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Subaru Legacy/Outback 2005+



  • Make that 3. I just got diagnosed with the head gasket problem. No symptoms, just in for an oil change. The dealer wants over $2300 for the head gasket repair and timing belt. I have a 2005 Outback with 109,000 miles. I am the original owner and faithfully took it to the dealer for oil changes since it was included in my purchase deal. Any options besides giving the dealer $2300 of my hard earned cash? I have purchased a new car every 5 years and have never had a major repair like this with Chevy, Dodge, or Toyota.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Sorry to hear that, that's not common on an 05 either.

    Call 800-SUBARU3 and ask if they can help out at all, but be nice. 109k miles is a whole lot.
  • Make that 4. The same thing happened to me in March 09, had to get towed to the dealership. They wanted $3000 just for the head gasket and cylinder. I asked them if Subaru would pay for it and he said he didn't know. I called Subaru corporate and opened a ticket. The next day the dealership called and said they were paying for all but $250 courtesy charge. Each dealership has a certain amount of $$ allotted for these types of things. I suggest asking them to help. Mine also is a 2005 and had about $80K when it happened. A lot of people feel that bullying people at a dealership is going to get them somewhere. They are people too just trying to make a living so my advise is to not get upset and they might help you out. Good luck.
  • Call Subaru customer service and explain your situation. Since your car is relatively new and properly maintained, they might be able to work something out for you.

    1-800-SUBARU3 (1-800-782-2783)
  • Called Subaru (I was extremely nice and polite) and they said they would not help me at all with the repair cost. I am extremely disappointed with this company. I know the car is over 100,000 but it is all highway in about 4 years. Researching the problem, it looks like they have had this head gasket problem for many years and they have still not resolved it.
  • prigglypriggly Posts: 642
    My head gasket went at 140,000 miles on my 1997 Outback which had been maintained by the book. Cost me $CDN7,000 for a whole new engine at an authorized Subaru dealer's. Subaru did not contribute one thin dime to the repair. Also they did not even provide me a courtesy car for the time I was without mine.

    I have come to the conclusion that Subaru engines are unreliable. Look at the Forester XT (and Outback XT) turbo engines imploding in '08 and '09. And the head gasket problem was supposed to afflict the '96 to '98 Outbacks but obviously involves other years, too.
  • It's tough to get assistance when the car has 100K+ miles on it. Shame on Subaru, though, for not offering any concessions since they know quite well that their engines are very susceptible to head gasket failures.

    I would shop for an independent mechanic - they might be able to do much better on price. I wouldn't give your dealer any more business since he is being unsympathetic and not at all helpful to a loyal customer.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    You'd be lucky to get 140k out of many other manufacturers' cars.
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085

    Even the diety-like Hondas and known to blow head-gaskets. I had to replace (at my cost) the head-gasket TWICE in a honda Civic. This was BEFORE 90K miles.

    When all the antifreeze blows out tailpipe on the highway at -10F... it makes quite a steam-show!! Everyone behind you backs WAYYY off when their windshield suddenly gets covered with slimy antifreeze.

    The O2 sensors died a couple weeks after that....I suspect they dont like getting coverd with antifreeze either.

    You are really expecting too much and are being unreasonably harsh on Subaru.
  • natyaknatyak Posts: 1
    I'm looking at a 2005 Subaru Outback 2.5i with 108K on it. I may be posting prematurely, as the dealer bought the car at auction and as of yesterday had not thoroughly checked it out - but my question is this - Being a first time Subaru buyer, is there anything specific -quirks, warning signs, etc.- that I should be looking for given the mileage?
    Thanks for your time!
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    That was the first year of that generation, 2005-2009. A great design IMHO.

    By then the gaskets were much better, as were the wheel bearings, common issues with 2002 and earlier models. Check those things anyway.

    Turn the radio off and test drive it with the windows open, listen for any odd noises in the suspension while you drive in a figure 8 (safely), feel the steering. Pop the hood and look for any sign of oil leaks or stains on the the block and on the front and rear main seals. You may need a lift to do this properly (or pay a mechanic).

    Basically inspect it as you would any big investment. It's out of warranty, so make sure it's perfect when you buy it.

    The good news is problems should be easy to spot - oil stains, noisy wheel bearings, lack of smoothness in the steering or suspension are all tell-tale signs.

    It's easier to spot these on a Subaru because all 4 wheels are linked together by the powertrain.

    Good luck.
  • My daughter has a 2006 Legacy. We are finding both the air conditioning and heater inadequate. Does not cool significantly in summer nor heat in winter :(
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    1st of all, lets keep in mind that AC and heating are 2 COMPLETELY differnt systems. They only share the delivery method (airflow) AC comes from a compressor, condenser and evaperator. HEAT comes right out of the engine.

    I suspect there is something not right.... My 2006 Baja (based on the Legacy) has GREAT cooling and above-average heating. (albiet it only has to cool/heat half the space as the Legacy wagon)

    Can you better describe the problem? Do you sense that it is lack of airflow... or is there plenty of air but not enough coldness/heat in the air?

    If an airflow problem, check if her car has a cabin-filter... has it been cleaned/changed lately?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I was thinking the same thing.

    See if there are any signs of rodent nests in any of the HVAC tubing, perhaps blocking the air flow.
  • Not too harsh. I've driven two Ford Taurus' and a Toyota Avalon each more than 250,000 miles without significant repairs. My 2005 Subaru Outback Turbo blew the turbo at 61,800 miles and Subaru wouldn't cover the repair under its 60,000 mile warranty, even though it warrants the turbo to 70,000 miles in California. They know there is a problem with an oil line screen, but they won't stand by their cars. I'm getting rid of the Subaru and won't own another one.
  • kouc52kouc52 Posts: 2
    I have 64k on my legacy GT and I had the same thing happen. Turbo banjo bolt oil line filter screen get clogged and kills oil to the turbo... turbo then kills the engine. Subaru can't build EJ engines fast enough... one dealer in my area did 15 legacy's last year for this problem. The dealer i sent my car too had one on the lot in for the same problem. I loved my Subaru till this happened and the fact there is no recall is shocking. I don't know of anyone and there are allot of posts online that has got Subaru to cover this at any mileage even with oil change records. Pretty Sad... I was going to get the boxer Turbo Diesel when it came out... but no way now. :mad: :mad: :sick:
  • lilengineerboylilengineerboy Posts: 4,116
    I loved my Subaru till this happened and the fact there is no recall is shocking.

    Recalls are for safety related items.

    The Federal Government doesn't care if you bought a crummy car. If your car takes off on its own, spontaneously combusted, or can't steer, they step in. If its someone not standing behind their product, its why we have a free market.
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    edited March 2010
    You are correct that a "Recall" is for safety (or emmissions) related items.

    I find it interesting that some people expect the government to "protect" them from every annoyance in their life. In the end, those people will be sorely disapointed. (The politicians only care about your VOTE so they can keep spending your money.)

    However, there are TSB (Technical Service Bulliten) which are intended to cover the items which do not rise to the level of a "Recall". You can review the 'open' TSBs against your specific vehicle at several websites.

    An automobile manufacturer is not obliged by law to inform you about TSBs... The consumer must research these themselves, print them out and TELL the dealer about it. I have had good luck getting dealerships to work with me once they know I am informed about the problem.
  • lilengineerboylilengineerboy Posts: 4,116
    However, there are TSB (Technical Service Bulliten) which are intended to cover the items which do not rise to the level of a "Recall". You can review the 'open' TSBs against your specific vehicle at several websites.

    True but a TSB isn't an extended warranty. If a vehicle is under a manufacturer's warranty and is brought in for service, a TSB can be applied. If the vehicle isn't under warranty, sometimes a dealer/manufacturer will do something for good will, but for the most part, the customer has to pony up for the repair.
  • dgreene1dgreene1 Posts: 9
    Very interesting discussion.

    I think a lot of people don't know about TSB's. I've got a 2010 Legacy with an annoying squeak in the front seat. When the dealer mentioned that there's a TSB out there for a very similar issue, I found it in one of the of TSB's on the Subaru website. I also found one or two others that may be applicable to my car's performance, but unfortunately, the dealer will only apply a TSB if you report a problem that can be specifically related to it (so we made something up :-) ).

    From now on, I'm checking the TSB list periodically...
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