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'99 2.5 issue question


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10 replies to this topic

#1 Allpar Mod

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Posted 11 November 2009 - 06:04 PM

I have a feeling that this has been addressed before, but I'll have to plead ignorance being a newbie here.

So, I am the newest owner of a '99 Outback Limited with a 2.5 and only 63,000 on the clock (verified by the records). I have heard about potential head gasket issues with this particular motor. I assume that this is an issue with a percentage of the produced engines and at some mileage on them.

I'd appreciate some insight into what I've heard bits of and want to know if I made a mistake buying this car. We've owned several Subarus in the past and had little reason not to look at this purchase until I heard about the potential issue with the engines. I cannot afford to replace the engine a short time from now. I bought this because of a bad engine (235,000) in a Jeep I drove until now.

#2 johnceggleston

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Posted 11 November 2009 - 06:21 PM

read this and then use the search function to find more posts.

http://www.ultimates...ht=head gasket*


i've been driving a 97 outback wagon for over 33k miles, now at 131K, with no problems. i know it could go bad at any time but so far so good.

how much did you pay for your car.?

Edited by johnceggleston, 11 November 2009 - 06:29 PM.


#3 Allpar Mod

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Posted 11 November 2009 - 06:31 PM

$4200 off of a friend's lot (he has a garage also and that's how we became friends). I ran the numbers and retail came in much higher. I know what he obtained it for and he got it for an equally reasonable price. The interior is pristine, no rust or significant body/glass damage, and everything works including the heated seats and mirrors. Tires have over 3/4 tread, state inspection is new.

Edited by Allpar Mod, 11 November 2009 - 06:35 PM.


#4 johnceggleston

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Posted 11 November 2009 - 06:44 PM

$4200 off of a friend's lot (he has a garage also and that's how we became friends). The interior is pristine, no rust or significant body/glass damage, and everything works including the heated seats and mirrors.


in my opinion that's a good deal as long as the gaskets are not bad now. if you drive this car 45k miles with out a major incident you will be in good shape. at 105k miles (or 105 months) the timing belts are due. if you have to spend 1500 - 2000$ in a couple of three years it will still be better than buying another used car. hopefully you will go much longer before they ley go.

it doesn't matter when the head gaskets let go, it is a pain and a major expense. but when you have them redone, you will be good for another 100k miles or more.


how many miles do you drive a year.?



.

Edited by johnceggleston, 11 November 2009 - 06:48 PM.


#5 Allpar Mod

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Posted 11 November 2009 - 06:50 PM

John, I read your article and it was well done. It's worthy of a column on a Subaru site.

I drive 20,000+ miles/year.

My Outback has no signs of a problem. The temp gauge never moves once it's at operating temperature. I am dealing with a evap code and I'm taking the advice in another thread and Sea Foamed the tankful today. I already replaced the gas cap, no go. It does it at less than a full tank only, strange but probably because the fume level in the tank is higher.

I have to admit that I'm a bit nervous about buying this car now. He gave me a choice of this or another Jeep for the same money. I opted to get back into a Subaru after several years without one. I'm hoping that with 63,000 on it and no problems (I have the maintenance records of the past owner who gave them to my friend), I might be one of the lucky ones. I do a lot of highway driving and the Outback likes to cruise at 80 fairly effortlessly it seems. It also gets about 24 mpg which makes me very happy.

I know what to watch out for with a blown head gasket with the automotive knowledge I already have. I also dealt with a Mazda years ago that blew one, but it came way to close to stranding me. Let's just hope that I have nothing to watch out for at least for a very long time.

Edited by Allpar Mod, 11 November 2009 - 06:52 PM.


#6 johnceggleston

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Posted 11 November 2009 - 07:06 PM

if the gaskets let go and the car overheats you are stuck. but if the car over heats for any other reason, it can aggravate the head gaskets. so just don't let it over heat. give it good maintenance.

as i said in the other post, some are just going bad now with 180k miles on them. you will be tired of this car by then, 6 years from now.

#7 subaru360

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Posted 11 November 2009 - 07:34 PM

Have him replace the gaskets before sale? Parts aren't that expensive and it's not a hard job.

#8 nipper

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Posted 11 November 2009 - 08:50 PM

I go with the leave it well enough alone. Any used car can run the risk of blowing HG's. I would be more concerned with the fact the car is 10 years old and is way overdue for the timing belt and associated parts.

a 99 you may be able to fenangle subaru to work with you with the HG's if it fails. Otherwise just bank the 1500 for HG's as insurance if you are really worried about it.

Why the low mileage?


nipper

#9 grossgary

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Posted 11 November 2009 - 09:34 PM

the scariest thing about these is how many folks sell them right away to dump them at the first signs of issues, doubt that's your case. this sounds like a good deal, not someone dumping a piece/known issue.

that being said, previous head gasket experience does not prepare you for the Phase I EJ25 head gasket issue. many mechanics and others have been hosed by these. i've been asked by mechanics that know i do subarus to come check them out...half the time i "know" before i even get there what's going on. they can pass all typical head gasket tests - i've even seen them pass the hydrocarbon test.

they overheat, all the way, into the red, you're not going any where once they start having problems. it has nothing to do with coolant level, it can be 100% perfectly full, you're stuck. that's what i dislike most about these Phase I headgaskets. mileage does you no good either, they were failing at 30k years ago when they were much newer.

#10 Allpar Mod

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Posted 12 November 2009 - 06:20 PM

It's a shame that these series of engines were plagued with this problem when the cars are so good overall. I do appreciate the insight so I can be better armed to do what I can to try make this last as long as possible. Right now, that's the main thing as the wife's transportation is scheduled to be replaced in the spring. She needs it badly.

To answer nipper's query about the low mileage, I ran a profile on the car before I agreed to buy it through NADA's version of Carfax. I'm the third owner. First was a lease for one year and the first 20,000 miles were put on it in a relatively short time, then a local couple owned it until now. I do believe they were older, thus the minimal mileage. The numbers all jived so it's for real. The car sat for months before my friend purchased it from them. One passed I believe so the car wasn't needed any longer.

It would be obvious to anyone without automotive knowledge that this car was taken very good care of. It may have been garaged considering the body condition and living in the "rust belt". The paint is quite good with just some clearcoat peel on the hood scoop (weird, nothing on the hood or elsewhere). Just a few parking lot scratches and one ding. The interior looks like new right down to the carpet. Everything works including the heated seats, mirrors, and wipers. That surprised me the most. The Limited interiors are quite nice.

I actually had the choice between this and a '00 Jeep Cherokee for the same money (the car I just parked with 235,000 is a '97 Cherokee which served me very well so it was a difficult choice). I opted for getting back into a Subaru (my last was a '90 Loyale). I just have concerns now with finding out about this head problem that some of the cars had. In fairness, I found out the '00 Jeep 4.0 had valve issues after high mileage so it may be tit for tat with the two vehicles I had a choice of. Though, when I drive it, my concerns get a bit smaller. I do like this car. The better gas mileage that it gets over the Jeeps helps, also.

#11 Hondasucks

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Posted 13 November 2009 - 01:36 AM

I've seen these cars with 250k and the original gaskets, and I've seen them with 150k and leaking gaskets. Do the coolant at least every 30,000 miles and you should be good. The 2.5 twin cam's problems were mainly blowing the gasket internally, the single cam 2.5 likes to leak coolant externally, but neither one of them is necessarily a "bad motor"




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