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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,

New member here, just signed up today. Looks like a great site so far!!

I'm looking to get a Gen3 OB in the near future to replace my '97 Grand Cherokee as my winter DD and mountainbike/kayak/camping support vehicle, and I had a few questions.

First - Auto vs. Manual. And advantages to one over the other as far as reliability, mpg, etc? I know alot of it is preference, but I could go either way. I do more hwy driving that city, otherwise I'd prob def want an auto.

Reason I ask: I found a '06 2.5i 5 speed with 29k miles for $12,990. More than I wanted to spend on a 6, going on 7, y/o car, but that mileage! Car is two tone silver with the dark grey interior - looks sharp! Good price?

Any issues to look out for with the 5 speed?

On the other end of the spectrum I found an '05 2.5i auto with 99k on it for $6,999. It's the two tone green (I would of course call it the Ninja Turtle!) with tan interior. Looks decently clean in the pics. Other than coming up on the t-belt replacement, any major issues to look for with a 99k OB?

I know it's got 70k more miles, but it's also 6k less. And deep down, I think at heart I'd prefer an auto (but I don't by any means dislike a stick). I almost think this one is the better deal, it's just not my fav color combo. Although the green IS fairly unique.

I know there must be countless threads on this, but since I'm already posting....

I do mostly highway driving, at 65-70 with a light foot. Is it unreasonable to hope to get around 26mpg on avg with one of these?

And randomness, but do the back seats fold flat; and is there a storange compartment under the rear floor, or does the spare live there?

Ok, that's enough for now.

Thanks alot for any info!!
 

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The old 4EAT is all but bulletproof if it is serviced. The 5EAT is more pleasant to drive if you find it, in my opinion.

And in my 03 with an auto, if I keep it in the 60-65 MPH range, 28-30MPG on the highway is not unusual.

Seats fold almost totally flat, spare lives under the rear cargo area.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the info.

If I understand correctly, the 4EAT (4speed Electronic Automatic Transmission?) comes with all N/A 2.5's, while the 5EAT (why not just A4 /A5?) was only available with the turbo motor.

At first I was all excited when I found out about the existance of the XT's, but after reading about them, I want to stay away. Between the maint issues and the fact they don't get any better fuel eco than my 5.7L V8 Firebird, I'm all set. Not to mention I don't need another car to mod!
 

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Yeah, the XT is lots of fun to drive. But it needs premium fuel, synthetic oil, and short oil change intervals. Not an economical car...but a fun driver to do some fun things with/in.

The H6 engine gives about the same overall power numbers, but the power is more linear, not the turbo "oomph!" factor. It also has a timing chain, instead of the belt the H4 engine has. However, it recommends premium fuel and gets MPG closer to the XT than the H4. It is also automatic only, no manual option.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I like the idea of the H6, and premium fuel isn't that big a deal for me, it's only another couple bucks per tank. I've just been reading the economy isn't that great, and that's something I need in my next car, I'm just shelling out so much cash for fuel every week and it's really sickening.

And I noticed your sig: are you really having that big a corrosion problem? That's another thing that scares me about these cars. The other car I'm interested in, the Volvo XC70, doesn't rust. I see a ton of Volvos around, and I haven't seen a rusty one that wasn't going on 3 decades old.
 

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For me, the rust is just a symptom of the vehicle being in Chicago winters, without access to a heated garage for its' entire life. There are times when it just can't get cleaned off because it would freeze solid and the salt does its' thing.

For reference, this car at 5 years old (when I acquired it) had more rust that my 14 year old Thunderbird did when I sold it and moved from Tennessee. If Kaylee had been been rustproofed at any time in her first 5 winters...it may have been a better outcome. As it...I'll probably rust out somewhere around 200k or so.
 

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I'd ask which one has had the headgasket replaced already and be sure to inspect for external headgasket leaks common to those engines. Might rule one of them out right there. $7,000 seems like a great price for that one though.

There's room to suggest auto's becoming more reliable. change the fluids and run proper tires so you don't hose the clutch packs and they're good to 200,000 miles.

Manuals need clutches, have less predictable torque bind issues, and input shaft bearings and synchros can get sloppy.

There's no way to quantify it but how many miles do you honestly and realistically put on a car? One way to look at it might be this:
If you want 100,000 miles get the 99,000 mile vehicle.
If you want 200,000 miles out of this vehicle - get the 29,000 mile vehicle.

I have friends/relatives that don't drive much so even a 99,000 mile Subaru will never really see that many miles - great fit in that kind of situation. If you're racking 40,000 a year...you might want the lower end mileage.

With that kind of price difference though you can buy two of the 99,000 mile jokers for one of the other.

But - it's gonna need a timing belt kit as soon as you get it of course and make sure all fluids are up to date.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for the advise, Gary.

I was thinking the same thing about manuals. I don't believe the old adage that the manual is always more trouble free is correct anymore. I mentioned this on another board, and someone mentioned having well over 100k on the original clutch and never having to replace it. Wel,, I'm not that kind of driver. I can drive a stick, but I'm not great at it. Any manual I get is going to have a rough first few months till I get the hang of it again!

I drive about 15k a year or so currently, mostly becasue I live 32 miles from work. If my work or living situation changed, the mileage would drop quite a bit. Considering the 29k one is already 6, going on 7 years old, by the time I hit 200k it's going to be 17 or 18 years old. More than likely I'm not going to want to be driving a car that old. My Jeep is 15 years old, with 163k on it. It runs great, but age is taking it's toll. I don't think I want to be in this position again with another car.

On the other hand, I think I could reasonably expect to get 4 or 5 years out of the 99k one, and in that case I'd be happy as I'd have bought it for relatively cheap money. And it doesn't have any less options than the 29k one, and it has the automatic that I honestly would prefer.

I think resale would be a moot point with the 29k one, as it would be 11 years old by the time I paid it off, and I'd want to keep it a few years after that. Paying almost 50% less for the 99k one, I really wouldn't care, and would prob still get a few grand for it anyway when I'm done with it.

Decision, decisions.

Maybe buying the cheaper one, assuming it's in good condition is the way to go, and in a few years I can upgrade to a 4th gen, if I'm still liking the Subie thing.

Edit: Here's a link to the car - http://www.bournes.com/used/Subaru/2005-Subaru-Outback-31a4328e404638b501b2c86e0cd9145a.htm

Here's the 29k one: http://www.cars.com/go/search/detail.jsp?tracktype=usedcc&csDlId=&csDgId=&listingId=97624360&listingRecNum=4&criteria=prMx=13000&sf1Dir=DESC&prMn=0&alMdId=21697&mkId=20041&mlgMx=100000&stkTyp=U&mdId=21697&rd=100&crSrtFlds=stkTypId-feedSegId-mkId-mdId-pseudoPrice-pseudoYear-pseudoMileage&zc=02840&rn=0&PMmt=1-1-0&stkTypId=28881&sf2Dir=ASC&sf1Nm=price&yrMn=2005&sf2Nm=miles&isDealerGrouping=false&yrMx=2009&alMkId=20041&rpp=50&feedSegId=28705&aff=national&listType=1

Interesting...looked at the carfax on the 29k one. It was bought at auction by a Subaru dealer, then sold a week later to the dealer selling it now. I wonder why? Something wrong with it that the Subaru dealer didn't want to deal with? You'd think they'd have kept it and sold it for top dollar with that kind of mileage on it. Hmmmmmm.....
 

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7K for a 2005 with 99,000 miles seems a little low to me. I wonder if it has some maintainance issues other than the timing belt service coming up.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
7K for a 2005 with 99,000 miles seems a little low to me. I wonder if it has some maintainance issues other than the timing belt service coming up.
I was thinking the same thing. I guess I'll have to check it out closely. It's a wierd color though, that may have soemthing to do with it. I think it's called willow green? With the (what looks like) light grey on the bottom.

Maybe there's some cosmetic issues. If that's the case, on a 7 y/o, 99k mile car I can look past alot of that if it's in good shape mechanicaly.

They have another one that's tempting. It's a tan '06 with 105k. It has the best carfax on of of these that I've seen yet. One owner, with 28 maint records. Consistant trips to the dealer for "recommended maint" every 5k or so miles, plus oil changes, brakes at 84k, tire rotations, and dealer replaced T-Belt at 95k miles.

I think that maint history with the t-belt being done is worth the extra 2k, even though it has a few more miles.

Truthfully though I'm wondering if mpg aside, I'd be better of going with the H6. Between all the sh!t that has to be replaced at 100k along with the t-belt, and possbile head gasket issues, the 2.5 seems like a maint nightmare.

And I've read on here a few times "oh, head gaskets at 100k miles is normal for any car". BS! That is NOT true. Other than the 3.8L Ford V6 of the 80's and 90's, I can't think of any other car with a reputation for eating HG's like these have. I've owned 5 cars personally, and know of plenty others in my family, that have gone well over 100k miles with no head gasket issues. Unless you severly overheat the engine, HG's should be a lifetime part.

I was looking at Volvo XC70's as well as the Subies, and as much as people told me the Subaru would be more reliable, I've seen no mention of any of these issues with the Volvo 2.5T inline 5.

I like the look of the Volvo better, but the Subie I think would be a bit better on fuel since it's a bit smaller, and it has a much superior AWD system.

I found a '05 OBW LL Bean 3.0 with 81k for 10,995. My favorite color too, blue over silver. Only thing is the carfax shows one accident, it "struck a light or utility pole". That sounds like it would have been pretty severe, I wonder if the car is still worth looking at despite that.
 

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I was looking at Volvo XC70's as well as the Subies, and as much as people told me the Subaru would be more reliable, I've seen no mention of any of these issues with the Volvo 2.5T inline 5.

I like the look of the Volvo better, but the Subie I think would be a bit better on fuel since it's a bit smaller, and it has a much superior AWD system.
I'd agree, those engines did well vs. the typical Subaru 2.5. But it took Volvo a few really unreasonable years to work out some transmission control issues in those cars... I recall that and the mpg penalty being the downsides of that car.
 

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I'd agree, those engines did well vs. the typical Subaru 2.5. But it took Volvo a few really unreasonable years to work out some transmission control issues in those cars... I recall that and the mpg penalty being the downsides of that car.

Yeah, I learned on the Volvo boards that under no circumstances should one buy a '01 or '02 XC70, on those it's a question of WHEN, not IF, the transmission is going to fail.

They fixed that problem for '03, and did a mid cycle freshening in '05. I'd limit my search to '05-'07 models to avoid issues.

IIRC they are EPA rated the same as the OB, but from what I see here it looksl ike people can exceed the epa rating w/out much trouble. I've seen on the XC boards that it IS possible, though not as common. Some of them are reporting 27, 28mpg on the highway. Others report closer to 22, 23. Alot of these figures should be taken with a grain of salt though, Driving conditons and style will have the biggest effect on MPG.

What I like about the Subie over the Volvo is the AWD system is much better on the Soob, and it's a bit less soccer mom-ish to be seen in.

OTH, comfort is a high priority, and from what I've heard, the Volvo has some of the best seats in the biz.

I really need to drive them both to decide.
 

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If you want reliability and ease of maintenance and 200,000 miles with nothing more than oil changes and spark plugs - the H6 engine is your best bet. That takes a mpg hit of course but those engines are amazing. More robust than the 2.5 liters. Both of my daily drivers have those motors for that reason.
 

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I've rented a few XC70s over the years, and shopped them before I bought my first outback.

I like that volvo in general, and you're right about the seats- they really are something else. The interior is the one category where I'd say Volvo takes the prize hands down.

But getting back to dollars and cents, the Subarus I found were roughly as much car for a lot less money. I can't recall beating 21mpg in the rentals, I regularly do a little better than that in my XT.
 

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I was thinking the same thing. I guess I'll have to check it out closely. It's a wierd color though, that may have soemthing to do with it. I think it's called willow green? With the (what looks like) light grey on the bottom.

Maybe there's some cosmetic issues. If that's the case, on a 7 y/o, 99k mile car I can look past alot of that if it's in good shape mechanicaly.

They have another one that's tempting. It's a tan '06 with 105k. It has the best carfax on of of these that I've seen yet. One owner, with 28 maint records. Consistant trips to the dealer for "recommended maint" every 5k or so miles, plus oil changes, brakes at 84k, tire rotations, and dealer replaced T-Belt at 95k miles.

I think that maint history with the t-belt being done is worth the extra 2k, even though it has a few more miles.

Truthfully though I'm wondering if mpg aside, I'd be better of going with the H6. Between all the sh!t that has to be replaced at 100k along with the t-belt, and possbile head gasket issues, the 2.5 seems like a maint nightmare.

And I've read on here a few times "oh, head gaskets at 100k miles is normal for any car". BS! That is NOT true. Other than the 3.8L Ford V6 of the 80's and 90's, I can't think of any other car with a reputation for eating HG's like these have. I've owned 5 cars personally, and know of plenty others in my family, that have gone well over 100k miles with no head gasket issues. Unless you severly overheat the engine, HG's should be a lifetime part.

I was looking at Volvo XC70's as well as the Subies, and as much as people told me the Subaru would be more reliable, I've seen no mention of any of these issues with the Volvo 2.5T inline 5.

I like the look of the Volvo better, but the Subie I think would be a bit better on fuel since it's a bit smaller, and it has a much superior AWD system.

I found a '05 OBW LL Bean 3.0 with 81k for 10,995. My favorite color too, blue over silver. Only thing is the carfax shows one accident, it "struck a light or utility pole". That sounds like it would have been pretty severe, I wonder if the car is still worth looking at despite that.
They don't eat HG's. The HG's were not designed right and leaked. Proper HG no issues.

Heck I had one that needed the HG replaced due to the bad design HG drove it another 130,000 miles with no issues sold it with no leaks. Bought a new 2.5 based on the same old engine design. Not too worried about it.
 

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What I like about the Subie over the Volvo is the AWD system is much better on the Soob
That's putting it nicely. Also, there are countless Volvo XC70 owners driving around without the rear diff/axles. :eek: The haldex system is so problematic that the "cure" is to completely remove the diff? :rolleyes:

Don't get me wrong, I LOVE older RWD Volvos. I have a pristine 240 wagon myself. But I would never, ever buy a AWD/FWD platform from Volvo. Never.
 

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Whoever said "headgaskets are a lifetime part" is smokin some good stuff. NO gasket is a lifetime part. We need to acknowledge that any make or model you buy will come with some issues, especially if purchased used. If its not a head gasket, it will be something else. I took my 2003 Baja about 150,000 miles before it needed a head gasket. I can't really complain. I threw a new one on and have since put another almost 90,000 miles on it. While I was in there I threw on a new timing belt, valve cover gaskets, plugs, wires, fuel filter, and water pump. All that stuff would have been needed by that mileage on any Toyota or Honda or whatever. Really, at some point you need to swallow the maintainance pill and take ownership of your vehicle.

I take good care of my Baja. Thats why its been so good to me. I've only had to change the clutch once in 220,000 miles. Ive never replaced any suspension parts except for front ball joints and rear sway bushings. Still has original radiator, alternator, starter, engine, tranmission, differentials, struts, springs, and more.

I just make sure I change the oil, fluids, filters, brakes, and tires. I still drive it 30-40 miles a day.

Sorry for the rant. I'm not trying to be a dick, but being in the automotive service industry I see so many vehicle owners with unrealistic expectations. All it does is set them up for dissapointment.

Just buy the car you like. Take care of it, and it will take care of you.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
That's putting it nicely. Also, there are countless Volvo XC70 owners driving around without the rear diff/axles. :eek: The haldex system is so problematic that the "cure" is to completely remove the diff? :rolleyes:

Don't get me wrong, I LOVE older RWD Volvos. I have a pristine 240 wagon myself. But I would never, ever buy a AWD/FWD platform from Volvo. Never.
The more I read about the AWD systems, the more I like the Soob. All the Youtube vids of them are impressive as well. Although I'm thinking they may be a little deceptive, as I think the cars climbing the roller ramps with only a front wheel having traction likely have VDC, which in my searching has proven to be quite rare on Gen3 Outbacks.

I like that the Sub was designed to be AWD from the get go, while the Volvo is a FWD converted to AWD, and you don't actually have AWD till thefronts are already spinning. And my nieghbor had an '02 XC70 that was FWD, his rear didn't work. He's since replaced it with a new Audi Allroad, and god dayum is that thing sexy!!

Whoever said "headgaskets are a lifetime part" is smokin some good stuff. NO gasket is a lifetime part. We need to acknowledge that any make or model you buy will come with some issues, especially if purchased used. If its not a head gasket, it will be something else. I took my 2003 Baja about 150,000 miles before it needed a head gasket. I can't really complain. I threw a new one on and have since put another almost 90,000 miles on it. While I was in there I threw on a new timing belt, valve cover gaskets, plugs, wires, fuel filter, and water pump. All that stuff would have been needed by that mileage on any Toyota or Honda or whatever. Really, at some point you need to swallow the maintainance pill and take ownership of your vehicle.

I take good care of my Baja. Thats why its been so good to me. I've only had to change the clutch once in 220,000 miles. Ive never replaced any suspension parts except for front ball joints and rear sway bushings. Still has original radiator, alternator, starter, engine, tranmission, differentials, struts, springs, and more.

I just make sure I change the oil, fluids, filters, brakes, and tires. I still drive it 30-40 miles a day.

Sorry for the rant. I'm not trying to be a dick, but being in the automotive service industry I see so many vehicle owners with unrealistic expectations. All it does is set them up for dissapointment.

Just buy the car you like. Take care of it, and it will take care of you.
I understand all cars have issues. I have a '97 Jeep and a 4th F-Body... I know about cars with issues! lol

But I think the HG issue is a serious one. While I still like these cars otherwise, I know I'm rolling the dice on one. And I stand by my statement that a car can go a lifetime w/out ever needing new headgaskets. I have a friend with a '00 Civic she bought new. It now has approx 280K miles on it, and that motor has never been apart. I'm not even a fan of Honda, but I use that as an example because thats the highest mileage car I know personally.


The history of your Baja is impressive, that's the kind of durability I like right there. And only one clutch in 220k! You must be one helluva driver! My last manual transmission car needed a clutch at 33k miles, lol. Of coure at the time that was a known weak point with those cars...'98 Firebird Formula M6.

And that's good that your HG's didn't go till 150k. I usually do most of my own work myself, but that's not something I'd want to tackle. I just don't relish the thought of a $2,000 repair bill on what will at that time be an old car.
 

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But I think the HG issue is a serious one. While I still like these cars otherwise, I know I'm rolling the dice on one. And I stand by my statement that a car can go a lifetime w/out ever needing new headgaskets. I have a friend with a '00 Civic she bought new. It now has approx 280K miles on it, and that motor has never been apart. I'm not even a fan of Honda, but I use that as an example because thats the highest mileage car I know personally.
Agreed. The HG issues on the Subaru boxer is something to be considered, especially if you are buying used. That said, I've worked around german cars long enough to know that Audis have had plenty of gasket problems of their own.

Sure, you can go with a AWD Honda or Toyota, but let's be honest, you're not really getting a true AWD. Those haldex systems are next to worthless.

Basically, if you want any kind of a good AWD system in a sedan-like vehicle, you will need to anticipate the repair costs and factor in a rainy day fund. If I were you, I would have it narrowed down between an Audi and a Subaru.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Agreed. The HG issues on the Subaru boxer is something to be considered, especially if you are buying used. That said, I've worked around german cars long enough to know that Audis have had plenty of gasket problems of their own.

Sure, you can go with a AWD Honda or Toyota, but let's be honest, you're not really getting a true AWD. Those haldex systems are next to worthless.

Basically, if you want any kind of a good AWD system in a sedan-like vehicle, you will need to anticipate the repair costs and factor in a rainy day fund. If I were you, I would have it narrowed down between an Audi and a Subaru.
Yeah, I realize unless I get a Jeep or Xterra, the only viable AWD is the Subaru. I odn't really like any of the offerings from Honda or Toyota anywhay, other than the maybe a Tacoma or 4Runner, but that's not the type of vehicle I'm looking to get into at this point.

The Audi, well I get the distinct impression that an Audi is not a car you want after the warranty expires. And a new Audi is WAY out of my price range.
 
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