I'm in the market for a new Subaru (previously owned two STI's, one 2005 WRX Wagon) and my eyes have been opened to the Legacy Outback. Did my research about all of the notorious head gasket issues, looked around for a few months and finally went ahead and test drove my first one today---a 99' with around 100k on it.
Problems I noticed:
-Clutch seemed like it had a reaaaaally short throw. Perhaps this is because I'm coming from a WRX (my most recent car) but the clutch just feels entirely different. Very difficult to tell where the catch point was.
-Car was a little "bumpy" when I was letting out the clutch (sort of felt like I was going down a gravel road).
-Yes, the car is 13 years old. It had a somewhat noisy fan that was noticeable when the car is given gas. Almost like you'd hear on an 4 cylinder pick up truck.
-Rear passenger window seems like it's ready to give up (barely went up all the way, had to use my hand to push it the rest of the way up). I'm leaning towards this being a shot window motor. Anyone replaced one of these? Difficult? Expensive?
Other than that everything seemed to check out okay. I do plan to take whichever Subaru I purchase in and have it overhauled (timing belt, head gasket, tensioners, etc) by an independent subaru specialist (allwheeldriveauto.com here in Kirkland, WA). I wasn't able to check the coolant to see if there was any bubbling/gas smell (but I really should if I go back to make an offer). Should any of these things I listed steer me away from the purchase of this car, feel free to bombard me with knowledge. This week I plan to go test drive a couple more to compare the clutches and see if this is a regular thing for these cars. I'd appreciate any and all insight that could help educate me to purchasing the right Legacy. It's quite a step back going from newer Subaru models to this, but I believe these cars offer what I need in a vehicle and more.
Thanks in advance!