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Guest Message by DevFuse

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99 Outback Engine problems

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5 replies to this topic

#1 Deadeye


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Posted 02 February 2004 - 11:09 AM

I have a 99 Outback. 2.5. 85,000 miles. Bought it back in August. It developed a trans leak and an oil leak. I took it to a private Soobie service center that I had dealt with regularly many years ago. While working on my leaks he warned me that these motors are prone to problems. (I don’t recall the details and I am not the least bit knowledgeable about motors) Anyway, he replaces timing belt, timing belt tensioner, water pump, and in hopes of heading off the future motor problems, a new oil pump. $1000. That was two weeks ago. Last Wednesday the vehicle left my Wife sit with a dead motor. Today (2/2) the same mechanic is looking at it to determine whether his repairs were flawed or whether this is the most amazing coincidence ever. So the question… Were there problems with these motors? How can I tell if this guy is on the up-and-up? Can someone give me some idea how I might proceed if indeed the motor is shot? Anybody want to be my lawyer? He’s already ballpark quoted $1800 for a used motor, $3400 for a new one. He said that the best way out of my predicament, assuming the motor is shot, is to put the used one in and then trade the vehicle in at a dealership. To his credit, he did say to not trade thru him because he couldn’t give me much on a trade. My biggest problem is I still owe $6000 on the darn thing.


#2 Meeky Moose

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Posted 02 February 2004 - 02:47 PM

so what is the motor doing? makin noises? not running at all? etc? i wonder if he didn't put the tensioner on right, or got a bad oil or water pump... either way they'd still be responsible for that and should have to fix your engine for free.. just my .02

#3 meep


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Posted 02 February 2004 - 03:04 PM

He DID repair/replace the right items for that type of service. The labor to get in there is consuming, but by replacing all of those items at once, you reduce future repeat repairs. The do-it-yourselfers suggest the same type of service, except to remove and retighten the oil pump instead of replace.

So you know:
T-belt should be replaced every 60,000
Water pump *should* be replaced then, but it'll go about 105,000 miles, not quite to the 2nd t-belt replacement.
Front seal at the oil pump often goes around 60-70,000.
Tensioner on some last 100,000+. Some go out sporadically earlier--- anytime after 50,000

Give him/her a chance. They seem to know the motor.


#4 Commuter


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Posted 02 February 2004 - 04:41 PM

There are many threads on these Phase I 2.5L engines. I'm fairly new to Subaru myself (5 years) and I have a 97 OB. I don't think it is a stretch to say that these engines are probably the weakest (read - poor reliability) that Subaru has made in recent history. The Achilles heel is the head gaskets. But add to that piston slap and leaky front seals and some other lesser ills, and it really leaves one to wonder about Subaru's "bulletproof" reputation.

For the record, I still like my car, but my engine 'bit the dust' at 160k miles. First head gaskets, then a conrod bearing went.

Regarding the T-belt: SOA calls for it to be changed out every 105k miles for this car. In Canada (where I am), they call for it to be changed every 96k km, or about 60k miles. *shrug* I changed the first one at 98k km. I let the second and third one go 125k km with no issue. I'm debating letting the third one go longer as the belts have always looked in great shape. Bear in mind that 125k km is only 2 years of driving for me.

Let us know what is going on with your engine. Hopefully it is something minor. You've already put a lot into it. It would be a shame to have to swap out to used or rebuilt now. I know how you feel though. I fixed my head gaskets and then one day (200 km) later, the bottom end failed. I was not a happy camper.

CCR Engines Inc would be the one to consider if you go the route of a rebuilt engine. Not inexpensive, but they appear to know more about these engines than anyone and you get a warranty.


#5 Dinero


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Posted 02 February 2004 - 08:55 PM

Frankly, you probably should have avoided purchasing any car with the 2.5L Phase I engine. The Phase II isn't perfect, but it's light years ahead of the Phase I.
First, you have to wait for the mechanic to make an assessment of the damage. Personally, I would try to get the assessment in writing. Does it sound plausible? Do you trust the guy? If not, you might want to get a second opinion. That will probably entail having the car towed to another shop. I am unfamiliar with Canadian law. In the States, if you felt the mechanic caused the damage, you could easily haul him into Small Claims Court. Of course, this all a little premature. We don't even know the cause or extent of the engine damage. Anyway, I'm sorry to hear that you're experiencing problems.

#6 Deadeye


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Posted 03 February 2004 - 06:55 PM

Mechanic has told me that my problem is a failed rod bearing. He won't know how much damage was caused until he opens it up the rest of the way. The engine still turns but won't start.

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