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Philbiker

Talk me into buying a new 2014 Outback 2.5i

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My 2004 Legacy needs its second head gasket replacement at 190K miles.  I had the head gaskets replaced at 86K.  I'm thinking of putting the car out to pasture.  I've gotten 10 years and 190K miles out of it and it's still in good shape.  Always been garaged; the exhaust has never had any kind of issue and it just passed emissions last year.  The only big unexpected problem was the head gasket, but I knew I was getting into that possibility when I bought the car.  There is not a spot of rust on the car, and I've maintained it well; the interior has held up well and cleans up nicely.  I just can't justify the expense of a head gasket and timing belt on a 10 year old car with almost 200K miles.  At this point this would be a great car for a competent home mechanic to own because I've taken great care of it.  I'm not much of a home mechanic.  I know my limitations.

 

So I'm considering a new 2014 Outback 2.5i.  The Legacy is the only automatic transmission car I've ever owned, and I want to go back to a manual.  Tell me about the new Outback.  I'm planning another 10 years and 200K miles.

 

* How is the 6-speed and clutch?  Do these Subaru clutches last a long time?  My wife's '05 Mercedes-Benz Coupe is on the original clutch with no sign of any trouble at 130K miles - and from what I understand from talking to Mercedes specific shops, I should expect it to last much longer.  Are Subaru clutches this stout?

* 16" Steelies and wheel covers probably mean less expensive tires when it comes time to replace them.  True?  

* New engine means the head gasket issues have been resolved - too soon to tell?  Does the new engine still require the Subaru Coolant additave?

* New engine has a timing chain instead of a belt - Yahoo!!!!  What is the maintenance / tensioning requirement?  Just let it be?

* No more frameless windows means much quieter ride compared to my 2004.  True?

* Does anyone know if the wiring harness for the stereo is the same as the one on my 2004?  I have an aftermarket unit in my Legacy (DVD, SACD multi-channel audio capabilities) that I intend to move into the new car.

* Manual Subarus still get the viscous fluid AWD system?  Doe this have any maintenance requirements that I should be aware of?

 

I hope I can get a good trade in value for my '04 despite the busted headgasket.  It's in very good condition otherwise.  I'll be de-installing the stereo this weekend and installing the stocker back in.  I'll miss the luxury items from the 35th anniversary package, especially the dual sunroofs, but it's time to move on.

 

Also - what kind of penalty should I expect on trade-in for my Legacy from a Subaru dealer.  I would expect that the head gasket will be the first thing they will look for.

Edited by Philbiker

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I'm looking forward to answers on this one. We have two subarus that are getting on in years -- a '96 and a '93 -- and I also want a newer one that, hopefully, will avoid the dreaded head gasket issues. (I know.... it's not that big of a deal to get them fixed and it's a small price to pay for a great car, and... and...and... but just the idea of it really irks me. I want bomb-proof engines like my subies from the 80's and 90's.)

 

You also bring up some other great points that I can completely relate to. So.... thanks for starting the thread. Following.

Edited by bendecker
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I've drive the 6MT newer Outback once, it seemed pretty smooth, especially coupled with the electronic throttle. Clutch feel was good, not too heavy, not too light. This is of course coming from my '02 with a non electronic throttle.

 

16" tires are def cheaper than 17's. You can also get a variety of 16" alloys off other subaru's and I see a fair amount of folks selling "take-off" gen4 Outback alloys.

 

6MT is still viscous coupler.

 

I imagine the harness has changed between '04 and '14, but the bigger concern would be the dash opening - I don't think the facia is the standard double-din type opening anymore.

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I would reasonably expect 150k out of the clutch. Subaru clutches are known to last for 200k or longer with good diving habits. I replaced the original clutch in my 96 Legacy at around 175k. It was worn when I bought it at 165k, and it finally started slipping after we got almost 2 feet of snow back in 2009.

 

That said, I'd still suggest you try driving the new CVT. They've been on the road since 2010 and are proving to be quite robust. They also offer better fuel economy than the manual trans.

 

16" tires will be cheaper.

 

Head gasket issues seem to be gone on the new F series engines, but I'm not sure they've been out long enough to say they're definitely cured.

 

Timing chain maintenance interval is like 250k miles. They're practically lifetime of the car these days. A far cry from the old American V8 days where you had to replace it every 75k miles.

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I've drive the 6MT newer Outback once, it seemed pretty smooth, especially coupled with the electronic throttle. Clutch feel was good, not too heavy, not too light. This is of course coming from my '02 with a non electronic throttle.

 

16" tires are def cheaper than 17's. You can also get a variety of 16" alloys off other subaru's and I see a fair amount of folks selling "take-off" gen4 Outback alloys.

 

6MT is still viscous coupler.

 

I imagine the harness has changed between '04 and '14, but the bigger concern would be the dash opening - I don't think the facia is the standard double-din type opening anymore.

Crutchfield sells a kit that will adapt the opening for a single DIN unit which mine is for $15, and it includes a neato little shelf that looks to be the perfect size for a smart phone.  http://www.crutchfield.com/p_120998903B/Metra-99-8903B-In-dash-Receiver-Kit.html

Edited by Philbiker

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