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Discussion Starter #1
So I'm thinking about buying a 2005 Outback with 95,000 miles on it and I'm trying to do my research and figure out all the maintence costs and everything I should know about this vehicle.

I currently drive a 2000 Cadillac Deville and the maintenece costs are always really expensive and I'm trying to get away from that.

My main questions are:

Does this year have the head gasket problem? Or was that fixed by 2005?

Does this engine require premium gas and synthetic oil? If it does require premium, would it hurt to fill the tank with mid-grade?

Does the water pump need to be changed the same time as the timing belt? How much should I expect to pay a shop to do this for me?

Will most normal mechanics work on a Subaru? Or should I find a special Subaru mechanic?

Thanks for the help guys.

From what I've gathered so far, these cars ARE expensive to maintain, but they are reliable vehicles that will go past 200,000 miles.

This is the car I want, but can I really afford it? I cannot afford my Cadillac anymore.
 

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2006 2.5i
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3rd gen head gasket problems due come up occasionally but not to the greater extent of earlier years. Many of our cars are reaching the higher mileage where problems arise so the jury is really still out.

For gas it depends on your engine. If you have the 2.5 like me just use regular. 2.5xt requires premium and in the 3.0 I believe it is recommended but not required.

For my timing belt job I've been quoted about $700-800, that with all pulleys, tensioner, new water pump, and seals.

The closest dealer to me is about an hour drive so I just use a trusted mechanic. There's not a repair I wouldn't trust them to do just because its a subaru. Only exception maybe head gaskets if those ever go.

And I would say our cars are not expensive to maintain. We just have a few little quirks to know about and common repairs that flare up. But expensive? Not any more than any other car on the road.
 

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Lawn ornament XT
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No need for mid or premium fuel on this model. No requirement for synthetic oil. You should use Subaru's own ATF if it is an automatic.

Yes there is risk of head gasket trouble- it is commonly believed that the likelihood of a blown gasket is reduced on the 2005-up cars, but I have seen reports of EJ25 head gasket failure in models as recent as 2007.

What we don't know is whether we were seeing the one in a million, or the first of many. Subaru themselves are unfortunately tight-lipped about it, almost certainly in fear of litigation.

Subaru maintenance costs come in waves- the normal fluid & filter services are directly comparable to most other makes & models. But, every 105k miles/105 months there is a major expense for the timing belt service.

Changing the belt is required. Changing the tensioner, idler pulleys, cam seals, water pump & thermostat are all optional, with some more strongly recommended than others. This is where your choice of mechanic comes in. a dealer or independent Subaru wrench can generally be trusted to inspect and evaluate each of these optional items and make the right choice. A good mechanic who has never touched a Subaru won't necessarily have the same judgement. Now, a good mechanic with no Subaru experience won't have much difficulty doing any of this work, but if that's the guy you pick you might consider just telling them to do the whole menu. That shop is also less likely to have those parts at hand, so you can reduce delays by setting it up in advance.

Given that it's a 2005, you might be hitting 105 months before 105k miles. This service should be done soon.
 

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I simply cannot abide useless people.
2006 2.5i and 2002 3.0 wagons.
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My main questions are:

Does this year have the head gasket problem? Or was that fixed by 2005?
H4 NA, some. H4 turbo, nope. H6, nope.

Does this engine require premium gas and synthetic oil? If it does require premium, would it hurt to fill the tank with mid-grade?
Only if it is the turbo or H6. Turbo needs both, H6 recommends premium.

Does the water pump need to be changed the same time as the timing belt? How much should I expect to pay a shop to do this for me?
I would recommend it. A proper job would be belt, all tensioners/pulleys, water pump, crank seal, cam seal, reseal oil pump. Optional would be having the valves checked and adjusted if needed. This ran me $1200 in Chicago.

Will most normal mechanics work on a Subaru? Or should I find a special Subaru mechanic?
Most will. I'd recommend finding someone rather familiar with them, as there are some quirks that a Subaru person will know about.
Answers in bold.
 

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2015 Forester XT Touring w/EyeSight
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I just bought my 2005 OBXT Limited in late October. Had 102K.

The 105K, plus misc items the previous owner had postponed, brought me up to about $3K already. Not done yet.
 

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I just bought my 2005 OBXT Limited in late October. Had 102K.

The 105K, plus misc items the previous owner had postponed, brought me up to about $3K already. Not done yet.
2.5i and OBXT are two different horses. 2.5i shouldn't have any surprises. Anything with a turbo is going to require 3x the care and feeding. But also gives back 10x the driving experience. So for the OP, if you're intolerant of repair costs or can't do them yourself then avoid the XT... and go about living a boring life. ;)
 

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Legacy Outback Wagon 2.5i Ltd 2005 non-turbo, manual
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My 05 OBW 2.5i LTD has just passsed 121,000 mi. I was concerned about changing my timing belt at 90,000. But I was told by a local garage that I did not need to change the timing belt until 120,000 mi. Now it is past that. What is the risk of putting it off? I have a neighbor that works on my car repairs on his own time, and is very reasonable. What do I want done at the same time since it will be all taken apart? What is the danger of putting it off much longer?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for the replies!

These cars don't sound all that bad. Even if they are a bit more expensive to maintain than a regular car, it definitly will NOT be more expensive to maintain than my Cadillac.

Couple other questions I have...

Is there anything in particular I should look for when I test drive it?

And how much should I expect to pay a mechanic to replace the spark plugs for me?

I just bought my 2005 OBXT Limited in late October. Had 102K.

The 105K, plus misc items the previous owner had postponed, brought me up to about $3K already. Not done yet.
I'm curious what other work you had done exactly?

And how much did the 105k maintence cost by itself?
 

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Lawn ornament XT
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My 05 OBW 2.5i LTD has just passsed 121,000 mi. I was concerned about changing my timing belt at 90,000. But I was told by a local garage that I did not need to change the timing belt until 120,000 mi. Now it is past that. What is the risk of putting it off? I have a neighbor that works on my car repairs on his own time, and is very reasonable. What do I want done at the same time since it will be all taken apart? What is the danger of putting it off much longer?
Local garage was wrong.

The purpose of the belt is to synchronize the motion of the pistons and valves. The pistons and valves need to move through each others' path a few thousand times per minute. If they fall out of sync even once, they crash into each other, fade to black.

If the belt breaks while the car is idling, you risk moderate engine damage. That is the best-case scenario.

If the belt breaks while you are driving at speed, you risk near-total destruction of the engine. That is the worst-case scenario.

Fire your local garage and get that belt changed soon.
 

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Legacy Outback Wagon 2.5i Ltd 2005 non-turbo, manual
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Understood. I guess I hoped they weren't. I do what I can and have my neighbor do any major work if I can to avoid the dealer or other auto repair. I use sears auto for oil changes and occasionally a tie rod. The last estimate they gave me for repairs was for inside boot joint and ends has too much play. My neighbor saved me at least $200 by doing it for me and by getting parts at cost.....
I am making a list of parts I need for timing belt job. I have a few questions I hope you can help me with.
I had already bought the timing belt, not realizing it would be easier to buy a kit.

I decided it is easier to buy a kit, and get the best price at partsgeek.com I will try to return the other belt, or save for future use. I just would like to know if it is okay to buy the cheapest water pump as long as it says OE part? GMB is $28.25, or should I go with the Bosch for $46.25? Also, I have recently changed the sparkplugs, and it sounds much better. When is it recommended to buy new wires, just if they are bad or after so many miles? Also, ignition coil, just if malfunctioning? Is any brand okay?
 
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