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Subaru Legacy/Outback



  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    I personally like the DOHC engine and lighter on it's feet feeling of the pre '00 Legacies. I drove my uncles '97 OB back to back with my cousin's '00 OB, and liked the '97 better.

  • evilizardevilizard Posts: 195
    Don't know about the reliability issue, generally speaking the 00+ seems more complicated and optimized.

    From a safety point is is better. Stiffer safety cage, bigger, heavier.

    Got a big more space in the back and limited slip is availible on the rear.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    I believe the pre '00 outbacks did have an LSD on the winter package.

  • 20llbean20llbean Posts: 83
    Just an update to the forum on my LLbean. So far so good! We just got out of a heat wave on the east coast forcing me to drive the car with the A/C on all the time. Mileage avaeraged out to 22 MPG with a mix on city and highway. The car is in for the 3K oil change and a check of the wheel shimmy at constant highway speed. The wheel shimmy has lessened somewhat and is not as pronounced as originally felt (tire break in ?). Performance has been excellent. The car is slow to accelerate but once is gets going the other get out of the way. I had the car up to 95 MPH recently (on a highway) and there was no sense of car wheel loss. It stuck to the road and I felt that I could have taken it higher with no problem. By the way, has anyone topped out the H6 engine wrt speed? When does the givernor kick in?

    This past Friday evening, the east coast was hit with a terrible storm, at one point it rained 1 inch per hour. I hit a real wet spot, that would have hydro planed a car easily. I felt a brief hydroplane (about a second of wheel spin) then normal. I found out that the road had 5 inches of standing water on it and I drove through it at 65. I was impressed.
  • mrdetailermrdetailer Posts: 1,118
    rgarbaccio: Purchasing an extended warranty is clearly a balancing act. I would clearly purchase one if there were some evidence of abuse. (No those things are not clearly discovered before purchase). But any less than that would be a difficult decision. My experience with the Boxer engine is nothing less than fantastic. After 11 years, the most I have had to do is change the timing belts, crank and camshaft seals, and sparkplugs.

    Subbie transmissions are good if they have been well maintained. I would get an extended warrenty however if fluids were not changed every 30,000 miles, or if there was metal shavings in the bottom, or if the fluid was cloudy, brownish or black, or smelled burnt.

    Any other optiions on Extended Warrenties
  • nygregnygreg Posts: 1,936
    Shelby - Sorry to hear about your tranny. The dripping does sound like the AC - condensation from the humid weather we have been having. I too would search for another dealer. Good luck.

    Paul - MPV is a nice minivan. Lots of luck with it. Your still welcomed to "hang out". :)

    OB vs GT - yeah, what everyone else said. We bought the OB - we like the way it looks. There are a few GT wagons running around where I live and they are very sharp looking, especially with the Al wheels. Either way (heavy duty suspension, SUV type styling, OB goodies vs. cleaner look, tighter handling, slightly quicker) you can't go wrong. Good luck deciding.

  • "heavy duty suspension" ? Are the suspension parts on an OB any more heavy duty than on any other Legacy ?

  • roflickroflick Posts: 14
    Thanks for all the input. Sounds to me that GT is very capable in the snow, but the tires leave much to be desired. The ride height doesn't seem to be an issue. I do like the styeling of the GT, but I would like the goodies in the Outback.

    I haven't heard yet that the GT is a slouch in the snow.

    I have some soul searching to do before I make my decision. I would still appreciate any more input that people might have on the issue.
  • nygregnygreg Posts: 1,936
    The 02 GTs come with the all weather package - heated seats, heated windshield (read wipers) and heated side view mirrors. Other goodies the OB have are: rear power outlet, temperature readout, roof rack, weatherband radio. Not sure if any is significant enough to sway the decision.

    Heavy duty suspension? I'll let others more knowledgeable then me on this answer.

  • roflickroflick Posts: 14
    The only problem is that the goodies only come on the GT LTD sedan. We have a one year old and need all the room we can get in a station wagon.

    If Subaru produced a LTD SW, the decision would be easy.
  • In 2001 the GT got outside temp gauge and of course they do have the roof rack too.

  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    I don't believe they are any heavier duty than a legacy. From what I've been told the springs and the mounting points on the struts are lower on the OB, so that it is raised up.

  • nygregnygreg Posts: 1,936
    and snow.

  • I kind of suspected that the components were the same and that the Heavy Duty was just a marketing thing like the Sport Tuned suspension on the GT. Same components just different mounting points and different tires.

  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    I think the GT has the same mounting points as the other legacies, but I think it gets stiffer spring rates and stiffer struts. The OB gets higher mounting points on the struts, beefier springs, and mooshier shocks. Other than that I think the part #s are the same for OB/Legacy/GT Oh, sway bar may be thicker on GT too, but not even sure of that. Also the lower profile tires give it a lower center of gravity.

  • Someone posted that even the struts were the same just different mounting points which seemed odd... but possible.

    bit - 2001 GT Wagon

  • kmcleankmclean Posts: 173
    Greetings, all, from the (sort of) cool PNW!

    Just finished a trip down the California coast highway (from Seattle - 2350 miles in 8 days) and will add the following tidbits to the board:

    (2000 Ltd wagon, 5-speed, 15K miles.)

    Gas mileage (family of four, usual stuff, clean configuration): on the two-lane sections, no A/C (cool on the coast), speed rarely over 60, LOTS of curves and up/downshifting: 30 mpg. Interstate with A/C, 70-75 mph: 27 mpg.

    Reliability: perfect, with one comment. I did notice the "cold clutch" tendency to chatter the first couple of starts in the mornings, then nothing after that. I don't drive the car much, but as an old manny-tranny guy, this did catch my attention - a couple of times I remembered in time to try to avoid it, but it required very careful pedal management to avoid. On the other hand, there was a TON of up- and downshifting along the coast with not a hint of a problem.

    Fun road: if anyone wants to learn the handling capabilities of your Subie (and perhaps yourself), try the stretch of Highway 1 where it leaves Highway 101 at Leggett (between Eureka and San Francisco) heading down to the coast. Holey moley! About 25-30 miles of continuous hills, turns, switchbacks - all on two narrow lanes bordered by trees and cliffs. I couldn't keep up with the locals (after all, I DID have the family in the car), but did pretty well, including a couple of more-or-less planned 4-wheel drifts. I'm glad I didn't Armor All the tires before the trip - they sure need it now (especially the outer two inches of the front tires). I run the tires at 34-35 psi.

    A/C did fine keeping us cool as we came up through the valley with temps reaching 105. Figured out how to get more comfortable in the driver's seat (remembering to take my wallet out of my right rear pocket helps a lot!).

    I'll change the air filter this weekend and will let you know if that Fram CA-3909 is, indeed, the same size at the OEMs I bought.

    So far, so good, but I'll be watching that clutch (all but one - when I lived in DC - have lasted more than 100K miles).


    Ken M.
  • jchvsjchvs Posts: 3

    So my wife and I are down to deciding between a '97 Subaru O/B with 92000 miles for $12,900(private sale) and a '99 Taurus Wagon with 29000 miles for 10,900(dealer). We found one of each that we could like. The one thing with the O/B is the current owner had problems with the head gasket that he had fixed. I think we could get him to lower his price some, but I'm not sure about the head gasket. Can someone give me some advice? We plan on getting the car checked out at the mechanic before we make an offer.

  • Ken - next trip try and take HWY 211 off 101 just below Eureka. It is a nice winding strip of 2 lane that goes over to the coast and then back to the town of Honydew where you catch Matole RD back to101. It comes in through the back side of Humboldt Redwoods State Park. Equally as much fun as the piece of HWY 1 you mentioned but here you will share the fun and views with no one. You would be lucky to see another car. Did you have a chance to cruise the Avenue of the Giants?

    bit - 2001 GT Wagon

  • nygregnygreg Posts: 1,936
    Joe: Others are more experienced in Subs than me. However, I owned two Taurus' - a 93 and 96 (Company cars). Overall both were decent and the 93 proved to be fairly reliable. My 96, however, started to have tranny slippage at 80K miles. That's when I traded it. Taurus' are known to have transmission problems around the 80K mark so be careful. I believe this problem was mainly with the smaller 3.0 liter engine. The larger engine had a different tranny and I BELIEVE it it better. As for the difference in performance (handling, ergonomics) there's no comparison. The OB is better. My wife didn't like the Taurus because she felt she had to work at driving it and the visibility wasn't great. I would have to agree with her after recently driving a sable for 2 weeks on business and then getting back into my 01 OB. Just my 0.02. Good luck deciding.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Taurus is about average in reliability. They are so common that problems with them seem so common.

    Subies tend to be a bit better though.

    As for heads, do a compression test. You should get no more than a 10% variation in the pressure of each cylinder, and that would mean the head gasket is sealed nicely.

    It's not a very costly test, either.

  • jonw2jonw2 Posts: 49

    I would be wary of a private sale car that has had a head gasket problem, especially at that high mileage. You have no recourse from a private sale if there are further problems. A few months ago we traded in a 1993 Taurus on a 2000 Legacy. It was our first experience with Taurus and I think our last. During the early 1990s, Taurus had a history of head gasket and transmission problems. Given the two choices, I would have the Taurus checked out by a Ford mechanic and then only buy it with an extended warranty. I would also try to get them to drop their price on the Taurus or give you the extended warranty at that price. You may want to check out the vehicle's history via the VIN number to ensure it has never been wrecked. Good luck.
    Jon W.
  • evilizardevilizard Posts: 195
    If its been well cared for you'll probably be able to squeeze around 200K out of the Sube before the big bills start to roll in (I know many people get much more but some get less). On the Taurus you'll be lucky if you get to 120K.
    You AC will break the day after its 5 year anniversary and will never be the same again.

    On the Sube your looking at shocks, belts, starter, alternator, vavle jobs and other "Accessories" going between 100-130K. Your CV boots need a good looking at. Have a mechanic have a long look at that engine.

    I guess it depends on how long you plan on keeping the car. The Taurus is safe bet for about 60-65K before chances of it costing you big get real. Its got 30K on it now so thats two years of relative trouble free driving.

    The Sub has a real chance of racking up $1000 worth of work in that timeframe but after that your good for another 60-90K.

    Initially speaking the Sube is going to need more work more often. But once the problem is fixed it is likely to STAY fixed. On a Taurus it will stay fixed for a year or two and then come back. And if its a transmission problem forget it, they just get worse every time.

    I think you could get a better deal on a Sube than that guy. I know here in town a 96 w the same miles was going for $10K.

    My dad owned 2 Tauruses over 10 years. The first one got 190K before the transmission lost it. He had to have the AC replaced several times, suspension work a few times, brake work (above and beyond normal) and a couple of other knicknacks done here and there. All and all it held up very well for the type of abuse he put it through. His Second Taurus was not so lucky. Tranny started going after 55K and a whole bunch of other issues were creeping up (brakes, suspension, electrical) so he traded it for a Ford Exploder (He likes those fords). Some poor sucker out there is going to buy a Green 99 Taurus with a whole load of problems.
  • kmcleankmclean Posts: 173
    Mike -

    Sure did! Spent the night in Eureka, so we did the Redwoods National Park one day and the Avenue the next. Spent the evening crawling through the brewpubs in Old Town (watching the Mariners blow a 12-run lead to Cleveland!). Thanks for the 211 tip - sounds like the hidden roads in Texas hill country that were so much fun to explore.

    Joe -

    If it's been a one-owner OB and the guy has good records, it could be a decent car. If you're looking at multiple owners, I'd pass at that mileage and price.


    Ken M.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    That reminds me, my Escort's A/C system died twice, the 2nd time to the tune of $700. Maybe that's a weak link on Fords?

  • Ken - Sounds like a perfect Homboldt County tour to me. Especially the brew pubs... Eureka is a nice town.

    bit - 2001 GT Wagon

  • evilizardevilizard Posts: 195
    The problem lies with the types of connectors they use on the hoses.
  • kloud77kloud77 Posts: 1
    Recently bought a 98 Outback Legacy and looking to find some places to pick up aftermarket parts. If anyone knows of a way please email me at Thanx....
  • vincer2vincer2 Posts: 97
    What's happening with your OB and the pinging problem?
  • sagrestasagresta Posts: 39
    Hi Vince,
    Well it's still pinging consistently. We've washed our hands of the local subaru dealership since they wouldn't even consider taking our car as a trade because something was obviously bad wrong with it (even though SoA contends that the car is fine and completely within normal operating limits). Susan with SoA even talked to them, but they didn't seem to care. They didn't have a problem selling me the car, but they don't want to help me be happy with it or Subaru. So Susan called another dealership 30 miles from here and told them the situation. She had them agree to offer me the Subaru family discount which is $300 over invoice. So I went in, but the prices they gave me are $2-3,000 more than Fitzgerald's up in Maryland (I've been checking out their website thanks to advise on this board). Also they only wanted to give me $18,000 to trade in my 2001 Outback with 10,000 miles. When my husband called the manager to see if they would come down on their price or give us more for the trade in, his attitude is they were doing us a favor, and that we should be happy with that, he also pointed out that there was something wrong with the car. My husband told him that SoA says it's perfect, so who are you going to believe? The legal option is still there, I just don't want the headache if I can avoid it. So we actually are going to talk to Fitzgerald and see if we can work with them from down here in NC. Since SoA is offering us $1500 toward a new Subaru and we can probably transfer our extended warranty, we just lose the least amount of cash that way (actually we could get back more if we pursued the lemon law, but then we have to find another type of car,and again we want to give this one last try). Susan with subaru has been better and willing to help us try to get in another car without admitting there is something wrong with our car.
    I've just been sitting back reading everyone's posts waiting for another pinger to emerge...
    I'll keep you posted when something happens. I've actually reached my tolerance for the situation and have handed it over to my husband. Hopefully he'll have better luck than I.
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