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Hey guys & gals,
I'm new to forum and I have some questions about Outbacks. As the title states, I am currently looking for my first car since I am getting my license in less than a month. I've been doing looking around for used cars for a while, and I've been looking at hatchbacks and station wagons since I find them more appealing than sedans. I've seen a fair amount of Outbacks on Craigslist, but I never really considered them as a candidate for my first car since I thought it was kind of "boring," but now I really appreciate the "sleeper" look. My budget is somewhere between $5,000 and $10,000 (depending on how much my parents would like to chip in) and I recently saw a Craigslist post for a 2008 Subaru Outback 2.5XT with 101,000 miles listed for $9,900. The listing states, "Car includes all regular service record history AND it still has 9 pre-paid SERVICES at autonation that can be transferred to new owner. Car is really in perfect condition and has not had any problems EVER." Since I do not know much about Outbacks, can you give me your advice on whether or not this is a good deal? Based on the pictures the car, I think that it looks like it is in immaculate condition, but I am not familiar with the mechanical aspects of the Gen 3 Outbacks, or Outbacks in general. I would appreciate it if someone could educate me so I can make a smart purchase. Can someone tell me what I should look out for when I am looking to purchase a used Outback? What the maintenance would be like? Would this be a good car for a teenager that is new to driving? Would this car be expensive to insure? Do the other trims have any advantages over the 2.5XT? I think my parents would be hung up on the fact that this Outback has a turbo, would it have any major problems down the line? Sorry if I am being vague since I am not very knowledgable about car mechanics. Thanks for the taking the time to read this and I appreciate any advice that I can get! Have a good day!

*I can't post the link to the Outback CL ad since I am a new user*
 

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My advice as a 50 year old police officer and father of 2 with driving age kids is don't touch the XT. If that turbo goes pop you will not be able to afford to get the car on the road again. The engine will lunch box itself. You need some basic mechanical knowledge to run a turbo car. For a 1st car get an OB but not a turbo.
 

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1999 30th Anniversary Legacy Outback DOHC 2.5L 4EAT, 2008 Impreza WRX 2.5L 5MT, 2008 Impreza Wagon 2.5L 4EAT
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Sorry I am not familiar with an "EZ30R" can you explain?
That's the 6 cylinder 3.0L engine I believe.


Things to consider: Timing Belt service done (if over 100k miles)
Headgaskets on some 2.5L (especially the NA DOHC engines) can be an issue.
Rust on the bottom of the vehicle if driven in areas that use lots of road salt

Definitely stay away from the turbo unless you have spare $$$ to address when it fails
 

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06 3.0R JDM facelift SI Drive-shift paddles. 87 Brumby EA81 (Brat) 4MT D/R
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Totally endorse 3rd Gen 2005 - 2009 3.0R H6 (5EAT) a better choice than the XT with associated turbo issues and naturally aspirated EJ2.5 H4s with associated headgasket issues.
The H6 has timing chains, so no timing belt replacement to worry about, like on the EJ H4s including the XT.
Also 3.0R has similar horsepower to XT but not quite as much mid range torque.

If wanting an MT
There is only the 5EAT transmission choice with 3.0R H6 - a good engine / trans combo
- also recommend getting a later one with SI drive and shift paddles
- better driving experience selecting power and economy modes without having to take hands off steering wheel and eyes off road.

However the XT does have the choice of either a 5MT or 5EAT
 
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I am currently looking for my first car...

...I recently saw a Craigslist post for a 2008 Subaru Outback 2.5XT with 101,000 miles...

...I am not very knowledgable about car mechanics.
(edited for clarity)

We have a contender for the Unintentional Worst Idea Ever prize category!

Seriously- that car would be an extremely poor choice for your circumstances. Learn from the painful experience of others and pick something else.

I love my XT and (knock wood) it serves me well but to put it in perspective it is the 9th or 10th car I've owned. I learned how to take care of cars with some much simpler, cheaper and slower cars 20+ years ago. Just listing what worked for me.

Good luck!
 

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I love my XT, and for most of my engine swap project I've seen it as being fun rather than a chore, but if I had held out for a 3.0 I don't think I would have missed ANY of the work or money put towards it. My TT has twice the miles, has taken more mods and abuse, and is much more special and worth the efforts, so don't think I would have pissed for a second if I could have finally gotten to that project instead. The Scooby has been easy to work on and there is a metric ****ton of information out there, those were really the only saving graces.

Think about it - if Subaru had used better pistons and a better tune (which would have added maybe $500 to the MSRP), this gen of Outback and Legacy would have been some of the best cars Subaru ever made. I mean, they probably are, and their continued ridiculous popularity and resale supports this, but that's in spite of the EJ25x being widely seen as a half-assed engine for over a decade. Everyone makes fun of the 1.8T since really early ones had sludging problems (and a mediocre timing belt tensioner), but they also came with forged Mahle pistons and the ME7.5 ECU; I'd rather have a robust engine and ECU which needs a new belt every 60k over a turbo engine with cast pistons, crappy valves, and a tune that left a lot of the table. Basically, our cars are good in spite of the EJ, so if you're willing to spend a few thousand on a forged engine you can then assume the rest of car will last a long time (aside from normal maintenance items).
 

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Headgaskets on some 2.5L (especially the DOHC engines) can be an issue.
Sorry, I think this is backwards for the 2.5i.

2.5i normally aspirated = SOHC = lots of incidents of head gasket issues
2.5i XT turbo = DOHC = much fewer incidents of head gasket issues

It's because of the different materials used for each engine; the DOHC turbo came from the factory with multi-layer gaskets. But the XT turbo does indeed come with all of the other warnings that others have posted in this thread.

You can see the head gasket failure incidents that we've posted here; the Gen 3 incidents are dominated by the 2.5i NA and I'm number 454 in the list, FWIW.

HG failure log (NO DISCUSSION, Log ONLY)
 

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Sorry, I think this is backwards for the 2.5i.

2.5i normally aspirated = SOHC = lots of incidents of head gasket issues
2.5i XT turbo = DOHC = much fewer incidents of head gasket issues

It's because of the different materials used for each engine; the DOHC turbo came from the factory with multi-layer gaskets. But the XT turbo does indeed come with all of the other warnings that others have posted in this thread.

You can see the head gasket failure incidents that we've posted here; the Gen 3 incidents are dominated by the 2.5i NA and I'm number 454 in the list, FWIW.

HG failure log (NO DISCUSSION, Log ONLY)
Yes the Turbo had less HG issues that the NA ones. Turbo failure (potentially catastrophic) is no easy thing to deal with. The NA 2.5L DOHC had exhaust gas leaks to the cooling system. 2.5L NA SOHC was more prone to external coolant/oil leaks.
 

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OK, now I see where you were going with this thought.

The OP had asked about a 2008 XT purchase, and I was limiting my answer only to the two 2.5i engines available for that year - EJ253 and EJ255. If you cast a wider net and go back before this series, then yes, the 2.5i NA DOHC did have some HG issues as well.

Peace.
 

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Don't know what part of the country you live in but more than a million cars were flooded out by water here in Houston. Be very careful with used car purchases for the next five years. They will get around the U.S. Reputable dealer improves your odds somewhat.

Just sayin.


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