I can't believe the discussion about the 2.2 vs. the 2.5 has been going on for so long.
In 2004 I bought a 98 Outback Limited from a good friend. It had about 135k on it, mostly highway miles and very well maintained.
Within two years the head gaskets on the 25d blew. At the time there was only one Suby shop in town besides the stealership, and they told me if I replaced the head gaskets it was likely they would blow again at some point. I'm guessing this was before the six star MLS gaskets became available or were widely known. The shop searched for an EJ22 in decent condition and couldn't find one for a long time. Finally I bit the bullet and bought a fully rebuilt EJ22 from Colorado Component Rebuilders.
Seven years later, no blown head gaskets. A few minor oil leaks (I think mainly from when I tried to run synthetic in it, it didn't like that) and that's it. I do spark plugs and filters and oil changes and it's happy.
BUT the power is definitely lacking for this particular car. I have the 4EAT, so that makes it worse. I've been trying to figure out what to do to get this thing to go. Get a rebuilt 25d with the new gaskets? CCR wants about 4k for one which seems insane to me (they do good work, but damn that's more than the car's worth). Go Frankenmotor? Go balls-out and try to swing a WRX swap (plus wiring, plus exhaust, etc. etc.)? Or sell my 4EAT car and get a 2.2 Subaru with a manual? I really like the Outback chassis, it's a great fit for me.
The 95-96 25d mentioned above sounds intriguing.
Anyway, I don't expect anybody to tell me what to do here, this is just my personal venting of 2.2/2.5 related angst. First-world problems . I love the car, but that power vs. reliability tradeoff has always bugged me.
When I lived in colorado I bought a 2001 Outback from my brothers shop with a blown motor and called CCR and thought their price was a little steep for a SOHC 2.5 long block, I think it was almost $4000. I ended up buying a new long block from Doug at Super Rupair in Boulder for just under $3000 and ran awesome, everything was brand new and good quality parts. I think we put 20k on it with no problem ever. You're the first person to mention CCR that ive seen, I wonder if they'd be willing to do a Franken motor? Haha probably not I know the dude at Rocky Mtn Roos in Golden, CO thought it was a ridiculous idea, if you have that many subaru resources why not experiment?