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Susie K Decides to Sell car...Excellent 1999 Legacy Outback


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#1 Susie K

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Posted 22 February 2005 - 12:48 AM

Hello Everyone, I've revising this thread on Wednesday, Feb 23rd at 1:45 pm (Pacific time). I've decided to give up. This morning, I got a call from Subaru - the inspector saw my car yesterday and they might be willing to address the head gasket problem as a gesture of good will. HOWEVER, first they want the local Subaru dealer to have a "tear down" done on my car so that the inspector can confirm whether in fact it is a head gasket problem. I will have to pay for the tear down. At that point, the Subaru inspector will re-inspect and will pay 0-90% of the repair. If the cylinder has a crack, Subaru will not pay for the cylinder repair...Since there are too many unknowns, I'm giving up. The car is currently sitting at a Subaru dearler just outside of Sacramento, CA. Here are more details: 1999 Legacy Outback, About 80,500 miles, auto trans, Exterior paint white - no dings, dents, scratches. Interior cloth upholstery-excellent cond. Driver & Front passenger air bags, 4-channel anti-lock braking system (ABS), side-impact door beams, child safety locks, rear doors, outboard rear seat headrests, 2.5L Horizontally opposed DOHC engine, variable power-assisted steering, heavy duty raised suspension, front & rear stabilizer bars, AM/FM stereo cassette w/weather band, CD Player, Tweeter kit, Cargo security cover & removable mat, outback carpeted floormats, roof rack, 15" allow wheels, extended splash guards, halogen fog lights, A/C, power windows, door locks & mirrors, cruise control. Recent maintenance performed (I have all receipts): Oct 2003: 60k service - all items under warranty were repaired at this time; Feb 2005: 75k service; Finally, every 3 months, oil changes were completed. Please let me know if you're interested in buying. And, thanks to each of your for your help. Susie K
HERE'S MY ORIGINAL THEAD WHICH I POSTED ON MONDAY: I'm glad to find this site-here's my message with a request for help: Last Saturday, I had the 75,000 mile service completed on my 1999 Legacy Outback with a 2.5L Horizontally Opposed DOHC Engine. Five days later, I drove to Lake Tahoe and on the way, my Check Engine light illuminated and within 15 seconds, my car lost energy. I pulled off the highway and smelled burning oil. Car was towed to dealership and I was told:

1) head gaskets had failed which will take 18 hours to repair at a a cost of about $2,400. Also water was found in oil and anti-freeze and the inside of car smells like burned oil as does exhaust at rear of car.
2) In addition, dealer informed me that other problems may have occured from head gasket failure.
Total cost could be from $2,400 to $5,000!

I a responsible Subaru owner; I have had periodic maintenance performed regularly including the 60k mile service done on Oct 2003 and oil changes every 3k miles. I relied on dealer to advise me on preventative maintenance items needed so that I would avoid such disasters!

Since head gasket problems appear to be a significant in number for several Subaru owners, do you think that my regular Subaru service dealer will repair at no cost to me? I plan on meeting with service technician tomorrow. How shall I address this situation? Thanks.

#2 Gnuman

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Posted 22 February 2005 - 01:55 AM

Hello, I'm glad to find this site-here's my message with a request for help: Last Saturday, I had the 75,000 mile service completed on my 1999 Legacy. Five days later, I drove to Lake Tahoe and on the way, my Check Engine light illuminated and within 15 seconds, my car lost energy. I pulled off the highway and smelled burning oil. Car was towed to dealership and I was told:

1) head gaskets had failed which will take 18 hours to repair at a a cost of about $2,400. Also water was found in oil and anti-freeze and the inside of car smells like burned oil as does exhaust at rear of car.
2) In addition, dealer informed me that other problems may have occured from head gasket failure.
Total cost could be from $2,400 to $5,000!

I a responsible Subaru owner; I have had periodic maintenance performed regularly including the 60k mile service done on Oct 2003 and oil changes every 3k miles. I relied on dealer to advise me on preventative maintenance items needed so that I would avoid such disasters!

Since head gasket problems appear to be a significant in number for several Subaru owners, do you think that my regular Subaru service dealer will repair at no cost to me? I plan on meeting with service technician tomorrow. How shall I address this situation? Thanks.


What engine is in the car? I'm thinking you have the Phase II EJ22 engine. I have not heard a lot about head gasket problems with this engine (the Phase i EJ25 engines had internal head gasket problems, though). If you decide to get rid of it, PM me first, as I'd be interested in the car. I'd even take it as it is now (and even come and get it). Before you get rid of it, however, get a second opinion on what needs to be done, and the cost of it. . . I'm just an hour north of you, so give me a PM and I'll send you my phone number to set up a meet. . .

#3 The Dude

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Posted 22 February 2005 - 06:24 AM

You have the infamous 2.5L DOHC Phase I engine. Many Phase I owners have posted on this board reporting the failure of the engine's head gaskets. This appears to be a well known, and well documented problem. Your car is out of warranty. It is almost a certainty no special accommodation will be made for you. Subaru has not even acknowledged a problem with the Phase I engine.

Your estimate for a simple head gasket replacement seems outrageously high. Most people report spending around $1,200 for the repair. That does not include new heads if they are required. Usually, new heads are NOT needed. If you stopped the car IMMEDIATELY when the head gaskets blew, the heads are probably OK. Perhaps someone on this board can point you to a more reasonable dealer or quality independent repair shop in your area.

#4 subeman90

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Posted 22 February 2005 - 07:28 AM

The price is too high. I was quoted by a local subaru mechanic (independant) $1200 and by my local dealer (subaru) $1600-1700. Don't sell the car....just find someone else to fix it and keep on going....

Matt

#5 Dr. RX

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Posted 22 February 2005 - 07:58 AM

Not so fast of the phase I 2.5, this is a 99, and Subaru start the phase II in 99. That being said, it does sound liek a phase I though, the phase to leaks are external, not internal like the pahse I's. It's too bad that you are in Fremont, CA and not the Fremont district in Seattle, then I could come over and do the job for a lot less (about $200 in labor plus parts). I don't know what other things could have happened as a result of the head gasket blowing (it usually only does it at one cylinder), it sounds like you did all the right things. I've know people who have just kept putting water into the radiator and driving for hundreds of miles before they even think about getting something done, and then just replacing the head gasket usually solves their problems.

#6 mtsmiths

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Posted 22 February 2005 - 10:47 AM

Car was towed to dealership and I was told:

1) head gaskets had failed which will take 18 hours to repair at a a cost of about $2,400. Also water was found in oil and anti-freeze and the inside of car smells like burned oil as does exhaust at rear of car.
2) In addition, dealer informed me that other problems may have occured from head gasket failure.
Total cost could be from $2,400 to $5,000!


Susie K this dealership is attempting to rip you off BIG time. Find an independent in the area and have the car removed ASAP! BTW you said "towed". Was the car on a flatback or dollies, or 'wheels on the ground'. If the latter, your AWD system is now toast, and you'll have to go after the towing company for another $3-$4K.

Sorry this happened to you, a breakdown is a bummer, but a dishonest dealer is a crime. I would send a really nasty letter to SOA. Point out that after this experience you will be rethinking your 'plans' to buy a new Subaru van when they come out this summer.

Don't roll over for this crook!

#7 bearbalu

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Posted 22 February 2005 - 11:32 AM

Something doesn't sound right. While you might have blown the head gasket, sounds like the problem started with something else. Make sure you know what the original problem was and what is it going to cost to fix it. Don't just do head gaskets to find out other problems that will cost you another 3 grand.

Did the car overheat before you pulled over or in recent past? I am not sure if first symptom of a blown head gasket is Check Engine Light and burnt oil smell.

Bay area is expensive. When my head gaskets blew, I shopped all stealerships in bay area and best quotes came from Santa Cruz which I read on nasioc.com is a least-worst-of-all-stealerships. I was given an estimate of 1800 for tear down and re-assembly plus another 150 if heads needed resurfacing which I assumed they did. Working through other line items that one would take care at 85,000 miles including timing belt, waterpump, resealing oil pump, clutch, crank/cam seals/rear seal, it added up to 3100. And they would split the rental car. They said they would give me 10% off adding to a grand total of 2800 - close to what most independent shops quoted as well (2200-3200 range).

#8 Gnuman

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Posted 22 February 2005 - 01:38 PM

OK, I'm confused. Didn't the Legacy keep the 2.2L engine until 2000? if it is a 2.5, then it is certainly a Phase 1 engine, as the Legacy would be a bit behind the curve there. My offer to buy still stands, or I could repair the car for you (I was gonna repair the car if you sold it to me anyway). Give me a PM, as I'm a lot closer to you than Seattle. . . ;)

#9 Dr. RX

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Posted 22 February 2005 - 02:23 PM

OK, I'm confused. Didn't the Legacy keep the 2.2L engine until 2000? if it is a 2.5, then it is certainly a Phase 1 engine, as the Legacy would be a bit behind the curve there. My offer to buy still stands, or I could repair the car for you (I was gonna repair the car if you sold it to me anyway). Give me a PM, as I'm a lot closer to you than Seattle. . . ;)

Yes, the EJ22 was around into the 2000's, but she didn't mention what model of Legacy she has, if it is a GT or an Outback, it will have the EJ25 in it, other wise it will more then likely have an EJ22 in it. The EJ25 Phase I change over happened during the 99 MY, the easiest way to tell is look to see if it is a DOHC (Phase I) or a SOHC (Phase II). I kind of wonder what happened with the EJ25 Phase I, since the EJ20X (fill in either G, 5, or 7 where the X is) has been the main stay of the WRX since day one, it is DOHC and it doesn't have that problem.

#10 Subarunation 713

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Posted 22 February 2005 - 02:24 PM

OK, I'm confused. Didn't the Legacy keep the 2.2L engine until 2000? if it is a 2.5, then it is certainly a Phase 1 engine, as the Legacy would be a bit behind the curve there. My offer to buy still stands, or I could repair the car for you (I was gonna repair the car if you sold it to me anyway). Give me a PM, as I'm a lot closer to you than Seattle. . . ;)

1999 was the last year for the 2.2 in the Legacy and 2001 was the last year for the 2.2 in the Impreza. Can't help you out with the 2.5 stuff, as far as I know Subaru only made a 2.2 everything else is/was an experiment :-)
Greg

#11 MorganM

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Posted 22 February 2005 - 03:04 PM

$2400 for just headgasket job? Time to ask some seriouse questions here. Does this include a new cyilnder head... or two? What all are they intending to replace here for this estimate?

I'd definatly call around to no less than 5 more shops and ask for estimates. I think then you will see why so many of us think thats quite a high estimate.

#12 Susie K

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Posted 22 February 2005 - 03:08 PM

Thanks Sanjay for your reply.
I have a 2.5L Horizontally Opposed DOHC Engine. Is this sufficient info?
Right now, the car is at a dearlership outside of Sacramento and I'm deciding what to do. I went to my local dearlership this morning and they advised that they did nothing wrong and there was no way to anticipate this problem. However, they did tell me that it's impossible for this to cost $5,000 but it will cost about $2,400. When I had the 60k service done in Oct 2003, all items under warranty were repaired then - including timing belt. I also contacted the 800 Subaru number and they are sending an inspector to see my car to let me know if they've pay for any of the repair. Otherwise, the car is in excellent condition (including exterior and interior). I will let you know what happens and so that you can see the car, if you'd like. Thanks. Susie K

What engine is in the car? I'm thinking you have the Phase II EJ22 engine. I have not heard a lot about head gasket problems with this engine (the Phase i EJ25 engines had internal head gasket problems, though). If you decide to get rid of it, PM me first, as I'd be interested in the car. I'd even take it as it is now (and even come and get it). Before you get rid of it, however, get a second opinion on what needs to be done, and the cost of it. . . I'm just an hour north of you, so give me a PM and I'll send you my phone number to set up a meet. . .



#13 Susie K

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Posted 22 February 2005 - 03:12 PM

Thanks MorganM for your reply.
The $2,400 is only to replace head gaskets due to labor of 18 hours to remove engine. As you know, the gaskets only cost $75/each. The additional cost (upto $5,000) is for additional items which were damaged from the blown head gaskets such as cylinder heads. It seems that I should call them and get greater detail which I will do RIGHT NOW! Timing belt and other items under power train warranty were repaired in Oct 2003 when 60k service was performed.
Yes, I will get several additional quotes. Susie K

$2400 for just headgasket job? Time to ask some seriouse questions here. Does this include a new cyilnder head... or two? What all are they intending to replace here for this estimate?

I'd definatly call around to no less than 5 more shops and ask for estimates. I think then you will see why so many of us think thats quite a high estimate.



#14 Susie K

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Posted 22 February 2005 - 03:17 PM

Thanks Matt for your reply.
Yes, I will get additional quotes. I don't mind fixing and keeping it if it's not going to cost $5,000! Perhaps a reader can point me to a independent Subaru mechanic in Roseville, CA? Thanks. Susie K

The price is too high. I was quoted by a local subaru mechanic (independant) $1200 and by my local dealer (subaru) $1600-1700. Don't sell the car....just find someone else to fix it and keep on going....

Matt



#15 Susie K

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Posted 22 February 2005 - 03:24 PM

Thanks Dr. RX for your reply and offer to repair for a lot less if the car was closer to you!
This morning, I contacted 800 SUBARU3 to see if they would repair (since this is an on-going problem with this engine). They are sending an inspector out to see my car and let me know if they'll pay for any of it. Let's see what happens... Susie K


Not so fast of the phase I 2.5, this is a 99, and Subaru start the phase II in 99. That being said, it does sound liek a phase I though, the phase to leaks are external, not internal like the pahse I's. It's too bad that you are in Fremont, CA and not the Fremont district in Seattle, then I could come over and do the job for a lot less (about $200 in labor plus parts). I don't know what other things could have happened as a result of the head gasket blowing (it usually only does it at one cylinder), it sounds like you did all the right things. I've know people who have just kept putting water into the radiator and driving for hundreds of miles before they even think about getting something done, and then just replacing the head gasket usually solves their problems.



#16 Susie K

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Posted 22 February 2005 - 03:32 PM

Thanks for your reply. Yes, the car was towed but back wheels were placed on a trailer, I believe - I was in the tow truck along the highway at night so I didn't see what happened. Now, I realize that I may have this other problem...
And, once I've exhausted all means to have my car repaired by Subaru, then I will send that letter out. It's time that Subaru address this problem.
Yes, I will get additional quotes.

ANYONE READING THIS: I NEED A RELIABLE INDEPENDENT SUBARU REPAIRSHOP IN THE ROSEVILLE, CA AREA.
Thanks. Susie K

Susie K this dealership is attempting to rip you off BIG time. Find an independent in the area and have the car removed ASAP! BTW you said "towed". Was the car on a flatback or dollies, or 'wheels on the ground'. If the latter, your AWD system is now toast, and you'll have to go after the towing company for another $3-$4K.

Sorry this happened to you, a breakdown is a bummer, but a dishonest dealer is a crime. I would send a really nasty letter to SOA. Point out that after this experience you will be rethinking your 'plans' to buy a new Subaru van when they come out this summer.

Don't roll over for this crook!



#17 Susie K

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Posted 22 February 2005 - 03:42 PM

Thanks, Bearbalu for your reply. Yes, I too am convinced that the problem started with something else - but how can I prove it? This morning, I went to my regular local Subaru dealership - the one who completed the 75K svce last Saturday and they said that nothing they did would have caused this catastrophy. But then, why did it happen just after they worked on it?

No, the car did not overheat just before Check Engine light illuminated - at least temperature gauge was normal. This is what happened: I heard a rotating sound at passenger side of engine, then, smoke exited exhaust, then Check engine light came on, I pulled over within 30 seconds, and that's when I smelled burning oil. The inside of car also smells light burned oil!
I belived they quoted me another $3k in case other items needed to repaired when they pulled engine out - but timing belt and all other items were repaired under power train warranty good to 60K miles in Oct 2003.
Thanks, I'll check nasioc.com for a Subaru repairshop. Susie K

Something doesn't sound right. While you might have blown the head gasket, sounds like the problem started with something else. Make sure you know what the original problem was and what is it going to cost to fix it. Don't just do head gaskets to find out other problems that will cost you another 3 grand.

Did the car overheat before you pulled over or in recent past? I am not sure if first symptom of a blown head gasket is Check Engine Light and burnt oil smell.

Bay area is expensive. When my head gaskets blew, I shopped all stealerships in bay area and best quotes came from Santa Cruz which I read on nasioc.com is a least-worst-of-all-stealerships. I was given an estimate of 1800 for tear down and re-assembly plus another 150 if heads needed resurfacing which I assumed they did. Working through other line items that one would take care at 85,000 miles including timing belt, waterpump, resealing oil pump, clutch, crank/cam seals/rear seal, it added up to 3100. And they would split the rental car. They said they would give me 10% off adding to a grand total of 2800 - close to what most independent shops quoted as well (2200-3200 range).



#18 Susie K

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Posted 22 February 2005 - 03:46 PM

Thanks, Gnuman. This morning, I started an inquiry with the 800 SUBARU3 phone #. Today or tomorrow, they're sending an inspector out to see my car to let me know if they pay for any of the cost. Once I hear from them, I'll let you know and perhaps you can repair it? Thanks again. Susie K

OK, I'm confused. Didn't the Legacy keep the 2.2L engine until 2000? if it is a 2.5, then it is certainly a Phase 1 engine, as the Legacy would be a bit behind the curve there. My offer to buy still stands, or I could repair the car for you (I was gonna repair the car if you sold it to me anyway). Give me a PM, as I'm a lot closer to you than Seattle. . . ;)



#19 Susie K

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Posted 22 February 2005 - 03:49 PM

Thanks The Dude. If I don't have to spend $5k, I would consider keeping the car. I've asked others to provide me with contacts for reliable independent Subaru repairshops in Roseville, CA so that I may get other quotes if Subaru does not repair. Susie K



You have the infamous 2.5L DOHC Phase I engine. Many Phase I owners have posted on this board reporting the failure of the engine's head gaskets. This appears to be a well known, and well documented problem. Your car is out of warranty. It is almost a certainty no special accommodation will be made for you. Subaru has not even acknowledged a problem with the Phase I engine.

Your estimate for a simple head gasket replacement seems outrageously high. Most people report spending around $1,200 for the repair. That does not include new heads if they are required. Usually, new heads are NOT needed. If you stopped the car IMMEDIATELY when the head gaskets blew, the heads are probably OK. Perhaps someone on this board can point you to a more reasonable dealer or quality independent repair shop in your area.



#20 Susie K

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Posted 22 February 2005 - 03:52 PM

Hello Everyone, my car has a 2.5L Horizontally Opposed DOHC Engine and car is a 1999 Legacy Outback. Thanks. Susie K

Yes, the EJ22 was around into the 2000's, but she didn't mention what model of Legacy she has, if it is a GT or an Outback, it will have the EJ25 in it, other wise it will more then likely have an EJ22 in it. The EJ25 Phase I change over happened during the 99 MY, the easiest way to tell is look to see if it is a DOHC (Phase I) or a SOHC (Phase II). I kind of wonder what happened with the EJ25 Phase I, since the EJ20X (fill in either G, 5, or 7 where the X is) has been the main stay of the WRX since day one, it is DOHC and it doesn't have that problem.



#21 Ranger83

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Posted 22 February 2005 - 05:59 PM

I wrote Subaru of America complaining about having to replace the headgaskets on my car (admitedly long off warranty) and they sent me a voucher worth $1,000 off a new Subaru.

The headgasket repair cost me $1,250 at an excellent independent garage, which is why there is such astonishment over the price quoted.

Go to www.cartalk.com and look up garages in the "MechanX files" section. While few list Subaru specifically, many have done plenty of work on them if you call around.

#22 mtsmiths

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Posted 22 February 2005 - 06:08 PM

Susie K, I hereby award you the Mostest Politest Poster to ever inhabit this board.


Miss Manners would be proud

#23 bearbalu

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Posted 22 February 2005 - 06:22 PM

Thanks, Bearbalu for your reply. Yes, I too am convinced that the problem started with something else - but how can I prove it? This morning, I went to my regular local Subaru dealership - the one who completed the 75K svce last Saturday and they said that nothing they did would have caused this catastrophy. But then, why did it happen just after they worked on it?

No, the car did not overheat just before Check Engine light illuminated - at least temperature gauge was normal. This is what happened: I heard a rotating sound at passenger side of engine, then, smoke exited exhaust, then Check engine light came on, I pulled over within 30 seconds, and that's when I smelled burning oil. The inside of car also smells light burned oil!
I belived they quoted me another $3k in case other items needed to repaired when they pulled engine out - but timing belt and all other items were repaired under power train warranty good to 60K miles in Oct 2003.
Thanks, I'll check nasioc.com for a Subaru repairshop. Susie K


Seems like something bad happened in the engine. I am still at loss as to why head gaskets blew within 30 seconds. It could point to a cracked engine block or cracked head. Whatever it is - that sounds like a bigger problem...

#24 The Dude

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Posted 22 February 2005 - 07:15 PM

Seems like something bad happened in the engine. I am still at loss as to why head gaskets blew within 30 seconds. It could point to a cracked engine block or cracked head. Whatever it is - that sounds like a bigger problem...


I would agree. There is a good chance that this engine is scrap aluminum. This is not the typical scenario for a simple head gasket failure.
Susie, unfortunately you are in a bit of quandry. It is expensive even to determine the condition of the engine. If the mechanic tears the engine down and finds that the engine is a total loss, you still have to pay for having the engine torn down. I would definitely wait for the Subaru rep before doing anything. He may be able to provide some insight as to what happened to your car. You need to be very cautious. The LAST thing that you want to do authorize a very expensive repair on a suspect engine. There are other options besides repairing the engine . We can consider those after the Subaru Rep makes his call. Frankly, lean on the Rep a little. I think Subaru could have done a lot better than the 2.5L DOHC.

#25 Subarunation 713

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Posted 22 February 2005 - 08:44 PM

Thanks, Bearbalu for your reply. Yes, I too am convinced that the problem started with something else - but how can I prove it? This morning, I went to my regular local Subaru dealership - the one who completed the 75K svce last Saturday and they said that nothing they did would have caused this catastrophy. But then, why did it happen just after they worked on it?

No, the car did not overheat just before Check Engine light illuminated - at least temperature gauge was normal. This is what happened: I heard a rotating sound at passenger side of engine, then, smoke exited exhaust, then Check engine light came on, I pulled over within 30 seconds, and that's when I smelled burning oil. The inside of car also smells light burned oil!
I belived they quoted me another $3k in case other items needed to repaired when they pulled engine out - but timing belt and all other items were repaired under power train warranty good to 60K miles in Oct 2003.
Thanks, I'll check nasioc.com for a Subaru repairshop. Susie K

OK, venturing into PURE speculation here is what I think could have happened. Once the engine is opened up we will know if my "psychic powers" are just that, POWER or pure stink! I think an idler bearing burnt up and threw the timing belt off. Second psychic guess er I mean predicition is one of the cam seals came loose and threw oil everywhere and made the timing belt jump off. I doubt there is anything wrong with the headgaskets but they will have to be replaced because there will be bent valves and the heads will have to come off to replace them. Once again this is "psychic speculation". Dangerous work, don't try it at home unless you are willing to make an a** out of yourself. You know, kinda like me! :-)
Let us know,
Greg




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