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01 Outback

01 Outback died looking for another

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On my way home from work night before last about 20 miles into my 61 mile journey home, my Outback was humming along at 70 as usual and I am thinking a piston disintegrated or a rod or main bearing let go. It was 11 degrees outside. I know the motor was full of oil verified that morning and after whatever happened. It sounded like someone striking an anvil with a hammer very rapidly and very loud. The car was due it's 5000 mile oil change but not over due. I only used Mobil 1 5W30 with Lucas synthetic oil stabilizer and Mobil 1 filters. I tried to make it off of I-66 and it locked up on the off ramp. A surprisingly friendly VA State Trooper pulled up behind me shortly after I got it in neutral and backed it up as close to the guard rail as I could get it.  He let me sit in his Cruiser and stay warm till the roll back arrived.The car has 360K on it and 107K on a eBay procured reman motor. All told, not counting consumables I purchased it in 2012 for 3 grand and I might have 6 grand total in the car. I have put over 200K on it in 5.5 years of the 122 mile a day commute mostly at speed in excess of 80 MPH, so long story short I feel I more than got my money's worth out of it, best car I have ever owned. AAA was inundated with calls due to bad weather and dropped me out of the wait queue three times before the Trooper said I have to call our rollback on rotation and get this car off the off ramp. The tow guy was there in 9 minutes and charged me $110 to tow it to a Wal-Mart parking lot in Haymarket, VA a mile away. I had to be back to work for another 12 hour shift at 0945 yesterday so the car is still setting there. I hope to get hold of AAA after I feed my cows today and make them reimburse me for the tow and send someone to get it so that means another 80 mile round trip to take the tow driver the key so he can load it, ( providing I can get them to come get it on New Years Eve).  I am on the hunt now for another good used Outback of the same era. I don't think it would be wise to put a 2nd engine in this car with that mileage. I think I am going with a 6 cylinder car this time and have a lead on a couple of them. I found one I really like but it is in Brooklyn, NY so I am kinda dreading driving up there to buy it 296 miles one way... Is there anything I should watch out for inherent to the 3.0 that I can see from the outside?

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No, sadly Nicks Good Food Diner on North Royal is closed and torn down. My grandmother Margaret Steele used to sell eggs to all the restaurants in Front Royal in the early 60s and I used to get a free fountain drink while I was sitting at the counter when they did their business.

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RUST.  Don't buy something with rust issues which is common if you're looking up north.  I'd go out of my way to look the same distance south of where you are.  

 

H6's have headgasket issues.  They are seemingly less frequently an issue than your old 4 cylinder EJ engine was and happen at notably higher mileages. 

 

BUT - they're symptoms come and go and make them very hard to spot on test drives.  They can literally be undetectable when they first start failing, with only overheating events separated by weeks and even months.  I've seen two that for the first year would only overheat in 90+ degree weather or highway driving.  So - they commonly get picked up used and you have issues shortly later - even months/next summer maybe, but the issues would have bee previously extant, you just didn't know it. 

 

So buy cautiously. They're great and I do prefer them but I also am probably a better than average buyer.  I want to find a seller who's selling for a very clear and compelling reasons. 

 

Iv'e seen multiples on car lots with extant headgasket issues and two of the failures on vehicles I've helped purchase (i'm consisntely helping multilpe peopel a year buy/sell subarus) were from Subaru's bought on dealer lots, while the private owner sales have always been free and clear. 

 

And replace your serpentine pulley bearings every 60,000 miles, they're not considered maintenance but they fail all the time.  Luckily they're $10 and takes 30 minutes, super easy so it's no big deal, just make sure to do it. 

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Stick with the 4 cylinder. The H6 is extremely expensive to work on once it needs things like timing chain covers resealed and head gaskets replaced.

 

When you get another one, have the head gaskets done with 770's, the oil pump changed to a 10mm, and all the timing replaced with Japanese.

 

And for the love of Subarus - stop using Lucas oil stabilizer. And Mobil 1 is junk. Get some Amsoil Premium Protection 10w40 and the Amsoil filter.

 

GD

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This must be the "old home week" post.  I lived in Haymarket VA for 27 years and remember the Howard Johnsons at Front Royal very well, and also The Leather Coat in The Plains. 

 

 I would  go south to get older Subaru's though -- once got a Forester that started life in NJ and later discovered the rust.  Only northern VA gets regular winter salt. 

 

Mobil 1 is not junk and they invented the synthetic market with their Delvac and Mobil 1 synthetics back in the 70's for the aviation market. Their SOAP (spectrographic oil analysis program) is the best in the industry. Oil additives are not needed. 

 

If you have the skill to do engine, alternatives are the OEM short block, an ex Japan engine, or a domestic engine from a company like SW, or dismantle what you have and as long as the case is not damaged you should be able to rebuild that, but maybe not considering your failure narrative.  You can get a complete new OEM crankshaft for about $400.00.   IMHO it makes no sense to get another same year hi mileage car that you do not know the history of.    

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Amsoil was first to market with synthetics by several years.

 

Mobil 1 isn't what it used to be. They have watered down the additive package in order to meet API requirements and remain the factory fill in several production applications like the Corvette and Mercedes. Amsoil routinely beats it in analysis results.

 

The EJ257 nitrided crankshaft is only a little over $300. But I would not reccomend anyone to attempt a rebuild without hands on training. It's not straightforward.

 

GD

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My farming partner knows the GM at a well established local independent lot in Winchester, VA called Dudley Motors. He called this morning and told me he made some inquiries in his network and found me an 02 Legacy LL Bean with 148 K that needs some cosmetic repair on the rear bumper. He quoted me under$4000 out the door with transportation cost, servicing, bumper repair and VA safety inspection. He said 2 weeks... Since it is an 02 I know some of the parts will interchange if needed. I told him not to buy any bumper repair parts to just send his man to the farm and take them off of my 01. pics will follow...

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The deal fell through on the red car depicted due to a titling issue that may take another 2-3 weeks to resolve. I found an 01 Outback VDC with 110K that is in my price range. The car is scheduled to arrive today and I am supposed to go look at it tomorrow. Is there anything different to look out for with VDC cars? Thanks to all in advance. My 90 GMC is costing me $26 a day in fuel at 13MPG on the highway ( 350 with 3.42 gears towing package) I have got to get some relief:)

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H6’s have occassional headgasket issues. They overheat randomly and sporadically at first making them nearly impossible to diagnose or test at initial onset and a dangerous unknown used car lot purchase. I prefer buying them private party or wrecked where you get a read on why it’s being sold.

 

I’ve seen two develop headgasket issues after purchase and both came off of car lots and I’ve seen two for sale on lots with extant issues I passed on when helping friends. The 5 or so private party sales I’ve helped with didn’t have that.

 

That said they’re great candidates for reliable high mileage daily drivers. At $4000 price range forget the dealers and look for a private party or lightly wrecked cheap one to fix is what I’d do. Put the savings into a new OEM alternator, starter contacts, battery and pulleys bearings (mentioned later) and fuel pump cap/oring and you just got a very reliable 100,000 miles.

 

Serpentine pulley bearings both need replaced every 60,000 miles. They’re only $10 and takes 30 minutes. Super easy.

 

Fuel pump caps crack at the tab.

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I put a deposit down today on the 01 VDC. Thanks to you all telling me where to look, I found an oil leak at the oil cooler where it meets the filter housing. The heated seats are inop or I don't know how to turn them on. The left rear window is inop and the pipe between the resonator and the muffler is rotten. One cv joint boot is torn on the rh joint inboard.  All these discrepancies were noted and will be fixed as a condition of the sale prior to pick up on Thursday or Friday. The car runs great and has a lot of power compared to the 2.5 in my old outback. It is clean inside and out, no rust anywhere. Pics will follow...

Edited by 01 Outback

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Good news the leaks were determined to be a rh valve cover gasket and a loose hose clamp on a power. steering line. The window was iced up and works after being thawed. The RH cv joint will be replaced and he is giving me the factory joint with the torn boot to reboot and keep for a spare. The pipe for the exhaust is on order. They are troubleshooting the cause of the heated seats inop but have no cause yet and is not a deal breaker anyway...

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I was wondering what the consensus was as to the best engine oil and what viscosities and types of fluid / gear oil to use in the transmision and differentials? I am not sure I understand all I dont know about the VDC system and dont want to screw something up withe the wrong oil. Thanks in advance.

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GD

I picked up 6 quarts of Amsoil 10W40 and a Purolator OEM equivalent Pure One filter. What interval do you recommend?

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