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Doing some research I've found the FB25 engine does not (yet) have a reputation of head gasket failures. Of course there's the oil consumption. I do like that it has timing chains. I wonder if these are also prone to ring bearing failures? Only found one mention of that on an FB25, and it was on a turbo Forester. It seems most ring bearing failures are on high performance vehicles like the Forester turbos and WRXs, same with the FJ25. I don't have Subaru now although I've owned many over the years, they still appeal to me. If I ever did get one with the FB25 I'd know to be diligent with checking oil. I was always able to do oil changes on all the Subarus I have, I probably still have a Fram PH3593 oil filter in the garage. Was even able to change the oil on my son't '95 Legacy without jacking it up. It appears on the FB25 the oil filter is on top of the engine.

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The chains are stupid since we end up resealing the chain cover's at about 70-100k anyway which is so time consuming you may as well just replace a timing belt. At least with the belt you get all new components every 105k. The chain setup is prohibitively expensive to replace but you have to open it up all the same to re-glue the massive front chain cover. Also the early one's leak right into the front AFR sensor and usually kill the $250 sensor. So there's that. The turbo models break piston skirts and are as-yet cost prohibitive to upgrade compared to the STI which is still running the EJ. 

All-in-all we really don't like them. They are more time consuming to service and aren't handling power like the EJ's. Reliability seems alright if you keep oil in them but cost of maintenance is the same or higher with the silly chain cover and cam tower leakage that all of them have. Personally I would rather deal with the EJ's head gaskets. 

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Interesting - then an EJ25 with the timing belt replaced may be a better bet. There's a dealership in my state that claims to replace the timing belt and head gaskets on every Subaru they sell. By default the statement is on the 2011 Forester I saw with the FB25. They warranty the Subarus 6 months bumper-to-bumper and 1 year on the engine. Since I have a company vehicle I typically put on only a few thousand miles a year on my own car and truck. From my experience older EJ25s may leak oil but not necessarily burn oil so much. 

Currently I have an older Honda Accord, 5MT. I don't know when the timing belt was changed, probably can't be inspected and considering the labor to make it visible might as well have it replaced. It's a great car but I can't ignore the appeal I still have for Subarus. With proper care I've seen (although maybe rare?) examples of EJ25s out there with over 200k miles. Older Subarus are what I'd consider since I'm a manual transmission fanatic. The heated cloth seats also make them unique and appealing to me, I don't like leather. I'd be fine with a CVT - had a company vehicle with one which I was fine with and very fuel efficient - but I'm beginning to see reports of some failures on high mileage CVTs. Maybe it's a small percentage, I don't know. I'd go for a 2010+ Outback with the 6MT but there's that procedure for changing the front low beam light bulb...

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i have a 2002 Forester with the EJ251 that is just about to hit 260K - headgaskets were done long before I got it, supposedly around 85K mark.. runs and drives great, no major issues at all

the other half has a 2006 LL Bean outback with the 3.0 - he has more issues with his than I do with mine.. fussy sensors and such, lol, but he is slowly catching up on the mileage, well over 225K at this point.

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Wow, 260K, and blue 2002 - now I'm really wishing I kept this! 

1133544745_SubaruForester.thumb.jpg.ef44a41a46f6ee77c5f4f16c27d470c6.jpg

 It's a 2002S 5MT. The air conditioning was shot, quoted around $1300 to repair. It was around 130k miles, (cool you and your partner have well over 200k) so I was thinking it was going to need head gaskets soon. Traded it in 3 years ago. Interesting the newer 3.0 has more issues. I miss my Forester.

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eh, the 3.0 isn't that bad.. mostly just random codes that come & go all by themselves - like i said, fussy sensors... but yeah, stuff is a little more expensive for it, too

mine is the auto version, but yeah, same blue..

826181600_darkwheels.jpg.d0f5fe3b1f150009f97ba915e163ea9f.jpg

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Nice! Looks to be in really good shape. A similar scene to here, I also have a flag outside and an old pickup truck! Some berate the 4EAT, but many times at the same time saying it's very reliable, which is true. As long as the 'go' follows 'comes' with the 3.0 codes that's fine. Very few headgasket failure reports with those and a timing chain. 

As I have more time these days I've been doing a lot of research. I tend to focus on 10+ year old vehicles. Looking for reliability another I considered was a Toyota 4Runner. Overall excellent consumer reviews  - but a good place to look are the brand's forums. The Toyota 4.0 V6 is prone to head gasket failures. There's a whole thread there about that, like on the subaroutback.org forum. Likely a very small percentage, but of course a red flag.

Re: the spun bearing issue on the Subaru 2.5 engines,  again the occurrences are likely rare - but one of my sons had a 2007 Legacy and I think that's what happened to it. 260k is one of the highest mileages I've heard of on an EJ25. Good to know it's possible.

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18 minutes ago, Stelcom66 said:

Nice! Looks to be in really good shape. A similar scene to here, I also have a flag outside and an old pickup truck! Some berate the 4EAT, but many times at the same time saying it's very reliable, which is true. As long as the 'go' follows 'comes' with the 3.0 codes that's fine. Very few headgasket failure reports with those and a timing chain. 

Re: the spun bearing issue on the Subaru 2.5 engines,  again the occurrences are likely rare - but one of my sons had a 2007 Legacy and I think that's what happened to it. 260k is one of the highest mileages I've heard of on an EJ25. Good to know it's possible.

H6's do not have "code issues".  The H6 has no common code issues at all.  Oxygen sensor/catalyst inefficiency and evaporative emissions stuff is common across all Subaru engines since the late 1990's, particularly those models (H4 and H6) with emissions equipment in the back.

Ej25 spun bearings are oil related.  Change the oil frequently and never let it get low on a daily driver and that won't be an issue.  EJ25's commonly loose oil at the headgaskets and oil control rings (due to poor oil change history and wear).   If the oil gets low, which is easily the case in an older EJ25, the rod bearings will pay the price first almost every time.  if you can find one that's never been low you won't have an issue - but that's hard to verify.  Interview your seller as much as possible and see if you can get a feel for prior maintenance/issues. 

So - if you're buying an Ej25 - try to verify maintenance and oil change history.  If it's dirty, a mess, cobbled together, and cheap - I wouldn't expect it had great oil change history. 

 

 

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20 hours ago, Stelcom66 said:

 If I ever did get one with the FB25

They have oil consumption issues - particularly the early models like very roughly 2013-2016.  Some also have valve train issues.  I like to recommend 2017+ for FB engines, but those end up driving up the cost to closer to new vehicles and not in the "10 year old" range.  

The H6's are awesome, get the EAT transmission which is a total beast, and are great.  If you can tolerate the bad gas mileage, get that one until the FB's are a little older and priced lower.  If you buy well they're fabulous.  I prefer buying from owners than yards.  Easier to get a feel for condition and why someone is selling.  

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I've seen quite a few H6's with blown HG's around/above 200k and we just end up swapping them with JDM replacements. Usually cost prohibitive to replace the gaskets.

The EJ251 and later variants are the best option as the parts are plentiful and they can easily go 250k with proper maintenance and good head gaskets.

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11 hours ago, idosubaru said:

...So - if you're buying an Ej25 - try to verify maintenance and oil change history.  If it's dirty, a mess, cobbled together, and cheap - I wouldn't expect it had great oil change history. 

 

 

Yes history is key. A couple pluses that dealership i my state that I mentioned has is the one year warranty on the engine. Of course a bearing failure could come after a year - but the fact that they replace the head gaskets on all Subarus whether they were showing signs of needing to or not may prevent a bearing failure, hopefully meaning no oil deficit yet.  I've seen a few reports of bearing failures not long after a head gasket replacement. A typical replacement would be after they're bad - so the leaking oil over that time as you said could promote a bearing failure. 

A 3.6R is still in the running - the reduced fuel economy wouldn't be a deal breaker. 

9 hours ago, GeneralDisorder said:

I've seen quite a few H6's with blown HG's around/above 200k and we just end up swapping them with JDM replacements. Usually cost prohibitive to replace the gaskets.

The EJ251 and later variants are the best option as the parts are plentiful and they can easily go 250k with proper maintenance and good head gaskets.

GD

Oh boy, those too? Nothing is ideal I suppose. I wonder if the majority of failures were on the 3.0 H6? A vehicle I just plain forgot about speaking of H6 was the Tribeca. The last few years of them didn't look too bad, but it seems you really pay a fuel economy penalty with those. Also not surprisingly somewhat rare.

 

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I had my '99 Outback for about a year and sold it with 289k on it. Bought it with blown gaskets but it ran well and I really liked that car. No doubt it'll go for a long time. My '04 Legacy is approaching 190k and runs great, only burns a small amount of oil. Our '13 Crosstrek has 110k and recently had the engine out for the valve spring recall and it burns a couple quarts between changes but it doesn't leak anywhere and runs strong. Shortly after the valve springs, it lost a tranny solenoid that cost $1700 to mend.. that stung a little but I didn't have the heart to do it myself.

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The '99 had the SOHC, right? That's some serious mileage on both. I had  '98 Outback years ago. The clutch (maybe throwout bearing?) was starting to make noise. It was when I had dial-up internet so never heard of head gasket or any other issues. I traded it in for a 2002 in 2005 with only 103k - reason being our company vehicle policy required our vehicles to be no more than 7 years old. I was reimbursed fairly for using it doing service calls, so I didn't mind.  Sorry to hear about the solenoid needing replacing. 

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Yes H6s have headgakset issues too. I’ve repaired them and swapped them as well. EJ25 is always random mileage (can be 20k or 200k or anything in between).  H6s are usually higher mileage at failure. 

The H6 initial headgasket symptom is random overheating.  Zero other signs or hints or symptoms. It can overheat once then not do it again for months. They slowly get worse over time. Eventually overheating more often and/or under specific conditions. Sometimes only overheating when the coolant gets low so you won’t have symptoms until it gets low on coolant.  This makes them terrible to buy at used car dealers.  People trade them at the first sign of overheating, a Subaru mechanic tells them it’s headgaskets and they trade it in and the used dealer buying it doesn’t know.  I prefer to buy cars from private sellers and heavily favor private sales on H6s. 

ive seen multiple H6 Subaru’s have headgaskets issues on the lot, shortly after someone bought them personally, and a bunch on online forums too.  guarantee I can find numerous “I just bought an H6 and it’s now overheating” type thread. 

be careful at dealers or vet private sellers or get a warranty.

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Wow - thanks for the warning. At times for the heck of it I'll look on Craiglist, but just look thinking the way to go is from a dealer. Ironically, I can recall now some pretty good details about vehicles sold there since it's typically by the current owner. You'll see a list of what's been replaced (hopefully they're honest) - what it does (such as a noise when turning left) what's defective and why they're selling it. I think if I was to buy from a dealership it would just be the one I mentioned that replaces the head gaskets and timing belts along with a comprehensive warranty. 

 

 

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12 hours ago, Stelcom66 said:

The '99 had the SOHC, right? That's some serious mileage on both. I had  '98 Outback years ago. The clutch (maybe throwout bearing?) was starting to make noise. It was when I had dial-up internet so never heard of head gasket or any other issues. I traded it in for a 2002 in 2005 with only 103k - reason being our company vehicle policy required our vehicles to be no more than 7 years old. I was reimbursed fairly for using it doing service calls, so I didn't mind.  Sorry to hear about the solenoid needing replacing. 

The '99s were DOHC but with the new phase 2 block so better main bearings and coolant passages but phase 1 pistons and heads. Great engine IMO. Also had a '98 OB with 213k that I bought broken.. one of the camshafts had locked up and broke 2 of the composite cam pulleys but one new exhaust valve and a HG/TB job later it ran fine. Always liked the 99 more though. They were both Autos, a first for me but I actually didn't mind that. For my peace of mind though my 245k EA81 can truly go the distance

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Jeez, 245k! I looked up the EA81. That must have been what I had in my 1985 4WD GL wagon - Leone I think it was called elsewhere. That car had a manual lever to engage 4WD.

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14 hours ago, Stelcom66 said:

Wow - thanks for the warning. At times for the heck of it I'll look on Craiglist, but just look thinking the way to go is from a dealer. Ironically, I can recall now some pretty good details about vehicles sold there since it's typically by the current owner. You'll see a list of what's been replaced (hopefully they're honest) - what it does (such as a noise when turning left) what's defective and why they're selling it. I think if I was to buy from a dealership it would just be the one I mentioned that replaces the head gaskets and timing belts along with a comprehensive warranty.

Private and dealer both have upside and downside issues. It seems a of people find this hard (remembering that I've helped a ton of people buy subarus), but it seems easy to me.  Every car I've bought from someone who clearly had a reason to sell - retired, moving, mobile people like military/grad/medical, car needed a new fender, family of 6 (the new baby can't possibly fit in their current car)....has been a great vehicle.  Every car where the person didn't have a real reason to sell (they always have "a" reason - company car, needed something new....lots of 'artifical' or convenient 'reasons' to sell that are described to a prospective buyer but they aren't real reasons) - is when you are likely into a problematic vehicle.   

Dealers have some upsides too, usually on newer vehicles.  A dealership purchase rarely has any upside to $5k vehicles - they get a car at auction they know nothing about that's had 3 prior owners and know known recent or past history.  In my mind it's almost stupid to only look at dealers for sub $10k cars - you're guaranteeing to know nothing of the past history/ownership that way.  Of course look there as well, but also consider private.  I'll fly far away for a great private vehicle over a dealer.  You almost always get a "worse" vehicle from a dealer of older, lower cost Subaru's because the nature of auctions/trade-ins is such that you're guaranteed to not know anything about the car.  Unless yo'ure in a small or slow market where the trade-ins are local and known, but that's not the norm. 

You won't find one that replaces headgaskets on H6's - they're too costly and labor prohibitive.  And I wouldn't trust that it's done right unless I know who did it and that OEM gaskets were used and the heads were resurfaced. 

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3 hours ago, Stelcom66 said:

Jeez, 245k! I looked up the EA81. That must have been what I had in my 1985 4WD GL wagon - Leone I think it was called elsewhere. That car had a manual lever to engage 4WD.

Lots of examples like that.  There's also lots of examples of lower mileage failures.  On a board you just happen to see all the ones that "made it".   My OBW H6 has 265k on the original engine.

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6 hours ago, Stelcom66 said:

Jeez, 245k! I looked up the EA81. That must have been what I had in my 1985 4WD GL wagon - Leone I think it was called elsewhere. That car had a manual lever to engage 4WD.

Its a great engine but your 85 wagon would have had the EA82 engine. 

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Ok - the EA82. In another post on this site I saw where someone just purchased a '92 Loyale wagon very similar to mine, but I don't think 4WD that needs engine work, the rest of the car appears to be in very good shape. My '85 EA82 did leak oil. Maybe they all did. If I recall there was even an oil gauge in the '85 I had.

On a different note - I wonder how common a spun bearing is on a non-turbo engine? In most forums posts it seems to be it happening to turbos, but I know it can happen on normally aspirated engines. It happened to a family member in a 2007 Legacy. He admitted though, it was probably low on oil. Is that usually the case with a spun bearing? Maybe it's hit or miss as I've seen several reports here and elsewhere of EJ25 engines hitting beyond 200k miles.

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not hit or miss if they are taken care of. it is the ones with sketchy maintenance history's that are the ones that fail sooner

my '02 Foz (EJ251) had 214K on the clock when we bought it, first things done were basic maintenance - oil change, timing (full set), coolant flush & new hoses, basic tuneup stuff. I then addressed the mismatched tires that were put on it when it was put up for sale. then did brakes all around.. in the last 4 years have done struts, one wheel bearing, and addressed a coolant leak (pipe that runs front to back on drivers side), and replaced the filler neck - other than that, just basic maintenance..

She has been running strong for me for 4 yrs now and currently sitting at about 260K

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EA81 = great engine. EA82 = EA81 with overhead cam abomination which = not such a good engine. 

As for big end bearing issues, usually low oil in any engine. It could be low enough that the engine oil starves. Or the low oil allows more heat retention further reducing the viscosity of the oil and reducing its lubricating ability. 

Cheers 

Bennie

 

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Yes it seems if they're taken care of 250k+ miles is certainly possible. There are many advantages to older vehicles. I've been reading stories about 2020 Foresters needing jump starts lately, maybe due to them not being driven as much due to staying at home. But all this start/stop, cylinder deactivation, electric steering etc. with newer vehicles long with just to save some gas means a lot more to go wrong. Changing oil seems to be a significant factor to engine longevity. What I've always like about Subarus is I could change the oil on every one I've had in my driveway. The only one I think I didn't was my first one, a 1980 GL. With the 3 speed automatic that thing was at a crazy high rpm on the highway! Don't know how much since it didn't have a tach. 

My EA82 wasn't so great mainly due to oil leaking. Maybe the 1980 I had was an EA81. When I was a kid self service gas stations were non-existent as far as I recall. The attendant would always check the oil. I'll admit I don't as much as I should with my own vehicles. I should more often. 

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Posted (edited)
55 minutes ago, Stelcom66 said:

I've been reading stories about 2020 Foresters needing jump starts lately, maybe due to them not being driven as much due to staying at home.

That's been happening since at least 2014 - small batteries/CCA's probably to save weight/costs.  The solution is to upgrade battery/CCA's and address sitting vehicles that people aren't driving due to often reduced working and driving usage.  That is annoying but fairly simple to work around compared to charging systems on older vehicles fraught with corrosion, degraded wiring and grounds, poor terminal ends, prior work and repairs, etc. 

Edited by idosubaru

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