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Repair the engine or buy another car?


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20 replies to this topic

#1 chrisw

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Posted 03 September 2013 - 10:33 PM

We currently own a 2000 Forester which again has failed head gaskets at about 175K (the first time was due to the well known head gasket issue at about 107K, but this time the cause is likely for a different reason (don't want to go into the details). There are several approaches we can take:

1) Another head gasket job if the overheating didn't damage the engine (we will no more after the heads have been removed and the engine inspected ... please assume there is no major damage);

2) Buy a short block from Subaru and have it installed;

3) Sell the car as is and replace it with another Subaru (not certain what model or year)

4) Replace the car with another make

 

Even with the problems we have had (this car has had it share of issues), we like Subarus in general and would consider purchasing another one (this is the second we have owned). Part of the reason we would consider fixing this one or purchasing another is our mechanic. He is an independent Subaru mechanic who does excellent work at very reasonable rates (some of his customers drive considerable distances just so he can maintain their cars).

 

I've been short on details, but are there any opinions regarding the best approach? Is there a particular Subaru model/year you could recommend that would cost less than about 7K (our Forester is the least used car in our family, probably about 6,000 miles/year)? I'm still concerned about the head gasket problem, but I understand Subaru's latest gasket design has proved superior to the predecessors (but time will tell). I've also heard Subaru's six cylinder engine is much more reliable than their four cylinder (we have the 2.5L engine).

 

 



#2 lmdew

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Posted 04 September 2013 - 06:06 AM

Least expensive and a good option if you can do it yourself, get an engine from a self server yard and put it in.  Do the Timing belt and seals.  Look for a car with significant damage and lower mileage that way you know it was going down the road.  $400 - $600

 

Get a used engine from a full service yard - www.car-part.com  $1000 - $2000

 

Have a Subaru Engine Shop rebuild your current engine - $1500 - $3000

 

Sell the Car ($800 - $1500 depending on condition) and then replace it $$$$$$$



#3 heartless

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Posted 04 September 2013 - 06:26 AM

Least expensive and a good option if you can do it yourself, get an engine from a self server yard and put it in.  Do the Timing belt and seals.  Look for a car with significant damage and lower mileage that way you know it was going down the road.  $400 - $600

 

Get a used engine from a full service yard - www.car-part.com  $1000 - $2000

 

Have a Subaru Engine Shop rebuild your current engine - $1500 - $3000

 

Sell the Car ($800 - $1500 depending on condition) and then replace it $$$$$$$

 

If the car itself is in relatively good condition, with no major problems going on - like transmission or electrical issues - I would be looking at the first 2 options myself - and with either of those, if the headgasket issue is of major concern to you, do those as well as the timing and reseal before installation.

 

BTW, the costs listed above are for doing the work yourself - if you are having someone else do the work, add labor to those at the going rate for your area/mechanic.



#4 johnceggleston

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Posted 04 September 2013 - 07:31 AM

under the ''replace the engine'' option, is

 

buy a low mileage JDM replacement engine (imported from japan).

they run about $900 - $1000, maybe a little less if you pick it up.

 

i don't usually recommend this option because there are cheaper used engines.

and they require some labor to adapt them to US emissions specs, like EGR.

but the 00 does not have EGR, so the labor would be limited to swapping the intake manifold and installing the engine.

i believe your mechanic could get this done for $1800 - $2200, total.

 

let's assume you spend $2500 to repair this car.

how many more miles will that buy you?

15, 000 miles = a so-so investment ($0.16 per mile)

25,000 miles  = a good investment. ($0.10 per mile)

50,000 miles  = a GREAT investment. ($0.05 per mile)

and then you could still sell it for $2000 if in good operating condition,

or $500 - $800 if not running.

 

you are buying miles.

and it is almost always cheaper to repair the car you have than to start over.

especially considering that you like the car you have.


Edited by johnceggleston, 04 September 2013 - 07:36 AM.


#5 1 Lucky Texan

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Posted 04 September 2013 - 07:49 AM

I suppose one issue might be, with , I guess, a history of 2 or more overheating events, has the lower end or other parts been compromised?

I'd be tempted to go with 2A (JDM engine) 2B(junkyard engine) 2 (the subaru short block) or 2C (http://www.ccrengines.com/)

Edited by 1 Lucky Texan, 04 September 2013 - 07:52 AM.


#6 Rooster2

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Posted 04 September 2013 - 08:24 AM

I suppose one issue might be, with , I guess, a history of 2 or more overheating events, has the lower end or other parts been compromised?

I'd be tempted to go with 2A (JDM engine) 2B(junkyard engine) 2 (the subaru short block) or 2C (http://www.ccrengines.com/)

+1 on above. My best thoughts too.



#7 grossgary

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Posted 04 September 2013 - 12:28 PM

www.car-parts.com

 

keep in mind that 99-2001 EJ22's will also work in your vehicle with two simple extra steps. 



#8 lmdew

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Posted 04 September 2013 - 06:06 PM

You have some great You Pull and Pay Yards up by you.  $250 for the engine and a couple of days of work.

 

Out of all the engines I have pulled I only got 1 bad one.  That engine I pulled from a crash free car which I usually never do.



#9 bossdj

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Posted 04 September 2013 - 06:33 PM

Tough call.  If your mechanic thinks the lower end is ok, just do the heads.  If you think the lower end might be compromised, go with a low mile junk yard engine.  The engine with labor shouldn't cost more than 2500.  Good luck!



#10 johnceggleston

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Posted 04 September 2013 - 06:34 PM

from what little bit this poster has shared, it sounds to me like the most he is able to do is drivew his other car to a yard and pick up an engine.

that means he is dependent on the shop for ALL labor.

and as we all know labor is expensive.



#11 jvopal

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Posted 04 September 2013 - 10:50 PM

This is a great discussion and sugestions.

 

I have same dilema with my H6 2001 Outback. The car just died last weekend on my way back from a camping trip. It overheated for no apparent reason. I did not expect this to happen, since my car has only about 130,000 km on it and I cared for it well for 12 years.

 

The Toronto dealer shop (where I usually go to) told me basically the engine is gone - it caused the coolent system not to work properly due to some presure issue. I can drive the car fine for about 15 minutes, before I need to stop and let it cool.

 

Has anyone heard of this H6 3.0L engine issue? From what I've been reading these engines should last longer than the 2.5 (H4) engines - since they should not have that many head gasket issues.

 

I allso looked at the used H6 refurbished on http://www.ccrengines.com/, and see they are not cheap (over $6000). This, plus shipping to Canada, makes my feel such a repair is definitely not worh the car's value - assuming it is in good running order (which is not more than  $5000).

 

If anyone of you know of good independent mechanic in Toronto (Canada) area who could give me a second opinion, I would be very greatfull.

 

Thanks



#12 Rooster2

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Posted 05 September 2013 - 05:40 AM

This is a great discussion and sugestions.

 

I have same dilema with my H6 2001 Outback. The car just died last weekend on my way back from a camping trip. It overheated for no apparent reason. I did not expect this to happen, since my car has only about 130,000 km on it and I cared for it well for 12 years.

 

The Toronto dealer shop (where I usually go to) told me basically the engine is gone - it caused the coolent system not to work properly due to some presure issue. I can drive the car fine for about 15 minutes, before I need to stop and let it cool.

 

Has anyone heard of this H6 3.0L engine issue? From what I've been reading these engines should last longer than the 2.5 (H4) engines - since they should not have that many head gasket issues.

 

I allso looked at the used H6 refurbished on http://www.ccrengines.com/, and see they are not cheap (over $6000). This, plus shipping to Canada, makes my feel such a repair is definitely not worh the car's value - assuming it is in good running order (which is not more than  $5000).

 

If anyone of you know of good independent mechanic in Toronto (Canada) area who could give me a second opinion, I would be very greatfull.

 

Thanks

Suggest you start a new thread, as your problem sounds somewhat different.



#13 ivans imports

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Posted 05 September 2013 - 09:45 AM

07 is the newest car have done headgaskets on at 145000kms oil leaking on bottom ds back coner of head I do headgaskets and timing belt at 150000kms all late model ej engines i find it funny that the stock battery and belts outlast the headgaskets.



#14 Gloyale

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Posted 05 September 2013 - 11:01 AM

You have some great You Pull and Pay Yards up by you.  $250 for the engine and a couple of days of work.

 

Out of all the engines I have pulled I only got 1 bad one.  That engine I pulled from a crash free car which I usually never do.

 

They charge alot more than $250 for SOHC EJ25s around here.  Try at least $650 for a higher mileage(195k) , and  $1200 for ones around 100k miles. (that's the prices of the last 2 I bought)  I buy alot of engines, and get good pricing from the wreckers.  I don't pull myself, but that's not gonna lower the price by 50%-80% if I did.

 

They wreckers know that these engines are valuable to Subaru drivers, and Sandrail builders.  They don't just give them away.

 

Heck, they want $250 for a set 4 of half used tires.......There is no way they are gonna sell 2000+ model 2.5's for $250.  Not realistic.

 

I would vote for fixing the engine you have.  The EJ251-3 are not known for bottom end (rod) issues like the later ones.  Surface the heads, install new gaskets and T-belt and drive for another 5+ years.



#15 scottsheppard@videotron.ca

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Posted 05 September 2013 - 08:10 PM

fix the engine---ensure you use the multi layer steel head gasket--either a felpro or 6 star. Good to go. I just did my fist head gasket and the hardest part was re-installing the engine (lining up the mounting bolts)...lots of good info out there. If you can do it yourself, you can do the heads and t belt, idler pulleys etc all for under 4oo bucks in parts ...just my thoughts...then again not everyone likes playing with cars. Paying for someone else to do it is a tuff swallow but still cheaper than starting all over with a different veh.



#16 ivans imports

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Posted 06 September 2013 - 09:40 AM

The average headgasket job that gos thru here is 2000$ for manual and 1500-1800$ auto good used ej2.51 1500 min is hard to find and we have had to pay up to 2000$ for used motor from wreaking yard

#17 Gloyale

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Posted 07 September 2013 - 02:45 PM

I allso looked at the used H6 refurbished on http://www.ccrengines.com/, and see they are not cheap (over $6000). This, plus shipping to Canada, makes my feel such a repair is definitely not worh the car's value - assuming it is in good running order (which is not more than  $5000).

 

 

 

Thanks

 

Repair cost vs. Car value is a false equivalency.

 

Can't compare car value to the repair value unless you are planning on selling it immediately after fixing.

 

Otherwise, if you are planning on driving it....you have to compare Repair cost vs. REPLACEMENT cost.  And you have to figure that almost any replacement is going to be in unknown condition so you have to add some cost to it figuring in the repairs IT will need.

 

 

Think of it this way.......buy a car for 20,000 dollars.....drive it 10 years......sell it for 10,000.......even if you spent nothing else for repairs (unlikely) you've spent 10k to drive 10 years. 1k a year.

 

Now lets talk about an older car you already own.......maybe you spent 10k on the car.....and have driven it 5 years.  Now the car is broken down.  in it's current state its only worth about 2k because it needs work.  selling now would leave you paying 8k for 5 years.....not good.  Spend 5k to fix it, and then sell it for 5k???  That's even worse right.....10k for 5 years.....yikes.

 

What about fixing it and keeping it?   Well let's see...15k total.......and with a new engine ready to drive another 7-10 years.  Then sell it for 2k

That's 13k for 12-15 years.  driving........now we are getting better cost per years ownership than new.

 

I guess my point is you have to consider the cost of ownership over time and mileage not the "value" of car.



#18 johnceggleston

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Posted 07 September 2013 - 05:09 PM

.you have to compare Repair cost vs. REPLACEMENT cost.

well said.

 

when you buy a car, or buy a repair for that matter, you are buying miles.

 

i try and buy economical miles.

buy a broken subaru, fix it , drive it for several years, sell it.

my target is 5 cents per mile.

but i'm happy with anything under 10 cents per mile.


Edited by johnceggleston, 07 September 2013 - 05:26 PM.


#19 freddok

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Posted 07 September 2013 - 06:36 PM

This sounds very much like the issue I had with my 2006 Impreza earlier this summer-sudden "Check Engine" Light-overheating up to the "H" by the time I finished my drive home-had it towed to the dealer (a Subaru/VW Dealer where I bought it new in '06) the next morning-I had just paid off the loan a year ago. They tore down the motor-said head gaskets at first-I could have managed the repair but then they found damage to the heads and quoted me a price for dropping a used engine in it. I agreed, even though I would have had to let it sit at the dealer for a few days after the repair was done-the dealer wanted to move it and get me into a new car, so I was at first quoted a good price on a nice used '12 Forester that I almost took-but it took some time for my financing to go through. By the time it did, the Forester had been sold, and I was offered a nice low-mileage '12 VW Jetta instead, which I agreed to-and was still given a good trade-in price on the '06 Impreza, so the financial hit wasn't that bad. I like my Jetta, but still miss the Impreza, which went in for trade with about 76k on it. It gave me good service, and I may like to buy another Subaru someday.



#20 heartless

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Posted 07 September 2013 - 07:54 PM

Buy a used, broken down, old '89 Subaru GL = $150

New front axles & clutch - installed = $600

Misc other things the car needed to put it on the road, including alternator & tires = $400

 

Drive the car, nearly trouble free*, for 8 years, and over 125,000 miles - priceless :D

 

* Aside from normal oil changes and tune ups, and a couple more sets of tires - two timing belt changes, a couple of wheel bearings, and the ignition amplifier dohicky on the coil bracket...


Edited by heartless, 07 September 2013 - 08:07 PM.


#21 Terry in Australia

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Posted 09 September 2013 - 10:26 PM

I'm with you, Heartless. I bought my '95 Liberty (Legacy) FWD sedan with a new windscreen, timing belt and pulleys, new battery and 4 months registration and insurance for $450.00, as a non runner. With help from the collective guru's here, I re-did the cam timing and drove it home from the sellers place.


I replaced the water pump ($68) radiator (100.00) left rear hub ($80.00) oil, filter, coolant ($50.00)new "Gates Racing" alternator and power steering belts ($26.00) and wasted another $200.00 on a genuine radiator cap thermostat and crank position sensor. None of these were needed, except to confirm that they weren't needed.


I took it to my local "Roadworthy Inspection Station" yesterday for the Roadworthy Certificate that's required here when you buy a car, and apart from me needing to replace the belt guards, clean the underneath of the engine and flush the brake fluid, it passed with flying colors.


I really like this car, it has a "Sports Exhaust" which makes me feel like I'm really driving a sports car, and my only regret is that I've got a bad case of "AWD Envy". No biggie, there's a '99 Liberty AWD wagon with leather and woodgrain everywhere, with a 2.5 litre that's overheating, for $2000.00. Now that I know what the fix is, I think I'll buy it and give mine to my brother in law who needs to experience Subaru ownership. He's gonna love it! Cheers, Terry.

Edited by Terry in Australia, 09 September 2013 - 10:27 PM.





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