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2005 Outback 2.5i Ltd.
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Discussion Starter #1
I know there is a ton of info on here and I love it, just looking for some feedback because I am a complete car repair novice.

2005 Subie Outback 2.5i Limited, loved and maintained since the day I brought it home (new). 84,500 miles, in the shop today for rear brake pads and the oil leak that I've had for the last two months. Two months ago, they said it was a coolant leak and replaced a radiator hose. Still leaking, slow, but steady, seems like oil to me but they are still saying it's coolant.

They just called and said it's the cylinder head gasket - $1,950.00. I don't have that money right now, not even close. Do I have any options? I really was hoping to keep my Subie running for quite a while longer...
 

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2004 Outback Wagon, 2.5, 4EAT, All weather package.
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1. Contact SOA and see if they can help you out, offer to cover part of the cost, etc.
2. SHOP AROUND. That seems awful high.
 

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1. Contact SOA and see if they can help you out, offer to cover part of the cost, etc.
2. SHOP AROUND. That seems awful high.
What he said - Call Subaru not the dealer. CALL SUBARU directly! Subaru is known for paying for some of or all of these when the case shows that the car has had proper care etc.

Also you will need to take to the dealer for the inspection and for Subaru to decide how much they will pay or do for you.

The price your shop quoted you would be an instant red flag and I would not be going back to that shop ever again for any type of service. WAY WAY OFF THE CHARTS price for that repair.

Good luck
 

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Lawn ornament XT
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You can usually nurse it along with those SOHC engines. You will need to check oil and coolant frequently, and keep an eye on the temp gauge. Pull over if it goes above middle. Many people have kept operating in that mode for months or years. Not all that good or fun, but it buys you time.

If you let it overheat, things go south pretty fast and $1950 will be a cheap memory.

Get Subaru of America involved, there are many cases where they've agreed to pick up part of the cost.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the feedback! I just got off the phone with Subaru and they want me to take it into the local dealer for an inspection (you called that one!). She said that there is assistance available, but we shall see....

They want copies of my 30 & 60k maintenance records to be faxed over so I'll do that now.

I'll get it into the dealer next week for sure and follow up. It's not running hot at all but I'll definitely keep an eye on it.

Thanks again my fellow Subians. LOVE this forum.....
 

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Discussion Starter #6
What he said - Call Subaru not the dealer. CALL SUBARU directly! Subaru is known for paying for some of or all of these when the case shows that the car has had proper care etc.

Also you will need to take to the dealer for the inspection and for Subaru to decide how much they will pay or do for you.

The price your shop quoted you would be an instant red flag and I would not be going back to that shop ever again for any type of service. WAY WAY OFF THE CHARTS price for that repair.

Good luck
I finally got my response from Subaru today and they have offered to pay for half of my repair costs at my local Subaru dealer! The repair is estimated to cost $1,714 for just the head gaskets or $3,000 if they also do the timing belt, tensioner and idler pulleys, water pump, thermostat, and oil pump. If the heads need machine work, it could be up to $900 more.

While I am thrilled that they have offered to pay half of the repair, I'm going to try for more, so I'll report back on any progress I'm able to make. What's your feedback on doing the additional repairs listed above at 84,000 miles? Is it worth it or not? I definitely plan on keeping the car.

BTW, thank you so much subiesailor, for recommending that I call corporate. Seriously appreciate that!
 

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I simply cannot abide useless people.
2006 2.5i and 2002 3.0 wagons.
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Those prices are still very, very high.
 

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2007 outback 2.5i
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Those prices are still very, very high.
extremely. i just got both heads machined and new gaskets for a little less than $1500.

shop around.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
My Subie dealer was actually less than the independent mechanic first quoted me, so this may be a regional difference. The whole thing is obscene, no doubt.

I can try another Subaru dealer just out of curiosity.
 

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I simply cannot abide useless people.
2006 2.5i and 2002 3.0 wagons.
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I know CA is uber expensive, but still.

That is about $1000 more for the job than here in Chicago, which is expensive enough.
 

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I finally got my response from Subaru today and they have offered to pay for half of my repair costs at my local Subaru dealer! The repair is estimated to cost $1,714 for just the head gaskets or $3,000 if they also do the timing belt, tensioner and idler pulleys, water pump, thermostat, and oil pump. If the heads need machine work, it could be up to $900 more.

While I am thrilled that they have offered to pay half of the repair, I'm going to try for more, so I'll report back on any progress I'm able to make. What's your feedback on doing the additional repairs listed above at 84,000 miles? Is it worth it or not? I definitely plan on keeping the car.

BTW, thank you so much subiesailor, for recommending that I call corporate. Seriously appreciate that!
No problem did the same exact thing many years ago only at 65,000 miles and lucked out subaru covered the whole thing but only did the HG job. Car was great at 180,000 miles when I sold it zero issues with the Subaru dealer work on the HG.
Even did two 2500 mile road trips with over 150,000 miles on the car 100% working Zero issues great trips. Sold it because we needed the larger new Gen4 to fit two kids. So far major improvement on space and comfort over the prior generation models.

Glad Subaru helped out I knew they would after going through that with my car. And the car was trouble free.

Major - Major reason we bought another Subaru was due to Subaru stepping up and fixing the car.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
After getting clarification from Subaru today, their offer is for $1500 towards the repair. The rep told me that it is their final offer but she recommended that I talk to the dealer and get them to lower their pricing. She said she thought I have a good shot since I bought the car there and have had it serviced there.

So I still need to know: do I need the additional work quoted for the $3000 job? Timing belt, pulleys, oil and water pump, thermostat?
 

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I simply cannot abide useless people.
2006 2.5i and 2002 3.0 wagons.
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Considering it would be done in about 20k miles anyways, it's your call.

Typically cheaper to lump repairs together.
 

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After getting clarification from Subaru today, their offer is for $1500 towards the repair. The rep told me that it is their final offer but she recommended that I talk to the dealer and get them to lower their pricing. She said she thought I have a good shot since I bought the car there and have had it serviced there.

So I still need to know: do I need the additional work quoted for the $3000 job? Timing belt, pulleys, oil and water pump, thermostat?
Water pump is a life time part if the coolant condition has been kept up. Not something you need to do at 85K. A timing belt the very basic just replace the belt type effort a dealer can go as low as $300

I think Mother Subaru is giving you a hint that the dealer is VERY HIGH COST in their suggestion that you talk to the dealer about dropping the price some more. By the way the standard HG job cost to the dealer with labor and such is a little less than $1500 so even at $1500 your dealer is making a decent return on the HG job from Subaru.

At 85K and if the fluids were kept up and the car was serviced on a regular basis really all you need is the timing belt done and the HG fix. Along with fresh coolant in the system. Thermostat shouldn't cost you more than $95 to have the dealer install it.

You really should only be looking at $500 max in what really should be replaced when they do the Head Gasket job.
Some advice I would start looking for a different service shop after you get this fix done. Your dealer sounds like they have adopted the fleece the customer model.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Water pump is a life time part if the coolant condition has been kept up. Not something you need to do at 85K. A timing belt the very basic just replace the belt type effort a dealer can go as low as $300

I think Mother Subaru is giving you a hint that the dealer is VERY HIGH COST in their suggestion that you talk to the dealer about dropping the price some more. By the way the standard HG job cost to the dealer with labor and such is a little less than $1500 so even at $1500 your dealer is making a decent return on the HG job from Subaru.

At 85K and if the fluids were kept up and the car was serviced on a regular basis really all you need is the timing belt done and the HG fix. Along with fresh coolant in the system. Thermostat shouldn't cost you more than $95 to have the dealer install it.

You really should only be looking at $500 max in what really should be replaced when they do the Head Gasket job.
Some advice I would start looking for a different service shop after you get this fix done. Your dealer sounds like they have adopted the fleece the customer model.
Thanks for your great feedback. I'll be heading into the dealer in the next few days to do a bit of negotiating. Yes, Subie America is throwing the hints loud and clear - they even said to tell the dealer to call them directly re: pricing. Excited to get my car repaired and back in good shape!
 

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Discussion Starter #16
One more thing: the dealer is saying up to $900 if the heads need to be machined. Shouldn't they be machined as a routine matter of doing the heads? Or no? Just part of my upcoming negotiations...
 

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One more thing: the dealer is saying up to $900 if the heads need to be machined. Shouldn't they be machined as a routine matter of doing the heads? Or no? Just part of my upcoming negotiations...
No its actually not very common to machine the heads. Re surface them yes they should do that they are not one in the same regarding cost or whats involved. When people hear machined its more of something we hear with long fragile heads that warp when not seated right or over heated. Which case machining the head on a long I4 engine or V6 or V8 heads is a must do when this type of job takes place. Though I will tell you even Toyota generally replaces these long heads when they have a failure given the long heads are fragile.

The very short and small compact heads Subarus have make them crazy strong and its not common to need to machine them. Resurfacing or surface prepping the mating surface yes but thats not a big deal and they should be doing that anyway.

When Subaru did my car - never over heated basically spotted the leak and said hey whats the deal. Subaru said yep well fix it. Dropped the car off at 10am picked it up the next day at Noon. All the dealer did was pull the head clean it up and reinstall it with a new gasket. If the engine was fine and never over heated prior to the HG job then thats basically all your car should need.
 

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Also keep all your records!!!!!!!!!!!! I learned that the skill the hands have that do the HG is a direct impact on if the job actually lasts. My toyota blew three head gaskets in three years - Toyota finally flew a specialty engine guy to the dealer to make sure it was done right. However after a combined 9 weeks in a rental in three years I was done with it and traded it for a Subaru :) By the way each time Toyota did the job on the V6 they put new heads on they never bothered trying to machine them given they are long and fairly fragile and once the HG fails the head becomes a major source of issues and not worth machining. Subaru heads are not like that given they are crazy robust and compact. Major reason why Subaru HG jobs are only $1500. Toyota cost was $8000 the first time due to tearing down the engine to a bare block and doing machine work on the block plus new heads. Second time new heads were the only major replacement cost them $6000. Third time was $5000 guessing due to faster work and fewer man hours.

The Subaru is crazy simple and super strong which is why it shouldn't be hard to fix correctly.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
No its actually not very common to machine the heads. Re surface them yes they should do that they are not one in the same regarding cost or whats involved. When people hear machined its more of something we hear with long fragile heads that warp when not seated right or over heated. Which case machining the head on a long I4 engine or V6 or V8 heads is a must do when this type of job takes place. Though I will tell you even Toyota generally replaces these long heads when they have a failure given the long heads are fragile.

The very short and small compact heads Subarus have make them crazy strong and its not common to need to machine them. Resurfacing or surface prepping the mating surface yes but thats not a big deal and they should be doing that anyway.

When Subaru did my car - never over heated basically spotted the leak and said hey whats the deal. Subaru said yep well fix it. Dropped the car off at 10am picked it up the next day at Noon. All the dealer did was pull the head clean it up and reinstall it with a new gasket. If the engine was fine and never over heated prior to the HG job then thats basically all your car should need.
Perfect! My car is the same as yours, steady, small leak but no overheating. Hopefully this repair will keep him going for awhile. Thank you so much for the feedback. I'm becoming an expert is so many different areas lately ;)
 

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Ha! I learned by fire too. Sounds like as long as the dealer does a quality gasket job then yes you should be in great shape. Where the subaru really becomes an issue is when people over heat them due to lost fluids. Then you have various damages caused by the overheat along with the HG problem. So the HG fix might be good but there could be many issues left caused by the overheat. So always much better to simply get it fixed before you have an overheat issue.
 
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