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How I just drove 1500 miles AZ to TN on a "blown" head gasket, now what

989 Views 24 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  SilverOnyx
The question is NOW WHAT DO I DO.

I'm 223,000 miles just invested a fortune in:
- New drivetrain
- AC system
- Transmission valve body
- Wheel bearings
- New tires
- Valve cover gasket

What I need:
- A car to putt around the City, a few 10-20 mile treks to Home Depot and such, an occasional 2-3 hour drive for a hike/bike ride, but normally I walk to everything. Temps in Nasvhille rarely go over 90F. Unfortunately, I also need to go cross-country and back one.more.time.

What the car needs, that I know of:
- Spark plugs
- Head gasket
- Oil pan leak? Front cover leak? Not leaking much tho--
- Grinding bearings in tensioner, idler pulley, or alternator or all
- Still on original struts
- Rack n pinion is shot, no power steering for years except when Jiffy Lube adds Power Steering Fluid

I love the car. It's really comfortable. I finally fixed the rear hatch lock wiring. The engine runs GREAT. Other than the transmission crisis, the last few months I was struggling to get the sloshy air bubbles out from behind my dashboard... CLEARLY, this was a sign of the HG issue. But there wasn't enough coolant loss to clue me in until....

I just drove 2400 miles San Francisco to Nashville over Labor Day weekend. Same drive as last summer on Memorial Day weekend. Total Repeat of last year! Constant issues overheating in two circumstances:

1. In traffic when over 100F outside.

The stop/go trek across Bakersfield at 102-104F took me most of the way to the redline, got so bad the AC started blowing hot air. This happened on last year's trip as well until I met a mechanic who said if your coolant reservoir is full and your radiator is low, and you're overheating, you need a new rad cap! Problem solved at O'Reilly's in Holbrook AZ for $15 (or so I thought). For good measure, I also added half a bottle of some kind of Stop Leak to my nearly-new radiator (which I seriously regret). The idea being maybe would seal a small HG leak if that was the problem. After that new rad cap last May, car drove great the rest of the YEAR and all summer this year. Then, voila, dog in car and packed up with precious things for my move, total repeat of last year, soon as I hit Bakersfield (CA desert), the temp meter started to elevate!! I watched it carefully and kept pulling over anytime it raised above the hashmark between normal temp and the redline. I panicked in downtown Bakersfield when the AC shut off completely, pulled into a Subaru dealer and they completely misdiagnosed as a melted pin/plug for the AC compressor, which they said they could not replace. After I cooled down for 45 minutes, parked, I decided to get to Flagstaff AZ the next day where I knew of a mechanic recommended by this group. Soon as I was on the highway again, moving at 70mph, smooth sailing about 50 miles to a hotel in Mojave. I drove to Flagstaff the next day 4am to 11am... Called the mechanic to alert him I needed to install a compressor plug/pin from a junked car (stupid diagnosis by Subaru of Bakersfield).

2. The climb up to 7700ft elevation, to Flagstaff.
This is a pretty fast ascent even though temps under 100F the whole time. I overheated on this segment last year too. But not as problematic as I pulled over near the top, rested and kept going where this year, I exited the highway and drove surface streets to get to the mechanic... that made things much worse...

Brian at Subie Service in Flagstaff showed me water "boiling" in my coolant overflow tank. Conclusive evidence of blown head gasket. He said the condition is progressive and I'd never make it 1500 miles to Nasvhille. He said I'd throw a piston in the middle of the nowhere, and be stranded with my dog. He laid out my choices (1) trade it in on a new car, (2) order a JDM engine for him to put in, if he had time before his vacation, (3) buy a 2006 Outback with 205,000 miles he had for sale for $5000, and leave mine which he said was worth nothing. Or (4) go to the Flagstaff Subaru dealer for a HG replacement.

What I learned, specifically, for all of you struggling with overheating issues in your H6:
1. Normal engine temp is 180F. You hit the redline at about 220F
2. There is more than one type of "blown head gasket." Based on disappearing coolant in the radiator with normal level in the expansion tank, and overheating issues, My car's HG breach is the type between the combustion chamber and the coolant. NOT coolant getting into the oil. My oil is spotless. My error for concluding no HG issue the past few years due to clean oil... What's happening is exhaust is infusing into my coolant, overheating it, which means it cannot cool the engine.

What I learned from Flagstaff Subaru: AVOID THEM.
The young guy who coordinates estimates would not give a quote for HG replacement on the phone. Insisted I had to drive the car over there (10 miles, shutting it off at intersections), then took the car away for over two hours, praying to God they didn't leave it idling in that heat... He scoffed at me, if he could quote a service cost without inspecting the car, he would be paid a lot more. Then he said because of my abuse of the radiator, in order to "put their name on it," he would "have to" REPLACE "anything" that the stop leak "TOUCHED" which means the radiator, all hoses, etc. All replaced maybe 30,000 miles ago. He said the HG would require machining so he made me sit another hour while he painstakingly typed out an estimate saying it would be $5500 and about 10 days until ready. Nonstarter, obviously. HUGE waste of time on a road trip with real decisions to make. It literally took him two hours to deliver that verdict with no holding back on the derisive tone.

HERE'S MY AMATEUR ANALYSIS, which got me safely across country from there:
A. Water boils at 198F at 7700ft, vs 212 at sea level.
- So you're 18F from boiling over in Flagstaff vs 32F back down the hill...
- when your coolant boils over, you LOSE coolant from the radiator that does not refill from the overflow, reducing the coolant available to cool your engine, then add a slowdown (reduced airflow across the radiator) or an elevation climb, or both, and you approach the redline.
B. I have a tiny pinhole leak in the HG which is a big nothing except under extreme pressure like the driving conditions above (1) stop/go traffic over 100F air temp, or (2) climbing altitude over 90F.
When the combination of heat/altitude/traffic is just right, that pinhole opens up and exhaust infuses your radiator coolant like you were steaming milk for a latte. It doesn't take much 1000+F degree exhaust escaping into your coolant to boil it over. I know Subarus are really popular in Colorado; I'm hoping to hear from some others on how they manage this or if you HAVE TO swap either the engine or the HG.
C. I was at the Eastern edge of an extreme LaborDay heatwave over CA/AZ. Temps the rest of the drive were projected much lower. I was ok with driving 3am to noon daily, then sleeping afternoons evenings...
D. I was at the highest elevation in my journey (although I didn't calculate the Continential Divide I would hit the next day...but I hit that 7925 elev at like 85F, grinding my teeth, and breezed right over it, maybe because I STARTED at like 5000ft, can't explain this one)

I drove the rest of the way--1500 miles total--staring at the temp meter and air temps, stopping anytime the outdoor temp was over 95. Although, I also drove through a major construction zone slowing to about 45-50mph in Oklahoma City in 97/98F and the engine temp was dead level the entire time. IT REALLY TAKES A LOT TO OPEN THIS BREACH UP.

I kept sending Brian at Subie Service updates; he kept texting back, "I'm shocked." Well, he's at 7700ft. My car wouldn't have lasted 15 minutes driving around Flagstaff just buying groceries and going to the dog park...

CONCLUSION: In any situation but the extreme conditions I described above, my car runs FINE.

Or is that naive? I'm honestly tempted not to fix it. But I'd love some input. I do have to drive back to CA one more time. Though I could time it in fall/winter/Spring. I've lost my house in a wildfire, and have a major renovation to tackle in new home, and I need to conserve cash, but don't want to be stranded...

The only reason I didn't SELL this OB when the transmission (valve body) failed in June, is I fell in love with the idea of restoring it, and @Duncan Heinz found me a mechanic in Nashville. I talked to the mechanic on the phone to confirm he does the kind of work I need, I told him everything.... 230,000 miles, engine runs great, but needs trans valve body, spark plugs, new rack & pinion, and there's grinding bearings in one or more of tensioner/idler pulley/alternator and probably struts. Maybe an oil leak that could get worse. And needs brake pads. Asked if I can wait on all this and he can do it. I know he has reasonable fees, and NOTHING is reasonable in San Francisco. He said, "No point to pay someone in CA $300 to do spark plugs when I can replace them when I go in for the head gasket." Cracked me up, he just assumed I needed a HG! WHAT IS WRONG WITH SUBARU that all outback owners are stuck with this expensive repair... when the entire premise of investing in a Subaru is it's supposed to go 300k miles if well maintained... "Just call me when you get home," he said.

Yeah, so it turns out he doesn't do HG's on a 6cyl. NOW, he recommends to drop in a JDM engine. I'll get the quote on that and everything else in the next week or so. But I just spent $4000 (driveshaft, AC system, ATF flush, valve body, new tires....) Do I stay the course and spend another $$$$ or cut bait...

Flagstaff mechanic said, "you never know what issues you inherit with a used engine, if yours is running great except for the HG, just replace the HG in the KNOWN engine with 230,000 miles vs inheriting unknown issues with a remanufactured engine." Nashville mechanic says he'll look for a JDM with under 60,000 that's what he recommends. He can only replace a HG in a 4cyl.

I want to trust the Nashville mechanic but I literally interviewed him on the phone before I invested in the new transmission valve body and he knew it was an H6 and suggested he'd do the HG.

I honestly don't think you can own an older Subaru (maybe any car) without a reliable mechanic reasonably nearby. And they are hard to find.

Thanks for any advice.
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· Super Moderator
Outback 2011 3.6R Premium (sold Jan 22)
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Most forum members that have a major problem with a H6 3.0 engine choose to purchase and install a used JDM (Japanese Domestic Market) engine from one of the various sellers in the US. This usually ends up to be a much cheaper and quicker option than repairing the original engine.

These JDM engines have typically only travelled around 60,000 miles and you can purchase them for around US $1,500 including delivery. These engines are a direct replacement except for the need of a longer hose from the inlet manifold to the brake booster.

And by the way it is NOT common for the H6 3.0 engines to have failed head gaskets. This was typically a problem for the EJ25 H4 engines.

I tend to think that after 220,000 miles it is not unreasonable or unexpected for a head gasket to fail. In the 1970’s if you managed to get an engine to last 100,000 miles before it needed a full rebuild you counted your blessings and by that time you may have replaced the head gaskets more than once already.

Seagrass
 

· Brucey
Brucey
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13,302 Posts
JDM H6. They can be had for around $1k plus shipping and install costs.

This is way cheaper than splitting open the H6 to get to the head gaskets due to the timing chain cover.

Also: It's a car that can legally be treated as an adult and it has driven to the moon.

Expect repairs.

The most expensive cars I got were free.

The cheapest ones were brand new.
 

· Registered
2006 Outback 2.5i NA - modified
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I gotta throw my vote in for a JDM engine replacement as well. It seems not many people have luck rebuilding the H6 for whatever reason (usually messing up the timing chain). Also, replacement EZ30R JDM engines are so dang cheap - it would probably be even more expensive to just do the headgaskets on your old engine.

With the JDM engine your mechanic can replace the simple stuff while the engine is out (eg PCV valve, spark plugs, thermostat, and VC gaskets and any sensors that may have been damaged during transport). Like mentioned above, they should swap over your current intake manifold to the replacement engine.

I've talked to these guys a fair amount and I think they give the best deals. They also do a compression test and they actually record the results (video) and the pictures listed are of the actual engine. Highly recommended!



And to top it off, their pricing after shipping is really good. Honestly, with this price it makes me want to figure out how to do an H6 swap into my H4 chassis (hah....I'll keep dreaming).

Anyway, if you go this route you'll have a much lower mileage engine that likely will last a very long time.
 

· Premium Member
2005 H6 3.0L LLBean Road Warrior
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129 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
Most forum members that have a major problem with a H6 3.0 engine choose to purchase and install a used JDM (Japanese Domestic Market) engine from one of the various sellers in the US. This usually ends up to be a much cheaper and quicker option than repairing the original engine.

These JDM engines have typically only travelled around 60,000 miles and you can purchase them for around US $1,500 including delivery. These engines are a direct replacement except for the need of a longer hose from the inlet manifold to the brake booster.

And by the way it is NOT common for the H6 3.0 engines to have failed head gaskets. This was typically a problem for the EJ25 H4 engines.

I tend to think that after 220,000 miles it is not unreasonable or unexpected for a head gasket to fail. In the 1970’s if you managed to get an engine to last 100,000 miles before it needed a full rebuild you counted your blessings and by that time you may have replaced the head gaskets more than once already.

Seagrass
Thank you. I remember in ~2012 at maybe 40,000 miles when a mechanic at Irvine Subaru (my favorite Subaru dealer in this country--they are busy, FAST, organized, and have solved problems for me no other mechanic could solve) walked me under the car to show me evidence that my HG was leaking. They wanted $1500 at the time, which is a lot more money than it is since the Congress & Federal Reserve increased our money supply 40% and $2400 is the new $1500 overnight.... At the time, he said it wasn't urgent but would only get worse. I decided to "think about it." Years later when I replaced the valve cover gasket, I mixed up the two things. Like a non-wine person might mix up Syrah and Petite Sirah--not the same grape! And then last year, when there was no coolant in the oil after several episodes of near overheating from Bakersfield to Albequerque, I was REALLY convinced this never became an issue for me--because I had always thought HG breach meant oil gets in the coolant and/or vice-versa.

I need to thank the person who posted a YouTube video of a coolant expansion tank bubbling on another thread where someone had overheating and air bubbles in the cooling system, like I did...Once I saw the bubbling tank that looked exactly like the video in MY car, I got it. A huge thanks as well to Subie Service in Flagstaff, because while he didn't realize I could easily finish my drive, he did take the time to EXPLAIN what happens with a breach like mine. If I didn't UNDERSTAND it, I would not have had the courage to finish my drive.

I appreciate your thoughts @seagrass. It should be worth doing at that price, even with my list of other issues... And there's a guy 25 minutes away with a "shop" in his backyard willing to do it.

I must say, however, that I feel (perhaps wrongly) I really understand the external conditions that cause this breach to "open up," that it is an intermittent issue only occurs under EXTREME pressure, and if I didn't have to travel across country again, I'd just keep putting about town with it as is until I can buy a new Wilderness under MSRP, or maybe 3yrs off a lease. Or maybe a Hybrid Crosstrek... Or a little Ranger... I JUST MOVED, and trying to semi-retire, I really don't know what I want/need in my new life. Of course, I would only climb mountains or drive in heat waves with great caution.... It's not a fatal condition, it seems, in my case anyway.

Maybe I'm STILL in denial :)
 

· Premium Member
2020 Onyx
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19,435 Posts
Consider the price of the used engine + installation vs thinking of using that money as a pretend-discount on a 2023 Wilderness. You'll be spending that money either way and since your car isn't overheating when taking a brief test drive, you might get reasonable trade-in value since there's no coolant in the oil. Your problem will get worse so the time to trade it in while it's "drivable" is a relatively short window - maybe.
 

· Premium Member
2005 H6 3.0L LLBean Road Warrior
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Consider the price of the used engine + installation vs thinking of using that money as a pretend-discount on a 2023 Wilderness. You'll be spending that money either way and since your car isn't overheating when taking a brief test drive, you might get reasonable trade-in value since there's no coolant in the oil. Your problem will get worse so the time to trade it in while it's "drivable" is a relatively short window - maybe.
Critical exercise, especially coming from you, as you're as big a fan of the Gen3 H6 as I am... I'm definitely shopping and considering this. Before I did the new transmission valve body, I WANTED to like the new Outbacks, to trade mine in while it was "rolling." One dealer offered me $1500... But as you know, I just hated the new Limited/Touring, hated the 2018 Touring. I hate the huge fatness of the things, hate the mushy "luxury" handling. Just not a Subaru anymore. I loved climbing back into my road-hugging 2005. And that's with old struts and limited power steering...

BUT, while the $1350 was being spent to install a valve body, surprise surprise, Napa Subaru had like 6 Wilderness on the lot, and someone drove up in a gorgeous new Forrester Wilderness--always been such an ugly car but somehow looks great in the new Wilderness trim... I drove an OBW as I was there all day and bored. Maybe because I was expecting a marshmallow in tactical clothing, or maybe because it has a completely different suspension... I really liked it. Also the seats are ridiculously comfortable. Very nice material. No gaudy striping like the Crosstrek...

I regretted not driving one the week before. My almost $2k already spent on the ol' 2005... I had honestly thought the difference between Touring and Wilderness was just "trim." But it actually rides differently. I thought, OK, that's my car in three years. Cuz I am NOT paying MSRP+ and $ for a car that doesn't fit in my San Francisco garage. I have to complete the move before I'm really comfortable with a fatter car, and San Francisco vehicle vandalism is TOTALLY out.of.control.

All that said, there's also the temptation of going electric, even though fuel is dirt cheap in Tennessee. I filled up in CA at $6.59 and am now paying UNDER $4 for PREMIUM (92 octane) here in Nashville. I don't know what I want!!!!

Updating my spreadsheet now, comparing annual cost of new Outback (say $42k) vs taking care of mine over next three years. The SALES TAX of about $3200 is a biggie on a new car... Plus the huge increase in insurance cost. But adding a new engine to the equation is rough, too.
 

· Premium Member
2005 H6 3.0L LLBean Road Warrior
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Forgot to mention, after I came down from elevation, surprise surprise, my CRUISE CONTROL CAME BACK. No P0420.

So I have a theory. As soon as I crossed into Arizona, I was filling up consistently with premium fuel. Especially after Brian at Subie Service explained to me WHY the Premium fuel is so important for my engine. Another failure of understanding on my part, I thought of higher octane as some kind of "performance" issue--like a luxury, not as a completely different operating paradigm. After he explained the slower, steady burn/firing action, and coupled with my hot-running engine given the tender HG spot, I'll never put another gallon of 87 in my car.

Did 2-3 tankfuls of 91 helped the emissions? Or something about clearing the H20 from my exhaust after running over 180F for two straight days?

Didn't last long tho, as my gas cap was stolen at a fuel station in Ozark Arkansas, and 50 miles later, using a not-perfectly-fitting substitute someone had left with the cashier, not only did the P0420 pop back on but with its sister P0457 (loose/missing gas cap).

I have a new OEM radiator cap and gas cap on its way from Subaru Parts Online...
 

· Premium Member
2020 Onyx
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It is a tough decision and spreadsheets are necessary to really grasp the financial situation. The only way I'd repair the car is if I could get a decent number of additional years out of it, which you still can. I only made that remark because it seemed as if you were ready to get a new car and if so, waiting might make the situation worse.

If you fix the engine you'll still have that sweet gen 3 ride that just feels right the way it drives, not bloated etc. I do miss mine (it was the turbo 5 speed) but there are ways to make the Gen 6 a little more nimble if you want, and repairing it will be cheaper than buying a new car, which would approach 40k after taxes etc.

In the long term if you want to go electric and can go another 3 years with this car repaired, that's not a bad value, assuming the rest of the car is ok.
 
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· Premium Member
2005 H6 3.0L LLBean Road Warrior
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
It is a tough decision and spreadsheets are necessary to really grasp the financial situation. The only way I'd repair the car is if I could get a decent number of additional years out of it, which you still can. I only made that remark because it seemed as if you were ready to get a new car and if so, waiting might make the situation worse.

If you fix the engine you'll still have that sweet gen 3 ride that just feels right the way it drives, not bloated etc. I do miss mine (it was the turbo 5 speed) but there are ways to make the Gen 6 a little more nimble if you want, and repairing it will be cheaper than buying a new car, which would approach 40k after taxes etc.

In the long term if you want to go electric and can go another 3 years with this car repaired, that's not a bad value, assuming the rest of the car is ok.
Exactly, it's the 3yr commitment or it's stupid to do the engine. As $3k invested does not return $3k in market value on the car.

I would repair it to "stay the course" on the commitment inherent in doing the driveshaft in 2021 and the valve body this summer... To get another three years 30,000 miles to let the market calm down and figure out what I really want.

The "rest of the car" does need work, depending if you'd like power steering (rack & pinion is shot, and maybe another new PS pump--replaced in 2017--but I have let the fluid run down to empty and you can't exactly turn off the pump, someone patched up a leak for awhile, and I temporarily had power steering again, we'll see what the mechanic thinks here and if he can find a rack off a junked Roo). And lastly if one thinks 230,000 miles on OG struts is OK/safe? I suspect I'd like the ride better with new struts, we'll see what that costs, or if mechanic thinks mine actually dangerous. Otherwise, all it needs is brake pads, and all cars need brake pads. The interior is no new car, but it looks nice and I'll actually detail it, shampoo the carpets etc if I spend another $3k on it.

The windshield is cracked, courtesy of a bad bf; I leave the crack to remind me not to engage with him. But otherwise she looks good.
 

· Premium Member
2020 Onyx
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Bad struts aren't super unsafe but they can cause uneven tire wear and a jouncy ride, maybe loss of traction in certain terrain where the suspension gets "upset" but in sedate driving it should be fine. While it's possible for struts to still be ok after a couple hundred thousand miles, often they're worn out well before then. It's starting to sound like you're going to have to spend quite a bit more than 3k if you really want the car to be 100%

Other things are likely to fail, like air conditioning, etc.
 

· Premium Member
2005 H6 3.0L LLBean Road Warrior
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Bad struts aren't super unsafe but they can cause uneven tire wear and a jouncy ride, maybe loss of traction in certain terrain where the suspension gets "upset" but in sedate driving it should be fine. While it's possible for struts to still be ok after a couple hundred thousand miles, often they're worn out well before then. It's starting to sound like you're going to have to spend quite a bit more than 3k if you really want the car to be 100%

Other things are likely to fail, like air conditioning, etc.
You’re seeing the dilemma… I think it rides nice but it rides best loaded with cargo, suggesting you’re right about “jouncy”

I have invested in the A/C system (new blower motor—twice!—and $600 into new blend door actuator—although it still requires some odd management on long drives in hot weather. I have to shut it down and restart when the cold air flow reduces to a whisper. Icing?
It seems like pure inertia keeps me in this car—
Positives
1. I live now in an urban hood with a very diverse mix of residents. I do like the low key profile of an older car; it doesn’t invite breakins (to the car or the house), the insurance is cheap, etc.
2. After my CA house burned and a move across country it’s the only carryover—familiar thing—from my old life to the new.
3. After 14 years parked outside in hot hot dry summers, the car now parks in a semi-temp controlled garage!
4. The new transmission (valve body)—my first mistake haha—drives great.
5. Replacing one valve cover gasket this Spring dramatically reduced oil leaking. For $350, shoulda done years ago. But I guess that goes away with the old engine… ouch.
6. It’s a new driveshaft. So that’s done!
7. I have learned where to check everything that needs checking. I want a break from shopping, researching, learning new things!! I’m overwhelmed after losing all my stuff to fire, moving, insurance battles, trying to manage house renovations (I bought a disstressed fixer to afford to move).
8. I get good advice from y’all. My highest cost repairs have been the double-and triple work from mechanics using cheap parts or not paying attention (probably 12 headlight replacements before I realized it needed a new assembly, and luckily bf at the time willing to install it).

Negatives
1. I thought I had found a good local mechanic—which I feel is critical for owning an older car— but now that I’m here he doesn’t let seem interested to work on the car. No callback now in two weeks…
2. In City driving, the lack of power steering can be annoying. So will probably have to tackle the Rack & Pinion and maybe another new PS pump (replicated in 2017 but have let run dry since rack gave out. Sometimes it all works, sometimes it doesn’t. We’ll see what the mechanic can do.
3. My family bitches at me constantly to buy a new car, as if money grows on trees in TN.

Let’s just hope I’m not wasting money. It was more fun to fix this and that when I thought the engine was fine….
 

· Premium Member
2020 Onyx
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Maybe your family can contribute to your new car fund if they really want to help instead of just criticize. A used Crosstrek or Impreza hatch might not be a bad substitute if you want a less expensive new-used car.

If you continue to repair the car it's essential to find a trusted mechanic - On the forum's list of recommended mechanics there is only one in TN but they seem to be focused on performance upgrades instead of repairs, but maybe they can refer you to another trusted shop?


 
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· Premium Member
2005 H6 3.0L LLBean Road Warrior
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
If you continue to repair the car it's essential to find a trusted mechanic - On the forum's list of recommended mechanics there is only one in TN but they seem to be focused on performance upgrades instead of repairs, but maybe they can refer you to another trusted shop?

Totally agree on imperative, it's why I called and told him the model and history of my car, my needs and literally interviewed him. I read through my list of issues and confirmed he works on these items. He said he takes outbacks apart completely and puts them back together again, there's nothing he's not able to do. I explained I wanted to call ahead of my drive to be sure I didn't have inappropriate expectations as I don't want to own or repair this car unless I have a local mechanic.

He had replaced the engine in another member's Outback and that member was very happy with the work. Unfortunately, once I decided to do the Transmission valve in Napa, then drive cross-country for him to tackle the rest, he informed me he doesn't like to work on HG's on the 6cyl engines. But that he recommends to replace the engine with a JDM and WOULD replace it. And he would go through the car and look at everything else--but that was about three weeks ago, and I still haven't heard from him. I'm ambivalent and sick of fighting mechanics...

Knoxville is really far from here and as you said, they focus on performance/race cars. I need a local. And the dealer is just not useful for these older cars, as their mechanics are accustomed to the 1-3 year olds.

Sigh. Feeling a little defeated. At least it drives fine for now. I'll call and pester the guy next week... then he can hate me for pestering him. I was really looking forward to working with him; it's only 20 mins away, and I don't need my car but maybe 1-2x/week at most. I live walking distance to most daily needs. I thought I had this totally dialed in...Thanks for listening.
 

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2005 H6 3.0L LLBean Road Warrior
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Discussion Starter · #19 · (Edited)
at that miles I would see if you can get the trans attached to it.
Thanks. I just replaced the transmission valve body in July, it’s running smoothly! One reason I did it is the engine has always run great, I’m diligent with regular 3k-mile oil changes and topping up when I had a leaky valve cover gasket (now fixed).

So now, I want to replace the ENGINE because the transmission is running great. Oh, the SLIPPERY SLOPE!!
 

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2020 Onyx
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Is there an update on your H6?
 
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