Subaru Outback Forums banner

what is it worth? Just purchased a 95 Legacy Outback. For sale?

2250 Views 11 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  idosubaru
I purchased a 95 Legacy Outback with the EJ22 engine. 136,000 miles and is an automatic. I screwed up and paid too much for it. the car has a salvage title.

The good
There are 4 new tires, I paid under $2000 for it, it runs quiet, The radio works....

The bad
It was in an accident and has salvage title
The engine is leaking oil from almost every seal says the mechanic but they didn't think the head gasket had blown internally, possibly externally. The mail leaking gasket for oil is the separator plate. I understand to replace this I would need to lower the transmission.?
The transmission is leaking at early all gaskets

I don't think that I am able to preform the work to replace the gaskets myself as I don't have the time or engine lift or pulling equipment.

What do you all think? Should I try to sell this to someone more mechanically inclined or is it worth my time and money to try and get the issues fixed?

The last owner lied through their teeth to me. Nothing I can do there except learn from my mistakes.

Thanks in advance for any advice
1 - 12 of 12 Posts
Legal Recourse

Most States and Provinces in North America have laws about disclosure regarding salvage vehicles. If you purchased it with that knowledge, well then it is buyer beware, if not... you have some phone calls to make.
they told me it was a salvage title. I doubt there's anything I can do because they told me that I sign the disclosure. They did however not tell me the extent of the issues when I asked about them. Like I said I learned a lot here. Moving forward what at my best options?
Well - the silver lining is that this is one of Subaru's best engines ever made. If you can tolerate the repairs - this is one of the cheapest and most reliable/practical 100,000 miles you can get if you can get through this rough beginning.

$2,000 isn't cheap but it's not awful either for that vehicle.

If the oil leaks are that bad then there's a good chance it's not the separator plate. It's usually too oily to even be able to tell where it's coming from....

***Replace the PCV valve and the hose below it into the engine block if that's clogged (they're usually hard, brittle and break if you mess with them by this age). That will relieve some pressure and slow oil leaks that are pushing out elsewhere because that valve is probably original and stuck shut.

*** First step is to identify where the main leaks are from. If it's valve cover gaskets - those are cheap and easy - like three 10mm bolts to replace the valve covers. Super easy and worth a try. They are very prone to leak, I can almost promise you they are hard as a rock and leaking. They tend to drip down, back, and central due to the geometry of the engine layout, crossmember chaneling, and forward motion of the car...making it look like the leak is from the back center of the engine, when it's not.

A full timing belt job would take care of all the front end oil leaks:

Ebay timing belt kits for that car are only $80 and include all new pulleys and timing belt.

While the belt is off you have easy access to and should:
Reseal the oil pump - tigthen the backing plate screws while it's off
Replace the cam seals and cam cap oring on the drivers side.
Replace the valve cover gaskets.
Water pump replacement is wise while yo'ure in there.

That would address all the front seals. Add the valve cover gaskets and you've covered all the major leak areas except the separator cover.
See less See more
Unlikely that the oil leaks would have anything to do with the salvage title so you are kinda out of luck there.

Give the engine a good bath and find out what all is leaking. Good chance you only have a bad leak at the valve covers as stated above and the fix is relatively simple.
gary's right, not only is this one of the best engines subaru ever made it is one of the best cars they made. and it is easy to work on. and it is highly unlikely that the head gaskets are bad. thet could be but it is highly unlikely.

depending on your financial situation, i would keep it and make a plan for addressing the leaks over the next year. even if you can't do the work yourself you can get the work done over time and have a good car. (if you sell it for $1000 and buy another $200 car, that is the same cost as spending $1000 in repairs now on your suabru.)

as long as you keep coolant and oil in the engine you can drive this car for 150k more miles. i would start by checking the oil several times a week until you figure out how much it leaks and how often you need to add oil.

(on a side note, this engine has Hydraulic Lash Adjusters for the valves that operate on oil pressure. when the oil level and the pressure drops, the HLAs start to make noise. this acts as a kind of early warning system, that the oil is low. ideally you check it and add oil before this happens, but if you hear it making unusually loud clatter noises when you start it , add some oil.)

start an ''oil leak'' saving account. put money in each month and when you get enough, spend it on the car.

the timing belt is due every 60k miles, was it done at 120k miles?
as mentioned, having that done will address all the leaks on the front of the engine and may cost $500 - $800 . if the timing belt fails on this engine there will not be any internal damage. you will how ever be stranded when it happens.

the valve cover gaskets cost about $30 at the local parts store and this might be a good place to try your and at a repair. only 3 bolts for each side and it is pretty easy to do. a shop may charge $125 for this repair. lots of help here if you decide to try. lots of tips for almost every repair.

one tip for this: clean off as much dirt on the top of the engine / valve cover before you remove the them. you do not want dirt falling inside the cover.

the rear separator plate is a big price tag for one oil leak, but it can be done in a day so it will only cost so much. $500 - $800 ???? the part is only about $35.

even if you spend $1000 now on repairs, you will have a good car and it will run for years. if you drive it for 30k miles the cost per mile will be 10 cents. you can always sell it then for $1500. if you drive it longer your costs will be lower.

where are you located?

good luck.
See less See more
It does not sound to me like this will be a $1000 cumulative repair. It sounds like unless valentinesucker has time and experience to fix the car without needing a shop, it will cost a lot more than $1000. Remember that apparently the transmission is a sieve as well.
Don't forget to check the rear cam plug o-ring on the back of the passenger side head. It's a couple bucks and only 2 bolts. As stated on the valve covers, clean as well as you can before removing the cam plug. Keep as much dirt out of the engine as possible.
Keep in mind, that is the motor many of us put into our Outbacks when we are tired of dealing with the head gasket issues of the 2.5 DOHC. I have already done mine and couldn't be happier. Those things go just about forever, given proper maintenance.
It looks like we are going to keep this guy and I will work on it as I can.

I checked the PCV valve as I was going to replace it and the valve was in working order so it looks like someone had done that recently.

Last night I replaced the drivers side axle because it was shot. I now have a tie rod with some play (not sure what the means...) and getting some new fluid in the transmission. I will keep cleaning the engine as I do this.

The other simple fix that I have ahead of me is the oil pressure switch which will go in this weekend.

I am sure that I will be here quite a bit.

Thanks for all the help
price is only relative to location. up here in the PNW, 200k mile 96-99 outback go for 3-5k in running condition. And they sell quickly in the fall.

If you can do all the work yourself, you will save a bundle. they are easy cars to work on
Mine has a salvage title , Was in a front end crash , All it did was bang up the front fender bumper and passenger door . So not all salvage title vehicles have been in major wrecks . So i wouldnt let it bother you one bit :29:
I now have a tie rod with some play (not sure what the means...)
are you sure it has "play" in the sense that it's failing? Subaru tie rods are very robust...though of course it's possible. Just make sure the normal "rocking back and forth" isn't confused as "play". the joints are meant to articulate and not cause for alarm.

Good luck getting it all up and running. Hopefully you'll tackle this one step at a time, feel free to PM me with a link to any future questions/threads, i'd like to see you through the attempt at making this a long term vehicle for you if possible.

Good luck and hoping for an easy resolution to the main source of the leaks!
1 - 12 of 12 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.