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Guest Message by DevFuse

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Thinking of buying used Outback -- advice?

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3 replies to this topic

#1 jbroox


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Posted 24 July 2005 - 08:54 AM

I have been looking at buying a 1998 to 2000 Outback as a run-around-town car. I currently have a newer Durango big enough for the family and trips, but wanted something to get better mpg around town.

I previously owned a Camry that I bought new in 1991 that my daughter now drives -- 175,000 miles and in perfect shape. I was looking at possibly buying another Camry, but was intrigued by the Outback because of the AWD since I live in Michigan. And Consumer Reports identified it as a “good bet” for a used vehicle.

But then I started doing some research online and began seeing all the horror posts about the 2.5L engine and the head gasket issues. Is this a huge issue that will affect all Outbacks, or isolated? Is there something that can prevent problems, or is in inevitable? What percentage of vehicles have experienced the problem?

I’d plan on driving it until it dies, but was hoping to get 200,000+ miles out of one. Is that realistic without the huge expense of a head gasket or engine replacement? I’m hoping for a reliable car that will get me around town with as little out-of-pocket expenses as possible – which is what I’ve enjoyed with my Camry all these years.

Any advice from you Subaru owners? I’d appreciate your input before I make a decision.


#2 Commuter


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Posted 24 July 2005 - 09:20 AM

I have a 97 OB. I went thru the head gasket issue at 160k miles. I also had an engine failure (conrod), but don't let that scare you. That is extremely rare from everything I know. Other than the engine, the car has been fine. Just a few things, most being things that one can expect with the milage I have put on. (Currently at 279k miles.)

You will get a lot of opinions about the head gasket failures. My opinion? I tend to believe the guesses that around 20 to 25% suffer failures.

If you find a vehicle that has had it changed, and has the latest headgasket in it, I'd feel quite comfortable with it.

The other thing might be to find a good vehicle for cheap that needs the head gaskets. Put a CCR engine in it and you'd have a sweet ride and a warranty to boot.

These comments pertain to the 97-99 vehicles. The 2.5L Phase II engine showed up in the 2000+ OB.

Good luck.


#3 chef_tim


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Posted 24 July 2005 - 01:18 PM

Hi Jay, I'm doing just what Commuter just mentioned. I got a "great deal" on a 97 OBW with a bad headgasket (didn't know it was bad at the time:rolleyes: ) But I'm putting in a CCR long block and I'll take alot of comfort in knowing exactly what I have under the bonnet. If your looking at economy, don't get too excited, you'll get between 22-28mpg depending on how you drive it. As for reliability, go for it, these things eat snow :lol: . Later, Tim

#4 nipper


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Posted 24 July 2005 - 08:25 PM

I just bought a 97 OB LTD with 177K on the clock, for what I would call a steal. The car was owned by a mom and maintained to the owners manual specs.
The car was on ebay, and they posted a vin with a typo, so no one bid on it. I figured out the mistake.
Car has never had a head gasket issue, so I am hoping that it keeps like that. Since its a replacemnt for my 98 (which was totaled), no money out of pocket. I figure if the HG blows i can afford to get it fixed.
I have heard 12% as the blown head gasket rate.

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