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Discussion Starter #1
Looking at buying this one.

1998 Subaru Outback AWD 2.5L DOHC super nice

The price seems to be high average compared to other listings in my area, but he's trading for my truck and a 2k. So cash wise I'd get it for about $4750.

Is there anything I should look for when I test it?
Are there known issues that I might be able to bring up to get him to come down a little?

It's important to me to get one before the snow season, and the mpg is probably going to be twice that of my truck so I'd rather not wait for that "perfect deal".

Also, this is my first post and I hope to be a contributing member to this community.
 

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Get a proper head gasket leak test done. This was right at the tail end of the internal HG failures and the beginning of the external HG failures on this engine. Try to find out where the car was serviced very possible the local dealer might be able to give you some service history on it.

At that mileage if that is the correct mileage the clutch and running gear should be virtually new and have no odd vibrations etc and run nice and smooth. Used car prices are off the charts right now and Washington ST is land of Subaru so that adds to your price. However that price seems crazy high to me. I sold our mint condition everything working all service documented Legacy GT Limited 5spd 2.5 2001 which had new clutch - new shocks - new wheel bearings - zero leaks all records original owner for $1200 at 180,000. $5500 for a 98 seems crazy high to me personally.

What truck are you trading? That OB will get between 18-27mpg without being super anal about mileage pending traffic - weather temps etc. So if your trading a decent truck in hopes your going to get big MPG gains just keep those numbers in mind.
 

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I'm trading a 94 2wd ranger that I picked up for about 1300 and put a new tranny in, it's in decent running condition but I don't need two vehicles. I've listed my truck on CL for 3000 and have only had one guy contact me asking if it's a 4wd.

Thanks for your help!
 

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I'm trading a 94 2wd ranger that I picked up for about 1300 and put a new tranny in, it's in decent running condition but I don't need two vehicles. I've listed my truck on CL for 3000 and have only had one guy contact me asking if it's a 4wd.

Thanks for your help!
I had a 89 Ranger short bed 2.3L V6 mitsubishi engine automatic XLT for many years before ending up with my first subaru. Funny thing is not a single family member owns a Ford now and we have 6 Subarus in the family ha ha.

REALLY check the HG on that car! As long as the HG is intact and you can find good history and the sellers story matches what your seeing then it comes down to price.

It is a better car than the little ranger you will for sure be happy about that as long as you don't end up with a blown HG and engine thats been cooked etc.
 

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Internal leak a proper exhaust gas check in the coolant most local parts stores sell a simple chemistry kit that checks for this. The external HG leak is harder - my 01 first hint of the leak was driver side bottom back corner of the block ie head. Drive the car for a little bit ie test drive, Park turn wheels hard right, shut down then poke your nose under the car just behind the front driver side wheel and look at the bottom back corner of the engine ie head the external HG leak almost always happens on the driver side head not exactly sure why - and even a slight leak like mine a drip of coolant could be seen dripping off the back corner onto the hot exhaust just below it. After about 5-10 minutes the hot exhaust will evaporate any sign of the leak. A quick sniff with the nose in the driver side front wheel well will often give you a strong wiff of coolant right after a drive also. The external leak is not a big deal as long as the car does not get over heated ie run out of coolant. My car with a minor leak was taking about 12oz of coolant a week to keep the over flow bottle topped off ie in proper range. Subaru pulled the head tossed an updated metal layer gasket on and put the head back on and at 180,000 miles it was fine zero issues.

The trick is sorting out if it has a leak and if there are any indications the engine was overheated before the owner or prior owner sorted out they had an issue ie checked the fluid levels etc.
 

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For the HG, get a thing called a Block Tester (you can get it at NAPA or wherever). There's youtube vids about how to use it. (fill it, put it where the radiator cap is, run the car for a while, if the liquid turns green ask him to knock off maybe $1,500 or so). Also look for any blue smoke out of the exhaust pipe.

Radiator is another known issue. They tend to go bad after about 180K or so. Easy fix, but you might could talk him down. I think new ones are like $250?

Wiper assembly is another one. Turn those suckers on high with a dry windshield or put a little resistance on them somehow, just to make sure they're solid. New ones are like $100 but you can just get some out of the Pick-n-Pull for mega cheap. (The little plastic ball in socket on the assembly can break leaving you with no wipers...).

Alternator is a typical one (on any car really). If you have a voltmeter, turn on the car and make sure your getting more than 12 off the battery. (I think like 13 or 14 is where you want to be?)

Drive it around for a good 20 min or so to make sure the CEL will pop back up if he cleared it.

Just look under the car for any leaking oil or grease. If you see a lot, ask him about it. (could be broken CVs, seals, etc.)

I mean, it's an old car so just know your getting an old car.

As for gas mileage, I can get 31 out of mine. That's city and highway. Not to bad for a AWD with a manual. (I can actually get higher than that if I'm just highway cruising like on a trip). If this is just a car for winter, I recommend cutting the belt that drives the A/C compressor. You will get a little more mpg that way.

my $.02
 

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2001 legacy gt 5spd owned from day one. Mint condition run on synthetic. I5 south 300 miles with tail wind one trip out of dozens best ever mileage was 30mpg. Closest I ever got after that was 28mpg. No way the ob gets 31mpg sorry.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
He doesn't have any records, says that he's done all the work himself.
I asked why he replaced the engine and I haven't heard back from him, seems like it fell through.

Luckily someone might just give me cash for my truck tonight, opening up some other options. I know this is an outback forum, but what do you think about foresters? Should I be concerned about the same issues if they were produced during the same years?
 

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Subaru for the basic details built three primary platforms Impreza, Legacy and the now dead ie canceled Tribeca.

The Forester pending which years either sat on a Impreza platform or a Legacy platform.

As for running gear and engines Subaru basically only had a couple of engines and transmissions so all the same stuff covered on the OB applies to the older Forester with the 2.5 in it. By the way when my 2001 was getting the HG replaced the dealer had 10 foresters on the lifts all having the HG's done also. So yes same game regarding full detailed check on the HG health and vehicle history etc. Good luck!

By the way the Impreza is not sexy but probably the best used car deal to be found regarding price and what your getting. FAR FAR superior to the little ranger in seating space and capability but the back seat is tight as is the forester given they are for all basics the same car with different bodies on them.
 
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