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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Bought a '98 Subaru in September of 2012 for its superior gas mileage, AWD, spacious interior, and rumored reliability.

Three months later, the head gaskets blew while I was on the road, 900 miles from home where I could fix it myself. Cost $2,000 to replace head gaskets, radiator, everything. I expected these repairs, as the head gaskets are typical failures in these Outbacks.

The day after the repair, the manual tranny died. Towed it home and discovered that the problem is the actual transmission, not the clutch or the flywheel or linkages or fork. Nope, definitely the transmission.

I am poor and this car has put me into debt. Any suggestions on what to do with it that will help me regain that $2,000 I spent on all the new engine parts?
 

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2005 LL Bean
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Well, I'd look into a salvage yard tranny. You won't get much selling it with a bad tranny and since you already repaired the engine, it seems like the only good solution. These cars are very reliable if maintenance is kept up, so I'd think you would get many miles out of it after those repairs assuming the rest of the car is in good shape. It's used car ownership, I guess. You never know what will break next.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
That's a good start and not a bad idea. But I've looked into used trannys nearby (Salt Lake City) at salvage yards and nobody seems to have a manual transmission available.
 

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Even if you sold it after repairing it, I think you'd end up better off than trying to dump it now. (money-wise) I also think you'd be hard pressed to find a better car for $3500 or whatever it will end up running you all said and done after the tranny. (assuming the rest of the car is in good shape) You may want a second opinion, too. From what I have read, these trannys are very rugged and it's surprising that it failed beyond repair.
 

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Onyx, 2008 LL Bean 3.0R and 2017 Honda Civic Hatchback Sport Touring
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+ 1 on the second opinion. If a Dr told me I had a terminal disease (Like your Sube's trans failure) I'd definitely get a second opinion. If it is not the trans or there is a fix for the trans, then you are better off keeping it. You'd be taking a chance on someone else's problem car for what you can afford. Better the misery you know.

Another option is to part it out. But that is a huge pain in the butt. You'd need to disassemble the car and ship the parts to folks. The in-between option is to sell it as a parts car to someone who is rebuilding their own. Still have to wait for that perfect buyer.
 

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1993 Legacy LSi with still functioning Air Suspension, 1999 Outback 2.5L 5MT lab Rat
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Unless you drove the car with NO transmission fluid I can't imagine your having a failure in the gearbox. What lead you to this conclusion?
I'd get a second opinion!!
Now if in fact this transmission turns out Bad beyond repair, I'd suggest if you have access to another set of wheels searching your local pull your own parts places. I know that Pick N pull has an online web search for local cars in your local area yards. Bear in mind though that their search engine sees your outback as a Legacy. they get $150.00 for a transmission plus you can get an extended warranty for a nominal fee. You have to be decent with tools but thats the saving by doing it yourself.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I appreciate everyone's input so far. I really do. Looks like this community is pretty responsive and that's awesome.
The second opinion isn't really necessary. I replaced the flywheel, clutch parts, etc. myself and still had the same problem. Plus, the way it "died" was very inconsistent with anything clutch/linkage related. I'm not saying I know everything, I could still be wrong. But I'd rather spend my next $200 on a used transmission than on a tow and mechanic inspection, you know?

Thanks again, everyone. I really appreciate the insight. I hadn't checked Pick N Pull yet, but I had checked pretty much everywhere else. I'll keep looking for a used transmission nearby.
 

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1993 Legacy LSi with still functioning Air Suspension, 1999 Outback 2.5L 5MT lab Rat
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the trans is the same fundamentally in that it will bolt in both cars, the Legacy however is a 3.90 final drive, and the Outback is a 4.11 final drive. If you want the Legacy trans you will need the Rear differential as well. The combination isn't as torquey, but will improve slightly your fuel economy.
 

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Gallery Ninja, ,
2004 Outback "Bluebaru" & 2005 Outback XT
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Big Z, where in the US are yah? We can probably help, I know several local salvage yards with ooldes of Subaru parts.

Can you find out what your final drive gear ratio is? It's probably 4.11 or maybe 3.90. It's an utterly important detail. Aside from that, keep in mind that there are often crossover parts from other models. Lot's of WRX parts fit on Outback's and Legacy's. (provided the ratio matches in this case and there are no computer issues).

Examples: 99 Legacy Manual Transmission EXC GT Outback | eBay
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Big Z, where in the US are yah? We can probably help, I know several local salvage yards with ooldes of Subaru parts.

Can you find out what your final drive gear ratio is? It's probably 4.11 or maybe 3.90. It's an utterly important detail. Aside from that, keep in mind that there are often crossover parts from other models. Lot's of WRX parts fit on Outback's and Legacy's. (provided the ratio matches in this case and there are no computer issues).

Examples: 99 Legacy Manual Transmission EXC GT Outback | eBay
I'm near Salt Lake City. Apparently its a 4.11 as Joe mentioned above (thanks, Joe!).
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Kind of. My Check Engine light came on and my radiator fluid started leaking early in my road trip from Salt Lake City to Sacramento. Pulled over, checked a few things, refilled the radiator fluid, and kept driving.

Drove through a snowstorm up in the Sierra Nevadas. Everything worked great. The head gaskets didn't actually die, I guess, until I got off the freeway. Either that or I drove hundreds of miles with blown head gaskets.

You know your Subaru's head gaskets have blown when the car overheats, the radiator fluid tank is full of pressure and fluid, and your heater stops blowing hot air. At least that's how I found out. Because a broken radiator (or virtually any other problem) would still blow hot air.

The transmission had some loud clanking noises when accelerating in any gear, clutch disengaged, on my way to the mechanic to have the head gaskets replaced. No warning signs before that, though.
 

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2010 OBW limited 2.5 CVT
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As for your trans, If you get a Legacy trans with a different final drive ratio, you could just swap the guts from the gear box into your case to use the origional dif gears. There are several rebuild threads for manual trans on NASIOC. You just have to wade through the childish crap on that forum to get to the info.
 
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