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Discussion Starter #1
I just purchased a 97 Outback with 151000 miles on it. I have owned it for less than a month and it is turning into a nightmare! I just drove it on a 2 hour trip and it overheated on me twice in 35 degree weather. As soon as I stopped driving and sit at idle, the temp. gauge shoots up and the overflow tank is bubbling. Other problems with the car include, the ATF light flashing every time I start the car, The antilock brakes engage almost every time I stop the car, and when I fill the car up all the way I had at least a gallon of gas spilling out all over the ground for ten minutes after filling up. I obviously am screwed now with very little money to put into this car. I just wish I would have read all the problems that others have had on this site before buying this POS! I have a 98 toyota 4runner with 253000 miles on it and I have never had this many problems in all those miles! I feel like an idiot for buying this car.
 

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No question that range of Subarus is known to have headgaskets as a common problem.

The other issues , however, may not be surprising on a 15 year old car.

Did you do any research or pay a mechanic to inspect the car before purchase?

(i have a co-worker whose Tundra threw a rod. Does that mean Toyota Tundras are POSes? - after a car is older - its make/model means less and less, and it's maintenance history and present condition is most important.)

SOME 12 year old Fiats could be more reliable than SOME 12 year old Hondas
 

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Somebody Else's XT
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Clean it up, sell it off & try again with something else! And do more research next time around, no matter what brand it is.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I honestly wouldn't feel right screwing someone else over by selling them this car. I think that's what's wrong with this world today, there is no honesty anymore. Just screw the next guy if you got screwed. I sold a honda Accord that I put tons of work into but I still told the guy all the problems that I had not gotten fixed yet. I guess I believe in the whole bad Karma thing.
 

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'14 3.6R Outback
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I honestly wouldn't feel right screwing someone else over by selling them this car. I think that's what's wrong with this world today, there is no honesty anymore. Just screw the next guy if you got screwed. I sold a honda Accord that I put tons of work into but I still told the guy all the problems that I had not gotten fixed yet. I guess I believe in the whole bad Karma thing.
I'm right there with you.

So sell it and be honest.
 

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overheating - headgaskets. can you swap an engine - put an EJ22 in it, far better engine and they can be had really cheap. i bought a $150 engine to put in mine, 60,000 miles later i'm happy. the EJ22 and EJ18's are bulletproof motors if you maintain them properly unlike the EJ25 you currently have.

and here's the thing - your EJ25 is a high demand engine, someone will pay $250 - $500 for the motor even with bad headgaskets. so swap motors and sell it and you basically will break even on the engine. i just gave a friend an EJ22 last week and that's what we're doing, put in a better motor and i'll help him sell the EJ25 to recoupe the costs.

gas - rusty fuel filler pipe (relatively easy and inexpensive fix)
ATF light - change the fluid, read the code, probably Duty C solenoid

Do you have torque bind?
 

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I would also ask how much you spent for the car? Buying cheap is risky business and should be walked through carefully with product specific information and background, unless you like to gamble. I mean buying expensive can be too, but most folks don't sell problematic cars for top dollar.
 

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I honestly wouldn't feel right screwing someone else over by selling them this car. I think that's what's wrong with this world today, there is no honesty anymore. Just screw the next guy if you got screwed. I sold a honda Accord that I put tons of work into but I still told the guy all the problems that I had not gotten fixed yet. I guess I believe in the whole bad Karma thing.
That's noble.

I didn't do everything right with my first subaru, wound up spending more than I should have when I could have just picked a less-needy car if I'd done my homework. At the end it was in great shape compared to when I bought it, and I got a generous trade in for it at a dealer. I was fully expecting them to give me a terrible offer, forcing me to sell it privately. Instead, they offered me what I'd paid for the car, so ultimately my four years of ownership cost me only what I'd spent fixing stuff + fuel. That can really only happen in a car that is done depreciating but is still serviceable.

I hope yours winds up going as well or better!
 

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I just purchased a 97 Outback with 151000 miles on it. I have owned it for less than a month and it is turning into a nightmare! I just drove it on a 2 hour trip and it overheated on me twice in 35 degree weather. As soon as I stopped driving and sit at idle, the temp. gauge shoots up and the overflow tank is bubbling. Other problems with the car include, the ATF light flashing every time I start the car, The antilock brakes engage almost every time I stop the car, and when I fill the car up all the way I had at least a gallon of gas spilling out all over the ground for ten minutes after filling up. I obviously am screwed now with very little money to put into this car. I just wish I would have read all the problems that others have had on this site before buying this POS! I have a 98 toyota 4runner with 253000 miles on it and I have never had this many problems in all those miles! I feel like an idiot for buying this car.
Did you test drive the thing? Did you have a mechanic (or at least a mechanically competent friend) look the vehicle over, before you plunked down your cash? If not, then you have learned an expensive lesson. Actually, even if you did, you learned an expensive lesson.......That the guy(s) looking the car over are not qualified. Just sayin'.
 

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I just purchased a 97 Outback with 151000 miles on it. I have owned it for less than a month and it is turning into a nightmare! I just drove it on a 2 hour trip and it overheated on me twice in 35 degree weather. As soon as I stopped driving and sit at idle, the temp. gauge shoots up and the overflow tank is bubbling. Other problems with the car include, the ATF light flashing every time I start the car, The antilock brakes engage almost every time I stop the car, and when I fill the car up all the way I had at least a gallon of gas spilling out all over the ground for ten minutes after filling up. I obviously am screwed now with very little money to put into this car. I just wish I would have read all the problems that others have had on this site before buying this POS! I have a 98 toyota 4runner with 253000 miles on it and I have never had this many problems in all those miles! I feel like an idiot for buying this car.
A couple of things I see here: The fans may not be coming on for the raidator which could be a bad ECT, the two wire one, or bad fans, fuse or relays. If it cools back down when you move, its not the thermostat stuck closed, just lack of air movement through the radiator. You'll want to change the thermostat regardless since its run hot a couple times after you find the issue with the fans.

The gas spillage could be a stuck EVAP vent valve.

The ATF light flashing?? It will flash a few times during bulb/circuit check but then go off. If it continues to flash, you'll want to check for error codes stored on the transmission module.

The ABS could be a speed sensor at one of the wheels is bad or has metal debris stuck to it. If a previous owner drove the car to grinding brakes, didn't clean the sensor at the time of the repair, this is a likelyhood. Also, any debris in the reluctor ring on the axle shaft will throw off the sensor reading. Could also be a bad wheel bearing. Other than that, you would have to check for error codes in the ABS module.

Could also be a bad ground causing both the ATF and ABS issue.
 

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Really???

Anytime you buy a used vehicle you are taking your chances. Especially, on a car with 100k+ miles. Unless you know the seller (and trust them) it's a case of Russian roulette. You have no idea as to how well it was maintained. Some folks are honest (like you) and some folks are not.

You may have gotten 250k out of your Toyota, but that doesn't mean Toyota is good and Subaru bad. You came out well from the used car roulette with your Toyota and not so well with Subaru.

I have a friend with 2 Subaru's. One has 315k miles and the other has 210k miles (with no major issues). He's had a Subaru in his driveway since 1985. He says he'll have 1 until the day he dies. Try telling him Subaru's are "bad".

I have a 2010 OB with 40k miles on it. No problems, issues, etc.. Just standard maintenance. It's the best car I've ever owned. I have owned multiple used cars. I will only buy used from friends, and\or sellers that I trust.

When you get a "deal", sometimes it's a bend over propisition.

Just my .02 from an old fart. I wish you well.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Wow, thanks for all the awsome help guys. At least I found this forum to help me out. I really like everything else about the car. For a car that is as old as it is, it feels very tight, (steering, doors, lack of rattles, etc. ). Seems that they are built well other than the chronic HG problems. I will look into the engine swap idea. I am nowhere near a good enough mechanic to do an engine swap tho. Any idea what I might expect to pay someone to have an engine installed? P.S. I did test drive the car before buying. Obviously the dealer had warmed up the engine before I arrived so there was no piston slap. It never overheated until my longer drive to my family's land up north. ( I only live 5 min. from work). The ATF light never started flashing until I ran the thing thru a car wash! I do notice that the car doesn't seem to want to downshift correctly when I come to a stop. It still seems to want to keep pulling as I apply the brakes. Maybe this is what is triggering the ABS.
 

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if that car wash had an underbody spray - you may have a compromised harness or connector. Sometimes rodents will chew into wires as well. Then, some water gets in the electrics.....

post up your city and maybe someone can suggest a shop near you to inspect/repair the car.
 

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I honestly wouldn't feel right screwing someone else over by selling them this car. I think that's what's wrong with this world today, there is no honesty anymore. Just screw the next guy if you got screwed. I sold a honda Accord that I put tons of work into but I still told the guy all the problems that I had not gotten fixed yet. I guess I believe in the whole bad Karma thing.
I applaud you for your attitude. How about a trade in, then the dealer can either try to fix it or junk it, they have these programs where they give you money just to drive about anything in. Sorry you got bitten, it sucks.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I really can't afford to trade this car in because I can't afford a car payment right now. That's why I bought an older vehicle like this. I just wish I could figure out if my HG is bad or if it could be something else. It overheats only after driving on the freeway for a short time and then pulling off and driving in the city, the temp. guage shoots way up. It never has overheated while just doing city driving. The fans are coming on and I don't notice any leaking until it overheats. I am just bummed because I don't have the money for a HG job and christmas is coming. I guess I know where all my money is going.
 
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