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2002 Outback Wagon
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311 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I got this idea from over on NASIOC a few guys over there had made some write ups on the common questions and such that those new to the forums usually have. So I thought why not put one here? This thread is to provide the answers and information those new to the SubaruOutback.org forums usually ask for and need.


So then without further ado, here is the Definitive (hopefully) Guide to the Second Generation Outback.


The Basics
The 2nd gen starts with the 2000 model year and ends with the 2004 model year.
2000 was the 1st year the Outback was considered a seperate model and not just a package for the Legacy Wagon (from 1995-99 the Outback was an not its own model but considered a variation of the Legacy wagon) and as such is only the Outback and not Legacy Outback.


Mechanical
Engine Options
2000: Phase II 2.5 liter H4 SOHC (Single OverHead Camshaft)
2001-04: The same H4 or 3.0 liter H6

Transmission Options
In the H4 you have the option of a 4 speed auto (4EAT) or 5 speed manual transmission (5SpMT).
The H6 only comes with a 4 speed automatic transmission.


Exterior
The Outback was redesigned for the 2000 model year and the look stayed pretty much the same for the next 4 years


2000 Outback Wagon



2004 Outback Wagon


As you can see they are about the same with some front end styling differences (notice the front bumpers).


Interior
The interior options allow for cloth or leather. All H6 Outbacks have leather interiors as do H4 Limited Editions along with moonroofs on those models. They will also have the All Weather Package that includes power and heated front seats, heated wipers, and heated rear windshield. H4 base models have cloth interiors and may be equipped with the AWP.


Option Packages
The H4 has two package options Base and Limited the only difference between the two is leather interior, moonroof, and AWP (Unless the base model was equipped with the AWP).
The H6 also has two option packages the L.L. Bean and the VDC Wagon.
Both of these packages include leather interior, (though the L.L. Bean package gets you a L.L. Bean logo on your leather seats) and AWP the main differences are the radio and speakers the L.L. Bean got a Macintosh audio system and the Vehicle Dynamics Control system in (obivously) the VDC Wagon. Why get VDC though? Simple it works with the AWD system to create a more capable vehicle this will be discussed later though.


AWD System Differences
Yes, the H4 and H6, as well as manual and automatic trans AWD systems are different. So you may be thinking that one must be better than the other, right? Wrong, even though the normal torque split is different in the H4 vs. H6 (90/10% 45/55% front/rear respectively) and the auto and manual use different ways to detect and control wheel slip else none are better than the other. Will the normal torque distribution change the capabilities of the car? No What that means is that under normal circumstances the H4 will have a 90% of torque going to the front wheels and 10% to the back and the H6 will have 45% at the front and 55% at the back wheels however when wheel silp is detected it will still transfer enough power to the wheels with traction to keep the car moving. The biggest advantage for the H6 is in a VDC Wagon in which case you have the AWD and VDC systems working together the provide maximum control of the vehicle. The difference between the auto and manual trans in that the manual trans uses a mechanical AWD system and the auto uses an electronic AWD system. No matter what each system will do the same thing transfer power to the wheel(s) with the most traction to keep you on the road


General Problems
The 2nd gen does still suffer from Head Gasket problems in H4 models so here is the lowdown on this problem. First the H6 does not have headgasket problems. Second if you replace the head gaskets with turbo gaskets and the job is done right you probably won't have this problem again. Third most of the time with 2nd gens the HG leak is external which is better than an internal leak because; a. an internal leak is more likely to cause overheating which makes an already bad HG leak worse. b. external leaks can be smelled and seen with the hood up. If you keep your fluids topped off and its not a horrible leak you can drive for a little bit on it. The main thing with this problem is to fix it correctly with turbo HGs because theyre multi layer steel and make sure the replacement itself is done properly and probably you won't have to worry about it again. Finally the 2003 and 2004 model years are a little less likely to develop HG problems but by no means are they immune

Another issue you're likely to hear of is torque bind this happens when some one puts tires that are of a different diameter on one or more wheels of the car e.g. person gets a flat tire and only replaces the one tire because the others are at half tread still. This wreaks havoc on the components of the AWD system and transmission in our example for instance one tire is of a different diameter the AWD system is constantly trying to compensate for that tire putting alot of stress on the transmission and differentials. The fix for this is pricey and requires in many cases replacing the transmision and front diff. To test for this go to an empty parking lot or other large empty space an drive the car through a series of slow tight figure eights if the car bucks or fights you at all walk away its not worth it.


Should I Get a H4 or H6?
This is mainly up to you, basicly if you plan to do a lot of towing, want extra horsepower, torque, less repairs and don't mind paying for Premium gas get a H6.
If you want to spend a little less money don't mind having to do some repairs or are handy around cars and like to tinker or want to mod your car out and get a little better gas mileage and don't tow as much get a H4. Or do and get whatever you want.


Handy Links For Those Interested in Getting an Outback

www.cars101.com


Please feel free to give suggestions, corrections and your own advice as this is a work in progress
I would also like a sticky for this
 

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06 Outback 2.5i, 06 BMW 325xi wagon, 02 2.5rs, 82 CB750, Polaris XC SP 500, and a single speed bike.
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876 Posts
Your first post about engines isn't quite right -- 2000-2004 Phase II 2.5 motors were all SOHC.
 

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2002 Outback Wagon
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311 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Ah, you are correct sir and now the thread is too.

That was my mistake though, the site timed out so had to copy and resubmit the post there and I forgot to pull that out
 

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2002 VDC Outback sedan
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173 Posts
You have a lot of opinion mixed in there. And a lot of wasted reading, like field goals and touch downs. Your statements on AWD are pretty murky compared to many factual posts already written about it. For one thing, it's not 55/45 front/rear, it's the other way around. When you say things like "it doesn't matter, its all the same" regarding AWD in h4 vs. h6 VDC, its flat wrong. they are quite different.

You also have a lot of 'probably's sprinkled throughout, I'm not sure too many people are looking for ' I think' and 'probably' when reading a definitive guide.

Hope you don't get offended, you did ask for feedback :)

But nice effort regardless.
 

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2002 Outback Wagon
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311 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
You are right about the VDC. I probably should have made that a little clearer the statement was about the L.L. Bean. In the section about packages it is noted that the VDC does make the vehicle more capable also I am continuing to work on the thread sorry for the confusion there though. The point there was to show the normal torque split doesnt make a difference because the AWD system will shift power to which ever wheel has traction regardless of the normal torque distribution. The "probably's" I put in the section about the headgaskets because, well, you don't really know what the headgaskets will do some never have a problem others fail are replaced and fail again. I will admit there isnt really anything much of anything definitive on the headgaskets other than if you have a H4 plan on them failing (-:

I cleared that section up hopefully it sounds better to you plus added in there about the VDC but I still have work to do there
 

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06 Outback 2.5i, 06 BMW 325xi wagon, 02 2.5rs, 82 CB750, Polaris XC SP 500, and a single speed bike.
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876 Posts
Just a comment regarding torque split -- I may be completely wrong, but it's been my impression that the manual has a permanent 50/50 split where as the auto can change the split as needed.
 

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2002 Outback Wagon
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311 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
You may be right I'm actually still looking into that 50/50 is the normal torque split but I'm trying to figure out if that's a permanent split I haven't found anything definite yet if I do it'll be adjusted
 

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2005 Legacy 2.5i Wagon 4EAT; 2005 Forester XS 4EAT
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672 Posts
Good start, but there are some issues beyond what was already pointed out:

The H6 didn't appear until 2001, and starting with 2004 was available as a trim package - did NOT have to be an LL Bean or VDC, and leather/sunroofs were NOT standard.

The LL Bean did NOT have the McIntosh sound system or Vehicle Dynamics Control (VDC). Those were exclusive to the VDC model, which has the 45/55 % split AWD system, as well as Variable Torque Distribution (VTD), plus stability control and traction control (total VDC system). The 45/55 split was also exclusive to the VDC (and later WRX and all H6 models from '05 on). This system will only split to a max of 50/50. The H4 with a manual transmission is 50/50.

Another mention: You can disable AWD in all except the VDC by installing a fuse in the FWD slot in the under hood fuse box. Installing that fuse in a VDC only turns off the VDC electronic systems. That was changed in '02, when Subaru added a switch to the dash to disable VDC. It's been reported that it will turn itself back on once a certain speed is reached.

The AWD differences between the models get more involved than you mentioned. I'm sure others who know a lot about the different systems can help provide the proper information.

Head gasket issues still persist for the '03-'04 H4, even in 3rd Generation Legacy/Outback (and Impreza/Forester). They're less likely to occur, but still happen. Using the MLS (multi-layer steel) head gaskets from the 2.5 turbo is the best way to go. Those gaskets are much more durable. Also, the H6 isn't immune to head gasket failures, either. They're just very unlikely to happen compared to the H4. When an H6 head gasket fails, you'll likely find oil in the coolant.

Torque bind: you may want to research that some more as well. I believe that doesn't effect the VDC models in quite the same manner. Driving in a figure eight isn't the best way to test. Turn the steering wheel the whole way in either direction, driving in a tight circle. Do this in both directions. If you feel the car "walking" from side to side (similar to a 4WD truck with 4WD engaged, driving in a tight turn/circle), there's torque bind. This could be a sign of mismatched tires, or it could be a sign of mechanical problems with the AWD components. I would agree to walk away if you discover this during a test drive.
 

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06 OBW 2.5, 05 Forester, had 03 H6 OBW
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5,947 Posts
The H4 and H6 AWD is exactly the same, except for the VDC variant H6s.

The 2004 4EAT IS NOT the same as other years, in '04 they reversed the function of the transfer duty solenoid, at least on the H6 4EAT, and I *think* for the H4s as well.

H6 OBWs have 4.11 final drive, H4 4EAT OBWs have 4.44
 

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2011 Tacoma TRD Sport Double Cab Long Box
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2,893 Posts
Good start, but there are some issues beyond what was already pointed out:

The H6 didn't appear until 2001, and starting with 2004 was available as a trim package - did NOT have to be an LL Bean or VDC, and leather/sunroofs were NOT standard.
I think 2003 had a non-L.L. Bean or VDC H6 available as well.

Agreed on everything else.

Also, I really really wish people would stop posting that 90/10 torque split spec. Members have proven (in the FreeSSM thread) that it's never that low and Fuji Heavy Industries themselves said it was something else as well. Frankly, the 90/10 spec just sounds bad and doesn't give Subaru enough credit.

Should I Get a H4 or H6?
This is mainly up to you, basicly if you plan to do a lot of towing, want extra horsepower, torque, less repairs and don't mind paying for Premium gas get a H6.
If you want to spend a little less money don't mind having to do some repairs or are handy around cars and like to tinker or want to mod your car out and get a little better gas mileage and don't tow as much get a H4. Or do and get whatever you want.
Maybe I'm nitpicking here, but the H6 doesn't necessarily have fewer "repairs." It may have fewer maintenance items, but once you factor in things like oil changes requiring more oil than the H4, that it takes two more spark plugs, recommended premium fuel, slightly lower gas mileage, etc., the cost of ownership is probably higher than the H4. Reliability could be seen as better depending on who you talk to, but that's very opinionated so I'd leave it out.
 

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2002 Outback Wagon 2.5L Auto Weather Package
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1,971 Posts
I've been thinking it'd be nice to have a 'global guide' to BH parts, to have a single point of reference for what hoods, bumpers, grilles, and the like fit, and some of the key differences are in other equipment like lights and suspension. There appear to be at least 5 variations of some of the BH components. An example is tail lights, as we appear to have:
USDM - red/amber corners, darkened outlines around illuminated segments, branded Outback in center garnish
AUDM/EUDM - red/clear corners, darkened outlines around illuminated segments
JDM base Lancaster? Legacy? - red/clear corners, uniform color in red lens areas, branded Legacy in center garnish
JDM Legacy? (uknown trim) - red/clear corners, raised outlines around illuminated segments, including bulk of center garnish
JDM Blitzen - red/clear corners, raised body color outlines around illuminated segments, including bulk of center garnish
 

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2002 Outback Wagon
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311 Posts
Discussion Starter #19
Thanks for all the replies I'll get all that fixed as soon as I get a chance on the desktop. I just don't feel like changing it on my phone LOL.

And feel free to add in any advice of other info it'll be awhile before I completely finish this thread and it would be cool to have this be a good reference to people interested in buying an Outback so they can get all the information they need
 
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