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Hi all! Been reading around here a bit, first post. I will do my best to present relevant info, but I really don't know much more than what I am sharing. Here it goes:

I am a long time Subaru owner, but only of 2.5s ('02 Legacy wagon, '08 Outback LTD). Both were reliable, and ultimately felled by head gasket/oil/coolant issues (180k and 145k respectively). Beyond that my peevs with the car were limited acceleration power, chintzy suspension (fair amount of tough roads in northern VT), and of course the inevitable head gaskets/timing belt stuff.

From what I have read and can tell the 3.0 H6, though not a guarantee to be immune to the above issues, does a good job to be better than the 2.5- more oomph, beefier suspension, and less of a certain head gasket mess.

I have located 2 different 3.0 H6s near each other and close enough to me that I can go see them. Here are some quick stats- forgive the fact that one is a Gen2 and one a Gen3:

2002 w/ 84k. One owner. "mostly used to commute back and forth to the train". Private seller. Asking $5500

2008 w/ 67k. Not sure how many owners. Carfax indicates regular servicing with most work done at a dealer. Dealer sale. Asking $12900

I know lots of people on here have said to beware of dealer sales (overheating being why the car would be brought back for trade). Though I am Subaru literate, I am hardly a mechanic, and some of the radiator tests folks recommend on here would be tough for me to pull off in a pinch without looking like a total ass.

My gut tells me that the private sale is a better deal if only because in the worst case scenario that it overheats right away and I put a new JBL (or whatever the aftermarket engine seller is called) that I will still end up with a decent deal. Please take into account that any warranty on a dealer sale will be almost useless for me since I won't be driving hours to get it serviced should it need something.

A mechanic I trust once schooled me to beware of 2.5s that are older model year and low miles, since any gas/oil/coolant left in the firing chamber would form a solvent that faster eats at a head gasket. Forgive my wording if this isn't exactly accurate- you get the idea. His bottom line was that a newer, higher mileage car was safer in the gasket dept. than an older lower mile 2.5. Does this hold true (if it was true to begin with) for the 3.0?

Would love any input or questions as I try and resolve a gameplan in the coming days.

Thanks!
 

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2002 is a LLBean or a VDC ?

how much rust do each have?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
2002 is a LLBean or a VDC ?

how much rust do each have?
Actually, I don't know on the 02. Thought it was LL Bean, but now realize the ad says 2002 Subaru Outback H6 3.0 Limited. I speak to the owner this afternoon.

Doesn't appear to be any rust on either (so says ads, haven't seen in person yet).
 

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Actually, I don't know on the 02. Thought it was LL Bean, but now realize the ad says 2002 Subaru Outback H6 3.0 Limited. I speak to the owner this afternoon.

Doesn't appear to be any rust on either (so says ads, haven't seen in person yet).
post up the ads. (maybe add some ??? characters to the front of the address so the forum software does not think its a link,...as you don't have enough posts for the anti-spam ideals)

2002 Bean wagons have the black oval logo on the fender and two tone brown / tan interior

...2002 VDC have the small gold VDC logo on the fender, and the McIntosh head unit. (if it still works)
 

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post up the ads. (maybe add some ??? characters to the front of the address so the forum software does not think its a link,...as you don't have enough posts for the anti-spam ideals)

2002 Bean wagons have the black oval logo on the fender and two tone brown / tan interior

...2002 VDC have the small gold VDC logo on the fender, and the McIntosh head unit. (if it still works)
Doing an extra few seconds of research, the 02 is def VDC.

Having a hard time linking. If you want to search, do NYC craigslist for 2002 Subaru Outback 3.0

the 08 Outback is at Lynnes Nissan in New Jersey.

Don't steal my cars people :)
 

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Have a professional inspect your prospective purchase. The best way to know the state of a vehicle tomorrow is to to know the state of the vehicle today.

I wrote a used car buying questions to ask and tips and give it out to all my friends and acquaintances. I've attached it here, hope it can be of help.

My 2 cents is that an H6 will cost more to maintain because there is less room to work resulting in longer labor times.
 

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Have a professional inspect your prospective purchase. The best way to know the state of a vehicle tomorrow is to to know the state of the vehicle today.

I wrote a used car buying questions to ask and tips and give it out to all my friends and acquaintances. I've attached it here, hope it can be of help.

My 2 cents is that an H6 will cost more to maintain because there is less room to work resulting in longer labor times.

Thanks for the cheat sheet. Good to check that over. I take it that isn't crafted for subies specifically, but any car, correct?
 

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Thanks for the cheat sheet. Good to check that over. I take it that isn't crafted for subies specifically, but any car, correct?
Yes, it is general information and certainly not exhaustive. Like, another tip would be to check for rust on frame and other "non-servicable" parts. Best to have a professional inspect anyway though unless you know what you are supposed to look and listen for.
 

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Based on the ad alone I would inquire further and if you like it buy if everything was in order after inspection. It is nearing its 100k mile service interval, maybe he found something. Why is he selling is my question...

Here in Oregon retail market a sale price at $5,500 would be a fantastic price for this car. Probably would get away with 6 or 6.5 even. I am a licensed indy dealer and sold an 01 VDC with recent head work at 150k miles for $5.5 k. Of course I got it for $3k at dealer auction so it was a good deal for me. : )
 

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2002 VDC wagon,...really low miles there.


I don't see the 2008 at that dealer on that dealers page.
[


but I do see this on CL with a NJ "used dealer" plate on the back. not sure why these dash lights are on (airbag, tpms)






You got the CL one. Adjust your price on the Lynnes site to "under $15k" and it'll come up.

Just spoke with the private seller of the 02. Really like him- pretty forthright. All service done at dealership. Replaced exhaust a couple years ago, serviced ac/heat a few years ago as well. Was told one of the valve gaskets has a small leak, but that the car burns essentially zero oil. Has paper records of all service done.

Would love to get a 30 second schooling on the pros/cons of a 02 VDC
 

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If that 2002 VDC isn't a rust bucket underneath or overheating, I'd jump on it. Says the guy with a regular H6 that would love a VDC.

Keep premium in it. Mal runs "off" with regular fuel. Very notable timing is being pulled to compensate.

That said, I think the H6 with 5EAT in the 3rd gen is a better drive than the H6 with 4EAT of the 2nd gen, but that 2nd add...something pings my nope radar.
 
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Based on the ad alone I would inquire further and if you like it buy if everything was in order after inspection. It is nearing its 100k mile service interval, maybe he found something. Why is he selling is my question...

Here in Oregon retail market a sale price at $5,500 would be a fantastic price for this car. Probably would get away with 6 or 6.5 even. I am a licensed indy dealer and sold an 01 VDC with recent head work at 150k miles for $5.5 k. Of course I got it for $3k at dealer auction so it was a good deal for me. : )

According to a brief discussion with him, he has owned many Subarus- a 2.5 previous to this 3.0, and he just bought a new one so it's time to sell this one. He used it during the week to do 1-2 mile commutes to the train station, and on weekends he'd drive it 30-40 miles on interstate to go mountain biking. I am getting the VIN to check it on Carfax- if that is at all reliable (prob not). But he sounded knowledgable and pretty straightforward. Though I am not the best mechanical eye, I am decent at spotting bullshit. Didn't get that scent from this fella.
 

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If that 2002 VDC isn't a rust bucket underneath or overheating, I'd jump on it. Says the guy with a regular H6 that would love a VDC.

Keep premium in it. Mal runs "off" with regular fuel. Very notable timing is being pulled to compensate.

That said, I think the H6 with 5EAT in the 3rd gen is a better drive than the H6 with 4EAT of the 2nd gen, but that 2nd add...something pings my nope radar.
Which 2nd add? The second craigslist add linked by EagleEye was not a car I am considering. There is the 02 craigslist and an 08 at Lynnes Nissan dealership in NJ. Those are the only cars in the consideration hopper.
 

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Gotcha. I was looking at that 2nd craigslist ad, the black one. I can't currently see the pics on the dealer one so no commentary.
 

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According to a brief discussion with him, he has owned many Subarus- a 2.5 previous to this 3.0, and he just bought a new one so it's time to sell this one. He used it during the week to do 1-2 mile commutes to the train station, and on weekends he'd drive it 30-40 miles on interstate to go mountain biking. I am getting the VIN to check it on Carfax- if that is at all reliable (prob not). But he sounded knowledgable and pretty straightforward. Though I am not the best mechanical eye, I am decent at spotting bullshit. Didn't get that scent from this fella.
Seems like a good car to me. Personally, I would much rather have a functioning vehicle for less money than a functioning vehicle for more, which is why in your case if I had it narrowed down to the two you have (assuming the other subie equally appears in good condition) I would choose the lower upfront cost. Either way you're risking your doe for a car you have only a little window to gather info on and could land you in a bad situation if things go awry. So why not take a lower financial risk upfront and save the difference for potential problems or a different car down the road?

I don't think you can go wrong with the choice of make and model : ) No doubt you have chosen wisely already. In the end the only wrong choice would be to go against your own instincts and sound counsel by others.
 

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Seems like a good car to me. Personally, I would much rather have a functioning vehicle for less money than a functioning vehicle for more, which is why in your case if I had it narrowed down to the two you have (assuming the other subie equally appears in good condition) I would choose the lower upfront cost. Either way you're risking your doe for a car you have only a little window to gather info on and could land you in a bad situation if things go awry. So why not take a lower financial risk upfront and save the difference for potential problems or a different car down the road?

I don't think you can go wrong with the choice of make and model : ) No doubt you have chosen wisely already. In the end the only wrong choice would be to go against your own instincts and sound counsel by others.

You are putting words to my current thought process. Assuming the 02 isn't laden with rust or some heinous noise or other noticeable issue I am poised to go for that one.

Thanks for the guidance hfarthington and others. I will be sure to follow up here with what happens.
 

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You are putting words to my current thought process. Assuming the 02 isn't laden with rust or some heinous noise or other noticeable issue I am poised to go for that one.

Thanks for the guidance hfarthington and others. I will be sure to follow up here with what happens.
a couple things I think of with train station cars,....short trips make for weak batteries, weak starters, and not so great for the engine as it bearly gets warm. (like the ideal little old lady low miles local church/ supermarket car).

driver's seat looks like someone getting in and out for such little miles. (I got less wear on my H6 with 128,000 miles),...easy to swap with another tan leather 2000-2004 seat from a parts yard/ part out if you want.

I would hope it has had oil changes ,...(like NOT 9000 mile crap,...where they add oil every 3000 miles,...or whenever they remembered to pull the stick in the car they barely drive,...and only change it when the oil pressure light comes on).

and seen some stories about people that parked by LIRR tracks on long island at the stations,
...and the train wheels / brakes coming to a stop tossed shards of molten metal at their cars leaving marks in the paint. (like making for a class action lawsuit against the rail road for not putting up fences because there were so many at different stations,...= maybe something specific to the brakes / wheels that they changed to)..

_____

that said,...this person selling the white 2002 VDC wagon, says they replaced the exhaust system. ...the question is why..... and crawl underneath to see what is there and ask to look at the receipts.



rust? I seen plenty of NYC / NJ / long island area cars with rusted parts under them despite the paint being great. ...(just from how they get driven through the slush, and sit parked with the slop under them).

and to replace the exhaust with subaru stuff is expensive. ...
(that bypass muffler lists as a $550 thing alone,...so maybe $385 for a careful buyer,...I tossed my first H6 muffler for rust, and got a 2nd hand one from colorado).

someone pushing cat converters at a simple p0420 code?

and NJ has state inspections,...at county / state facilities,...not local garages.

___
I offer just some observations to look at and question.

I would not call anything a deal breaker except price. ...but you are looking at really low miles things.
 
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