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2005 H6 3.0L LLBean Road Warrior
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127 Posts
Discussion Starter · #21 · (Edited)
Is there an update on your H6?
Ah, I'm still struggling with it!! No real work done yet. I don't drive much in Nashville, so I've just been working on insurance recovery from the CA wildfire, and starting restoration of the 1870 Nashville cottage while waiting on this backyard mechanic--since September. I've just finally lost my patience. Also discovered he's 45 mins one way, not 20 mins, doesn't do HG's on an H6, and doesn't call back when he says he will, generally. It's disappointing as the first conversation was great. I told him my issues last July, and he said no problem, just let me know when you get here, I can do anything to a Subaru. I knew he put a JDM in another forum member's car for a great price (a 4cyl for I believe $1700), but the past two years, good luck getting any service to help you.

Used/new car prices are tempering, and I went out and drove a few. Might even try the Mazda and the Toyota Wilderness wannabees. But I still secretly want to get my car spruced up. Have managed only new brakes after a friend's regular shop quoted a great price.

The rest boils down to HG/JDM engine, suspension work and I've recently lost heat on the passenger side. Probably due to my dribbling that Stop Leak to the radiator - did I clog up the heater core?? I was hoping the mechanic would try a flush.

Just this morning I read most everything CarDoc has written in the past five years on the issue of HG's on the H6. Basically it seems HG breaches are rare in the H6 unless it was run hot/dry... I did recall one time I drove - maybe five years ago - from NoCal to SoCal probably 700-800 miles in one day, and mentioned on arrival to my friend's son who is into cars that I thought I had developed a new tick/lifting sound during the trip. It didn't overheat, engine temp gauge didn't budge, but the kid went through my car and said he added an entire bottle of coolant. Eeek. Made me realize I had always been religious about oil changes and even checking/topping in between, but really don't remember ever checking coolant. I didn't understand until this year, how the HG affects coolant levels. And how checking the reservoir isn't enough.

Anyway, I previously accepted the explanation for these inexpensive low-mileage JDM engines, but gosh a Gen3 is 14-18 years old at this point; how are those engines still coming in with such low miles?? Even if a Japanese owner drives only 5-7k/year and keeps their vehicle only 5-7 years, etc., do the math? My HG issue was first reported (by a dealer, but a good one, ,not that I understood at the time) around 50-60k miles so I worry I'd pay for a new engine and maybe get the same issue I have, yet maybe not such a "manageable" case of it? Clearly, our CarDoc has done so many of these, and makes it sound so easy, I'm actually hoping I can stop in Austin en route to CA and have him do the job. Meanwhile I have an appointment at a local shop in Nasvhille that's open 8-5 on a commercial street and takes appointments, to look at all the suspension work on Monday 1/30. Surely they'll have an opinion on the engine as well.

I basically don't drive far these days because I have no idea where I'd have the car towed if anything happened. Ridiculous situation.

Did you see my "poll" on the mileage of Gen3's in the forum? Admins pinned it to the top of Gen3 forum. Interesting. Last check 30 of 50 were over 150,000 and still kicking. A lot of members kindly shared the big projects they did or are doing.

Further details on work needs:
1. Suspension
- RR strut left a pool of fluid on the garage floor two weeks ago, just after brake job (please avoid "budget brakes" it was a really bad experience--they were so incredibly abusive to me the guy finally insisted they will do the four pads "for free" since they couldn't get close to honoring the price they quoted on the phone and I was visibly uncomfortable with the way they were bullying me. Last thing I ever want is someone to do something for me "for free." I still wish I had demanded my old - not even squealing yet - brake pads put back on so I could leave. I wouldn't rule out sabotage on my struts since the pool of fluid showed up the next day, but we know my struts are long overdue--the full extension, in cold weather, on the lift could have been the last straw for the rears. One empty and creaking, the other starting now to squeak.
So now my quiet, smooth-running car is noisy, and I HAVE to do this work.
  • Lower Control Arms - Brake mechanic said the bushings in Lower Control arms are near completely deteriorated.
  • Rack & pinion. No power steering but occasionally on colder days. Rack been dead some 4-5 years. Obviously would do all this work together.

I asked the backyard mechanic to give me a rough idea on my top priority projects pending his inspection of the car.
He quotes:
$2500 for the new engine
$2000 total cost for the other work except for the heater core if needed. Others in this forum are concerned the quotes make no sense - $500 for rack, $1000 for struts, $500 both front LCA's.

And after four months being pushed off, I really need to find a service with simple transparency in pricing and operations, regular business hours, reasonably close by, available to receive a towed vehicle if trouble, able to communicate options. I don't know if the car is safe to drive but I'm driving it short distances around town with no issues. Mad at myself I didn't take photos of the suspension issues when the wheels were off.

Meanwhile, as demonstrated over my 2400-mile x-country drive, my engine runs PERFECT other than two specific conditions: over 100F near sea level and climbing to altitude in heat pushing 90F. Can I just avoid these conditions? Maybe but it's lame to invest $2k+ into the suspension on top of my Valve Body, Drivetrain, etc. without addressing the engine. I need spark plugs if I'm not swapping the engine, blah blah.

Sorry, I'm rambling. Not having help is exhausting me.

I'd like to explore my new area more, and I need at least one more roundtrip to CA, and soon. So next week is my deadline to make a plan. Enough already waiting for someone who doesn't want my $5-6k... sheesh.
 

· Premium Member
2005 H6 3.0L LLBean Road Warrior
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127 Posts
Discussion Starter · #22 ·
@SilverOnyx short version: Not enough Subarus and Subaru-experienced mechanics in Nashville!!
The popular AWD vehicle here is the Jeep Wrangler 4-door. You see ‘em everywhere, like Outbacks in San Francisco Bay Area… I’m stuck and need competent, transparent, accessible, reliable help.
I sent @cardoc a PM with my history/experience with the car, hoping for a consult.
 

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2020 Onyx
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20,252 Posts
Wow - that's a heck of an update. I like details and a wall of text is appreciated. That's the problem with trying to resurrect an older vehicle - it does end up becoming a money pit as one thing and then the next thing needs replacement or repair. Without a great trusted mechanic or the ability to do it yourself, you're really gambling and the economics become quite unstable.

Hoping Cardoc can either help you or guide you towards a decision. Gen 3 H6 is a gem of a car and new cars are so crazy expensive but a 2.5 Crosstrek isn't a terrible car and isn't much smaller than a Gen 3 OB, but is the CVT a deal breaker? I was pleasantly surprised with my Crosstrek loaner - as well as my current Forester 2.5 loaner - both with CVT and quite well sorted out.
 

· Premium Member
2005 H6 3.0L LLBean Road Warrior
Joined
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127 Posts
Discussion Starter · #24 ·
Gen 3 H6 is a gem of a car and new cars are so crazy expensive but a 2.5 Crosstrek isn't a terrible car and isn't much smaller than a Gen 3 OB, but is the CVT a deal breaker? I was pleasantly surprised with my Crosstrek loaner - as well as my current Forester 2.5 loaner - both with CVT and quite well sorted out.
My working theory for many months was that CVT is a deal breaker, but I hardly noticed it when driving the Outback Wilderness. That car really drives nice, but it's just so BIG. I'm feeling as you do on the Crosstrek. It's becoming the new Outback. A little small in back, but sure would be easy to get 'er in/out of the garage! Not sure, either, if it would be as comfy for a x-Country drive as the OB.

But Subaru finally improved the seats, and it does come with a hybrid option...Now will they do some nice colors!?

I'll post on the results of consult with Cardoc.
 
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