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Long time Volvo owner thinking of an Outback? Can they take the miles like a Volvo?


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23 replies to this topic

#1 benzomatic

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Posted 01 November 2004 - 08:33 PM

:brow: Hey,

I am contemplating getting a 1998 subaru outback wagon, some idiot just totaled my precious 740 turbo wagon which just was completely serviced top to bottom 30,000 ago. I have always owned volvos and have been intrigued by the new subaru wagons. I have been reading around and it looks as though they cannot take the miles like volvos seems as though they blow head gaskets and have to be rebuilt around 130,000 miles? What can you tell me about this? My current turbo wagon just passed 160,000 before it was mamed, and my previous 240 made it over 250,000 when I was forced to get rid of her since the girlfriend would not ride in a car without good working a/c. If I purchase a subaru outback wagon with about 100,000 miles am I buying a almost dead car or one that is just broken in and will give me another 100,000 miles if well maintained and serviced at all seheduled milestones?

I really appreciate any insight you can give me about subaru reliability. I need some reassurance before crossing over to a subaru.

Thanks!

Justin Benz

#2 northguy

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Posted 01 November 2004 - 08:38 PM

Own 3 subbies-

96 Legacy = 190,000 miles
93 Legacy = 130,000 miles
1983 Brat = 145,000 miles

Expect to double current miles

#3 WoodsWagon

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Posted 01 November 2004 - 08:49 PM

Use the search on the bottom of the forum page and look for milage. There was a pissing match on who had the highest milage subie. May be of interest.

#4 ScoobySchmitty

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Posted 01 November 2004 - 09:31 PM

I've got a 91 Legacy with 232000 miles and going strong. The thing is, it has the 2.2L powerplant, which is damn near bullet-proof. It's like the Japanese version of GM's original 3.8L V6. You can beat the crap out if it and it will still pull hard. Now, as far as a 98, I would lean towards the H6 3.0 liter, or at least find out if the 2.5L in the 98 OB you might be looking at has been already serviced for head gasket problems. I remember there was some sort of coolant additive that would protect against future head gasket problems, but these are questions for the dealer. Good Luck, and I hope you choose Subarus in the end. The AWD is a BIG plus :-D

#5 RallyKeith

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Posted 01 November 2004 - 09:36 PM

Used to be a Volvo family before we found Subaru. My first cars were 240s, and my step mother now has an 850 Turbo. Subarus hold up just as good if not better than Volvos. I hope that one day soon I can pick up a late 142 to have as a summer fun car. I even have a friend that runs a Volvo restoration shop in West Virginia. I think Subaru and Volvo are a good fit. Both are car companies that have a principal and have stuck to it despite what the rest of the world thinks, and on top of that they are both companies that take engineering and design first and then figure out how to sell it.

Keith

#6 Snowman

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Posted 01 November 2004 - 09:43 PM

Subarus in general are right up there with Volvo and Toyota for longevity, even under pretty hard use (my car can attest to that). The specific one that you're looking at is probably not the best if you're looking to run it for a long time. The "phase I" 2.5 liter that was offered in that car is the engine that has had some headgasket problems. It is also an "interference engine", in that if the timing belt breaks, the engine is destroyed. That said, it seems that with proper cooling system and T-belt maintainence, the 2.5 lasts a really long time. The HG issue basically goes away if you change the coolant every 2 years like the manual says, which a lot of people don't. As far as needing rebuilt at 130,000 miles, that's just not the case. I've taken apart two subaru engines personally, both of which saw some rough use, one had 150,000 on it and the other had 205,000 on it, and the main and rod bearings looked almost brand new. The boxer engine is a really low stress design that lasts a long time. The only real disadvantage is that it is more prone to oil leaks, but that tendency has been reduced a great deal over the last decade and a half.


So, to answer your question, if you take care of the car, it should serve you faithfully well past 200k.

#7 coloradosubarules

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Posted 01 November 2004 - 11:08 PM

I have 236.5K on my 90 legacy (No major repairs) and it will be 237+ by the end of this week. Get a Roo

#8 Flowmastered87GL

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Posted 01 November 2004 - 11:20 PM

I think the Subaru should have better reliablility, my friends had an S80 and it was nothing but trouble!

Old subarus and new subarus are good, there is just afew bad years of the 2.5 liter engines that were bad. (like 98 to 200X not sure what year it got fixed)

The 2.2 liter engines are awesome though.

#9 monstaru

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Posted 01 November 2004 - 11:58 PM

i have a '79 245 dl that is about 245000 right now(i would know exactly but the odmeter works when it wants to).the engine is strong but i almost had to pay 200 for an alternator a week ago,luckily i found one in the yard.things that go wrong with volvos may be few and far between but when they do go wrong it is way to expensive.i was a subaru owner before i got her and am replacing her with one as we speak.subarus are diehard cars.the headgasket issue is the only thing you will probably have to deal with at all.i say ,as has been said before,get a roo........

#10 calebz

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Posted 02 November 2004 - 12:16 AM

My 760 Turbo sedan has over 220k on it. None of my soobs have gone that far yet.. Soobs are a lot easier to work on though.

#11 viceversa

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Posted 02 November 2004 - 12:39 AM

Maybe... Avoid automatic trannies. Avoid the smaller 1.8 (EA82) engine as well as that newer 2.5L engine. 2.2L is supposed to be good.


Volvo isn't that good either, I've seen a 88 740 self-destruct by the time it got to 200K miles. But I think it had to do with lack of care more than anything.

I think the key for reliability is to avoid automatics except on domestic models, I am convinced Japan doesn't know how to make autos.

#12 monstaru

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Posted 02 November 2004 - 01:00 AM

my last soob was a destructo car and it lasted to 245000 with only the waterpump being changed ,to late,but changed before i blew her up.

#13 DerFahrer

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Posted 02 November 2004 - 01:21 AM

Get a 99 Legacy with the 2.2 engine, and you will have a new car with Subaru's toughest engine ever.

I think the headgasket problem on the 2.5's is kinda like the sludge problem on the Toyota V6's. It really won't happen if you're picky about maintenance.

#14 Snowman

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Posted 02 November 2004 - 01:35 AM

Just wondering, what's the sludge problem on the Toyota V6?

#15 viceversa

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Posted 02 November 2004 - 08:49 AM

Even if you change oil every 3K, you get sludge in Toyota motors, both 4 and 6 cyl.

I don't have experience with 2.2L, just the smaller 1.8L. The latter is OK on power with the small Loyale, great on gas but likes to crack heads if overheated, or even if not.

I also have experience with phase II 2.5L. Lots of power and astounding mileage, 30mpg. But, I don't know if they still have head gasket failure.

Whatever you do, don't get a Japanese with an auto. In worst case, they don't make it to 100K (i.e. Mazda 626) and in best, you might get 160K miles out of it. But forget super extended mileages like 250K. IMO anyway.

#16 99obw

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Posted 02 November 2004 - 09:41 AM

Phase I head gasket problems happening only to neglected engines is BS, and saying so amounts to making excuses for Subaru and their screwup. If I were you I wouldn't buy a Phase I unless you know how to and enjoy turning wrenches. I meet both of those criteria and wouldn't buy another one unless someone practically gave it to me. Get a 2.2 or the Phase II 2.5 and use the coolant additive.

#17 rweddy

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Posted 02 November 2004 - 12:24 PM

:brow: Hey,

I am contemplating getting a 1998 subaru outback wagon, some idiot just totaled my precious 740 turbo wagon which just was completely serviced top to bottom 30,000 ago. I have always owned volvos and have been intrigued by the new subaru wagons. I have been reading around and it looks as though they cannot take the miles like volvos seems as though they blow head gaskets and have to be rebuilt around 130,000 miles? What can you tell me about this? My current turbo wagon just passed 160,000 before it was mamed, and my previous 240 made it over 250,000 when I was forced to get rid of her since the girlfriend would not ride in a car without good working a/c. If I purchase a subaru outback wagon with about 100,000 miles am I buying a almost dead car or one that is just broken in and will give me another 100,000 miles if well maintained and serviced at all seheduled milestones?

I really appreciate any insight you can give me about subaru reliability. I need some reassurance before crossing over to a subaru.

Thanks!

Justin Benz

Hello Justin,
Subaru is just as reliable durable as Volvo.
And if you are comparing a outback vs. 850/S70 AWD there is no comparison.
Do someone here have the video of the Outback and the Volvo hill climb test? ;)
The AWD in Subaru is far superior to any Volvo system.
And the 2.5 has some HQ issues, but even if it blows it is a $1200 fix and you are good for another 150k.

#18 CardinaA

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Posted 02 November 2004 - 10:17 PM

As a previous owner of the Volvo 240, 740 and 760 turbo and current owner of a '96 leg outback 2.2 5MT, I can say I don't miss much about the Volvos. The subaru is much more reliable and refined when compared to any of the older Volvos. The newer Volvos are not reliable (5cyl engines) as Subaru's 2.2, although the 960s after '94 are nice cars (RWD inline 6cyl- like a Benz) and are free of major problems (auto climate control/AC is a weak spot). I think a regular legacy with a 2.2 is your best bet. The volvo has a certain feel that can't be duplicated in a subaru, but overall, the subaru is a better handling and more economical car to own. That said, I do miss the Volvos for their "tractor" qualities!

#19 tomac24

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Posted 02 November 2004 - 10:36 PM

Hello,

I have a 97 outback MT with 101k. I purchased it with 65K and did a HG job at 79K. Other than that, I love the car. It drives like a tank in snow and AWD is great if you ever go off road for camping or biking.

A friend of mine has a 98 outback with around 195K and had a a HG job done at 130K. He also has a 2001 outback with the SOHC 2.5. He likes the 98 better because he says it has more power (starting in 2nd gear, etc.) than the 2001. The week his 98 blew the HG, he bought the 2001.

I think the outback should be ok for you, as long as you figure in a HG job sometime. (Mine cost around $1000)

Tomac24

#20 Ranger83

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Posted 03 November 2004 - 03:35 PM

:brow: Hey,

I am contemplating getting a 1998 subaru outback wagon, some idiot just totaled my precious 740 turbo wagon which just was completely serviced top to bottom 30,000 ago. I have always owned volvos and have been intrigued by the new subaru wagons. I have been reading around and it looks as though they cannot take the miles like volvos
Justin Benz


Subarus are more reliable and less durable than the old Volvos, which were understressed and usually driven in grandmotherly fashion by people who were willing to eat exhorbitant repair bills with the idea that Volvos last a long time - self-fulfilling prophecy. My brother and his wife must have built at least a beach house for the local Volvo dealer.

However, Subarus are much more durable than other AWD choices.

If you want to drive a car 150 to 200,000 miles, buying one used with 100K miles may be the worst possible way to proceed, unless you know the owner.

#21 tracedog67

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Posted 03 November 2004 - 09:21 PM

I have a '97 OBW with 234k miles on her, 5 speed MT. I bought the car 2 years ago at 181k miles and had the headgaskets go at 191k miles. After spending 1200 to have the head gaskest, timing belt, and water pump she runs hard all day long. I just drove 9 hours today at 80 mph and she ran perfect and my temp gauge never goes above the bottom of the thermometer icon. I think she may have lost a little of power over all these miles but i never drove it new so I can't truley compare. The car has been maintenance free other than the usual oil, brakes, and I'm still on the Goodyear tires the previous owner put in before I bought it. Also my wife's daily driver is a '92 SVX with 160k miles that still has plenty of balls left in the 3.3!

Tdog

#22 ladalet

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Posted 25 November 2004 - 12:51 PM

I have a 96 Outback LTD with over 215,000 miles. It runs like new.

#23 Viking

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Posted 04 December 2004 - 05:08 PM

My '92 Liberty (Legacy) 2.2 wagon has 287,000 kms up and still runs really well. The only issues I've had have been the catalytic converter dying, and new alternator at around 250,000km. A few suspension bushes have gone, no surprise given our shocking roads. Oh, and the aircon compressor died a couple of weeks back. I converted to R134a gas, about 5 years ago, don't know if that's an issue with the compressor (I did have the lubricant and seals, as well as TX valve changed as well as the gas).

#24 ron917

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Posted 06 December 2004 - 03:24 PM

My current daily driver is a '99 Outback. It replaced my totaled '89 Volvo 244 (210K miles, killed by a deer and rust). I still have the '89 244, which is the parts car for my 1990 Volvo 245 (former Mom-mobile for my wife), currently undergoing minor restoration at 205Kmiles (interior work, minor rust, and a nagging emissions problem). I previously owned a '84 245, and help my brothers maintain their Volvos ('93 245 and '93 940).

The new Volvos are not like the old ones. They just weren't "right" for me. After much research, I chose the '99 Outback (used), knowing about the head gasket issue (no problem so far at 80Kmiles).

Subarus are more reliable than Volvos (few things break). I'm not sure about durability yet (remaining generally sound/usable for a long time).

My biggest issue with Subaru is the seats. Volvo makes the best seats on the planet.

Two projects I want to try sometime:
1. Put a Volvo driver's seat in my Outback (might be too wide to fit).
2. Put a Subaru drivetrain in a Volvo 240 wagon. I always wanted an AWD 245.




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