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Guest Message by DevFuse

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What do I do with my '98 Outback?

outback 1998 transmission headgaskets

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6 replies to this topic

#1 BigZ89



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Posted 21 March 2013 - 07:14 PM

Bought a '98 Subaru in September of 2012 for its superior gas mileage, AWD, spacious interior, and rumored reliability.


Three months later, the head gaskets blew while I was on the road, 900 miles from home where I could fix it myself. Cost $2,000 to replace head gaskets, radiator, everything.


The day after the repair, the manual tranny died.Towed it home and discovered that the problem is the actual transmission, not the clutch or the flywheel or linkages or fork. Nope, definitely the transmission. 


I am poor and this car has put me into debt. Any suggestions on what to do with it that will help me regain that $2,000 I spent on all the new engine parts?

#2 987687


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Posted 21 March 2013 - 07:49 PM

Well, you're not gonna get the $2000 out of the engine. So at this point your best bet is to grab a transmission (they can be had fairly cheap), and swap it in. It's not a hard job. Now that the engine is sorted it should last quite a while.

#3 lmdew



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Posted 21 March 2013 - 09:15 PM

Good you pull and pays in SLC.  Not the best time of the year to search the yards.  Wait for Spring.

You can put one in from a Leg or Imp as well as long as you grab the rear diff so the gear ratios match.

#4 987687


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Posted 21 March 2013 - 09:35 PM

I honestly wouldn't run a 3.90 trans in an outback, the gearing is going to be too high. 

Get a transmission out of a legacy GT, outback, or forester. They're all 4.11. If it's a non-outback trans you'll get a high 5th gear for highway cruising, which is nice.

#5 idosubaru


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Posted 22 March 2013 - 08:05 AM

wow, that's some unfortunate luck.  get it in good running condition and that thing is easily capable of relatively easy and cheap 100,000 miles....i know it's hard to believe that at this point....but it's worth repairing if you can get it right.


if you replace the transmission - save the center diff (it just unbolts from the rear of the trans) - they're worth $100 and good to have just in case.


more than likely the car had headgasket symptoms when you bought it - and that's why it was sold.  so you essentially bought a huge problem, happens all the time with that motor.


transmissions are relatively cheap.  if you can do the headgasket repair as you suggested, you can swap a trans.


while you're pulling the lump you can make some of your money back by also buying an EJ22 engine which doesn't have headgasket issues and it more reliable and cheaper to maintain than the EJ25.  they can be found cheap usually.  then you can sell your EJ25 which has a high demand due to headgasket and lower end bearing failures.  you can make a couple hundred back that way and EJ22 timing kits are also almost $100 cheaper.  i just did this for a friend - got an EJ22 for $350 and will sell his EJ25 for at least $700 - so he'll make $350 to offset his mechanics installation costs - making it almost a free repair and he gets a better motor.

Edited by grossgary, 22 March 2013 - 08:07 AM.

#6 BigZ89



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Posted 22 March 2013 - 11:28 AM

Thanks everyone for the great replies. Awesome.


Looks like nobody here in Utah has a manual tranny right now. Plus it's snowing today so I'm not gonna go digging for a transmission anytime soon. 


Great ideas on that last post with ways to make some money on the parts I have. Thanks.



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Posted 22 March 2013 - 01:39 PM

Sounds rough man. Pretty much the same thing I am thinking I am going through. Bought the car for a fair price, but a decent deal. Had the records of the HG getting changed less then 30k miles before, so I figured I was in the clear. Ran great, pulled hard.

Threw my family in it and went to the beach and it overheated when we got back in town thank god....

I am trying to go through it and see if it is anything easy before I take it in for another hg fix...

If it is something super major, I have a friend with an STi motor and running gear we might swap into it.

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