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2020 Touring XT, 2013 Outback Lim SAP 270K, 2003 Outback Lim MT 2.5L, 241K..
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Discussion Starter #1
I am on my second outback. I had a 2003 Limited for 10 years (250K miles) and bought a 2013 Limited.
My first Outback had 3 head gaskets fail (70k, 170K and 250K).

My current Outback needed a full transmission replacement at 30K. I was still ok after that...It now has an airbag recall.
But even bigger than this is that my car is at 130K and it broke down, overheating recently. 1000 dollars later - dealership replaced the whole radiator, thermostat, and a couple hoses - said
the top of the radiator at the cap was leaking. Seemed like a bit much for 130K. Ive never had such a thing happen to my other 3 cars at this mileage.
1.5 weeks later - overheating again. Took it back to them, they said its the head gasket. 3000 dollars needed to fix!!!
I phoned Subaru of America, told them what a fanatic I have been and was 100% sure I would buy a third outback in a year or two - I have even convinced 3 others to buy a new Subaru who would not have otherwise. I told them of my last car's head gasket issues and here we are again - when it was supposed to be "solved" in these newer years cars.
Here I am at 130K spending 4K to fix my car? They cant tell me anything I should have done differently to avoid this.
The only thing they are offering me is a 500 dollar coupon for the repair.

How can I justify buying another Subaru (and even holding on to this one) at this kind of expense for a car still low in mileage for such major work (my opinion) for a SECOND time when I take such good care of my cars - all the services done when they are needed??
I could not be more disappointed in a company I have been so fanatically behind and supportive of for 15 years.
 

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On the Super Mod Squad
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on your 2003 were those 3 of the original head gaskets, or the better multi layer steel ones for a turbo?


airbag recall, ...well takata sold bad bags to lots of companies, not just little subaru,

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sad you got 130,000 on it, and all subaru will offer you is $500 towards a oddly expensive fix.

...is that for a different engine? or a fix of your engine. (what with 2013-15 FB25Bs being pulled for the extended warranty up to 100,000 mile fixes for oil burning), I would think they are lining up replacements, or fixing them in batches.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
on your 2003 were those 3 of the original head gaskets, or the better multi layer steel ones for a turbo?


airbag recall, ...well takata sold bad bags to lots of companies, not just little subaru,

___

sad you got 130,000 on it, and all subaru will offer you is $500 towards a oddly expensive fix.

...is that for a different engine? or a fix of your engine. (what with 2013-15 FB25Bs being pulled for the extended warranty up to 100,000 mile fixes for oil burning), I would think they are lining up replacements, or fixing them in batches.
honestly not sure about the 2003 head gaskets. I didnt learn about the different ones till I was about done with that car.

I get it on the airbags. What concerns me about that was I was told for quite a while that I was NOT in the recall - and now 3 weeks back I suddenly am? Then when I try to get it fixed (what seems urgent on the mailing), my dealers dont even have the parts... They didnt say they ran out, they said they havent gotten them in yet. but I digress.

the additional 3K they now want to charge me is just for the head gasket job (what they told me). I do burn a lot of oil. I thought it is just "the way of things now" as Ive told the dealers when Ive had it in for small things - they shrug their shoulders.


But this head gasket issue (again 10 model years later) at 130K (and radiator) costing me 4K (including just repaired radiator)??
According to a subaru mechanic I spoke to - these newer year cars - the head gasket repair is a much bigger job than it used to be. Something about the timing chain and having to pull a lot more apart.
Ive got 4 people including my wife now saying to me "why would you buy a third?" I would have had 20 immediate answers to that question a month ago. Now I am not so sure. Do I really call Subarus so reliable when both of mine that were well taken care of had major repairs by 130K? I was literally at the LA car show in Nov looking at the new ones because in a year or so I was going to get one - without question. I dont see other head gasket issues for this year so far with my little bit of research. I know I drive more than many - so many arent yet at this mileage - but 130K should still be going pretty well if Ive done all the scheduled maintenance right?
 

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Brucey
'17 3.6
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I can confirm the mechanic is correct for the FB25 motor.

The head gasket replacement cost is MUCH higher because it uses a timing chain instead of a timing belt.

130K seems early. Hope it's not a sign of things to come.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I can confirm the mechanic is correct for the FB25 motor.

The head gasket replacement cost is MUCH higher because it uses a timing chain instead of a timing belt.

130K seems early. Hope it's not a sign of things to come.

Thank you for that.

my question:
I am just wondering what people have seen in the cars from this year or nearby years relating to head gaskets/overheating?
I thought these issues were over in the Outbacks. I could be a fluke?, but...

I did speak to Subaru of America one more time. The very nice lady told me that she spoke to her manager and "due to the mileage on the car" (130K??), that 500 dollar coupon was all they could offer me. She said she did speak to the techs about my car and just confirmed that its a big tear down and will be at least 25K and they told her its hard to estimate due to it being such a good job. I told the dealer that they can go ahead with the job and they said its going to take a week.

Im not wanting to sound dramatic - but I am a bit crushed.
 

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Thank you for that.

my question:
I am just wondering what people have seen in the cars from this year or nearby years relating to head gaskets/overheating?
I thought these issues were over in the Outbacks. I could be a fluke?, but...

I did speak to Subaru of America one more time. The very nice lady told me that she spoke to her manager and "due to the mileage on the car" (130K??), that 500 dollar coupon was all they could offer me. She said she did speak to the techs about my car and just confirmed that its a big tear down and will be at least 25K and they told her its hard to estimate due to it being such a good job. I told the dealer that they can go ahead with the job and they said its going to take a week.

Im not wanting to sound dramatic - but I am a bit crushed.
did you tell them how it is burning oil? I wonder if it need cylinder liners or a new short block?
(things done to the less then 100,000 mile ones, on subaru's nickel)


and I think this is going to be one really sad board with the 2013-15 FB25Bs getting over 100,000 miles with more stories like this. :crying: and out of that extended warranty on the engine and CVT trans.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
did you tell them how it is burning oil? I wonder if it need cylinder liners or a new short block?
(things done to the less then 100,000 mile ones, on subaru's nickel)


and I think this is going to be one really sad board with the 2013-15 FB25Bs getting over 100,000 miles with more stories like this. :crying: and out of that extended warranty on the engine and CVT trans.
I told the dealer its at - same reaction as all the other times Ive told the dealers - that its normal and has to do with the synthetic oil, blah blah blah.

I wonder who else has a 13 with 130 miles on it or roughly at this point. I did buy mine in Dec 2012. I know I drive more than many. But dont want to be the guinea pig! ;)

Also - worth reminding - my whole CVT Trans had to be replaced at 30K. It was making a strange noise when I drove around 40MPH-50MPH - whining noise. Subaru swapped out the whole transmission. They never could tell me what went wrong - but that was the fix.
 

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I told the dealer its at - same reaction as all the other times Ive told the dealers - that its normal and has to do with the synthetic oil, blah blah blah.
maybe when it gets back to you,...start using 5w30 full synthetic, and a OEM filter.

and not 0w20 pepsi. ...that stuff is thin for fuel economy,...I put 0w30 in my snow blower that I leave in a cold garage.

and you live where it is so warm year round. (no one here has said that subaru ever did actually care what oil viscosity you put in for warranty purposes, just that it has plenty of it).
 

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Master Caster
2005 XT, Mildly Modified...2006 XT Limited, Highly Modifed
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Well that kinda s*cks.

How did you get (2) Lemon Heads in a row? That would cause me to pucker also. My Subarus over my lifetime have been very good cars. I olny blew up one motor. That makes Subi neck-and-neck in my book along with the Mazda B2000 I blew up.

The Subaru wasn't my fault. The Mazda, in hindsight ... I just was trying to kill it.

Your experience does s*ck tho...
 

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I had Honda CR-V which had 150k miles before I sold it . Now have 17 OB 3.6 so let’s see what happens .
Hope Subaru fixed these issues in later years

watch the high tick on the 3.6s oil dipstick ...that is said to be a quart over the fill mark, something that people changing oil might not realize.

(one guy on here caught his local dealer over fill his dad's slightly used 2012 3.6,....and measured how much had to come out to get it down from that high tick mark to the regular full mark).
 

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Wow, that's awfully frustrating no doubt. Maybe you should buy a cheap car for someone else and give it away and make sure you get the bad luck out of your system before going with a new car. LOL.

good grief, bad luck and now you're holding an FB25 with headgaskets. man that's just tough.

1. the headgasket replaced 3 times is unfortunate.
a. coolant change and conditioner works most of the time and maybe you would have avoided one or a couple of them.
b. the heads weren't resurfaced and maybe contributed to the 100k cycle, it seems something would contribute to 3 failures at similar intervals.

2. the 2013 they should have diagnosed it properly and not through that first $1,000 repair at it.

it sounds like your local dealer could be a little better about diagnosing and repair options, but hindsight is 20/20 and it's easy to pick someone apart from a distance.
 

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Brucey
'17 3.6
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So how common is Head Gaskets on the FB25? 2013+

Are we going to see a bunch of users talking about them on the Gen 5's? I can already imagine the 3.6/2.5 debate in a few years.

I know people keep saying "They've fixed them now!" here but they've been saying that since the 2000 SOHC EJ25 and I've seen them done on something as late as a 2008.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Wow, that's awfully frustrating no doubt. Maybe you should buy a cheap car for someone else and give it away and make sure you get the bad luck out of your system before going with a new car. LOL.

good grief, bad luck and now you're holding an FB25 with headgaskets. man that's just tough.

1. the headgasket replaced 3 times is unfortunate.
a. coolant change and conditioner works most of the time and maybe you would have avoided one or a couple of them.
b. the heads weren't resurfaced and maybe contributed to the 100k cycle, it seems something would contribute to 3 failures at similar intervals.

2. the 2013 they should have diagnosed it properly and not through that first $1,000 repair at it.

it sounds like your local dealer could be a little better about diagnosing and repair options, but hindsight is 20/20 and it's easy to pick someone apart from a distance.
2. I wonder about this. But the car was brought in with overheating, and they checked pressure and found the leak, but everyone tells me head gasket would have happened first. I dont know. But we are talking only a week and a half apart.

Overall, it just seems that a car we consider to be so "reliable" should not need new transmissions and head gaskets in the first 130K.
My independent guy who used to work for Subaru and has his own shop now for many years - only Subaru shop I know of in So Cal, is very familiar with the head gasket problems of the older models. So I didnt feel unlucky in that, as it seemed widespread...but here I am again with a much newer year outback and a much higher repair job. I guess Im just trying to see how unique my situation is. Is 3-4K for a repair reasonable to expect possible for a car at 130K miles that was well taken care of? I did some of my service jobs through the independent guy - but have all receipts and records for everything.
The woman on the phone mentioned something about this - keeping records of scheduled services - It was a bit strange she brought it up - not questioning me about it but sort of as a general instruction. I wonder if in her research the past couple days that she saw that I didnt do them all through Subaru dealers (so no records for some of them) and they didnt want to help more because of that? It was weird she sort of brought up the subject at the end of the conversation when it was not mentioned before. Of course I told her Ive done all scheduled maintenance and kept records - but she wouldnt have seen them all when doing her research and deciding how much to help.
 

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Thank you for that.

my question:
I am just wondering what people have seen in the cars from this year or nearby years relating to head gaskets/overheating?
I thought these issues were over in the Outbacks. I could be a fluke?, but...

I did speak to Subaru of America one more time. The very nice lady told me that she spoke to her manager and "due to the mileage on the car" (130K??), that 500 dollar coupon was all they could offer me. She said she did speak to the techs about my car and just confirmed that its a big tear down and will be at least 25K and they told her its hard to estimate due to it being such a good job. I told the dealer that they can go ahead with the job and they said its going to take a week.

Im not wanting to sound dramatic - but I am a bit crushed.
Sorry to hear, hopefully SOA comes through for you. We're also questioning a purchase of a 2011 Outback 2.5 cvt new. At 50k, it's inhaled a multitude of parts(3rd set of tires, 3rd set of plugs, fuel pump, motor/trans/torque mounts, tie rod assemblies,needs lower control arm bushings, etc..) with little support from the local dealer(denies anything is wrong), even though an extended warranty was purchased with the car. I'm going to service the coolant system(factory parts), but if this thing needs a head gasket at 70k, it's gone. Frankly, I was surprised at the fuel pump replacement at 50k, but maybe this is the new standard. Our liquid cooled Porsche is putting this car to shame on a maintenance and reliability front. Best of luck with it.
Regards
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Sorry to hear, hopefully SOA comes through for you. We're also questioning a purchase of a 2011 Outback 2.5 cvt new. At 50k, it's inhaled a multitude of parts(3rd set of tires, 3rd set of plugs, fuel pump, motor/trans/torque mounts, tie rod assemblies,needs lower control arm bushings, etc..) with little support from the local dealer(denies anything is wrong), even though an extended warranty was purchased with the car. I'm going to service the coolant system(factory parts), but if this thing needs a head gasket at 70k, it's gone. Frankly, I was surprised at the fuel pump replacement at 50k, but maybe this is the new standard. Our liquid cooled Porsche is putting this car to shame on a maintenance and reliability front. Best of luck with it.
Regards

yeah - my wife's 2012 volvo is putting this OB to shame. Not quite the same mileage but still. I replaced the trans at 30K. lol
This is what I am wondering - how much of this is "the new normal". When they swapped the radiator and therm a few weeks back at $1000,
that was their attitude - that this is now not uncommon.
Thanks for your words.
 

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i can't imagine them writing you off just because you had a few things done elsewhere. i don't think they fine tooth comb things that much. i'd guess it's the 130k.

fuel pump and tie rods? that's very odd. not normal for subaru at all, those almost never fail before 150k on a Subaru and I think i've only replaced like one tie rod ever due issues other than the rubber dust boots.

This is what I am wondering - how much of this is "the new normal". When they swapped the radiator and therm a few weeks back at $1000,
that was their attitude - that this is now not uncommon.
Time will tell. I think in general the newer car market is forcing things in that direction.

to the service advisors reactions - the service advisors and service managers are marketing or customer service staff, not mechanical and they're mechanical familiarity is often only academic. I wouldn't expect them to be surprised because they don't know.

dealer services are driven by local markets and clientele, and are probably limited resources for determining quantitative mechanical data. the common "tell me how much and when it's done types" create a business model where nothing is shocking, not even exorbitant repair bills and poor diagnosis like we see littered on forums like this. most daily driver types couldnt' care less about a car forum and just pay up or move on. enough people pay up at dealers that they haven't needed to adjust their business model around here.

overall i would guess either position could be said - either this isn't likely a new normal, or there is a new normal but it's a little bigger in scope. the new normal also includes shifting profit centers (profit margins from services instead of vehicle sales), decreasing mechanical understanding of the consumers, and most interesting to me - fast paced tech demands (novelty, safety, emissions, electric vehicles, security). that constant change diminishes something....if some of it was quality, i wouldn't be surprised. i would guess some of this is one piece of larger trends that are going to be hard to beat across the entire sector.

They could have continued improving and developing on the EJ22 for the past 20 years - 20 years improvement on the best platform Subaru ever made, we could have uncanny robust machines. that's what i'd prefer, but the market simply doesn't support that.
 

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To answer your question, nope. Id run from the brand if I were in your shoes.
Id look at Toyota for your best bet at long term reliability.



Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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Is subaru getting bad lately? I seem to have read it somewhere.
I think they have the same build quality as in the past. Part of the problem is folks from different demographics are now buying them that want to turn every wart into a first world problem.

I do believe they are using lower quality/cost components in order to maintain the price point they seek.

You have to keep in mind that Subaru is not a major league player.

Ford, Toyota and Chevrolet each sold over 2 million vehicles last year. Honda and Nissan each sold 1.4 million.

Subaru sold 647,000. Nothing to sneeze at but does not put them in the big leagues of auto makers.
 
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