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Guest Message by DevFuse

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Buying Advice

forrester outback H6 Impreza wagon

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3 replies to this topic

#1 rw53104



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Posted 15 August 2013 - 02:02 PM

New to the forum and the world of Subarus (for the most part).


My girlfriend and I selling our vehicles (hers a 2000 Wrangler, just sold, mine a 2001 Buick, still on the market) and are planning on buiying a sub 100k mile Subaru wagon for between $5k and $7k, preferably around 6500. 


We don't have a specific model in mind, but I am looking for advice on what the most reliable models in that price range would be (from about 1999 to 2005).. I know Subarus are known for their reliability, but i have noticed here and there on the Web that certain issues arise in certain engines. 


Any and all input would be appreciated!


As of yet, we are still waiting to sell my car before making a purchase. However, we may look at a 2004 Outback H6 with 80k miles this weekend, so any info on that model would be great! I noticed the gas mileage wasn't great and the transmission a bit dated. Any issues? Yay or nay on this model? It's listed at $5900, well below KBB, so I'm just as suspicious as I am excited.

#2 Fairtax4me



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Posted 15 August 2013 - 08:51 PM

The H6 is a good engine. Not prone to any major failures.
The h4 2.5 from 2000 on has issues with the head gaskets leaking externally.
The h4 2.2 was only available until 2001 or 2002 in the Impreza, but is a solid engine. No trouble with head gaskets, no common major failures.

If the car is way below blue book find out why. Run a CarFax, look for any evidence of new paint or accident damage.

Check that all 4 tires are the same size brand and model, and have similar tread wear. Tires are a big issue on AWD cars. Subaru specifies no more than 1/4" difference in circumference between all 4 tires. If any more, damage to the AWD clutches in the transmission will result.
You can also test it for binding in the drivetrain which is an indicator of damaged AWD clutches. Take it for a drive and warm it up, then make slow tight circles in a parking lot. The car should feel smooth and should not need an excessive amount of throttle to keep moving. If it feels jumpy or needs a lot of throttle in order to turn it has torque bind and will need repairs to the AWD transfer clutches.

Edited by Fairtax4me, 15 August 2013 - 08:59 PM.

#3 idosubaru


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Posted 15 August 2013 - 08:56 PM

the H6's are excellent platforms and 02-04's are great at reliable high mileage.  that's cheap for one, but they are quickly coming down in price now that they're 10 years old too.  a few years ago they were much pricier and harder to find for a good deal, getting common now.


timing chain - so no upcoming 105,000 mile maintenance like yo'ud have on any 4 cylinder.


the serpentine belt pulleys (both of them) bearings fail *all the time* - consider them immediate maintenance concerns and check them every 60k.  luckily they take 30 minutes to do both and it costs $10 - $40 depending whether you just replace the bearing or buy two new pulleys.


spark plugs are a bear to do - plan on hours.  annoying, but they only need done once every 100,000 miles.  so you're about due.  every one i've pulled at 100,000 has looked in excellent condition so they don't even seem to wear/degrade much.

#4 rw53104



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Posted 25 August 2013 - 12:46 AM

Thanks for the input, I appreciate it. We're now looking more around the $5000 point, but similar models apply. Still waiting on my current vehicle to sell, but I'll keep all this advice in mind. 


We're really looking to have the vehicle for our move to Alaska or the Northwest, so there's plenty of time to search. On another note, I'd love too find a manual, but they don;t seem to be as prevalent as I once thought. Any thoughts on that? Is it worth holding out for one to come to market, or is that a futile measure?

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