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Discussion Starter #1
I am going to be buying a new car in the near future and I think I want an Outback. With the money I have $5Kish I think that puts me into a first gen or early second gen Outback. I have been looking around this site and I knew before even getting here that the cars have head gasket issues.
Is there a year range less prone to this issue? Should I look for anything other than a leak, that would guide me to a good car? Should I look for one that has just had them done and look for many happy miles? Or buy one that is leaking and do them myself?
I am a mechanic (Assoc Degree in Auto/Diesel from UTI with 20+ years experience) and I do still work on my cars, mostly old Air Cooled VWs.
I would however like to drive something I don't have to work on and save my tinkering time for my hobby car.
Also, what other things should I look for? Is the Auto or the manual a better option, or about the same? Any other failure prone items to be on the look out for?
There seems to be no shortage of 1st or 2nd gen cars in my area (Olympia/Seattle Wa) and rust is not an issue in this new of car. I want to be armed with good knowledge before I drop that much cash.
Oh, and I seem to read on other sites that 20-25 MPG is about the average mileage, is this about right?
Thanks in advance.
Scott
 

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2003 LL Bean Outback H6 and 2019 Outback Base
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514 Posts
I had a 2000 OBW..automatic...loved it.......it did need HG work which was about 2000. replaced water pump.... timing belt.....other stuff since it was pulled apart..had it done at 145,000....I sold it :( but have a 2003 LL Bean H6......If you can do the work....thats a HUGE advantage......I also had the tranny replaced at 156,000.....awesome car...
 

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Somebody Else's XT
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14,434 Posts
You should be aware that there are actually 2 head gasket problems. The early 2.5 (DOHC) commonly gets an internal leak, combustion-to-cooling. The later 2.5 (SOHC) has issues with external leaks- coolant escape, oil escape.

The external leak is a lot easier to deal with, because you can keep adding coolant and oil as it slowly leaks out until you get sick of it. The internal leak has you overheating & broken down on the side of the road. They are almost identical in terms of what is involved in fixing them though. I think the changeover was in 2000 but you'll want to confirm this.

The H6 engine from 2001-onwards is not known for any type of head gasket trouble. I'm sure there are exceptions but they have a bulletproof reputation overall. Slightly less MPG & only offered with auto trans are the trade-offs of the H6.

Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Ok, that helps. I was wondering about the H6 engine cars. I will be towing a small tent trailer (1992 Starcraft) and thought the extra power would be nice, but did not know anything about them. Sounds like maybe a good way to go if I can find one? How much difference is there in MPG? Anything that averages over 20MPG would be better than I get now.
 
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