Subaru Outback Forums banner

1 - 14 of 14 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hi everyone.

I have been an Outback owner wannabe for years and it wasn't until today that I may be able to change that. I'm a grandpa, and grandma and I care for our granddaughter (5 yrs old) so we don't have a lot of available cash.

Today, I was passing our local Ford dealership and noticed an Outback on the back row. I stopped as they were closing for the weekend and was told it's going to be wholesaled but I could have it for $2500. Here's the details....
2002 with 4cyl (I think) and automatic.
188,000 miles
Body and interior are in pretty darn good shape - no damage, tears, etc. but small crack in lower front bumper.
It has a leaking head gasket (external leak). I don't know it it has been overheated.
Needs tires.
I have not started it and cannot drive it until Monday but wanted to have my ducks in a row beforehand.

Because I work all day Sunday my time is limited and in leu of being told to use the search feature I'm going to ask if those of you who are knowledgable in this area would mind giving me advice on what I should be asking or looking for. I figured it's going to need a timing belt along with head gaskets for starters.

How are the transmissions and drivetrains?

What other areas should I be concerned with?

Is the price fair? I had thought about offering $1500.

Thank you.
 

·
Registered
Lawn ornament XT
Joined
·
14,366 Posts
It sounds like you realize that the car needs a lot of work immediately, timing belt, head gaskets and tires. That's going to be expensive, and none of it should be deferred.

The 4EAT automatic is pretty tough. Drive the car in a tight figure-8 pattern with your foot off the throttle. The car should not bind up or buck. If it does, you can add the AWD/transmission to the list of systems to work on. Make sure the 'AWD' warning light tests on with the ignition switch, and then goes out during your drive.

Apart from that make sure the car wasn't flooded or crashed and repaired incorrectly. Basic stuff. Do the tires match each other? More oil on the dipstick than on the ground below?

Just make sure you realize how much work and expense you're taking on with that overhaul project.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the reply rasterman.

One source I found said the head gaskets were an easy fix. Not so, eh? What would I expect to pay for gaskets and belt? Is this something I could do myself with a couple decades as a military mechanic.

I will follow your instructions regarding the trans/AWD.

Thanks, again!
 

·
Registered
Lawn ornament XT
Joined
·
14,366 Posts
I have worked as a mechanic but I'm just a home hobbyist wrench now. My previous Subaru required head gaskets while I was at work halfway across the country. I wound up paying a lot to a guy who didn't know Subarus well. He did a great job, and the car ran very well for a few years. It ran perfectly well when I traded it.

I've studied the job, and it doesn't look that hard overall. If your shop is equipped with a hoist, engine stand & jacks, you're off to a good start. I'd think anyone with your level of experience would be able to handle all but the machine shop work and maybe that too.

It's worth getting the heads out to a machine shop for milling, and be quite sure to use the right head gaskets to prevent a recurrence.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
So if I'm reading you right, the HG and/or timing belt can't be completed with the engine in the car? I realize this is a unique engine by design but I didn't realize it had to come out. When we moved 4 years ago I sold my 4 classic Mustangs and I parted with all my large equipment, too. I suppose I should be getting some quotes on Monday.
 

·
Registered
'14 3.6R Outback
Joined
·
2,345 Posts
So if I'm reading you right, the HG and/or timing belt can't be completed with the engine in the car? I realize this is a unique engine by design but I didn't realize it had to come out. When we moved 4 years ago I sold my 4 classic Mustangs and I parted with all my large equipment, too. I suppose I should be getting some quotes on Monday.
If you don't do the work yourself, just the repairs you told us about could be more than double what you hope to pay for the car. Parts i think are going to start somewhere around $600 just for the head gasket side of the repair.

Subaru's are easy to work on and might be close to the mustangs you mention in over all perspective. This particular car however, might not be the one for you.
 

·
I simply cannot abide useless people.
2006 2.5i and 2002 3.0 wagons.
Joined
·
12,306 Posts
The HG and TB job can be done in car, it's just easier out. There are a few threads on this in our DIY subforum.

But, if you expect to have the entire thing done by a mechanic, expect a quality repair job (timing belt, ALL tensioners/pulleys, crank seal, cam seal, reseal oil pump, water pump, replace valve cover gaskets if leaking, check/adjust valves, check heads, new HG) to be in the $2000 range.

If the dealer is motivated, you may be able to get the car for about $2k and have them split the repair with you.
 

·
Registered
03 H6 OBW & 06 WRX Sportwagon
Joined
·
17,691 Posts
You could just keep an eye on the coolant, make sure to try to Subaru (Holts radweld) sealer. Problem is, if on cooling the system ever suck in air, that bubble could lead to an overheat condition. Other than that, lot of people drive cars that leak a little fluid - jusyt keep it topped off.

the advice about checking for torque bind by idling thru some tight turns on dry pavement should not be ignored.

maybe not as easy as working on a mustang - not sure. But yesterday I worked on a leaking oil filter adapter on my daughter's Impala - my god, it makes My subarus look like a tinkertoy set in terms of ease to wrench on!

Would the Ford place let you take the car to a Subaru mechanic for a pre-purchase inspection? Might be worth it just to make sure you don't get a bomb and give you some reasons to negotiate a better price.

Maybe someone can suggest a shop in Iowa (city?) for you.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
Just got home to read your posts and I'm taking it all in. I'm sure the dealer would let me take it to a Subaru garage but the only problem is it's 70 miles away. Both back tires are now low - one nearly flat, also. I'm half tempted to price a reman engine and replace the whole thing but I'm sure others have already done that and decided against it.

I'll take a good look at it tomorrow and see what I find.
 

·
Registered
03 H6 OBW & 06 WRX Sportwagon
Joined
·
17,691 Posts
It's critical to the function and lifespan of the AWD that the tires be the same circumference within 1/4". That usually means the same brand/model and WEAR.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
It's critical to the function and lifespan of the AWD that the tires be the same circumference within 1/4". That usually means the same brand/model and WEAR.
Roger that.
Thanks again.

Oh, and of course it has to be 25 degrees with 35-50mph winds today. :rolleyes:
 

·
Registered
Lawn ornament XT
Joined
·
14,366 Posts
Just to clarify- timing belt is usually done with engine in car. Head gaskets are easier engine out of car. Once the engine is out, the timing belt is easier still.

If you have to do the whole thing in car you can. But it's a bit slower and folks might think you are trying to show off your child sized hands with feats of strength.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
Didn't go well.
First I called the only place in our small town I'd trust to do the job and they wouldn't give me a quote over the phone. They wanted to see the car and assess it. That meant I'd have to arrange getting it there. Not only that but they couldn't do it today which meant another day off spent running around.
Then, once at the dealership they were really busy and it was going to be a while before I could get air in the tires just to drive it.
I finally decided with a possible $2k bill just to get the known stuff fixed and used ones in the $4500 range I'd let this one go.

Thanks everyone for your time. Maybe again another time.
 
1 - 14 of 14 Posts
Top