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1999 Subaru Outback Legacy AWD AT 2.5 - Worth Buying???


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9 replies to this topic

#1 mszak50

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Posted 20 August 2004 - 01:57 PM

Is a 1999 Subaru Outback Legacy AWD AT 2.5 worth buying?

70K and impeccably maintained - new brakes belt tires etc.

What are the odds of the engine blowing up?

Thanks
Mike

#2 mattocs

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Posted 20 August 2004 - 02:59 PM

Have the head gaskets been done yet? And how long ago?

#3 mszak50

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Posted 20 August 2004 - 03:10 PM

Head Gaskets have never been done. There was a small oil leak at one point - it was repaired, although I don't know how it was done.

Mike

#4 mattocs

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Posted 20 August 2004 - 03:17 PM

Expect to have to get the head gasket done...it will cost about $1200. (99 has problems with the head, right?)

#5 The Dude

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Posted 20 August 2004 - 05:58 PM

Is a 1999 Subaru Outback Legacy AWD AT 2.5 worth buying?

70K and impeccably maintained - new brakes belt tires etc.

What are the odds of the engine blowing up?

Thanks
Mike


This car has the Phase I 2.5L SOHC engine. At the very least, I would approach the purchase of this car with caution.

1. Do you personally know the seller? Are you POSITIVE the head gaskets haven't been replaced?
2. Many of the Phase I head gasket failures seem to occur around this mileage. Do you know the seller well enough to KNOW that he isn't unloading a lemon on you?
3. How the car is maintained has NO effect on head gasket failure. The head gaskets seem to fail as the result of a design or manufacturing fault.
4. Early head gasket failure can be very difficult to detect. Reportedly, some Phase I engines have passed exhaust gas in coolant tests right before dramatic head gasket failure with overheating.
5. Phase I-some never fail, some are OK after one head gasket repair, some owners are on their 4th set of repalcement head gaskets.

#6 Ranger83

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Posted 21 August 2004 - 06:18 AM

The odds of the engine blowing up are very, very low.

The odds of having to replace the headgaskets in the range of 80 to 150K miles seem to be 1:5 down to 1:3. It's a $1,200 job, roughly. There is the possibility (but not probability) that more engine damage could occur.

If it's a good price and the car fits your needs well, go for it. With two newer generation body styles out, the used price should be reasonable, now.

#7 mszak50

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Posted 21 August 2004 - 06:57 AM

The price is good - the seller is my sister - she has all the records for the vehicle and is the original owner. Unfortunately, the car is in FL so I can't really take a look at it myself.

I travel about 60 miles R/T 40 on the highway, 5 days a week for work.

My fear is that the head is going to start leaking while I'm on the highway, and by the time I can get the car off to the side of the road the engine will be damaged. I had that problem with a Toyota Cressida once and I was not a happy camper afterwards.

My alternative is sticking with my 95 Toyota Corolla wagon, which, on the surface (with 110000 miles) is a bit more maintenance free.

In the 110K I've had the following "unusual" stuff replaced
1. A/C @ 40,000
2. Starter Motor at 100,000

The following maintenance repairs have been done to it:
1. Struts at 90,000
2. Two brake jobs
3. Belts (including timing)

So, this maintenance has not been bad - should I expect more with the Subaru?

Mike

#8 The Dude

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Posted 21 August 2004 - 07:26 AM

The price is good - the seller is my sister - she has all the records for the vehicle and is the original owner. Unfortunately, the car is in FL so I can't really take a look at it myself.

Mike


There have been many, many people posting on this board with reports of HG failures on their Phase I engines. Interestingly, I can only remember a few where serious secondary damage occurred. The vast majority of drivers escape without cracked blocks or damaged heads. There is a good bit of additional scheduled maintenance on a AWD car. Maintaining matched tires is critical. A Subaru has lower mpg than a comprable FWD car. I own a Forester primarily because of it's towing capacity. I lve in SC, not much snow here. I've been fairly lucky with my Forester, but I may not replace it with another Subaru. If you NEED a AWD car, it's worth considering. I've driven in Boston, what you really need is a tank.

#9 Ranger83

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Posted 21 August 2004 - 09:37 AM

My fear is that the head is going to start leaking while I'm on the highway, and by the time I can get the car off to the side of the road the engine will be damaged. I had that problem with a Toyota Cressida once and I was not a happy camper afterwards.

My alternative is sticking with my 95 Toyota Corolla wagon, which, on the surface (with 110000 miles) is a bit more maintenance free.

In the 110K I've had the following "unusual" stuff replaced
1. A/C @ 40,000
2. Starter Motor at 100,000

The following maintenance repairs have been done to it:
1. Struts at 90,000
2. Two brake jobs
3. Belts (including timing)

So, this maintenance has not been bad - should I expect more with the Subaru?

This is a bigger, heavier, more complex car, so, yes.

I have a 97 with 143,000 miles. There are a fair number of problems reported with head gaskets here, but keep in mind that's from a population of well over half a million cars. The NHTSA has a total of seven complaints, the last time I checked.

Work to date excluding tuneups and oil changes includes:

- scheduled tuneups
- Front brakes 57,000 miles
- new tires 63,000
- new rear brakes about 90,000
- right front wheel bearing at around 93,000, replaced front brakes and rotors at the same time.
- cam belt (scheduled) and new camshaft seals and oil pump o-ring and new water pump (not required - pre-emptive) at 106,000
- new tires (Michelin HydroEdge) at exactly 120,000. Old Michelin X Ones still had plenty of tread but I wanted new ones for the winter.
- head gaskets (pre-emptive) at 139,000
- Left front xleat 143,000.

I used to be an Armored Cavalry Platoon Leader responsible for four main battle tanks and five armored personnel carriers. As having a tank break isa PITA and can also get you dead, I fix things when I think they're going to break instead of replacing them after being dragged in by a tow truck. So I've never been stranded. Even the wheel bearing fails gradually. I should also say that I drive very hard.

We live in Boston and in strictly city driving got a little over 20 mpg. Best tank ever is 29.1. Average mpg is 24.5 to 25.5 in mixed driving. Average mpg on highway trips is 26-27 at 75-80 mph.

#10 later, Peter

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Posted 21 August 2004 - 10:36 AM

I recently purchased a 99 30th anniversary edition OBW... after overcoming (well working on overcoming) my initial "headgasketwillblowout" fear, I love the vehicle.
I'm not sure if it's true but a Subaru dealer can check the VIN with SOA & see if your car has one of the faulty HG's. A good friend has just turned over 130k on her 98 OBW with NO real repairs, ever. So, the head gasket may blow, it may not. SO, "don't let the sound of your own wheels drive you crazy" Jackson Browne
It feels strong & safe, the gas mileage isn't as bad as predicted & it's a comfortable ride with a nice stereo setup.
Enjoy it if you get it.
Later,
Peter




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