Older Subaru Suggestions

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2,100
Location
South Central PA (Fulton Co)
Afternoon folks! My co-worker has a 1999 Subaru Legacy Outback with the 2.5L and a 5 speed manual that I'm 95% sure I'm getting. Its been parked for several months due to the power steering pump leaking like a sieve. Was going to throw the pump back on and nurse it home, but he lost the banjo bolt. So we ordered the parts from the dealer to hopefully solve the issue. The car has 211K on it, but most are highway miles as the original owner used it for cross country road trips. The timing belt, water pump, tensioner, etc. was replaced 18K miles ago so I should be set on that for a while. Clutch is also new as well. There is a rust hole on the passenger side rear wheel-well where the door bottom meets, but that's expected. Shifter bushings are shot as well, can't tell what gear you're in, lol. That's all high mileage issues I assume. Question for you folks is, what other issues can I look out for on these cars? I know head gaskets are a common issue (this one the coolant is full and clean), but am not sure on other stuff. I'm not picking the car up for much if that means anything?

Here's a couple quick shots I got today of it.

SpRM7CB.jpg


60yoAnN.jpg


IeUH4PH.jpg
 
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217
those things are so simple to fix it would make a great car. check the head gaskets before you buy it. that year of DOHC engine have to have engine taken out to do the head gaskets . other than the HG that thing should hit 300k easy
 
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512
The head gaskets can only be replaced a couple of times, I think. If the surfacing is properly done on the heads, then it shaves too much off to be in spec after too many HG changes. If the heads are not surfaced (more necessary if overheated and warped) then the HG is going to fail really quick. The turbo engines are either semi-closed deck or closed deck (older turbo model) and are actually more likely to last longer than the naturally aspirated ones in terms of HG issues.

Great cars if you don't mind dumping a lot of money into keeping them running when they get older. Not much else out there as close to as fun in the snow.

Kind of makes me wish Subaru would produce a regular inline 4 banger version, even if it meant a taller hood and worse center of gravity.
 
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863
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98245
How exactly are people checking whether HG are OK?
Visual inspection of the coolant? Sending fluid samples for analysis?
On my 2004, I did a UOA and asked Blackstone to check for traces of coolant.
 
Messages
543
Location
WA
How exactly are people checking whether HG are OK?
Visual inspection of the coolant? Sending fluid samples for analysis?
On my 2004, I did a UOA and asked Blackstone to check for traces of coolant.
Harbor Freight now sells a tester, Maddox branded. $22 & change. Probably worth it to know if you're looking at used Subaru.
There was a test strip that you expose to the coolant in the radiator as I recall. Can't remember the brand name.
 
Messages
217
How exactly are people checking whether HG are OK?
Visual inspection of the coolant? Sending fluid samples for analysis?
On my 2004, I did a UOA and asked Blackstone to check for traces of coolant.
depends on bad it is. if its got a bad HG, it should have exhaust gases in the coolant. shops can use a gas sniffer and check it. some people buy a tool that one puts on the radiator cap

i once looks at a subaru that was litterally blowing radiator fluid out the coolant tank. the guy said there was no problem with it. LOL

 

Delta

Thread starter
Messages
2,100
Location
South Central PA (Fulton Co)
This is worth a read before jumping into any used Subaru. You will understand the issues and (not exactly easy) remedy.


That was an excellent read, thank you!

Unless he changes his mind, I'm picking this car up super cheap. If the gasket does go I'll either pull the engine and do it myself, or scrap it. However there's a stack of receipts (well over $2k) of work done over the past 4 years. The guy my coworker got it off of bought it to eventually give to his kids, so he put a bit of money in it. However they refused to learn how to drive stick. Their loss, my gain.
 
Messages
7,354
Location
Suburban Washington DC
That was an excellent read, thank you!

Unless he changes his mind, I'm picking this car up super cheap. If the gasket does go I'll either pull the engine and do it myself, or scrap it. However there's a stack of receipts (well over $2k) of work done over the past 4 years. The guy my coworker got it off of bought it to eventually give to his kids, so he put a bit of money in it. However they refused to learn how to drive stick. Their loss, my gain.
If it's not more than $500, it might be worth the gamble. My main concern would be passing state inspections.
 
Messages
7,432
Location
Roanoke Virginia
The main problem= it’s a Subaru. The other problems head gaskets, bearings. My neighbor had one he let it go for $900 because he bought something else and didn’t want to spend any money to put brakes on it.
 

Delta

Thread starter
Messages
2,100
Location
South Central PA (Fulton Co)
The main problem= it’s a Subaru. The other problems head gaskets, bearings. My neighbor had one he let it go for $900 because he bought something else and didn’t want to spend any money to put brakes on it.

This is going to be my going to work beater not a main vehicle. If I gotta pull the engine I got time, a garage, and other modes of transportation. This one already has a new timing belt and clutch, so those expenses are outta the way.
 
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5,114
Location
Southeast
I didn’t know that generation had HG issues, I thought that came in the next generation? That is a solid, solid car. We’ve had a few in the family. They were also one of the safest cars made in that year range. The 2.5 has gobs of torque and drives like a truck engine, the transmission is smooth and the manuals in that generation were a true center differential with limited slip clutch in them. we have one in the family with about 300k on it. It’s been off road manies times, has been rolled on its side, driven cross country with a loose wheel, and is still on its original head gaskets. I had a non-outback sohc legacy wagon in that body style, and aside from the 2.2 being a little underpowered, it was a great vehicle which handled everything i through at it, and I drove it hard.

ours have been super reliable. They did consume oil, but not at any crazy rate especially for how i flogged mine. I wouldn’t hesitate to take the plunge if you like the car.

m
 
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