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Discussion Starter #1
Hi guys,

looking to get a get 3 as a daughter/family car and after a lot of reading it is between XT and 3.0 engines. I'm more toward turbo as I own a turbo manual wagon.
It has to be an auto as it is going to be family car.

It will mostly be stock initially (except for ease of maintenance stuff like turbo oil filter, catch can, etc.). After bringing it to stage zero it may get a very reliable tune if family want it but nothing crazy and no other mods. I do not have plans to get past that as I have the current turbo car that has a heavy built engine and stuff so no more complicated projects.

My concern is that even with XT engine the car is under powered (for comparison my wagon came with 300hp from factory). The good news is that with a stage 1 tune I can get to happy place. But the reviews are telling me that there is a head gasket replacement lurking if not already done. The 3.0 in theory sounds better (more displacement should be better) and it is reviewed as more reliable, and smoother running. But I did not see he same ease of tuning it and it has even lower power than XT. A long tine ago I test drove a 2004 Outback LL Bean that had the 3.0H engine - I was not impressed (not sure if it is the same engine though).

So first question: XT or 3.0 and why? Are my points above valid?

With every car there is the question of which year is a good year to buy? Looks like the 09 is coming with the most goodies from the factory. I said 2009 but you may know better which one is suitable given my intentions or maybe an earlier year will give me better price and selection w/o losing much.

Given the above answered what should I look for when I go shopping?
What are the walk-away points?
What are the big ticket maintenance items?

Any other things that you may think helpful for shopping or just to be aware as a potential new owner.

Thanks a lot!

P.S. not very important but curious: is there an economical bigger brake upgrade for this car?
 

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Buy the very lowest mileage, best maintained car you can find. I'm not trying to insult you and I am not joking.

Anytime after 50K miles (or sooner) these cars can lose the turbo due to improper oil maintenance schedule. With that said, the 2005 and 2006 years initially came with a 7500 miles oil change recommendation and that proved to be troublesome. So did the passenger side head banjo filter at the oil feed supply to the turbo. In 2007 removed this screen I do believe. 2007 to 2009 cars are likely to be better maintained because people became aware of the oil starvation issue and the cars are newer. Any time after 150K miles the stock turbo is a grenade, they just have a lifespan and really, after 120K they are on their way south.

Be mindful of Stage 1- Stage 2 "tuning" and what it entails. You don't necessarily just want to start dropping parts and COBB tunes onto a car with 150K miles and not know what's really going on. If you search this forum about me or my cars, you will this information comes form years of experience.

BTW, what was you 300HP wagon prior to considering the XT?
 

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Brakes:

The GrimmSpeed master cylinder brace, braided brake lines, performance pads and rotors help a great deal, so does performance brake fluid. Every little bit adds up to a big difference. I have one car with all of the above, and I have another car that is stock, there is a big difference at the wheel between both cars. And the one with the upgrade is a Limited, so it's heavier.

You can also source Legacy GT brakes. The fronts are larger, the rears are the same size but the rotor is vented.
 

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If you depend on this vehicle for transportation do not buy the turbo.

You're buying at best an 11+ year old turbo Subaru.

It's the equivalent of driving a time bomb.

I agree that neither the 3.0 or the XT is fast.

If you insist on an XT I would get a low miles (below 50k) one owner example with full maintenance history, monthly maintenance log, and rust free.

Even then I would plan on getting an engine rebuild or replacing it at some point. Or just normal maintenance of a timing belt job.

The XTs are for people who've had them forever and or enthusiasts at this point.

The 3.0 in the Gen 3 is different than the 3.0 in the Gen 2. It makes an extra 30hp but doesn't feel faster.

Neither require a timing belt but do require premium fuel. They also can have random head gasket problems but it's rare.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Buy the very lowest mileage, best maintained car you can find. I'm not trying to insult you and I am not joking.

Anytime after 50K miles (or sooner) these cars can lose the turbo due to improper oil maintenance schedule. With that said, the 2005 and 2006 years initially came with a 7500 miles oil change recommendation and that proved to be troublesome. So did the passenger side head banjo filter at the oil feed supply to the turbo. In 2007 removed this screen I do believe. 2007 to 2009 cars are likely to be better maintained because people became aware of the oil starvation issue and the cars are newer. Any time after 150K miles the stock turbo is a grenade, they just have a lifespan and really, after 120K they are on their way south.

Be mindful of Stage 1- Stage 2 "tuning" and what it entails. You don't necessarily just want to start dropping parts and COBB tunes onto a car with 150K miles and not know what's really going on. If you search this forum about me or my cars, you will this information comes form years of experience.

BTW, what was you 300HP wagon prior to considering the XT?
No offense taken. Makes sens what you're saying. I red some comments about cooking the turbo but did not expect to be such a big problem. I tought it is more like the Camry V6 sludge problem in the 90's when people sued Toyota cause Toyota did not say in the manual that if they neglect the car (not changing oil for years) the engine will fail.

Is this the same turbo as in WRX or a lower quality one? I got conflicting info about this.

Don't worry about tuning. I know better than that. The goal is to have a reliable car not a power monster. Stage 1 if I go there would be after stage 0 and only if the family is not happy with the power after stage zero. The closest it stays stock the less things will break and less of my time will be spent under the car.

Note taken: 2007 - 2009 only. The prize would be a 2009 with maintenance records and low mileage around 100k or below.

The current wagon in the house is a 04 V70R M66. The other option family is looking at is an 07 S60R but it is hard to find one without the auto transmission valve body issue and it would be one more low ground clearance car. We do not like SUV's not even the mini ones or the later Outback models. Fine to drive as a rental but not to own.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
You can also source Legacy GT brakes. The fronts are larger, the rears are the same size but the rotor is vented.
If I get the car I'll probably go with this one. Junk yard calipers rebuilt in house unless Centric has them at a reasonable price.
Do you know if it requires changing wheels to fit the fronts?
I may need a second set of wheels for winter tires anyway but still need a set for summer.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
If you depend on this vehicle for transportation do not buy the turbo.

You're buying at best an 11+ year old turbo Subaru.

It's the equivalent of driving a time bomb.

I agree that neither the 3.0 or the XT is fast.

If you insist on an XT I would get a low miles (below 50k) one owner example with full maintenance history, monthly maintenance log, and rust free.

Even then I would plan on getting an engine rebuild or replacing it at some point. Or just normal maintenance of a timing belt job.

The XTs are for people who've had them forever and or enthusiasts at this point.

The 3.0 in the Gen 3 is different than the 3.0 in the Gen 2. It makes an extra 30hp but doesn't feel faster.

Neither require a timing belt but do require premium fuel. They also can have random head gasket problems but it's rare.
I got your point about the turbo. But then the only other option and still staying with Outback is the 3.0 that also can have issues.

So which one would be better:
1. get the XT and plan on a turbo replacement as part of the cost of the car (no idea what that means but please educate me) and enjoy the car before and after, or

2. buy the 3.0 and never fully enjoy the car even if there are no issues w/ it. I found no review saying that the 3.0 is powerful or fun, just that is good for highway cursing and more reliable.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
The answers so far feel like a cold shower :) But thank you very much for the advice.
I know that only places like this can give true advice from invested owners, people for which a car is not an appliance.

Two more question:

Do any of the trims come with Xenon bulbs in the projectors? There is no such mention in the online specs I looked at. If not is there a quality, cost effective retrofit available or are the factory projectors not up to the task.

Can the radio be switched with aftermarket relatively easy? Looking for having BT and Android Auto.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
How do you guys search the forum? It looks like more and more forums use this software and it is very frustrating finding something. Can you search only this Gen3 forum? Can you search in a thread?
 

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Yes there is a search function, and just choose search in this forum. The 3.0 makes the same power as the turbo. It can be upgraded with Raptor headers(waiting list of unknown time) which gives a nice bump in power. Runs about $300usd shipped. Then get an exhuast shop to weld on the extra flange to the cats. Raptor also makes a bolt on supercharger kit. Which is pretty expensive. As far as the stereo, if it has dual climate control it will need the jdm double din plus some adapter harnesses from ae64. Runs about $310 for the climate control kit and another $50-60 for harness adapters. In general when buying a used turbo subaru, have a couple thousand saved aside for a new engine/rebuild. Might be cheaper to find one with a blown engine and then have that rebuilt. And you would know the service history of that motor. Honestly I like the off the line power of the 3.0 and the highway pulling power. I've had no problem keeping up with a wrx and had a focus ST barely pull away on me. I also find the 3.0 very fun.
 

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I also find the 3.0 very fun.
Truth. Go test drive a Gen3 3.0R before you toss it aside. It's faster than you think it is. Mine's stock and I often myself "letting-off" to keep things interesting with the little racer boys who want to sneak past in turn lanes.

I've also heard good things about ecu and tcu tuning with Ed at XRT, @west_minist if you want to "optimize" performance.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Any idea what kind of money are we talking for the XTR optimization for bringing the 3.0 at same level of perf as the XT?
Is the suspension the same between the two models?
 

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Any idea what kind of money are we talking for the XTR optimization for bringing the 3.0 at same level of perf as the XT?
Is the suspension the same between the two models?
The 3.0 already makes pretty much the same amount of power and a little less torque as the 2.5 turbo. Just no turbo lag. The XRT tune just makes the drivability a ton better. I have one and I recommend it. Helps get rid of that throttle lag subaru has tuned into the cars. When it comes to the 5eat, they are robust but like any auto awd, it sucks a lot of power compared to the manual counterpart. So a 5eat XT and 3.0 will feel the same in power, but a XT manual will be faster.
 

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If you'll continue looking for 08-09 cars to enjoy the benefits of the mid-cycle refresh, keep in mind the H6 got SI-Drive for those 2 years. In my experience, switching to S# mode really transforms the car. The throttle map changes & the trans holds gear longer & shifts more quickly. A really neat feature that they removed from the US cars after gen 3. A 2008 H6 was only offered as the LL Bean model (but they also made an H4 Bean) and for 09 it was just the "H6 Limited"
 

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That's where the 3.6 comes into play. It's very nice. But with the headers, intake and a exhaust system, the 3.0 or the 3.6 shines. I love my tribeca. So nice to feel my tuning every day outside of sti's.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Yes there is a search function, and just choose search in this forum. The 3.0 makes the same power as the turbo. It can be upgraded with Raptor headers(waiting list of unknown time) which gives a nice bump in power. Runs about $300usd shipped. Then get an exhuast shop to weld on the extra flange to the cats. Raptor also makes a bolt on supercharger kit. Which is pretty expensive. As far as the stereo, if it has dual climate control it will need the jdm double din plus some adapter harnesses from ae64. Runs about $310 for the climate control kit and another $50-60 for harness adapters. In general when buying a used turbo subaru, have a couple thousand saved aside for a new engine/rebuild. Might be cheaper to find one with a blown engine and then have that rebuilt. And you would know the service history of that motor. Honestly I like the off the line power of the 3.0 and the highway pulling power. I've had no problem keeping up with a wrx and had a focus ST barely pull away on me. I also find the 3.0 very fun.
Thanks for the pointers. I found the the audio threads on Legacy forum.

It is not clear if the headers are available or not. They no longer $300 unless the site prices are in Australian dollars.

Could not figure out how much is the tune, but from the graphs I saw the headers make the most difference in numbers and the tune is more about driveability than big numbers. Supercharger is not for me.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
If you'll continue looking for 08-09 cars to enjoy the benefits of the mid-cycle refresh, keep in mind the H6 got SI-Drive for those 2 years. In my experience, switching to S# mode really transforms the car. The throttle map changes & the trans holds gear longer & shifts more quickly. A really neat feature that they removed from the US cars after gen 3. A 2008 H6 was only offered as the LL Bean model (but they also made an H4 Bean) and for 09 it was just the "H6 Limited"
Do you have to set the S# mode after you start the car each time?
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Retuning add power and response. The throttle is optimised. Cost of tuning is $475usd
Thanks Ed for the info!
Is that including the necessary tools (other tuners sell a softloader kind of tool as an additional cost).
In case the headers are no longer available can the tune improve the car as it is or do I need additional mods?
Do you offer a staged approach? Let's say first improve the car as it is then if customer wants more (e.g. headers are installed) do a retune? If yes, is each stage the same price?
 
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