Jump to content


Welcome to Ultimate Subaru Message Board, my lurker friend!

Welcome to Ultimate Subaru Message Board, an unparalleled Subaru community full of the greatest Subaru gurus and modders on the planet! We offer technical information and discussion about all things Subaru, the best and most popular all wheel drive vehicles ever created.

We offer all this information for free to everyone, even lurkers like you! All we ask in return is that you sign up and give back some of what you get out - without our awesome registered users none of this would be possible! Plus, you get way more great stuff as a member! Lurk to lose, participate to WIN*!
  • Say hello and join the conversation
  • Subscribe to topics and forums to get automatic updates
  • Get your own profile and make new friends
  • Classifieds with all sorts of Subaru goodies
  • Photo hosting in our gallery
  • Meet other cool people with cool cars
Seriously, what are you waiting for? Make your life more fulfilling and join today! You and your Subaru won't regret it, we guarantee** it.

* The joy of participation and being generally awesome constitutes winning
** Not an actual guarantee, but seriously, you probably won't regret it!

Serving the Subaru Community since May 18th, 1998!

Guest Message by DevFuse
 

Photo
- - - - -

Considering buying an Outback, need feedback


  • Please log in to reply
21 replies to this topic

#1 Mbrooks

Mbrooks

    New User

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 4 posts
  • Pennsylvania

Posted 08 November 2003 - 06:42 AM

First off, I'd like to say this is a nice forum setup you have here. :wave:
I am currently looking for another vehicle to replace my Ford Explorer. I am considering buying an Outback wagon. I assume I will be looking in the 97-00 year range, depending on what the dealership has, and for how much $$$. I am looking to get an automatic. I was wondering what to lookout for/avoid? What are the weak points, and things that break/fail more often? I most of the repair and maintainence myself, is the Subaru a nightmare to work on? Any irregular maintainence except for the waterpump/timing belt? Thanks in advance.

#2 "EJ"

"EJ"

    1000+ Super USER!

  • Members
  • 1,115 posts
  • Jerzey

Posted 08 November 2003 - 08:36 AM

I ve got an 01 Outback, 5sp with 2.5 ltr engine. I do all the maint. myself. Pretty easy to do most of the maint., I am flushing the cooling system today along with an oil change. It has over 40K on the OD and hasn't caused us any problems. Only thing I find is that you have to make sure you get the air filter housing put back together the right way when changing the filter. Once you learn how to do it you'll remember, just have to get all the little tabs in all the holes so it seals properly. I don't have any exp. w/automatics. Subarus are very dependable cars, I am sure you'll here that allot on this board. BTW welcome to the board...:wave:

What part of PA are you from? I am down in South Jersey. Good luck finding a ROO.

#3 99obw

99obw

    this space for rent

  • Members
  • 1,595 posts
  • Ithaca area

Posted 08 November 2003 - 08:41 AM

Originally posted by Mbrooks
First off, I'd like to say this is a nice forum setup you have here. :wave:
I am currently looking for another vehicle to replace my Ford Explorer. I am considering buying an Outback wagon. I assume I will be looking in the 97-00 year range, depending on what the dealership has, and for how much $$$. I am looking to get an automatic. I was wondering what to lookout for/avoid? What are the weak points, and things that break/fail more often? I most of the repair and maintainence myself, is the Subaru a nightmare to work on? Any irregular maintainence except for the waterpump/timing belt? Thanks in advance.



Go for the '00, as it has the improved Phase II engine. If not I would recommend the '99 as it has the improved Phase II 4EAT transmission with the external filter and drain plug.

With the AWD make sure you drive tight figure eights in a parking lot and listen and feel for weird noises or vibrations. If you are unsure that the tires are all within 1/4" circumference of each other I would either measure them or make the seller replace all four tires with new identicle tires.

After working on toyota, nissan, cadillac, dodge, buick, ford, and chevy, I can confidently say that a subaru is a PLEASURE to work on. My '92 dodge is 100 times harder to work on than our '99 suby.

I just recommend following the subaru maintanence schedule, it is pretty comprehensive.

#4 Mbrooks

Mbrooks

    New User

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 4 posts
  • Pennsylvania

Posted 08 November 2003 - 09:11 AM

I live in Erie. My friend had a Subaru(1996 Legacy) that he liked. Ot had 80K on it when it was totalled in an accident. Before he was in the accident he said he had been noticing trans problems with the automatic. Tires aren't much of a concern for me as i am very picky, and will be doing some tire shopping shortly after I purchase the vehicle. I'm not sure I can afford the '00 with the kind of mileage I am looking for. I will be visiting the Subaru dealer this week, so we will see I guess. :burnout:

#5 paladin_w

paladin_w

    USMB Regular

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 52 posts
  • Fort Collins,Colorado

Posted 08 November 2003 - 11:10 AM

Well I have to say, I had a couple of vehicles before my first subaur my 92, and then a couple afterwords... I now am back with a 97 OBW and I am loving it, even though I have an issue my baby still runs great. Milage is a large concern in other vehicles but as you will find if you look around this board there are subs with very high milage and they are still running strong, my 92 has 160K and my 97 has 176K. These engines and trans mesh really well and I do not think that you get better gas milage/dependability/performance/and versitility out of any other class of vehicle. As long as you do tune-ups on a good maintance schedule these are long lasting reliable vehicles. Parts usually are more expensive than others, but I have found there are less times they need replaced. Good luck with picking out your new subaur and welcome to the board.
Karl

#6 johnd911

johnd911

    USMB Regular

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 118 posts
  • Buffalo

Posted 08 November 2003 - 03:16 PM

first of all an outback will not be as trouble free (headgaskets?) as a well kept 2.2l. My buddy is a Subaru mechanic at the local dealer, headgaskets on high mileage 2.5's are a frequent repair, almost unheard of on 2.2's. My 2.2 has over 330,000 on it with no engine problems , ever. Then there are piston slap issues etc. To someone used to other cars, hondas, toyotas, GMs, fords, chryslers this is a normal thing over 150,000, others even less. just be forewarned that the odds are higher for the 2.5 compared to the 2.2. For someone like me who drives 1000 miles a week, keeping a 2.5 past 150,000 is not recommended. When I replace my 93 I will do so with another 2.2. just my 2 cents.

#7 paladin_w

paladin_w

    USMB Regular

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 52 posts
  • Fort Collins,Colorado

Posted 08 November 2003 - 03:53 PM

johnd911 I have not heard that about the 2.5 that is what i have in my 97 OBW, I have 176K but I will inspect that while I am struggling on my EGR, may distract me and come up with a solution.

#8 alias20035

alias20035

    Subaru Fanatic!

  • Members
  • 357 posts
  • Canada

Posted 09 November 2003 - 01:23 AM

If you are unsure that the tires are all within 1/4" circumference of each other I would either measure them or make the seller replace all four tires with new identicle tires.



1/4 inch, are you nuts?? It is virtually impossible to measure the circumference of the tires within 1/4 inch margin of error. I'll bet that if you measure perfecty identical tires, you could never get within 1/4 inch on all four. In fact I doubt the manufacturing tolerences are within 1/4 inch in circumference.... Remember that we are talking circurference and not diameter (diameter * pi (3.14) = circumference).

Within 1 or 2 inches is PERFECTLY OK....

From another of my recent replies:

It is absolutely essential that all four tires be exactly the same design and circumference. Any difference on one tire will destroy the AWD system in short order. Tire problems are the number one cause of differential, wheel bearing and transmission (AWD section) failures on Subaru's.

I was told by a Subaru Canada technical rep that a 1 or 2 inch circumference difference will not harm the AWD system. In terms of percentages, the Outback tire diameter is about 27 inches (0.394inches/cm*(2*(22.5cm*60%))+16 inches = 26.638 inches in diameter. 26.64*3.14 = 83.65 inches in circumference. So a 1 inch circumference difference is only a 1.2% size difference. Subaru's AWD system does very little work until the axle speeds differ by 10% or even 20%. But keep in mind that a 1.2% difference between tires on one axle is divided by 2 (because of the differential) and then multiplied by the axle ratio (4.11), so 1.2% becomes 2.47% to the VTD clutch or viscous coupling.

At least get a 2000 model, since it has the much better phase II engine, the phase I engines eat head gaskets and the Phase II's have much better low end torque. The 2001 and up models have much better and larger front brakes, the ones on the 2000 models warp easily and are more expensive to service (since part numbers are for the MY2000 only).

#9 benebob

benebob

    Subaru Nut

  • Members
  • 736 posts
  • Lancaster, PA

Posted 09 November 2003 - 09:21 AM

Originally posted by Mbrooks
. Tires aren't much of a concern for me as i am very picky, and will be doing some tire shopping shortly after I purchase the vehicle. I'm not sure I can afford the '00 with the kind of mileage I am looking for.


Very picky AND drivning a Ford Exploder? :headbang:. Tires should be a concern as it shows the overall mantainance of the previous owner. If one was just replaced it can do some major damage to the clutch packs. Why do you desire an Outback so badly? My guess is a normal Legacy wagon will do fine and is about 2k cheaper to start with. It handles better, is slightly faster and brakes better out of the box.

#10 Ranger83

Ranger83

    Subaru Nut

  • Members
  • 740 posts
  • Northeast

Posted 09 November 2003 - 09:31 AM

FWIW, Michelin list the overall diameter of the X 205/70x15 at 26.1". Check out the thread http://usmb.ultimate...=&threadid=6507


You will find people here stating, authoritatively, that the 95-99 OB's with a 2.5 l engine "eat head gaskets." I think this is largely overstated, although like many alloy engines it is not unheard of.

I own two 97 OB's with 87 and 120K respectively. I have 6 friends with 97 or 98 OB's. The highest mileage is 152,000. The lowest is 62K. None have needed head gaskets.

Also posted a thread here to ask about high mileage OB's - http://usmb.ultimate...=&threadid=4328
Guys replaced the headgaskets at 125K, 197K, 120K, 180K, and 94K. Several of these were "preemptive" in that they were replaced while other maintenance was being done. Others have high mileage engines that have not needed head gaskets. If you're opening the engine at 100K plus, most people would do it as a maintenance measure, anyway.

But I'd go for an '00 (new body style) or newer anyway, as resale will be better.
Excellent cars.

#11 Mbrooks

Mbrooks

    New User

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 4 posts
  • Pennsylvania

Posted 09 November 2003 - 09:50 AM

I wanted the Outback because they look better than the Legacy. I'd keep my Explorer until it rotted into the groud, except that I can't keep transmissions in it. I went to the stealership, and was not impressed. All of the pre 2000 motors sounded like complete junk. I can't see dropping over 10K on something that sounds like it's about to die. A 2000 is out of my budget at the moment, so I guess I will looking for a different vehicle. Thanks for all the help.

#12 Ranger83

Ranger83

    Subaru Nut

  • Members
  • 740 posts
  • Northeast

Posted 09 November 2003 - 08:59 PM

The 97-99 cars have solid lifters. Being a flat alloy engine, they are very noicy when cold. They are also rough at idle realtive to many other 4 clylinders - 2.5 l is pretty big for a 4.

The bad news is the good news, as the Subaru flat four is much smoother at highway speeds than most inline fours.

We just sold our blue 97 with 87K miles. The folks who bought it have an Audi. When they started it they thought something was wrong. And didn't believe my comment that "they all do that" until I started up our other Subaru.

If noise on cold startup is your primary criterion, you for sure aren't going to be buying any Subarus! Checking the compression is a safer bet. Good luck with your Explorer.

#13 alias20035

alias20035

    Subaru Fanatic!

  • Members
  • 357 posts
  • Canada

Posted 10 November 2003 - 03:29 AM

Originally posted by Ranger83
The 97-99 cars have solid lifters. Being a flat alloy engine, they are very noicy when cold. They are also rough at idle realtive to many other 4 clylinders - 2.5 l is pretty big for a 4.



Pre 1997 models have hydraulic lifters that can clack due to contamination of the lifter or defective oil pump. The newer models with solid lifters will always make a bit of lifter noise at low RPM, and this noise will either disappear or be undetectable above 2,000 RPM.

What you are most likely hearing is piston slap. The number 4 piston is a bit loose in the cylinder when cold and will slap until it heats up and expands.

The EJ25 is most prone to piston slap, but my EJ22 and EA81 engines both did it as well. The EJ25 in my 2001 Outback just started to slap at 58,000 km

I am not aware of anyone having an engine fail as a result of this "Subaru Normal" piston slap. My EJ22 slapped for over 320,000 km and my EA81 for at least 200,000 km (don't know for sure as I bought the car used).

The only wear and tear to the cylinder wall due to piston slap is below the rings and this is not serious.

I was told it was the number 4 piston by Subaru, and this is due to it being at the end of the crankshaft nearest the thrust bearing.

Some posts indicate that Subaru will replace the #4 piston with a new one with a longer skirt. This is bulls$@t. You can't change just one piston, as they are a matched set, changing less than all of them unbalances the engine causing it to self destruct.

As for smooth idle, the only smooth Subaru are the SVX with its 3.3 H6 and the Outback with the 3.0 H6.

#14 99obw

99obw

    this space for rent

  • Members
  • 1,595 posts
  • Ithaca area

Posted 10 November 2003 - 05:50 PM

Originally posted by alias20035
1/4 inch, are you nuts?? It is virtually impossible to measure the circumference of the tires within 1/4 inch margin of error. I'll bet that if you measure perfecty identical tires, you could never get within 1/4 inch on all four. In fact I doubt the manufacturing tolerences are within 1/4 inch in circumference.... Remember that we are talking circurference and not diameter (diameter * pi (3.14) = circumference).

Within 1 or 2 inches is PERFECTLY OK....

From another of my recent replies:

It is absolutely essential that all four tires be exactly the same design and circumference. Any difference on one tire will destroy the AWD system in short order. Tire problems are the number one cause of differential, wheel bearing and transmission (AWD section) failures on Subaru's.

I was told by a Subaru Canada technical rep that a 1 or 2 inch circumference difference will not harm the AWD system. In terms of percentages, the Outback tire diameter is about 27 inches (0.394inches/cm*(2*(22.5cm*60%))+16 inches = 26.638 inches in diameter. 26.64*3.14 = 83.65 inches in circumference. So a 1 inch circumference difference is only a 1.2% size difference. Subaru's AWD system does very little work until the axle speeds differ by 10% or even 20%. But keep in mind that a 1.2% difference between tires on one axle is divided by 2 (because of the differential) and then multiplied by the axle ratio (4.11), so 1.2% becomes 2.47% to the VTD clutch or viscous coupling.

At least get a 2000 model, since it has the much better phase II engine, the phase I engines eat head gaskets and the Phase II's have much better low end torque. The 2001 and up models have much better and larger front brakes, the ones on the 2000 models warp easily and are more expensive to service (since part numbers are for the MY2000 only).



http://www.endwrench...dingInfoF99.pdf

#15 benebob

benebob

    Subaru Nut

  • Members
  • 736 posts
  • Lancaster, PA

Posted 10 November 2003 - 05:59 PM

Originally posted by Mbrooks
I wanted the Outback because they look better than the Legacy. I'd keep my Explorer until it rotted into the groud, except that I can't keep transmissions in it. I went to the stealership, and was not impressed. All of the pre 2000 motors sounded like complete junk. I can't see dropping over 10K on something that sounds like it's about to die. A 2000 is out of my budget at the moment, so I guess I will looking for a different vehicle. Thanks for all the help.



Sounds like someone misses his pushrod? Good luck Paul Hogan. Just kidding man. Don't give up. My Brat has sounded like it was gonna die for 20 years now. It didn't as it is a subaru. Maybe changing your trannsmission fluid every 15k would be a recommendation I would have on any vehicle you buy. Exploders don't have that great of a rep for eating trannys. Best of luck in your search.

#16 alias20035

alias20035

    Subaru Fanatic!

  • Members
  • 357 posts
  • Canada

Posted 10 November 2003 - 08:37 PM

Originally posted by 99obw
http://www.endwrench...dingInfoF99.pdf



I read the article and have seen similar ones before and I am aware that this one is directly from Subaru. I don't believe they are correct though. I think it is just step one in denying warranty coverage...

Consider the following:

When driving in a straight line all four tires rotate at the same speed, when turning the rear wheels rotate at a slower rate, hence the need for a center differential or torque transfer clutch to release the torque bind.

When the Subaru torque transfer clutch fails it does not allow the release of this torque bind, hence the problem.

It you have an odd sized tire, the front and rear axle shafts will spin at different rates even when driving in a straight line. So you will end up with torque bind even when driving straight line, much as you do when cornering.

The problem is that earlier Subaru automatic transmissions develop a problem that prevents the torque transfer clutch from "unlocking" and releasing the torque bind.

Subaru engineered a 20% axle speed rotation difference into the system to prevent understeer and to allow for easy parking. A single tire of slightly different size (ex. low tire pressure) will not cause that ratio to exceed 20%.

Has anyone eliminated torque bind by adjusting tire pressures?

I don't think its possible to eliminate cornering torque bind with a simple tire pressure adjustment.

With equal sized tires you wont ever get any torque bind driving in a straight line, it is simply not possible. But the first corner will indicate the problem.

#17 Mbrooks

Mbrooks

    New User

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 4 posts
  • Pennsylvania

Posted 10 November 2003 - 08:42 PM

Exploders don't have that great of a rep for eating trannys

You are sadly mistaken. I have had my trans fluid changed at the most miles at 30K. I have been through 3 trans rebuilds, all will lackluster results. The v6 Explorer transmissions are anemic, and weak at best. The transmission is by far the weakest link, and most common serious mechanical problem Explorers have. And yes, I really love my pushrod.

#18 seasvx

seasvx

    New User

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 11 posts
  • 47o 36' N, 122o 19' W

Posted 22 November 2003 - 04:06 PM

Originally posted by Mbrooks
I am considering buying an Outback wagon.

bought our '97 OB in 2000 with about 50K miles on the clock, now 108K and still loving it. it needed transfer clutch plates and a front crank seal at about 90K but other than that just normal PM. it's like a swiss army knife, does so many things and does 'em well. wouldn't be without it.

#19 Lesbaru

Lesbaru

    Gir is my copilot

  • Members
  • 681 posts
  • Seattle

Posted 22 November 2003 - 05:06 PM

I bought my 96 Legacy for $4,500. It had 94k on it. So far I've put 10k on it and replaced the wheel bearing on the driver's front ,and the liftgate latch (very common for this year) and regular oil changes. The 2.2L has a nice reputation. My next "big" expense is replacing the fuel filter due to hesitation problems ($59.95 at my stealership). I fully expect to get another 94k out of this car. (My 86 GL wagon was at 164k and very few expensive repairs before a deer ended it's glorious career!)

I've owned Saab, Honda, Saturn, Toyota, and Subaru. I have no intention of ever buying anything but Subaru in the future. (Maybe a 2006 to keep with my 86, 96, X6, pattern?)

#20 Lesbaru

Lesbaru

    Gir is my copilot

  • Members
  • 681 posts
  • Seattle

Posted 22 November 2003 - 05:11 PM

Caught your location... do you geocache? There are a bunch of geocachers who belong to the USMB.

#21 alias20035

alias20035

    Subaru Fanatic!

  • Members
  • 357 posts
  • Canada

Posted 22 November 2003 - 09:08 PM

Originally posted by Lesbaru
I bought my 96 Legacy for $4,500. It had 94k on it. So far I've put 10k on it and replaced the wheel bearing on the driver's front ,and the liftgate latch (very common for this year) and regular oil changes. The 2.2L has a nice reputation. My next "big" expense is replacing the fuel filter due to hesitation problems ($59.95 at my stealership). I fully expect to get another 94k out of this car. (My 86 GL wagon was at 164k and very few expensive repairs before a deer ended it's glorious career!)

I've owned Saab, Honda, Saturn, Toyota, and Subaru. I have no intention of ever buying anything but Subaru in the future. (Maybe a 2006 to keep with my 86, 96, X6, pattern?)



Fram fuel filter ($20-$30) at you local auto parts store, identical to Subaru model which is made by Purolator (Fram).

#22 seasvx

seasvx

    New User

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 11 posts
  • 47o 36' N, 122o 19' W

Posted 22 November 2003 - 09:45 PM

Originally posted by Lesbaru
Caught your location... do you geocache? There are a bunch of geocachers who belong to the USMB.

naw, just wanted a different way of stating my location. "upper left corner" works too.




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users