Subaru Outback Forums banner

1 - 20 of 29 Posts

·
Banned
2001 Subaru Legacy Outback
Joined
·
94 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I am buying another Outback Legacy in the 2000-2003 range.
Is there any one year that is better or worse, or are they all basically comparable?

What repairs can I expect if I buy a 2000-2003 with about 90-120k miles? I expect to find something in the $4000-$6000 range.
A new car would be $25k+. So, I don't mind spending some extra money to make sure I have a very reliable car.
 

·
Registered
Lawn ornament XT
Joined
·
14,366 Posts
Year by year doesn't change much, at least not in that range.

On the other hand it is worth learning about the two engines available. There are many other threads on this board with details, and they are searchable.

The cliff's notes version: There's a 4-cylinder 2.5L engine and a 3.0L 6-cylinder engine. the 3.0L aka H6 engine is more reliable in general and requires less expensive periodic maintenance in the long run. On the downside, the MPG isn't as good, and for some usage types you'll want to use premium gasoline. Additionally, the H6 was never offered with a manual transmission, if that is a factor to you.

Cars101.com has all of this information and more in excruciating, year-by-year detail for your benefit.
 

·
Registered
2003 OBW 2.5L 4EAT
Joined
·
860 Posts
If you do choose to go with a 4cyl 2.5L you should be expecting to do headgaskets and the timing belt, idlers, tensioner, cam & crank seals if they haven't been done. Plus in that mileage range you may have several suspension components worn out and if you live in an area where the roads are salted during the winter, then the exhaust may need need new flanges & gaskets.

I bought my '03 with around ~120k miles and i've already done all the engine work I already listed plus spark plugs, ignition wires, valve cover gaskets, transmission fluid, differential fluid. Plus on the suspension I have had to do the rear endlinks & both ball joints, mine still needs the rear struts & maybe front struts, front endlinks, sway bar bushings & rear trailing arm bushings.
 

·
Registered
2005 Legacy 2.5i Wagon 4EAT; 2005 Forester XS 4EAT
Joined
·
672 Posts
Year by year doesn't change much, at least not in that range.

On the other hand it is worth learning about the two engines available. There are many other threads on this board with details, and they are searchable.

The cliff's notes version: There's a 4-cylinder 2.5L engine and a 3.0L 6-cylinder engine. the 3.0L aka H6 engine is more reliable in general and requires less expensive periodic maintenance in the long run. On the downside, the MPG isn't as good, and for some usage types you'll want to use premium gasoline. Additionally, the H6 was never offered with a manual transmission, if that is a factor to you.

Cars101.com has all of this information and more in excruciating, year-by-year detail for your benefit.
I was really shocked when a 300 mile road trip today in my H6 VDC returned 27.4 MPG running 89 octane. I'm very pleased with the mileage so far from mine. Considering the mountains in Pennsylvania, I'm glad I got the H6.
 

·
Banned
2001 Subaru Legacy Outback
Joined
·
94 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the info.

The whole reason I am buying another Outback is that my current 2001 Outback with 200k has a slight leak in the head gasket. Pooling coolant. So, I really was not expecting to do a head gasket at only 90-120k. Otherwise, I'd just spend the $1500 to fix my current Outback, which otherwise runs perfectly, and is already exactly the car I want.

I have always bought cars with about 150k and drive them to 200k. I've never really had to do much work to them. Maybe a ball joint. Brakes, tires. Maybe all those things listed above were all addressed by 150k miles? This is a consideration for buying a lower mileage 90k car. Maybe nothing's been replaced yet. Maybe it's smarter to buy a car with 125k and has already had some of the suggested work done? Otherwise, the list below could easily be $4000+ worth of work.

  • Headgaskets
  • Timing belt, idlers, tensioner,
  • Cam & crank seals
  • Exhaust.
  • Suspension (rear endlinks & both ball joints, mine still needs the rear struts & maybe front struts, front endlinks, sway bar bushings & rear trailing arm bushings.)
Lastly, so the 4-cyl has the head gasket issue? Are you saying the H6 does not have the head gasket issue? The MPG difference is trivial (18/25 vs. 19/25), so I will try to get 3.0L if at all possible. I see zero downside, only upside. I did want a 5-speed, but $1500 head gasket is a bigger issue.
 

·
Premium Member
2001 VDC/SC One of a Kind
Joined
·
14,289 Posts
More recent Subarus I've owned:

The 99 Outback 2.5 auto went 300k miles without internal issues. Not even head gaskets. Timing belts, water pumps, thermostat, 1 altenator, a battery or two, one CAT, hoses, brakes, tires, struts and occasional bushings or steering/suspension parts replacement that wears. I kept a strict schedule of maintenance and was particular in the fluid types I used.

The 2001 VDC Outback Wagon just flipped 180k. I specifically looked for the H6 for several reasons. The fuel economy difference is minuscule and really depends on how you use the car. The timing chain and components never need replacement. Water pumps are long life also due to the design. The extra HP and torque. Overall, Subaru designed the engine for long life, in the 100s of thousands range. All the reviewers of the H6 models griped about the retail price of the car, but when you account for extremely low maintenance cost over the life of the car, you actually save money over the other models. Regular oil changes and fluid flushes, keep up with the suspension/steering issues and you won't have to tear into the engine every 60k miles. I only had a major repair on the transmission when it needed to be rebuilt due to a seal failure and broken bearing. But I new about that when I bought it in January.

The OE engine is actually mounted to an engine stand now, as I have installed a JDM with the supercharger build, but it only needs minor repair of a lifter that started making noise. It was running excellent when I pulled it, stronger than the newer H6, and I will repair it in the event I decide to use it in something or someone needs one.
 

·
Banned
2001 Subaru Legacy Outback
Joined
·
94 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
What's the JDM engine? An upgrade? I saw an ad for a car with a replaced JDM engine, and I dismissed it as some blown engine, etc. Didn't want to go there. Aftermarket, etc.
 

·
Registered
2006 H6 3.0R LL Bean wagon and 2000 H4 OBW
Joined
·
453 Posts
Certainly not a big deal at all but... I wish mine had it. The 2 cup center console which I think is on the 2002 - 2004. Not that hard to change but if you are traveling it is awful handy and works better than the one in the dash.

Our 2000 2.5 has been good to us. We have taken many trips fully loaded over the years and it has not let us down. We took a trip from central Kentucky to Grayton Beach state park in Florida on a weeping head gasket. Watched temps and coolant level, never got out of normal operating range and we had a great vacation.

We did replace belts and head gasket at 80,000 miles, that is when our head gasket went. Replaced some front axles (with OEM), bearings and struts. 102,000 on it now and still is a solid and great driving car.

Good luck.
 

·
Registered
2005 Legacy 2.5i Wagon 4EAT; 2005 Forester XS 4EAT
Joined
·
672 Posts
What's the JDM engine? An upgrade? I saw an ad for a car with a replaced JDM engine, and I dismissed it as some blown engine, etc. Didn't want to go there. Aftermarket, etc.
Japanese Domestic Market - typically spec'd different than US counterpart engines due to emissions etc. This can usually mean more power output, which is huge in the tuner world.

As for the typical Honda with a JDM swap, you have to be really careful. There are way too many tuner kids who end up hacking things up, turning the poor car into a royal POS that needs more work than it's worth to make it right.
 

·
Registered
Lawn ornament XT
Joined
·
14,366 Posts
What's the JDM engine? An upgrade? I saw an ad for a car with a replaced JDM engine, and I dismissed it as some blown engine, etc. Didn't want to go there. Aftermarket, etc.
In Japan, car taxes go up the longer you own the car. This benefits their car making industry and also encourages everyone to drive something with the latest emissions standards.

A side effect is that they wind up with piles of 4-6 year old cars that nobody wants to pay the taxes on. Many get dumped in other parts of Asia, but some are stripped for parts. This has created a decent supply of good used engines which are brought into the USA. They are good engines, but they certainly aren't all perfect. Just more likely to have fewer miles than average. Not a red flag, just a thing.
 

·
Banned
2001 Subaru Legacy Outback
Joined
·
94 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
I just called a seller about a 2005 Outback with 95k. He said the check engine light went on, and the dealer told him he needs a new head. I told him to get a 2nd opinion, but when exactly do these cars start showing head gasket problems? My friend anecdotally says it goes at 200k. Now, I am reading about people redoing head gaskets here before 100k?? What's the median miles at failure?
 

·
Registered
Lawn ornament XT
Joined
·
14,366 Posts
Look up the head gasket log only thread. Folks have been logging stats there.

My last car saw them go at about 120k.
 

·
Premium Member
2001 VDC/SC One of a Kind
Joined
·
14,289 Posts
What's the JDM engine? An upgrade? I saw an ad for a car with a replaced JDM engine, and I dismissed it as some blown engine, etc. Didn't want to go there. Aftermarket, etc.
Japanese Domestic Market

The cars are taken off the road by 50k miles. All the parts are recycled and shipped to other parts of the world and sold.

I put the JDM engine in for the low mileage and the OE engine started making a lifter noise right in the midst of the tuning.
 

·
Banned
2001 Subaru Legacy Outback
Joined
·
94 Posts
Discussion Starter #14

·
Banned
2001 Subaru Legacy Outback
Joined
·
94 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
So, I found a "new" 2001 Outback Wagon with only 65k miles for $5500.
Original owner, and very clean inside and out.
Clutch felt tight, and the only work major has been water pump and 4 new tires.


I plan to keep this as long as I can.
So, I will probably invest some money into it:
1) new brake pads/rotors all around.
2) rest of cooling system (thermostat, radiator, 2 hoses)
3) battery, wipers, air filter
4) Fan belt
5) Change all fluids: oil, steering, gearbox, rear diff, coolant

Anything else you'd do?
 

·
Registered
2003 OBW 2.5L 4EAT
Joined
·
860 Posts
Is this a 4cyl or 6cyl, if its a 4cyl do you know if anything else was changed behind the timing cover when the waterpump was done? If not you should do the timing belt, idlers, tensioner, cam&crank seals, even though the car has low miles the time interval for the timing belt change is past due( I think 8-9 years).

Anyway make sure the headgaskets are ok (especially if this is a 2.5L 4cyl) inspect the bottom of the engine for leaks.. oh and cv boots are also a common thing to go especially the passengers front inner due to the catalytic converter being under it.
 

·
Banned
2001 Subaru Legacy Outback
Joined
·
94 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
I don't remember if it's 4 or 6cyl.

Head gasket. Car seemed to run great, and I didn't smell coolant or see any pooling in the common spot.

Yes, I will do the timing belt. I forgot to put that in my list.

I will check the Idlers and tensioners when the belt is off. They often last a lot longer than 10 years or 60k.

Cam and crank seals? Is this typical service? Is this a big job?
 

·
Registered
2005 Legacy 2.5i Wagon 4EAT; 2005 Forester XS 4EAT
Joined
·
672 Posts
You said the clutch feels good = 4 cylinder. The H6 never came with a stick.

Head gaskets can leak oil external, not just coolant.
 

·
Banned
2001 Subaru Legacy Outback
Joined
·
94 Posts
Discussion Starter #19
Ok, here is my updated list:

1) new brake pads/rotors all around.
2) rest of cooling system (thermostat, radiator, 2 hoses)
3) battery, wipers, air filter
4) Fan belt, idlers, tensioner.
5) Change all fluids: oil, steering, gearbox, rear diff, coolant
6) New CV boots. (Passenger Front inner)
7) New timing belt.
8) Cam & crank seal

Anything else you'd do?

Which CV boots should I have done?
It sounds like there are 8 ?

Passenger front inner
Passenger front outer
Driver's front inner
Driver's front outer
(And then 4 more for the rear)
 

·
I simply cannot abide useless people.
2006 2.5i and 2002 3.0 wagons.
Joined
·
12,305 Posts
2: OEM tstat only, trust me.
6: CV only if the boot is split and flinging grease. It is always better to reboot unless the axle is damaged. This is a Subaru only part due to fit quality issues with aftermarket parts.
Typically the passenger front splits, it's right over exhaust piping.
 
1 - 20 of 29 Posts
Top