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I am considering a used XT Limited, 2005, w/ 39k miles. I love the ride, power, utility, and comfort. XT has 'sport seats' are more comfy than the Limited's. The Subaru reputation for reliability is somewhat blemished for the turbo model, and others say the 2005 is not quite as reliable as the 2006-09. Is this OB a risky purchase? What should I look for? Can the health of the turbo be evaluated before I purchase the car?
 

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I bought my 2005 Outback XT w/102K. Just over 103K now.

The main issue is the turbo being starved for lubrication.

Make sure the banjo bolt screen is clear and that it's using synthetic oil changed every 3750mi / 3.75 months.

I've read differing opinions on whether the rest of the motor is as sensitive to lubricant (OCI / dino -vs- synthetic). I tend to think its not.
 

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Can the health of the turbo be evaluated before I purchase the car?
The very best way is to pop the downpipe off the back of the turbo and evaluate the shaft play. If you can't talk the current owner into letting an independent inspection mechanic do this, then you'll have to go by the paper trail.

You'll want to see a pathologically thorough stack of receipts for every oil change. If the current owner can't or won't provide that, you need to formulate your offer such that you'd still have cash on hand to replace the turbo at any point after purchase.

Good luck!
 

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I've read differing opinions on whether the rest of the motor is as sensitive to lubricant (OCI / dino -vs- synthetic). I tend to think its not.
I'm with you on that- if this engine didn't have a turbo I wouldn't be paying extra for synthetic. But it does, so I am.
 

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Thanks, based on your helpful comments I think I'll get an independent mechanic to check it out. The car was bought at auction by this dealer (a high volume Toyota dealer) - no service records available. Since it has less than 40k it does qualify for their 90 day warranty, so I have that protection as well.
 

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Like I said, mine had ~102K, so I paid ~$100 to have the banjo bolt / filter replaced. Just piece of mind.

39K seems to me like basically brand new.

I'm at ~103,400 now, with a ~2500mi road-trip up to northern MN looming.

I don't think I quite trust it enough, and kind of wanting to forstall the 105K service, so I think I'm going to drive my wife's 2013 RDX instead.

Haven't quite decided though. I kind of want to see how the Outback does on a long road trip.
 

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Keep in mind that the car will be due for a timing belt soon. They are to be changed every 105k miles or 105 months whichever comes first.

Early-build '05s will start timing out in early 2013, and so forth.

Budget/negotiate with this in mind as well.

I usually tell people to plan on replacing the idler pulleys, tensioner, water pump & thermostat in addition to the belt itself, but with the total mileage so low you might think about skipping some of that. The book says you only need the belt itself, but experience has shown us that doing the rest of the system makes sense if you've "miled out" the belt.

Regarding '05 vs other years: not that different. Yes, it was the first year of the new body type, and there are some oddities related to it. The electrical system has a few one-year-only bits, the cabin air filter can be very difficult to change until the retrofit kit is added... and I don't think all of the '05s have the variable valve timing system.
 
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JeffBoston
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