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buying a '97 Legacy Outback - Update: "verbal agreement" but questions persist...


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37 replies to this topic

#26 Novakaine

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Posted 07 September 2005 - 11:44 PM

Its not a joke, the california spec timing belts a scheduled to be replaced every 105k versus the rest of the country's 60k belt. Being that you are in california, I would imagine by default that is what they would use. But ask the shop anyway, just to make sure. I don't know if the physical belt is different, or just the timing or what...but that is what it is.

#27 q240z

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Posted 08 September 2005 - 09:02 AM

Curious....the only specs I've seen on the 2.5 are that it has 100,000 mile timing belts. The 2.2 has the 60k mile belt, according to every source I've ever seen.

chilly b, you could always think about getting yourself the belts, seals, pumps, and everything else + a repair manual for a total of about $350 and do it yourself. Of course, that won't help the economy out quite as much and the People's Republic of California will miss your sales tax something fierce, but you'd be better off wallet-wise.

#28 chilly b

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Posted 08 September 2005 - 11:00 AM

chilly b, you could always think about getting yourself the belts, seals, pumps, and everything else + a repair manual for a total of about $350 and do it yourself.

Hmm... I've never been much of a DIYer (although, as a previous Saab owner, I should have been!), but I'm willing to give it a try, especially if it could possibly save me nearly $1000. But how complicated is the job and what special tools would I need? Is it realistic for a lunkhead like me, who can barely find the dipstick under the hood, to just read a manual and then perform complicated engine work? I'm dubious...

#29 q240z

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Posted 08 September 2005 - 11:38 AM

I'd be willing to step out on a limb here and say that anybody who can manage to change spark plugs in a 2.5 Subi should also be able to swap out the timing belt and related components. You might spend a weekend doing it, though, so you have to weigh out the cost/benefit. Personally, I like to know my car, so I just did the head gaskets, replaced a burnt exhaust valve, ground the remaining valves, and tossed new o-rings, seals, and belts on for a grand total of about 350 bones.

But you will need to invest in torque wrenches (ft/lbs & in/lbs), a chain wrench (optional, but cheap and useful), a 3' breaker bar, a metric socket set, and some sealants. If you want fair quality tools at a price that won't break the bank, check out http://www.harborfreight.com/. They do shipping, too.

#30 chilly b

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Posted 08 September 2005 - 12:09 PM

Ok, I'm intrigued. This sounds crazy enough that it just might work. Many questions:

Given the DIY savings, I'd like to do as much as possible in one shot. Also, as I would be dismantling my only vehicle, I'd want to have all parts purchased and available upfront (don't want to discover halfway through that I need to wait a week for more vital parts to arrive), so... what all would I need for a "complete" replacement job?

Based on conversations with various Bay Area mechanics, I was planning on having the following parts replaced: timing belt, fan belts, water pump, seals (5?), tensioners, idlers (2?), oil pump o-ring, thermostat. But these are just words to me at this point. Can someone tell me specifically which parts I would need to purchase before replacing all of these things? And, are there other things I haven't mentioned that should be replaced at the same time (since I'll already be in there)?

Additionally, the car needs the tranny fluid flushed and the coolant flushed. Is that something i could do myself with little hassle?

Finally, the car still needs the 120K service done (change oil, oil filter, fuel filter, air cleaner element, spark plugs, brake fluid). Is this also something I can easily do myself?

I may realize in an hour that this is a ridiculous idea but given that I'm buying a nine-year old car, it might be a good idea to get comfortable getting down and dirty with it.

Would appreciate thoughts/suggestions. Thanks.

#31 the_bard

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Posted 08 September 2005 - 12:34 PM

$4,500 is a fairly decent price, as far as I'm concerned. I picked up a '97 OBW with 126k on the ticker, just a month and a half ago. That price included an engine swap, since the previous engine had been overheating constantly. The dealer attempted several repairs, gave up, and sat on it 'til he found a buyer who'd be willing to pick it up with an engine swap (when I took the "test drive" prior to the swap, the engine was throwing a LOT of steam out the exhaust). Dealer verbally extended the warranty from one to three months without me having to ask or press the issue.


Downside: It's been randomly & unpredictably attempting to spike the temp. gauge since I picked it up, roughly once a week. It's in the dealer's shop right now, getting looked at. Got another thread or two hanging around concerning it, too.

I've been looking around the area, comparing. I've found two other '97 OBWs for sale. The first was in a dealer's lot, 100k, asking $8 grand. The second sat in someone's yard, had obvious front end damage & the word "rebuilt" in the description written in glass chalk on the windshield, and the owner wanted $4,500 for it. Ppppphhhhttt.

On the whole, even with the maintenance/repairs that are built in, $4,500 sounds very reasonable to me.

#32 q240z

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Posted 08 September 2005 - 12:39 PM

Tell you what I'd do if I were in your shoes: go buy the spark plugs, get out your socket set, and have a go at that. I find that a selection of extensions and a universal joint (the short "wobbly" extension) help in this job. You'll also want to pull the windshield washer tank and the air filter housing so you can get at the plugs, so you might want the new air filter ready to go, too. If you are really starting from scratch, pick up the Haynes manual while you're at the parts store. If you can change the plugs in less than an hour, you're golden. If you lose a pound of knuckle skin in the process, you're right on schedule. But if you pull it off but hate the whole thing, don't even think about DIYing the timing belt.

On a side note, I wouldn't replace the oil pump--just the o-ring and the usual locktite on the screws on the backside. I also wouldn't replace the TB pulleys or tensioner unless they're making noise. That might be false economy, but there are folks who claim to have taken these engines to 300k miles without replacing those parts. The water pump is a different story.

#33 chilly b

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Posted 08 September 2005 - 02:33 PM

OK. Just got off the phone with the mechanic who inspected the car last week. Based on what he says he'd replace if I brought the car to him, coupled with a quick internet search of prices, here's what I've turned up so far:

Timing belt - $87
Timing belt idler (2, upper/lower) - $80
Sprocket idler - $40
Cam seals (4) - $40
Crankshaft seal (front) - $9
Oil pump o-ring - $4
Water pump - $70
Alternator/power steering belt - $14
Air conditioning belt - $13
Thermostat - $14
Thermostat gasket - $4
Air filter - $56 (someone in another thread recommended the K&N filter)
Spark plugs (4) - $30
Hydraulic tensioner - $75
Tensioner pulley - $85
Radiator hose (upper) - $13
Radiator hose (lower) - $12

Total cost: approx $650

Does this sound right? Any parts missing?

In addition to the parts, are there any auxiliary things I'll need (e.g., sealant)? And, very importantly, what specific tools will I need to do all this work?

I just ordered the Haynes manual from Amazon and will, of course, read it carefully before ordering any parts. But want to get a ballpark idea from the experts here on the board.

If this is right, then it's definitely worth my while to give it a shot. Thoughts?

Thanks!

#34 q240z

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Posted 08 September 2005 - 03:53 PM

Try https://www.1stsubaruparts.com/ for genuine Subi parts at much cheaper prices or http://www.advanceautoparts.com/ for aftermarket stuff at even cheaper prices.

#35 dpoppeli

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Posted 08 September 2005 - 04:22 PM

Thoughts are: do you have another car available when you have it dismantled and realize that you need one other item from the parts store? Maybe I've gotten less adventuresome over the years (and I have done a timing belt on a VW JEtta) but after I looked at the online Subaru PDF's showing how to do the job (links to this can be located in other threads) I didn't feel as thrilled about doing that one myself.

I'd say start with some small things first, like the 120k service. (I should put a picture of eeyore here in contrast to your tigger).

Ok, I'm intrigued. This sounds crazy enough that it just might work. Many questions:


Given the DIY savings, I'd like to do as much as possible in one shot. Also, as I would be dismantling my only vehicle, I'd want to have all parts purchased and available upfront (don't want to discover halfway through that I need to wait a week for more vital parts to arrive), so... what all would I need for a "complete" replacement job?

Based on conversations with various Bay Area mechanics, I was planning on having the following parts replaced: timing belt, fan belts, water pump, seals (5?), tensioners, idlers (2?), oil pump o-ring, thermostat. But these are just words to me at this point. Can someone tell me specifically which parts I would need to purchase before replacing all of these things? And, are there other things I haven't mentioned that should be replaced at the same time (since I'll already be in there)?

Additionally, the car needs the tranny fluid flushed and the coolant flushed. Is that something i could do myself with little hassle?

Finally, the car still needs the 120K service done (change oil, oil filter, fuel filter, air cleaner element, spark plugs, brake fluid). Is this also something I can easily do myself?

I may realize in an hour that this is a ridiculous idea but given that I'm buying a nine-year old car, it might be a good idea to get comfortable getting down and dirty with it.

Would appreciate thoughts/suggestions. Thanks.



#36 chilly b

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Posted 08 September 2005 - 04:55 PM

I'd say start with some small things first, like the 120k service. (I should put a picture of eeyore here in contrast to your tigger).

Actually, the more I think about the broad DIY job, the more I like it. I'm no longer in the same income bracket I was in when I owned the Saab and really do need to shift out of my casual "pay the mechanic whatever he demands" mode. I'd rather "invest" the DIY savings in a good set of tools/supplies that I can use to do my own repairs and maintenance. Seems like it might be a good investment. So, as of right now, I think I'm going to bite the bullet and tackle the entire job at once.

Having said that... will the Haynes manual indicate which tools I will need to use for the various parts of the job?

And, no, I won't have another vehicle available while I'm in the guts of mine but there's a Kragen shop within easy biking distance!

#37 q240z

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Posted 08 September 2005 - 06:28 PM

chilly, I listed the essential tools you'll need a few posts up.;)

#38 chilly b

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Posted 08 September 2005 - 06:46 PM

chilly, I listed the essential tools you'll need a few posts up.;) "...you will need to invest in torque wrenches (ft/lbs & in/lbs), a chain wrench (optional, but cheap and useful), a 3' breaker bar, a metric socket set, and some sealants."


Ah. Didn't know if this needed to be specified any more than this. I saw another thread on timing belt replacement (for an older Subaru) and people were indicating very specific wrenches. For example, in a thread regarding replacing the timing belt on an '87 Subaru, someone named "Moosens" indicated:

"Tools:
10mm,12mm,14mm sockets and box/open end
8mm if you want to take the alternator all the way out-disconnect battery first off!!
Punch or screwdriver or equiv. for stopping the flywheel and stopping the fan clutch.
Good to have some large Channel locks for the cam pulleys.
Breaker bar w/22mm socket,good to have a large pipe over the bar for leverage."

He actually went into quite a bit of detail in the thread: http://www.ultimates... belt tensioner

Anyway, I was optimistically hoping someone had this same level of info for timing belt (and related item) replacement on a '97 Legacy Outback.

Thanks!




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