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Discussion Starter #1
I am looking at getting an Outback, and am looking at a 96. I was told that there are head gasket issues with ones of that age. What is your advice for me.

PS it's a private sale, so quick answers will help the most!

Thanks.
 

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as far as i can tell (from surfing boards, not form personal experience), all years prior to 2000 (and maybe after that) have this issue.

can you change em yourself if needed? apparently no real way to prediuct or prevent, altho fanatic cooling sys maintentance is a good idea, and you shd check yr oil for coolant and vice versa at every other fillup. this way, if things do go, you can maybe just have to do head gaskets instead of bottom end rebuild....coolant is a REALLY poor lubricant for bearings and cyl walls, and oil in coolant galleries doesn't do anything good for heat transfer ability!

how good is the price on the car? # of miles? ever had the timing belt changed (this often tells you a lot abt how previous O approached maintenance)?
 

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Ask what engine is in it. I may be wrong and someone can correct me, but that year could have had a 2.2 in it. Undoubtedly this engine does not have as many problems with HG's. If it's a 2.5 then I would ask them point blank if they have had any problems or have changed them. You might be able to negotiate a better price.
 

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I am fairly sure it has a 2.2 with 130k miles, and they are asking $3950. It has an amazing interior in terms of general wear on the fabric. The hard surfaces show some wear, and the 2 center dash vents don't work. Also, there is a space where something (collapsible cup holder?) went before it was torn away.

Any more thoughts?

BTW, how often does this problem happen? Something like once every 3 years, or multiple times per year?
 

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The '96 came standard with 5 speed and 2.2L engine. No HG issues. The 2.5L was available in the automatics that year.

Price might be a 'tad' high. Those 2.2L engines will last forever. Get it! And that was the first 'official' year of the Outback.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
BlueRidge said:
The '96 came standard with 5 speed and 2.2L engine. No HG issues. The 2.5L was available in the automatics that year.

Price might be a 'tad' high. Those 2.2L engines will last forever. Get it! And that was the first 'official' year of the Outback.
Yes! It's a stick!

I really like the seat height adjustment. It has a neat "never seen that before" gimmick with the telescoping manual adjustment lever, but the important part is that it adjusts to a nice low position so the steering wheel is up where it's more comfy for me. (I have shortish legs and arms, but a really long torso.)

BTW, how much power in the 2.2?
 

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That year was 135 HP and 137 tourque. Could be wrong on the tq.

Ask how often and when the timing belt was changed. It is a 60k recommended interval on that. If it has not been done the second time it proabably needs it right away. There's a negotiating point for ya!
 

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altho i think the 2.2 is a "non-interference" engine....ie, the valves won't run into the pistons if belt does break, so a failure isn';t as catastrophic as it wd be with a 2.5.

that's abt right on the torque figure....you'll need to wind it a bit higher than you would the torquemonster 2.5.

price is a tiny bit high but not entirely out of line if car is in great shape. the cup holders on all Subs pre abt 04 or 05 are pieces of pressed dung...be glad it broke, that way you don't risk getting coke in the stereo like our 95 came equipped with. center dahs vents will be a PITA but probably just reattaching something if it works OK from all the others.

one downside of the 96 is that it was still just essentially a trim pkg on the Legacy, so it lacks some of the offroad-oriented stuff the later ones had. it will still do anything you'd want an OB to do, tho.
 

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used to have a 96 OBW w/ 2.5 5 spd...good car...only downside i had was replacing the spring on the shifter every year or 2
 

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kst8er said:
used to have a 96 OBW w/ 2.5 5 spd...good car...only downside i had was replacing the spring on the shifter every year or 2
Did that make the shifter wobble around a lot, even though you could shift normally? That's one of the issues with this one. It's annoying, but I figured (hoped?) it would be a minor (not expensive) fix.
 

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Good point about the noninterference cptoversteer. I forgot about that. Not as crucial to get that TB changed since it won't do much damage, but you still need to keep up with it in a timely fashion. Of course the seller does not need to know that. If I were you I would play it like it should have been done 10k miles ago (if it wasn't) and that you'll be incurring a 300-500 bill on the car right off the bat and the guy needs to knock at least that much off the price for you. Another thing that is often recommended on those 2.2L when they get up in miles are water pump, and oil and crank seals.
 

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adder70, yes it would make the shifter wobble...went through 2 springs from Home Depot & 2 from dealer before selling car... i think the part was $2-3...actually stretched a hanger out & had a good "technique" to hook up the new spring in less than 5 minutes
 

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i think your problem on the shifter also has to do with worn bushings. i had to fix same problem on the 95. cheap to fix if you can do yr own work or if you have a good Subie specialist who's done job b4.

and Blue Ridge is right on the money on changing the WP and the crankshaft and camshaft seals behind the T-belt when you do it....it needs to be removed to get at em, so you save mucho labor in long run by doing at same time. this is not a bad job for a DIYer, if you know how to remove seals (not hard). you can either use a screw stuck through a drilled hole in seal to force it out, or make 2 bent tools from soft iron nails with end flattened and bent at abt 45 deg with lots of oil to carefully lever em out. (soft iron is less likely to gouge steel crank, done many on bikes this way w/o dmg).
 

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wobble....

i should clarify...

the wobbling was mainly while in neutral, not while in gear...now, back to cpt
 
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