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2003 Outback LTD H-4 98000 oil leak-gaskets?


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19 replies to this topic

#1 fitz

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Posted 01 September 2012 - 07:55 AM

Gentleman I am new. I have seen much on the head gasket problems with Subaru's. Bought a used 2003 Outback last Saturday 8-24-12 for my teenage daughter to get to school. I like the safety records of the Subaru's. I test drove it, looked under the hood, under the back, tires, car fax etc. it all looked good and drove good. Full maintenance had been done at dealer since purchased. Used it last night to pick up my son from football and decided to check oil/antifreeze. Well i could get not get a reading on the dip stick, added a quart and it was full. Got home, jack car up and low and behold, what a oil leak coming from passenger side engine. I going to see the dealer this morning, but since i bought "as is" I wondering what if any options I have.

#2 grossgary

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Posted 01 September 2012 - 08:39 AM

some dealers will work with you, give them a chance to make good.

first make sure it's headgaskets - could be a few other things and your year is more prone to external coolant leaks...but oil is possible.

if it was a recent sale and seems likely they sold it to you like this, there's a chance they will do the repair for you i would think. if they don't seem to be headed that direction then you could start thinking of questions pointing to the headgasket issue and the unlikely scenario that they didn't look/check for that.

#3 fitz

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Posted 01 September 2012 - 09:25 AM

Thank you for the reply.
Spoke to service dept requesting the old service records on car. Was told due to privacy rights I could not have print out, but she went through it and all service was done at dealer as per maintenance scheduled. I then told her of the "massive" oil leak, which surprised her. She asked car be left to be looked at and stated that the 20 point inspection could not be released as the car was not in my name as of yet in the computer system. I left car, and will await P/C. Next spoke to salesman, who strikes me as a very solid individual. Went through the above, and then told him of oil leak. That surprised him and he immediately went to his supervisor. Came back ask car be left, which i told him was already being done. He stated that he does not believe that it is head gaskets but will wait for the service dept report. He stated not to worry, the dealership is highly reputable (which it is), that we all live in the same neighborhood, and that as a father to teenagers he understands the concerns of a vehicle that is not correctly operating. I will let people know what happens. Thank you.

#4 1 Lucky Texan

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Posted 01 September 2012 - 10:23 AM

sometimes, you can push for a deal like this ; "How would YOU feel if this happened to you? How about I pay for all the parts and you guys comp the labor to fix it? I understand I purchased a used car with 98,000 miles , but i also know you want to have satisfied customers ."


I raised 3 daughters. I TOTALLY understand the concern that a guy's wife and kids have reliable and safe vehicles. It can be tricky to keep a lot of used cars running!

Edited by 1 Lucky Texan, 01 September 2012 - 10:26 AM.


#5 fitz

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Posted 01 September 2012 - 10:46 AM

"How would YOU feel if this happened to you?" Nice quote.
I did use something similar, I had my 17 year old daughter with me, and stated "I dont need the car breaking down on the Jersey Turnpike or Garden State Parkway with a 17 year old female alone in it" Like I said, the salesman is a very solid man, whom I trust as other friends of mine have bought multi-cars at dealership. He also has daughters and understands my concerns and also wants to maintain the reputation of the car/dealership. NJ is a very small state with a lot of competition for cars. I was up all night thinking how bad I fouled up, but now its water under the bridge and I can only hope to salvage the situation. I like the car and my daughter also likes it. I like its all wheel drive for the upcoming winter/snow/ice season, so in general I want to keep it. I am trusting in the dealership and there word things can be worked out. Thank you.

#6 1 Lucky Texan

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Posted 01 September 2012 - 01:03 PM

"How would YOU feel if this happened to you?" Nice quote.
I did use something similar, I had my 17 year old daughter with me, and stated "I dont need the car breaking down on the Jersey Turnpike or Garden State Parkway with a 17 year old female alone in it" Like I said, the salesman is a very solid man, whom I trust as other friends of mine have bought multi-cars at dealership. He also has daughters and understands my concerns and also wants to maintain the reputation of the car/dealership. NJ is a very small state with a lot of competition for cars. I was up all night thinking how bad I fouled up, but now its water under the bridge and I can only hope to salvage the situation. I like the car and my daughter also likes it. I like its all wheel drive for the upcoming winter/snow/ice season, so in general I want to keep it. I am trusting in the dealership and there word things can be worked out. Thank you.



the utility from new parts will stay with the car - so I don't think it would be unreasonable for you to pick up that part.

And the actual overhead/cost of the labor to the dealership is much less than what they charge for labor. That's why I think they might go for it. If you get the whole thing comp'ed - even better!

if they treat you right, let us know the dealership OK?

#7 brus brother

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Posted 01 September 2012 - 02:53 PM

Well if they did the umpteen point inspection, check oil level should have been done. If you are burning or leaking that much oil in one week, it should have been evident. You are due for a timing belt service (water pump, seals etc) at 105K miles so if you can wiggle some room out of a free HG job or even free labor for the HG, you can also supply the parts for the timing belt as that labor is redundant if doing the HGs.
This vintage does have external HG oil leaks as you describe which is why the uber-wrenchers here recommend HG change with timing belt. The recommendation is to use the HGs spec'd for the turbo as the design seems more durable.
You might end up lookin' pretty smart after all.

#8 fitz

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Posted 01 September 2012 - 03:26 PM

Well, thank you for all the advise. So far I am not that smart. $2500 to repair head gaskets, oil rings and some other things that I did not catch that are wrong. Other then that Mrs. Lincoln how was the play is how I feel. Drove over to dealership to speak to G/M, who was not in. Spoke to Assistant G/M. Told him how I felt and how i feel I was screwed. Car fax showed that all service was done at this dealership, its hard for me to believe no one knew it had a problem, yes I admit I bought "as is" but no one told me the car had never been looked at by the service dept when it was purchased. I forgot the term used, its was not a "certified" car but something else. For now I have to wait for the G/M and see what happens.

#9 grossgary

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Posted 01 September 2012 - 05:36 PM

Sounds like you made the right move by contacting sales/managers, I would keep doing that. The service department is just going to do a diagnosis and estimate like they would any one else, it won't be up to them to decide if to repair it for free or a reduced rate. In other words I would view the service department and sales department as two separate entities and the one that will ultimately decide is the sales guys, not the service. So while that does suck they made no comment so far, hopefully it's just because the service department looked at it and has no responsibility to make the decision you're looking for - replacement based on existing issue from the sales department.

Dealers do out of warranty repairs all the time. I'm not sure how they make those decisions but this sure seems like a good candidate to me.

The headgasket job can be done for closer to $1,200 by an independent shop.

Timing belt is very expensive to replace yet has to be taken off to replace the headgasket. So then you can also have a complete ebay timing belt kit installed for only $200 in parts. Much better than only replacing the belt and you won't be getting all those parts from a dealer ($$$$$).

*** The timing belt is overdue - it's over 10 years old and even by mileage requires 105,000 mile replacement.

*** Make sure you use the Subaru EJ25 TURBO headgasket if you get them replaced, it's a superior gasket. If you don't, you'll just be installing the same gasket design that failed in the first place.

They almost certainly noted the oil leak and sold it that way. It's not like they're hard to see or find and since you can google all the EJ25 headgasket issues, pages, information - it's obviously a very well known issue that I doubt Subaru ignores. I look for it on every Subaru I look at...I suspect Subaru does the same.

New cars they make very little on, used cars they're making a few thousand on.

Edited by grossgary, 01 September 2012 - 05:41 PM.


#10 fitz

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Posted 01 September 2012 - 06:53 PM

Well very good news in fact the best news that could be hoped for. I was so pissed off I needed to take a break so I loaded up the beast (1991 Suburban) with some surfboards and a few of my kids and headed to Long Beach Island for a day at the beach and some surfing. Well while driving down the GSP Joe the G/M of World Subura Tinton Falls NJ called my house and spoke to my wife. He stated he would make us "whole" and appoligozied for the whole transaction. He said to come in Tuesday and I can get my money back, have the repairs paid or use as a down payment for another vehicle. I could not be happier and my faith that excillient reputation of the dealer was and is true. Thanks all and Thanks Joe.

#11 grossgary

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Posted 01 September 2012 - 08:47 PM

Great, sounds good.

That engine/vehicle is a solid drivetrain easily capable of 200,000 miles without blinking, the headgasket being the only issue they have. Having it repaired properly by Subaru is a good option if you can get over the initial bad taste in your mouth... I would consider it if:

1. they used Subaru EJ25 Turbo headgaskets for the repair (if they don't, they are simply installing the same headgasket that failed the first time).
2. they install a new timing belt and tensioner (you can even offer to pay for those parts as a last resort, they're cheap - roughly $150 for both). that's a $500+ job at 105,000 miles, might as well get it done now while it's easy.

So for $150 (if they charge you parts) you've got new updated headgaskets and your timing belt job is done.

preferably I'd want a complete kit from ebay with all new timing pulleys too but just the belt and tensioner is not bad.

i would also personally replace the valve cover gaskets too, but i would plan on having the car for 200,000+ miles, you might not expect that much use out of it.

#12 1 Lucky Texan

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Posted 01 September 2012 - 11:38 PM

great guys over there at World Subaru Tinton Falls NJ !

glad it's gonna work out.

#13 fitz

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Posted 02 September 2012 - 07:41 AM

Thank you all for the advise. I will see Joe the G/M on Tuesday and go from there. We will see on Tuesday what works best.

#14 fitz

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Posted 06 September 2012 - 08:32 PM

On this past Monday, went to dealership to look around the used car lot area. I was surprised it was open. My wife saw a 2005 Imprezza that looked in very good shape with 61000 miles on it. Price was 11000 for it. I crawled underneath this time and with a flashlight checked the underside of the engine for oil leaks or coolant leaks. All looked good. As best I could tell, boots, tie rods looked good. No holes in any exhaust system, cat looked fine, a bit of rust but nothing major. Tires looked good. Car fax stated all maintenance done. A salesman came out and without going into the whole story took it for a spin. All seamed good, A/C worked, heat worked, etc. My wife liked the car and felt we should trade in and get this one.
Came back Tuesday, met with Joe the G/M, who offered to have the first car repaired by Subaru, my money back or trade it in. My wife was all against having a repaired engine. If the car was for me I would have went for it. I ended up trading it in, and getting the 2005. I declined the 36 month/36 k extended warranty for engine, transmission and power train. Later while finishing the paperwork, a assistant G/M offered the warranty at 700 off. Debated with myself on getting it, but ended up saying yes. I don't usually bother with warranties, figuring its better to save some money each month for repairs as all cars need some repairs. Blew my budget on what I wanted to spend on a used car but the car is nice, runs well and my daughter likes it better then the other one. Surprisingly sporty.

#15 brus brother

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Posted 06 September 2012 - 09:13 PM

Glad it worked out.
Make darn sure before the warranty is up that you check very carefully for oil "seepage" at the bottom of the head gaskets. Subaru might tell you it's nothing to worry about but I was told it eventually leads to failure and insisted that the repair be done on my 05.
Adding the 36K warranty to your current 61K puts you at 97K miles and just shy of the 105,000 mile timing belt change.
So, once you beat them into submission, pay the extra for parts to do the timing belt while they are in there and you've gotten value added.
Remember to use the turbo head gaskets as per many a board recommendation.
I have found this board to be a very knowledgeable group of people who are generous with their expertise. Welcome aboard.

#16 1 Lucky Texan

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Posted 06 September 2012 - 10:26 PM

^^^ good post right there.

#17 GeneralDisorder

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Posted 06 September 2012 - 11:47 PM

She's against having a repaired engine? What kind of logic is that? LOL. You got offered new HG's on the dealership's dime - you just passed up THE deal of millennium.

At 61k you have about 40k till the gaskets start leaking. This is not a percentage deal - it WILL happen. I absolutely guarantee it.

Wow. Epic, mega fail.

GD

#18 grossgary

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Posted 07 September 2012 - 06:56 AM

i certainly hear you on the bad taste and not feeling good and trusty about that engine.

maybe that's a very advanced "bait and switch" method they use to get you to spend more money on a newer car. LOL

Car fax stated all maintenance done.

there is a fine line between "repair" and "maintenance" sometimes. both require labor, parts, and work done to the vehicle and engine.

if buying an engine with a known headgasket issue - as GD suggested, the properly repaired engine with an updated headgasket would have been a great deal.

you paid more money and have the same leak-prone headgasket you just traded in.

could have ended up with better gaskets and end product if the other was repaired with different headgaskets.

#19 brus brother

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Posted 07 September 2012 - 09:17 AM

Go easy gents. You have to consider the missus and daughter factor. If they blow a gasket there can be hell to pay. They selected the new and pretty car. Enuf said! Fitz can also milk the warranty for new HGs and get his timing belt done as well now that he knows better. Peace Love and Woodstock!

#20 fitz

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Posted 07 September 2012 - 05:48 PM

"She's against having a repaired engine? What kind of logic is that? LOL. You got offered new HG's on the dealership's dime - you just passed up THE deal of millennium.

At 61k you have about 40k till the gaskets start leaking. This is not a percentage deal - it WILL happen. I absolutely guarantee it.

Wow. Epic, mega fail."

"there is a fine line between "repair" and "maintenance" sometimes. both require labor, parts, and work done to the vehicle and engine.

if buying an engine with a known headgasket issue - as GD suggested, the properly repaired engine with an updated headgasket would have been a great deal.

you paid more money and have the same leak-prone headgasket you just traded in.

could have ended up with better gaskets and end product if the other was repaired with different headgaskets.'

I do understand gentleman if you or others would have gone for the H/G repair on the Subaru dime. As my wife pointed out, the same place that did not see/note the leaking oil is now going to make the repair? will they do it right? can they do it right? I did not have the answer to those questions. They might be great mechanics and would put the time and effort into doing the rapier correctly or they might just rush through it just to get it done. If it failed in 20 k miles on the NJ Turnpike, man I would hear about that for a while. If the car was for me, I would not care so much, cars break down, but with my daughter I m less inclined to chance it. Since it is a Subaru repair, I would have little say in how repair is done. Yes the newer car cost me more, and I will be attentive to H/G leaks for the rest of its life. Thanks all for your imput.




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