Jump to content
Ultimate Subaru Message Board

Recommended Posts

My 1999 outback is now in the shop to determine the cause of mysterious overheating. Based on all the information I have gathered I suspect the diagnosis will be a blown head gasket. My dilemma at this point is whether or not it is worth investing $1500 plus into this car. It has 165000 miles on it. I had the transmission rebuilt about a year ago. I have had new tires and break work done within the last year. A couple of years ago I replaced two catylitic convertors. I have replaced the timing belt. I just not sure whether or not to cut my losses or fix the car and hope I will get a couple more years out of it. Don't get me wrong. The last thing I want to do is buy a new car. I just don't want to make a bad decision.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One can never quite know when is the right time to let a car "go".

 

I have a 97 OB. My head gaskets went at 160k miles 3+ years ago. I'm now at 279k miles.

 

The body is solid (I use Rust Check yearly). The interior is fine. The transmission has held up. I did have to change the clutch pack last year due to torque bind, but this was at twice the milage it usually happens. What transmission work did you have done?

 

Other than the issue with my engine, I've had one little expensive sensor go, I've had a couple of rear wheel bearings go, had to have the seals changed on the rear diff, changed rear struts last year and that has been about it. The rest has been routine stuff.

 

Cars usually need some "major, once in the life of the car" stuff around the 7 or 8 year mark. You are at that point (maybe a little early). If you like the car, and it is sound otherwise, I'd say put the money into it and keep it for a few more years. $1500 doesn't go far towards new car payments.

 

Years ago, I had an 85 Civic that I put many many miles on. I did a bunch of work around the 8-10 year mark. (Rad, 4 struts, etc.). For the next 4 years, I didn't do anything except normal maintenance. It was definitely worth it. As long as you don't mind driving a slightly older car.

 

Commuter

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would probably drop a couple of thousand in it now. This is fairly cheap compared to car payments.

I haven't added up my recipts on my 99 Forester with about 115,000 miles because I don't want to scare myself.

In the last couple years it got clutch, head gaskets, brakes, and struts. It runs like new and seems like I will get at least three more years out of it.

Most of my cars I do what amounts to a mid life rebuild on. I got about 300,000 miles out of my last Mercedes in 17 years. I had payments for the first five so after that I got 12 years of no payments. Couple that with savings on sales tax and insurance and I could afford to put a grand in the car a year in maintence.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
convert it to a 2.2L engine and you'll be in good shape for alot of years to come..

 

did it to my 99' outback.

Just got a '97 OBW, myself, w/the 2.5l motor. What's the benefit of using the smaller engine?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

us think the 2.2 is about the best engine Subaru ever built. The early phase 1 2.5 is not one of the better efforts.

The cylinder walls don't have much support at the top of the 2.5 and I believe Subaru has had three head gasket versions for the phase 1 2.5 to correct the problem. The good part is I have not heard much for complaints from folks who have repaired the engine with the latest gasket.

Swapping in a 2.2 would have a few small downsides.

1 you would lose a small amount of power.

2 It would remove value from the car in a conventional sale. (Might add value for a knowledegeable buyer).

3 In my area (CA) it would be more difficult to smog.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just got a '97 OBW, myself, w/the 2.5l motor. What's the benefit of using the smaller engine?

More reliable. The 2.2L has the "bulletproof" reputation. The 2.5L obviously, does not. And it pretty much bolts right in.

 

I'm no speed demon or hp freak, but I really would not want to lose any hp with the OB. I keep wishing it had about 20 more. I don't know if I could give up 15 or 20 by going to the 2.2L. These cars are at the slow end within their peers. I guess it all depends on the driving that you do and your expectations.

 

Commuter

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

New Zealand with 2.2 Subies in thier fleets. Maybe a Kiwi or Ozzie will correct me if I am wrong here but I think they got the newer body styles earlier with the 2.2 motor. I think they use 2.5s now but the cars BILs own are older Subies.

I was driving about a 99 Legacy wagon last year from Auckland to New Plymouth and it had pretty good power with the 2.2. My 2.5 Forester definately has more power, but not a whole lot. I think my 2.5 might pull some steep hills in 5th that you would have to shift down for a 2.2 to get over.

I would say the good thing about Jed's 2.2 Legacy wagon is the fact that he has had to put nothing in it except regular maintence which is much better than my Forester.

Oh yeah, his heat shields rattle but he doen't care.

Norm has several Legacys in his fleet he rents to skiers in Queenstown. If a skier can't break it it is hard to break.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Look at it this way. Your car in running condition is worth maybe $5,000. What could you sell it for with blown head gaskets? Even $3500? Probably not. So, you may actually be ahead by repairing, and then immediately selling the car.

I am not an expert on used cars, others on this board may have more qualified opinions than mine on used car values.

Nothing is guaranteed, but it is very likely that if properly repaired, your present engine will last at least another 50,000 miles (2 years driving). If it was my car, and I own a 1999 Forester with 185,000 miles, I would put the absloute MINIMUM into the car necessary to keep it running. That means NO overhaul or valve job. Chances are very good that the shop will try to sell you on an overhaul or a valve job. Like my car, yours is way, way past the 2 or 3 year old 70,000 mile trade-in sweet spot. My goal is to run my car for as long as I can for as cheaply as I can, safely of course. If your goal is to keep this car for a long time, well beyond your two year time limit, you might want to consider more extensive engine work. But it sounds like the love affair with your car is over, you want two years of "breathing space" and then out.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×