail Road, and the Polar Express. (yes I know it is a lot further, but my nephews really liked it,...2 years in a row from Phoenix area).

The Polar Express, Grand Canyon | Grand Canyon Railway & Hotel, Arizona
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Trouble posting - got an error and deleted my rather lengthy reply.

So - shortened version:

Seattle area.

$5k budget (single parent in school)

Benz gets 17mpg - 167k mi on it - never seen in this condition.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks - this is helpful, and I understand MOST of it. ;)

The Impreza - those are the sportier/shorter ones, right? I MIGHT go that route, but I prefer the larger space. (Does it get better gas mileage?)

And I forgot - no - the Mercedes is NOT a diesel - I miss my diesel. :(
 

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Thanks - this is helpful, and I understand MOST of it. ;)

The Impreza - those are the sportier/shorter ones, right? I MIGHT go that route, but I prefer the larger space. (Does it get better gas mileage?)

And I forgot - no - the Mercedes is NOT a diesel - I miss my diesel. :(
Impreza....likes to hippity hop over the bumps

whereas the outback just swallows them and asks for more in a pleasant spongy way, and you are use to the big Benz way of life already.

...you can look at the MPG numbers,...but typically Imprezas are not cross shopped with outbacks.
 

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Or this one - 06 Subaru Outback Wagon Limited Excellent shape

(I will go try to delete my other post, unless the mods thing I would move this one to the other forum - ?? - TIA)
$5500 -$6000 the rebuilt title should lower the price by that much at least,...no meantion of head gaskets or maint.


here is a regular maint. schedule. ...one of the benefits to staying away from dealers and buying from a private party is maint. records. (you might consider printing out the portions in relation to 2000-2009 cars, as it gets confusing when actually comparing real paper records to what should have been done).


Subaru maintenance schedules and new car break-in period- 2000 through 2009, links for 2010, 2011...
 

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Yeah - I am pretty sure I want a full size wagon - camping gear and all... :)
Foresters:

I forgot,...and others. Foresters are a love it or hate it situation. so sit in one and find out, Seats and driving position are odd vs. other cars,...along with the tall glass makes them unique....hence why some people love them.

...2000-2004ish ones lean a whole lot in turns.
the revised one around 2005? got multi-link rear ends like outbacks had from 2000.

Outbacks also have more square footage of load floor vs. the Forester which is a bit taller inside. In the real world the outback is usually found to be WAY more useful. It can still swallow a kitchen full size refidgerator, or a cloths washer.

Just imagine what you will be able to pick up vs. tying the trunk shut on the Benz.

 
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