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1999 Subaru Outback 2.5l H4
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Discussion Starter #1
I took the car out today to get a wheel alignment from Firestone but they ended up telling me that I have to fix all these stuff in the suspension before they can do it.
Almost 1500 dollars! :gasp:

Check Engine light came on as well and got that checked out. Only a week in and more problems are coming out...

Is there anyway I can get those parts at a lower price and is it easy to fix at home? I really don't want to put too much money into the subie right now.
 

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Go to another shop. They are trying to rape you. Plain and simple.
In my neck of the woods(Monticello, NY) a 4 wheel alignment is $90.
Just had an alignment (2 wheel) done on a 99 IOB. Cost $50 plus tax.
The other stuff is their profit for replacing parts that don't need replacing.
Happens far too often .
P0440 most times is a loose gas cap. Could be something else, but lets start with the simplest. Remove and reattach. If you don't have access to a scanner or don't want to disconnect the battery, it should go out on it's own after 20-40 miles of travel.

O.
 

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'99 Outback 2.5 GT auto & '97 LegOB w/ grossly insulted 2.5
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Had the P0440 on the wife's '99 GT Wagon (see a coincidence here?); required replacing the fuel filler neck & some attendant parts ($200 in parts). Aftermarket were available for ~ 20% less coin, but the quality??? Parts were rotted away unmercifully, leading me to question the effectiveness of the anti-corrosion coating on the '99 models.
 

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'99 Outback 2.5 GT auto & '97 LegOB w/ grossly insulted 2.5
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The parts they listed were mostly the same as what I purchased, though their estimate failed to spell out that most of the damaged/corroded lines come as part of the fuel filler neck. 'Subaru parts for U' came through for me within 4 days of ordering (this in the height of Hurricane Sandy. You should be able to change the effected parts out yourself & save enough to buy the necessary tools for the job which will be needed when you wade into any suspension repairs ACTUALLY required, rather than the claymore mine estimate you were given. A GOOD manual & this & other forums will most likely be your best tools!
 

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1999 Subaru Outback 2.5l H4
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Discussion Starter #5
The parts they listed were mostly the same as what I purchased, though their estimate failed to spell out that most of the damaged/corroded lines come as part of the fuel filler neck. 'Subaru parts for U' came through for me within 4 days of ordering (this in the height of Hurricane Sandy. You should be able to change the effected parts out yourself & save enough to buy the necessary tools for the job which will be needed when you wade into any suspension repairs ACTUALLY required, rather than the claymore mine estimate you were given. A GOOD manual & this & other forums will most likely be your best tools!
That is comforting to hear that this could be doable in my own garage with the right tools and knowledge.
My father still would like a professional to fix it so he is checking out a few more shops to get estimates.
How much would be saved if this was properly done at home (with a friend that has an automotive background)?
 

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'99 Outback 2.5 GT auto & '97 LegOB w/ grossly insulted 2.5
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If you did ALL of the estimated repairs, I'd figure on saving ~50% of Firestone's estimate, BUT I bet heavy that much of the suspension isn't terminal yet & can be done piecemeal. Another factor: Firestone techs may not have a stellar background in Subarus! I hate to pay too much, but I get rank if I'm charged for substandard work & work that wasn't needed. ASK questions here! You'll find some of us are boobs (hand up & waving), but most are quite knowledgeable & a few are professional grade in their field!
 

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2001 VDC/SC One of a Kind
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KYB struts would run $400, approximately over the counter from a retailer. Cheaper online.

The 440 could be a broken vacuum line, rotted fuel filler neck, bad gas cap or a bad vent valve. Usually its a gas cap or vacuum line cracked, like the one that attaches to the fuel rail lines at the same place the fuel lines are.

Firestone rips people the best they can. If you fall for it, they got your money. Find a mom/pop shop. Ask around for a good reference. Struts do not effect the outcome of an alignment unless they are bent. But if the struts are replaced, it will need an alignment after.
 

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1999 Subaru Outback 2.5l H4
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Discussion Starter #8
KYB struts would run $400, approximately over the counter from a retailer. Cheaper online.

The 440 could be a broken vacuum line, rotted fuel filler neck, bad gas cap or a bad vent valve. Usually its a gas cap or vacuum line cracked, like the one that attaches to the fuel rail lines at the same place the fuel lines are.

Firestone rips people the best they can. If you fall for it, they got your money. Find a mom/pop shop. Ask around for a good reference. Struts do not effect the outcome of an alignment unless they are bent. But if the struts are replaced, it will need an alignment after.
The struts, swaybar, and lateral links are bent from the previous owner's wife. She must have hit a curb really hard or something but there is paint chipping off from the struts and the links from the area that is bent. Those guys say that it can not be aligned unless those are fixed.
 

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1999 Subaru Outback 2.5l H4
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Discussion Starter #9
Well. I took the outback to the Ann Arbor Muffler Shop and they spotted a rusted exhaust pipe... I'm guessing that is normal due to the salty roads up here. They quoted 400 dollars (including labor) for a complete exhaust system from the catalytic converters and on back.
 

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Lawn ornament XT
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Sounds like you just got this car... is it worth all of these fixes? I don't know what you paid to get it but you might consider flipping it for another, more carefully chosen one.
 

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1999 Subaru Outback 2.5l H4
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Discussion Starter #11
Sounds like you just got this car... is it worth all of these fixes? I don't know what you paid to get it but you might consider flipping it for another, more carefully chosen one.
I paid 2500 dollars for it. It's a low mileage Outback with only 100k on the clock. I'm not going to do all the fixes immediately since I don't have the money yet.
I should get the suspension fixed soon since that is important. There's no emissions testing in Michigan so I can ignore the rusted exhaust for now.
I'm pretty sure there is a DIY method to fix the dented right rear passenger door.

Anyways, I got what I paid for...
 

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Lawn ornament XT
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Well, you should also know that being a '99 2.5L it is long overdue for the timing belt service- 105k miles or 105 months, whichever comes first. So it's about 4 years late, unless you've got some service records from the previous owner showing that it was already done.

A belt is required. The tensioner, cam seals, idler pulleys, water pump, thermostat are all recommended for that same service. Some folks also like to put new seals in the oil pump.

This is stuff that should not be deferred- you should be doing it before worrying about any of the suspension work.

With the corrosion already found, the underbody has probably started to rot as well. Look at the subframe above the rear diff, and the rear door jambs at the dogleg.

With suspension issues now, I wouldn't be surprised if there's a full set of tires in your near future.

I respectfully suggest that you did not get what you paid for. Even at $2500 this doesn't strike me as a good deal.

I'm not saying you can't fix it, but this particular car is going to provide you with an expensive mechanical education on the way to getting it going.

I say post an ad, hit the silk and try again with another one.
 

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1999 Subaru Outback 2.5l H4
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Discussion Starter #13
Well, you should also know that being a '99 2.5L it is long overdue for the timing belt service- 105k miles or 105 months, whichever comes first. So it's about 4 years late, unless you've got some service records from the previous owner showing that it was already done.

A belt is required. The tensioner, cam seals, idler pulleys, water pump, thermostat are all recommended for that same service. Some folks also like to put new seals in the oil pump.

This is stuff that should not be deferred- you should be doing it before worrying about any of the suspension work.

With the corrosion already found, the underbody has probably started to rot as well. Look at the subframe above the rear diff, and the rear door jambs at the dogleg.

With suspension issues now, I wouldn't be surprised if there's a full set of tires in your near future.

I respectfully suggest that you did not get what you paid for. Even at $2500 this doesn't strike me as a good deal.

I'm not saying you can't fix it, but this particular car is going to provide you with an expensive mechanical education on the way to getting it going.

I say post an ad, hit the silk and try again with another one.

The previous owner did replace belts, pulleys, pumps and flushed all the fluids in 2009 at 85k miles. The tires were replaced at 90k. It had an oil change 500 miles before I purchased it.
The engine starts up immediately and that and the tranny performs flawlessly.
There is no visible rust on the uni-body or any of the panels. I will have to look at the sub-frame though. Salt can do damage on the underside and I'll have to get that checked as well.
It's a thing with purchasing old cars in the north. A 10 year old car can look like 40 in the rust belt unless it is cleaned and cared for really well.

I think I'll keep it because this is a decent car overall and most Outbacks for the same price has over 170 thousand miles in comparison. My dad pays the insurance so he has the final say.
 

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2001 VDC/SC One of a Kind
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The "bent" parts may require another look. Have someone check the lower control arm for a bend. If its bent it will tweak the strut back and effect the sway bar & link. 99% of the time with a front wheel impact the lower arm will bend before the strut. This is because the strut mount will allow the strut to move absorbing the shock while the lower arm is stationary and will bend. A lower arm can be picked up from a salvage yard if this is the case.
 

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1999 Subaru Outback 2.5l H4
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Discussion Starter #15
Well, I went and replaced the lateral link and sway bar (roughly 150 with labor for both) and the alignment is near perfect in that section. Looks like I don't have to replace the struts. Meanwhile, the camber on the left front wheel is off and they said that can't be fixed or something.

Also, I replaced the filler cap and the light came back on. I saw some rust on the filler neck and that may be the culprit. Does anyone know how to replace that and how much will it cost?
 

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2013 Outback 2.5 Premium
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What caught my eye was 'Remove and inspect front...strut assembly' for $203.70 labor. Seems crazy to spend that just to inspect them without replacing - although you know that's the next thing they'll likely tell you needs to be replaced once it's off. I think the should be able to judge that without removing it. Unless its highly likely you'll need that anyway.

You should be able to replace a strut bar and rear endlinks preppy easily yourself. Struts can be difficult, and you'll need to right tools, especially to deal with compressing the springs. I'd leave that to a mechanic unless you are up for a good challenge and willing to rent a spring compressor. Also, it can be a real bitch to do this without air tools.
 

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2001 VDC/SC One of a Kind
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Well, I went and replaced the lateral link and sway bar (roughly 150 with labor for both) and the alignment is near perfect in that section. Looks like I don't have to replace the struts. Meanwhile, the camber on the left front wheel is off and they said that can't be fixed or something.

Also, I replaced the filler cap and the light came back on. I saw some rust on the filler neck and that may be the culprit. Does anyone know how to replace that and how much will it cost?
Did the mechanic know that the upper strut to spindle bolt is a camber adjusting bolt?

As for the filler neck, the hardest part is getting the hoses loose from the neck. You may want to have replacement screws on hand for the top in case the original ones snap or you end up cutting them off.
 
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