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Back after YEARS with new Soob


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5 replies to this topic

#1 pyropyro

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Posted 08 September 2013 - 07:45 PM

Greeting Soob fans and my old friends at the USMB.  A brief re-into for ya'll:   I was here in the old school section for several years way back when, when I first fell into an 85 GL wagon.  Due to living on a long country lane with no snow plowing happening, I allowed friendly folks hear at the  board to advise me on how to lift that wagon.  It has been my beloved dayly driver for around a decade.  A big thanks to all my old friends here for all the help. 

 

So why am I writing in the New Generation section now?  Cause my dear old mum has aged beyond her ability to keep driving.  So----after my brother and I noticed yet ANOTHER ding in her 2003 Outback, we had a family pow wow, and she has seen the light, and moved into an assisted living home.  Her quality of life will improve from this.

 

AND, she has seen fit to beqeath her Outback to ------me.

 

I took possession off this Soob yesterday.  Have driven it all of 10 miles.

 

A huge upgrade for my wife and I, and much to learn.

 

So, a 2003 outback, with 69,000 miles.  EJ 25, Auto trans. 

 

She bought it from Hertz Sales in Bend Oregon with maybe 40 or 50 thou I think.   Has had pretty good maintenence since she bought it.

 

I just have not had time to do much research, but I do gather that there were head gasket problems.  I think I am reading that these issues were partially addressed with the EJ 25 by 2003, is this correct?  I gather that I am more likely to have external leaks than internal, yes?  No?  Maybe?  And if so is there some average amount of miles before these HG issues arise?

 

My other concern is regarding this automatic transmission.  Plate under hood says Trans: tz1a4zceba.

 

So, what is the reputation of these units?  I would MUCH preffer a manual, but oh welll, "gift horse in the mouth" and so on and so forth.

 

The tires have lots of tread, but they look more like street tires than snow tires, which wont do where I live in La Pine OR. 

 

I see that timing belts interval is 105,000 thou, so I guess I don't need to worry about that yet.  Just change the oil and drive it I guess. 

 

I would love to hear advice, tips, warnings-----whatever.   I know my old EA like the back of my hand, but this beast-------all new to me!

 

Anyway----it's good to be back, always did like this outfit. 

 

Thanks!

 

Pyro.


Edited by pyropyro, 08 September 2013 - 07:48 PM.


#2 Fairtax4me

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Posted 08 September 2013 - 08:28 PM

Timing belt interval is 105k or 10 years. However, these belts almost never break due to age or mileage. They break because one of the idler bearings or the water pump locks up and shred the belt. Probably a good idea to change those soon as preventative maintenance so you don't end up on the side of the road with bent valves.

Auto trans, keep clean fluid in it and it should be fine for 300k. Tire rotation and proper inflation are a must to keep the AWD transfer clutches happy. Mismatched sizes, brands, models, or tread wear will cause excessive wear of the AWD and lead to problems.

Any head gasket leaks are likely to be external on that year. Generally starting with small seepage on the lower rear corners.
Some people had seen leaks there as soon as 35k miles, but it seems like they usually make it to 75k before they start to seep, and even then its not a huge issue as long as you keep an eye on the fluid levels and keep them topped off.
If yours are seeping and you don't want to worry about them, the best time for replacement is when you have it apart to do the timing belt.
Pull the engine, head gaskets, reseal the separator plate, valve cover gaskets, replace a few oil seals and o-rings, then you're leak free and no major maintenance for 105k miles.

#3 pyropyro

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Posted 08 September 2013 - 09:09 PM

Timing belt interval is 105k or 10 years. However, these belts almost never break due to age or mileage. They break because one of the idler bearings or the water pump locks up and shred the belt. Probably a good idea to change those soon as preventative maintenance so you don't end up on the side of the road with bent valves.

Auto trans, keep clean fluid in it and it should be fine for 300k. Tire rotation and proper inflation are a must to keep the AWD transfer clutches happy. Mismatched sizes, brands, models, or tread wear will cause excessive wear of the AWD and lead to problems.

Any head gasket leaks are likely to be external on that year. Generally starting with small seepage on the lower rear corners.
Some people had seen leaks there as soon as 35k miles, but it seems like they usually make it to 75k before they start to seep, and even then its not a huge issue as long as you keep an eye on the fluid levels and keep them topped off.
If yours are seeping and you don't want to worry about them, the best time for replacement is when you have it apart to do the timing belt.
Pull the engine, head gaskets, reseal the separator plate, valve cover gaskets, replace a few oil seals and o-rings, then you're leak free and no major maintenance for 105k miles.

Thanks for the reply Fairtax.  Much appreciated.  I am expecially glad to hear what I THINK you are saying, that this is a dependable trans.  (The EA cars had crap auto trans, as many of know)

 

Regarding the timing belts, I wonder why the heck Subaru ditched the Non-interferance, for Interferance.  Manufacturing costs I suppose.  Not that I know, I just suppose.   I appreciated the tip to get those changed out.  It can't happen untill next spring.  Niether finances nor time will allow it.  I guess I'll just have to risk it for now.  I dont feel it too big of a risk at this point, at least I hope not.  Besides, we are not likely to put more than a couple thousand miles on the vehicle between now and then.  But I take your point, and will get it done ASAP.

 

Also I am greatfull for the info about the headgasket issue.  I had gathered pretty much what you are saying from general reading around the web and here at USMB, but it is nice to have it confirmed by you.  We will certainly keep an eye on the coolant level and the temp.

 

This motor is exceptionaly clean for the miles it has.  I see no indication of any oil or coolant anywhere on top, though I have now looked underneath as of yet.  (I know it has never been washed under the hood.)

 

So, we will keep an eye on the front lower corners, check coolant levels frequently, and keep eye on temp.

 

Trans was serviced not long ago.

 

Thanks!



#4 Fairtax4me

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Posted 08 September 2013 - 10:34 PM

Higher compression. More power comes from higher compression, makes a more efficient engine. To do this they have to sacrifice space between the piston and the top of the combustion chamber. Usually by making the top of the piston flatter.
They also tend to make the valves open a bit more (allows more air in, more exhaust out) which puts the edge of the valve further below the deck of the block, in an area that the piston occupies when it's at the top of its stroke.

Not all of them are piston to valve interference. The DOHC engines can have valve to valve interference because of the proximity and angle of the intake and exhaust valves.

#5 pyropyro

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Posted 10 September 2013 - 09:56 AM

Well, I guess I shouldn't be suprised, but I'm pretty pissed anyway.  I just realized that I've added water to the over flow twice in a couple of days.  That with just around town driving, prolly not more than 40 miles.   Crap.  It has begun.  The last few years of driving miles on this car were literaly "little old lady" miles.  Short runs and then sitting for weeks.  Exactly the type of miles I have been warned about for the head gasket problem.

 

Hope I find a loose hose clamp, but I'd bet I don't.


Edited by pyropyro, 10 September 2013 - 09:59 AM.


#6 Fairtax4me

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Posted 10 September 2013 - 11:36 AM

Could just be that the fluid level in the system was slightly low.
Lots of places in the engine for air pockets to hide out, and it takes good circulation to budge them and push them out to the overflow. When the system cools it draws in coolant to replace what was pushed out.
Put a little extra in the overflow and keep an eye on it for another couple weeks before getting too excited about bad head gaskets.

Subaru recommends the use of their Coolant Conditioner in that engine (helps to prevent the small seepages from the head gaskets). Might want to pick up a bottle and add it to the system.




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