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14 replies to this topic

#1 =CC=

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Posted 12 February 2017 - 01:53 PM

New member here from Maryland. 

 

I'm not an owner yet, but I'm looking to replace my beloved Audi 90 quattro (killed in an accident), and am looking at an older Outback.  I found a 1996 Outback locally that looks pretty good, but haven't gone to look at it yet.

 

I do have one question....how do these older Outbacks fit a large person?  My husband is a big guy, 6'5", so anything I buy will need to fit him too.  He was super comfy in my Audi...that was the only car he could actually fir in without the seated being moved all the way back!  That thing was like the TARDIS...bigger on the inside.  :D

 

Anyway, this will be my daily, but I'm not averse to having some fun either.  We wheeled Samurai's for years, but they're too hard to find anymore, plus I have 3 big dogs that like to go too, so the practicality of the Outback is looking pretty good!

 

 

Anything in particular I should be aware of, besides the obviious?  I know to check the maintenance records for oil change intervals and timing belt/tensioner/water pump changing, but what about the head gasket issues?  Are they a problem on the older models (such as 96)?  Rust issues?  Where are they most likely to have rust?

 

Any info appreciated...and yeah, I've been reading this forum for the past 2 days, but sometimes model year specific info can be tricky to find if you don't word the search correctly.  I'll make it even better...link me a link, and I'll be good!  Thanks!



#2 grossgary

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Posted 14 February 2017 - 01:01 AM

1996 manual trans get the EJ22, arguably the best engine Subaru has ever made. Awesome vehicle, desirable to a few purist folks as that is the only outback ever made (96 manual) with the coveted EJ22.

1996 automatic has the EJ25D which is the worst engine Subaru ever made. I don't think that's even close to arguable unless you hate carburetors or low powered engines from the 70s. Ominous headgasket issues and requires premium.

Otherwise good engine - need full timing kit. Interference engine, valves usually bend in that engine if it's breaks.

Look for torque bind.

As to size - personal preference like height, back support and comfort are highly variable. He should test drive it a lot. Some people are tall and rave about a car and others will complain. I would think it's a little towards the small end for someone 6'5" but easily tolerable depending on the person. And I'm nowhere near that tall.

I've seen other Subaru and height threads, you could google those. 1996-2004 legacy and outbacks are all roughly the same space constraints for comparing.

#3 =CC=

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Posted 14 February 2017 - 03:49 PM

Thanks for the info!  That's what I needed to hear.  :)  Oh yeah, it's a manual. 

 

I had him sit in my sisters Baja last night, and it was a pretty tight squeeze for him.  That, and the fact it's an automatic are the reasons I'm not looking more seriously at her truck. My husband joked that I'd be the one doing most if not all the Subaru driving. 

 

I did get some good news on the Audi front, though....because it wears historic tags, it won't need to be inspected after repairing it, so the Subaru might be on the back burner for now.  I'll admit, I was kinda looking forward to a change, so now I'm torn.  If the guy doing the bodywork wants to charge me an arm and a leg to fix it, I may elect to part it out (that would really hurt though).


Edited by =CC=, 14 February 2017 - 03:51 PM.


#4 grossgary

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Posted 14 February 2017 - 05:22 PM

Well glad you might have some other options. Good luck moving forward. I've repaired a bunch of wrecks and totaled salvage Subarus, it's generally cheap and easy if you can find someone willing to get it reasonable and road worthy which is hard. Most places quote showroom new type work which just isn't a good fit for low value and older vehicles. Pull the front and toss a used matching hood and bumper and fender on there and I've had "totaled" cars back on the road for $200. No big deal.

If you don't overheat or run it out of oil those 96 EJ22's are about the easiest and cheapest 300,000 miles you can get. Of course it's got 20 years of unknown history but you can expect high mileages from those like clockwork. Absolutely awesome engines, one of the best practical Subarus available, Outback with that engine. But obviously I lean towards inexpensive, practical longevity so I'm a big fan, though I drive newer stuff only because I've got three kids and need the space and LATCH is so simple.

#5 =CC=

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Posted 14 February 2017 - 07:16 PM

Good to hear.  I'm lucky in that I've got the parts needed to fix my Audi, just need installing.  Of course, my parts car was black, so they don't match, but well that old girl was never gonna win a beauty pageant.

 

I called the owner of the Subaru, and it's still available, so I'm planning to go give it a look over with my husband...who knows, maybe it will find a new home!  My plan would be to do a thorough tune up as soon as possible, go over belts and hoses, etc.  We had to replace everything under the hood of the Audi when it came home, too.

 

Gotta admit, as much as I love old Red, I'm looking forward to seeing if this old blue battle beast will be a good fit.



#6 =CC=

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Posted 16 February 2017 - 09:38 PM

Checked out the 96 tonight...it doesn't look too bad for a 20 year old car.

 

The current owner originally bought the car intending to ship it to Africa, but I guess he changed his mind, so he's selling pretty cheap.  Unfortunately, he has no clue...no idea when the timing belt was changed, oil changed, blah, blah, blah.  It has a check engine light, so I'll be taking my OBDII scanner with me tomorrow afternoon, to check that out, and look for any ominous puddles.

 

It also has a slightly crinkled hood (not too bad), the sloppiest shifter I've EVER seen, and a weird cracked looking Bondo-esque area on the top of the lift gate.  Interior was dry, fairly clean, and not stinky (which is good).

 

If it looks ok in the daylight, I'm gonna buy it.  So, now I need to price out TB kit, shift linkage, belt, hoses, and suspension components.

 

Wish me luck...I'm starting a new journey!



#7 grossgary

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Posted 17 February 2017 - 11:02 AM

check engine - usually the really annoying P0420 emissions crap or a knock sensor (cheap ebay ones and 15-30 minutes to install). 

a cylinder misfire probably just means it needs plugs and wires (those engines aren't too forgiving of anything but stock NGK plugs and NGK or high quality wires).

 

Gates kits on amazon are popular for TB, though recently some people have balked at those.

KYB is widely popular and used for Subarus for struts. 

Everything else is rather generic.

 

sloppy shifter i'm less familiar with, I think that should just be bushings.  you just mean flopping around, not poorly shifting/popping out of gear right (which would indicate bad synchros)? 

 

speaking of which - change the gear oil immediately.  



#8 =CC=

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Posted 18 February 2017 - 09:22 PM

I've decided to take a pass on it.  There's just a little too much on it's history that sounds hinky.

 

The owner won't tell me if it's got a clear title, hasn't tagged it himself, and every time I've called the only number available, I've gotten a different person answering the phone.  It just feels "wrong", nothing I can put my finger on, but enough to make me hesitate.

 

I don't really care much about mechanical issues; after driving a 30 year old Audi for 5 years, that stuff doesn't really scare me.  When I bought the old 90q, everything wearable under the hood needed to be replaced.  Plus motor mounts, all fuel lines, brake lines from the MC all the way to the rear brakes, suspension (including control arms, which were a bugger to find), axles, brakes (pads, calipers, and carriers)...you name it.  By the time it was done, she was brand spanking new, lol

 

So, I'm still looking.  I've found another one about 100 miles away (no biggie, we have a trailer).  It seems to have it's own issues, biggest being the mileage (260k), and what looks like an ugly rust spot in the PS rear wheel well.  As long as the maintenance seems to be up to date, and that ugly spot isn't a hole, it may be the one. 



#9 grossgary

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Posted 19 February 2017 - 03:14 PM

smart to pass.

 

i  would avoid rust at all costs - too many sticking caliper slide pins, brake lines leaking, exhaust rusted through, leaky fuel, sheared fasteners, they end up being time suckers and always get worse.  i'd gladly give up a day or so buying one from the south/west, but i totally get that long distance doesn't work for everyone. 



#10 =CC=

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Posted 07 March 2017 - 09:48 PM

New update...the hunt continues, but may be coming to an end.

 

The Audi is going to be parted.  After getting her home, there's just too much damage to fix.  :(  I'll miss that old beast.

 

I've checked a couple Outbacks in my area.  One, a 97 with 285K on the clock.  Looked pretty good, running well.....oil in the coolant bottle.  No good, and took a pass on that one.

 

We're going to take the trailer on a 2 hour road trip on Thursday, to check out another 96 manual.  This one has 300k (omg), but according to the owner no problems or issues other than an exhaust leak.  That's replaceable, so no big deal.  If I buy it, plans are to get the timing belt/tensioners/waterpump changed immediately.  This one's selling for pretty cheap, probably because of the super high miles, but it sounds like it's been pretty well taken care of.  And if I keep taking care of it, who knows? 

 

Thanks to everyone that offered advice and info...it has really helped out in my search.  I'll be sticking around for awhile I think.  :)



#11 Olnick

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Posted 08 March 2017 - 02:36 AM

Congrats on your search--and your wisdom to walk away if something doesn't look good.  300k sounds awful but if it's had TLC and decent preventive maintenance along the way it may be a good buy.  Just use your best judgment.  One big plus is that the '96 with a manual tranny has the EJ22 engine--the "bulletproof" 2.2L.  Good luck!



#12 =CC=

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Posted 08 March 2017 - 03:24 PM

That's the only reason I'm driving 2 hours to go check it out, lol.  I have a sneaky feeling that it may have been sold though...the ad's gone, and the guy isn't answering my calls.  Keeping fingers crossed.



#13 =CC=

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Posted 09 March 2017 - 03:54 PM

I'm now the proud owner of a 1996 Outback, 5sp manual with 300K+ miles.

 

It currently needs exhaust work, shifter bushings (in a bad way, lol), new tires, and the emergency brake is sticking.  Otherwise, it seems very solid mechanically.  Since the previous owner was unsure how long it's been since the timing belt was changed, I plan to take care of that as well.

 

She's not very pretty, but I should be able to replace the hood fairly easily, which will vastly improve her looks. 



#14 Olnick

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Posted 09 March 2017 - 04:09 PM

Congratulations!  Hope you got a good price.  New timing belt, pulleys, tensioner (if needed,) crank & cam seals, oil pump re-seal, water pump & thermostat replacement--very wise step.  Shifter bushings will make it feel like a new car.

 

Good luck . . . post some pix if you can.



#15 =CC=

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Posted 09 March 2017 - 09:44 PM

I paid $600 for it....not too bad.

 

Shifting is interesting, lol.  I had no idea it was in gear and stalled it the first time I tried to drive it.  You can put it in any gear and literally move the shifter in a big circle. 

 

Purchasing new tires for it now, they are in pretty rough shape.  I'm planning (if I have time tomorrow) getting the tags, so at least it will be driveable on the road, so I can get it to the shop for the timing belt (and all related bits) taken care of.  I'm going to have a shop do the belt job, mainly because the weather is getting ready to turn crappy, and I don't really feel like wrenching in the cold/wind/rain.

 

Pix will follow (when I have enough posts)






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