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2001 Outback, couple questions


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12 replies to this topic

#1 NV Zeno

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 09:52 AM

Hey guys, long time no post (but I have been lurking).

I have an opportunity to buy from my very conscientious neighbor her '01 Outback, 120K, auto, 2.5.

My main question is, knowing about the record of headgasket failures in the 2.5 engine, at 120K would that failure most likely have taken place? The timing belts and water pump were replaced at about 100K. This car had most of if not all maintenance done at the 2 dealerships in Northern Nevada.

Opinions? Think the potential for headgasket failure is past or lessened?

Thanks,

/Dave

#2 1 Lucky Texan

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 10:05 AM

only because I read the forums a lot, I'd say you might expect external 'weeping' of coolant. probably reduced by the use of the Subaru conditioner. Some folks seem to develop external oil leaks too.

there are also those that feel the older that year range of cars is getting, some more severe HG issues are cropping up - but it may be no worse than other makes of cars. It certainly seems they are more reliable than the 2.5s from the late 90s. People always report problems but don't always make a lot of noise about a trouble-free car ownership experience.

even knowing that your neighbor was careful about maintenance, it may be worthwhile to pay for a pre-purchase inspection by a soob-experienced mechanic. If for no other reason than to spot something like worn struts or questionable hoses, etc.

#3 Suzam

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 10:24 AM

I have a 2001 OBW Limited with 92K on it and it's weeped coolant but only to the point of showing wetness on the underside of the driver's side. It also has an oil leak but again just marks from oil collecting dirt, no puddles on the topside of the gasket. I don't lose and great measurable amounts of either between checks and changes.

I do make sure the Holt's/Subaru coolant conditioner gets added at flush times.

#4 kybishop

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 10:25 AM

I don't know if you are a member but there is a Subaru Outback specific forum, http://www.subaruoutback.org/forums/.

There is a thread specific to logging the head gasket failure information here; http://www.subaruout...n-log-only.html

Our 2000 failed at 80,000 miles and car was about 8-9 years old. We are at about 102,000 now and going strong. It runs and drives like almost new.

Good luck with your purchase.

KB

#5 Suzam

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 10:28 AM

Our 2000 failed at 80,000 miles and car was about 8-9 years old. We are at about 102,000 now and going strong. It runs and drives like almost new.
KB



Can you describe which type of failure?

#6 1 Lucky Texan

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 10:37 AM

There is a thread specific to logging the head gasket failure information here; http://www.subaruout...n-log-only.html


the only problem with that log is, there's no distinction made among type/severity of HG failure. it could be better with some 'checkboxes' for things like "did the car overheat?" and "did the car have combustion gasses bubble thru the coolant", "did the car strand you on the road", etc. Some folks only have some dripping and no driveability problems.

#7 grossgary

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 10:40 AM

Subaru offered an extended 100,000 mile headgasket warranty that year so you might check to see if that was ever exercised. call the local dealer with the VIN or ask the owner.

My main question is, knowing about the record of headgasket failures in the 2.5 engine, at 120K would that failure most likely have taken place?

no way to tell, it is completely random.

very conscientious neighbor

if she's that conscientious then she may have records or already know.

they can make 250,000 miles with no headgasket issues. and they can start leaking at 50,000 miles. there's really no way to guess. if there's a 45% statistical probability that the headgaskets have already gone or %65.... it's still just a statistic you could fall on either side of and mostly meaningless unless you're an accountant, actuary or some other bean counter crazy statistic type. i lean heavily towards that bent as an engineer and i still would call that crazy! LOL

of course it makes complete sense to check it now - they start leaking externally and are very easy to check - all you need is two eyes and look.

the good news about 2000-2004 era headgaskets is once they start you can literally run them years with leaking headgaskets. they start out very slow and get worse very slowly. just don't let them run low on oil and coolant and you're golden.

if you get the car - do a coolant flush/change immediately and add the Subaru Coolant Conditioner (it is required by Subaru).

But - if a coolant leak (most common for 2000-2004) starts - add two bottles of Subaru's coolant conditioner, that actually stops initial leaks almost every time if you catch it soon enough.

So - if it's not leaking now and you change the coolant/add the conditioner i'd expect low chance of ever needing to worry about headgasket issues.

Of the few generations of headgasket issues 1996-1998, 2000-2004, 2005-2010, the 2000-2004 is by far the least worrisome and easiest to work with and avoid headgasket replacement. the earlier ones are really rough with no recourse and easy catastrophic engine damage, the latter ones usually leak oil and get worse much quicker with no options but replacement. That being said - I would favor this car from what I hear so far, follow my instructions and you'll be set up for a wise purchase.

Edited by grossgary, 11 December 2012 - 10:43 AM.


#8 kybishop

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 11:02 AM

Can you describe which type of failure?


Head gasket.

Ours never over heated, never even got past normal really. Ours was weeping for a while in the typical spot where it starts, drivers side rear corner. I can't recall for how long it was weeping now. Drove it from central Kentucky to Florida and back on a vacation with it weeping.

It finally just gave out with a bunch of steam leaking from the spot it was weeping. This was in town so just drove it home, still it never did overheat. Drove it to a local trusted mechanic that has replaced these numerous times and has been running strong ever since.

KB

#9 kybishop

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 11:07 AM

the only problem with that log is, there's no distinction made among type/severity of HG failure. it could be better with some 'checkboxes' for things like "did the car overheat?" and "did the car have combustion gasses bubble thru the coolant", "did the car strand you on the road", etc. Some folks only have some dripping and no driveability problems.


I agree, more information is always helpful.

As I understand it the logs purpose is simply to track head gasket failure. Not details of extent or what happened, it just failed. Keeping it simple to track year, mileage and engine of when it simply failed. Also to keep it from turning into a discussion thread. All the details of each failure would have turned it into a drawn out thread of discussion.

I am guessing this is because most ask how often these fail and just want to know when it is going to fail. It is across the board though and just simply hard to tell from vehicle to vehicle.

Edited by kybishop, 11 December 2012 - 11:12 AM.


#10 NV Zeno

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 09:55 AM

As expected, I found very detailed records have been kept for this car, and am satisfied that this will be a good buy. The timing belts and all the stuff related to that job, were done at 96,000. The coolant was periodically flushed, and the liquid treatment was added each time. There are no signs of leaks. All work was done at the local dealer, and at the manufacturer's recommended intervals (30, 60,90, 120K).

Thanks for pointing out the main issues to look for and verify, that is much appreciated.

I think the hardest part of this transaction will be transferring ownership from a Nevada owner to an Arizona buyer. They can get a bit wierd down there. Luckily, not going Pima or Maricopa counties, so no smog inspection hassles.

Again, thanks.

#11 grossgary

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 11:06 AM

Awesome! Sounds like an easy 200,000+ mile vehicle!

Subaru dealers don't change the timing belt pulleys or tensioner (it's too expensive) - at most they change the tensioner, but not the pulleys.

Next time you're in there consider an ebay timing belt kit for $160 - $200 and replace all three timing pulleys and the tensioner. The pulleys usually make 200,000 miles but they do occasionally fail before then so I replace the pulleys before that second belt change almost every time unless the car is junk (rust, wrecked, etc) and not worth it. These belts are rather robust and don't break often, most failures are due to the pulleys. They loose grease over time and the bearings heat up and eventually seize/fall apart, you can find pic's in forums like this.

Or do the complete kit at 200k and you have another reliable 100,000 miles.

It's an interference engine (if your 96 is a manual - it is not), so if the timing belt breaks on this new car you will incur bent valves. I've fixed a bunch of them.

#12 ivans imports

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 11:54 AM

if you can see coolant leaking on the outside its getting into the oil on the inside

#13 NV Zeno

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 08:35 AM

Update:

 

Upon arrival in Arizona, the first order of business was to replace the radio.  Ended up with an Alpine CDE-133 BT..with built in Bluetooth!  Installed at a cool indy stereo place in Prescott for under $200.  Works great!

 

Friend reported having to find and repair source of gasoline smell coming into the cabin.  AFAIK, this has been solved, no more comments or complaints about that issue.

 

It was surprisingly smooth transferring ownership and registering her car in Arizona.  Once our number was called at the MVD office the entire transaction only took about 10 minutes..probably took me more time to find the correct screwdriver to install the license plate than our time at the window.

 

At first, Friend was disappointed with the gas mileage, but over time I think she's got used to it.  The tradeoff is she feels more secure in her Outback than the Nissan Versa she was driving for awhile.

 

Thanks,

//Dave

 

 






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