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Discussion Starter #1
I just got a check-engine light and brought it in to the dealership for a look and minor check at 82,500 miles.

Seems like they're suggesting a valve adjustment ($2,000+) and a front and back axel boot tears and timing belt need replacing. Further, brake pads apparently need replacing at front and back for additional $600. All this would be about $4,000 total.

Should I just sell/trade the car before making repairs or is this model worth repairing? For example, if I spend the $4,000 will the car last me another 40,000 miles or so before another major expense or is this model destined for added repairs/costs?
 

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2005 Outback 2.5 XT Limited, 1995 FWD Legacy sedan
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These are very desirable cars, and aren't trouble-prone for most people, provided that the engine is kept well lubricated (synthetic oil only, changed at a 3,750 mile interval). You also need to use premium fuel. My family has one with 184,000 miles and no issues worth mentioning in the year that we've had it, nor anything big with the previous (original) owner. The turbo is still original I believe, performance is good, and oil consumption is something like four ounces per oil change.

Your dealer certainly won't be the most economical source of maintenance; those numbers all seem quite high to me. Also, the mileage interval for valve adjustment, spark plugs, and the timing belt job is 105,000; I don't know why you would need to do these sooner, except to enrich the dealer. Maintenance at 105,000 miles does bring some cost, though not $4,000 worth of cost. After that...nothing major is due until 210,000. Note also that brake pads, CV boots, etc. will require periodic maintenance with any car you may own; but they really shouldn't be that expensive. I won't recommend against that valve adjustment at its scheduled mileage, but I believe many people don't bother; for $2,000 I don't think anyone would bother.

What code do you have with your CEL?
 

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Lawn ornament XT
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14,368 Posts
Valve adjustments are fairly simple, but unfortunately you can't reach the adjusters without removing the engine first. This is why the adjustment is so expensive. The whole engine has to come out.

I have read conflicting advice on the necessity of adjustments- some say it is nearly never required and others report burnt exhaust valves and other damage which would have been prevented by timely adjustment.

I had a compression test done, and it showed all 4 cylinders at equal pressure. Had this not been the case I might have gone for a valve adjustment. I can't point out any diagnostic which uses this as proof, I just decided to gamble on common sense.

XTs are desirable cars, arguably the most sought after of all outbacks.

At 80k+ miles you have driven most of the cheap miles out of that car. Soon it will be needing more things, so decide for yourself if you want to pay for them or leave it for the next guy. The timing belt will be due in 20k miles, and there can't be much left in the struts, brakes etc.
 

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I simply cannot abide useless people.
2006 2.5i and 2002 3.0 wagons.
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12,304 Posts
Get a new dealer.

Have the valves checked and adjusted as needed at the 105k timing belt/ALL idlers and pulleys/waterpump job. This ran me about $1300 at my dealer.

Have the front axles rebooted if possible, or use only Subaru rebuilt parts (such as MWE axles) if yours are damaged. This should be $200-$400 depending on your options.

Brakes should not be $600.
 

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2006 Outback 2.5i Limited 5MT, 1984 Porsche 944
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277 Posts
+1 for new dealer.

I will say, the $600 for the brakes sounds reasonable if it's pads+rotors. You probably only need pads though unless you're hard on your brakes or live in the rust belt. If it's pads only, then tell the dealer you're concerned about their competence as it shouldn't require 4 hours to replace brake pads on vehicles they should be very familiar with.
 

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05 OBXT 5eat stg1.2
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2,105 Posts
What was the diagnostic code? Doing a timing belt change at 83k without any signs of early wear is ridiculous. Look at the axle boots and see if they've cracked and sprayed grease everywhere. If not, they're fine. The front passenger side is generally the one that goes.

I'd recommend finding a subaru specific shop near you that is NOT a dealer.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Hi all, thanks so much for your thoughtful responses- this is obviously a concern because the $$$$ involved.

To answer your questions:
1. Yes, it's a Subaru dealership and it's part of their service center.
2. The CEL is: P0171 for system too lean (bank 1). Tech felt slight stuble during idle and noticed slight roughness on the monitor for cylinder #4. They reset CEL.
3. They recomended that if CEL returns cylinder misfire, they will need to do a valve adjustment and change of timing belt during that time.
4. Tech also found right front axle boot torn and lost all grease. Left side starting to crack. For each one, they said cost would be about $400 for a refurbused Subaru part- so immediate cost of $400, then another $400 within the next 12 months as the other one is starting to crack.

Any thoughts on this? Should I still see another dealer for a second opinion?

Thanks again!
John
 

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Car: 2008 Tribeca, 2010 LGT, Sold: 2005 XT Limited
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You might be one of the unlucky ones with burn exhaust valves. This happens when it runs lean for too long. This seems to occasionally happen. Do a search here and at legacygt.com and you'll see a few instances. The fix is expensive, but if you're lucky maybe just a valve adjustment.

The rest of it is common wear. You'll have a hard time selling the car. Maybe go straight to a dealer and trade it in for a 6 cylinder if you aren't a 'turbo' type person but want the more responsive car. But if you like the turbo, then get it fixes.

The car listed at 32k new for the limited. Over the 7 years you've had it, that's 4.5k/year. If the repair is less than that, and it lasts more than a year, you are saving money, assuming you replace it with a similar car. That's how I look at it. More people don't count money like that though. They just like the 'feel' of the new car.

Tom

Tom
 

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2006 Outback 2.5i Limited 5MT, 1984 Porsche 944
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Hi all, thanks so much for your thoughtful responses- this is obviously a concern because the $$$$ involved.

To answer your questions:
1. Yes, it's a Subaru dealership and it's part of their service center.
2. The CEL is: P0171 for system too lean (bank 1). Tech felt slight stuble during idle and noticed slight roughness on the monitor for cylinder #4. They reset CEL.
3. They recomended that if CEL returns cylinder misfire, they will need to do a valve adjustment and change of timing belt during that time.
4. Tech also found right front axle boot torn and lost all grease. Left side starting to crack. For each one, they said cost would be about $400 for a refurbused Subaru part- so immediate cost of $400, then another $400 within the next 12 months as the other one is starting to crack.

Any thoughts on this? Should I still see another dealer for a second opinion?

Thanks again!
John
4. Ebay a used part. I'm serious, for 40 bucks you can find a well working axle with boots that haven't torn. For another 60 you can replace the boots. Bam, fresh axle at 1/4 the price. Of course, the dealer won't guarantee it, but it should last you a long time.

As for as the other side, just have them replace the boots on your (still erfectly fine) axle.
 

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2015 Forester XT Touring w/EyeSight
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I just had the 105K done on my 2005 OBXT Limited (5MT). I don't recall seeing anything on the maintenance schedule for the valves. They didn't mention them at the shop either.

I had some other things done too, so I figure roughly (I could be more specific if I pulled the paperwork) $1500 for the "do it right" 105K.

I had the front brakes & rotors replaced, plus some other misc (front ball joints, alignment, etc) recently to the tune of another ~$500.

I just bought it back in October. I should add up all the receipts. I bet I've spent another $3K easy on it already.

I was starting to think maybe I should swap it for something else, but I haven't found anything I think I would like better and it's really grown on me.
 

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OBW H6 VDC, Tribeca, XT6
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I'll elaborate in a minute but here is what you need, you should be out the door with $900 (for two axles and brakes) + cost to repair lean condition issue.
Axles - $150 - $250 each.
Brakes - $300 - $400 for front and rear.

*** Do not have the valves adjusted, they are not...can not...cause the lean condition. waste of money. Not too mention Subaru engine don't typically have very tight exhaust valves at such a low mileage, highly unlikely as well.

200,000 miles is a drop in the bucket for that motor, it is well worth it.
They're trying to make money on you, price you into a new car, or want to flip your current one. You are simply getting hosed.

What state do you live in - i'll come do all your brake, axle, timing belt work and travel a lot. Not doing the lean condition from a distance. LOL

The lean condition needs figured out, but valve adjustment isn't the cause, so that's not the starting point...maybe someone can peak at the FSM for us, I can't right now?

Timing belt, not now, you got 20,000 more miles, that's not causing the CEL.

Step 1: figure out the cylinder misfire.

AXLES:
Ask them to reboot them (do not budge no matter what excuse they give). Mechanics get paid "per job", not per hour, and know which jobs/how to make the most money. The system hoses you if you don't know what to ask for. Rebooting costs $150 - $250 per axle. It is plain stupid to replace a known good and very robust part that will last the life of the vehicle....with a subpar lower quality remanne'd part...that costs more. Makes no sense at all, except to the dealer who just wants to charge more to get it done quicker. Subaru OEM axles are unbelievably robust and should never be replaced - always reboot (unless you lifted it and drive offroad with welded lockers and are really abusing them...but i'm just assuming that's not you. LOL)

*as a matter of fact i'll buy your old axles if you have them replaced, i'll run them another 100,000+ miles.

BRAKES:
You only need new pads, ask for that and stick to it no matter what apocalpytic nonsense they give you. If they aren't vibrating, don't replace the rotors. There is absolutely no need to replace the rotors if you don't have symptoms, you don't replace parts just because someone said so with no symptoms. Shops do this all the time and while they have reasons, it's needless. Brake pads should be $150 or less, they are ***unbelievably*** easy to change. Takes a few minutes, that's it.
 

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05 OBXT 5eat stg1.2
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I disagree about the boots. At least the passenger side. If it's spilled all of it's grease and you have no idea how long it's been like that, it probably already has a lot of dirt and other crap in there. Re-booting it will keep it going for a while if it isn't already making noise, but the joint could crap out very soon.

As for the drivers side that just has a crack, it should just be re-booted.

The first place to look for the lean condition is all vacuum hoses. Look for leaky or popped off ones. Do that before driving the car further. You will either burn up your valves or blow a piston ring if a hose has popped off. There is a "t" under the intercooler that likes to blow hoses off. Also check for boost leaks.

If you have access to someone with a laptop and a vag-com cable, you can download a program called learning view. It will show your learned fuel trims and give you a very good idea if there is a leak somewhere.

If there isn't a leak, it could be a clogged injector. But rule out the leak before looking into the injectors.

Again, a lean condition will destroy pistons or valves, so figure it out before driving much more.
 
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