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Discussion Starter #1
hola all
i never thought i would wade back into Subaruland
back when i was married i bought a 2005 off the showroom floor
man oh man i loved that car
it went away with ex-wife
anyway
i need to get back into one
so at the moment i am in a bit of a quandary
today i need to make a decision
the last 2 days i've been driving around Ohio looking at outbacks
i think i saw about 15 of them
pretty much everything i could find using autotempest
i've narrowed it down to 2
one the block are a 3.0L DOHC SMPI 24-valve 6-cyl LL Bean automatic with 188k and a 2.5L H4 16V 4-cyl MPFI SOHC manual with 140k.
the 2.5 is $6000 and the 3.0 is $5000
both vehicles are 2001's
among other things, the 2.5 is out of N Carolina, i have never seen a cleaner car
the engine is clean down in places that simply cannot be cleaned
not a spot of rust on this thing
the aluminum engine parts show a tiny bit of corrosion that i figure is normal for 140k
the shop that has it has just replaced the timing belt and water pump and a bunch of other little stuff, they also have the cars complete maintenance record from the previous owner (anyone say OCD?)

the 3.o is clean and the maxed out outback but there is a slight thumping in the front that is speed dependent, (not brakes) i'm thinking bearings or drive axels, u-joints
could be expensive

i really like the 2.5 b/c it is just so **** clean
and i think i remember reading about the 3.0s that they were troublesome
ie-need high octane gas, carbon build up in ehxaust manifold, lower mpg
but that could be supposition and rumor

does anyone have a strong opinion one way or another?
like i said, i need to decide today (2/8/13)
good to know there is a forum out there for this car too
i've used the ones for my 85 300SD and my 94 BMW K-100
 

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2002 Outback Wagon
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311 Posts
Assuming they are 2005 models they are both good choices. About the 3L the carbon buildup is only a problem when you use low octane if you are using premium you should be fine it does get lower gas mileage but that's to be expected with a bigger engine. One other thing that thumping could be is a CV boot not 100% sure on that though.

For the 2.5 it is a pretty good choice but you will have a bit more maintenance than the 3L because it has the timing belt vs. chain in the 3L and could have or develop head gasket problems. Unfortunately with gen 3 OBs the HG leaks are internal which can cause overheating so that's another thing to check on.

Overall either one would be a pretty good choice.
 

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2002 Outback Wagon
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311 Posts
Whoops missed that. So in that case the same things apply to the 3.0

But the 2.5 would be my choice the 2.5 can still have HG problems but it is an external leak so as long as you keep the oil and coolant topped off you can drive it for a while. I would definitely get the 2.5 but only if you can get the price down 6000 is too high for it in MI you can get a car like that one for 4-5000 easy in fact I just saw a 2001 with 99000 for about 5500 that was fully loaded and in great condition.

Unless you absolutely need the extra HP go with the 2.5
 

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The 3.0 is a much better engine. Yes, it burns more gas. Yes, premium fuel is recommended, but most people find that it isn't required unless you are towing or taking mountain road trips. The 3.0 does not have significant head gasket problems.

Head gaskets are an expensive problem in the 2.5 engine. You aren't guaranteed to have the problem, but it is a serious risk.

If the seller can't provide evidence of a new timing belt at 105k, you need to budget to have that service done immediately. A broken belt will trash the engine in a heartbeat.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
thanks for your input
the seller of the 2.5 just changed the water pump and timing belt
about 3 days ago
and they have all the paper to prove it
plus replacing sway bar bushings and i can even remember what all
 
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