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Subaru, thumbs up or down?


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40 replies to this topic

#1 mtnpat

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Posted 04 January 2005 - 08:43 AM

(Hello, new guy here, can you help a brother out?)

Any Subaru owners out there that would like to share their experiences with the product? Mainly interested in the longevity of the motors, trannys before needing rebuilds, major work......here is my deal:

(some background)
Have always been a Chevy guy (have owned GT Fords, Stangs and GTOs, but those were a different time). Loved my 80 Chev with the 5.7 motor, my 86 with the 5.0 motor........NOT in love with my 99 with the 7.4 motor or my 00 with the 3.4 motor.....nothing but problems with intake and head gaskets.

I am considering the Subaru Baja Sport with the 2.5 normally aspirated motor. I need high fuel mileage and the AWD....this model is supposed to get 28mpg on the highway.

What I don't need is another vehicle that needs major engine work before I get it paid off. I would be putting ~30k miles a year on it. So say 5 years x 30k, means I would like a powertrain that can do 150k miles without issue. I know that you are supposed to have the timing belt changed at 100k miles - no issue with that.

So, any good or bad stories about the 2.5 Subaru engine?

How many miles on yours without blowing a head or other gasket, major powertrain repair?

thanks

#2 northguy

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Posted 04 January 2005 - 10:54 AM

Welcome to the board. I don't think you're going to find anyone who will guarantee you are not going to have any problems with any vehicle in 150k miles of use. Things break, and unless regular PM (preventative maintenance) is done religiously, things will go bad, but with that said, Subaru is one of the most reliable cars made. I drive a 1983 Brat with 149K on the odo, my wife has a 96 Legacy with 190K, and my son has a 92 Legacy with 120K on it. Aside from routine things like brake rotors and pads, tune ups and tires, we haven't had much in the way of problems on any of the vehicles. There was a factory recall on the alternator of the 96 Legacy, and a quirk with something plastic in one of the oil journals, but just regular PM done, and our stuff is doing fine. The early 2.5's were notorious for head gasket problems, but I believe Subaru has remedied that problem. My .02, but you may want insight from someone with a newer vehicle than mine.

#3 mtsmiths

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Posted 04 January 2005 - 11:06 AM

Our '00 Legacy has over 150,000 miles. Other than routine maintenance (including T-belts and front case work) our only repair was a right front wheel bearing, and a TSB O2 sensor replacement (it didn't work, we still have a persistant CEL, but it runs great).

My '95 has 130,000, with no known problems.

Our '87s ran to 180,000 and 212,000 and when we sold them were going strong. I drove my '87 from Montana to Maryland and back after it had passed 200,000 at 70-80 mph the whole way (54 hours MT>MD).

#4 outback_97

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Posted 04 January 2005 - 11:11 AM

Two thumbs up from a two subaru family.

Consider the Legacy wagon or Outback wagon if you're looking at the Baja. Unless you're hauling really specific things that just won't fit in the wagon, I don't see any advantage to the Baja. It's a cool concept, but IMO the size of the cargo opening in back (too small) makes it not all that useful. It makes me think of compact four door pickups which strive to offer the best of both worlds (cargo hauling of a truck, seating of a sedan) but offer the worst of both worlds (cargo area too small vs. a regular truck, too cramped, uncomfortable rear seating vs. a sedan). That is all just my $.02 of course. :)

Steve

#5 mtnpat

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Posted 04 January 2005 - 11:16 AM

Consider the Legacy wagon or Outback wagon if you're looking at the Baja. Unless you're hauling really specific things that just won't fit in the wagonSteve


Yeah, need to carry bicycles easily, tired of hitch racks and not jazzed about roof racks....I would be getting the bed-mounted bike carrier option.

#6 mtnpat

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Posted 04 January 2005 - 11:17 AM

The early 2.5's were notorious for head gasket problems, but I believe Subaru has remedied that problem.

That is the kind of feedback I really need, thanks.

(thanks to everyone responding also)

#7 mtnpat

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Posted 04 January 2005 - 11:45 AM

Our '00 Legacy has over 150,000 miles. Other than routine maintenance (including T-belts and front case work) our only repair was a right front wheel bearing, and a TSB O2 sensor replacement (it didn't work, we still have a persistant CEL, but it runs great).

My '95 has 130,000, with no known problems.

Our '87s ran to 180,000 and 212,000 and when we sold them were going strong. I drove my '87 from Montana to Maryland and back after it had passed 200,000 at 70-80 mph the whole way (54 hours MT>MD).


Thanks, more great info.

#8 MorganM

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Posted 04 January 2005 - 11:59 AM

SUBARU SUCKS :lol:

I dunno that you'll get an unbiased opinion here man :)

#9 mtnpat

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Posted 04 January 2005 - 01:08 PM

SUBARU SUCKS :lol::)


I sorta figured that was coming from someone. Love it.

#10 schspeedster

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Posted 04 January 2005 - 01:41 PM

Have always been a GM guy. Wife wanted 4wd for winter. I did some research and Subaru seemed like the best way to go for handling, reliability, fuel economy, and resale value. Took delivery on a new Baja Sport 2 months ago.

The stalk-mounted controls take a bit of getting used to but they feel more solid and precise than on my S10 and Astro van. I think GM Delco factory stereos are superior to Subarus in ease of use and sound. Most everything on the Subaru feels more solid and precise than a GM product.

Did the first oil change, and the drain plug and filter are very easy to reach. I would either do my own oil change or take to a Subaru dealer, too easy for quick-lube "technicians" to drain the drivetrain instead of crankcase.

2.5 non-turbo with automatic is a bit underpowered for the Baja, though for our back road and in town driving it's adequate. I would have liked to test drive a turbo and decide if the premium fuel and potential repair costs would justify it. Subaru shouldve offered the 6cyl as an option, to sell quantities of a sport truck in America. The Baja is slightly longer than the Outback wagon its based on, and has more aerodynamic drag.

BTW, GM owns part of Subaru. Chevrolet in India sells the Chevrolet Forester, a Subaru Forester with the bowtie logo.

I plan on a Subaru Legacy GT for my next car, with an older full-size Chevy truck for hauling large objects.

#11 schspeedster

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Posted 04 January 2005 - 01:58 PM

BTW, traction on snow is fantastic! The Baja is AWD plus rear LSD (limited-slip differential). I don't think the base-model Legacy comes with LSD. Unfortunately ABS & the Bridgestone Potenza stock tires can take forever to stop, I almost slid thru an intersection in the snow, can't get overconfident.

#12 unverviking

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Posted 04 January 2005 - 04:19 PM

4 thumbs up from a 2 Subaru family...

Today is the 4 year anniversary of us taking delivery of our 01 OBW. Love it. Aside from the 3 recalls, 1 actually fixed a problem we reported (the ECM reflash, had hesitation on take off with A/C on) The only repair needed was the replacement of the alternator @ 60K. I screamed at the service mgr, he got SOA to cover 1/2. Which was cheaper than what I could get a reman alternator for, and do it myself. We've been religious about routine maintenance, and it seems to have paid off so far.

We too were GM (family all retired from GM) and had way too many issues on all of them.

I like the look of the Baja, wife doesn't... I wouldn't mind getting 1... maybe in 10 years... when I can afford a 2005... Keep me in mind when/if you buy and later on sell it...:lol:

#13 Perry

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Posted 04 January 2005 - 05:46 PM

I have an 03 Baja, and other than the oft noted lack of power it is a nice vehicle. Apparently installing a nice fat exhaust system does a lot to fix that problem.

The ability to haul larger stuff in the back is great, and although the pass through is too small, I can still stuff a good pile of long lumber in there.

One thing I would tell you is to forget about the factory cross bars...they are fairly worthless. Get Yakima or the like. More wind noise, but that are flat and wide enough to actually carry stuff, and they have a lot more attachments too. In fact, forget what I just said...want to buy a set of genuine Subaru cross bars? ;-)

It's a nice car and I am getting 26 mpg in my NA auto version. I have not come close to 28 ever, but that's an epa number, so don't believe it.

I say buy a Baja, and get the net for the interior, it will keep all the junk that fits behind the seat in place when the back is down.

We need more Baja owners. We want more Baja owners! Let me know how the bike carrier works too.

Perry

#14 themixtoo

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Posted 04 January 2005 - 07:06 PM

[quote name='Perry']I have an 03 Baja, and other than the oft noted lack of power it is a nice vehicle. Apparently installing a nice fat exhaust system does a lot to fix that problem.

The ability to haul larger stuff in the back is great, and although the pass through is too small, I can still stuff a good pile of long lumber in there.

One thing I would tell you is to forget about the factory cross bars...they are fairly worthless. Get Yakima or the like. It's a nice car and I am getting 26 mpg in my NA auto version. I have not come close to 28 ever, but that's an epa number, so don't believe it.

Wife's '03 BAJA has towed my AMC and my daughter's 'totaled' '95 Impreza (both with a car dolley) a total of at least 2500 miles with no problems. True, power could be better and I still don't understand the reason it doesn't have the 6cyl option, but it did the mountains of PA, never missed a beat and still got 20mpg with an automatic. I'll admit I sure got spoiled by the leather seats, CD player and the cruise control compared to my beater that I used to tow my Gremlin with (don't laugh). Forget the carrier crap for the roof rack (just take them stupid bars off, it looks a lot better anyway). Yes the cargo bed is small, but you sure can get plenty of 8 foot 2X4's in it without hanging over the tailgate (Home Depot guy helped me with a load last summer and couldn't believe it!).......So GO FOR IT..........GARY:)

#15 JT95

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Posted 04 January 2005 - 09:51 PM

Welcome aboard. I'm a new Subaru owner. (New to the brand--had my 95 Legacy wagon for 4 months now.) I too am traditionally a Chevrolet man. My first car was the 1970 Monte Carlo that my parents had bought brand new in 69. THAT was an automobile--in my opinion the American car died as a breed after 1972...

In college and a little after I drove an 81 El Camino with a built up 4 barrel V-6 and dual exhaust with a factory 4 speed that could grab rubber on all gears. I had to stop driving the El when we started having kids as it was a 2 seater. Until recently our family car was a Caprice Classic, which served us very well and went to almost 200,000 miles before we traded it in for a Volvo wagon for my wife. (Who misses her V8, but loves the wagon anyway.) Chevrolet makes absolutely nothing new that interests me. The Equinox seemed like a good idea in the making but they gave it a cheap plastic interior and that stupid 60 degree V-6.

I have drooled over the Baja. I don't think I can afford one for a couple more years, but I went and test drove one anyway. I really like it, though it was a little bit tighter for me than is my 95 Legacy. (I'm 6'3") Not uncomfortably tight, but just enough for me to notice the difference. I test drove a 5-speed Baja Sport and loved it. Personally, if I were buying one, I'd go ahead and plunk down just a little extra and get get the Baja Turbo. I think you would really appreciate the extra oomph, I doubt you would see any difference in overall gas mileage provided you don't hot rod around, and the turbo has an AWD split with 60% of power going to the rear wheels, which I think a recovering rear wheel drive Chevy man would like.

You into mountain biking or road cycling? I'm a long time mountain biker who just bought a new road bike this past summer. I used to have a bike mount in my El Camino's bed--by far my favorite method of hauling bikes. I currently have a roof rack on my Legacy wagon. If I'm ever lucky enough to get a Baja then I can have a bed rack along with a roof rack for 4 or more bikes. Are you a member of IMBA? Subaru offers a sweet deal for IMBA members--you have to have been a member for at least 6 months, so you can't join right before buying. Subaru does a LOT to promote and help the sport of cycling and you'll see a TON of Subarus parked at cycling events.

If you haven't had a Subaru driving experience, I think you'll be surprised. They really are a quality car that is damn durable. My 2.2 engine has 157,000 miles on it and is butter smooth. Now, in reality, what I'm hoping for is that now that GM owns 20% of Subaru, Chevrolet will come out with a Baja-based El Camino in a few years. (Chevrolet already sells a 2005 Chevy Forester overseas.) The Subaru Boxer engine is a marvelous thing and great to work on if you do your own maintenance. After a few weeks in my Subaru I was converted. Now, if I got to choose between driving a new Subaru or a new 66 Chevelle SS, I'd go for the Chevelle, but cars like that will never be made again...

#16 Spazz698

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Posted 05 January 2005 - 02:09 AM

I'm all for Subaru. My first car was an 85 gl-10, I now have a 93 legacy awd wagon. I'm a mechanic (primarily ford and honda) but my first car was damn near undescructible (and of course, I blew a tranny in my last mustang, and the ford van I had seems to be heading the same way w/o the engine mods) So I went back to subaru. Other than the small things I dont like (like having to remove a few things just to get to the spark plugs making a 10 min job 2hrs) I cant see any reason not to get one. It's just one of those sacrifics I am more than willing to make for a car that even with 240k on it runs like new and has a much better chance of suriviving the hell I will put it thru than most.

#17 Gnuman

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Posted 05 January 2005 - 02:31 AM

Other than the small things I dont like (like having to remove a few things just to get to the spark plugs making a 10 min job 2hrs) I cant see any reason not to get one. It's just one of those sacrifics I am more than willing to make for a car that even with 240k on it runs like new and has a much better chance of suriviving the hell I will put it thru than most.


I found quite the oposite to be true of Subarus location of spark plugs in my '92. I did have to remove two things (washer fluid resivoir, and the air filter box) but the plugs vere very accessable. The rest of what you said I agree with totally.

#18 Spazz698

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Posted 05 January 2005 - 03:43 AM

I found quite the oposite to be true of Subarus location of spark plugs in my '92. I did have to remove two things (washer fluid resivoir, and the air filter box) but the plugs vere very accessable. The rest of what you said I agree with totally.

I have to pull both of those out along with the battery. Compared to the cars I usually work on where the plugs sit either on top or in a place where you dont need to remove anything other than the wire it isnt as accessible. Just remember I'm new to the subaru motors, obviously they're a little different than the other 4cyls I'm used to working on.

#19 singletrack

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Posted 05 January 2005 - 03:52 AM

Any Subaru owners out there that would like to share their experiences with the product? Mainly interested in the longevity of the motors, trannys before needing rebuilds, major work......here is my deal:

Wait a minute, didn't I see this same post on MTBR?:lol:

#20 BlueTrain

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Posted 05 January 2005 - 04:20 AM

Go and pick up a legacy or outback wagon. Much nicer than the baja imo. however due to poor sales, you might be able to pick up a baja cheap. Also, roof racks aren't so bad. pickup a yakima viper. its a fork mount and rock solid. good luck...

#21 mtnpat

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Posted 05 January 2005 - 07:48 AM

Wait a minute, didn't I see this same post on MTBR?:lol:


You got me. I guess I covered the bases pretty well :-)

#22 mtnpat

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Posted 05 January 2005 - 07:53 AM

You into mountain biking or road cycling?


both, mountain biker at heart, but the workout you get on the road is hard to beat. I have 2 mountain bikes, 1 being a rigid singlespeed.....2 road bikes, 1 being fixed/single.

Are you a member of IMBA? Subaru offers a sweet deal for IMBA members--you have to have been a member for at least 6 months, so you can't join right before buying. Subaru does a LOT to promote and help the sport of cycling and you'll see a TON of Subarus parked at cycling events.


Nope, ashamed to say. I do my fair share of trail maintenance though, always have a folding saw in my pack for those impromptu sessions.

Now, if I got to choose between driving a new Subaru or a new 66 Chevelle SS, I'd go for the Chevelle, but cars like that will never be made again...


AMEN on that!

#23 Gnuman

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Posted 05 January 2005 - 12:17 PM

I have to pull both of those out along with the battery. Compared to the cars I usually work on where the plugs sit either on top or in a place where you dont need to remove anything other than the wire it isnt as accessible. Just remember I'm new to the subaru motors, obviously they're a little different than the other 4cyls I'm used to working on.


I also work on many kinds of engines. There is almost always at least one plug that you end up cursing the engineer that placed the plug is such an out of the way place that you really cannot get to it easily, while knowing that these are parts that will have to be replaced sometime in the life of the car. . . The Subie had no such issues, and that was one of the first times I had worked on it (or any Subie) at all. Perhaps the 92 Legacy was particularly well engineered, even for a Subie?

#24 2Outbacks

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Posted 05 January 2005 - 12:29 PM

So nobody is going to mention the problems with the head gasket or piston slap? My 01 needed the head gasket replaced at 48K and now I'm getting a new short block for piston slap at 60K. My Outbacks have been the only cars I've ever owned that have stranded me (98 due to clutch problems) or have had major engine repairs at less than 100K.

That being said, I still bought an 05 Limited wagon last year...they're nice cars when they're working, rattle-free, comfortable, good gas mileage, appropriately sized for my needs and unstoppable in the snow.

#25 JT95

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Posted 05 January 2005 - 05:04 PM

Go and pick up a legacy or outback wagon. Much nicer than the baja imo. however due to poor sales, you might be able to pick up a baja cheap. Also, roof racks aren't so bad. pickup a yakima viper. its a fork mount and rock solid. good luck...


Yeah--the salesman who went on my Baja test drive with me said that Subaru had some pretty good incentives on the Baja Sport to help move them faster. I thought it was a neat car...truck-car rather. I'd dreamt of a 4 door El Camino for years, so maybe I was a little more excited to see the Baja released than the average joe. It's all in what you need the car for. As a primary family vehicle, no, the Baja is not the best choice. Beyond that, go for it. For the minor wish-I-had-a-truck chores, the Baja would be very useful. Try hauling a new fridge home in your OBW. (I can't dis wagons, though, because I have long admired the Sube wagons and currently drive one.)




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